Despite the various steps taken by the Australian government and organisations to ensure greater equality in the workplace for women, it’s yet to become a reality.
ABS figures show that men are earning, on average, more than women in the workplace – $298.20 more, to be exact. Statistics from the WGEA (Workplace Gender Equality Agency) further reiterates this gap, revealing that only 12 percent of chair and 17.3 percent of CEO positions are held by women.
Considering that the sex discrimination act came into effect in 1984, these are very poor statistics – as is the fact that the amount of senior business roles occupied by women ten years ago was the same as it is today at 22 percent.
The glass ceiling, which author Ann Morrison describes as something ‘…so subtle that it is transparent, yet so strong that it prevents women from moving up the corporate hierarchy,’ (Breaking the Glass Ceiling) is still very much there.
Yet there are women who have transcended the patriarchal system and have become some of the most powerful business people in Australia.
Here’s a look at the top five business women in Australia:
1. Gina Rinehart
Topping the list is Gina Rinehart. Mining heiress and Chairman of Hancock Prospecting Group and with an estimated net worth of $16bn, she is the richest person in Australia.
Her wealth was initially accumulated through her father, Lang Hancock, who discovered the world’s largest iron ore deposit and subsequently became one of the richest men in Australia.
However, she has proven to be far more than a passive heiress, learning the mining business from the ground up. Over 20 years she transformed the firm into ‘Australia’s largest and most successful private company group through hard work, great effort, long hours and dedication, with the assistance of only a very small executive team,’ according to Rinehart’s spokesperson Jay Newby.
She took the reins of the Roy Hill iron ore tenements in Western Australia’s Pilbara region 22 years ago, and will begin a $10bn iron operation to export to Asia by the end of the year.
Rinehart has previously commented on her dislike of being called an ‘heiress,’ due to her many accomplishments within the company. Alecia Simmonds of theage.com.au says that she can’t help ‘furrow [her] feminist brows when Rinehart is called an heiress while James Packer is called a billionaire.’
“I’m not ashamed of being a girl, and since I’m a girl I will do what a boy would have done had I been a boy”. – Gina Rinehart
2. Catherine Livingstone
She is a strong advocate for research and innovation, claiming that that the world is looking for solutions and technologies: ‘It is an area in which Australia could take a lead with enormous economic rewards, if we are able to make it our knowledge and technologies that are sought out.’ She claims in an interview for CSIRO.
Since 2009 she has been the chair of Telstra, turning the company around with CEO David Thodey, contributing to the share price of the company more than doubling during the last few years.
Livingstone is highly respected in the sector, described by Macquarie Group chairman David Clarke in The Weekend Australian as ‘a very good contributor, absolutely diligent in doing her work’ and ‘..when she’s got something to say, she says it. She doesn’t talk for the sake of it. So people really listen to what she’s saying.’
Prior to Telstra she gained her impressive reputation as Chief Executive of bionic ear icon Cochlear, and was instrumental in getting the company onto the ASX 19 years ago. In 2012 she was also deemed as the second most powerful director in Australia by site Crikey.
3. Alison Watkins
Since becoming chief executive of Coca-Cola Amatil, Alison Watkins has made many changes which have led to an improvement in the company’s declining profits. In particular she has haggled with US Coca-Cola to procure a $600m funding deal and has reshuffled senior management.
She was previously the CEO and Managing Director of GrainCorp Ltd, Australia’s largest agribusiness and a top ASX 100 company.
Speaking of her issues with self-confidence in the Financial Review, she describes how she came to land the GrainCorp job:
“I got some feedback..that showed my peers thought I had strong leadership attributes…but I rated myself much less favourably, which I took as a good thing until the excellent coach I had pointed out that it meant I was underestimating my ability to make a difference. I realised I was being undemanding in a way that meant I was not setting myself and my teams up for success, and that wasn’t good for anyone“.
Watkins took her new outlook into the interview to become CEO of GrainCorp and followed up with a letter to the Chairman outlining her key skills and credentials. Her forthrightness won her the job.
She is now a champion of women who are trying to work their way up the line in their business and feels that all women, who are in a position to do so, should enable their female co-workers.
“It’s the way you make a difference to women in your workplace; the risks you take to create opportunities for them and help them succeed, including in line roles…I will contribute to changing the perceptions of what a female leader is and to accelerating the day that will come when the term ‘female CEO’ doesn’t evoke any particular perceptions at all“.
