Small businesses marking a 10 year milestone!

- April 24, 2017 12 MIN READ

Kochie’s Business Builders is celebrating its 10th anniversary but we aren’t the only ones. Thousands of other Australian small businesses have also been around for more than a decade. We know how much hard work it takes to keep a small business going so we salute you.

Sackett & Weir Accountants

Sackett & Weir is an accounting practice with traditional values dedicated to assisting, educating and advising our clients while providing them with a professional and personal customer experience.

Name: Leanne Reardon

Q. What are your best memories of more than 10 years in small business?
A. It’s all about meeting and helping our clients. The relationships we form with them are the highlights and this is something we see every day when a client walks in our door with a smile on their face. Clients are proud to tell us they have been coming to our office for more than 60 years.

Q. What have been your biggest challenges?
A. Being situated in a regional area meant that we lacked access to the latest technology and software. However, I overcame with problem by joining a group of accountants, meeting up every quarter for accountability sessions. Being a part of this group involved the sharing of knowledge and ideas, meeting with face-to-face, gave me access to information I wouldn’t have had access to just staying local.

Q. How did you start your small business ?
A. The owner decided to retire at the age of 79 in 2007. With encouragement and support from my family, I decided to take over the business myself. I took over the business on 31st January 2008 and started with an overdraft of $20,000.

Q. How long have you been watching Kochie’s Business Builders?
A. I’m an avid supporter of the TV show! Two of my favourite stories are the start-ups of Boost Juice and Carman’s Muesli. I loved hearing about the start-up stories where a business has started with one person and a great idea. I have definitely picked up on many tips over the years which have contributed to where I am today.

The Regent Florist

The Regent Florist is a retail florist specialising in only the finest, fresh flowers and luxury gifts and homewares.

Name: Louise Elliott- McLennan

Q. What are your highlights from more than 10 years in small business?
A. With over 20 years of business behind us we have so many highlights. But by far moving stores was the biggest! We moved in 1999 into a store with the floor space being 18 times larger than our original store.

Q. What have been your biggest challenges?
A. When I first purchased the business, I was a qualified 23-year-old florist. And I had no idea how a business financially ran. Thankfully, my Mum would drive up an hour each way a couple of times a week and would run my books. She has been doing that for the last 15 years now.

Q. How did you start your small business and how much capital did you start it with?
A. I bought The Regent Florist using a business loan which was for $12,000. And then I used some of my savings to make the shop my own with new signage and decor.

Q. How long have you been watching KBB TV?
A. The TV show has been my go-to for the over five years. It has kept me on the straight and narrow over the years. It has motivated me through some tough times, answered questions I wasn’t ready to ask, and made me question (rightfully) some of my decisions.

Trimmer Tree

Trimmer Tree specialise in tree removal & pruning, stump grinding, block clearing, power line clearing and climbing & rope work. They also offer a range of other services including storm damage assistance, excavator/loader hire, confined space tree removal and tree hazard assessments

Name: Paul & Belinda Tiziani

Q. What are your highlights of more than 10 years in small business in Australia?
A. Our biggest highlight would have to be still being in business after 18 years. It’s extremely hard for small business to succeed in Australia with rising costs, wages, taxes etc. It can completely cripple a business.

Q. What have been your biggest challenges?
A. On a monthly basis managing cash flow and getting through all the bills have been tough. Thinking you have money in the bank and then getting hit with the bas statement, superannuation, tax. We have often been quite down in the dumps pondering over why we are doing this. It seems like we are working for the tax office. It’s really hard for small business to succeed, especially, when you are a sole proprietor, the taxes can crumble you.

Q. How did you start your small business?
A. I was a panel beater by trade at the time and was wanting a change in scenery. I was helping my father out during the weekends doing tree removals. An existing business came up for sale and I decided to go for it. I had to get a business loan which was extremely hard at the time and wasn’t so straight forward. From memory, we didn’t really have much capital to play with at all. Perhaps a few thousand dollars and business loan we needed to pay for.

Q. What has been the best tip you have picked up from Kochie’s Business Builders?
My favourite memory was an interview with the proprietor of E & C Joinery in Pakenham. It was so great to see such a humble and down-to-earth individual succeed in business for over 20 years. The best tip was to stay humble, don’t try and get too big, never get greedy and you can only do what you can manage.

