James Greig is set to revolutionise the events industry with the launch of an “Expedia or Wotif solution” for Australia’s event needs.
This follows the success of iVvy – Greig’s events and venue management cloud computing software that enables event organisers to run and manage events effectively.
Hundreds of clients including Woolworths, Mantra Group, the Federal Government, Rio Tinto, Telstra and Wyndham have contributed to over nine million ticket sales and transactions on the iVvy platform.
The business has also grown to cater to clients from all over the world, including New Zealand, the US, the UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada and Belgium.
The new iVvy platform, which has been in the pipeline for five years, is expected to launch next month.
Greig talks to Gold Coast Business News about some of the highlights of his career along with his biggest mistakes that have occurred during the lead up to this launch.
What are three key leadership strengths you bring to your business and how do they result in success?
Understanding that you have to have the best team around. Be good at delegating to them, communicating well. Also making it fun.
Good people are the core of every successful business, so it is important to maintain the innovative spirit through great culture.
What have been some of the biggest challenges you have faced over the past five years and how did you overcome these?
Changing an entire industry, transforming it from legacy-based systems to smart digital platforms, has been an incredible challenge. While the industry knows it needs to change; there are lots of reasons why it is resisted.
Our biggest break was when we got someone to believe in our vision, and help lead the change in the industry. This was Kent Davidson, and the rest of the executive team at Mantra who supported us before we even had a product. They saw the potential and long-term cost benefits we offered.
Today there are 164 venues (including 70 Mantra Group properties) in Australia, New Zealand and Europe signed up for iVvy.
Describe your biggest regret in business and what you learnt
Managing teams can be tough, and understanding when someone shouldn’t be part of our team has always been a struggle. Many times I have left it too long before acting – this can demote the rest of the team and cause other problems. I have since learnt that if it isn’t working for me it likely isn’t working for them as well.
What have been some of the highlights?
The last few months have been very exciting; our first two clients have rolled out the software to over 300 new users. We have been getting pretty incredible feedback on how it is changing their businesses, and that is exciting. More importantly, they see the long-term benefits in running iVvy’s revolutionary platform that saves them time, increases resource efficiencies and supports business growth.
What projects are in the pipeline?
Almost every organisation and individual in Australia organises some sort of event at any given point, and unlike most other industries (insurance, accommodation, travel) you can’t search online for a venue for your event, see their availability and make a booking.
Imagine if all the information and planning resources they needed was at their fingertips. Imagine an Expedia or Wotif-type solution for the country’s event needs.
For the last five years, we have been working on changing that, and we are about to go live on the July 28 with a world-first solution. More will be revealed then.
What is the best piece of advice you would like to offer entrepreneurs looking at founding and growing a business on the Gold Coast?
The key to starting any business, in Gold Coast or worldwide, is to identify the market gap and the value you bring to the table. An idea is always just that, unless you showcase true value proposition to your potential clients, the industry and the economy.
Business that have succeeded, especially in the tech space, are those that have added value to people’s lives.
When you condition your thinking to value-based innovation, you start aiming bigger, which brings me to the other piece of advice for Gold Coast businesses think outside the boundaries. Technological changes have made it such that businesses can scale the world from anywhere. If you have an idea, think big and see if you can take it outside Australia. It is easier than ever to do so.
You operate in the online space how do you think the NBN will impact business on the Gold Coast and do you think it is being rolled out successfully?
We tend to focus on just speed when we talk about the NBN. There is however another big issue that commonly gets missed. Bandwidth in Australia currently costs on average 20 times more than most developed countries. This is largely because of the telco monopoly in the market. Policy makers need to ensure that this issue is dealt with so we really can compete with the world.
What makes the Gold Coast a great place to do business and what are some of the challenges it presents?
The Gold Coast is fantastic for lifestyle and for building a great work culture that supports team spirit and innovation. However, we struggle to find the right talent, and have had to look at migrating people from other parts in Australia, or even internationally. We hope that future success stories from the Gold Coast will attract more talent to the region.