How to grow a small sustainable business

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Running a small business has become a part of the Australian dream. It is not always an easy step to take, yet it can be a very rewarding one. Anthony Ainsworth, 52, from Albury made the decision to take the plunge almost two years ago. After working in the corporate sector and also being made redundant, it was perfect opportunity to take that step for Anthony and his family.

In early 2016, with the help of some savings, Anthony and his wife Marie Bucher purchased Butt’s Gourmet Smokehouse.  “This place is quite small. The risks associated with it were quite low.”

Butt’s Gourmet Smokehouse is a butchery specialising in smoked meats. It is one of the few smokehouses in Australia using wood fire smoke ovens to hot smoke their products. With a rich history behind it, Butt’s Smokehouse is well known for its excellent reputation for quality products.

Ever since Anthony took over he has extended the range of products available. “I wanted to have a unique offering. This was the perfect opportunity to grow into a more sustainable, profitable and productive small business,” he adds. Anthony wanted to further improve the taste and quality of the meats on offer. “I’ve been working hard to remove additives from our products,” he says. “To do that I’ve established strong relationships with local farmers, moving to an all-natural cure away from synthetics and we are steadily removing ‘E’ numbers from our products.”

Using a sustainable approach hasn’t always been an easy task. “It took me a solid six to nine months to learn everything,” he admits. “It wasn’t a profitable six months. The main thing I focused on was quality control. Basically, I was tasting everything we had in store.”

“It took me a solid 6 to 9 months to learn everything”

As a father of three, Anthony takes an interest in sustainability personally. “As a father, I want to lead by example,” he says. This dedicated father of three girls also invested greatly in making a great product. He says he knows exactly what goes into each item. “It’s all about respecting the product and doing the best we can. It makes me proud to be selling products that are sustainable.” Anthony says he has noticed that customers are becoming increasingly interested in what went into the products they were purchasing.

With a financial background, the transition to running Butt’s Gourmet Smokehouse was everything Anthony anticipated. “I spend 50 per cent of my time thinking about the customers, 20 per cent thinking about the structure and 30 per cent is left for functional strategic purposes,” he says. The family who sold the business to Anthony were incredibly helpful and supportive, ensuring a smooth transition.

Watch (above) to learn how to use sustainability to build a brand

Anthony also received immense support from the local community, caterers and restaurant owners. “They helped me understand what it takes to make great products,” he says. For Anthony, his goal is to make Butt’s Smokehouse a thriving, sustainable small business built on consistently delivering excellent quality products.

With each customer, he’s helping to make the Australian dream a more sustainable one.

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