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Vanessa Ferreira and David Pring. Vanessa Ferreira and David Pring. Featured
06 February 2018 Posted by 

ROUND TABLE EXPLORES VALUE

Exploring growth - unlocking value
FOLLOWING is an edited transcript of the recent Access News Australia Round Table on the subject of The 9 Levers of Growth with KPMG.

Jim Taggart: Good morning ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of Access and our key supporter today, KPMG, a most warm welcome. Each one of you has been asked here because of your skills and expertise. Many of you have been in business for a long time and have morphed from a single unit to quite large businesses through acquisition, mergers, sheer organic growth, or a combination of these. Today we’re looking at what are the drivers that bring success in a very competitive and now global world.

David and Angela, I’d like to thank KPMG for your continued support, particularly to businesses in Western Sydney.

I’m going to ask each of you to introduce yourselves.

David Amaneddine: Good morning everybody. My name is David Amaneddine, the director of AAA City Removalists. We conduct close to 10,000 relocations a year. I come from a marketing background but as I’ve grown my business I’ve taken a wholistic approach. I try to tie all things into my business decisions. I’m looking forward to the discussion today. Thank you for having me.

Jim Taggart: Thanks David.

Nathan Rees: Nathan Rees. I run my own consultancy firm and have a range of clients in the tertiary education, local government, engineering, health and medical research space. The value add that I can bring to this forum are ideas about what Western Sydney needs to do to grow in the context of NSW Policy frameworks, but also the national context.

Jim Taggart: Thank you very much, Nathan. David?

David Pring: Hi. David Pring. I’m privileged to lead the KPMG Practice in Western Sydney in Parramatta and Penrith. We’re finding that companies are looking to grow or transform from being domestic suppliers to the domestic market to being globally competitive. Many companies are struggling with the issue of how to keep up with growth and the constraint which that often brings. I’ve lived and worked in Western Sydney for the last 20 years and, I’m very excited by what I see happening from a community point of view as well as business in Western Sydney.

Vanessa Ferreira: Good morning. Thanks for the opportunity to be here today. I’m Vanessa Ferreira. I’m the Manager of Engagement for Parramatta Light Rail. In stage 1, Parramatta Light Rail will connect Westmead through to Carlingford via Parramatta CBD. We also recently announced the Stage 2 preferred route, connecting Stage 1 north of Parramatta River to Sydney Olympic Park. We’re very pleased to be based here in Parramatta and are celebrating our first anniversary. We’ve got around 160 staff based here, and I’m sure that number will increase with Stage 2 now being announced.

Richard Gremmo: Richard Gremmo. I’m a builder/developer. I have a family business with myself and three brothers in which we build custom homes. We also do larger developments such as land development, industrial development and home units.

We also have a Sports Medical Company that services sports clubs throughout Australia. We also recently launched an online recruitment portal: I Want to Work, that I guess is a start-up business. So that’s been an interesting challenge as well. Our family is also the founder of Jersey Day, unfortunately, due to a family tragedy. Jersey Day supports Organ and Tissue Donation. So we’ve got quite a broad spectrum of businesses. But we’re certainly a Western Sydney-based family and we love being in the Western Suburbs.

Jim Taggart: Thanks Richard. Theo?

Theo Drivas: Theo Drivas from Waterview in Bicentennial Park which is the largest of our venues. We have other venues which we’ve been dealing with for the past 47 years. We started off at Waters Edge at Pier One which we had for 30 years. We also have Dockside, Blackwattle, Star Room, Waterfront, Wolfies, Italian Village. We’re very proud to be in the hospitality industry, and we love dealing with events and people in general. So, it’s a pleasure and an honour to be here today with such distinguished people.

Lloyd Gilbert: Lloyd Gilbert. Like David, I’m one of the founding members of the office here in Sydney. We kicked off in February 2015. My areas of focus are networks, business development, focus on strategy and also developing new markets, which has been very exciting. And I love being in Western Sydney as well.

Jim Taggart: Thank you, Lloyd. Steve.

Steve Phillips: Good morning. I just want to firstly thank obviously Mike Walls for the invitation, Dr Jim Taggart for hosting, and obviously KPMG.

My name is Steve Phillips. My professional career has spanned a multitude of industries. I run a small consulting business out of the Hills District – heavily involved in franchised services for companies. We also consult with a Blacktown manufacturer that exports to China, North America and Columbia.

My history is mostly in and around business building extension and fixing those companies that come to a grinding halt for whatever reason.

Jim Taggart: Thanks very much. Nick?

