Home' Scoop : Scoop 54 Summer 2010 Contents 122 SCOOP SUMMER 2010
[from p107] react to its customers’ needs at a deeper, stronger and faster level.
The online revolution is a tsunami, and as a smaller organisation we have
perhaps been able to neg otiate that change better than others.”
One innovation has proved to be decisive in establishing WA Business News
as an immediate source of reference. The paper sends twice-daily emails to
subscribers, detailing the latest news and trends. “It is an instant pointer as to
what is going on in town,” Elton says.
A tiered approach to news serves the paper well. The daily emails lead
subscribers to an online edition where subjects of the day are expanded by in-
depth analysis. The hard copy weekly edition is then free to look back at the
week that was and, importantly, detail trends that will impact in coming weeks.
Elton has also driven a strong link between Perth’s business and financial
leaders, who are invited to editorial lunches in the paper’s boardroom to discuss
issues of importance, and his organisation. “Some real challenges for the State
have been solved as a result of those lunches,” he says with justifiable pride.
WA Business News has also championed up-and-coming business leaders
through its 40under40 program, an initiative of 40 awards a year that celebrate
the achievements of young West Australian entrepreneurs and business people.
“I have been inspired so many times by the adversity and hardship these
people endure to achieve success,” he says. “T heir example is worth celebrating.”
Elton travels extensively to study a range of international business models
and this year returned from completing a self-funded general business degree
at Har vard University. He describes his travels as an exercise in research and
development. “Actually, I think R&D should be called ‘replicate and duplicate’
because that has been the great lesson I have taken from my studies. You take
what works and adapt it to your own model.”
He is keen to point out Australia’s unique position within the world market.
“Our lecturer (at Har vard) was detailing the common problems of trade
deficits. He pointed in my direction and said, ‘except of course our friends in
Australia’. He meant that we in Australia, and I guess WA in particular, are in
an enviable position. We have weathered the storm (of the global crisis).”
As for the future of WA Business News, Swarts is confident, but not so bold
as to predict outcomes. “Life is moving at a frantic pace. Who knows, in 10
years time we (at WA Business News) might not even be in print form. To make
predictions would make me sound like an oracle, which I am certainly not. I
know that we have grown our paid subscriptions each year, every year, and at
a higher unit price. The challenge has been neg otiating costs.
“Running WA Business News has challenged me to be a better leader. We
began doing events, and I found myself having to give speeches, which really
tested my metal fibre. I came out the other side thinking ‘what was I so
worried about?’. I believe most of life’s challenges are like that.”
Elton and his wife Chevaunne have six children, and are practicing
Christians. “My faith gives me perspective. I think it has been a definite
advantage in business. If you know where you come from, and where you are
going, you can be comfortable with the present. Don’t get me wrong: I’m no
angel and I’m not always comfortable with the present, but faith gives me a
sense of connectedness. I am fortunate that my work is also my hobby, but it is
not my whole existence. In life, as in business, it is not always about the money.”
Elton describes life at home with a brood of children as challenging,
yet deeply rewarding. “We see our role as parents as providing a positive
environment. As a family, we have breakfast tog ether every day, and there are
often friends who come by... it is not uncommon for us to have 12 people at
the dinner table. We have five boys and life is very often robust,” he laughs.
“We would like our kids to become independent, interdependent, yet not
dependent. It is important that we give them the confidence to develop skills,
and endure failure, and then pick themselves up and start ag ain. I suppose you
could say raising a family is a lot like running a business.” S
adapt it to
q.The best piece of advice
you ever received? I have
received a lot of great
advice... two from my
late granddad: “Count
your blessings every day”,
and “You don’t get poor
q. Who most moulded
you? a. Dad... to dream
and take a challenge. Mum,
to execute and get it done.
q. What’s on your bedside
table? a. The Bible, The
Tipping Point, this weeks’
WA Business News, Who
Moved my Cheese?, Harvard
Business Review, Scoop and
q. Where do you see
yourself in 10 years?
a. More grey hair and
taking on a big challenge.
q. Your favourite hobby?
a. Business is my hobby.
Real hobbies? Fishing and
hiking, and I enjoy walking
the Bibbulmun Track.
q. What inspires you?
a. Visionary entrepreneurs...
I’m a fan of ted.com.
a. The establishment of WA
Business News as a trusted
and respected newspaper
and launching 40under40 in
WA. 2010 is 40under40’s 10th
anniversary and the program
is still going strong.
q. Any regrets?
a. I’ve made plenty
of mistakes – I have a lot
more to learn.
q. Life is...
a. ...a gift from God.
q. Favourite holiday?
a. Camping at Ningaloo Reef
– Lefroy Bay, to be precise. It’s
in the middle of nowhere.
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