Alumni Graduation

Towards the Finish Line

Our fellow participants have started their startup journey, being now Tech Ready they approach their business careers provided with the skills needed.

Through our program, our participants got access to experts and mentors to help them refine their startup idea over 30 hours of face to face mentoring.

During the course of 10 weeks, our alumni were guided through a learning-by-doing experience. Helping them to refine their idea and turn it into a working and tested prototype.

Congratulations on your success!

The Essential Panacea For Founders

As the expression goes ‘Success has a thousand fathers, but failure is an orphan.’ Failure is inevitable if you are unable to listen, absorb & assimilate feedback. You then must incorporate that great feedback to make your venture better, stronger and potentially unassailable. You need to do this every day.

In 2018, everyone wants a dashboard, a GPS hack, a shortcut to success. But who will sift through the dross and distill the deluge of information to extract the essential information for your business? You will.

You are the arbiter of your business. The buck stops with you. If you want to be great, you have to understand the basics and get them right. A start-up often uses the metaphor of a rocket launch, so I will borrow that to remind You — the pilot- that the mechanical failure and ensuing explosion was due to a failure on your part to pay attention to the signals. Trust me, if you crash and burn this time, lining up some more founders, funds or a team at your next launch will be a tough ask. To avoid the crash takes hard work, continual honest introspection combined with unshakable self-belief.

During the last 20 years in business, I have worked through a lot of different problems, perhaps twenty thousand of them. Why? Twenty thousand problems other people bring to me to solve has driven me to be better at what I do.

Clients, staff, friends, families plus new and world-class entrepreneurs are my people. My Care Factor is off the chart on my imaginary DIST diagram. People say a wise person learns from his or her mistakes, but a wiser one learns from the mistakes of others. Resolving a multitude of problems every day has improved my ability to predict, avoid and resolve problems.

If you are a founder looking for someone who can help guide you and help you focus on the critical issues for your business, drop me a line.

Advisory’s Panacea aka the checklist/tool/life hacks for navigating your journey.

1. Pick the best possible subject-matter experts in your network. Love them (in a platonic sense).

2. Ask questions that will help you to move forward, don’t just seek praise. Your dog and your Mum will give you unconditional love, you need some tough love and brutal honesty. Now. Urgently.

3. Read widely, (listen to talking books if you don’t like reading) but really absorb, evaluate and reflect. Write notes too, underline and disagree if appropriate.

Look at companies 18 months ahead of you. But also look at the Masters regardless of them not being in your space/market/ whatever — great is great. But remember to differentiate the hype from the facts — Don’t believe marketing hype of a high flyer. Everyone has their good and bad days.

4. Look at your problems and challenges from different angles. Then come back and look at them again. You can’t solve every problem in one sitting. Michelangelo took 4 years to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

5. Do it with music, or meditation — find what fuels your creative juices at the time of writing. For me, Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark is blaring as I write.

6. Decide…then have the courage of your convictions.

7. At regular intervals, repeat steps 1 to 6.

This too is no formula; YOU have to work it out.

Did I mention 30% of your time will be spent thinking about managing money and resources? By managing money, I don’t want you to picture a banker, VC or financial planner. I want you to picture a Great Founder. You want to be a great entrepreneur, step up.

The high-five moments make all the struggles worth it, for me at least. If I have invested in the company, that’s a bonus. Lunch this week with a founder was a Kodak moment; his usual facial expression, cool as a cucumber was more of a nodding know than a cringe. He was lucky to have survived the first 18 months. I give you Hartley Pike of Construction Cloud. He was green as grass (commercially) when we met. We were discussing an oversubscribed next round of capital over some great Middle Eastern food. Hartley and the team are reinventing the way worksites work for Engineers, Foremen and CEOs. This Angel investor loves it too. Simple, cost-efficient safety at your fingertips and at scale real time. The verdict: a game-changer for the building and construction industry.

I certainly didn’t choose to amplify founders’ weaknesses for some cheap laughs. Everyone started somewhere and if they applied themselves, they transitioned. If you see yourself, or others, exhibiting these traits, I hope my article is a panacea to be shared with new founders.

My message is simple: Power is knowledge, or should I say knowledge is power?

David Kenney

Start-up mentor and investor

How Everyone Can Overcome Adversity And Progress

This week I met an amazing woman. To be honest, meeting amazing women is pretty common for me.

Then there is next level. This lady was rather special. A breast cancer survivor. Remission, relapse, and remission again. This was no easy life. Watching a young drunk driver die alone who had hit her car, head on. Miraculously she managed to drag herself out of the wreckage. Only then to be helpless herself and watch him die. If that was not too much, she had suffered unspeakable and abhorrent abuse from various men in her life. Somehow, she exuded happiness and confidence. I was choking back tears watching her poise and listening to her story. Trying to concentrate on the question she was asking me, I wondered how I could answer. In some bizarre way, her sharing was inspiring, endearing and reminded me of the value of community. The entire room was silent.