Sun City Solar

Sun City Solar are a small, dedicated team supplying energy solutions to the Midwest, to reduce clients operational/living costs and further reduce their alliance on fossil fuels and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Name: Scott Lee Phillips

Q. What are your best memories of more than 10 years in small business?
A. It would have to be being an employer of choice. All my past and present team members have and are still willing to help out at any given time if required. Since I have helped them further their paths and start small businesses of their own, I have always been a phone call away to help them with my expertise.

Q. What have been your biggest challenges?
A. One of our toughest challenges was re-organising all the finances and keeping the team together. I had accumulated a huge amount of debt on top of borrowed funds to buy the premises, new shop, five vehicles, tools and equipment and personal housing debt (well over E$1,000,000). But due to my forecasting, I believed there would be a down turn. I expected the run to go for five years and it did. This coincided with the final payments of four of our vehicles, so I had effectively reduced operational costs by over $10,000 per month! Yet eighteen months later, even with a slow economy, we are still surviving!

Q. Why did you start your small business?
A. I was looking for ‘a new frontier’. I’ve always had a passion for renewable energy. I was unsure if my direction towards a renewable future was the right decision. I didn’t spend too much money setting up, approximately $10,000.

Q. How long have you been watching/reading Kochie’s Business Builders?
I have been following Kochie’s Business Builders since David Koch has been on TV! The episodes about managing cash flow has particularly caught my interest because this is a problem many small businesses face in order to stay afloat. The biggest and most notable tip was being positive and always trying to look to the future for changes, improvements and new ideas.

Ontrack Automotive

Ontrack Automotive is an independent family owned business based in Ferntree Gully and fully appreciate the value of being able to work and play with your 4×4 vehicle. With a great team, over 20 years’ experience in the 4×4 automotive industry, a fully equipped workshop, and established relationships with quality product suppliers, we can cater for all 4×4 needs.

Name: Phil Cochrane

Q. What are your best memories from more than 10 years in small business?
A. Our best memory would have to be in 2009 when we put in a tender to do work to 30 CFA vehicles. We have now completed over 400 vehicles for the CFA and since have gone onto bigger and better things.

Q. What have been your biggest challenges?
A. One of our biggest challenges has been employing good, honest and reliable staff. When you find a great one, you keep them and look after them.

Q. How long have you been Kochie’s Business Builders?
I have been watching Kochie’s Business Builders for a while now. My favourite part of the show was the part about franchising businesses and what to look out for. I find KBB to be a very informative TV show!

SignsPlus Graphics

Signs Plus Graphics is an Australian-owned and operated Sign Company in Wagga Wagga, NSW. We produce quality general signage and advertising, logo design, installation and consultancy to local businesses to enable their products or brand to achieve recognition in the marketplace via attractive sign solutions.

Name: Daniel Seddon

Q.What are your best memories (or highlights) 10 years+ in small business?
A. We have had many highlights during our time in business, but a couple that spring to mind are the purchase of our own commercial premises and also a really large job we completed for the RAAF BASE in Wagga Wagga which was a project we are very proud of. Also being able to employ great young people and watch them grow into valuable employees.

Q.What have been your biggest challenges?
A. I think like most small businesses the biggest challenges have been cash flow and staff over the years, but we have put systems in place and built a culture to combat these issues and feel like we have managed to get a good balance of respect and flexibility with our customers and staff.

Q. When did you start your business and how much capital did you start with?
A. At the age of 22 i decided I wanted to start my own business. I had a passion for art from a very young age and my father actually advised me to “Never waste your talent, you will regret it i can assure you”! So i heeded his words and approached the big four banks and some other lending facilities with my business plan to make it in the sign game! That plan was quickly squashed by the banks and i almost gave up, but my grandmother saw my disappointment and loaned me the $10,000 I needed for my capital.

Q.How long have you been watching Kochie’s Business Builders?
I have been watching Kochie’s Business show for a couple of years and found it very helpful just seeing how quickly some businesses who have a great product and a good business model can propel themselves into the market and succeed.

This has helped me make changes and redirect my business to stay relevant compared to when I started (20 years ago) it was all paint brushes and ladders as compared to these days with the advent of technology on the sign industry. I think the best tip i have taken from the show is to “stay focused and have a clear budget and plan for your business and follow it”.

Gascoigne Consulting 

Gascoigne Consulting is run by Amanda, Ryan and a small team of dedicated and professional staff who offer personalised, practical and tailored taxation, accounting, business development and superannuation advice to individuals and small to medium-sized family businesses.

