Sixteen years ago, mates Graeme Rutter and Ben Trussell decided to give up their corporate jobs to pursue life as small business owners. The pair set up shop in Adelaide, opening a plant rental service.
Shortly after Trussell and Rutter shifted their focus to artificial flowers, boasting that their replica floral arrangements could rival the real thing. 80 franchises later, the boys’ business is a global success story with Floral Image stores located in 20 countries around the world.
Speaking of the business inception Trussell tells Kochie’s Business Builders he and Rutter were “sick of the corporate world” and wanted to try their hand at something new when they came up with the idea of Floral Image. It wasn’t long before the Adelaide lads began getting calls from corporates from interstate eager to sample their replica blooms.
Today Floral Image has over 30,000 businesses on their books and stores in locations as far-flung as Dublin and Sao Paulo.
Trussell and Rutter continue to keep a firm hand on the reins, maintaining the master franchises for Floral Image. Yet Trussell explains scaling up the business so rapidly, hasn’t been plain sailing.
“As we went on this journey of franchising we uncovered a lot of pressure on our cash flow and our working capital,” he says.
“The demands of a franchise were very different to the planning and expectations that went around running our own corporate businesses. So we found ourselves very short in cash flow and working capital.
Fortunately for Trussell and Rutter, help was at hand.
“Our NAB representative was able to quickly identify the strength of the business. He did his own research even before we met. He knew more than many of our customers and suppliers. Having that understanding of the business he was quickly able to deliver a result for us and from that point on you can really see the growth of the business.”
Watch the Floral Image story.