Nick Slack: My name is Nick Slack. I’m a Partner at the law firm, Hall & Wilcox. We are a law firm that, unlike a lot of others has had exponential growth in the last four years. We started off as a Melbourne-only firm, which is 100 years old, but expanded from Melbourne four years ago with 40 partners, to now being 70 partners nationally. We’re one of the few firms that’s actually growing in an increasingly fragmented market. I’m one of a couple of partners who are leading the charge grow our presence in Western Sydney. So we’ve opened an office here. And we are looking to grow at the same rate.

Jim Taggart: What is your area of expertise within the law firm?

Nick Slack: I’m a Banking and Finance Partner.

Jim Taggart: Thanks Nick. Yelena?

Yelena Wenman: I’m Yelena Wenman. My passion is Higher Education and business transformation. My career spans across organisations from large scale to start-up. I do business advisory and consulting, a lot of work around strategy enablement, portfolio alignment, in a variety of different industries.  I then bring that experience into the Boardroom, and into Risk and Governance work, where Boards interface with Executive Teams. So, that’s where my sweet spot is.

Jim Taggart: Thanks Yelena.

Susan Skuodas: I’m Susan Skuodas from Sydney Olympic Park Authority. We’re a NSW Government Agency responsible for managing and developing Sydney Olympic Park. We have three major entertainment venues, 11 sports venues, 430 hectares of parklands at Sydney Olympic Park. We host over 10 million visitors every year, and the real growing area for that is the number of people coming to our green spaces: we get 3 million people coming to our parks, alone.

We’re also in the midst of transforming Sydney Olympic Park into a thriving business and residential suburb as well. Today we have 20,000 residents, workers and students in the Park. But in the next 10 years, that will grow to over 60,000 – not to mention what’s happening on our boundaries.

So, it’s a great time of transformation of us. Thank you for the opportunity to be here today.

Jim Taggart: Thank you.

Ben Brokken: My name is Ben Brokken. I’m a Director of KPMG in the Deal Advisory Team. I bring about 12 years of Corporate Advisory experience, two secondments into banking institutions, one secondment into government. I have dabbled in real estate advisory, capital markets, transactions, IPOs, vendor due diligence, acquisition due diligence, turnaround strategy and formal appointments. I specialise in turnaround strategy – so, working with companies going through periods of change, resetting operating models, negotiating with key stakeholders and also, changing the course of their destiny. This is my first time in Western Sydney – and what a day to be here – and what a community to participate in discussion with. Thank you for having me.

Jim Taggart: You’re welcome. Angela?

Angela Haynes: My name is Angela Haynes and I’m a Director in our KPMG Western Sydney office. I specialise in Restructuring Services and, in particular, the work I do tends to be around operational improvement – so, driving profit or driving cash. At the moment, the economy is going extremely well so a lot of the work is around growth and expansion. I grew up and went to school in Western Sydney and I’m Alumni at Western Sydney University. So, for me this is very much a real place to work. In our early 20s, my husband and I, then as boyfriend and girlfriend, started a transport company that we still run today. It delivers around the East coast of Australia and Adelaide – mostly refrigerated trucks which go into chain stores. It’s based in Moorebank. So I feel like I’m Western Sydney through and through.

I’m delighted to have you all here today. I think there’ll be some really great wisdom at the table.

Jim Taggart: Thanks Angela. Set the scene for us, for today.

Angela Haynes: OK. We’re exploring growth today. Each year, KPMG does a CEO survey. I’ve pulled a couple of the key findings out of that survey and what the CEOs are telling us is that they expect growth, but there is uncertainty. The area that they’re seeing the most growth is in head counts. 91% of CEOs expect to increase their head count over the next three years which reflects the underlying growth expectations.

Our CEOs are evolving. They’re looking more widely for their skills. And they’re not coming to the table with an expected: I know all about this business. So, they’re collaborating a lot more and they’re looking for high emotional intelligence in their employees, as opposed to skills-based hiring. The last thing is a cognitive revolution. They’ve increased their investment in cognitive technology, moving away from: I make, I do, I service, into looking at: How can I do that better, with a cognitive framework. So, a lot more around the thinking behind what they’re doing – and going beyond simply strategy.

From these findings, there are risks and there are opportunities. This is what is front of mind for our CEOs:

Cyber Security – it’s a top investment priority and a large risk area. Understanding cyber security is quite difficult. It’s not something that we grasp just through our common sense or through our interactions. It’s huge, and our CEOs really need to invest to both understand it and to mitigate the risks around it.

Innovation – which is underpinning our growth. Innovation requires investment and 55% of CEOs are investing heavily in this area. That means new products, services and ways of doing things. And we’re seeing the innovation-led businesses transforming and this is the underlying route to growth.

Data – Data is a way of obtaining our customer and stakeholder insights. Without quality data, we really cannot see where our business should head, what the biggest opportunities are, and how to understand our customers so we can service them better.

