Steve Baxter is a well-known investor on television show Shark Tank, and international entrepreneur. Based in Brisbane, he looks for business opportunities for fun and profit. Steve is the current Queensland Chief Entrepreneur, advising to the Queensland Government on building and promoting the importance and contribution of entrepreneurship and investment in Queensland.

There are no excuses in business

Steve admits that he didn’t finish high school, but that was no excuse for failure. He drove himself to be a better version of himself and looked for opportunities.

Recently, I had the opportunity to join Steve and my fellow members of Entrepreneur’s Organisation to hear his inner thoughts surrounding the best and worst of his business journey.

Due to confidentiality restrictions, I can’t disclose full details of the discussions, but I can share Steve’s top tips that you can incorporate into your food business now.

The luncheon was interview format, which gives a succinct structure to Steve’s many stories.

Shark Steve Baxter’s top 21 business tips

  1. Networking: networking will expand your business reach.
  2. Capital: find capital wisely. The best place to find capital is in your customers by increasing sales.
  3. Drive your business to raise cash and profit.
  4. Operate with the right intent. Be proud of what you do.
  5. Reliable internet bandwidth: it’s critical for all businesses now. Get it any way you can.
  6. We all have failures – lots of them. Learn from them to make better decisions next time.
  7. Find 3 core metrics on the key areas of importance. These will depend on your stage of growth. Metrics such as:
    – Cash
    – Stakeholders and what they care about.
    – Management reports. Make sure they are honest reports so you can make high impact decisions.
  8. Making good investment decisions in businesses hinges on:
    – Trust in the people being invested in, and
    – Do they have the right skills to achieve the end game.
  9. When making decisions, looks for the red flags – trust your gut!
  10. If you need to watch your money when investing in a business with partners, then walk away. It’s not the right investment.
  11. Give first and the returns will come. Pay it forward.
  12. Be on a company board or an advisor with the intent of adding value. Don’t be a passenger. If you can’t add value then do the right thing and step away from the board.
  13. When appointing a board to your business look for core competencies that will benefit the business. For example; lawyer, accountant and people that have what you don’t. But only if they bring value.
  14. Unite rather than fight. Sometimes it’s better to make your competitors your compadres. Get together and talk, but don’t give away the family jewels. You’ve got to give a bit to get a bit.
  15. Keep away from legal action. It will waste your time and energy.
  16. Pay suppliers early – you need them on your side to ride out the highs and lows.
  17. Talk to your customers and suppliers. Keep them engaged.
  18. Don’t be too busy. When you are too busy you get lost in procrastination and poor decisions. Be less busy and carve through effectively.
  19. Surround yourself with people who understand you. They help you to bounce back. Join a supportive business or industry group.
  20. Selling a listed company is cleaner and easier than a private company. (This is an in-depth discussion)
  21. Regulations kill innovation. Too many rules can stifle creativity and ideas.

The best advice when starting a business

The interviewer’s final question to Steve Baxter was the icing on the cake.

Question:  If you could give young Steve (yourself) one piece of important business advice to start out in business, what would it be?

Steve: Learn the basic fundamentals of bookkeeping and get a good bookkeeper. Understand the fundamentals of a P&L and Balance Sheet.

Bookkeeping is a solid foundation of entrepreneurship and technical knowledge.

And finally, Steve’s legacy: leave the joint better than you found it.

I hope these tips inspire you to re-think about your business and it’s value.

Mise en place!

Christine Green and the Team at Restaurant Bookkeepers Australia.

For a confidential, no obligation chat, get in touch with us. Phone: 1300 043 127

Or, if you’re looking for the best steps to get your restaurant or cafe started on the right foot, read our 8 Simple Steps to Set up Your Restaurant Bookkeeping System.