How to make Australian entrepreneurship go viral

- February 7, 2020 3 MIN READ
I believe that entrepreneurship needs to be normal and desirable for all Australians.

I believe we need Australians starting new Australian companies, that use technology to grow quickly, that employ Australians, that export from Australia, that pay taxes in Australia, that are subject to Australian laws, and that create a prosperous future Australia.

These companies will be started somewhere – we need to make sure they’re being started here.

In this post I am proposing that every Australian entrepreneur should be working to inspire more Australian entrepreneurs, to become Advocates for Australian Entrepreneurship, and to make entrepreneurship viral.


Making entrepreneurship viral?

In viral marketing, the K-factor can describe the growth rate of websites, apps, or a customer base. The formula is:

[number of invites sent by each customer]

   multiplied by

[proportion of people converted by each invite]

If the result is 1 or more, something can be considered viral: each person will refer an average of one or more other people, growing exponentially until audience limits are reached.

I believe this formula can be applied to the spread of entrepreneurship itself, and can serve as a useful reminder of what Australian entrepreneurs should be thinking about to inspire more Australian entrepreneurs, perhaps exponentially.

[number of non-entrepreneurs each entrepreneur tries to reach]

   multiplied by

[proportion of these people inspired to pursue entrepreneurship]

Imagine if all Australian entrepreneurs started to think of themselves as Advocates for Australian Entrepreneurship, working to maximise the number of people they reach, and fine-tuning their messaging to optimise conversion. Imagine all Australian entrepreneurs doing their bit to enlighten and enable the next generation of impactful Australians, and eventual advocates.


Increasing your reach

Think about where you can reach existing audiences of people that are not already entrepreneurs.

  • Reach out to the career advisor at your local high school and ask if they would like you to talk about your story with their students.
  • Reach out to your local newspaper and ask if they would like a good-news story about a local go-getter.
  • Find podcasts, TV shows and radio programs with decent audiences and reach out to them offering to be share your story.
  • Tell your kids why you do what you do. Tell other people and their kids. Tell people you meet. Tell teachers. Never be shy when there’s people that might be helped by your story.


Increasing your conversion rate

Think about:

  • Which parts of being an entrepreneur you enjoy the most, and which might be compelling to share with others.
  • How little you knew when you started, how much you learned along the way, and how you can communicate this low barrier to entry, and value of the experience, to others.
  • Which books you have been helped by, which websites, which communities, and how you can point people to these to take their next steps.


I have seen this working

In my last year as CEO of Fishburners, we hosted 689 events in our two events spaces. Over a thousand people would come in and out for events each week, and we saw a continuous conversion of these visitors into new entrepreneurs after they were exposed to our community of incredible entrepreneurs.

We had a large audience, and this audience was being exposed to truly inspirational people.

At UTS, our main referral source for new startups being started by students, is existing entrepreneurs at UTS introducing new people to what they could be doing.

Again the interactions between students are many, and our student entrepreneurs are particularly inspirational.

The more people do it, the more normal it becomes, and the easier it becomes for a given person to start thinking that yes: they can do it, and in doing so, they make it easier for others around them as well.

Entrepreneurs inspire me every day, and I’d love to see a future Australia where these amazing people are seen, understood and emulated by many more Australians. Where there are a growing number of Australian entrepreneurs, proudly advocating for Australian entrepreneurship.


Are you an Advocate for Australian Entrepreneurship?

  • Share this post. Tell people you’re an Advocate for Australian Entrepreneurship. Put it in your LinkedIn/social profile. Your job title even.
  • Ask yourself every day: how are you maximising the number of people you reach, and how can you increase the number of these people that become entrepreneurs? Set a calendar reminder if you need to. Leave yourself a post-it note.
  • Share any tips below in the comments to help others increase their reach or conversion.

And thank you for helping to build the prosperous, impactful future Australia that I want to be part of.


* Murray Hurps is the Director of Entrepreneurship at University of Technology Sydney.

This essay first appeared on his LinkedIn page. You can read the original here.