Showpo CEO Jane Lu’s Best Advice for Young People Getting into Business

Showpo CEO Jane Lu offers business advice for young people
Network Ten

“Shark Tank Australia” is back in business. For the first time since 2018, “Shark Tank” has made its return to the air, and our all-new panel of Sharks are ready to invest in the dreams (and products) of our hopeful Aussie entrepreneurs. One of the new Sharks in the Tank this year is Showpo CEO Jane Lu. No big deal, but she’s worth a very casual $55 million, so when we got the opportunity to chat to her, we wanted as much advice as we could get!

Jane Lu’s Advice for Young People Who Want to Start a Business

“I think there’s almost a certain skill to starting a business,” Jane says over the phone. “You have to think about it as a long-term thing. It’s all about the long game, and learning, and taking risks, and learning.”

Like anything else in life, practice makes perfect, and Jane says that it’s the same when it comes to launching a business.

“Have a go, test it out,” she says. “It’s okay to start with an okay idea and just get better at starting businesses, that is a skill [in itself], and there’s so much you can learn.”

As you grow, and learn from your mistakes along the way, Jane says that you “might pivot into a better idea”, or “it might lead to other things”. The aim of the game is to build your experience and to keep learning as you go.

“When you get the million dollar idea, the multi-million dollar idea, you’re READY, because you know exactly what to do,” she says.

“It would be so easy for me to set up a business right now, compared to my first business,” she explains.

Jane goes on to say that when she started her first business, “it took months” to build the website. When she started Showpo, she learned from that, and built the website overnight.

“I knew what not to do,” she says, and the results of her experience were evident immediately.

“It was so much quicker!” she exclaims. “We sold products in a week.”

The lesson, she says, is to think of being in business as a skill in and of itself.

“Don’t think of it as like, ‘I wanna do this, and if I fail, that’s it’,” she says. “It’s like, no, you’re actually learning the skill of being in business. Being an entrepreneur.

“I know I have a business podcast, but don’t spend too long listening and watching. Just start doing!” Jane says. She laughs. “I’m like, undercutting everything I do.”

The Most Important Characteristics for Being Successful in Business

When it comes to navigating the business world, Jane says that being a little bit naive and a bit of a risk taker can often pay off.

“I almost think it’s important to be a little bit naive,” she says, “because otherwise you overthink it and you just won’t do it. Sometimes if people are too smart, it stops them from doing.

“And then risk taking,” she adds. “Because if you don’t take the risk, nothing will happen. So I think the more important trait is to actually just do it, because the actioning part is probably the hardest!”

Mistakes Jane Has Made That We Can Avoid

So now we know what’s required to be a girlboss, but what about girlbossing too close to the sun? Mistakes are inevitable, of course, but some are avoidable.

Jane says that the most important thing is to stay true to your brand, your vision and your strategy.

“I guess the biggest thing is to not get swept up by what your competitors are doing, and be like ‘oh! If they’re doing that, it’ll work for us!’” she says. “Just think, if you’re doing what they’re doing, then you’re losing your own strategy and direction, and the opportunity costs of what strategy you previously had.”

“Shark Tank Australia” airs at 7.30pm on Tuesdays, only on 10 and 10 Play on Demand. Miss an episode? Catch up now on 10 Play.

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