Riding the wave of success
Don’t let Hayden Cox’ age deceive you; this young entrepreneur has earned his stripes.
After spending much of his formative years surfing on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Cox launched his surfboard shaping company, Haydenshapes, at age 15 when he began shaping boards for friends and family. Less than 10 years later, he’d secured a patent for his revolutionary FiberFlex surfboard technology, which is now being used by board manufacturers and distributors around the world.
At just 29, Cox has managed to turn his surfboard-shaping hobby into a multi-million dollar business, renowned in the international surfing community and one he expects to see 400 percent growth in the next 12 months.
Cox takes Dynamic Business through his fears as a young entrepreneur and why he wouldn’t change a thing about his journey.
Q. What were some of the main reasons you decided to start your own business, especially given you were quite young?
I kind of fell into my business thanks to my high school surfboard-shaping hobby. I quickly found there was enough demand for the boards I was shaping to start a business.
It just felt like it suited me, and I was really interested in working on something that I enjoy doing.
Q. What scared you the most about taking the leap to become an entrepreneur?
I had a few fears but I’d fully realised I could do it before I made the leap into running my own factories and offices. I’d gradually grown my business from a hobby into a functioning business over the last three or four years I was in high school, and the years following school.
The biggest fear is failure, but the numbers on paper show you that if you work hard and do it all right, there is nothing to worry about.
Q. What do you see as the biggest benefits of owning your own business?
The benefit is that I am doing something that I really love. I have the flexibility to take the business where I want to, so I can choose what I do.
The benefits will hopefully be more fruitful in years to come, when I have the business structured and setup to operate without me having to be involved day to day.
Q. How do you ensure you stay focused and committed to your business?
The drive can come only from yourself and you need to have it to get you through the tough times, because there are plenty of them.
Staying focused is easy when you have a plan you can refer back to when you feel like you’re moving off track. As for commitment, I don’t think you could run a successful business without it.
Q. Any tips for young people who also have a great idea, but might find the thought of starting a business scary?
Once you have your idea or product, run your numbers a couple of times. Try to think about all the different business models you could use to capitalise on your idea or product. Then, create a business plan looking at how you’re going to execute your business model.
You can always look at your business plan from a different perspective if it isn’t working well, but you can’t look at a plan that doesn’t exist from a different perspective.
Q. Looking back, is there anything you wish you’d done differently?
No, I don’t have any regrets and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Everything happens for a reason and you learn from each mistake, which makes you wiser in the future. Just don’t make the same mistake twice.
- Read more about Hayden’s entrepreneurial journey in Nokia’s new online book, In Hindsight.