38 Entrepreneurs Uncover How Business Mindset Works in Australia

Firstly, we would like to express a special thanks to eCompanies for sponsoring the Australian edition of our Global Startup Report.

In this week’s chapter 38 Australian based entrepreneurs uncover how business mindset works in Australia.

Having an IT startup in Australia is very exciting as in general, Australians are the first to embrace new technology. However, the numerous public holidays slow down sales cycles – and January is a relatively dead month in business (unless you are a retailer).

@TessaCourt / IntelligenceBank

As mentioned earlier, the business mindset is very much geared towards fairness and integrity. Don’t blow your own trumpet, pretend you are what you are not or try to impress – that would seriously damage your image in the Community.

Show that you care about your idea, the people you work with, the solution you propose. The Australian entrepreneur scene is not about bells and whistles. It’s about great ideas, commitments and achievements. Add this to the people-oriented mindset, and you will soon realise that it is still a quite pristine environment to do business in. And we are all doing our very best to keep it this way.

@StephaneIbos / Maestrano

On a recent trip to the US I did notice a big difference around people’s willingness to meet with you and assist/ make introductions, even if they did not know you well. I think locally (and maybe it is because we are so isolated!), you are made to work a bit harder for introductions and need to ‘earn’ them.

As such, I would just suggest factoring this in to timing as it may take a little longer to get the same result than other regions. Also, I believe Australians can be a bit more critical/ fear-focussed when discussing new ideas initially.

This does not mean they do not like the idea or think it will work but are just keen to know you have explored all the potential things that may go wrong! A very positive process in the end but can be a little disheartening initially.

So just prepare for this, see if you can pre-empt some of these questions/ constructive criticisms and simply dust yourself off and keep moving forward (hopefully with further insights into any blind spots you had not thought about)!

@JaneMartino / Shout For Good

Australians generally tend to be very risk adverse, whereas the USA fosters an entrepreneurial spirit that you can achieve anything if you work hard. I believe it’s the reason they have had such an impact on culture globally and have been the leader in innovation for such a long time.

The more we can impress on our children that failure is but one step towards success, the more we can elevate Australia to become a country of innovators, rather than a country of miners.

@JoshStuart / Zoop Commerce

Australian’s are becoming pretty opportunistic and the startup scene is full of people who want to become the next Elon Musk. Having said that, we are a young nation and there’s plenty of opportunity to put a lot more runs on the board.

I think this applies to anywhere you try to conduct business, and certainly applies in Australia, try to talk your walk. Results are the best possible indication that you are worth someone’s time. This is something I’ve learned and tried to apply.

I don’t think Australia has any overly unique business stereotypes so try to focus on delivery. Ultimately that’s all that matters.

@NathanKinch / Edgelab Ventures

This is my personal opinion, but I feel in general, Australia is more traditional in the business mindset, a bit too reserved with Brick and mortar type thinking and not as out there and willing to take such massive innovative risks as they would over in America.

@PeterMai / Moolah’d

Most everything is the same but on a different scale to other western economies. However, depending where you’re from Aussies may be more or less agreeable in nature than you’re used to. Review your natural expectations of decision making accordingly, and you might find a softer sell works better here. Remember it’s neither easier nor harder. It’s just different.

@JamesGoodridge / Waysact

Australians are traditionally risk averse and tend not to dream big like their American counterparts. Fortunately, this limiting mindset has not extended to the bustling tech startup space where failing fast is embraced on a quest for knowledge, continuous improvement and business model validation.

Australians in business are fairly accommodating and happy to help each other out, particularly where there is mutual benefit. While this is not unique to Australia, identifying and forming strategic partnerships, built on a foundation of strong networking and relationship development skills, will put you in a strong position from which to launch from.

@SteveGlaveski / Hot Desk

It is part of the Australian culture to give everyone a ‘fair go’, so expect people to listen to what you have to tell them without prejudice. But Australia is also a mature and informed business market, so make sure your message is clear and concise and your value proposition is appealing.

AndrewHill / OneConfig

Business mindset in Australia is do what you love. We have a more relaxed culture than other more established business centers.

@BillieWhitehouse / Wearable Experiments

Australia is a pretty laid back nation. To be frank, I don’t have a great deal of experience to compare the business mindset here with another nations, but I’d suggest its probably a bit less hard-sell and aggressive than say the US might be and relationships are very important.

