Magic tricks to blood sports: The 3 tips all entrepreneurs should know

15 October 2019

Of all the life lessons UQ alumnus Marc Orchard has learnt, one stands above all else: “Business isn’t child’s play, it’s a gladiatorial sport.”

Like gladiators of old entering the arena, entrepreneurs stand a better chance of survival if they know what they are getting themselves into before taking that first step.

As Director of Startups at BDO Australia, Marc guides and advises entrepreneurs who want to start a small business, launch a startup, turn a side hustle into a commercial venture or employ an intrapreneurial mindset at their current workplace.

“A lot of my job is helping early-stage, high-growth founders who are having a tough time work out what they’re going to do next,” he says.

“It’s bloody hard, so you need to be prepared for the physical, emotional and somewhat spiritual costs that come from creating the genesis of a business.”

Marc says all budding entrepreneurs need to first ask themselves three questions:

  1. Is there a big enough global opportunity to make this a business?
  2. Do I have a team I can put together to make that work?
  3. Can we resource that over the next 12-18 months until we get to critical mass?

While there is no foolproof recipe for success, Marc reveals the three tips he shares with founders embarking on new business forays.

3 tips all entrepreneurs should know

Tip 1: Know the difference between a good product/business/investment

Just because something is a really interesting product or service, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will make a good business or a good investment. Many of the early-stage, high-growth companies I work with have fallen in love with a product or service and haven’t given enough thought to the actual business or investment side.

Tip 2: Understand the “magic trick”

If you’re going to start a business or side hustle you have to perfect the “magic trick” which is how to turn your service or product into cash. If there’s one part of the business you need to have experience in, it’s this part. Before launching, ask yourself: “What do I offer to a customer that will convince them to purchase from me?”

Tip 3: Work for another startup, SME or side hustle first

The fastest way to perfect the magic trick is to work for another startup, small business or entrepreneur. Ultimately, this allows you to skip most of the hard learning that comes from trying – and failing – yourself by helping someone else first.


UQ alumnus Marc recently spoke at UQ's MBA Careers Week, one of the many complimentary events on offer to UQ Business School MBA students and alumni, who also learn about the entrepreneurial approach via UQ MBA course content. You can discover the tools and information you need to succeed in the business world by registering for a future UQ Business School event.