- 2nd October 2017
- Posted by: Joanne Woodhouse
- Category: Blog
The start of October marks the one year anniversary of the JBA office in Brisbane: Jeremy Benn Pacific (JBP). Started in 2016, the office extends our unique blend of coastal and flood risk management across the Pacific, linking in with our Singapore and Cambodia offices.
In light of the upcoming anniversary, we’ve asked Dan Rodger, JBP’s Managing Director, the top five things he’s learnt in their first year of business.
1. Build your network
When I returned to Australia to establish the new office I found a lot of my old contacts had moved on. So, I’ve had to drink a lot of coffee to re-establish my network of friends, colleagues and collaborators. I set goals to meet at least one new person a week, attend one networking event each month, and take on as many presentations as possible. I also realised the importance of face-to-face meetings which are critical for forming initial relationships. These meetings have taken me as far west as Perth and as far east as Fiji.
2. Don’t over-reach – collaborate!
One of our core values, which forms part of ‘the JBA Way’ company ethos, is working collaboratively. Many of the opportunities that come across my desk are not quite right for us. Instead of risking our reputation, taking on something beyond our comfort zone, I often recommend other organisations that I have had good experiences with personally. Many of these other organisations send us back work in return, or collaborate with us on larger jobs. We will always prefer to work with those who’ve supported us in the past.
3. People are our greatest asset
Finding the right staff to join us was very important. They had to understand the challenges of working in a start-up office, and the range of jobs they would be exposed to; from erosion assessments in north Queensland, cyclone assessments in Papua New Guinea and forecasting systems in South Australia. Not only that, they had to embrace our culture of Research and Development (R&D) – learning new software, working with universities and having ideas of their own we can invest in.
4. Stay positive
Business development takes time! It’s important to understand things won’t happen overnight, and I need to be in it for the long-term. However, even with goals that span multiple years, it’s still hard not to dwell on small setbacks as they happen. A positive attitude can go a long way and sometimes I need to remember the key milestones, like our first team meeting as a new office or our first winning tender, to reinvigorate the positive attitude.
5. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
A lot of our business plan involves innovation – another core value of JBA. I have to be thinking of tools, software and ideas that may not be applicable now, but will be important for the future. A lot of these ideas involve an investment in R&D, which occasionally leads to a dead end. When these setbacks happen, our team has to learn from them – identifying what went wrong, any lessons learned, and how we would be successful in the future.
What is on the horizon
I still see a lot of opportunities to increase our resilience to weather-related risks, such as cyclones and floods. However, bigger issues of climate-change resilience, particularly in the Pacific islands, are gaining momentum. I think technology will be involved to achieve the most growth potential allowing greater multi-agency collaboration, e.g. linking forecasters, emergency services, businesses and communities together before an event takes place.
Want to know more?
Contact Dan Rodger for more information on JBP including their work in Australia and the wider Pacific region. You can also visit the JBP website and JBP Twitter account to keep up to date with their progress.