Name: Amanda Gascoigne

Q.What are your best memories of more than 10 years in small business?
A. One of my best memories was when I was celebrating 15 years in business. It was a period of great reflection for me of what I had accomplished and what was going to be possible.

Q.What have been your biggest challenges?
A. My biggest challenge has been myself. My need to constantly strive for perfection, my workaholic attitude and my need to please everyone which often caused havoc with my notion of a work/life balance. I had to learn to say no and only say yes to the things that were good for me and my business.

Q. Why did you start your small business?
A. I was about to start a family and my employer at the time had no formal maternity leave policy. I decided that it would be a perfect time to start a business of my own, work from home and gradually grow my client base and family at the same time. I was in control! I started the business back in 1999. Word of mouth was how my business grew and is the main source of our continued growth.

Q.How long have you been watching Kochie’s Business Builders?
I have been watching KBB for many years now. One of my favourite parts on the TV show was about why sleep is important. When I was working much longer hours per day I always ensured I got enough sleep. My day would start at 4am. Usually they are filled to the brim with client appointments and work. I kept to these hours so as to not inconvenience my family. This is one of my secrets of being productive.

Brookes Timber and Hardware P/L

Brookes Time and Hardware is a home Hardware and Timber store offering paint, plumbing, camping and Birite Electrical to locals and tourists that come to Port Fairy.

Name: Ken & June Brookes

Q.What are your best memories of more than 10 years in small business?
A. There have been a lot of highlights over the years but moving locations in 1983 and winning tickets to an AFL Grand Final based on sales. That was awesome!

Q.What have been your biggest challenges?
A. Some of the many challenges have been creating work-life balance, moving into computers and the digital work environment which is now required.

Q. Why did you start your business and how much capital did you start with?
A. We purchased an existing hardware store as the owner was retiring. The only money we had was a mortgage from the bank and our savings. When we moved locations more money was required which then involved negotiating with the banks.

Q. How long have you been reading Kochie’s Business Builders?
 I often browse through Facebook and try to gain tips to use in our business either from a customer or staff point of view.

Adina Watches

Adina Watches remains a stronghold in regional Australia. Adina continues to set the standard in design and technological innovation, while remaining true to its Australian roots.

Name: Grant Menzies

Q. What are your best memories of more than 10 years in small business?
A. Seeing our watches on Australians every single day. Sometimes I hop on a plane and see people wearing them. It is very satisfying making these watches and seeing others wear then.

Q. What have been your biggest challenges?
A. As a person, it was challenging to work in close proximity with my father for more than 20 years. As a business, it was tough trying to stay relevant and fresh. When you are running a 50-year-old business, you have to try and remain innovative.

Q. How did you start your small business start?
A. My father, Bob Menzies, is a watchmaker by trade. He saw the opportunity in the Australian market. He felt he could deliver a product equal to or better than the imported ones. He saw a gap in the market and went for it!

Q. How long have you been watching Kochie’s Business Builders? 
A. I started watching the show around two years ago. My favourite memory would have to be Angus Kennard sharing his tips for business success. What resonated with me was communication. And how important communication is up and down the chain of command. It is the supply in a small business.

Viktoria Novak

Launching her label, Viktoria Novak in 2006, acclaimed Milliner Viktoria is renowned in the bridal and fashion industry for her exquisite Millinery talent. With a background in Interior Design, Fashion Design and Millinery, Viktoria brings luxurious artistic designs to the forefront of fashion.

Name: Viktoria Novak

Q. What are your best memories of more than 10 years in small business?
A. Looking and reflecting back on achievements. With small business, you tend to go along with the journey. But sometimes you just got to stop, absorb and see what you have created. Celebrating what you have accomplished is very important!

Q. What have been your biggest challenges?
A. Time. I wish I had more time on my hands. I have all these ideas swimming around in my head. But I just lose track of time because I want to everything. I just need to refine myself more as a designer. I tend to want to do more. It’s about learning who you are as a person and realising that your personality doesn’t necessarily match with your business structure.

Q. Why and how did you start your small business?
A. To be honest it happened by accident. I have always been creative. While studying, I always had a knack for designing. What started out as a hobby turned into something real. At the time, I realised there weren’t many head pieces in the market which was what pushed me in this direction.

Q. How long have you been watching Kochie’s Business Builders?
I’ve been watching the show ever since it first started. Every week, I always take something away from the show and use it towards my small business. I love seeing and being inspired by other people on a similar journey.

Kochie’s Business Builders 

David Koch speaking at KBB HQ – celebrating 10 years in small business

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