Success Stories

What was your path to success? 5 inspirational businesses reveal their moment of truth

Mike Doman
Technology Journalist

Mike Doman is a technology, lifestyle, industrial and education writer

Mike Doman
Technology Journalist

Mike Doman is a technology, lifestyle, industrial and education writer

Inspiration takes many forms, but for entrepreneurs it can be defining. In The Inspirational Journey video series, five very different small businesses from all corners of Australia reveal how business success was sparked for them.

Every small business starts with an idea. For some, this is the natural evolution of a lifelong passion and for others the idea is a sudden realisation, meticulously honed into something bigger.

In a video series presented by Telstra – The Inspirational Journey - five independent filmmakers set out to explore how inspiration can spark phenomenal business success no matter where your business is on its journey.

The path to entrepreneurship is different for all those who pursue it, but many common themes flow throughout. Our five success stories – all of them Telstra Australian Business Awards nominees – have embarked on their own unique journeys, with highs and lows aplenty. As their stories reveal, they’ve all seen their businesses flourish, nurtured by inspiration, passion and hard work.

Man looking out to sea

1. Inspiration meets circumstance

Inspiration can be borne from many things: passion, necessity, frustration, a pursuit of something challenging or wanting to make a difference. Yet circumstance is often the mother of bright ideas.

For Barossa Fine Foods, landing in Adelaide with a desire to run a small family business led to taking over a market stall. The business evolved from its owners making the best decisions for their family, based on circumstance. The result is a multi-generational award winning business with products in demand from delis across Australia. 

Tyro Payments, an EFTPOS provider competing with the big banks, saw the opportunity to succeed following unprecedented deregulation in the sector. As a result, CEO Jost Stollmann credits a large part of the business’ success and inspiration to taking advantage of circumstance.

“[The business] wouldn’t be possible if the Reserve Bank hadn’t, at a certain point in time, said we want non-banks to compete. And funnily enough the only ones who showed up was us,” Stollmann says.

2. The tough push through

Successful small businesses are required to make difficult decisions, as raw inspiration evolves into day-to-day business activity. From encountering issues out of your control to sacrificing social lives, making your dream a reality is, as Wagga Wagga-based 365 Cups co-founder Mars Stankiewicz describes it, “a roller-coaster ride”.

In a sentiment that will be shared by many small businesses, Mars says he and his co-founder have often been “sitting there with their hands in the air”. But persistence prevails, and difficult decisions often reap the sweetest rewards.

Such was the experience of Western Australian rural health service provider TeleMed. When a piece of medical equipment was damaged in transit from Germany, founder Peter Tually faced a monumental hurdle, describing it as feeling like “he was sunk”.

But his resolve was unaffected: “I just had to persevere, that I would find the money in some ways and start seeing some patients so we could start paying off some debt”.

Throughout these challenges, it’s inspiration that has driven these tough decisions. In Peter’s words, “Find something you love and then back yourself.”

3. Values matter

The videos show a business built on strong moral foundations, and the conviction that comes with knowing you’re doing the right thing, will produce more rewards than profit alone. Many of Australia’s most successful small businesses have been built upon values first, not business nous.

Whether it’s a challenging market or a difficult business decision, having the right guiding principles are integral – not just for business success, but for personal happiness.

For Tasmanian artisan cheese producers, Bruny Island Cheese Co., raising a family, having control of their lifestyle, making a quality product and blazing their own path were all key considerations in starting their business. It’s these values that hold true to this day, with founder Nick Haddow encouraging small business owners to stay true to their inspiration first and foremost:

“Be true to your dream; don’t let your dream become corrupted. Set out to do something you set out to do, make the product you wanted to make or do the thing you wanted to do.

“That’s what’s going to make you successful ultimately, rather than trying to mould yourself into something that other people think you should be.”

Above all, The Inspirational Journey is about more than just good ideas. It’s about business philosophies, passion and the process of taking an idea and running with it.  The series is about celebrating every step in the process of starting a business and making it your own.

 

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