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Ross Milton – Rare Birds Ambassador, Melbourne

Ross Milton Founder of Bounce

Ross Milton Founder of Bounce

The founder of Bounce has built himself a great network he can call on and truly values the support of others. He enjoys giving back as a mentor and investor for women entrepreneurs and is proud to make an impact as a Rare Birds Ambassador

Why did you decide to be an Ambassador for Inspiring Rare Birds?

I’m hugely passionate about female entrepreneurs, start ups and leaders. I love the perspectives, the ingenuity, the drive and determination they have, it’s infectious!

After more than 20 years in the corporate world, you took the leap into entrepreneurship. What was the catalyst and the process for that?

Many people go through life wanting to start their own business, and I was another of them, however coming from the field of accounting and finance I had been well and truly tarred with the conservative brush. It wasn’t until someone opened my eyes up to the 20 years of training, skills and experience that I had and they said … What are you waiting for? What more training do you need? That was my catalyst and I’m so glad I took the leap.

Tell us a bit about Bounce and how you lead the organisation. What is your management style?

Bounce Middle East is a group of indoor trampoline and sports centres. It’s a wonderful venture, and something I’m really passionate about. The biggest buzz I get is the sound of laughter of a group of 8 year olds celebrating a birthday party. It’s infectious.

My leadership style (deliberate choice of words versus Management) is “situational.” Over the years I’ve learnt you have to adapt it to the audience, whether it be a new hire with limited to no training versus a senior exec of a big Corporate. On one I’m much more hands on, side by side, and step by step, the other is “Here’s the big picture or idea, I trust you, you have the skills, so just go have fun and make it happen.”

What has been your biggest lesson in business, the one that changed everything?

Choose your partners extremely carefully. If you need to have a co-founder, or investor, then you’ve got to choose them as carefully as you do your spouse/partner in life. Regardless of whether you’re a small start up to large business, there’s always good times and tough times, and at all those points your partner needs to be there for you. Trusting you, supporting you, being your biggest cheerleader, your confidante and also ready to have the tough conversations. Choose wisely! It can will make or break a business.

What is the secret to sustainable growth? What was your experience?

Don’t fall for the “build it and they will come.” I’m a firm believer that you’re better to stay trim, do the hard yards, bring in the revenue and then figure out how to fulfil it. If you’re madly trying to figure out how to support the growth rather than trying to find the growth with an army of people you’ll be successful. Said another way, get the orders and then fill them, don’t get a big team and hope you’ll get the orders.

What advice would you give to someone whose business is stuck in a rut? What can they do to create a catalyst for positive growth?

If you’re stuck, then you need a new perspective. I’d seek out experts in my industry and get some coaching and analysis of the business. You’ll be amazed in our connected world, just how many people are out there willing to help make a difference.

Which sources of business wisdom do you turn to when you are stuck?

I’m straight on to my network. I’ve tried hard over the last 10 years in particular (wish I started earlier) to keep nurturing my friends, relationships, colleagues etc. as you never know when you’ll come up with an issue that they are uniquely qualified to help with (and most of them will).

What has motivated you to support women entrepreneurs through both mentoring and investing?

Two things really, 1) I’m just so much more inspired by their outlook, the way they look at issues, their thought process and the products/services they create, and the 2) is a selfish one. I have two daughters, and I’m hopeful that I can help create a world where they have more opportunities than those that trod the path before them. Maybe one day, one of the amazing entrepreneurs I’ve helped may just help them.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

To every female entrepreneur “you’ve got this,” and if you want some help. I’m here.

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