There was an enormous amount of goodwill and goodness to be found as the Commonwealth Games played out on multiple screens and platforms over the past week or so.
Records broken, winners galore, the predictable, the unexpected, everything was on show.
But what of the great decision to run the Para Commonwealth Games within the mainstream event? The positive result of that decision has been simply enormous, almost overpowering.
The ability to, with one decision, draw every sports lover across the country, (and around the world) to a greater understanding of the unbelievable challenges faced, met and defeated by this group of remarkable athletes was inspirational and unifying.
No losers, everyone a winner.
Let’s celebrate the best sporting decision in years by recognising that in our own sphere of influence. Good can become great, in everything we do.
10th April 2018
The Man in the Mirror
In many of the conversations I have with business owners and family business leaders, we often touch on the subject of “the loneliness at the top”.
Often we talk about how the weight of decision making, when acting in the best interests of the business itself, the personnel involved as well as the family and the future, can be a burden.
When things go wrong (often a series of things go wrong together), picking up the pieces and getting on with the next challenge, can be difficult.
Getting on is, however, expected. That is what leaders do. Every sport-loving Australian discovered over the past week, however, that the most important thing to be found with the ‘look in the mirror' when things are going wrong, is integrity.
Without integrity, no SME or family business can survive the run of 'outs' that occur naturally from time to time.
1 August 2017
Dale Wood signs new partnership with Altitude Advisory
Dale Wood, one of South Australia’s most respected business sales consultancies, has joined forces with tax, investments and growth experts Altitude Advisory.
The partnership sees Dale Wood move to Altitude’s Norwood headquarters in Adelaide. Both companies say the move will allow them to offer clients a more complete service. Dale Wood’s expertise is in business sales and the company has been involved in countless acquisitions in South Australia over the last 20 years.
Altitude Advisory offers its clients a range of services from tax and accounting, asset protection and other business consultancy services such as financial planning and marketing.
Bevan Roberts, CEO of Dale Wood Business Sales Consultancy, said: “This new partnership is hugely exciting, both for us as a company and for our clients. It means that both we and Altitude Advisory will be able to offer clients a complete end-to-end consultancy from start-up to growth and acquisition.”
Andrew Mattner, director of Altitude Advisory, said: “Altitude has been going through a phase of strong growth and this new partnership with Dale Wood is just another example of our commitment to offering our clients the best possible solutions for their businesses. We are looking forward to a very successful relationship with them.”
Dale Wood is now located at the Norwood head office, 39 Charles Street.
19 July 2017 Moving, Moving, Moving After ten years at our current location we have moved to Hub39 at 39 Charles Street, Norwood.This is a fantastic new location in which we are co-located with Altitude Advisory and Catapult Wealth, quality associates who, will provide support for both buy side and selling clients.We look forward to seeing you soon at Charles Street.
05 July 2017 Statistics Tell All Last week, The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the summary from last year’s Australia-wide Census. Whilst I have neither the time nor the inclination to read this summary from cover to cover, Saturday’s Advertiser used some of the available data to look at South Australia over the last fifty years. SA share of Australian population down 27.3%. South Australians over 65 years old, up 118%. University students nearly 70,000 more. So, monumental change has occurred. Any thought that the past will return in some way or form is simply wrong, it cannot. What can continue however, is our unique skill as South Australians to produce better quality, specialty, niche products and services; and to deliver them with our unique and specialised service and value proposition. Our distinct DNA for personal delivery can see both these ageing and youthful markets serviced exceptionally well. Quality at all times with exceptionally high standards.That is South Australian business.
20 June 2017 There can be no denial of the need for businesses to constantly reinvest profits in income producing equipment, systems and technique.There can be no denial of the need for businesses to constantly reinvest profits in income producing equipment, systems and technique.Some of this reinvestment will produce immediate results, some will take time, nurturing and support, but all will be, over time, the backbone of growth into the future. In times of less certain profits, the courage to invest for the longer benefit can be a massive challenge for Owners, their Managers and Governing Boards.That said, those that are intently engaged in the future of their businesses have a clear understanding that the challenges of flat markets, increasing costs and increasing competition will only be met by efficiencies that are often linked to a longer view.Quality businesses seem to exhibit a greater sense of plan, along with this great courage.Courage and a plan will lead to success.
