Learn How a Startup Company Goes From $0 To a Forecast of $17 Million
Recently we headed over to one our clients premises – Australian Cable Trays and asked John Hicks, Managing Director a few questions about his business. See our video and transcripts below.
Thanks for talking to us this morning John, tell us a bit about Australian Cable Trays and what they do. Well Australian Cable Trays is basically an amalgamation of two companies. One we do the sheet metal type of cable trays and the other is wire mesh cable trays. My experience is in the wire mesh side of it and with our partner meridian capital we’ve been able to access the sheet metal from a company in Thailand which they are involved with. We have been in the market now just on 12 months and in that time we’ve now got an outstanding order book of about 6.5 million which makes us fairly strong for the next 6 months and the industry we’re in, total market is probably 170 to maybe 200 million in turnover, its our intention in the next 12 months to pick up 10% of that market which will give us an annual turnover of 17 odd million. Have you seen many changes in the market over the last few years? The markets been fairly steady, its been dominated by two companies and hence that always leaves the opportunity for a small company to come in, we based our business on service, order it one day, you’ll get it the next. One of our key challenges in any growth business, when your sort of starting from scratch is to fund the growth of the business and you’ve got to have all the stock that we have now in this warehouse to be in the business, that’s an expensive exercise to start with, so we’ve had to arrange funding for the material we have and what we get manufactured overseas to allow us to get into the industry. This has been a struggle as any growing business, but as we grow we say that’s good but there’s always the funding thing that goes with is which can be a nightmare, but to provide the service you’ve got to have the stock and we’ve found now by having the stock we’ve been able to pick up all this work and basically become fairly well known in a short period of time within the industry. In any developing business you know funding is always big problem, as you grow we know we are competitive in the market and could probably pick up a lot more work but you sort of have to try and maintain your funding to your growth. Generally I think you have to get a fairly strong business plan and stick to it as closely as you can to look at the market as to how your going to approach it and stay focused, there’s always the opportunity to go to another product or move sideways, we’ve sort of here in this business ive tried to instill in the people in the operation that we stayed focused on what we are doing and do that well. We know the wire mesh business and we now have learnt a lot in the last 12 months in the sheet metal business. Customer relations without a doubt that’s what its all about. We find yes you’ll get it on price initially but during the particular project you’ll get to know the project manager and I’ve found with most of our guys now in the factory they build personal relationships with those guys so when they go to the next job they take you with them. There’s a really big PR job to be done with the customers we do have and there’s a matter of maintaining the relationship. The customer relationship is very very important in the business. That’s excellent, well thank you very much for talking tous John Its been a pleasure, glad you had a look around our small operation!