Opportunity for a collective voice

| December 6, 2010

At the launch of First 5000 on 20 October 2010 held at NSW Parliament House Leo Silver, managing director of Integrated Wireless, spoke to Jeanne-Vida Douglas about how First 5000 can meet the needs of a businesses like his own.

JVD:In order to get an idea of what kinds of businesses that are involved within the First 5000 initiative I would like to introduce Leo Silver. He is the managing director of the Australian technology company Integrated Wireless which delivers emergency wireless communication solutions to large institutions like hospitals and so forth throughout the country.

So Leo, tell me why would you join First 5000 and how are the needs of a business such as your own meet through joining a group like First 5000?

LS:It’s a scale issue. In the market place there is a lot of discussion about SMEs but that often puts us in groups where people employ one or two people, maybe ten people but frankly our issues are different. First 5000 can connect us with people who we can network, share ideas and learn from. Those who are actually facing challenges in the way and the manor that we face them, challenges that aren’t the same if you are a micro business or if you are employing one, two, ten people anymore as it is if you are a large scale corporate employing ten thousand people. The sort of mark that First 5000 has chosen with businesses with fifty plus staff are businesses that have challenges of their own and they are unique.

JVD:What are the challenges for becoming security competitive in that mid space and how do they differ?

LS:I think the biggest single issue is summed up by span of control. In a small business, a micro business or a very small business the owner manager can basically reach and touch everyone. They can control everything they can be head of marketing, head of sales, head of product design and basically pile in and fix things and lead the business.By the time you reach 50 odd staff you can’t do that anymore, you know you have to have processes and ways of working within the business that distance the individual from any outcome of the business. So once you have achieved that point then I think you have a scalable business and you can grow from 50 to 500 in a manner that you can’t. You need to make a break through point of basically distancing the individual from the outcomes of the business.

JVD:And what role do you see for First 5000 in businesses of your size and scope, how do you see the connection there?

LS: I read the papers daily, I try and gather news, I regularly read articles and I go, “yeah fine, but that doesn’t apply to me”, and so I’m hoping through active participation in First 5000 that we can create a collective voice. I believe that the issues and challenges that we face within our business at the highest level are shared by similar businesses of a similar size and scale and I’m hoping we can create an aggravated voice that can actually achieve better outcomes for us in this environment.