She asked about commercializing her idea for her new company. Once composed, I shared some ideas with her. However, she had so much to offer others in the room. Her ability to articulate, and overcome insurmountable issues was abundantly clear.

People are amazing. They can rise to any challenge and they triumph when they have the ability to be real, share and support one another. Sharing her stories for the benefit of others was now her mission and gave her the strength to prevail. Her progress was a beacon of triumph. She stood tall as the vanguard for women and her progress was celebrated.

Tips on how to progress

  • Everyone is a mentor, if they are authentic and give a shit

The concept of coaching or mentoring has its place in the start-up ecosystem. But there is no shortage of talented people, humbly doing their thing. The power of learning and sharing and helping people just because you can is intoxicating.

Going to see an expert, or someone who has ‘been-there-done-that’ is often invaluable Think long and hard about who you want to help. Remember to help others and take help (when its offered).

  • Make your customers your tribe

You can learn so much more about your potential customers by asking good questions. They may not be product experts, but they can explain their problems if you demonstrate that you care about them. If you are driven to genuinely help people, the payback is exponential.

  • Resist the urge

All too often people can lose sight of what the real issues are. You don’t have to build a company as big as Apple. Chances are there is no chance of that. Instead, just do what you are passionate about.

We don’t need to label things, and it can be damaging. Paradoxically, perhaps it is convenient for us to label things e.g. ‘My business is Uber for X’ or ‘I’m a double-sided marketplace for y’. Or better still, I’m a serial Entrepreneur exclaiming ‘you can’t grow a business fast enough’. My point is you always need to take your time to define and differentiate yourself. Different markets may require different personas for your brand, your business and product. Our message is always important, are the genuine deliverables. Do you solve a big problem, commercially?

  • Be authentic

Simple truth, it’s the only defensible thing you have. There is only one you. Do things your way, draw strength from others, stick to being you.

You can’t be someone else forever. Having said that, there is no issue in learning from other people, businesses and brands and emulating some behaviour or characteristics. Don’t copy, instead, learn. Then consider what applies but always define your own style.

Then for those of you who want to be the best, measure yourself against others, but don’t forget your personal progress. Be positive, it’s a good trait.

  • Value and authenticity are important

A business has as a purpose making money. However, no entrepreneur did this alone. As a minimum, they had feedback from customers and assembled the right team. Successful founders know that people who are ‘aligned’ basically care about the customers. If value is created, it can be shared. If a customer feels cared for and that you and your team are authentic, you will create loyalty. This builds real value, sticky customers and long-term profits.

Pitching to raising money before you can demonstrate you have or will deliver value lacks authenticity (among other concerns). If your company has started to make sales, but your mission is not intrinsically connected and committed to helping your customers, this will be easily spotted and will not engender loyalty. In start-up parlance, your LTV (live time value) of your customer will fall away.

Be real, authentic and create value. Always take the time to help others, it is very rewarding.

We all crave, actually, we thrive, when we share. Don’t beat yourself up for looking back, it’s healthy. Our history is inescapable, but by being real, and building your tribe, you don’t have to be afraid. If it is only to glow when you see you have progressed, that will always be available to you. Don’t be afraid to build a tribe around you. Your tribe will remind you in your life of what is real and the value we provide to others in our stories of demise and success. Shared success in business, customers, staff, suppliers provides sustainable value to any businesses. More importantly, you will enjoy and be surrounded by fulfilled people to share your success with. You too can overcome any challenge and move forward.

Go on, create the future.

David Kenney

Start-up mentor and investor.

 

Megan Gale


What is the name of your product and what is the problem it is trying to solve?

aupairtribe facilitates the matching of Aupairs and Host Families in Australia.  The main problem this two-sided marketplace experiences is a lack of transparency and safety via online platforms, as there are no regulations in place. The other alternative is using an agency, however, be prepared for expensive administration placement fees.  With both options less than satisfactory, we see more and more Aupairs and Host Families post on Facebook, seeking a quick and economical connection. However, going down this avenue, the exploitation of Aupairs is rife, and families have less than reasonable support.  aupairtribe will develop an engaging platform that focuses on the wellbeing of the Aupair and the requirements of the family’s childcare needs.

 

Did you have a startup or your business prior to this? If so, what is it and how far along are you now?

I had commenced a business plan, and launched a very basic website to encourage Aupair and Host Family sign ups.  With traction growing I knew I had to develop the idea and website further, and so the Tech Ready Program was the perfect fit to take designing the idea further.


