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Taking the first step! (To start your own business)

This week, I thought I share a case study on “Taking the first step in starting a business”. For Intact Group – winner of last month’s Telstra NSW MYOB Small Business Award – it was about having the confidence to pursue his own inspiration, according to company founder Nathan Dale.

Telstra ACCCNathan was completing his business studies when he spotted an opportunity in the commercial property services market.

“The decision was one that meant I was going with my gut, and against what many people were telling me.” Although lacking specific industry training, Nathan says the opportunity to gain experience in the sector, and his own educational background gave him the self-assurance to follow his instincts.

“It all comes down to confidence,” says Nathan, “If there’s one message I would emphasise from this, it’s that everyone who gets an opportunity to start out in business for themselves should take it.”

Nathan’s age – the young entrepreneur was just 23 when he launched Intact Group – and that of his team meant the business has had to work hard to establish credibility in a highly competitive industry.

But dedication to reaching a high standard of professional service, and the ability to identify the areas where he needed help, saw Nathan and his team win contracts with some of the sector’s most prestigious clients.

“When we started out, there were so many things I didn’t know that I didn’t know,” says Nathan. “I learned a great deal from my own mistakes.”

“But recognising where you need help, and surrounding yourself with the best people you can, takes a lot of the pressure off.”

Although his expanding operation has meant that Nathan is now able to take a more strategic role in the business, maintaining motivation through every stage of building the business has meant focusing on the things that really make a difference.

“Having a passion for the business is really important, but you have to recognise that what this means will change over time. And there are going to be days for everyone when you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning.”

“For me, I found the best way to keep motivated was to focus on the things that were important to my team. If they are enjoying what they do, that makes it worthwhile for me.”

Winning the Telstra NSW Business of the Year has been an important milestone for Intact Group.

“It’s been huge. It has given us another level of credibility, particularly for new business development – people always answer my emails now! But it has also been important as vindication for the businesses that backed us from the beginning.”

Nathan says if you are considering starting a new business, you should just get on and do it.

“The most important thing is to be really open to learning – particularly from the mistakes you make. And be confident in the people you have around you – ultimately, they’ll be the ones who get you over the line.”

So what are those first steps – can anyone share their own “starting out” story and tips?

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Julian Smith

Julian Smith

Julian Smith is responsible for MYOB’s corporate affairs, government and public relations in Australia and New Zealand and is also New Zealand general manager. The qualified lawyer has spent much of his career at large multinationals in a range of senior legal, sales, marketing and customer management roles. Julian is a regular keynote speaker and business commentator and sits on a number of government and industry boards and advisory panels. Julian can be found on Twitter <a href="http://www.twitter.com/JulianTSmith">@JulianTSmith</a> or contacted via email Julian.smith@myob.com

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