Future of Retail Event Wrap Up

The first Digital Horizons event (the Future of Retail Online) went live last night, not only IRL (in real life) but also streamed online via Periscope. The Periscope thing was a bit of an afterthought as I really wanted to test it’s effectiveness. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that 559 people viewed the broadcast live. I had been hoping to save the recording but unfortunately I closed the app on my iPhone before I had saved it and so the recording seems to have disappeared. Sorry, I’m learning here. If you watched it at all, it would be great if you could give us some feedback. Indeed, if you attended and you would like to provide some feedback, please do so in the comments below, on Facebook, or drop us an email.

the panel being livestreamed on Periscope

the panel being live streamed on Periscope

Our keynote speaker, Dr. John Flackett from Koolth was fantastic with some thought provoking commentary about where technology is headed for the online retail space. I was particularly interested in his predictions about retina tracking though I hope things don’t go all “Demolition Man” on us…..

The discussion panel was really informative and and talk was not only about the future of retail as it also took a turn towards security, Google and the effects of mobile tech on websites. Thanks again to Wendy Gomersall, Michael Macolino, Steve Barrett, AJ Jawhari, Deniz Subasi and a late ring in effort by Luis Penascoza.

Facebook Goodness

We put a load of photos onto our Facebook page which you can browse and tag yourself in.

Dr. John Flackett, our keynote speaker, addressed the question “What does the future hold for retail online?”…

Posted by The Polaris Centre on Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Tweets Galore

The social media channels were pumping on the night and there were a bunch of tweets and pics flying up online. Browse our twitter to see more than the ones I have embedded below.

Thanks again to our exhibitors.

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Exporting, is it for me?

Todd Miller, TradeStart Export Advisor, spoke at the March  Northern Business Breakfast event.  The breakfasts are gaining a strong local following  as one of the largest monthly business breakfasts with up to 190 people attending.

Todd’s passion and enthusiasm for exporting was obvious.   His presentation drew on his experience when he ran his own business Aussie Inc. which exported various Australian consumer products including pet cleaning products, gourmet foods and even swags to the United States and Canada.

Some of Todd key tips for exporting include:

  1. Develop an Export Plan

Prepare and have an evolving Export Plan that is consistent with your Business Plan. It should be a concise document that outlines your export vision, market(s) you are targeting, your product offering and your expected outcomes and timing

  1. Research

Research, research, then research some more. You need to know about the market, conditions, any government or other import requirements. You need to know who your customer is, who your buyers are and how they may differ and/or respond to you and your company/brand/product differently to Australia. Get to know the cultural, social and business protocols in the market(s) you are targeting. Knowledge is power and will put you in good stead in your exporting success.

  1. Be prepared to put the time in

Exporting will take time, and in certain markets may take 3-5 years to ‘break through’. Make sure you have the capability and have a budget for this.

  1. Don’t give up

Starting your export adventure is very much like when you started your business. You need to be planned, organised and focussed, and don’t give up.

With Todd’s recent appointment as an Export Adviser with TradeStart, a joint program between Austrade and the State Government he is able to draw on his commercial experience to advise and assist businesses to achieve success in their export endeavours. He is here to help northern Adelaide Businesses with strategy, planning, market selection and insights. Businesses that are export ready can join the TradeStart Network and gain access to Austrade Services worldwide.

Unlock your export potential with new funding program

Todd also detailed the new Export Partnership Program, designed for both the established or intending exporters.  It provides a grant fund tosupports eligible companies with export marketing activities. Further information on the program is available at www.statedevelopment.sa.gov.au/epp

To find out more about export, including connections to the services which can be offered by Todd Miller please call the Polaris Centre on 8260 8205.

For next month’s breakfast on 22 April register here.


Northern Adelaide Economic Plan

At the Northern Economic Leaders event held at Mawson Lakes last week, the Minister for Manufacturing and innovation, The Hon Kyam Maher, announced the development of an economic plan for northern Adelaide.

According to Minister Maher, “The Northern Economic Plan will provide a roadmap for job creation, up-skilling workers, and diversifying the economy in Adelaide’s north.”

The plan is expected to outline a range of short, medium and longer term initiatives including industry diversification, small business capability development, utilising university research to create new opportunities, urban regeneration, infrastructure and workforce development.

The plan will cover the local government areas of Playford, Port Adelaide and Salisbury and is expected to be completed by the middle of 2015.

Building a Resilient Business

A recent report by the Stretton Centre confirms that business owners in northern Adelaide are well aware of the potential impact that the closure of GM Holden will have on their business. According to that report nearly four in ten employers indicated the closure of the automotive sector may lead to a fall in employment with smaller enterprises most vulnerable to the impacts of the automotive industry closure.

While the figures make alarming reading, at the Polaris Centre we are already working with firms who are acknowledging the risks and are now taking deliberate steps to build more resilient businesses in preparation for the closure and subsequent loss of income from the region. These firms are employing strategies such as expanding markets, exploring new supply chains, developing new services and process improvement to increase efficiencies.

Although spoken in a different context, the new coach of the Adelaide Crows told his team that “success does not come looking for you.” The same applies in business. At the Polaris Centre we can help you identify programs that may be able to help your business grow. We also offer a complete range of business advisory, mentoring, business growth and digital economy programs.

