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October 11, 2022

CEOs present 60 ideas in 60 minutes at Mainebiz forum

CEOs seated on stage Photo / Renee Cordes Tuesday's Mainebiz CEO Forum featured (from left) Sarah Belliveau of BerryDunn; Danielle Betts of Knickerbocker Group; Rich Cantz of Goodwill Northern New England; Fred Forsley of Shipyard Brewing Co.; Justin Hafner of Kinotek; and Mark Murrell of Get Maine Lobster.

Business failures can also offer opportunities, as Portland digital health startup Kinotek knows after taking three years to get up and running before realizing the need to register its platform as a medical device.

The company completed the registration process in six weeks rather than the two years it would normally have taken, learning a lot in the process. 

"The team grew stronger because of it," Justin Hafner, Kinotek's founder and chief strategy officer, said at Tuesday's Mainebiz CEO Forum in Portland. His takeaway from that experience: "Failure is painful, but it also creates an amazing opportunity ... if we can reframe failure as more of a positive."

Hafner was joined by five other panelists sharing 10 ideas each, or 60 ideas in 60 minutes, which spanned from the practical to the philosophical in an event that drew more than 130 attendees at the Holiday Inn By the Bay. 

'Your brand is who you are and what you do'

Fred Forsley on stage
Photo / Renee Cordes
Fred Forsley, founder and CEO of Shipyard Brewing Co., offered a mini-master class in branding at Tuesday's event.

Offering a mini-master class on branding, Fred Forsley, founder and CEO of Shipyard Brewing Co., said, "Your brand is who you are and what you do." He also said, "If you don't identify with your brand ... my first advice is to do something else."

He made his point with a lively show-and-tell of branded merchandise from Shipyard and others. As for Shipyard's future, he said, "This is our global brand, and we're behind it 150%, and there's no turning back."

Keep the math simple 

Mark Murell, founder and CEO of Get Maine Lobster in Portland, said his solution for suffering from "shiny object syndrome" is sticking to a simple-math business model. He does that by focusing on 20% of units that produce 80% of the company's revenue, or what he calls the 80/20 rule, and using that as a basis to scale. "It's a great way to be able to hone in and focus," he said.

Pause before hitting 'send'

On a similarly practical note, Rich Cantz, CEO of Goodwill Northern New England, suggested pausing before responding to any emotionally charged email. Better yet, he said, "pick up the phone or just go see the person and have a conversation." While that's sometimes hard to do, taking the time to do that "will serve you well, beyond that particular interaction."

Take time for 'free thinking'

Sarah Belliveau, CEO of accounting firm BerryDunn, recommends setting time aside for free thinking and "wander the halls" to talk to people outside one's normal sphere. 

"It's easy to become overwhelmed by our calendars" she said, “but the day-to-day details is not where we're inspired."  

'Your ethos is why'

Danielle Betts talking on stage
Photo / Renee Cordes
Knickerbocker Group President Danielle Betts talking about ethos at the Mainebiz CEO Forum in Portland.

"Your work is what you do. Your ethos is why you do it," said Danielle Betts, president of Knickerbocker Group, a Boothbay- and Portland-based design and build firm, providing architecture, interior design, construction and property management services. 

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