Research suggests that Australia is one of the best countries in the world to start up a new business, with 20 per cent planning or running their own business, and over the last year there has been an increase in new business ventures. Despite this encouraging data, an estimated one in five new start ups still fail each year. So, if we really are a nation of entrepreneurs, why is our failure rate so high?
A new book, titled The Invisible Branson seeks to solve this problem by turning traditional advice on its head, using Sir Richard Branson as a metaphor. The Invisible Branson presents a definitive guide to becoming a business rock star in your chosen field, by challenging you to make a radical shift in your thinking.
Co-author Louise Woodbury believes that in order for modern society to continue to evolve, we need successful entrepreneurs. She says, "Entrepreneurs are absolutely essential to ensure our lives will perpetuate and the world we live in will improve. Yet in order to be successful, you need to step up and put change into action.
"Our philosophy says you need to be striving to be part of a global entrepreneurial community, which means changing your thinking to be at a global level, versus the insular "my business, my suburb" level. It's time to stop wallowing in doom and gloom, with that accustomed "passenger" mentality, which sees us hoping that 'someone' will look after us."
Authored by Louise Woodbury, an authority in human dynamics and business mentor, and her husband William de Ora, an award winning marketing specialist, The Invisible Branson is their third book in their highly successful "Invisible" book series. Together, they run a highly successful Sydney based business consultancy and have been working with small to medium sized businesses for over 18 years.
Louise and William argue that the only thing that prevents you from being successful is you. Their belief that is backed by a global report published by Ernst & Young***, which resolves that entrepreneurs are created and not born.
Louise says, "Your success has nothing to do with money, time, logic, or external circumstances. It has everything to do with you and your level of self-worth and belief. If you are truly committed to breaking out of your current constraints, ready to take your business to the next level, and discover your own true greatness, then The Invisible Branson is your launching pad.
"You have the choice to remain living and working in fear and uncertainty, or to make the change to embrace the opportunity for new ideas and new ways of living."
Louise and William believe that in today's economy, business owners have a remarkable opportunity to attract new customers rather than hunt for them. The philosophy behind the book is that creating a personal brand is the key to success. There must be alignment and congruency between the personal values of the business owner and the core values of the business.
Louise says, "One of the greatest mistakes we see business owners make is in taking a short term, "get rich - get out quick" view of their business, instead of focusing on a long term outlook. Entrepreneurs need to operate like this is their life-long mission.
"We hope that through reading this book, potential and current business owners will be awakened to new and previously unimagined possibilities. It will spur them to re-examine their life and company, and to consider the pursuit of greatness."
William adds, "We believe that inside everyone is the spirit of Richard Branson just waiting to be released upon on the world. Our aim in writing this book is to expose the talent and greatness that lies in all of us and to guide people to reach their true potential."
"Greatness, both personal and business, is ultimately what we are teaching in the book and any business owner; regardless of how well their company is doing, can grow and thrive."
Top Ten Tips from The Invisible Branson for Small Businesses
1. Challenge the current mood of doom and gloom, carbon tax issues and weakening economy and look at today's opportunities.
2. Aspire to be part of a global entrepreneurial community, change your thinking to a global level versus an insular "my business, my suburb" level.
3. Make the decision to step up and BE the change that the future of our world deserves and requires in order to perpetuate and evolve, versus the passenger mentality, i.e. hoping that 'someone' will look after us.
4. Make a radical shift in your consciousness, successful entrepreneurs rethink, reshape and recreate. This kind of thinking is what Branson brings to the table.
5. You have a choice: remain in fear and uncertainty or embrace opportunity for new ideas, new ways of living.
6. Take a long term view versus a short term view - how an entrepreneur views their business and their life.
7. Put employees first, customers second and stakeholders third. This seems counterintuitive as the goal for most businesses is to make money, however Branson believes if your employees are happy, customers are happy and the profits will soon follow.
8. Begin the journey of being unreasonable - that is, live in a way that runs counter to the logic of your negative inner dialogue. Negative thoughts have a logic to them that can be very powerful, so the key is to oppose that negative logic
9. Be unstoppable in the face of fear - fear is a natural part of the process.
10. Allow yourself to step outside your comfort zone, destroy your limiting beliefs and decide to enjoy the ride - Branson is committed to having fun along the way.
