So I have spent the last twelve months working on a prospectus, pulling the many elements of our preparation for our IPO together, being in conversations with investment brokers and roadshowing around the country (which if you know the distances in Australia, you will know that is no small feat). I have taken a last-minute trip to Germany for Gamescom which was an invaluable experience and the contacts I made and re-affirmed will help my business for years to come. It was the first international Business-to-Business event I have attended and I hope there are many to come after.
Unfortunately, at this moment in time, our attempt at IPO was not successful. We are doing a formal debrief on it, but the best evidence seems to point to a combination of the overall market confidence and timing. We plan to have a second attempt next year as we continue to improve the strength of our business.
In some ways, because I have been beavering away behind the scenes and with the finance people, I have not been out in my other natural habitat- business networking. I have a long history of business networking at local chambers of commerce, BNI, and many other functions . I actually enjoy the activity immensely, despite the fact that I am not a natural extrovert, but somewhere in the middle of the scale with an introverted side too.
I am digging up all the reference material on my old favourite tips; Farming versus Hunting (I am a Farmer), tips for memorising people and names, making sure I always have business cards etc. That is all the “You have to be this tall to go on this ride” stuff. It is a basic business function and the earliest part of the business development process that so many of us rely on.
My field is so interesting right now. I was in the telecommunications industry for years and that in many ways that was an easy sell. There were always issues about how cheap the rates were or how competitive we were (I worked for a premium carrier, but with better coverage and network speeds), but in many ways, solving peoples’ business issues with telecoms became something I became known for. That is not what I am doing now as I am selling VR simulation work, serious games, gamification consultation and exhibit work.
It is more challenging, but in many ways more exciting. Telecoms reached a point for me when the products became stale. Every mobile handset looks the same now. I feel that innovation in mobile design has reached a standstill around the touchscreen slate phone that does apps and a bunch of things- the features do not seem to be groundbreaking (apart from increased AR capacity on high-end handsets). Working with cutting edge VR, Augmented Reality (which is a really exciting field that will revolutionise industry in the next few years), serious games that have huge social outcomes and is a far more engaging field to me at the moment. What I do feels worthwhile and exciting.
Probably the biggest challenge with selling these kinds of services is that businesses do not see them as essential as something like a day-to-day telecoms solution (which is an integral part of any business). But then again, they may not be familiar with the benefits that this technology offers. Things like VR tourism, Occupational Health and Safety training, and education can be subject to huge practical gains in effectiveness just by learning what can be done. All it takes is an expert in a particular area, engaging with our expertise and miracles can happen.
So out I go again. Turning out to networking events, speaking at others and generally getting in peoples’ faces. I have gone over my traditional techniques and am excited to be applying them to the new world I am in. And I am so fortunate to be in a place to do that.