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Business creation - a rawing success

03 December 2015

Carawmel Slice

Professional and personal development can take a back seat for women in business - especially once family and caring interests come in to play.

For Laila Gampfer - owner and Director of the Perth based raw treat company Rawsome - there was never enough time and it was never the right time to look after her own and her professional development. That was until she won Ruby’s Mary Reibey scholarship and the chance to hothouse her skills and networks at AGSM’s six-day General Managers course.

Inspired by what she experienced at the course - and what she has brought back to her business and implemented already - Laila is now considering doing an MBA.

Laila, who had a career as an Executive Assistant while studying psychology, began her business out of a necessity. Diagnosed a few years ago with Coeliac Disease and a dairy allergy, she was disappointed with the products on the market that suited her dietary requirements and so began producing her own toothsome treats (an example above).

Encouraged by friends and family who also loved Laila’s raw, gluten free, grain free, egg free, dairy free, soy free, refined sugar free and 100 percent natural products, she set up a stall at a local farmers’ growers’ market. Her treats would sell out within hours, prompting Laila to think this was more than a hobby, it was a business and it deserved a go.

“It’s very easy to get focussed on the day to day. You miss out on what a little perspective – distance - can bring to how you do things,” says Laila speaking with Ruby from her Rawsome offices in Perth.

“The thought of taking six days away from work – even one - seemed so romantic, almost impossible, but the benefits of the course have been amazing. It’s left me totally inspired. There was not a moment I didn’t feel it was a privilege to be at the course.”

For Laila, the course standout (and there were many) was the holistic approach to business.

She expected the focus on business skills, but the focus on well-being and health were a dimension she had not appreciated.

“How can you expect your business to be healthy and thrive if you don’t? The delivery of the course content was engaging. Infectious, enthusiastic presenters kept us involved and motivated even to things that can be a bit boring - accounting and strategy. Everything was fascinating and the approach to how we learned was a standout.”

If Laila had to enumerate what she took away for her business she’d be here until Doomsday: “I had light bulbs going off the entire way through.”

And even though there was little time for contact outside of the course (participants began their day at 6.30am and finished at 9.30pm), Laila managed to fire off a quick text to the Rawsome crew: “Be Ready.”

Having been busily implementing the ideas she scribbled down throughout the six days for a few weeks now, Laila says, one of the best has been the “agile meeting process”.

“It’s where you get a team of people together, creative thinkers in the business, and have them ‘vomit’, for want of a better word, ideas out onto a flip chart or white board,” Laila explains.

“The whole process,” she continues, “runs over 14 days. Each day you give the problem 10 minutes’ thought and develop the ideas that have been put forward to tackle it. At the end of the two weeks you look at what you’ve come up with and assess whether it will succeed or is succeeding or if it needs new thought.”

Laila has used the process to think about new product development and, administratively, to look at her decision-making process and make it more agile rather than sticking with old habits, and traditions.

“The whole thing,” explains Laila, referring to the agile process, “is it’s time efficient, innovative and a really exciting way of working.”