Husband and wife team, Louise Woodbury and William de Ora have been working with small to medium sized businesses for over 18 years. They have combined their years of professional experience in business consultancy and their 17 years of married life to present their books: The Invisible Entrepreneur: How to Grow Your Business by Taking 3 Months Off, The Invisible Partnership: A Blueprint for Successfully Combining Marriage & Business and their latest work, The Invisible Branson: The Definitive Guide To Becoming A Business Rock Star.
As co-owners of Quantum Dynamics, they are an unstoppable force. They are passionate about the potential for small business entrepreneurs. Having worked year after year in the small business community, they have developed an indepth understanding of what it takes to become a successful small business entrepreneur. This understanding provides inside knowledge to guide and empower small business owners. Above all, they are able to write their books with detailed intimate knowledge because they have lived it themselves!
Louise Woodbury is an international keynote speaker and one of Australia's most in-demand business coaches because of her ability to turn businesses around and create astonishing successes - often out of stale or struggling operations. With over 20 years' experience as a businesswoman, Louise offers a dynamic combination of skills. Louise's analytical expertise enables her to hone in on the key problem areas of any business and she draws on her astute people skills to identify the true motivators and drivers within business owners and their team. For many years, Louise worked with clinical psychologists to gain insights into how entrepreneurs respond to various environments and understand the driving factors in business and life. It's an area of study that few consultants delve into but it's at the core of Louise's way of working.
William de Ora has over 25 years' experience working in creative, strategic and research roles with Australia's leading advertising agencies. William has worked in almost every major product, service, government and business category.
Born in Sri Lanka, William spent his early years raised among Buddhist monks. During his early teens William's family moved to the UK where he later studied graphic design before moving to Australia.
This unique blend of Eastern philosophy and Western commercialism makes William's thinking different to that of many consultants. In working with owners of small businesses, William brings solutions that tap into the potential which lies dormant within them and helps them explore possibilities beyond their current thinking.
The Invisible Branson the Definitive Guide to Becoming a Business Rock Star
Author: Louise Woodbury and William de Ora
Question: Why did you write The Invisible Branson the Definitive Guide to Becoming a Business Rock Star?
Louise Woodbury and William de Ora: Branson is a great role model for entrepreneurs but small business entrepreneurs look at his success and think it's not possible for them to achieve this
What we are identifying and expressing is Richard Branson's human factor which hasn't been powerfully communicated before
In this current economic climate playing safe is not an option - nor is operating as business as usual
No entrepreneur can wait to be supported by government decisions or big businesses
This is about taking control of your destiny
Question: Why do you think one in five new business start ups fail each year?
Louise Woodbury and William de Ora: ? Typically there is no long term view taken - its jump in and see how things go for example looking at the industry you're in with a 5-10 year view. Take for instance a travel agent - things will happen that will impact peoples decision to travel, strikes, natural disasters, weather patterns - however; over a five year period you can adapt and
During the first year there is a lot of excitement that propels the success however most people don't stop and acknowledge what's working and what the challenges are
Question: How can we work at ensuring five out of five business start ups succeed?
Louise Woodbury and William de Ora: For a business to succeed there must be alignment between the owner and the business - its about ensuring the core values are aligned
We go into great depth about this in the book - if you aren't fundamentally aligned it is a very weak foundation and this is what we have seen over 17 years of consulting
Be willing to ask for help early on - don't wait till the last minute to get support
Most entrepreneurs are ego driven and therefore want to do it their own way but this can cost them dearly as well as not allow them to reach their full potential
Question: What should readers expect from The Invisible Branson the Definitive Guide to Becoming a Business Rock Star?
Louise Woodbury and William de Ora: Step out of your comfort zone and claim your leadership and be seen as the authority within your niche
Creating a business that is about providing for the greatest positive impact and for the greatest number of people - which translates into the entrepreneur having a profitable business
Creating a point of difference in the marketplace - standing out amongst the competitors
How to live a fulfilling and rich life because you are living your passion - your business is not just about creating a job for you until something better comes along
Have fun doing business
Interview by Brooke Hunter