What does it take to be an exceptional business leader?
It goes without saying, in the last 18 months we’ve all been thrown significant challenges.
For a number of businesses, just navigating the year is celebration enough. These challenges are something we’ve observed on a global scale across our customer base, as we’ve worked alongside them.
I’m not sure about being “exceptional”, but what’s become clear is that leading and growing a business is a journey that doesn’t stop until the last day you walk out the doors. I’ve personally grown exponentially since starting the business and the only thing I’m sure about is that I’ve got further to go.
What tips do you have for other BOP business leaders?
Leading truly is a journey, and one thing I’ve learnt is that you don’t have to know the answer to everything at the drop of a hat. Take your time to think things through and then, act with decisiveness.
Thinking you “know it all” may work for the majority of the time, but it’s events that happen outside of ‘business as usual’ where organisations can be derailed and strategic plans are questioned.
What are the big opportunities you see for new business growth?
I’m biased, but I see a lot of opportunity for emerging tech businesses within the Bay of Plenty. Covid showed us we don’t need to be in-person to be productive. The tyranny of distance has disappeared and this presents exciting opportunities for all corners of the globe including and our piece of paradise.
New Zealand has been reliant on the primary export sector for a long time and until recently it’s been a highly successful, but concentrated approach. Shifts in shipping costs, the labour market, environmental concerns and scarcity of land have posed significant challenges to this sector and raised questions around our sole reliance on it.
Technology on the other hand is often referred to as a “weightless export”. At SwipedOn, up to 90 percent of our revenue is derived offshore, allowing us to reinvest in the local economy. All we’ve needed are a handful of desks, some talented individuals and a lot of hard work to grow this organisation to what it is today.
If you extrapolate this out across a number of international technology businesses that could be based in the Bay, the net positive is likely to be significant for the region.
Here’s to continuing the hard work and a few more “weightless exports” leaving our shores (and keyboards!) soon.
Hadleigh Ford | CEO SwipedOn
Hadleigh Ford is the founder and CEO of SwipedOn, a leading visitor management solution. SwipedOn is used in 7,000 locations, in 74 countries globally.
In 2018 SwipedOn was acquired by UK listed SmartSpace Software. Hadleigh stayed on as CEO under the public company.
He is also a Master Mariner and former Harbour Pilot with a lengthy seagoing career.