4. Katie Page
Page joined Harvey Norman in 1983 as a young assistant to the boss. She slowly worked her way up the ranks until she was made CEO in 1999, making her one of the longest serving chief executives of an Australian-listed company.
She runs the 200+ store retail business with a turnover of more than $2.6bn a year (& franchise operations of $4.6bn) alongside her husband Gerry Harvey, who co-founded the company in 1982 with Ian Norman.
“There is no other consistent female [chief executive] out there and it just happens to be we are a husband and wife team“, she told The Australian. “Gerry is the executive chairman. The chairman is there to make sure that the big picture is right. They are there for the big decisions. As chief executive, I am running the business“.
Page is unsentimental about her husband’s higher profile – she knows the company works because they are a team, “The board sets the strategy and I deliver it as chief executive. We have skill sets as a couple that probably make us stronger as a company compared with others“.
Page has also dedicated herself to championing women in horse racing through Magic Millions, and providing a $500,000 incentive for women thoroughbred owners.
5. Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz
Since arriving at the business, with a market cap of $7bn and a top 50 ranking of ASX-listed companies, she has focused on investment. She spent $1bn buying new assets in order to restore the group’s property portfolio, but also sold off property worth $1bn.
The strategy Lloyd-Hurwitz adopted has made the most of the changing property market since the financial crash.
In 2014 she was crowned Telstra NSW Business Woman of the Year. She told The Saturday Telegraph: “Along the way, I’ve had some important mentors who have invested in me, taken a risk, held up the mirror for me and guided me. In all business relationships, I strive to listen, to create mutually beneficial outcomes and to communicate often and with clarity“.
“A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. A woman must do what he can’t”. – Rhonda Hansome
There is still a long way to go for Australian businesswomen, but these five female trailblazers show that it is possible to not only succeed, but triumph, in business and make more important fractures in that tough glass ceiling.
How to Create a Winning Startup Culture
Some time back, in my infographic on 51 Business Mistakes that most Entrepreneurs Make, I had outlined that one of the biggest mistakes is that you do not give any thought as to what you consider would be a great startup culture. And, without good policies or HR to keep things in check, the startup begins to develop a toxic business culture. (more…)
51 Mistakes That Can Sabotage Your Dream Startup
So you’ve got an idea. You know it will work. And, it means the world to you.
You are an entrepreneur and you think you can rock the world with this one idea that matters to you the most. And, you set out to form the idea into a startup that you are going to nurture and develop into a blooming business in the upcoming years.
However, I don’t want to throw water over your dreams but, I do need to bring this “optimist” you into the hard and cold reality…….. the reality which says that 90% of all startups fail.
Of course, this can bring a great deal of uncertainty into your life and you got to be prepared to deal with it. You are also going to face a ton of challenges in your life which will force you to grow as an entrepreneur. But, the important thing is that you stick with it.
Of course, as Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett’s friend) once said, “All I Want to Know is Where I’m Going to Die So I’ll Never Go There”. No entrepreneurs want their startups to fail after putting in days and weeks of effort into it.
So, a lot of research has been put forward into knowing what does actually sabotage a startup?
Fortune reported that the single biggest reason startups fail was because they do not identify what the market wants before setting up their startup.
However, it isn’t as simple as that. An entrepreneur needs to perform a comprehensive business plan before he sets out with his business idea. Also, you have to know whether your business idea actually suits you or not. If it doesn’t then, you either you need to fine-tune yourself with your business idea or you need to change the business plan so that it suits you.
And, it is only after that, should you venture upon your startup.
Now, is that all? Of course not. The problem most entrepreneurs face when they first begin their entrepreneurial journey is that they don’t know what they don’t know.
That’s where they tend to make a series of mistakes that may cause great harm to their startup.
That’s why I scoured for successful entrepreneurs to provide me with information on what they think were the most common mistakes that startups do. Plus, I also got tips on how to avoid these mistakes.
You can check out the original article here: 70 Mistakes Startups Make And Tips On How You Can Avoid Them
Now, it’s your turn to do some work. Let me know what you thought of these mistakes and tips that entrepreneurs commit. Do you know of any other mistakes that entrepreneurs do? Comment below!
8 Key Factors That Discourage Investors From Putting Money Into Your Startup
Today’s ideas are tomorrow’s winning businesses. Ideas executed brilliantly and with proper investment bring your business success. That is how the world of business got the likes of Apple, Google, McDonald’s, Amazon and so on.
