Few people know the importance of being adaptable better than Graeme Caplen-Black, who completely changed his business and product offering to become something far bigger than he’d expected.
- Business name: Entegy Pty Ltd
- Industry: Events/software
- Number of employees: 25
- Operating since: 2014
- Location: West End, Brisbane
What was your first paid job?
I was a bartender at a cocktail lounge in Cape Town, South Africa.
What made you get into your current business?
I was never interested in software or computers growing up; however, in university, I became fascinated with how communication was being transformed in society and the impact this was having on just about everything.
The idea for the Entegy suite of products came about after losing a tender to a competitor and analysing why I lost the bid.
How did you get your very first client?
Through industry networks. I had been doing a fair bit of consulting work in the social media space (in the very early days) and sort of just fell into the events industry. My father worked in the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions) industry, and growing up I attended many events with him, so it may not have been that much of a coincidence.
What has been your biggest triumph in business?
Watching a team of highly skilled crew working day in, day out on a platform that is being used across six continents is pretty special. We’ve achieved so much more than we ever thought we would and this feels like only the beginning.
Conversely, what has been your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?
Not setting up WorkCover until it was too late! Everything has a lesson in it, and I honestly do feel privileged to have learnt the lessons I have so far.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
To not focus on money. Focus on success and the money will come. My focus has since evolved from traditional ideas of success into an ongoing search for work/life balance and spending as much time with my family as I can.
If you could change one thing to make life easier as a business owner, what would it be and why?
Nothing comes to mind, or at least stands out!
Who do you look up to in business and why?
In the early days, it was the founder of Zappos.com, Tony Hsieh. I obsessed over his ideas of how to build a happy business and the power of positive culture.
From a product view, seeing how Steve Jobs trained his audiences and reverse-engineered products and the cultures around those products was incredible and has influenced me a lot.
What do you do to get away from work?
Family time, chasing my two-year-old around the park or building things with his Tonka trucks.
Personally, nature: I love to surf and fish and kayak — generally anything to do with the ocean.
What is the best thing you have ever spent money on in your business (and why)?
Team building: it could be a beer after work, a quick team lunch or going rock climbing. The value of spending time with the team outside of the office, where we can all just be ourselves, is invaluable and we’ve seen so many positive results.
Name a little-known fact about yourself.
I only bought my first computer in 2008, the year I started my first business (which would end up being Entegy five years later).
What is the funniest experience or encounter you have had in business?
Probably the time I snuck off at an event on an island to go fishing, only to be caught by the client halfway to the fishing spot with a fishing rod in hand. I caught a decent fish that night!
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.