Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. Today: Sweet&Chilli founder and managing director, Cam Northway.
Current gig: Founder and Managing Director of Sweet&Chilli Australia and Los Angeles, co-founder of two restaurants and also founder of a soon-to-be launched business, Cocktail Porter.
Location: Sydney, Australia
Current mobile device: iPhone 7
Current computer: MacBook Pro
One word that best describes how you work: Innovative
What apps/software/tools can't you live without?
Teamwork Projects is a brilliant cloud-based tool. When managing large numbers of people and multiple projects spread across different time zones, this gem helps us keep everything on track. It integrates with Dropbox which is also our server, and Xero if we’re billing our client based on hours.
Xero has also completely changed the way we do accounting at Sweet&Chilli and gives us powerful financial reporting in real time. Receipt Bank is a big time saver too, as I hate doing expenses.
What social network do you find the most useful?
What were the most important lessons you learned while growing your business?
You can’t do everything yourself. I learnt this quite quickly when launching Sweet&Chilli in Australia, however it still took time to handover some tasks and projects, because I wanted to ensure it was done right. Sometimes this caused delays and obviously increased my workload. While I don’t regret doing the heavy lifting because I was starting the business from scratch and needed to know every element of it inside and out, it got to a point where I needed to give a lot more ownership to the team. I now have a lot more time to concentrate on other areas of the business, and we are actually growing quicker and achieving better results for our clients.
What has been the most surprising part of your business journey?
The speed at which my businesses have grown. There’s always nerves when you start a new business, but we’ve had success early that accelerated Sweet&Chilli and led to my other ventures.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Knowing my shortfalls and building a team that compliments them.
What's your sleep routine like?
I’m a bit of a workaholic at the moment and have been working until late, but I always aim for eight hours of solid sleep every night so I can get the best output.
What advice would you offer to other businesses on how to succeed?
Dream big but map it out thoroughly. A solid business plan is one of the best things you will ever do when starting a business.