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Business success - the more networks and connections the better

02 March 2018

Natalie Goldman Flexcareers CEO Speaking At Ruby Women In Business Event

We live in a world where anything that can be turned ‘on’ and ‘off’, including us, can and will be connected. It’s one giant network of connected things and it has a name, the Internet of Things (IoT).

Imagine your mobile device programmed to wake you in the morning, connected to the machine that brews your first cup of coffee, and accessing your synchronised electronic diary for your first meeting, from where it connects you into live traffic and transport updates, calculating the best and fastest methods and routes to get you to that meeting on time. Meanwhile, your office connectivity means the stationary you need is always ordered and in place. It’s certainly not a big leap to see how applying the same theory of connectivity and networks would ensure business success.

Applications for Westpac’s 200 Businesses of Tomorrow Program have opened for 2018. The program’s primary purpose is to reward and recognise businesses with the drive to shape Australia’s future. Businesses don’t need to be a Westpac customer but must share a clear vision for tomorrow, deeply understand their customers’ needs and have the capability to meet tomorrow’s challenges.

A recently released report, The Westpac Businesses of Tomorrow Connections Report, by Lonergan Research, found that three quarters (75 per cent) of the 512 business leaders it surveyed believe a business cannot survive today without professional networks. The report also discovered that business leaders attribute, on average, 17.7 per cent of revenue to their connections.

The research found the most common perceived benefits of having business connections are broadened skills including mentorship and shared-knowledge (59 per cent) and strengthened relationships (44 per cent).

From inspiring children to adopt healthy physical activity (Champion Life) to supporting parents in establishing good sleep habits in babies (Love to Dream), and championing diversity in the workplace through flexibility (FlexCareers) – women led businesses from the 2017 Top 200 acknowledge the power of networks and connectivity when it comes to their ongoing success.

Physical connections, for example, have been instrumental in FlexCareer’s growth trajectory. Natalie Goldman (above right) is its CEO: “The number of meetings we’ve gotten through connections has been absolutely essential. It’s something absolutely crucial to the entire conversation of what we’re doing. Our growth has everything to do with people, whether that’s being introduced to clients or offices in New York or London.”

The 200 Businesses of Tomorrow will be chosen based on criteria such as their business purpose, their contribution to customers and the community, current strength and vision for the future. All 200 businesses selected as 2018 Businesses of Tomorrow will participate in a unique three-day in-residence education course created exclusively by the Melbourne Business School for Westpac’s Businesses of Tomorrow program. The program is an opportunity for businesses to secure new networks and connections, and we are encouraging women to bring their businesses and the businesses they may know of to that mix.

Out of the 200 winners, the Top 20 Businesses of Tomorrow will be selected to embark on a Global Study Tour, one-to-one mentoring with some of Australia’s most influential business leaders, and $50,000 in dedicated professional services. Step out today and connect with tomorrow, your business ideas are worth it.

As Victoria Kluth the founder of Araza (another 2017 winner) puts it: “Make things personal and have as much direct contact as possible. That is a real advantage when you are starting out, that big organisations struggle to do, but a small business has that luxury.”

Applications for the 2018 Westpac Businesses of Tomorrow are open, and close at midnight AEDT on Sunday, 8 April 2018. To nominate or apply, visit the 2018 program.

Here are podcasts with some of the 2017 winners. The first episode of the five part series deals with the hows, whys, and wheretos. The second episode deals with growth.

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