PhilSim / MediaConnect

Don’t be afraid to suggest business talks over a beer. Australian’s appreciate candid discussion.

@DjordjeDikic / SwatchMate

People in Australia tend to build relationships first and use those relationships as the foundation for doing business. Its important to make an effort with prospective and existing clients to make them feel comfortable about doing business with you as a person.

Sometimes deals are won on the relationship as much as they are based on the ability to deliver.

@DanDraper / CodeHire

Australia has a bit of tall poppy syndrome (generally we don’t talk up whatever it is we’re doing). Business tends to also be a bit more conservative in comparison to the US (especially on the investment side).

But at the end of the day, a good business is a good business is a… If you’ve built something that works and solves a problem, and usage/growth/revenue is good and going in the right direction, you won’t have problems finding your way about.

@AmirNissen / 7pm Anywhere

I guess it all depends on the industry you are in. To speak from experience as being the founder of timeblend.com a start-up I launched in July last year the mindset is different from other countries like the US.

The main difference probably with the US is that people in Australia don’t want to impact their personal life too much despite the willingness of having a successful career.

Also in the US your first key employees get some shares in the company (start-up) and that’s something I haven’t seen here. Your first employees are likely to be more involved and feel more included if they have a stake in the business.

@PierrickGanon / Timeblend

I’ve worked in NZ, London, Middle East and South East Asia and now Australia. Mindsets and cultures are certainly different in each place. In Australia, it is more like a London mindset in that you should be punctual for meetings, Australians can be pretty direct compared to other cultures so be punchy and factual and don’t oversell your product and waffle.

State the clear benefits and how your product can help them. Aussies have a great sense of humour but can also be hard when it comes to a meeting where they aren’t convinced. If you can also reach that sense of humour in a meeting, you are doing well. They are also a very sporty nation so talking sport is also a good way to develop rapport.

@DineshArasaratnam / Effective Measure

Australian startups are very battlehardened and there is very little bullshit. A lot of businesses and startups generate revenue from day one because they have to and that tends to breed a higher class of founder.

@NikiScevak / StartMate & Blackbird Ventures

The business mindset is generally uninspired with a few bright lights that stand out. Luckily for us we’ve got a few thought leaders like Atlassian, Kogan, and Canva who are slowly reshaping the Australian startup scene. I for one am very excited to see what Australia produces over the next few years.

@RickLee / Castify

I think the mindset in Australia is based more towards actions and results, less towards status and qualifications. Businesses are happy to give you a fair go, you just need to make sure you deliver on your promises.

Understand your business sector and find their points of pain. Often you can reduce your barriers to entry by creating business alliances and packaging your product with other solution providers.

Australians love the path of least resistance 🙂

@ArminNehzat / Eronka

The mindset to make money is no different in any other place of the world than it is in Australia. Fundamentally pragmatism is what makes businesses work. The only difference between Australia and other parts of the world are its core focal points.

Silicon Valley is to innovation what Australia is to “hard yakka”. Neither denies that the other is secondary they simply respond to the society they are being cultivated in and as a result appear different.

However let it be known that the work/life balance in Australia is different. Australians are often stereotyped as being “lazy” by the rest of the world however it could be argued that this is a misconception outlining the world’s materialistic hunger.

@AdamMiller / Wahuna

People are always happy to help out if you’re genuine and prepared to do or offer something in return.

@JakeMcKeon / Moodswing

Everything is a bit more relaxed here. Things take more time, but people are very open and friendly.

@BartJellema / ZeroMail

In many ways it’s similar to elsewhere – understand what the second party wants and be direct. What can you offer them in return for what they can offer you. Face-to-face always helps too. Get to know them on a personal level, but get to business as soon as possible.

@AlistairMichener / Drawboard

Australian’s are profoundly pragmatic, the standard saccharine marketing messages usually don’t work as they may in the US market, instead a particular focus on humour and ‘mateship’ are two factors that drive the sizzle in any product marketing mix. Also, online advertising and promotion is much cheaper in the Australian context, but be prepared for a smaller market.

In business, as anywhere relationships are king, so being able to press the flesh with clients or prospective partners is crucial. And we love our beers, its the way to an Australian businessperson’s heart!

