The finance expert and TV presenter told attendees at a recent Optus event that far from looking to established business operators, it is immersing himself in the world of start-ups which has benefitted him and his business most.
“My view, from being in business myself and talking to a lot of successful business owners, is that the customer is changing dramatically, and it is businesses who are finding it hard to cope with that and keep changing themselves and re-engineer their business to be what the customer wants are the ones who are finding it tough,” he said.
“For small business owners, I call this period ‘the start-up of you’. You’ve got to think like a start-up personally. Because yes customers are important, yes staff are important in a small business, but the most important asset in any small business is you, the business owner. You set the dynamics of it, you set the culture, you set the strategy and unless you are willing to adapt and change and take advice, and also tap into the resources available, you’re going to be left behind.”
Calling it the “best investment” he has made in developing his business skills and acumen, Kochie recounted his personal investments in new start-ups.
“I’ve invested in start-ups: one has done really well, I tripled my money; two are [average]; and I’ve lost everything on the other two. Overall, in terms of the five, I’m about even, but it has changed the way I think in business,” he said.
“It’s been the best investment in professional development that I’ve ever had, because of the energy, the changing thinking of these founders of start-ups we all need in small business – whether you’re a little start-up in the digital space or you’re a traditional bricks and mortar business.”
For anyone failing to comprehend the scale of change by demographics and particularly technology, Kochie gives one simple anecdote to help contextualise the situation facing all business owners, regardless of industry:
“That smartphone you have now has more computing power than Houston Control Centre when they put man on the moon … it gives you an idea how much things have changed,” he said.
“It’s all based around Moore’s law that the silicon chip will double in capacity every two years. And since the silicon chip was invented in the ‘80s I believe, that has held true.”