Conversations: Mike Boorn Plener, Catapult

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Businesses struggle at different stages of their lifespan. Either in their initial phase, when trying to get an idea off the ground; or later years, when facing stagnation after success. Mike Boorn Plener founded Catapult with a vision to help organisations focus and have the right help at hand before pushing forward into a growth phase.

Tell us about Catapult Business Accelerator and its audience.

In essence, we help entrepreneurs and business owners grow their business. When a business is coming out of the startup phase, we help them scale up what’s proven to work best. When a business has been running for years and hit a stagnant point, we help rekindle the growth and set it on a straight path towards new successes. Or when an employee has been tinkering with a great product/service for a while, we help bring that to market with a high certainty of success.

For us to do that successfully, we are selective about who we work with. We evaluate all businesses and founders very carefully to ensure we can add significant value before we engage, this itself ensures a very high level of certainty for their future success. We believe it’s important to build the relationship first before looking to do business together.

What were you doing when the idea about Catapult came to you?
While running events, more and more people came forward and asked if we could help them with growing their business. From this, I realised that the business growth technology and systems we already had developed could have much wider applications. Catapult sprang naturally from these early beginnings.

What is the story behind the name ‘Catapult’?
Short and simple. The name to me illustrates in a single word the force and speed with which we can help a business grow. It originally was designed for a reality TV show we were planning!

You enable businesses to overcome challenging periods and meet their growth objectives. What is the key challenge you face in your role today?
We are always challenged by how fast the world moves. We are constantly reinventing ourselves, improving processes, building more relationships and partnerships so that we can assist our clients even better. A big challenge is that business growth can only be hurried along to a certain extent; sometimes we want things to go faster and can get impatient but the business owner might not be fully ready for the changes and so we have to work it through with them until they are.

What keeps you motivated in the face of challenges?
We’re in this game for what will be a very long journey, so I know that even if we cannot resolve all the challenges today, somebody else can help us resolve them tomorrow. We also have an amazing team of partners that include Deloitte Private, Hicksons, Sydney SEO, AWS and many others, and this really strengthens our resolve – as well as our capabilities. At the end of the day, it’s about that smile on a business owner’s face that makes it worthwhile to do it all over again tomorrow!

What is your vision for Catapult?
It’s straightforward. We aim to be the biggest business growth platform, enabling more business owners to achieve a higher level of success in a shorter period than they otherwise could. An important part of the vision is that the technology and wisdom we have is available to as broad a segment of the marketplace as possible. Too many businesses struggle for no reason, other than because they simply don’t have the right structures and advice to lean on. We are here to fix that and in the process make a real impact on the economy.

For example, imagine you ask a $1B company to double in size in the next five years instead of its usual sluggish 5% growth rate; not easy to do even for a great CEO. Now, imagine 1,000 smaller businesses growing an extra $1M in revenue in that same five years – many owners and entrepreneurs would find that both feasible and delightful.

What does success mean to you?
Success is looking at the face of a client when you see that light bulb go on inside their head and they silently say, “Got it!” – to me that’s priceless.

How would you describe your dream lifestyle?
A great balance where I spend time consulting and helping people achieve their life goals, counterpointed with quiet time for reflection and writing, peppered with lots of great moments with people full of wisdom and love. HC Andersen once said, “To travel is to live” and being able to practice this anywhere in the world would be the ultimate dream.

Do you have a quote or life mantra that motivates you?
“See the world; it’s the most mind-expanding drug available.”


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