06 June 2017 There are literally thousands of so-called Inspirational Clichés available if we as Family and SME business owners require any extra stimulation. “Failing to plan is planning to fail” “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” “YCDBSOYA” All perfectly understandable and probably based in truth. I hold the view however, that we are moving well beyond slogans and the conventional wisdom of ‘guru chat’. With over 5,000 Australians having their 65th birthday every week now and many of those being self-employed business people, we are seeing many, many businesses entering a market that is choosey and certainly not forgiving, for any shortcomings the business may have. And price? Well, that appears to have been reduced if there has been a lack of planning for sale. There are huge opportunities coming on stream for those that have the courage to build a FAMILY FUTURE. A quality business can be a great investment.
23 May 2017 Strategic Thoughts A week or so ago, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the presentation team, as Strategy Road, a collective of advisory owners with great strategic views, rolled out their first 'roadshow', devoted to “a strategic view of your business”. In the hustle and bustle of business today, where just about everything we plan, seems to get bumped out of line – it seems to me that building a strategic position, reviewing it and returning to it, after a bump turns up, is all important for today’s Family and SME businesses. Thank you Strategy Road. www.strategyroad.com.au A helpful – strategic workshop.
09 May 2017 Unified, partly unified, nearly unified or something else? On the same page, or reading from a different book? Helping drive the train, or a passenger on it? There is no counting the number of words that have been written about teamwork and the benefits that arise when the collective will, exceeds the singular desire for success. Why would it be different in a Family Business? – Well of course, it is not. But the key ingredient of difference without doubt, in Family Business, is in the relationships within the Family. Paternity and Maternity are typically overflowing with love, ambition and care. Age differences of sibling children, let alone particular academic strengths and weaknesses, interests and practical abilities, can mean that the owning generation need to plan and encourage any exit or transition of the business with great care. A Family Team – no doubt ‘the winning edge’. Building one? A very special skill set indeed. It is never too early to begin to plan.
26 April 2017 There has always been no shortage of commentary on the State of the Economy and the immediate prospects of those who make up its activity. Constant reading of the financial press over the past two months particularly, has seen a build of interest in the arrive of Amazon in Australia. "So what" you might say. "I have bought on-line from Amazon for years". So you have, so have I, but this will be different. Why? How? The answer lies in Amazon's absolute focus on the customer and the customer experience. The changes that will occur in Australian retailing are changes that have never been seen before. (Perhaps not since the corner store was replaced by the "supermarket" experience). The opportunity? SME's and Family Businesses still have time to just put a circle of care around their existing customers and clients. Without superior customer experience - our clients will turn to the Amazon experience.
12 April 2017 Irrespective of your choice of football code, coaches throughout urge their charges to “Lift your eyes”. So too, we see in SME and Family Business the need, more and more, to look beyond the short term of this day, this week or this month. Just as lifting the eyes will provide the player with a pathway to goal, a view of what is attacking from the side and openings to drive through, lifting the eyes in business can do the same. Recently we have been engaged by a number of quality businesses who some time ago lifted their eyes and set sight on their exit plan. We can deliver on that plan, because they have prepared. Their coach was right: Lift Your Eyes.
28 March 2017 We are continually asked- "what is a good business to buy?" The questioner is rarely satisfied with a glib response such as, "one that makes lots of money". The questions that continue are of course valid and when we are sitting down with the rapidly growing number of registered "Buyers", we see the emergence of the desire for "Security", "Growth" and "Certainty", alongside of course, "Profit". If a Buyer is leaving successful employment to become an "Owner'' maintenance of the current level of income and the ability to service commitments (mortgages, children's education etc.) is an absolute given. So, with consistently high and growing profits very hard to find in businesses that fit the SME and Family Category, our Buyers are remaining on lists and not yet "in business". It may be that the clock will turn back to the immediate post WW2 era when there was a much more collaborative and cooperative approach to starting an enterprise. Shared ownership through a talented Board of committed investors may be the way of the near future.
