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Top startup owners share their tips for success

January 26, 2024

The recipients of the Heavy Chef Top 5 Most Exciting Startup Award for 2023 were recently announced. The award recognises the ingenuity, innovative spirit and drive needed to succeed as a startup. 

As a business enabler (and proud sponsor of the event) we were on hand to chat with two of the winners and hear their secrets for success.

“Put one foot in front of the other”

We asked businesswoman and co-founder Ndia Magadagela what powers her electric vehicle service, Everlectric, which recently signed a lucrative delivery deal with Woolworths. 

Simply put: just start. “Eric Ries, the author of the book, Lean Startup, makes it very clear with the concept of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). He explains the build, measure and learn cycle which starts with taking a precious idea and converting it into something (probably far from perfect) that you can sell. We need to stop perfecting, but just start. This is probably the scariest thing to do as an entrepreneur but either way, it will yield fruit. If the venture doesn’t succeed, take the lessons and start another one. In failure lies the opportunity to get feedback, measure and understand why it failed and then keep getting better.”

An innovator at heart, Ndia believes starting a business gave her the freedom to pursue her passion for problem-solving. “It is so fulfilling to start, build and grow a business. To see our business move from a PowerPoint presentation to a proof of concept and now to commercialisation feels similar to birthing a child and seeing them grow.”

But it wasn’t an overnight success. 

“We have learnt that to have grit is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. The entrepreneurship road is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. We must keep our eyes on the prize and show up every day to get the work done.”

Her advice for overcoming challenges is to keep a positive attitude. “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier, even when the results don’t seem to be occurring as quickly as we would have wanted them to. We are so fortunate that we have three founders and so we help each other carry the load.”

Her top tips? Find your community of like-minded people to bounce ideas off and collaborate. Most importantly, be curious and a lifelong learner

“It doesn’t have to be complicated but everything we do should be to better the status quo.”

“Take care of your mental health”

Strove is a holistic employee wellbeing platform designed to help organisations improve the mental and physical health of their workforce through a unified suite of wellbeing tools and resources. We asked founder Chris Bruchhausen how this innovative startup came to be. 

“I’m passionate about entrepreneurship and the idea of starting something that can positively impact the lives of others,” he says. Like many entrepreneurs, Chris prefers the freedom and creativity that startups present over the corporate world. “I have never really had a formal or corporate job, and have been involved with startups my entire career.” 

With any great idea, it all starts with passion. “Make sure you are building and working on something that you truly find meaningful. If you’re not 100% in it, the journey will be exponentially harder,” he says.  “It’s also important to take care of your physical and mental health.”

Some of Chris’s biggest supporters have been other entrepreneurs. “The willingness of others to provide assistance and guidance has been invaluable. I’m also grateful for the support and belief in our product that we’ve seen from the small business community,” he says.

When it comes down to it, Chris has one crucial piece of advice to share: “The hardest step is the first step. Don’t overthink it. If your gut is telling you to do it, then just do it.”

Oh and don’t spend too much time in the digital world. 

Want to read more award-winning advice? See what the previous year’s winners had to say.

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