Dan Murray is the Owner and Director of Sly Underwear. After noticing a gap in the underwear market that existed between high priced designer underwear and what he describes as “what nanna buys you for Christmas,” Dan began selling his first lot of sly underwear out the back of his Van. Less than 3 years down the track and Sly Underwear now supplies to over 170 stores across Australia and New Zealand, an exponential growth pattern that has not gone unnoticed by foreign distributors in the UK, US and most recently the highly influential Benelux region of Europe.
3 trends that excite you?
For me, I really enjoy the whole mechanics of a business and I’m lucky to be learning on the job with support round me. I find it fascinating to set an end target down the track and then work out a plan to get there. Setting sales targets and strategies, the marketing campaigns that tie in to drive sales and then reaching the milestones that have been set is something that I get a kick out of.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Amongst other things, I believe that decisions bring ideas to life. Deciding on exactly what “life” is for your idea, deciding on how quickly you want to get there, on what you are willing to sacrifice and then deciding on a plan to make it happen. Consciously making decisions is what spins the wheels of an idea.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by one main thought: We have around 80 years alive and then we are done, so as corny as it sounds we literally have one chance at life. I want to live my 80 years waking up feeling happy, motivated and like I’m making the most of my time. Learning, growing and applying the knowledge I am gaining to make money and spending the money to make the most of my 80 years is what inspires me every day to get out of bed. It’s almost a self-perpetuating cycle.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
Just one? Ha-ha I’ve made many mistakes but the biggest mistake I’ve made in business is jumping into something without having your back-end able to cope. It’s easy to get excited and keep pushing to open more opportunities, but if you can’t back it up by delivering then not only is it a waste of time but it can burn bridges in the future. There’s a fine line between being pro-active and shooting yourself in the foot from poor planning.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Don’t listen to people when they say “the number one rule in business is…” Well do listen to them, but make sure you keep an open mind and back your instincts, because there are A LOT of “number one rules” to a successfully functioning company, most of which I’m yet to discover.
What is one book and one tool that helps you?
One book is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – it certainly helps me day to day.
One tool would have to be iTunes – music triggers and sets moods for me which are vital for how I attack every situation.
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
Anyone that has been in business from a young age and has succeeded…I’d love to see how they did it!
How do you feel the internet and social networking has affected business?
Being young, the internet has made the business world a far easier place to get started. Starting out at 17, it would have been far more difficult to gain respect or even been taken seriously if all things were still done face to face or on the phone. By using email and websites, it provided a sense of mystery in the early days which enabled me to talk to people and get information that I imagine would have been a whole lot harder if they had known I was a 17 year old with no experience!
How do you manage to separate your work and personal life?
There has to be a work/life balance for me. if I sacrifice my social life my business life is compromised because I’m not feeling happy, but if I spend too much time socializing and no business then I don’t enjoy the down time because I feel as though I’m not being productive. It’s a fine line but so long as you back your instincts and have an end goal to guide you it’s not too hard to stay on track.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.