14 March 2017 The awarded recognition of Quality, be it in Workmanship, in Sport, or in Professional Services, seems to me, to be a most positive outcome. So we took a most positive view when the Financial Review announced its Client Choice Awards for 2017. It is just great to know that those you have worked with and think well of, are indeed doing great work all about. It’s raise a glass and toast, Accru, HLB Mann Judd, Pitcher Partners and KPMG for their success in the awards. Quality firms working with quality business will build quality results.
28 February 2017 The Destruction of Distraction Herding cats is not easy – neither is running a Family Business or an SME. Distractions abound and each distraction carries a small element of destruction hidden neatly below the surface, ticking away, waiting to be released. Distractions for example: like marketplace gossip, a press that is talking doom and gloom, supply chain difficulties, ineffective marketing spend, cost overruns, future power outages and there are dozens of others. They do not only take up your time, whilst being distracted, but also destroy your energy for the fight that is required for the next challenge. Sometimes it is really hard to not be drawn into distractions – but I can say with confidence ignoring distraction in favour of focus on outcomes that can be controlled, ‘is as good as money in the bank’. Try not to be distracted.
14 February 2017 Quality People and Brand Goodwill. Over the past month or so, I have spent a considerable amount of time on an appointment panel. The business was seeking a new CEO following the departure of a long standing predecessor. Seen as a prestigious appointment, the position attracted well over one hundred candidates. Early ruthless culling saw the ‘possibles’ list reduce to twenty, then seven, then three. By this time it had become most obvious to the panel that not only were we interviewing candidates but the quality candidates we had selected, were interviewing the panel. If our business did not pass their scrutiny, they would not wish to join. They wanted to buy in to our quality brand goodwill. Our brand, our delivery and our goodwill were being tested prior to engagement. An appointment has now been made, excitement and anticipation abound. Whatever success follows, will have a lot to do with operationally marrying the quality and brand goodwill of BOTH appointee and the business.
2 February 2017 Stark Contrasts: Needless to say I was drawn, not only to the magnificent Australian Open Tennis Final – but, also to many other games throughout this very ‘Australian’ two weeks. The stark contrast between those players that reached the round of sixteen and those that didn’t was obvious. So too, the contrast in the sportsmanship, inner belief and delivery of that group, when compared with our underdeveloped, disappointing and largely ill-disciplined Australian players. And elsewhere in the USA, the stark contrast between the madness and risk of ‘Executive Orders’ against a considered determination to govern using the best minds available. The stark contrast between those that ‘Get It’ and those that don’t. The contrast between celebrating Australia Day (a day for all) and using the day to promote unnecessary and unwanted divisions, when unification is clearly the answer. Stark contrasts indeed.
17 January 2017 Back on the horse and back on the bike! Here we go launching into 2017 as the brief Festive Season respite is now behind us. SME’s and Family Businesses, seem to use the holiday break as a time of review. A look at the year completed, an assessment of what might be ahead, but more importantly, a check on Strategy. Whilst the newspapers and reviewing magazines published over the break seem to struggle for relevance, there have been some really worthwhile discussions on rapidly expanding possibilities. For example, where the now proven world of online shopping joins with the emerging technology of drone delivery. Amazon has just reported its ‘best ever holiday season’ delivering 1 Billion items world-wide! OPPORTUNITIES? YES! Thinking about your strategy in this rapidly changing world? We all should be...
21 December 2016 I guess as a year closes, it is perfectly natural to reflect on how the year has played out. Thinking globally, it seems to me to have been a year of little progress – certainly from a humanitarian point of view. Nationally, probably a year of frustration for many, with steps forward and back, ultimately cancelling each other out and therefore little apparent progress being made. Across our State, our dependence on others to assist us shake off the malaise seems to be growing rather than diminishing. Where is the old progressive ‘nation leading’ South Australia hiding, I wonder? Within our own sphere, I believe we have provided our clients with positive interaction. We are acutely aware of the importance of your referrals and the opportunities for Family and Business discussions they provide. Our thanks go to all. Congratulations to Buyers and Sellers alike. We will return refreshed to tackle 2017 with renewed vigour and activity.
