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Welcome to the
CommBank
Entrepreneurs
Hub.

The exclusive resource for entrepreneurs.

Episode 3:
Cathie Reid's balancing act.

Real partners working together? This successful entrepreneur makes it work for her and the business.

Individualist
Cathie Reid
is an
Innovator
Innovator

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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.

What if you were
challenged to reinvent
your business?
By James Tuckermann 

Cathie Reid understands a thing or two about reinvention.

Like some of her fellow entrepreneurs in this series, Reid initially did not recognise her calling.

In fact, the opportunity to become an industry pioneer came in the form of both opportunities and setbacks. Fortunately, Reid has a rare talent. She knows when it's time to step up.

Reid describes a "key personal turning point" in her life when she was approached to be involved in a new start-up. Not only did this event trigger a new way of thinking about business, it also changed the way she viewed herself. This might not seem that extraordinary. But it is.

This is simply because plenty of professionals are approached to head new start-ups and other ventures every day. More than you could possibly imagine.

Yet, while most people say they would be likely to seize such an opportunity, very few actually will. Change is hard to cope with. The safety of the status quo suddenly becomes highly appealing when a deadline is set or a firm decision is required, when change is imminent!

So, what makes Cathie different? Perhaps it was that moment when she was forced to consider new challenges, the unique requirements and considerations of starting something new. Perhaps it was the 'What if?' question. In my case, when crunch time arrived for my first true venture, my father-in-law unintentionally seeded the idea that I might come to regret not taking action. (It seems that a lost opportunity is even harder for many entrepreneurs to stomach than change.)

The other big change and possibly the greatest defining moment in Reid's entrepreneurial life came in the form of a setback. (If you're an entrepreneur reading this and you've had to make a radical game-changing decision at least once due to a setback, give me a heartfelt "Hallelujah!")

In some circles this is called a 'pivot'. It's an expression that's becoming so over-used in entrepreneurial circles it's at risk of losing its meaning. But the ability to 'pivot' is a defining entrepreneurial trait.

The idea of 'pivoting' is something that large organisations struggle with. For entrepreneurs, it's part of their DNA. The term actually comes from chess. It's an exchange sacrifice. You are exchanging the current advantages you hold for a different set of advantages.

In Reid's case, circumstance forced a 60% drop in revenue. (If you're an entrepreneur reading this and you appreciate the hardship something like this is likely to cause, give me a pain-infused "Ooooh!")

For many organisations, this would be the death-knell.

Whatever personal and commercial hardships were likely to have followed, Reid barely mentions this period of adjustment but, chances are, it was hard. Transforming a pharmacy organisation into an oncology services company that also manufactures and sells medication and compliance aids would have been a trying (and possibly capital intensive) reinvention. In fact, once again, it's extraordinary.

It was Woody Allen who famously once said, "Eighty percent of success is showing up."

If only it was that easy. Success actually comes from identifying opportunities when they arise and stepping up to challenges when they inevitably rear their ugly heads.

Most people never see the opportunities (or mistake them for terrifying journeys into the unknown). But perhaps this is a good thing. Because, when disaster strikes, it's good to know that people like Reid are not only attracted to the helm but, in her own words, are driven by a "desire to make things better."

What prompted you to take the leap into entrepreneurship? Have you ever been forced to pivot?

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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