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The Adelaide cringe factor
Been involved with business since the age of 2, entrepreneur coach Di Thompson gives us a brief walkthrough on her story and advice to improve Adelaide business.

Did you want to become an entrepreneur when you were young?

Absolutely!  If you have a look at my website www.workingstrategy.com.au you will see that my beginnings started in our family business at a petrol station when I was just two. When my dad served petrol or pumped up the tyres, I followed him all the time to interact with customers. I knew all our customers. I always wanted to be in business.

 

Over the last few years, what has your journey been?

My journey has been interesting. I have been in Adelaide all my life except for few years in Melbourne and Sydney’s in my 20's. In recent years, I exited a $12M annual turnover technology business that I started with my husband 20 years ago. In 2013, I was the general manager at Adelaide Hills magazine; after I sold the company for the owner, I returned to assisting businesses and have always coached and assisted business people, both young and old.

 

I'm very passionate about helping businesses innovate and do things smarter so they can increase their profits. I mentor young people and it is exciting to see their growth progress and where they are going in the future.  I mentor them, but regularly learn so much from them about a different approach. I have always had a mentor as It is great to have someone to bounce ideas off and get a reality check when I get too enthusiastic and excited.  I have an affinity with young people because I have an eleven year old grandson who wants to have a business. I do everything I can to encourage and help him.

 

What has changed in business is innovative technology, and how we communicate, but the basic fundamentals in business don’t change. It is all about people, offering a great product along with great customer service and just being you will make it happen.

From your experience working interstate, is it more challenging to start a business in Adelaide?

I think the challenges are the same everywhere. It is always hard to start a business especially these days. However in Adelaide we have a cringe factor where we don’t think we are as good as the eastern states. There has been too much isolation in Adelaide. People need to talk and collaborate with each other, and be more aware of what is happening here.  This has improved in recent years.

 

Every business and entrepreneur faces similar problems to some degree so why not work out how to work and help each other out?

Most business start undercapitalised and struggle to get through the first phase. I come from a solid business background, and it frustrates me when people don’t carry out any market research, and don’t know who their customers are.

Di's Grandson
 

Market research is not treated as a necessity, and people get so excited about their ideas that they just want to start, without finding out if someone actually would pay for the product or service. Another issue is many business people don’t know how to sell, they have a product, create a website, social media, register a business, but are confused about who to sell to and how?

 

Would you say an extrovert can sell better than an introvert?

Sales don’t boil down to one being introverted or extroverted. It is a matter of people knowing their products or services, and understanding how to work on their strengths and minimising their weaknesses. Not everyone can walk in the room and sell to everyone.

In Adelaide I think we suffer a cringe factor where we sometimes don’t think we are as good as the Eastern states. There is too much isolation in Adelaide. People need to talk and collaborate with each other, and be more aware of what is happening here.  This has improved in recent years.

How should an introvert approach a networking event?

I think anyone should focus on getting to know 2 people at the networking event. So many people rush around trying to interact with everyone. If you meet someone and want to meet them again, make arrangements to catch up. If you want to do further work with them it is easy to check credentials online and find out whether they match your values.

 

In this regard would you say having an online personal brand is important?

With my social media, I don’t promote my business, I use my personal brand because if people want to work with me, my business is me. People want to gauge my credibility and if someone they know interacts with me they will be able to judge whether I am trustworthy.

Personal branding is really important and it helps me create better business relationships. What has changed in business is the technology, and how we

What has changed in business is innovative technology, and how we communicate, but the basic fundamentals in business don’t change. It is all about people, offering a great product along with great customer service and just being you will make it happen.