We know from experience that when you talk to someone’s heart first, you then get their mind, and of course action and execution follows naturally on from this. When Rare Birds’, Jo Burston first spoke at Comm Banks, Wired For Wonder conference on running a Profitable Smart Heart business, the term was new and the audience received it with a fresh perspective. Something clicked and the marriage between commercial and philanthropic businesses suddenly had new meaning and potential for entrepreneurs.
The questions we received following this talk circled around why no one had ever coined such a term before, it’s adoption was exponential and organic, we knew we were on to something. Since then, Jo has been approached by Virgin Unite to share her insights around this new state of operating. “When I set up Rare Birds, a network supporting female entrepreneurs in Australia, I wanted to create a business that influenced both hearts and minds. I wanted to help create systemic social change as well as help build businesses that achieve strong commercial success,” explains Jo. It’s no surprise others have been inspired to do the same.
Since then, we have watched on as numerous entrepreneurs embrace this new way of doing business, one that straddles profitable and social enterprise. Simone Eyles, Founder of 365cups.com and an exceptionally tenacious Rare Bird, now does this same commercial dance between heart, mind and execution with new business Working Spaces HQ.
Officially founded this week on April 21, Simone has received a $10,000 grant from Beyond Bank to go towards transforming her existing office into a co-working space. “I have had this idea for about 2 years and it has just bubbled away in my head,” she admits.
Working Spaces HQ will be the first of many co-working spaces for regional and rural Oz. Simone’s vision is to foster entrepreneurship all the way from school kids to grandmas. “We want single and small operators working from home to have a place to come and work and enjoy a vibrant work environment without the overheads. We want our local business leaders to come work in a lean and agile environment, I want to prove that anyone from anywhere can have an idea and make it happen and that regional oz has the talent and capacity to create the next big thing.”
Now with heart
Simone was initially inspired to make things happen at the launch of Rare Birds first book ‘Australia’s 50 Influential Women Entrepreneurs’ when Jo spoke about Profitable Smart Heart businesses. “I never wanted my concept of a co-working space to be a NFP like most are … to thrive and grow in regional Oz it had to be different, a “smart business with heart” viable and profitable!”
“Then Jo spoke more about what she wanted to do with Rare Birds and it just clicked. I just didn’t want to open a “co-working space” I want to open 100s of co-working spaces across regional and rural Australia – I want to get a mini bus and go on the road to regional and remote places and visit school kids and do workshops”
Ensure it’s profitable
“I thought it was time to take this idea in my head, formalise my business plan, do my projections and “just do it”. I have spent the last 6 weeks labouring over my plan, getting quotes, getting advice and putting together some big ideas for Working Spaces. Last week while on holidays I was notified that I got the grant, and within 1 day I registered the business, and started executing the business plan.”
By day 2 Simone had already secured 2 permanent tenants while also attracting interest from another region for the “next” working spaces.
For Simone, profitable business with heart means you are doing something with passion and something that benefits more than yourself – in this case it’s Simone’s local community. “It means social impact while at the same time creating a business that is viable and sustainable, one that will grow and employ people, one that will create real, tangible change. It means you lay foundations that will last, foundations that are smart enough to last as well as profitable so it can grow and support all of those things the business is trying to achieve.”