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Let’s Talk: Investing to Succeed

Figuring out where to best invest your time and money is a difficult task. As businesses scale, leaders’ daily tasks become more and more unpredictable. When time becomes money, it is imperative that businesses effectively allocate their resources.

We explore how business leaders have invested their time and money to generate successful outcomes.


Mike Featherstone, Managing Director ANZ & APAC, Pluralsight

Mike Featherstone

The past few months have been a testament to the dire need for technology skills across all industries, as we saw new digital-first business models kick into gear, and working from home became a new reality for most. Now more than ever, businesses should be investing in the digital competency of their team to adapt to and navigate a changing landscape, and achieve true business success in this tech-enabled environment.

While it is important to invest in the best technology resources and solutions, it is imperative for business leaders to prioritise the tech skills development of its team to strategically drive the technology forward and fulfil the business’ digital strategies. By empowering their workforce through an ongoing investment in skills development, business leaders can rest assured they have taken active steps to position the business for success now and in the future.

Related: Let’s Talk: My business rules

Steven Maarbani, CEO, VentureCrowd

Steven Maarbani

If you believe, as I do, that a company’s success is driven by the effectiveness of the team behind it, then the best investment of a leader’s time is in doing their best to inspire, support and empower their team. First comes inspiration. To get meaningful stuff done, the business needs to know where it is headed. Every member of the team needs to understand and clearly articulate the company’s vision and purpose. Everything else should help to realise that vision. It’s up to the leadership team to set, articulate and live that vision through every action taken. Second comes support. No one is brilliant at everything, and they don’t need to be. Instead of trying to homogenise everybody’s skill sets, I prefer to focus on people’s strengths and support their ‘less-developed’ skills in other ways – with systems, processes and (sometimes) other people. For example, there’s no point being frustrated with creatives because they don’t excel at process. You’re better off removing process from their day job so they are free to do their best creative work. Finally, it’s important to look at empowerment. If everybody has clarity of purpose, and we’re all supporting each other’s true strengths, the next critical element is to empower key people to own their role and its outcomes. The flip side of empowerment is accountability. If they rise to the challenge, you have managed to create the most perfect alignment between the goals of the business and the ambition of the individual. And when that happens on mass, success may just be possible. 

Disclaimer: The unscientific observations above are the personal ravings of a guy still working things out and should not be relied upon as advice. No, really. You have been warned.

Jamie Shostak & Michael Macrae, Co-founders of Appetiser Apps 

Jamie Shostak & Michael Macrae

Perfecting the quality of your product offering, and becoming self-sufficient are certainly two areas to consider investing in right now. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that nothing is certain. Nothing is permanent and months of sales forecasting and trend predictions can all be changed at the drop of the hat.

As co-founders of Australia’s fastest growing app development and mobile web technology company, we encourage our brands to think beyond the now. To invest in perfecting the design and functionality of your product, instead of mindlessly pushing out products for the sake of ‘getting ahead’.

Many businesses believe that building an app is simply not cost effective. But when you factor in the fees associated with the well-known delivery apps – which can be up in the 30% fee range – the numbers begin to tell an entirely different story. And since you will then own ‘your app’, you won’t have marketplace fees, so any savings made can be passed onto your customers, or re-invested into the business to benefit them.

Karen Porter, Founder and Head of Community, Underground Communications

Karen Porter

For a small business growing into a founder-led team, the best time and money investment is spent on the team itself. Starting with a clear systems and processes guide that’s a living document that you and your team can easily and quickly update. This instantly transforms a business of even the smallest size. Linked to that is to invest your time into the creation of a solid employee onboarding process so that everyone understands their role, how they fit into the business and how they contribute to your success and impact right from the beginning. This process should include information on how the team communicates and provides feedback so that your employees are engaged in your purpose and values. Lastly, but certainly not least, is to invest time and money into professional guidance on how to hire for team/values fit. This is a financial investment that, if done well, will reward you with much higher dividends in the form of greater productivity, reaching your targets more often and lowering your attrition rate.

We’ve recently reviewed all of our systems and processes as a team and transferred them to easily accessible bite-sized explainer videos using Loom. These guide team members through the use of online platforms, how our internal filing system works and how we structure our client service delivery. This means that everyone can access a particular subject matter without having to wade through a big document and, the onboarding process, also using Loom, is much more engaging and instructive.

Marcus Marchant, CEO, Vistaprint Australia

When striving for success in the workplace, it is important that you surround yourself with the right people for the job; those who not only share your passions but strive towards the same goals as you. As famously stated by the American Entrepreneur, Jim Rohn; “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Therefore, it is crucial to surround yourself with 5 people who uplift you and encourage you to achieve success.

It is vital that the C-suite spend the time and in this case, the money, when recruiting for new team members. This will guarantee not only a symbiotic team structure but the long term success of the business.

Marcus Marchant, CEO of Vistaprint of Australia, states, “having a tight network of those you trust and rely on within your business is invaluable. We know we are heavily influenced by our environments and that of course includes our teammates. As such, one of the best investments of time and money for your business is a seamless recruitment process that sets teams up for success. If you aim to surround yourself with positive, supportive people who want your business to succeed you are infinitely closer to achieving your goals.”


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Ann Wen
Ann Wen
Ann is a journalist at Dynamic Business with a background in commercial law and research. She is interested in SME tax law, public policy and Australian innovation.