Kono CEO and Kea World Class New Zealand Award winner Rachel Taulelei is delivering a keynote address at Callaghan Innovation’s Matariki X conference. In between preparing for that, she took some time to share the best business advice she’s ever been given, the payoff for being brave in business, advice for tackling one of the biggest challenges that start-ups face and more.
What’s the best business advice you've ever been given?
My Dad has always been in business for himself and once when he was going through some pretty tough times with the business, he was pacing our driveway and I asked if everything was okay. He told me: "It's fine. It will be fine. Whatever you do in life, just make sure you take time to smell the daphne." Retrospectively, I realised he was telling me just to make sure you allow yourself to take a breath. Usually, when you do that, you get more clarity. If you don’t, you're perpetually sprinting. It’s tough to make yourself slow down, you really have to do that by design, but it’s worth it.
To innovate or do something different often requires an element of risk or leap of faith. Can you describe a decision you’ve made in your career that required a bit of bravery?
It's hard to scale a good idea or even to scale a great, small business. With Yellow Brick Road moving into Kono, all of a sudden, it was cocooned by ideas and access to resource, and people who were heavily invested, so it wasn’t just down to me. You have the ability to supercharge your business when that happens.
Based on your experience, what is a common hurdle that start-ups face – and what’s your advice for overcoming it?
The answer comes down to discipline. Discipline to carve out part of your week, where you turn everything else off and separate yourself from the noise. That’s when you can tune your mind into how to build your business, because my experience is that it will not – it does not – happen while you're in the thick of it.