The Power of Networking – Matthew Frith

Meet Matthew Frith. Founder of kin8, which helps organisations take on their challenges and win, by bringing together talented professionals from diverse backgrounds to create solutions. This is his entrepreneurial story.

Where did you get the idea for your business?

It was after the completion of my EMBA. The structured learning had provided me with all of this new knowledge, and I was keen to apply it to real-world problems. It wasn’t possible to get this fulfilment solely from my day job. This was not necessarily the fault of the organisation I was working for, in complicated corporate environments, it’s not always possible for the needs of the organisation and the individual to perfectly align. And aside from volunteering, I could not find anywhere outside of work to direct this excess capacity I had. So, I set out to solve a problem that I was experiencing, and I noticed others were experiencing too. How to integrate flexible and varied, real-world strategic project work into a career.

Tapping back into my EMBA course materials, and researching this more widely, I also started to see that businesses would get value from having access to outside perspectives from different industries and organisations to help overcome bias, and to assist in generating more innovative possibilities to strategic problems and opportunities. It was at this point the situation became clear. Organisations need access to diverse, flexible and high-quality strategic problem solvers. And individuals that possess these abilities are looking for new ways to build their experience, build their networks and contribute to meaningful, interesting and varied projects. So I thought, Imagine I could create a platform that transcends industry, organisational, and geographic boundaries, to connect these parties in an efficient, cost-effective manner, simultaneously realising mutual value for both. And kin8 was born.

How did you get your business started?

A window of opportunity opened allowing me to leave a corporate management position on amicable terms, so that provided me a good start. However, prior to that, I had spent at least two years learning, researching, writing and rewriting business plans, and getting the basic business structure set up. After launching, I dug into my existing network to find projects and then started expanding from there. What lessons have you learned so far on your business journey? Let it evolve. Have a core plan around the problem you are trying to solve, then get out into the real world and get feedback. Not only will you be able to test your assumptions about what will work and what is valued, you’ll also come across new ideas to make your offering more relevant. Also, most things take longer than you plan for. It’s great to be optimistic and driven, but it takes time to get the momentum flowing in your favour.

How important has it been for you to have a mentor?

I’ve not had one single mentor, rather a group of different people from diverse backgrounds that I have engaged with to get feedback and guidance. It’s about getting the ideas out of your head and talking them through. In my view, the mentor is not there to simply tell you what to do. They are someone who provides you with a safe space to discuss and test your ideas. They can help you avoid mistakes to save precious time and money.

What are your top three tips for starting a business?

  1. Start with a deep understanding of the problem you are trying to solve, don’t jump straight to a solution.
  2. Once you have developed a possible solution ask yourself is it:Real (does your market exist, can you access it, and how do you know?Viable (Know cost vs. sell, is it sustainable, who are the competitors and how will they react?

    Achievable (what resources do you have & what do you need; human, financial, hardware, and software).

  3. Don’t forget the fundamentals:Accounting – ABN, GST, Bookkeeping.Legal – Contracts and business structure.

    Insurances.

    IP – Trademarks (Especially business name), patents, domain names.

    Volunteer, and founder pay.

Matthew Frith is a graduate of the RMIT Masters of Business Administration (Executive).

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