But why in spite of the brilliant and promising ideas at the core of their business, many startups fail to attract investors? Why do investors hesitate to put their money into some startups? Well, investors have reasons and only by deciphering these reasons we could get hold of some deterrent factors that hold them back.
Let us explain some of the vital factors that prevent investors from putting their money in the startups below:
1. Inefficiency or Absence of Leadership Qualities
Inefficiency is the most significant deterrent factor for pulling the success of most startups. This can also be referred to as the lack of leadership qualities. Investors always want to make sure that they don’t lose their money through a company that has an extraordinary business model but no efficient and skilled business leader to make it successful. When fetching investment from investors, you need to offer a clear prospect and detailed plan of how you are going to achieve the goals.
2. Lack of Trustworthiness
An investor puts his money on a venture purely on the basis of the credibility and trustworthiness of the business. This is why besides having a sound business plan with clear objectives, you need to establish the integrity in terms of the security of the investor’s money and how the fund is going to be invested to give results as per business plan.
If an investor has a feeling that the startup may not have enough customers to fulfil its financial liabilities or if it finds that the business is hiding some information, it may further push the trust of the investors down. Total transparency and establishing the faith of the business brand are crucial for finding investors in favor.
3. Lacking Experience in Business Management
You have a great business idea backed up by a sound business plan and solid trustworthiness based on your background, but you have zero experience in managing a business. This is a serious reason for an investor to deny making any investment in your business. An investor cannot put his money just to allow you trying and learning your management skills the harder and riskier way. Uncertainty is the single biggest turn-off factor for any investor and lack of managerial experience is synonymous to that.
4. Business Model is Not Sound Enough
You have a business idea, some efficient, competent and experienced professionals as leaders, the great stamp of trust and pretty much everything that make a company look promising. But what about your business strategy and business model? Are they sound enough to take on the market competition and challenges for business growth? Well, this is what investors are most interested in.
In most cases, a business model is what makes an investor think twice and even take a backward step from investing in a startup. After all, your business model and strategy will decide how your business and products will be able to withstand competition and become victorious.
5. Taking Investors for Granted
This is a big mistake on the part of many startups. Just by becoming confident in the potential and the soundness of the business model and prospect, a business can consider getting investors on board requires just a little effort and time. But in reality, getting investors on board is the toughest thing a business can think of.
This is why without proper and meticulous preparation, it would be foolish to approach investors for your business. Most investors receive hundreds of such emails and a similar number of approaches through other means and they coldly just let them pass. This is why you need to send them very detailed proposals backed by strong recommendations and referrals.
6. Targeting the Wrong Investor
Every business has a target customer base, right? Not all customers are interested in every product in the market. Similarly, not all investors are interested in your business. Investors based on their prior experience and industry exposure, put their money in businesses that they know like their own palm of their hand.
So, targeting an investor who has no interest in your business will only drain your energy and bring you unnecessary frustration. When you are seeking investors for your software startup, don’t approach someone investing in real estate business.
7. Non-Realistic Proposal for Funds
Investors normally come with huge experience of your industry and so they have a clear idea about the fund requirements for your business startup. Moreover, they already have invested in other ventures or have gone through many proposals. Naturally, they have every bit of estimate already in their mind. So, any proposal claiming a lofty and unrealistic amount will only face rejection.
This is why it would be wise to become meticulous about your estimation of the required fund and calculation of various cost factors. Have meticulous details about every facet of investment backed up by breakup of the costs. Only when you can convince them with correct estimation, investors can take interest in discussing the matter further.
8. Make Sure Your Product Solves a Customer Problem
Will any investor put money in building a simple calendar app now? No, simply because such an app idea has no value for the end users now. Will an investor put money in a product that has already been outdated and has no use? No, no investor has to even go through such a proposal for dismissing them.
Well, to fetch investment, your product must be thoroughly customer-centric. It not only has to solve a problem but has to deliver some competitive value in comparison to similar products in the market.
Obviously, finding an investor for a new business is not an easy task, considering the huge competition that businesses need to deal with. But, if your business idea is unique and you fill all those requirements correctly as mentioned above, finding investors may not be as tough as it sounds.
5 Must Have Branding Tools for Your Startup
Your brand is more than just the colors on your website. And for startups, it’s important to create a strong and memorable brand from the beginning if you want to stand out from the competition, scale your company, and find your ideal customers faster.
