Emerging leaders

By Michael Roberts | posted on July 2, 2020

ALBANY’S next generation of entrepreneurs were already doing things a little bit differently to the business norm and it put them in the box seat to not just survive but thrive through the pandemic.

While many of your traditional industries scrambled to transition online during the hysteria of the coronavirus, Albany’s younger group of business owners were already set up for success in the digital world.

Change and adapting to a new norm doesn’t faze these up-and-comers.

We’ve all heard the frightening assessment of Australia’s economy.

Companies are suffering and there are talks of thousands more job losses to come.

But the new norm has opened up exciting opportunities for the likes of Aaron Attwell, who runs digital marketing company Xesiv Digital.

“Business is booming bigger than ever,” he said.

“We had our biggest months through COVID.

“Even though there was a short period where everyone was a bit uncertain, which was understandable, business picked up because people understood the impact of being online and they wanted work done last week.

“People came to me wanting to know how they could thrive in this new environment.”

Emily Smith, who founded mindset coaching company Be Think Do Coaching, said she now has a waiting list for new clients.

“Everyone is realising the importance of mental health and looking after ourselves more than ever,” she said.

“What I do is help people with their mindset, and with what’s happening this year people have been forced to face the things they may have been avoiding dealing with.

“I’ve had my two biggest months in business in April and June. I wish I could take on more clients but I can’t right now and that’s a good place to be in as a business.”

Ms Smith said she had already been partly running business from home before the coronavirus, but has now decided to work online full-time.

“We get straight to the point. If someone is coming to your house you might talk about other things, but when we just have an online call it’s focused and straight into it,” she said.

“I found it a really good change. It forced us to go online and practice a different way of doing things that actually works better.”

Jordan Wilson, who started up Albany IT company Concept Tech, said it is an exciting time for businesses in the digital space if you know what you are doing.

“Things were moving so fast,” he said.

“The Government and business system was getting a shake up so a lot of money was getting passed around.

“We’ve had a lot of people purchasing products from us because they’ve had a bit of extra coin in the bank.

“It’s creating a gap for younger businesses and new business owners to pop-up and take advantage of it.”

Mr Wilson said many local business owners aren’t making the most of the digital space and don’t understand cyber security.

“We deal with hundreds of businesses locally and lots of them don’t know what they are doing,” he said.

“They might be a great electrician or plumber but they don’t know how to run a business and that’s their downfall.”

Mr Attwell, who won Young Business Person of the Year at the 2019 ACCI Business Awards, said seasoned operators were starting to take notice of services like digital marketing.

“They are paying attention,” he said.

“You’re not some kid hanging out on a computer anymore.

“The market is changing, but it brings opportunity.

“While I started in Albany, I’m starting to connect with people all over the world. There’s opportunity everywhere if you keep your eyes out for it.”

Mr Attwell said he felt part of the next generation of business owners in the port city who were open to doing things differently to the traditional norm.

“There’s a pocket of very forward thinking people here and it’s getting bigger and bigger,” he said.

“You don’t need to be restricted with Albany anymore and there are opportunities to connect and grow. We are building our team and scaling nationally.”