The other top 3 which are in the forefront are: regulatory changes, geopolitical uncertainty and global economic factors.

KPMG also does some work around the SME space and I’ve taken these stats from the Nab ‘Business View’ Issue 24, Summer 2017 to highlight growth in this area.

49% of SMEs have recorded growth in the last 12 months. This is relevant because Western Sydney really thrives on its SME businesses. And what is an SME today can turn into a medium SME tomorrow, and actually become a large corporate. That’s where a lot of Western Sydney’s growth has come from, in particular ‘FamBiz’, which is the heart of a lot of Western Sydney, and particular the fringe growth.

66% of SMEs are confident of their growth going forward. 45% of them intend to expand. Medium SMEs are looking outside Australia to break into the international market.

KPMG ran an Export Asia Conference about two months ago and questions that kept coming up: How do I export? Where do I export? And for those that have had a go at exporting, where do they go next or how do they do it better?

And lastly, Change. 26% of SMEs have changed the nature of their business since they started. That is an enormous amount of disruption indicating our Western Sydney businesses are very resilient, and adaptable.

There are road blocks. 33% have wanted to expand but have held back. This is mainly due to uncertain economic conditions, too much competition, they’re worried about taking on too much debt or they feel don’t have the right skills – not the skills to do their business, but the skills to manage change. That’s where competent advisory capability is really important in supporting those businesses.

I looked at the Western Sydney statistics out of the Budget. I won’t go through them in detail but there are three growth hotspots: Health services, transport infrastructure and education.

Moving into unlocking value I’m going to give us a framework for our discussion. This is the framework KPMG use when we look wholistically across an organisation.

The Nine Levers of Value are both external and internal levers. The external levers drive profitable growth and the internal levers underpin operational excellence. We’re not going to discuss the specific levers today but I wantto use these levers as prompts for ideas in the discussion.

We have some themes today which are around:

What levers are the most important when you’re looking to grow?

Where are the main challenges that inhibit that growth? and

What are your ideas to unlock value within these levers?

To that end, I’m going to open our Session 1 discussion with the question:

In your experience and considering internal and external factors, what is your most identifiable key to growth?

Jim Taggart: I’m going to you, Theo, because I’m very fortunate to know you as a friend, and I know a little bit about your business, and I’ve always been in awe of how you’ve grown that. Talk to us.

Theo Drivas: The key features in our business, which is hospitality, is not so much the skills but mainly about people having the right attitude. At the moment I’m trying to employ two staff members. I’m finding that people who are more experienced and have better qualifications aren’t necessarily the people I’m looking for. I’m looking for people who will grow within themselves and within my family of staff. That’s what I’ve told all my staff. We’re a family and we’ve got to grow as a family. When we host an event it’s like coming into our home. Just like we open our doors to our relatives, our friends, the same thing applies with our events as well. Everyone who comes into our venues is treated like they’re coming into our own home. If we disrespect them, well then we’re disrespecting our family, and it shows.

Jim Taggart: And that’s a cultural thing which comes through all your organisations. You shared with David and I, that one long weekend, you had 13 weddings.

Theo Drivas: Yes. It was a long weekend. It was the days when we had the Waters Edge down at Pier one. Now I’ll just give you a picture of the venue. There are two dining rooms at Waters Edge. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with where Pier One is, underneath Harbour Bridge. People always used to say to us: How can you go wrong? You’ve got such a beautiful vista. And that’s why you do so well down here.

No – it’s got nothing to do with that because upstairs used to be a restaurant called the Harbour Watch which went broke. It had the same vista. What was it? Lack of service, lack of food, lack of care and lack of end product. That’s why they went broke and closed. And that’s why we were there for 30 years.

So we had 13 weddings one long weekend. There were three on the Friday, four on Saturday: there are only two dining rooms, so it was two lunch weddings and two for dinner. On Sunday there were four weddings and two more on Monday. So, in total, 13 wedding with around 2500 people that went through. Everybody got treated with the same care. They weren’t just a number. You are very special to me. That’s what I used to say to them.

Jim Taggart: Thanks Theo. That’s a really deep and insightful reflection for us all to think about in our own businesses. David, 10,000 removals per year. Huge number in logistics. Key to growth?

David Amaneddine: I need to know who I am as a person. I need to know who I am and give myself to people. And if they like it, they come. That’s the first and foremost thing I had to work out the hard way. I got to like myself and I made sure the people around me shared that same vision. If they didn’t, off they went. Furthermore, we need to have our internal processes and our Quality Control Department – that’s on par with the rest of our service. Our staff need to have the necessary skills. And like, Theodore, I don’t read resumés. If I do, it’s just to be respectful to potential candidates. There’s more in the eyes of a person and in their demeanour – in the way they sit, in the way they talk. Their verbal and nonverbal communication gives it away in a split second. Once you pick up on the kind of people that you want, they become like my family. My internal staff are treated with the utmost respect. I lead by example. They believe in the product we have. So, we try to serve and please our many customers and to keep the best image as possible.

