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Startup Spotlight: Jason Williams

Wearing an accountant, social worker, and entrepreneurial hat, Jason Williams has been “business sherpa-ing” at Illumin8 for the past five years. Using the depth of his knowledge and experience to the full extent, Jason has started and supported multiple businesses and projects, including his most recent, The Sherps, a mental health (strength) project supporting founders, startups and small businesses.   

“A great team can overcome challenges and drive your business forward. Remember, culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

Mornington Peninsula Business asked Illumin8’s Jason Williams to share his top ten recommendations for new founders. Here’s his expert advice: 

10 essential recommendations for new founders

Black and white headshot of Jason Williams from illumin8
  1. Validate your idea Before you dive in, ensure there’s a real market need for your product or service; this is beyond family and friends. Talk to potential customers, research competitors, conduct surveys and gather feedback. Be challenged on your idea. The more you know, the better you can tailor your offerings to meet actual demand. 
  2. Focus on a strong business plan A solid business plan is your roadmap to success. Outline your vision, mission, purpose, goals and strategies. It helps keep you and others on track and is essential when seeking finance and investment. 
  3. Understand your finances & protect your business Cash is king. Keep a close eye on your finances, know your burn rate, know your tax obligations and ensure you have enough runway to reach critical milestones. Use accounting software to stay organised and meet with your accountant/advisor or “business sherpa” regularly to make informed decisions. Understand your legal obligations and ensure you protect your business name and, if need be, idea.  
  4. Build the right team Surround yourself with people who are not only skilled but also share your passion and vision. A great team can overcome challenges and drive your business forward. Remember, culture eats strategy for breakfast.  
  5. Embrace branding & digital marketing In today’s world, the “right” branding and digital marketing are non-negotiable. Utilise available resources, social media, SEO and content marketing to build your brand and reach your target audience. Ensure you know and understand your brand from the onset. Measure and tweak your strategies for continuous improvement.
  6. Prioritise customer experience Your customers are your most valuable asset. Provide excellent service, listen to their feedback and continually improve their experience. Happy customers lead to repeat business and referrals. 
  7. Stay agile and adaptable The business landscape is constantly changing. Be prepared to pivot when necessary, learn from your mistakes and stay flexible. An adaptable mindset can turn challenges into opportunities. 
  8. Network relentlessly Connections can open doors that skills alone can’t. Attend industry events, join local business groups and engage with other entrepreneurs. Networking can lead to partnerships, collaborations and valuable advice. 
  9. Invest in your mental health The entrepreneurial journey can be a lonely one. Prioritise your mental well-being with balance, support and tools to build your mental strength and resilience. A healthy mind and body is key to sustaining long-term success. 
  10. Seek continuous learning The business world evolves rapidly. Stay ahead by continually learning new skills, keeping up with industry trends and seeking mentorship. Continuous improvement ensures you remain competitive and innovative. 

These recommendations combine practical business advice with the critical aspect of maintaining mental health, ensuring new founders are well-equipped to navigate the startup journey successfully.

Content posted June 2024

Startups Case studies – startups Local experts – startups
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