Here are 5 simple tools that will help your company avoid branding mistakes, take charge of your visual identity, and set a solid foundation for future growth:
1. Graphic Design Software
The word “design” doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Before deciding on your startup’s logo, colors, designs, and overall tone, consider working with a brand strategist who can translate the core ingredients of your startup into a visual identity that speaks to your target market.
Brand strategists have expertise in the psychology of colors, shapes, textures, and words, and they will work with you to make sure that your branding appeals to your target audience. Once you have those basics of your brand established, there are several tools that can help your company refresh and maintain your visual identity.
The absolute best graphic design tool for non-designers is Canva. While the free version has a lot of functionality, the paid plans offer more customization such as the ability to import your exact brand fonts and colors.
But if your company handles all of your design in-house, you will need something more advanced than Canva. In that situation, I would recommend Adobe Creative Cloud to startups who work on their designs in-house, as it includes top-notch design software like Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom, InDesign, and more.
“Branding is what people say about you when you are not in the room – Jeff Bezos
2. Visuals & Creative Imagery
Have you ever wondered where your competitors get those beautiful branded photographs that end up on their website? While it’s possible that they worked with a photographer, it’s also likely that much of their imagery comes from stock photos.
Here are my recommendations on the exact places to purchase stock imagery to improve your company’s branding:
- Creative Market – A treasure trove of quality visual imagery where you can buy anything from stock photos, to branding mockups, to social media templates (Facebook cover photo, anyone?), to custom fonts… the options are nearly endless.
- Adobe Stock – Beloved by designers, and the platform offers tiered pricing plans based on your image needs and download quantity.
- Pixels – If you’re on a tight budget and just need to grab an image or two for a blog post, you may be able to find what you need on Pixels – which is great because all of the photos and videos on Pixels are free!
3. Social Media Scheduler
You’re a leader. You’re an entrepreneur. Your staff, board, funders, and admirers depend on you to make big decisions, lead the ship, and plot the vision towards your company’s future. You don’t have time to stare at a blank screen every day wondering what to post on Facebook.
By using a social media scheduling tool, you can sit down for a few hours, schedule batches of content, and schedule the dates and times when it will post to your accounts over the next couple of months. Then, once the content is posted, you only need to worry about responding to comments and engaging with your customers. 21st century efficiency at its finest.
Popular social media schedulers include Buffer and Hootsuite, both of which include free and paid plans. Not sure what exactly to post? Check out these social media ideas from influential businesses. And if the idea of writing and planning months of content still overwhelms you, our next tool will help you stay organized and on-brand.
4. Editorial Calendar
When it comes to your content, it’s time to step it up a notch and start thinking like a media outlet. Every piece of content that you put out as a company, whether it’s an e-mail blast, blog post, social media post, podcast, or video, needs to be aligned with your brand.
Each major magazine maintains an editorial calendar which outlines the overarching theme for each of the upcoming 12+ months. By establishing a monthly content theme in advance, they create a framework to generate and organize their ideas.
Consider creating an internal editorial calendar that will guide your startup’s content over the next 6-12 months. The software tool you use to maintain your editorial calendar isn’t that important — I like to use Trello, but you can also create a simple numbered list in Google Docs or Microsoft Excel. You may be surprised at how quickly the creative juices flow once you have an editorial calendar in place.
“Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.” – Paul Rand
5. In-Person Networking
Offline efforts count towards your branding too! And if you run your entire startup from behind your laptop screen, you miss out on ample opportunities to build your business offline and gain local referral partners.
If you’re new to in-person networking, start by visiting Meetup.com or Eventbrite.com where you can browse for events in your area. Think outside the box when it comes to selecting events to attend. For example: If you’re a chiropractor, it makes sense to attend local holistic health meetups. But you could also attend a travel event and meet digital nomads who don’t yet realize that a chiropractor can help them recover after long plane rides.
Remember that you’re not at the networking event to make instant sales, you’re looking for referral partners and connections. Don’t be the person who tries to shove your sales pitch down everyone’s throat upon meeting them.
As you can see, there are many simple online and offline resources that can help you spruce up your branding, reach new customers, and pique the interest of your target market. If you take branding one step at a time and start with the tools above, you will be well on your way to creating a brand that your customers will cherish and remember.
Have you used any of these branding tools before? Are there any additional tools that have helped your startup’s branding shine? Share your thoughts below!
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