Jim Taggart: I think that’s a very good point. Nick : two of the largest law firms have just merged in the last week. You’re growing organically?

Nick Slack: The key growth for us, I would say, is multi-faceted under the banner of what we call Smarter Law.

Jim Taggart: Is that Hall & Wilcox’s view? Or is that a professional view?

Nick Slack: Smarter Law is a program we put in place about how we want to operate our business and that is, by embracing innovation, internal disruption, co-creating a future with our clients through a number of different levers to work together and to grow. And it means doing things differently. The practise of law is very congested and it can be an incredibly conservative field. If you sit still and do the same old thing that’s been done for the last 30 or 50 years, you will very quickly become irrelevant. So, we’re trying to do things differently. The internal things that we’re focusing on is people, and having the right sort of people working with us, not just going for the person who has the highest grades. For example, for our Graduate Programme last year we had 553 applications for just five positions. So we’re not short of people to pick from. But we want to have the right sort of people with the right skills and the right emotional intelligence to practise in a changing environment. We need to have the right processes in place. And that goes to how we utilise technology and how we work with our clients alongside them in their business, rather than just sitting remotely and giving them technical legal advice. Lastly, we need to have the right values as an organisation. One of the things that we’ve put in place over the last 18 months is what we call our Hallmarks. They are our internal values: respect respect, making sure that we stay true, being authentic in what we do for our clients and how we deal with each other, evolving all the time, embracing disruption externally and internally, and doing things in a collaborative way. And we call that Better Together.

Jim Taggart: Thanks very much, Nick. Nathan, what’s going through your mind?

Nathan Rees: I left Northmead High school in 1985. Youth unemployment was around 30%. General unemployment was in excess of 10% at the time. In Western Sydney, it was particularly acute. A whole generation of kids really struggled to get a job. Fast forward to now. We’ve got 5% unemployment across the nation. Western Sydney has burst onto the scene, politically and economically. What we don’t have is a Western Sydney Plan. If I asked everyone around the room: What’s the plan for Western Sydney?, I’ll get a different answer from everyone. We don’t have a joint plan that we are all signed onto, as business people and opinion leaders across the region. One of your competitors had a go at a plan a few years ago. It was in my opinion just a pitch for work. But it didn’t get sustained traction because it didn’t come from the ground up. I’m the Patron of Greater Blacktown Chamber of Commerce and I’ve spoken to the other chambers and Councils. I know that if there was the right vehicle to bring together a cross-regional plan, people would sign onto that in blood. But we don’t have it. We don’t have the forum for it. And if we’re all singing off the same song sheet, across the region, to everyone in government, everyone in big business, that would put us in a much better position as a region to identify those growth opportunities and pursue them. That’s the first thing. The second thing is: every big business and medium business will complain that the kids that come out of university or out of school aren’t job-ready. Leaving aside the legitimacy of that claim, let’s put that there. On the other side, I know that Universities like Western Sydney will crawl over broken glass to make sure that the kids who graduate from those Universities are ready to go. But again, we don’t have a means of putting those collaborations together. There is no formal vehicle for doing that. The higher education sector has a unit. It’s based down in Melbourne. It’s called The Business Higher Education Round Table and it’s meant to do that. But I’ll bet no-one’s ever heard of it. So, the ability to marry all the business imperatives into the medium and long term with what’s coming out of our Tertiary sector, that vehicle doesn’t exist.

Jim Taggart: Thanks for that. Also too, please don’t wait for me to ask questions. I’m going to throw some hand grenades in. I want robust discussion. And if something doesn’t sit with you, please let’s use the intellect in the room. Don’t sit back and wait.

Nathan Rees: Can I just ask? Did I make sense then?

Jim Taggart: What’s the vehicle? Do you have an idea of what that vehicle is?

Nathan Rees: I think it’s a small group of people with a relatively small resource, just to go away and start these consultations and put documents together in an orderly fashion that everyone’s signed onto from the start.

Jim Taggart: Well Susan would say that Sydney Olympic Park’s already doing that for quite a large area. Susan, I’d be interested in your response to Nathan.

Susan Skuodas: Sydney Olympic Park has a Master Plan that covers our 640 hectares. And I think one of the things that we haven’t done well in the past is looked outside that 640 hectares. But that’s something that has changed in our recent review of our Master Plan. How does Sydney Olympic Park interact with the region around it? And that’s where I think infrastructure provision and Parramatta Light Rail is a really clear enabler for that.