For certain sectors the State and Commonwealth Governments are making grants and programs available. These include the Manufacturing Transition Programme, the Business Transformation Voucher Program and the Automotive Supplier Diversification Program.

Mastering your business

Are you MASTER of your business or is your business MASTER of you?

Michael Gerber in his book The E Myth encourages business owners ‘to work on their business – not in it’.

If you do not take time out regularly to stand back and look at your business from an outside perspective, you put at risk more than your business and its future.

My grandfather, who earned a living as a wood cutter in his youth, told me of one of his competitors who went broke, because he didn’t stop to sharpen his axe! When ‘you don’t stop to sharpen your axe’, you also put at risk your work/life balance. Your family and other relationships can suffer. Your own sense of wellbeing and purpose, even your health can be affected.

In the process of my work here at Polaris, I regularly see these symptoms in business owners- I call it The Treacle Syndrome. The business owner appears stuck, unable to move, apart from performing the same old routine, they are unable see a way out and just vainly hope for some sort of miracle. They gradually sink deeper into the treacle (often without being conscious of it) until it is too late.

If this sounds familiar, the Polaris Centre can help you by:

  • Helping you get out of your treacle.
  • Working with you as you start to work on your business and/or sharpen your axe.
  • Providing tools and strategies for you to become the MASTER OF YOUR BUSINESS.

Our Business Fundamentals workshop is a 3 hour workshop designed to get you to rethink and re-evaluate your purpose and direction.

Our Mentoring for Success program enables you to engage a personal mentor to help you to work on your business and to sharpen your axe over a six month period. This also involves an additional four hours of mentoring around internet marketing and the tools needed for modern marketing techniques.

Our Mastering Your Business series of workshops has the potential to set you on a course of growth, profit and business confidence.

To be the MASTER OF YOU BUSINESS, must surely be one of your goals in life,-otherwise why be in business, why carry the responsibilities and pressures associated with running your own business?

To master your own business, means self-realization, a sense of achievement and satisfaction that comes from doing it well.

Business owners often contact us when it is too late. The treacle has absorbed them. Act now! – contact the Polaris Centre on 8260 8205

Thriving manufacturers give insight on their success

Osmoflo- plantOn the same day that GM Holden announced that it would cease manufacturing cars in Australia after 2017, over 70 people came together to hear from Salisbury-based manufacturers who are succeeding in a challenging environment.  The event was organised by Northern Economic Leaders (NEL), that consists of more than 20 Salisbury-based chief executive officers and managing directors collectively employing more than 7,000 people. NEL is supported by the City of Salisbury as a key group advocating for, and supporting, economic growth.

The firms, Osmoflo, Lifestyle Bakery, Saab Systems  highlighted the importance of a strong marketing strategy, investment in innovation, strong customer support and research in building a competitive business.  The University of South Australia outlined the expertise it can provide to local businesses.

Co-chair of Northern Economic Leaders, Kelvin Trimper, said “while there is much public focus on the future of Holden and its suppliers, there are manufacturers in Salisbury who are changing the way they do business and are thriving”.

Michael Horrocks, Director, Lifestyle Bakery, said “being a smaller manufacturer which has seen over 30% year-on-year growth for the past 15 years has had its challenges. Not being a big multi-national with a large marketing budget has required us to take a prudent and creative approach to create the most value from our marketing activities.” Michael provided a candid insight on his marketing approaches on how he has cleverly expanded his niche gluten free bakery products through product diversification and penetration into a variety of segments and distribution channels. This has provided flexible income sources with the benefit of not relying too heavily on one customer.

Carmine Ciccocioppo, Chief Operating Officer of Burton based Osmoflo, (a designer, builder and operator of desalination and water treatment plants) shared how their success has helped them grow from 4 employees to over 180 in 16 years. They are now the largest Australian owned desalination and water recycling company.

Dean Rosenfield, Managing Director of SAAB Systems Australia, talked about how the company had strategically looked ta how they could expand their defence capabilities into civilian projects such as remote air traffic control towers and prison and casino security systems.

City of Salisbury Economic Development Manager, Greg Ratsch, said “there are many exceptional businesses doing great things in northern Adelaide.   Events like this provide an opportunity to celebrate their success and learn from their journey.”


Lynette Kelly Wins ARMS 2013 Award of Excellence

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

Lynette Kelly (pictured on right, with her team), Manager of the University of South Australia’s Strategic Research Partnerships and a key team member of the Polaris Centre embodies the essence of this quote. To be recognised for excellence in your field, you need to stretch yourself beyond the realms of a nine to five existence and have a 24/7 passion, faith and conviction that your work fulfils a greater purpose.

Lynette’s achievements were recently recognised at the Australasian Research Management Society Awards 2013 where she received the individual award for Excellence in Research Management.

Lynette has driven an extraordinary amount of collaborative projects between researchers, industry and community partners in the Northern Region. She has played an active role in The Northern Business Women’s Network and has helped it evolve into a valuable networking and business support group for women in Business in the North.

Lynette has also played an instrumental role in leading the Research and Innovation Cluster program at the University of South Australia, extending its local, national and global footprint and building its research projects and teams.

We are privileged to have Lynette on our team at the Polaris Centre and we look forward to our clients continuing to benefit from her experience and passion.