Business Masterclass with Tasmin Trezise - video transcript
The following transcript is from a speech by Tasmin Trezise, Co-founder of Tanda at the Lord Mayor's Business Forum at Northgate on 11 March 2015.
Angela Owen introduces Tasmin Trezise: Tasmin, just considering your business and where you actually grew up in Cape Tribulation, how on earth did you end up in technology and innovation field, and how do you think your upbringing has actually helped you in where you are in your business today?
Tasmin Trezise: First what I hate more than paperwork, is travelling long distances. So I'm actually quite lucky, I live about I think about five minutes down the road, so I just got to walk here, it was very nice, thanks for the convenient location. It was actually a funny story, because I grew up without internet access, I grew up without power, so I was off the grid up in Cape Tribulation. It was interesting coming to a city where everything's connected. I live next to the Toombul Shopping Centre, so everything in my wildest dreams is accessible in a two minute walking distance.
So when you had to travel two hours to get a two litre bottle of milk, you realise that there's a lot of possibilities that you can do things better, you're not conditioned by thinking that everything has to be the same, you can think well maybe there's opportunity to build something, to create something, to try and help people with something that you might be able to build in your garage or at university.
Angela Owen : If you could tell us a little bit about Tanda, how did the business actually come about?
Tasmin Trezise: I think all good stories, like everyone has their own business story, the ah-ha moment. But for us it was a personal frustration, and probably too much time at the bar. So those two things coalesced, and we were running the student association, and we wanted to bring more services. As a business the ways you can do that is (a) you grow your revenue, or (b), you cut your costs. We went about our initiatives to see, you know, bring on new projects, engage students, but our payroll department hadn't been touched for 10 or 20 years.
We actually went out into the market, we were at the bar, we were thinking how we could fix this. We went out into the market, we tendered for something, and nothing existed. So as university students do with too much time on their hands, decided to buckle down and build it. Then it worked, and we were like oh we've actually got something here, so we went out and spoke to some other people they said, that would actually really help us, like growing a small business family you know how pressured you can be when it comes to - you've got your spot fires you've got to deal with.
So café fridges are breaking, got to deal with stuff, and there's all this other stuff that falls to the way that no one really cares about. Timesheets are the most boring thing in the world; they're not exciting at all, even from a finance background, still not exciting. So it was like if we can get rid of that and not have to do that, it means we can focus on the things that we actually care about, which was delivering more services for students. We fell into it and then, I say, couldn't get a real job, so decided to build our own, so it's going okay though.
Angela Owen : How do you actually use innovation in the workplace, and how has that shaped your business?
Tasmin Trezise: Innovation is one of those words that's just so encompassing, it's not very helpful I think as if you say how do I be more innovative? You’ve got to have very specific measurable goals that you'll work towards to say well can we measure this and can we improve it, and what are we using to make it better? I think we have a benefit of being a young company, that everything is new to us. I'm still learning, everyone's still learning things, I don’t know how to do things properly, I'm breaking things everyday and struggling and stressing to fix them.
So when you get new young people in, what we found is we say we don't do anything right, we don't have a legacy. So we just get people, if they can do it better than us well that's their prerogative and they should just do it better, because we build the business fixing a problem that everyone else had just done 40 odd years manually. There's a lot of processes that we do that is just manual. So if someone can think of a smart idea, one of our employees will implement that.
In saying that, there are so many tools out there for small businesses, I didn't realise how many systems and tools we use, but I guess being a cloud provider you've got to get in that. Things like CRMs, Outlook - I'm not sure why anyone's on Outlook anymore, you should be on the cloud in terms of your emails, your spreadsheeting. We have a team in Manilla, so we outsource a lot of our manual paper processing work. Basically look at anything and say can that be done better, or do I not have to do it? What is my core focus of my business? What drives the revenue? I want to focus on only that, anything else is irrelevant.
Angela Owen: So as a young entrepreneur, where to for you now, and your business?
Tasmin Trezise: That is a very good question. I think a lot of people here are probably the same; you got into business because you're really good at what you do. I'm strangely passionate about timesheets; I think I grew to love them, like a bad sister or something like that. But you do what you're passionate about, and for us it was never we got in it with an end goal of we want to sell for this much more, we want to raise capital. It was just we built something that really helped people, and we wanted to help more people, so we decided that the best way to do that is to go out and talk to more people, tell them what we do and how they can focus on their business.
I think from here we've just got to find as many people as we can to help, and let them focus on the core and quality of what they do. But overseas is also an option, we've just passed our one millionth clock-in, so one million people getting to work and clocking in and clocking out. It's as nice retail number to make us feel good, but it means we're actually making a change and a difference. I'm sure you see that when you have a happy customer or something like that, you know you've done a good job and you want to just keep doing that.
Angela Owen: Fantastic, and Tasmin is a great example of our young entrepreneurs in our city, and we wish you all the best in the future for your business.