There’s a new region which has been identified as Greater Parramatta and Olympic Peninsula – GPOP. Sydney Olympic Park is really committed to see how we can contribute to the growth of that area. Even in our discussions around the Western Sydney Visitor Economy, it’s such a big geographic area and there are many different characteristics within it. I’m not sure if there is a way to create a plan for all Western Sydney. Or does it need to be broken up into smaller areas, like GPOP to be able to enable growth that’s characteristic and led from the people within those regions.

So that’s where I guess your growth is saying it’s geographic. We’ve got Vanessa who’s connecting these pockets of growth. So, what are your thoughts?

Vanessa Ferreira: Well, that’s our challenge. It’s working within this GPOP community. And you’re right in saying that there are multiple plans across the different levels of government and we work with each and everyone and the broader community. I think we’re very blessed at Parramatta Light Rail to be led by a Program Director that puts innovation at the forefront. Most of you will know that there are multiple Light Rail projects across Australia that are either being delivered or in the planning stages. And we are learning from each and every one of them. But what’s even more valuable is that we’re also ensuring we deliver the project to meet the needs of Western Sydney – what fits best for Western Sydney. So, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. We are driven by what the community wants and what our stakeholders want. The biggest challenge for us is that we are just one part of the greater plan for this region . We are delivering a piece of infrastructure which in itself can generate multiple conversations. Light Rail is about connecting communities where people live, work and play. And I think that fits very nicely into the Western Sydney conversation.

Jim Taggart: It’s interesting, because that’s precisely the point that Nathan is saying. He’s saying there’s no overall comprehensive plan. The regions within our region have their own energy and their own political structure. It’s really interesting listening to what you’re saying. You’re talking more about external factors. I haven’t heard anything about internal factors in business.

Lloyd Gilbert: Well I just want to sort of go back 15 minutes. I think that the comments made were really critical. Most people talk about culture, but I think they just pay lip service to it. But you guys are saying culture is king – it’s everything. If you can’t get that connectivity with the staff to actually believe the vision you’re not going to get growth.

Angela Haynes: Steve, you’re a business improvement consultant. So, you’d be working with businesses that are here and want to be there.

Steve Phillips: Yes.

Angela Haynes: Do you see culture as the main driver? And given that it sounds like there’s a consensus, what do you see as a close second?

Steve Phillips: I think that, with the business I work for, innovation is the trigger for growth. Then people and culture is second. The markets that I’m playing in are saturated markets, for example, we export two containers of eco-friendly cleaning product to China per month. So, we’re talking $70,000 to $80,000 in product. We’ve tried to launch into the defensive through Coles and Woolworths etc. but we’re playing in an extremely saturated market. You can go to IGA and buy off the shelf $3 Spray N Wipe or Ajax. So, one of the things I did first, particularly at the manufacturing plant in Blacktown, is I looked towards innovation to differentiate ourselves. The most famous example of innovation, of course, is Domino’s. Even though their share price was a bit tardy in the last quarter, they’ve done way better than anybody else in that market. They’ve saturated the market for five buck pizzas by introducing interest. Another example is Amazon being launched into Australia. Everybody’s got varying views about whether that’s going to disrupt retail. But one of the things it’s already done is it’s prompted companies such as, I think, JB Hi Fi to say: Same day delivery. So, that’s innovation isn’t it?

Angela Haynes: It’s interesting. I was ordering my Coles online groceries the other day. As you know, you book the day or so in advance for your delivery. But now, you can go through Air Tasker and have someone deliver same day. So we know that Air Tasker, like Uber, is a very disruptive organisation. And the flow-on effect has been fantastic. We’ve got employment through Air Tasker and we’ve got people getting quicker service. So, there’s a complementary flow here from innovation.

Steve Phillips: Yes, it’s certainly innovation. And then there’s a secondary bit to that, which is Change Management. You go into companies where they say: But we’ve done it this way for so many years. Getting the owners, the directors, the shareholders, the stakeholders to acknowledge that they need to change or die is number one. And then, in my experience, what’s poorly executed with these companies is communicating that to their teams.

Jim Taggart: Thanks for that, Steve. Yelena? Your thoughts. You did a massive transformation at Western Sydney University and other institutions. Your thoughts?

Yelena Wenman: It’s really good to hear that people want businesses with culture at the top. Because when you go into businesses you need to deliver the message that unless the culture at the very top changes, no amount of transformational dollar spent will actually make much of a difference. If you look at the drivers such as business processes, technology and infrastructure as a skill set, they will never change an organisation as much as people and attitude will.

Every time I go into an organisation, I need to build a team that is fit for purpose. For many years I got: Let’s get the best skill set, but now we’re saying: Get the person with the best attitude, and train them if you need to – because if their attitude is there, they can do anything with the right conditions and the right leadership.

