There’s a new breed of young business owners, Generation-Xers; they are smart, savvy, can see market trends and they’re all-round, ‘big picture’ thinkers. Rising to the top of their game in their respective fields, it’s a joy to find one every now and then, right here in Canberra. Our “Bucking the Trends” series is all about this, really. Whilst, in a recent article, I wrote that most business owners out there have simply bought themselves a job (and don’t get me wrong, that’s perfectly alright if that’s your goal), others are true entrepreneurs, goal-driven to achieve and do so.
Todd Wright, from Threesides Marketing, is just such a savvy, young gun. A Canberra entrepreneur, who will always call Canberra home; he went to school here, grew up here, and cut his teeth on business here whilst he was still at school. Todd is going places – you can tell.
His earliest experiences in business were certainly great training grounds for what was to come later. As kids, he and his brother had a chicken business. Yes, they sold chickens (no, in this case, the chicken came before the egg), to family friends, as well as school friends and acquaintances, right from their very own backyard.
Also, whilst he was in Yr. 11 at Lake Tuggeranong College, he won the Australian Business Plan Awards (an entrepreneurial business plan competition for Australian students nationwide). His plan was for his uncle (who sold leather belts in a market stall in Sydney); it was a plan based on a real business, which had given him an edge. At the Awards night dinner, the Federal Minister for Small Business asked our young entrepreneur if he had any belts. Todd whipped off the belt from his own trousers (luckily they stayed up), and sold it to him for $20! Now if that doesn’t augur well for future entrepreneurship, I don’t know what does!
Todd also re-tells some amusing stories of going to Trash ’N Treasure with his dad. They were the Steptoe & Son pair (he describes his dad as the Arthur Daley of Kambah), who sold all manner of things regularly at markets.
By the age of 16yrs, he had set up his real first business called Evolve Communication Training, a leadership training company – he almost gained a $20,000 grant from the then Head of the Department of Education in 1997. But he learned a big lesson at that time; don’t rely on governments for your business income.
Realising he needed broader experience, he spent a few years working in hospitality. Todd believes in fact, that: “It should be mandatory for everyone to work in hospitality for a year; to learn how to work hard (for long hours and low pay), experience abuse, as well as what it feels like to make someone’s day, to learn about money, and simply learning to deal with other people”. He might have something there!
Todd’s family business today is a thriving, dedicated marketing business called “Threesides Marketing”. He defines ‘marketing’ as essentially: “Finding and keeping customers”.
The company is a ‘digital first’ agency, which provides end-to-end marketing, ideally to businesses who have been around a while. Threesides supplies end-to-end tailored solutions for their clients — from research to planning, implementation, and finally, evaluating.
Threesides has won many accolades for their work (like an Australian Marketing Institute award for a “Wild About Whales” campaign) and always looks towards other companies in his industry to learn from. He often finds, though, that Threesides Marketing is right up there with some of the biggest national agencies, which is gratifying. But even though Threesides has clients all around Australia, his heart remains in Canberra. Todd’s biggest buzz is getting referrals right here, on home turf.
But he is quick to point out too, that his firm is not all things to all people. Rather, for the right clients, it’s often a perfect match.
Todd Wright is bucking the trends in business and we can be proud of one of our very own, Canberra entrepreneurs.