My passion from a young age was small business.
I watched my parents start a tiny fuel business in the 70s, grow it into a medium-sized business selling 100m litres a year before dad retired in his mid-50s in the early 2000s.
You can hear dad and I talk about his journey on one of my favourite casts we’ve done.BOOK IN A TIME TO CHAT
Aged 10, I started a lawn mowing business.
A few years later, when I got my first computer (a Commodore 64), I wrote an invoicing and debtors program for that business (to handle all of seven clients).
The next business was delivering horse shit for people’s gardens, around my small country town in Australia.
I love doing something challenging, that not many people choose to take on. As you would know, growing a small business is fucking hard.
Now I’m all grown up, I have over 22 years experience starting, managing and growing businesses with less than 30 people – small businesses, like yours.
The real business journey started with two technology businesses in 1999, working 100 hour weeks, sleeping under my desk some nights in the gift e-tailer warehouse.
Stupid, just plain stupid.
I missed out on a lot of great things in life during my late 20s, and damaged a lot of relationships - because I was always working.
One of my biggest regrets was starting a family later than most.
But, at age 39, we welcomed a beautiful girl into the world in mid-2013.
Maggie has already taken the mantle for the youngest entrepreneur in the family, when she was eight.
After those two initial businesses, I launched and acquired a few more then in 2011 began managing companies for others.
Since 2013 I have been mentoring and consulting and have built up vast experience along the way.
Here’s a snapshot of how my experience may be relevant to you, I:
- currently have equity in six businesses in Australia, United Kingdom and New Zealand
- had or have equity in 15 businesses – 12 in a day-to-day executive role, three as a non-executive
- worked with 29 different business partners, working alongside me - not passive shareholders
- managed four business I didn’t have equity in, including two award-winning Australian whisky distilleries, both now fully owned by an ASX-listed company
- consulted to more than 25 companies in which I haven’t had any equity in, or managed day-to-day
All up, that is over 40 businesses since 1999 which I have worked in or with intimately.
I know their numbers, understand their growing pains and people issues and have helped with most financial aspects.
Some coaching on leadership and management to CEOs and Managers has been rewarding, but the most challenging role and the one I enjoy the most now is Chairing Boards of small businesses since 2017.
As you can expect with that gaggle of businesses, there have been:
- fast growth
- slow growth
- sales / exits
- in-fighting between business partners
- unreasonable and value-destroying shareholders
- natural deaths
- accidental deaths
- death threats
- angry Boards
- ecstatic Boards
- shit managers
- superb managers
- terrible team members and hires
- a bunch of ‘A Players’ piled on the bus, and
- overall a fuckload of fun and learning.
My formal education includes a Bachelor in Business (Accounting) and a Bachelor in Computing. After graduating, I worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Melbourne for three years, the largest accounting firm in the world.
I didn’t do my Professional Year, to officially become an accountant (I knew I wanted to start my own businesses), so leaned on my computing degree - working as a SAP Security & Controls consultant.
There is very little I would change from my business journey.
I get a kick out of guiding other owners to avoid the mistakes I’ve made in growing many small businesses.
How we have helped more than 1,000 real small business owners.
Troy has been of great assistance and advice to our new and fast growing business.
We were at a point where we didn't really know what direction we were heading in, and felt we needed assistance in prioritising our focus and goals.
After a dedicated strategy day with Troy, and his follow ups, we now have a clear path forward with each person in the business focused on specific areas and goals.
Without Troy's assistance we would still be bogged down and not making the great leaps forward we now are.
Matthew Will, Co-founder