Why we launched LeadingCompany

It is always a nerve-racking moment pressing go on a new venture, as all business leaders know.

And launching LeadingCompany, which is aimed at helping the leaders of mid-level and large companies meet the challenge of modern leadership, is not a modest goal.

Private Media chairman Eric Beecher, directors John Addis and Chong Weng Ho and publisher James Thomson have been working on this publication for the best part of a year, exploring the marketplace, developing great ideas for new and fresh content and reaching out to some of the best sources of management insights in the world, including the Harvard Business Review, whose content will feature on LeadingCompany.

We’ve also found a great editor to lead the new site in Kath Walters, who has been a senior writer and editor at BRW for more than 15 years, covering leadership and change management across a range of areas.

Kath and contributing editor Leon Gettler, one of Australia’s leading management writers, will lead a great team of writers and contributors.

But launching LeadingCompany also has a personal meaning for me. It is the next step in creating a series of publications that are aimed at Australia’s business decision-makers.

When I started SmartCompany five years ago I wanted to create a daily online publication that could be consumed by busy entrepreneurs as they ran about their day which didn’t focus on the negative doom and gloom sensationalist stuff which is often the bread and butter of Fairfax and News Limited.

The aim of SmartCompany was to inform, educate, advise and motivate Australians wanting to build a bigger, better business. Yes, we do stories on business collapses – but from the angle of what can you learn.

SmartCompany now goes out to 50,000 entrepreneurs a day and reaches 180,000 unique browsers a month.

Having learnt how hard it was to launch SmartCompany, I vowed that once it was established I would go back and start a publication just for startups that inspired, motivated and warned them of the pitfalls. Because if you start smart, you have a better chance of avoiding dumb mistakes. And if I found it so hard with my knowledge and networks, I could only imagine what a nightmare it would be for the typical aspiring entrepreneur.

StartupSmart is the publication I wanted to read every day when I was starting up and it now talks to more than 10,000 fledgling entrepreneurs a day and itself is growing fast.

So here I am running a a medium-sized business and we want to become a leading online digital publisher in Australia. But what the hell do I read? Where is my community? Who gives a toss about the mid tier: the tens of thousands of great Australian companies and their leaders who take enormous risks every day to keep millions of people employed.

And how about how to get to the top? Or once you are there, how do you maintain your position as a leading company?

Hence LeadingCompany. So once again we have created a free publication, focused on the news and how-to for executives of leading companies – and one that I want to read. It is daily (sign up now) and will come out at 4.30pm with a market wrap and the leadership lessons of the day, along with some great insights from our contributors.

(Of course, if really want to stay in touch with Australian decision-makers, you should sign up for the StartupSmart newsletter, which comes out at 8.30am, SmartCompany at 12.30pm and LeadingCompany at 4.30pm, which pretty much covers the day for you. Oh, and you should also sign up to another Private Media publication, Property Observer, which comes about before lunch and advises property investors on the state of the market and the right properties to buy.)

Of course, we want to hear your news and views so make sure you contact LeadingCompany editor Kath Walters with story ideas. And look out for our events, both online and offline. The team has just returned from a series of launch events around the country with some terrific leading businesses. We can’t wait for more of these events!

A site like this does not come together without the work of a lot of people. Aside from Eric, James and Kath, I need to thank operations manager Campbell Corser and his team, general manager Amber Sloan and her team, our developers from Valegro, lead by Pieter Coetzee and Rick Giner, and our advertising team led by Claire Wallbank, Colette McShane and Sam Granleese. We have a truly brilliant team at Private Media!

So enjoy LeadingCompany and do us a favour: spread the word so we can all grow together.


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