How I Succeeded is a regular series on Lifehacker where we ask business leaders for the secrets and tactics behind their success. Today: Grant Dunoon from TryBooking.
Current gig: Founder at TryBooking.com
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Current mobile device: Android Nexus
Current computer: MacBook Pro
One word that best describes how you work: Visional
What apps/software/tools can't you live without?
I'm a big fan of drones. I used to be a pilot, so anything to do with aerial technology is fascinating to me. Currently, I'm trying to learn how to edit and compile drone footage with Final Cut Pro.
What social network do you find the most useful?
To be honest, when I think of "social" I still think of good old fashioned catchups and networking events. I use Facebook and LinkedIn to stay in touch, but I like meeting people in real life and getting immersed into the community.
What were the most important lessons you learned while growing your business?
Be passionate about what you're doing and cherish the relationships that you build. Business to me is all about building the types of relationships that yield benefits to our wider community & customers.
It's also important to be generous with your time. You'll gain important feedback and a deeper understanding of your customers, how they interact with the product, any potential issues and how to address them. Having a presence amongst your clients and giving your time to them freely goes a long way.
What has been the most surprising part of your business journey?
It was surprising to see how many businesses in this space take such a cold approach to customer service, whether through avoidance (like removing phone numbers from the website) or making the contact as unpleasant as possible. To grow a business, it's about how people perceive you, how they interact with you and often whether they feel valued. You are building a complete package here - software, service and personal interaction. You can't beat it, people just love dealing with people when a need arises.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Keep thinking. It is easy to follow the crowd. I find it much more rewarding to develop my own ideas, challenge common thinking and build new things.
What's your sleep routine like?
I try to keep it fairly routine but that's not always easy. I find I use this time to think, solve problems.
What advice would you offer to other businesses on how to succeed?
Don't get distracted by the latest trend. Set your goals and pick a market segment that you can manage and isn't cluttered with other offerings. Keep in mind business is all about people, so keep seeking feedback and make sure you are giving personality to your product via strong customer service. Treat your staff and customers in the same way and be always stay engaged with them.