6 December 2016 BRAND, SERVICE, REPUTATION My guess is that consumers have always reacted positively to great service. It may be at the original point of purchase, it may be at the Service or Warranty Desk, it may be the wave as you leave but the feeling “they really care about me” seems to stick. This then of course flows to Brand. The growth of positive experiences sees the growth of both Brand awareness and value. My list this year for great service includes Stratco St Marys, GetWines Direct, Arkaba Medical Centre, Geoff Hardy’s Tractor Shed and H&A Coffee House Glenelg. For me, their brands grow with their service. This positive Brand leads of course to Reputation. Once achieved, a great Brand and Positive Reputation, help build every business. Protecting that Reputation is then another matter. Having all employees recognising the value of the Brand and Reputation is an essential part of ownership and leadership. You can be let down – just ask Port Power or 7Eleven. Brand and Reputation are great builders of Family Business Value.
22 November 2016 Tomorrow night, Family Business Australia’s, South Australian Branch will host their annual Hall of Fame Dinner. Two South Australian Family Businesses will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Forty Two businesses have preceded the new inductees. All of the existing Hall of Fame members are well known to South Australians, most are known across Australia and some are global operations employing people and distributing product throughout the world. They are a group of whom we can all be proud. They stand for the very best in quality business and they reflect the very high expectations that we have of our performance. These businesses should never be taken for granted and deserve to be ever in the forefront when we celebrate South Australian success. Let’s go South Australia!
9 November 2016 In golf, the expression is “Drive for show but putt for dough”. In business, the driving is the revenue or top line and the putting is the nett profit, after all expenses – the bottom line. It is very easy as an owner to be captivated by the warm glow of sales and revenue surges. It is not so easy to work a plan that controls growth to both a manageable and profitable level. Too often we are asked to report on a business that has grown from one successful retail operation to two, only to find that whilst the sales have gone up, nett result has declined – sometimes terminally. As our buyers take on an existing business, their advisors are always looking at two things well before revenue – nett profit after all expenses, including a commercial wage to the owners and cash flow – positive cash flow. With these two ‘must haves’ in place, they can concentrate on driving the revenue in new ownership. Quality is not always easy to find, but when it is there – it shines through. Putting is the real game.
27 October 2016 AFL Trade Week always finds a way to test my sense of loyalty. Yes, I can see the new ‘opportunities’ that are provided for players to move into a new and more stimulating environment, where a new coach, new surrounds, new structure and new team mates may rejuvenate the assumed potential. The system clearly works (read Eddie Betts), however it certainly is tough on the supporters who find their favourite Hawk, now an Eagle, for example. In business however, the opportunity to trade an underperforming business is not as easy. Buyers are rarely guided in their pricing offer by unfulfilled ‘potential’. Potential is in fact a highly discounted asset in any business sale. There is no annual ‘Trade Week’ in business, where underperformers can be moved on. In business, the coach (owners), the assistant coaches (family members) and the players (staff) are totally locked in to survival, improvement and prosperity. SME Families are loyally committed. Quality businesses reflect value that grows continually.
13 October 2016 In writing this column, I am often influenced by something I have seen in a particular business, or something I have experienced personally in a business (particularly Family Business) discussion. Important ingredients for me in noting events or conversations, is my strongly held belief that a culture that aims for, and respects “Quality” will always deliver a high standard when that “Quality” is measured. It may mean a higher business value on selling. It may show up in market leadership, respect and the loyalty of clients, who provide a strong base for growth, even in tough business circumstances. AFL is a business and the cultural uplift that occurred in everything the Western Bulldogs did during 2016, saw them ultimately rewarded. Surely “Quality Status” arrived with Luke Beveridge’s attitude to coaching, his gesture to the disabled captain, Bob Murphy and his respect for the whole team. It is worth learning more about.
28 September 2016 Many Family Businesses, as part of their hopes for both the continuity of the business and the future and the engagement of the next generation, send sons and daughters to work outside the family business to gain knowledge and experience, which, when brought back, will help the next generation grow. We are constantly seeing this in discussions and consultation with families. So too, it is for the benefit of the whole of South Australia that the young people who leave to gain experience return. My sons, my nephew and many young friends and associates of mine are now returning to strengthen South Australia. They are leading the way in Banking, Superannuation, Pharmacy and Hospitality. Experience and enthusiasm mixed with passion for SA will carry the day I’m sure. Family Businesses should develop this more formally in my opinion.