What is your professional background? What have you been doing in your career leading up to this moment?

I am the International Training and Development Manager at Servcorp, accountable for creating and facilitating sales, management and leadership programs.  Having worked with Servcorp for 19 years and experienced various management positions within the company I have gained invaluable skills in managing a business with the aim that these skills will complement aupairtribe once established.  

Are you still in a full or part-time position, or are you working for yourself or stay-at-home?

I work full time, around the clock!

Why did you choose to do the Tech Ready Program?

I had a few gaps to fill, particularly around validating my idea, talking tech and engaging a developer.  Once I met Christie, the team and understood the network that I would have access to, it was a no brainer.


Why do you think the Tech Ready Program is so important and for who?

It’s certainly a program for women who have an idea, not sure where to start or who have started and need further direction or validation.  The Tech Ready Program takes you through all of the stages you need to consider with a startup, and while some topics may need to be explored beyond the program, the community and family you join is so supportive that I know I can tap into at any time.  

To get started on developing your business idea with Tech Ready Women book your complimentary 1.1 strategy session here.


 

Dijana Dragomirovic

Startup_women


What have you achieved from taking part in the Tech Ready course?

I have achieved a lot of things.  

I have gained greater confidence to realise my venture, as a result of the constant validation process. I feel as a result of validating, I have a solution that will solve a painful global problem.

I have a much better understanding of how to build an MVP and work with developers. I also have a better understanding on how to select and hire developers.   

The group of people including the women, the mentors, the Tech Ready team, the facilitators, and the calibre of the people involved in the Tech Ready program have really enriched the experience.

 

What is the name of your product and what is the problem it is trying to solve?

My product is called Wealth Hero. Wealth Hero is solving many different problems including: sabotaging habits, incorrect attitudes towards money, market and industry disinformation, wage stagnation and short term thinking when it comes to money and wealth management.


Did you have a startup or your business prior to this? If so, what is it and how far along are you now?

I cofounded a healthcare company in 2006 and existed a few months ago. Prior to this I founded a consultancy that specialised in strategy and marketing. At the present time my sole focus is on Wealth Hero.


What is your professional background? What have you been doing in your career leading up to this moment?

In terms of qualifications I have a degree in law, marketing, economics and an MBA. I am a huge advocate of learning. After completing undergrad, I went into the corporate spaced and climbed the ladder.

I worked in different industries such as Publishing, Finance, IT, Film and TV. During my corporate years I felt like I was a square peg who was being forced to adopt into a circle. I took the plunge and started my business, and haven’t looked back since.

I like building companies which make a difference to the lives of all my stakeholders but I do have to say the experience of discipline, high professional standards and thinking big as a result of working in the corporate arena has served me well.

Are you still in a full or part-time position, or are you working for yourself or stay-at-home?

I’m completely in startup mode and work from my lovely home office.

Why did you choose to do the Tech Ready Program?

I chose to do the Tech Ready Program for a few different reasons. I wanted to learn the process for how to build tech products. I also wanted to expand my network and meet incredible, authentic and talented people who are slaying it in their individual spaces.

I also did it for the supportive and structured program. I really liked the Tech Ready team and  they have been a phenomenal support system and very open in sharing and trustworthy. I also like the post program support and alumni group.

Why do you think the Tech Ready Program is so important and for who?

It’s a step by step guide on what to do and what not to do. And it builds your confidence and connects you with the right people. It’s supportive and a growing ecosystem. It teaches you how to think much more critically in the process of building your startup.

Tech Ready is important for women who have a desire to start a tech business and it feels like an exclusive club that gives confidence and resources to create those businesses.

What is the next part of your journey now TRP is done?

I feel like it’s never over, it’s just the next stage. I will keep building my empire but specifically launching my website and education platform. I have plans to launch my platform in October and by the end of the year, I will start testing the SAAS MVP.

To get started on developing your business idea with Tech Ready Women book your complimentary 1.1 strategy session here.

 

Successful Female Entrepreneur : Meet Katie Parker, Founder of Ticker

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We love to celebrate women starting businesses every day at Tech Ready Women because for us, every new female founder who takes the leap into entrepreneurship and turns her idea into a startup or lifestyle business means we’re one more female founder closer our 5050 female founders goal!

Globally, a mere 16% of startups are founded or co-founded by women, and we’re on a mission to change that number!

This week we wanted to shine the light on a fellow female founder who has taken the leap from a corporate job to open her own startup and follow her passions. This female founder took her side hustle mainstream!

