My start in business
I was always drawn to new and exciting ideas, but I was always on the outside looking in, until I saw the first real chance to bring something new to my community. It was 2010 and I was in California with my now wife and we had some self-serve frozen yoghurt. At the time, I had been living in Byron Bay for 3 years and knew immediately that something like this with an Aussie twist, would be a raging success. The problem was I had just finished my Bachelor’s Degree in Audio Engineering and had no money! So I started doing two things: learning and saving. I borrowed $3000 from my dad and used it to develop a brand (Yoflo) and buy one cheap frozen yoghurt machine from China. Six weeks later, I set it up on the corner of Johnson and Marvel street in Byron Bay and that was the start of my first company.
Fast forward 4 years and we were turning over a million dollars in sales at two locations; Byron Bay and Newstead. I successfully sold Yoflo in 2019 after 9 years of investing time and money learning everything I could, not just in the food retail industry but more about what makes a business successful and how does it need to work in order to attract the most buyers when the time comes.
My highs and lows in business
It was around the time we were crossing a million dollars per annum mark that I found myself working 80+ hour weeks, and taking home only a couple hundred dollars! That was when I realised your top line means nothing if the bottom line reads $0. Unfortunately, most people only like to talk about their top line, because their bottom line isn’t pretty and almost all small business owners can remember a time when they were in the same situation. Some of us had to endure it for longer than others, but the one lesson we all get taught is that those times in business become our catalyst for change. Whether that means to sell, close or get help, the only thing certain is that type of work-life balance has to stop one way or the other.
For me, I got help, if other people can do it successfully, surely I could manage a couple of stores. So I invested heavily in coaching. This meant borrowing more money and going further into debt which was an extremely difficult decision but it was the best possible thing I could do. Not only did I learn how a business needs to operate, but I was also able to implement all this knew knowledge into my business and experience the positive change that occurred. Within months I started working less, reducing my stress and scaling my time. I built a system to funnel in the perfect profile employees who became my longest-serving employees (some are still at the company today) allowing me to rely on them more and step away from the business. Lastly, I started to earn more, turning my debt into a positive investment where I got 10 x back from what I borrowed within 2 years!
How I sold my business and the experience with brokers
When the time came to sell my business all I knew was that it was going to be the most important sale of my life. To get the highest price possible was going to take skill, planning and preparation. Surely, other brokers would think that too right? Wrong. Firstly the skill part, there was a 60% difference between what two of them thought I would get, with the third broker’s strategy being simply to ask me what I wanted for it. Well I just made up a number in my head and he replied “Great! let’s sell it for that amount!” (um, not sure it works that way)