On the 16th of March 2016, Sydney will play host to a new conference on the business scene, specially curated to equip CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners with the knowledge to take their business to ‘the next level.’ But unlike others, this one will not be spearheaded by the best executive coaches in town. Instead, attendees at the inaugural GrowthCon 2016 will be hearing from proven business leaders, educated only by experience and the passage of time. Dynamic Business spoke to Martin Martinez, CEO of The Boardroom and the brains behind GrowthCon 2016 to find out more about the relevance of his organisation and GrowthCon in today’s business landscape.
‘An idea I was not pursuing’
Proof of his own philosophy: “you don’t need to go to university to run a business,” Martin has scaled a number of experiences to reach a platform he can now call ‘success.’ In 2005, after eight years’ employment at Sydney’s Star Casino, Martin founded his first business, Australian Poker League. 6 Years later, Martin sold what had become the world’s largest poker franchise to WIN Corp to make way for a series of further ventures; one of which included Concierg.com, a members only online luxury travel service provider. This track record laid ground for Martin’s latest enterprise, The Boardroom which he describes as: “an idea I was not pursuing.”
No stranger to the concept of ‘mentoring’ as a member of the CEO Institute, Martin understood the value of learning from the real experiences of others. But it was only after the advice of his own mentors that he later decided to put his alternative designs for business mentoring into practice with The Boardroom. Members of the aptly named organisation (typically CEOs entrepreneurs and business leaders) are matched to a series of private advisory groups, facilitated by highly accomplished CEOs and leaders. The group mentoring scenario enables carefully selected group members and their facilitators to work together to solve business challenges and make strategic commercial decisions.
Martin said “we have got close to 70 members in just 6 months. Our target is 100 here in Sydney.
“We have developed the business under a licensing model so our vision will be to expand into other cities where we will have local representatives who will find the right mentors in each region.”
‘Finding the right mentors is key to the business’
Martin asserts that finding the right mentors is key to the business. With membership fees varying from $375 to $1250 depending on the level of service, Martin says “if we want the right mentors, their time has to be paid for.”
“It is important that we attract the right people. Our advisors have to be an active CEO with an incredible resume and expertise.”
“Our advisors are distinct from executive coaches as some of these have never run a multimillion dollar company.”
‘The biggest challenge that businesses face is knowing how to grow’
Established in March 2015, the organisation is very much in its infancy but Martin says the ultimate objective is to build a “global network of world class mentors helping a community of CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners grow their company. Whatever a member’s need is – we will have that expertise for them to take the next leap.”
“We are enabling people,” said Martin.
The biggest challenge that businesses face is knowing how to grow, according to Martin. “Knowledge in this area is in short supply,” he comments. And it’s this strongly held belief that sparked the idea for GrowthCon 2016. Intended to be part inspiration and part know-how, Martin says GrowthCon will be a vehicle for “proven leaders to share how they have grown.”
“Our speakers will share insights on how they have grown that are relevant today. Our ethos is to help business leaders overcome the biggest challenge they face: growth – whether it’s breaking the one, two or five-million-dollar mark.”
“There is no platform out there, conference or event that can give you the right information from real world experience. It’s lonely at the top,” said Martin.
‘There has been this movement of entrepreneurialism’
And with innovation and technology top of the agenda, Martin’s overarching mission shouldn’t struggle to find traction amongst a growing number of decision makers.
“There has been this movement of entrepreneurialism because there is no safety in large companies anymore. The tendency for people to go to university and build a career is fading fast while the number of entrepreneurs seeking fulfilment from building their own businesses is increasing.” And it’s cheap to do,” said Martin.
‘There’s a huge gap between what you get out of education and what you actually need in the world’
Without tertiary education of his own, Martin himself proves that university is not only path to success in today’s technology enabled environment. Years ago, the typical ‘businessperson’ may have been identified by certain character traits; but today, the doors are open to all – and all are thirsty for the ‘know-how.’
“In my opinion, if you want to be in business, you don’t need to go to university,” said Martin.
Whether university educated or not, Martin believes there’s a huge gap between what you get out of education and what you actually need in the world.
“A CEO who may have an MBA will still be struggling to navigate the issues of today. You have to continuously learn,” he said.
And this thinking underscores the shared ethos of both The Boardroom and GrowthCon. There is an apparent need to fill this education gap with a syllabus built on real, hands on experiences.