Tina Tower is no stranger to the business world. The 31-year-old started her first business at the age of 20 and by the time she hit 30 had built and sold two businesses, and began the mammoth task of building a National franchise network with her school-readiness education program, Begin Bright.
Tina was the 2012 winner of the My Business Awards for Women in Business and Begin Bright won the National Overall Winner for Commitment to Excellence. In 2013 Begin Bright took out the Australian Small Business Champion Awards for Educational Services and the Telstra Australian Young Business Woman of the Year in 2014.
We asked Tina to join the business to help improve business processes and focus on building out the PowerPlayers program as we honestly believe that this is best in class and has already attracted some phenomenal talent. If anyone knows the struggles entrepreneurs face, it’s Tina. She is a true alpha entrepreneur; she knows intimately the challenges that entrepreneurs face and is well equipped to support the growth of our PowerPlayers members where she can.
Many of the world’s greatest companies are harnessing the power of entrepreneurs within their organisations through their Entrepreneur in Residence programs. The organisation benefits from the entrepreneur’s mindset and thinking and helps encourage a culture of calculated risk-taking and agility, and the entrepreneur benefits from being able to live into their true skill set each day (perhaps without the stress of necessarily running their own show!). You may have already know Tina, but if not, read on learn about our new team player.
Tell us a little bit about your background: where did you grow up, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I grew up in Sydney and always knew I wanted to live a really big life. I was one of those kids who felt like I was a stranger in my own environment and would sit looking at the stars at night dreaming of everything I could do when I grew up.
How did you get to where you are now?
In a very roundabout way! I guess I started having a good crack really early and that’s culminated, as I’ve gotten older. The other day I was listening to a talk by Casey Neistat who spoke about his ‘Tarzan theory’ where you have an end goal, but life is never linear. The theory is that vines swing to you and you take each one as an opportunity and swing to the next point. You’re getting closer and closer to your dreams but in a really squiggly and exciting way. That’s exactly what I’ve done. I’ve worked really hard, really consistently since I was teenager and it’s bought me this beautiful life.
What has been the most challenging experience you have faced in your career so far?
There’s a new one every month and I can never foresee what it’s going to be! That’s part of the fun though, right? My greatest challenge would have been taking my small suburban tutoring business and turning it into a franchise system. It was a totally different business model and strategy and a whole new world for me.
How did you overcome this challenge?
I had to learn a new skill set, which I did by reading absolutely everything I could on franchising and every course available. I found great mentors in the industry to learn from their experience and then just had to get out and give it a go.
What are the key ingredients that make for a successful start-up?
Make sure you know why you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s always going to be a tough journey for the first few years and you need that huge belief both in what you’re trying to achieve and in yourself to be successful. Then it’s just ‘get your hustle on’ and do one thing every day that inches you towards your dreams.
What were the hardest business lessons you learned?
That I can’t do everything myself! I really tried. It’s stupid. I always thought that people that had PA’s were a bit pretentious. Then I got one and that fabulous woman changed my life and accelerated my business growth. Having a great team of people who are brilliant at their jobs, love what they do and are committed, will help your business grow far more quickly than what you can achieve solo. I didn’t want to spend the capital at the beginning but I would have grown much faster had I understood the financial return that quality people could bring to the business.
What are the most common mistakes you see first-time entrepreneurs make?
Focusing on the unimportant. Too often I see start up business people worry about the things that won’t make a big difference to their business growth and spend too much time on things like branding and getting their look perfect when they should be out marketing and getting some runs on the board. The quicker you can turn a profit and increase your revenue, the easier the business will be to grow. Too many people ignore the numbers. Take responsibility to know your numbers and important metrics for your business. What you measure will grow.
What are your best tips for writing a business plan?
Keep it simple. I’ve seen some massive business plans that people take months to prepare and then they sit on the shelf never to be looked at again. A business plan should be a living breathing document that helps guide you with a helicopter view of your business.
What exciting things are on the horizon for you?
Well for starters I get to be the new Entrepreneur in Residence! Business Chicks has been such an amazing organisation and so integral to my business success that it’s just a huge honour to be working together and to help to spread more of that love.
I’m also working in Begin Bright, my company that I sold last July. I am launching a new fashion label in June called Shexy, designed specifically for women under 5”5’ and I’m currently negotiating to by the film rights for a children’s book series so I can produce a movie that I’m pretty convinced will be the next Harry Potter! Totally random and full but so much fun.
Connect with Tina here.