Boardroom briefing: innovative SME advice, starting up sales online and PNG business people honoured


The reason most startups fail, how to succeed in ecommerce, and PNG business people honoured. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.

The ‘jumping-to-the-solution mentality’


The COVID-19 pandemic has produced plenty of column inches on how small businesses need to innovate, pivot or reimagine themselves. But one of the most honest takes on this might be from Smart Company. Small business owner Nathan Baird’s refreshingly titled ‘Stop inventing cool s*** your customer doesn’t want’ cuts straight to the heart of many SME’s failings.

Baird says that ‘too many organisations still waste their time inventing solutions for non-existent customer needs’.

‘In other words, teams fall into the trap of ‘let’s make some really cool s***’ and ‘if the customer doesn’t like it, they just don’t know what is good for them!’ he says.

However, he says, the reality is that more innovation and startups fail from a lack of customers than a failure of the product or technology.

He refers to a McMaster University study of 2000 product innovation projects, which identified the number one factor behind innovation failure as ‘a lack of thoroughness in identifying real needs in the marketplace’, with teams often ‘making assumptions in order to justify the project.’

The main message is to make sure you are solving a problem that actually exists, rather than coming up with a product, then hoping if fills a need.

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What to know before launching into ecommerce

ecommerce PNG

Credit: 200 Degrees/Pixabay

With ecommerce a hot topic in PNG, Entrepreneur recently provided ‘Five things to know before launching into ecommerce’. It makes a good read along with Robert Webber’s practical advice recently offered at the PNG Digital Commerce Forum.

The article emphasises the importance of using good photography, shortening the checkout process (nearly a third of customers bail out if checkout is too long or hard), and using QR codes to add value to the experience.

Entrepreneur also suggests you do a little grunt work yourself to make sure that your customer experience is up to scratch.

‘Visit your store and click around as if it’s your first time. Are your best sellers easy to access with just a few clicks? Conduct analyses on keyword search and pages. Which keywords bring customers to your store? What are the most visited pages?’

With the rush to be among the first into PNG’s new world of ecommerce, don’t forget you should also aim to be the best.

Papua New Guinea honours

We can’t let the moment pass without congratulating some prominent PNG recipients of Queen’s Birthday honours.

Mahesh Patel’s remarkable personal business journey has been well-documented by this publication, and it’s marvellous to see him acknowledged as a Knight Bachelor for his ‘services to Commerce and to Healthcare’. Out of the ashes, indeed.

Likewise, our hearty congratulations to former Bougainville Copper Chairman Peter Taylor (CBE), PNG Dataco MD Paul Komboi (OBE), the Institute of National Affairs’ indomitable Paul Barker (OBE), Air Niugini’s Dominic Kaumu (OBE), former GM of the Credit and Data Bureau Bruce McKinlay (OBE), PNG Tax Commissioner and anti-corruption campaigner Sam Koim (OBE) and Puma Energy’s Country GM, Hulala Tokome (MBE).

There are of course too many recipients to list in this column. The full list can be found here. Our congratulations to all of them.


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