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How an Entrepreneur Dad Juggles Business, Fatherhood and one of Australia's largest co-working facilities!
By Kiarne Lewis
Welcome back to our "Perfect Pitch Show" where Brandon Burns, Head of Community - Runway Virtual, interviews small business founders and entrepreneurs in their respective fields about the secret sauce to their successful start-up journey.
Meet Tobi Skovron, CEO and Co-Founder of CreativeCubes.Co. In this article, we will explore the story of a founder, entrepreneur and Angel Investor who has successfully expanded his business into a global environment. In this article, we break down the stories from our interview with Tobi Skovron and discuss how his personal start-up experience sparked a desire to create a company that helps other lonely and isolated entrepreneurs with their own adventures.
We hope regional and remote entrepreneurs can take inspiration and motivation from Tobi’s story and resonate with the level of which he is still very active across many of his entrepreneurial endeavours. We believe these insights will help start-ups in regional Victoria with tips & tricks in setting up small businesses. Our breakdown of Tobi’s insights begins with the introduction of his business.
Vision of Creative Cubes
Creative Cubes originated from a simple idea as a father, Tobi says. As a parent, he wanted to give his kids what his parents couldn’t give to him. With this idea in mind, Tobi made it his mission to give other entrepreneurs and small business owners what he didn’t have; a co-working office space to help their business grow and maximise their workflow. The space includes an onsite gym (Orange Theory) and a Yoga Studio (Rebel Monk) to promote a healthy work-life balance, in which entrepreneurs can improve their overall health and wellbeing and better execute their goals. Tobi strongly believes that these key ingredients help people and their businesses go to the next level and beyond.
Limited Time = Maximum Productivity
When asked about how Tobi successfully manages multiple businesses, he says, that he chips in something small and contributes an extra thing every day. He claims that rest, a good diet and meditation (10 minutes a day) is critically important to his busy work schedule. To make the most out of his day, Tobi wakes up at 4am before working across all divisions of the business. He explains that being a father is one of the biggest privileges of his life and being a present father is something he really wants his kids to have, so from around 4.30-8pm he is unconditionally focused on his wife and two kids and being a family man. It is critically important he gets enough rest to execute the tasks ahead, so he is in bed at 9pm every night at the latest. Tobi is also hyper focused on intermittent fasting and as a goal for 2020 he is trying a pescatarian diet. Tobi explains that he tries to implement these 1% changes every month to take himself to a higher place at all times.
During our interview with Tobi, we asked him when an entrepreneur should take their idea global and how to best capitalise on this. Tobi’s previous experience provided us with some helpful insight on this topic. He says, you must be the King or Queen of your domain in your own backyard. If you are not, then there is no way you are ready to go interstate let alone international. He shared with us how he took his first business, Pet Loo, a dog toilet/grass/potty system into the global market through exporting. Tobi explained that it was critical to have all the best pet stores in Victoria marketing, selling and promoting his product range before entering a new market in NSW. Once he felt like he had a solid recurring revenue business from repurchases in Victoria, Tobi took a flight to Sydney to duplicate it. Once the business was well established, sales representatives and sales teams were then incorporated, and it became a strong multiple million-dollar revenue business in Australia. This is when the business started exporting to international markets.
At the age of 27, Tobi was announced Entrepreneur of The Year under the age of 30. It was a great sense of self-achievement and validation for all the hard work he had put in. He has also won pet products of the year, Westpac’s Business of Tomorrow Award and has recently become the face of Sales Force SME 12-month campaign. However, in hindsight it was all the things that didn’t work that made him stronger, he says. It’s not often people talk about their failures, but Tobi says that the most success he had was learning from the things that didn’t come right and cost a lot of money.
Opportunities for Growth
Tobi was kind enough to give us his insight into which markets he believes to have the best growth potential for aspiring entrepreneurs. Tobi explains that if an entrepreneur could come up with a way to covert the ocean into drinkable useable water then that would be a huge opportunity for growth. He also believes that FinTech is a growing industry with great potential.
Most importantly, Tobi tells us to believe in ourselves. He says that there is no supplement for hard work but if you can listen, execute, iterate and you have the resilience to see the light at the end of the tunnel then you deserve to be successful. Support from family is crucial because even at times when you don’t believe in yourself, there are others that believe in you and your idea. So, embrace failure as often as you can and learn from it.
Last Pieces of Advice
Tobi has two pieces of advice for early stage entrepreneurs in regional and remote areas. First, be consistent, contribute positively to what you are trying to achieve and do it consistently to get one step closer to your ultimate goal. Second, listen twice as much as you talk. If you are selling a product, service or app make sure you get honest feedback from real people and don’t get hurt with the brutal honesty of the feedback. However, in reality Tobi believes that there is no single piece of advice, there are no silver bullets, it takes a lot of hard work on a consistent basis in order to get a product or service to market. Not being consistent is the worst thing you can do when starting up a business and as an entrepreneur really understanding the market is the most important ingredient to validate or disqualify what you have.
What's next for Creative Cubes?
Tobi would love to take Creative Cubes into regional markets, however it’s not a realistic goal for the company right now, instead they will continue to focus on metro markets and disrupt the real estate market. Creative Cubes is perfect for start-ups looking for flexible office space that don’t want to get tied down in a lease that limits their growth opportunities. If you’d like to get in touch with Tobi or learn more about Creative Cubes visit the website creativecubes.co or contact Tobi on LinkedIn or Twitter. Tobi says, that if he can be given the chance to be successful, then he wants to be able to pay it forward.