Small businesses in Australia continue to push the boundaries of our ‘glocal’ economy. The ShortPress Small Talk series profiles a diverse range of small businesses to find out what they do and what makes them tick.
Inkling Women offers programs that help women build the confidence and capability to step into more senior roles in business. It offers free video training, as well as leadership and coaching programs for current and aspiring female leaders. ShortPress sat down with the company’s award-winning founder and CEO, Dr Gemma Munro.
ShortPress: Describe your small business in less than 50 words.
Inkling Women: Inkling Women inspires women to lead. We provide Australia’s best leadership coaching programs for women, and we work with executive teams to ensure they are creating an environment in which both women and men can thrive.
SP: What inspires you as a business owner?
IW: My team, every single day. They’re smart, dedicated and focussed on achieving outstanding outcomes while building a culture of frank feedback, supportive stretching, and champagne-worthy celebration.
SP: What does a typical day for you look like?
IW: It’s a cliché, but there really is no typical day. A typical week, though, would involve interstate travel to do a speaking gig, or running a leadership workshop. There would also be business development meetings, some quiet desk work on strategy (or the chance to write, which is rare, but much welcomed) and, of course, developing my team members. We start every Monday with a team scrum to make sure we’re all on the same page, and we end every Friday with a check against our KPIs, champagne in hand.
SP: What have your biggest challenges been so far and how have you overcome them?
IW: We have almost doubled each year now for four years. While growth is exciting, it brings its own challenges. Doubling the team at the start of this year was necessary, and has worked out beautifully, but it certainly taught us what was missing in terms of our induction processes. We’re systematising as we grow, but we do always feel behind the eight ball in this area.
Also, at the very start of the business, cash flow issues made me create an effective system for tracking our pipeline of work as well as our cash flow. We use the same system to this day.
SP: What have been your biggest learnings?
IW: Firstly, make sure you’re playing to your strengths at least 80 per cent of the time – and recruit team members into roles that allow them to do the same. Secondly, back your judgement or intuition. Others will have your best interests at heart, but you know your business better than anyone. Thirdly, never stop innovating.
SP: If you could start over again, would you do anything differently?
IW: I’d systematise from the very beginning. Apart from that, no. It’s been quite the ride!
SP: What advice would you give to budding small business owners?
IW: Make sure you choose to do something that makes your eyes sparkle and your spine tingle. Finding a “market niche” may work, but if you’re not genuinely excited by your business, any competitors who are excited will leave you for dead. Business is hard. You may as well work hard doing something you love.
SP: Who are the business leaders you look up to and why?
IW: Jack Delosa at The Entourage is fabulous – smart, authentic and providing something quite unique. I love Emma Isaacs from Business Chicks. She is always on the go, and backs herself in a way I love.
SP: Where to now for Inkling Women?
IW: We’re creating two new programs that we’re incredibly excited about – one to be launched early 2016, the other later in the year. We’re recruiting more people at the end of this year, and we’re also restructuring to ensure that everyone is continuing to grow and flourish.