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Welcome to the
CommBank
Entrepreneurs
Hub.

The exclusive resource for entrepreneurs.

Episode 8:
Arron Wood
burns bright.

From near bankruptcy to huge success, the MD of Firestarter knows how to keep business alight

Individualist
Arron Wood
is a
Self starter
Individualist

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Entrepreneur

James Tuckermann 

James Tuckerman is an entrepreneur, angel investor, professional speaker, and Editor-In-Chief at Anthill Magazine. He is best known for launching Anthill Magazine in 2003. In 2009, he reinvented the business model towards 100% digital production. In 2004 and 2005, he was named Best Small Publisher in Australia by ABA (now Publishers Australia). He founded the 30under30 among other programs and initiatives designed to support entrepreneurs in Australia.

This entrepreneur
survived the dip and
went onto thrive
By James Tuckermann 

The dip! The dip! The horror! The horror!

If you have ever grown, developed or nurtured a business, you will be familiar with ‘the dip’. I’m talking about that nerve-wracking, resolve-weakening setback that inevitable seems to follow an exciting growth phase.

In the case of Arron Wood, cash flow was the culprit. An unplanned shortfall forced him to borrow $20,000 just to pay the salaries of his staff. Unfortunately, the dip can be a killer.

You’ve heard the frightening stats about business mortality rates. What you don’t hear is how disaster so often follows an upswing. Yet, some people, like Arron, don’t simply survive. They thrive!

So, what makes people like Arron different? How was he able to overcome his cash flow ‘dip’? Why didn’t he simply throw it all in and return, with tale between his legs, to his government job?

There is insight in Arron’s comments. He describes himself as “impatient”. He was frustrated with “the bureaucracy”. He felt like he was being “reigned in” a lot of the time.

In most professional environments, Arron would be considered ‘hard work’. Or, worse, ‘unreasonable’.

And this is also why such an inexperienced business owner was able to beat the odds.

There is a quote by the great playwright George Bernard Shaw that illustrates this important trait of entrepreneurs. Here’s what Shaw wrote in 1903.

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

Ironically, perhaps, this quote was written to educate and empower socialist revolutionaries (a description that Arron would probably not feel ill at ease adopting).

Yet, it highlights an attitude that made Arron feel incomplete in a government setting. It is an attitude that makes him want to, in his own words, “get things done.”

But the most telling comments of Arron are those that come from the self-belief of being able to do a “better” job and the awakening that comes with his sentiment: “When you constantly think, ‘I could do this better, I could do that better’, eventually you’ve got to actually have a go.”

It seems that there are fundamental universal truths about entrepreneurship. When you pursue something with passion – whether it be starting out or pioneering your next expansion - ‘wins’ are destined to come. The passion that you bring to every meeting and every interaction becomes a powerful magnet for unsolicited opportunities.

But, sooner or later, the dip will follow. Growth requires diligence and cat-like focus. Growth can be expensive! And when that dip hits, only the most passionate, the most impatient, the most “unreasonable” will survive.

What was your ‘dip’? What has been your greatest setback? How did you overcome it?

James Tuckermann 

Entrepreneur

James Tuckerman is an entrepreneur, angel investor, professional speaker, and Editor-In-Chief at Anthill Magazine. He is best known for launching Anthill Magazine in 2003. In 2009, he reinvented the business model towards 100% digital production. In 2004 and 2005, he was named Best Small Publisher in Australia by ABA (now Publishers Australia). He founded the 30under30 among other programs and initiatives designed to support entrepreneurs in Australia.

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