But when you go into an organisation to transform it, and the people that caused the problem in the first place are still there, and the behaviours of those people are still there, it’s very hard to drive the value up. Sometimes you go into a place and you’re given a very nice, shiny strategy paper. And you read it and say: I have no idea what it says. It’s 26 pages of real nice stuff but it has no relevance to implementation because you can’t tie it back to: Here’s where we are, here’s where we want to be and here’s how we get there.

You have a whole lot of aspirational statements, but the hard look by the company should be: This is where we’re at and this is where we want to be – and then every ounce of company resources and attention gets driven in the same direction to deliver that value.

So, the consultants come in, and I’m a consultant, but there’s only so much we can do to help you. The real change will happen when the leaders in that organisation change with their goals.

Angela Haynes: I want to pose a question to Ben, because Ben works with companies that grow. Where he starts with them though, is a few steps back perhaps than where we would ordinarily enter a company. So Ben, knowing that you’re going to companies experiencing challenge or even distress, what do you see as the key driver of growth from that place?

Ben Brokken: I think there’s some really interesting points that have come up today. There’s a saying which has been going round in my head. And I forget who said it but it was: Culture eats strategy for breakfast. In terms of the discussion today, that is very much true. If we reflect on the points around innovation, there’s disruptive innovation such as Uber, but there’s also incremental innovation which are the things in the business that you change in a relatively small way, but collectively they have a big impact.

Some of the words that have come out – culture values, passion, purpose – you know – having the right people, are all about creating that culture and that environment where people feel safe to put their views forward and challenge the status quo to propel the company forward. So it’s been really interesting to hear a lot of that.

To answer Angela’s question, I wrote down three qualities that every company that I’ve worked in have. These are companies which are failing to compete. I think the three consistent factors that you generally see are: a disruptive culture, poor financial and operational visibility in terms of the metrics that they monitor and the things that they focus on, and the third thing is a failure to change and adapt.

Jim Taggart: Thanks Ben. Richard? You’re in the building industry in a very competitive market in Western Sydney yet your business continues to grow extremely well. Talk us through that.

Richard Gremmo: One analogy I always use is: growing up I wanted to be an NRL player, like a lot of boys in Western Sydney. There were two things holding me back: talent and body shape.

Now, using that as an analogy, you carry that across to business. So I think a lot of businesses want to be a Facebook or a KPMG. A lot of businesses want to be big businesses. Unfortunately, they’re just not going to have what it takes.

I fully respect and understand people who coach businesses and business development. Brad Arthur’s a great rugby league coach but he won’t turn me into an NRL player. And I think one of the most important things businesses should understand is their limits. They can get business coaches but if they don’t have the skills required, they’re not going to grow into a large business. And it’s just a very cold, hard truth that some people have the skills required to become a large business.

Jim Taggart: Richard, be more specific. What skills are we talking about, so we’re on the same page?

Richard Gremmo: I’ll get to that. Just to wrap that up: not having those skills required, it’s identifying in yourself that: maybe I’m happy to play touch footy down in the park with my mates, as the analogy of just being I guess a smaller business that’s going to keep food on the table of my family – and that might be my limit as a business person – and not necessarily – I might not be able to turn it into a KPMG, or the analogy of being an NRL player.

So, as I say, Brad Arthur could coach me all he likes. I will not be playing in the NRL. I don’t have the skill set required. So, I think businesses need to identify that.

Some of the skills you’re talking about there, Jim – one of the ones I always talk about is the ability for confrontation. Now, it’s not that I seek confrontation, but growing up in a family of four boys and playing rugby league since I was 5 years old, confrontation is part of the game.

So, in business,I have zero problem with confronting someone about an issue, or if their quality is not up to scratch. It’s a required skill in business.

We deal with hundreds of subcontractors. There are a lot of them who, when it comes time for confrontation, don’t want to know about it. They’re not going to be able to expand this business if they can’t front up to simple facts like that. And it’s a simple fact: some people don’t have the skill of handling confrontation.

The other thing I was going to say in relation to external growth is sometimes governments offer money to start-ups but some of those business just don’t have the skills to play in the NRL, as I said.

So, when they’re looking at growing business, governments should identify – like the Parramatta Eels would – who has the skills to take the business forward. They’re the people who should be receiving the funding and the support from the government – not just: Let’s put all the money on the table for everybody and hope everybody does their best.

So, I’m certainly a great believer in some people have the skills sets in business and some people don’t. People that do have the skill sets are the ones that should be encouraged to grow.

Jim Taggart: Thanks for that. That’s a very interesting concept especially the analogy that you use. David, your reflections?

