11 Tips For A Successful Australian Start-Up

19/09/2015 7:07 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

Bondi mother Belinda Everingham stopped using commercial cleaning products when she realised they were causing her headaches. She started cleaning with some ‘natural’ cleaning products on the market but noticed they contained ingredients that were not so natural.

So she came up with the idea of Bondi Wash -- a range of genuinely all-natural cleaning products.

“I was very inspired by the Patrick Suskind book Perfume, set in France which is based on the premise that scents are very powerful and can change lives,” Everingham told The Huffington Post Australia.

“Why not make washing pleasurable through infusing products with delightful scents?

"And just as the French have done so well, why not bring some of the most beautiful Australian bush oils and extracts to the world through creating products for the home that people love?”

Just two years down the track, Bondi Wash is stocked in 76 retail stores across Australia, as well as China, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Taiwan; with more than 50 stores in Japan.

Bondi Wash combines Australian Botanicals with a mix of other essential oils and natural ingredients to create a range of products that are plant-based and free from Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES), synthetic fragrance and parabens. The collection features bench spray, hand wash, floor wash and even a special Bondi Dog Wash.

As a successful CEO, Everingham is regularly inundated with start-up businesses asking her for advice.

“I love seeing others go through the same journey I’ve been on, people investing time and energy so their creativity comes to life,” Everingham said.

“I’ve learnt a lot since I launched the business in 2013 and, while I’ve made some mistakes, I’ve gotten plenty of things right too. So I’d really like to share some of my tips.

"The first step is all-round creation and concept. How do you know if your idea is good or not and how do you get started?”

Belinda’s Tips

1. Try to develop something that is innovative across a number of dimensions, such as design, functionality, scent and packaging. Bondi Wash has a number of levels of innovation -- the scent, the anti-bacterial qualities, the product packaging and the natural ingredients.

2. Focus obsessively on product (or service) design -- customers will always be attracted to a great product regardless of marketing. I was asked by a friend how I was going to market the business and I had no answer at the time, other than I hoped the product would sell itself. It did.

3. Look for simplicity and symmetry -- I used these principles to help guide decision-making. Bondi Wash launched with three products in three fragrances.

4. Understand where your competitors are but don’t copy -- create your own style and own path. People love authenticity and you can’t replicate this.

5. Create for the long-term -- will the business still be relevant in 50 years? Our vision for the product design was something that could still be relevant in 50 years.

Brand and culture

1. The first 18 months are critical for a new company. Be aware that every decision affects your brand in these early days, from packaging design, products you launch with and pricing, through to where your products/services are stocked or seen. Saying no can be just as important as saying yes.

2. Find the best possible people to work with. You cannot expect to have all the answers. Find talented and like-minded experts to help with what you know you are not so good at.

3. Create some guiding principles to help with decision-making. We used the concept of simplicity to guide key decisions. In the long run, having simple solutions will make the company stronger.

4. Don’t rush things. Often time solves problems and a better solution becomes clear. At the same time, it is important to feel like you are in a hurry to get your products/services out there as fast as you can. Every product or service can be improved on -- launch with what you have. And continue to perfect it over time

5. Creating a company means creating a culture. Think through what’s important to you and how you want your organisation to behave. For us, that meant building a company based on high integrity, doing the right thing in every regard and building strong trust-based relationships. This means we treat others with kindness, we pay bills on time or early if we can and we offer strong support to those we choose to work with (staff, stockist and suppliers).

6. Treat mistakes as opportunities. Without fail, whenever we have faced what has seemed like a problem or failure, it has led to a better outcome in the long run. Believing this also helps us in dealing with mistakes. People do make mistakes and moving forward from them is far better for everyone than reprimanding or making someone feel bad.

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