Leadership and Innovation with Naomi Simson - ESV Business Owners Series

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Leadership and Innovation with Naomi Simson - ESV Business Owners Series


On Wednesday 12 September, ESV held a well attended Business Owners Event featuring a key note presentation by Naomi Simson, one of Australia’s most prominent entrepreneurs and business leaders. She shared her business journey and insights on what she has learned and discovered on the road to leadership.

Naomi Simson is well a renowned figure in the business world. She is the founder of the online experience retailer RedBalloon which she began by investing $25k of her family savings into a website to scaling up to supporting 2.5million businesses with 6500 experiences. She is co-founder of the Big Red Group and is also known as “red shark investor” on Network Ten’s popular television series Shark Tank. Having spent years marketing big brands such as IBM and Apple, Naomi has a wealth of cross-industry experience, and the practical business know-how of an entrepreneur and innovator who has continued to build multiple successful businesses.

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As well as being the author of best-selling books, Ready to Soar and Live What You Love, Naomi has received several high-profile awards including the National Telstra Business Woman Award for Innovation, and continues to be recognised in the AFR 100 Women of Influence Awards. She shared some heartfelt observations which provided great takeaways around “customer obsession” – listening to the good and the bad, testing, enhancing and personalising the experience that our customers receive has to be at the heart of everything we do   - making a difference to people’s lives.

She stressed the differences between management, leadership and influencers as she felt these are now being used interchangeably. In her view leaders set the vision, align people to the values and unite everyone for the good of the cause and managers nurture that talent. Influence is used to emotionally connect and unite people to make a difference to others.  As a leader she stressed you must know and love the industry better than anyone else, as this helps with uniting the right jobs and the right roles so that everyone is in the boat together and as such can also withstand competitive onslaught.  

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As business owners there is also a difference between passion and purpose. Passion is energy that drives you whereas purpose is around continuing to make the world a slightly better place through your impact on others. Relationships are key, especially with those who challenge us to greatness, and her advice was to cultivate relationships with those who have shared visions and values and are great connectors themselves. As your organisation evolves you have to continually meet and listen to your customers and surround yourselves with great advisors who can see what you can’t and sometimes this advice needs to come from outside the organisation.

ESV continues to host inspiring leaders as part of our Business Owners Event Series, to share their passion with us and reveal what inspires their own business journey.  There is so much we can learn from the insights of these remarkable entrepreneurs.

If you are a business owner and interested in attending one of our Business Owner Events, please contact us at events@esvgroup.com.au.