Adam Watts, owner of Nerang business In Glass Design, had been in business for 17 years when joined the EO Accelerator program. Though people often join the Accelerator program during the initial years of running a business, Adam felt he found the program at just the right time.
“Usually people join EO when they’re trying to grow their business or struggling with something,” he says. But for Adam, after nearly two decades running his own business, he was all but burnt out when he joined the program.
“My turnover was slumping a little bit, my motivation was slumping a fair bit and I think it was being mirrored in my business. As an entrepreneur you’ve got to be so self-motivated and lead by example. “Sometimes when you’ve been in business for some time, you get used to doing things by yourself and you just don’t know what’s out there unless you start talking to people. For me, it’s that connection to the business community and forum groups, knowing that people are facing the same struggles, having the same wins, and that they’ve got solutions that might be a little bit outside the box to what you’re thinking of.”
Adam says the realisation that he wasn’t as isolated as he originally felt was a big turning point for both him and his business. “I wanted to start talking to other people in business having similar problems, similar wins, similar losses so that I could take their experience and put it into my own business to further grow it.
“It was more realising that I had a certain skillset and that didn’t translate across everything…getting information off other people who had specific skillsets rather than doing it all by myself was the main motivator.”
Since he joined the Accelerator program 18 months ago, Adam has seen his business’ wins snowball. Around the time he joined the program, he decided to double down on pushing the business forward, and things just started to fall into place.
“When I started EO I decided that I was really going to push a few things. I started contacting the government and a couple of different things happened.”
That year, In Design Glass were awarded an Accelerate Small Business Grant from the Queensland government. Since then, the business has gone from strength to strength, as has Adam’s drive and motivation to continue pushing for growth.
“I was doing this, I was feeling that, and by participating in the forums and groups it gave me the tools to grow the business. Things are now going really well and I’m at the helm of the business running it the way I should be.”
Speaking from experience, Adam implores other small business owners who are feeling themselves becoming burnt out to take action sooner rather than later.
“If you’re feeling burnt out there’s a way around it, so do something about it before you get there.”
When talking about the biggest wins his business has seen since he joined Accelerator, Adam says the things that can’t be measured in black and white are what he’s most pleased about. “A lot of the stuff is subliminal – it’s all about attitude, positivity and putting the hard work in. At the end of the day, it’s hard to pin point a win; it’s more a build up of all the stuff that’s seen me make wiser decisions and let me push the business forward, rather than feeling a bit burnt out.
“Realising that you have the tools to push the business forward is a big thing. When you’re running a business for that amount of time you’re used to being in the wilderness and not really having a bunch of people to bounce ideas off. Having that forum and that ability gives you the strength and confidence to get stuck in.”
His biggest piece of advice for people new to the program? Be realistic about what you can do, and don’t bite off more than you can chew.
“Going to the learning events, there’s a lot of new information, so you can’t really apply everything straight away. Usually I try to come away with one or two solid ideas that can really help my business and try to implement them from there.”
Like other members, Adam cites the atmosphere of ingenuity and go-getting as immensely helpful. He says it’s easy to forget that you’re not the only one going through the same struggles and highs and lows.
“When you’re in your bubble, you don’t know what’s out there until you start talking to people.”
However you choose to use your experience and learnings, he says, the value of surrounding yourself with likeminded people who are motivated and going through the same thing cannot be understated.