We have some incredible business coaching clients on our books, doing all kinds of great things – we swear we learn more from them than they do from us at times! We work with clients at all levels in all industries, clients who are rocking their field, clients who are making their mark on NZ and some making their mark on the world. To inspire you we have decided to share some of their stories in a regular Q&A. As part of these successful business leaders’ Q&A, Zac shares some business thinking questions to challenge your thinking and performance.
This time we spoke to Tony Small, owner of super-fast growing innovative packaging company, Innocent Packaging.
You may have seen him recently on Seven Sharp talking about the future of packaging and compostable coffee cups lined with plant-based bioplastic. Or you might have seen his newest product – smartass, tree-free toilet paper made from bamboo and sugarcane – in the Best Awards for product design…
Q. Tell us about your business…
A. Innocent Packaging started as a small coffee cup company. Now it’s a growing packaging company focused on reducing packaging waste and doing things a little different.
Q. Why did you start it and what was your aim with it?
A. I started the company to reduce waste and simplify sustainability after realising my reusable coffee cup company wasn’t having much impact. I believe that in order for things to change and for the massive waste reduction we need to see, what we do needs to be so simple to implement that most people wouldn’t even know they were using something more sustainable.
Q. Who is a leader that you learnt something incredibly valuable from and what were the lessons you learnt from them?
A. Robert T Kiyosaki. The first book I ever read (literally) at the age of 16 was Rich Dad Poor Dad which taught me to keep things simple and make sure the business has leverage.
Q. Think about the worst boss you’ve ever had – what did you learn from their style of leadership?
A. Great question. Worst boss I had made me feel sick most Sundays before having to turn up to work on Monday. In short, this isn’t sustainable for long-term retention. Plus why would you want to make someone feel like that?! From that experience I learnt to value people, treat people how I’d like to be treated and be empathetic.
Q. What lesson in business do you try to pass on to others and why is that?
A. Don’t be afraid to give it a go. This is my fifth company. I constantly talk to my 80-year-old self and ask what would I regret more: the rejection of picking up the phone or the rejection of never knowing…
Q. What is a mantra you live by and why?
A. Keep it simple and make it beautiful.
Q. What has been your biggest learning in business to date and why? How has it affected you going forward?
A. I’ve had a load of learnings, among them: always get it in writing and it’s ok to fail as long as you learn fast from the mistake.
Q. If you were 21 years old again and could do any career you wanted, what would you be and why?
A. I’d be doing exactly what I’m doing. If you have regrets about where you are, you need to change your direction fast.
ZAC’S QUESTIONS FOR YOU (thanks for sharing your thinking Tony):
Tony learnt from Robert T Kiyosaki (smart man) those two key things:
1.1 – Where is your business no longer simple (it has become too complex!) and what can you do about it?
1.2 – To be super successful in business it is likely you need to scale (leverage) in some manner… What is stopping you scale more currently and what can you do about it?
2 – The 3 leadership traits that Tony shares (to be the complete opposite of his worst boss ever) are really important? How can you be better at these 3 important traits? It is likely there will be some ways you can improve on each one… Meaning you will get more out of your team and thus have a more successful company!
4 – I love what Tony said about speaking to his 80 year old self (I am going to do that right now Tony, thank you!). Now it is your turn, lets imagine you are speaking to your 80 year old self and you have to tell your 80 year old self about all your regrets… What regrets will you have to tell yourself as an 80 year old and what can you do over the next 90 days to make progress so that those regrets will be lesser regrets (and perhaps even major wins in your business and life!). Happy thinking. Really powerful question and pondering is this!
5 – What mistake have you made that you honestly have not learnt from 100% yet? And what do you need to do to learn 110% from the mistake once and for all?
6 – What regrets do you have in your business today (feel free to extend the word “business” to “your life” ha) and what do you need to do to move on from these regrets and move forward?
Hope you enjoyed the questions that Tony provoked! If you like these sorts of questions, you will love www.accme.co which is where Zac asks regular business thinking questions. Try a free 21 day trial and if you like, it is literally from only $15 / month + GST 🙂