Getting a great business idea off the ground is one thing but taking a successful concept to world domination is something else altogether – it takes a very different kind of outlook.
Geoff Harris, a founding partner of Flight Centre, said to me early on that very few entrepreneurs can make the transition and I was very conscious of this fact on my journey with Boost.
We literally started Boost from our kitchen bench; but the business person who works in store and repairs the blenders needs to be a very different type of business person to the one who can run a business that turns over $300M a year in 13 different countries, over three brands!
So what’s the difference? Looking back there were some key milestones that made me consciously change the way I do things along the way.
Phase one – Getting your hands dirty
The first 10 stores were all about creating systems and processors to ensure that anyone could pick up a manual and run a store, so this period was about creating order in a chaotic period in Boost. In addition to ironing out the business structures, we developed fruit prep, production flow and floor management processes in-store to give customers a fast and smooth service experience. This is an important time to get your hands dirty. Without you spending hours in the store you do not know what systems you will need.
Phase two – Cashflow crunch
The second period was around the 50 store mark. This was a hard period with regard to cashflow as you need the staff to grow but we did not really have the cashflow to do this. It is often the time, when businesses can fail, or stop growing. You have to just simply be prepared to invest back into the business with great people. Your profit will suffer short term but without this your business will not grow. From 2000 to 2004 we grew to 100 stores. To do this, it was hard work, great people achieving the unachievable
Phase three – Culture challenge
Culture is not a set and forget; it is a continuous moving target that you need to continually work on. Creating a culture through the growth was something we continued to work at; sometimes we got it right and sometimes terribly wrong. Fundamentally it comes from hiring the right people in your business.
With Boost there was so much on at any given time that it really was a case of sink or swim. Let’s be honest, I was a control freak and it was difficult to let other people do things. We now have a team that is far more competent in their specific areas than I was. This took 10 years, but the teams we have now are amazing. A lot has changed over the years and just as the business has evolved; I am a very different leader now than I was in 2000.
Janine Allis is the founder of Boost, part of Retail Zoo. The Retail Zoo stable of brands includes Boost Juice Australia, Boost Juice International, Salsa’s Fresh Mex and Cibo Espresso