How to manage business growth
(and keep dreaming big)
Five years ago, Charlie Hamer quit his day job to work on research and events startup – Public Sector Network (PSN).
Fast forward to today and he and co-founder Ross Ashman have successfully expanded into three other countries with more plans on the horizon. Here’s how Charlie and Ross have managed their business growth so far.
The first five years
Fulfilling an opportunity to run networking and training events for the public sector in Australia, PSN grew quickly during its first few years.
Within two years it had a team throughout the country and in its third year, it expanded into New Zealand.
Extending into research to help inform its events, PSN is staying relevant by partnering with corporate and technology partners to cover areas where the public sector needs training. That means event series such as data management and analytics, which it runs with Deloitte, the smart cities series it runs with KPMG and the cyber series it delivers with PwC.
Over the past 18 months, PSN has also expanded into North America and Canada, with a smaller team of six establishing public sector events and training services there.
Managing business growth
Charlie says the main challenge of managing business growth so far has been navigating overseas waters.
“Especially in the U.S. – things are so different. They use completely different terminology for everything and there are so many details that can really hold things up,” Charlie says.
“The key has been having the right support. Standard Ledger has been instrumental in helping us find the right lawyers and other business partners overseas, as a sounding board for all business decisions and for logistical things like moving money back and forth all the time.”
Working across different time zones brings its challenges too but with a managing director on the ground in North America and Canada now, that should settle down.
With so much knowledge about and connections in the public sector here and increasingly, overseas, Charlie and Ross see some big opportunities on the horizon.
Without giving away too much, they see more overseas expansion on the cards and other more creative ways of building their online platform and community.
“Everyone in government is often solving the same problems but there isn’t a clear way for them to find out if others have already tackled the same challenges,” Charlie says.
“We have an opportunity to connect people online, share knowledge, save money and time and improve outcomes. That’s the big picture that really excites us. That’s the dream!”
But with a self-funded business structure so far (including funding from the R&D tax incentive), their growth will require some big decisions, mainly whether to take on outside investment.
“We’re figuring that out at the moment,” Charlie says. “We have to balance our desire to own the whole business ourselves with achieving our growth plans.”
Either way, it’s looking like PSN will continue driving forward. As Charlie says: “We’re really ambitious. We thought we’d reach the U.S. in three years … we’re always looking ahead at how we can grow and Standard Ledger has played a big part in that.”
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