Lessons learned: the road to Vinomofo

27 November 2018

Key points

  • If you have a business idea start taking action to make it happen
  • Learn from your mistakes
  • Look at successful business models and replicate these with your passion.


Just start – that’s the key message from Vinomofo founder Justin Dry to budding entrepreneurs.

The CEO of the Australian online wine retailer said lots of people have the same ideas, but the difference between success and failure is taking action.

"Starting is the hardest thing,” Justin said at a recent Bankwest Connect Event.

“So many people talk about starting a business, but very few people actually start.”

Learning from your mistakes

Justin’s entrepreneurial nature stretches right back to his early teenage years when he was washing cars and selling Christmas trees on the side of the road to make some money. He’s also had forays into property development, where he made and later lost millions of dollars, as well as a number of other businesses in the food and wine sector.

Vinomofo was initially borne from one of Justin’s earlier company’s Qwoff, an online wine community where people could rate and review wines.

Justin said it was ok if initial business ideas didn’t work out as long as learnings could be taken from that and applied later.

“I don’t care if the first idea sucks, because the first 20 ideas sucked for me but then it leads to good things like Vinomofo,” he said.

“Vinomofo – each of those businesses leading into it – kept evolving over time as we learnt more along the way.”

“Just start. Just pick one idea and do it,” he said.

Finding inspiration

For inspiration and ideas, Justin said budding entrepreneurs should consider looking at successful business models, and applying those to their own area of expertise or passion.

“Looking for ideas, I was always looking at other spaces,” Justin said, explaining how he took inspiration from the online daily discount retailer Groupon to launch Vinomofo.

“Find your passion,” he said. “Wine was mine, business was mine, tech was mine. Find that, then look in other spaces for inspiration.”

“It was me getting inspiration from other places and then putting it all together.”

“Ideas, quite often, just are not original. There’s 1,000 people thinking about the same thing. It’s all about execution.”

“Find your passion, just start, then execute and make it happen.”

Sharing lessons learned

During the Bankwest Connect Event, Justin shared his biggest learnings throughout his journey to building Vinomofo, which today has more than 600,000 members in Australia.

This included the need to avoid perfection to ensure the business could continually move forward, be it optimising a website or creating a new service experience.

He said the company uses the mantra “progress over perfection” to ensure this was instilled.

“Just launch it and get it out in market and learn. So launch, learn, build – launch, learn, build.”

He also said it was important to avoid being “all things to all people”.

“Go all in on your strengths. Focus on your strengths and hire on your weaknesses,” he said.

He also urged entrepreneurs and business owners to regularly step outside their comfort zones.

“The fear of rejection or the fear of people telling you your idea is dumb gets in the way for a lot of people,” he said.

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The information contained in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to be nor should it be considered as professional advice. You should not act on the basis of anything contained in this publication without first obtaining specific professional advice. To the extent permitted by law, Bankwest, a division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL/Australian credit licence 234945, its related bodies corporate, employees and contractors accepts no liability or responsibility to any persons for any loss which may be incurred or suffered as a result of acting on or refraining from acting as a result of anything contained in this publication.