Michael Denehey

Growth Leader

Growth Guide

My business journey started straight after school in 1983, when I landed a job with a Hobart Accounting firm Cox Miller & Robinson (now Deloitte), working in taxation, whilst starting my commerce degree part-time.

Listen to my professional and business journey on the cast I did with our Founder, Troy.

My first two years were bloody hard work studying and working and this is where I first started to appreciate the importance of managing your time.

I left after two years to finish my degree full-time and was confronted with the distraction of the Uni Bar!

I eventually survived the rigour of study, pubs, bars and working part-time and finished my degree. A few years later I was admitted to the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

From there, I secured employment with another Hobart accounting firm called Horwath & Horwath, working with small businesses. I progressed to be a manager then in 1996, my opportunity to become a business owner presented itself and I started an accounting firm called BDO with a partner.

Within 12 months of opening, my wife and I had our first son, Jock who was named after my grandfather, Jock Muir. Jock is now a lawyer working in a Hobart legal firm.

We merged our business into KPMG in 2000, and in doing so, became a partner with 10 other accountants….an experience I will never forget!!

This lasted a bit over two years, when it became obvious that our clients and my partner did not fit…I didn’t have a good ‘gut’ feel about the merger and I was proved right…your ‘gut’ is an important barometer when making decisions.

In this same year, we had our second son, Max…so a lot going on!!

From there, we started the PKF (a national second-tier accounting and advisory firm) office in Hobart, which we operated until 2008 when we separated and I joined a business called Capital 3…this business had multiple businesses and brands:

  • Retireinvest franchises in Hobart, Queensland, South Australia and Albury / Wodonga
  • Three Wizard franchises in Tasmania
  • An accounting business that I operated
  • A marketing and branding business and a conveyancing business.

Operating a house of brands in multiple locations had its challenges.

The GFC hit, we were highly leveraged with our Retireinvest businesses, and everything started to unfold.

Not having the appropriate structures and governance in place, overlaid with poor communication led to a separation of all the businesses.

I was left with Capital 3 Accounting which I operated as a sole trader until 2013.

In between, I started a bar/restaurant called the Lower House in Hobart with four mates.

This had been on my bucket list for many years and I took many learnings from this business experience.

Unfortunately, one of my partners who was going to manage the business had their third child not long after we opened and was not in a position to manage our business…that was the start of the end.

Operating a small business with a manager with no equity is challenging, particularly in hospitality!

Looking back, our research and assumptions on our business model were flawed, and it cost us😫😫

I merged Capital 3 with Collins SBA in 2013.

I am so fortunate to be able to make a difference in people's lives using my 30 years experience, with advice and guidance with respect to strategy, succession and coaching…my passion.😀😀

In this time, I have seen plenty of mistakes made (including many myself) and also much success…these are the things you cannot buy.

I have worked with 100s of businesses (the majority with 5 to 30 employees) since 2013, helping them craft their vision and strategy, then keeping them accountable to execute and be there as their sounding board.

One thing I never compromised is time for family, friends and importantly my health.

My other passion is cycling, riding at least 150kms per week.

Along with going to the gym, this investment in my health allows me to be energised, so I am at the top of my game when working with business owners.

Never compromise your health and well-being, otherwise you cannot be the best ‘you’ for your business and your team 💪💪

I have always looked to contribute where I can in the community, including being a board member of Variety (a children’s charity) for a number of years, President of a local football team and currently the President of the South Hobart Sandy Bay cricket team.

I love sport 👍

I have also invested significantly - time and money - over the past 30 years on professional and personal development.

This includes engaging a business coach when I operated Capital 3 Accounting, and numerous mentors over the journey.

You can never over invest in your continual development.

Our Testimonials

How we have helped more than 1,000 real small business owners.

Over the past five years or so I have been undertaking quarterly business coaching and accountability meetings with Mike.

These have been invaluable for me. I am kept accountable for my decisions, and the effort I put into further improving my business.

He assists me in every area of running the business, and his network of professionals has been incredibly beneficial.

Rob Watchorn, Co-founder

Blythe & Watchorn

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