15 September 2016 Last Saturday the GWS Giants tackled the minor premier, cross-town rival, the Sydney Swans in an epic Qualifying AFL Final. Not only did they win, but in doing so, they established themselves as individuals and as a club that had ‘arrived’. They have only played in the AFL since 2012. A five year plan realised, not completed, but being delivered with great determination. In those short five years, we have transferred many businesses into new revitalising ownership. Sadly too, we have seen business sectors change in terms of opportunity and performance. We have seen some not survive. Overwhelmingly, we have seen quality businesses develop a plan – a five year plan – and move through growth to success. Part of their formula can be seen at GWS. A plan, passionate delivery and the living slogan “NEVER SURRENDER”
30 August 2016 Robert the Bruce and the Spider The legend of Bruce and the spider is world famous. “It is said that in the early days of Bruce’s reign he was defeated by the English and driven into exile. He was on the run – a hunted man. He sought refuge in a small dark cave and sat and watched a little spider trying to make a web. Time and time again the spider would fall and then climb slowly back up to try again. Finally, as the Bruce looked on, the spider managed to stick a strand of silk to the cave wall and began to weave a web. Robert the Bruce was inspired by the spider and went on to defeat the English at the Battle of Bannockburn. “ “If at first you don’t succeed – try, try again.” Surely this is where many businesses now reviewing their 2016 Financial Year results, feel they are. Experience tells me that South Australian businesses understand client service and loyalty to product and location better than any other, whilst pop up this and pop up that look all so entrepreneurial, it will be the determination to “try, try again”, akin to Bruce’s spider, that will swing our markets around. SME and Family Business, have the ability to thrive. Never Give Up.
17 August 2016 Behind the Gold. There is a fair bit of glitter in Rio most of the time. Right now, there is genuine gold there too. In the pool, down the course, across the range and on the track. Throughout Australia, media hype is fuel to the fire of success expectation and already we are seeing the “Heads will Roll’ recommendations from the deeply disappointed media flacks about swimming for example. Look through the golden haze however and you can see the enormous success achieved by those that post their “Personal Best”. A “PB” is a genuine win – a win against all of the challenges of real improvement. It delivers aspiration and the will to continue. “PB” is not just participation, it is Personal Best. In SME and Family Business, it is just as unwise to compare yourself with the gold medal ASX high performers, as it is to ignore their successful techniques. But most important is your personal best. Improvement this month over last, this year over budget and on the race goes. Look for personal best – not always on the podium, but certainly working towards a positive future.
2 August 2016 Business Expectations Realised or Not? For most businesses in SME land, the Financial Year ends and July is a month spent by proprietors assessing whether or not their expectations for the year just concluded, have been reached, exceeded, met or were simply not achieved. Earlier established budgets for the next financial year will as a result, be going through affirmation or adjustment. In markets of growth this is a most stimulating time and provides some very positive answers to the questions that surround “Why do I do this?”. The power of the question, when results are tabled in declining markets, can be seriously fundamental to families involved and the business itself. The future is challenged. In this context my observation is that the quality of experienced advising assistance has never been higher. We know many advisers across a wide-spread range of disciplines who are leaders in their field. Marketing, IT, Data, Accounting, Strategy, Operations, HR, can all be improved by great advice. The benefits typically well outweigh the cost. Quality business more often than not improve when an ‘outside’ view is taken.
20 July 2016 “After all, as I once said, I was the future once.” And, with that quote, David Cameron, The British Prime Minister left the UK House of Commons. Within days, his replacement Theresa May was leading the UK into the future. As unknown as that future might be, the action in galvanising leadership was there for all the world to see. The UK may have its problems, but there has been something outstanding about leadership and focus that has arrived in Britain since the Brexit vote. It seems to me that for Australia to thrive and for South Australia to throw off its appalling lack of “future awareness”, to climb steadfastly out of the mire, we need decisive, visible, real leadership. This leadership will inspire the SME engine room to build a future and not to wait for something positive (not of their making) to simply “happen”. The future is in the courage of leadership.