Meet Katie Parker, Founder of Ticker


Like many first time entrepreneurs, Katie had to overcome the fear of starting from scratch when she launched her business Ticker in 2017 . Ticker is an event planning business in Sydney, although Katie has solid plans to disrupt her industry with a platform that enables users to easily build events of all sizes from scratch. 

Katie is not only a driven entrepreneur, her experience working in the event space delivering top-shelf events ranging from Vivid Live Festival at the Sydney Opera House to concerts with Bon Iver, means she knows a thing or two about how to deliver a breathtaking event.  We’re looking forward to watching Katie’s success grow.

If you’re in need of a fantastic event planner in the Sydney area – get in touch with Katie today! You’d be hard-pressed to find another founder who can run events as seamlessly as Ticker do.

Happy International Women’s Day!

– Christie

What To Look For When Hiring a Developer For the First Time

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“One of the key challenges I faced when I first started in the tech industry was trying to hire a developer to build my website.”

I was new to the world of tech and didn’t have a programming background. I think I must have made every mistake possible my first time to hire a developer, including going on Google and searching “hire a developer to build an app.” You can imagine how that went. It was definitely a lesson I learned the hard way, like most first time founders.

We recently invited Craig Penfold, ‎delivery and operations director at SEEK to teach our participants what to look for when hiring a tech team. I originally met Craig four years ago, when he was CTO at Yahoo7. I reached out and asked him to be my mentor. I was new to the tech world and wanted to surround myself with people who had “’been there, done that’ experience.” I thought I couldn’t get a much better mentor than a CTO (chief technology officer) of an international tech company.

Four years later, I launched Tech Ready, a program that uses a community-style mentorship and is cognizant of the different learning styles when empowering women to enter the tech space. Below are some of Craig’s top tips when it comes to hiring a developer for the first time.

How to hire a developer

How much will it cost?

As a first time founder, chances are you are bootstrapping your business and looking to save money wherever you can. Offshoring is always the first thing that comes to mind. Although offshoring may seem like a cost-effective way to build your tech product or service, it almost always ends up costing more in the long run.

My experience with outsourcing is you get what you ask for. In the past, I have spent time explaining to a developer what I was looking to build and was expecting them to offer their ideas and solutions. Instead, they designed exactly what I had explained to them.

If it’s your first time building a tech product or service, it’s always better to source locally. This ensures you can meet them face-to-face and develop a relationship. Sites such as upspot.com.au make it possible to find affordable talent locally. Although you may end up spending a bit more than overseas, it is definitely worth it in the long term.

Have an idea for a app or web based business? Get started with our  Free Idea Validation Masterclass.

When it comes to discussing your designs with a developer, you need to ensure that you have a clear idea and plan for what you want your app to look like and do. This includes being able to describe all the interactions and the screens.

If you don’t have a clear idea of what you want to develop, then it will be impossible to explain it to someone. A good first step is to sketch out your screens in order to build a paper prototype. (In a previous post Prototype and Test Your Product on a Shoestring Budget, we explained how you could build your very own paper prototype.)

Sketch what you think your product and/or service should do first. Assuming you’ve validated your business and aren’t testing, invest some money in hiring a pro UX/UI designer to further flesh out your wireframes or screen flows and have them produce hi-fidelity versions. This step will help refine what you plan to build, making it clearer for the development phase. It’s also an opportunity to get another opinion on your user flows – and make sure you aren’t over-engineering your design and/or user experience.

From here, you will be able to test your prototype and figure out if there are any usability issues. This step usually can take a couple times to get right. The benefit is that you can be aware of any hiccups and fix them prior to going to the developer, ensuring you will be saving time and money.

Communication is key (empathy too)

As a non-tech female founder with no tech background, it’s already difficult to explain what you want. Communicating in a way that developers will understand, it’s always easier if you can use metaphors or examples such as a paper prototype and other websites or apps to clearly explain what you’d like to create. If you’re outsourcing, it can be even more challenging if there is a language barrier or you’re working in a different timezone.

A good rule of thumb is to check for empathy. This means to see how the communication flows between you and the developer and see if there is a good connection. Although this may sound a bit strange, it’s important to find someone you can form a connection with and trust, as this will be the basis of your relationship.

If within your first points of contact, there isn’t clear and articulate communication, it may be important to find a developer you can connect with. When you hire locally, you have the benefit to meet your developer in person and communicate what you’re looking to build. It’s also a lot easier to build a relationship and contact them with any updates and changes.

Lastly, when starting a working relationship for the first time, never commit to an entire project with someone up front. Instead, create a milestone-based system where each milestone is quoted and agreed to before being delivered. This way you can test the communication, speed and delivery of the freelancer and optionally get third-party opinions on performance before agreeing to move forward.

This article was originally featured on the Collective Hub