David Pring: I was just reflecting on that in terms of what we’re seeing with organisations themselves and how they are responding to the market and what’s happening out there. Take the example of what’s happening in retail with Amazon opening. That hasn’t happened overnight. That’s been coming for years. And those retailers are, I think, very slow to respond to what’s been happening elsewhere in the world and the business models that are going to arrive.

Nick Slack: It’s almost like misguided arrogance, isn’t it, that Gerry Harvey is saying: No. This will never happen

David Pring: Amazon’s already a $1 billion business and is going to provide some fierce competition for many retailers in a very short space of time, with tenfold growth. However, Australian retailers who have focussed on the customer and moved to an omnichanel model are positioned well to compete.

I think the smart businesses are the ones that say: Not only are we busy now, but our market is going to change. How can we transform our business for the business of the future?

In the construction space, there are a lot of companies looking at: How do we take some of our process online? How do we allow customers to design and cost projects online? Some of our clients are then looking to say: How can we do that and supply product direct – and so, cut out the entire business model they currently have with their factories, for a new model to supply to customers going forward.

Now, there are lots of constraints and many companies are sitting back and saying: Well, we’re really busy with what we’re doing. We’ll worry about the future in the future.

But I think that whole innovation piece and changing omnichanel model – there’s a great opportunity to do that whilst they’re in a strong market.

(MORNING TEA BREAK)

Jim Taggart: Thank you for the first part. I thought we shared some very interesting insights.

Angela and I have got miles of questions because, when you deal with people with such intellect and experience as those in this room, you want the best to come out. So I want to challenge you.

Lloyd, I’m going to start with you. What do you think businesses, particularly in Western Sydney, need if we’re going to be a road map and we’re a group of advisors for businesses? What are those things that they really need?

Lloyd, you’ve got a lot of experience in this.

Lloyd Gilbert: I’m going to go back to the point made before: You have to know what you’re good at and where the gaps are. You have to understand what’s impeding your growth. Self reflection is very important. And I think you have to understand opportunity. One of our focus areas at the moment is export – because Western Sydney has to get into that game.

Most people know there’s a huge opportunity, but they don’t really know what all the moving parts are and how to make that work.

Jim Taggart: Do you think businesses understand their opportunities?

Lloyd Gilbert: No. I think they tend to be focussed on what’s in front of them. Most businesses don’t look beyond two or three months. They don’t forecast much better than that. I think understanding what the next 12 months is really going to be like and doing scenario planning around that will give them a greater handle on the future.

Jim Taggart: It’s such a critical part in business planning. Why don’t they do it?

Richard Gremmo: What I find in business is they are concentrating too much on working in the business rather than working for the business. You get bogged down with day-to-day mundane problems, rather than delegating and finding the right people.

Jim Taggart: I don’t understand what you’re saying.

Susan Skuodas: Is it a lack of leadership?

Jim Taggart: Sorry. Is that a question or a statement?

Susan Skuodas: It’s a question. Is there a lack of leadership across these businesses where the owners and leaders within the business don’t actually understand the role required of them?

Yelena talked about going into businesses where if the leaders don’t change, then you can throw a lot of resources at it but you won’t get businesses that grow. And I think it’s also what you touched on is all about valued change. So, is it the leaders don’t have the skill and the training?

Jim Taggart: Who sets the vision for your business? How do you get that collective vision for leadership? Where does it come from?

Ben Brokken: Straight from the top. It’s got to be. It’s got to be the person who’s driving the bus.

David Amaneddine: I also think you’ve got to constantly talk about it. We come together formally, once or twice a week.

David Amaneddine: I’m saying just in this office, we talk a lot about what’s going on.

Jim Taggart: And that comes from the top, doesn’t it?

David Amaneddine: Yes, we have constant engagement.

Angela Haynes: I think there’s a fear of change. I’ve seen many leaders of their businesses with their head in the sand. And it’s either a fear of: I don’t want to go there. I’ve worked very hard to get here. That’s going to be scary, because it’s a new environment, or it’s a denial of what might be going wrong in the back pocket, already – and “pocket” meaning financial but also the operations.

So there’s this inertia, really, of: Can’t go forward, and I can’t really fix the back. So I’m caught in this rut.

Nick Slack: I think part of the mix between leadership and change and innovation is creating within an organisation a culture of exploration and allowing people to try something new and giving permission for people to fail, and fail fast.

So, again I come back to it: law firms are very traditional, have been very staid environments. Our leadership says: We want you to go out and try a few different things within this framework. Go explore. Go try things. And, if you fail, that doesn’t matter.

There’s got to be a rigorous process about putting an idea forward. But go and try different things. And if you fail fast, so be it.

Angela Haynes: But that’s the people side of change and supporting that change. What if they just can’t afford to fail? There’s a cost.

