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Turning passion into profit

SIOBHAN LEATHLEY
Last updated 05:00 18/02/2014
Vaughan Rowsell
Vend founder Vaughan Rowsell.

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Take risks, follow your passion and accept feedback are some of the key messages from successful entrepreneurs.

Vend founder Vaughan Rowsell described himself as a 'software guy'. His retail point-of-sale software company combines his passion for retail and software.

He said if he had not followed his passion, he could not have turned his 'crazy' idea into a company that now serves 10 thousand retailers worldwide.

Vend was founded in 2010. He said the idea behind it seemed incredibly simple and was surprised that no-one else had caught onto it.

Despite Vend's rapid growth over the last four years, it now operates in four countries and employs nearly 100 staff, Rowsell said there is no such thing as an overnight success.

"The seed was planted in my mind 20-odd years ago, and it's grown into an amazing pohutukawa."

He advised entrepreneurs to accept feedback and not be too proud to admit when they are wrong.

"It's ok to make mistakes."

Ecostore founder Malcolm Rands said all feedback was a gift. The people who are now his best customers were initially critical.

"When someone's taken the time to come back to you, it can do an amazing amount of good."

My Food Bag is an online service that delivers meal-kits, ingredients and recipes, to consumers' homes.

Managing director Cecilia Robinson she knew the online service was not 100 per cent right when launched. But them team used customer feedback to get it to this level.

Rands said: "The best way to promote your business is through word of mouth."

Word-of-mouth and social media were key in My Food Bag's launch.

In the weeks leading up to the launch the team distributed sample bags to well known, influential people.

During launch a tweet army - made up of these reviewers - shared tweeted their opinion on it.

Robinson said this was a risky thing to do, especially if it was not well received, but it worked in their favour.

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- Fairfax Media

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