@BenPrendergast / Copper Project

1. The Australian startup ecosystem still hasn’t come to terms with paying it forward and therefore suffers from short-termism in its approach to creating a thriving community for entrepreneurs. Find the pockets that ‘get it’ and remember to do your own bit to help.

2. People have said that that they have found it very relationship based when coming from Europe, but my take is that all quality business is based on a sound understanding of what is important to all parties in the relationship – money is often left on the table if a deal isn’t fully explored.

3. Conversely, others have commented that it can be overly transactional, but again, I think this is because people aren’t building a relationship on trust and creating value.

@DougalEdwards / Bright Arena

Australia has only been around for a few hundred years, so there are pockets of really diverse business mindsets. There are startups in Sydney and Melbourne who collectively fly well under the radar, 100% focussed on getting the job done. Then there are pockets of startup culture where if you’re not making noise, you’re not running a startup.

So it can get kind of patchy in the way different startup communities operate, but the benefit is that it’s certainly no monoculture. There’s a group of like-minded entrepreneurs for every founding team to connect with.

@MarkHendrickson / Side Racket

1. Other than people preferring frank messages, there are no customs or traditions to follow in business interactions.

2. Most people are happy to refer when they see a quality business.

@ShabuThomas / Carrot Leads

From what I understand, Australia is very strong in eCommerce and consumer focussed businesses but lacking data or hardware innovation.

Michael Correa / AdSounder

Australians generally have an apparently open and honest business culture – you may find people disclosing information that would ordinarily be kept confidential in other cultures, and you will find a high value is placed on abiding by business law and honesty.

Australians also generally appear very friendly in a business setting – we may be more open about personal matters and more interested in you and your personal life than you might expect.

Australians are reluctant to deliver bad news straight to your face so they are unlikely to directly tell you they don’t want to buy what you’re selling, preferring instead to schedule another meeting until you get the hint that a deal isn’t going to happen or delivering the bad news via email.

@AlanJones / BlueChilli

I’ve worked in both corporate and startup world. An interesting observation for me personally has been how many large Australian listed business over the last 2-3 years want to be innovative, fast, nimble and aspire to have a startup like culture.

On the other hand, many startups obviously want the opposite and aspire to “grow up” fast so they can establish credibility and operate like a bigger business.

@KiranKumar / Pricify

There’s a more conservative approach to risk than in other countries, and opportunities are cautiously pursued. There is however a great ‘lets get it done’ attitude and an openness to exploring and sharing ideas. Further, there are minimal barriers to forming new connections, and virtually anyone is happy to meet for a quick chat over coffee.

I have personally learned a great deal through these quick spontaneous coffees. Australians also take great pride in supporting ‘home grown’ business.

@AlonTamir / Studio Proper

Business mindset in Australia is fairly similar to most western countries. People are friendly and incredibly helpful but there is a culture of “paying it forward”.

@RohanWorkman / RosterCloud

Here’s a tip – Australians will get out of their way to do business with overseas, travelling long hours and waking up in funny hours of the night for a skype meeting is normal.

@DrorBen-Naim / SmartSparrow

I think my answer to where I say its a little bit US and a little UK is relevant here to. It will take on some risk, it takes a little longer for deals to go through but when someone says yes then its guaranteed.

As a women I find there is a greater focus on helping women succeed than there was when I lived in the UK for 10 years. This is great to see and I can’t see this changing.

Also the mindset in Australia is very similar to our use of the English language. We are direct and to the point. You need to be prepared for this as well as our quirky humour!

@CarolynHarrington / Moco Insight

The business mindset in Australia is quite mixed. Some industries are quite relaxed, while others are Go Go Go all the time. Australians expect honesty in their dealings with people and generally dislike someone who is more interested in them self than others.

@GregFurlong / ChannelPace

An experienced entrepreneur once told me that Australia is closer to California than Manhattan in terms of its general character and mindset!

@DamithHerath / Robological

Australians tend to work the longest hours (per week) compared to other countries and the mindset is usually “get it done, no matter what it takes” – this will lead to situations where people who do not have a direct stake in what you are working on offering to help you with it, as opposed to some places where union rules or other segmentation factors can often render others unwilling or unable to offer even the most token gesture of support.

@MichaelMehmet / eLEDGER

Aussies can be a little more direct than you might expect and may appear blunt. However, conversely, diplomacy and not speaking plainly may sometimes be interpreted as evasiveness.

@MichaelLawler / Selera Labs

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