Nick Slack: It’s around parameters of failing, though. It’d have to be a pretty spectacular failure to compromise a business. There’s a lot of incremental changes that can be made. So I think it sort of comes back to the point around parameters. You don’t want someone trying something that’s going to ultimately compromise the business.

Lloyd Gilbert: No. It can’t be done if it’s going to have a fundamental impact.

Angela Haynes: But Richard’s business is diverse. I hadn’t appreciated actually how diverse your family business is. How did you go from being a carpenter/builder developer into a range of businesses.

Richard Gremmo: It’s quite interesting how we got into the sports tape/sports medical business. I hurt myself at the snow and went to the physio. He said he was thinking about building an App. I said: That’s interesting and then thought nothing of it.

My brother was strapping his knee that night and I said: Do you know what you’re doing? He said: Not really.

So I rang up the physio and said: Let’s have a crack at this App.

And I won’t lie to you. I thought: Oh we’ll throw 5 grand in and just see what happens.

Richard Gremmo: It’s hard making Apps – let me tell you.

From there, we couldn’t really get any of the tape companies to sponsor it. And then I was flying from New York to Nashville and was looking out the window thinking: 15 grand in a physio App. I’m a carpenter. And then: We’re not going down without a fight. I rang up the guy we did the App with and said: Maybe we should have a look at starting our own tape company, just to recover a little bit of the cost.

Jim Taggart: The entrepreneur.

Richard Gremmo: So we started looking into it. And the more I looked into the sports tape/sports medical business, I saw the big players had very poor marketing and were very staid in their business models. They were all doing the same as each other. So the more we looked at it, we said: We can take the principles that we use to build luxury homes and apply them to sports tape.

Going back to the App thing: a guy that was developing one of the Apps with us said he would put 14 videos into the app but then delivered the app with only 10 videos.

I said: Well, you said there’s 14. There’s only 10.

And he said: Yeah. But the app is only 99 cents. Nobody will care.

I said: No! If somebody is spending 99 cents with us, or a million dollars, they get what they paid for. If we say we’re giving you 14 videos in the App for 99 cents, you’re getting 14, not 10.

So I applied those same business principles.This guy thought I was mental, because it was only 99 cents. They’re out of business now. So, that attitude of: Near enough is good enough that he took to his business – it’s not good enough.

So, it’s the same business principles – value for money, treating customers/clients with respect, giving them what they pay for. These principles work across different forms of business.

But, going back to the original point: you do have to have a certain skill set to be able to operate in different businesses.

Jim Taggart: And that transforms into what David, and I think Lloyd and Theo, were talking about it being cultural. Excellence is not up for negotiation. That’s really important to get into people’s mindsets. Richard would know about this. You’re just finishing a development of $60 million – right? So, your understanding of business principles at such a young age is sound. But that transmits across all your brothers. Right?

Richard Gremmo: Yeah. Sure. But again, amongst the four of us we’re very lucky to have different skill sets.

Jim Taggart: Yeah, you are.

Richard Gremmo: Two of my brothers will openly say they have no idea when it comes to marketing, graphic design and the like. I’ve got a few skills in that area. So if you can get a team together, they can complement each other.

David Pring: Can I just make a point in relation to that? We were talking before about why businesses should think about what they’re currently doing and look at doing things differently. If you can’t figure out how to cannibalise your own business, then someone else will.

Jim Taggart: Yeah. That’s fantastic.

David Pring: And, you know, if you went out to any of the health organisations and said: Where is your next threat coming from, from new entrants? I’m sure you weren’t on their list.

Richard Gremmo: I don’t think we were and we still wouldn’t be yet we’ve probably got 5% or 10% of the market. I’m sure they’re still thinking: Why me?

David Pring: But the same thing is, you’re not necessarily going to know where it’s coming from because someone’s going to look at a market and say: We can do that better than the incumbent. And we’re going to bring the skills that we have – just like you said. Imagine signing up for that house and finding out there’s one bedroom not delivered. It would be mayhem.

Jim Taggart: Thanks David. Susan?

Susan Skuodas: What I thought was really interesting was how you took the principles from your development business into a very different sphere. I think a lot of business leaders, particularly at that SME level, see themselves as subject matter experts: I’m in the business of this, as opposed to: I’m a business manager who has these principles. And maybe that’s something that should be taught in tertiary studies so that we have university students entering into the workforce not as subject matter experts or: I’m in this field, but with skills which are transferrable across multiple industries. That could be the gap that needs to be filled.

I don’t know if that happens in tertiary education. Yelena, is that something that you’ve seen in your experience with Western Sydney University ?

Yelena Wenman: What I see, of course, is a lot of very specific skills development and specific knowledge development. But what I also see is that people who will become University students in 5, 10 years time are actually not looking for knowledge at school. They’re looking for knowledge on Google.

What they need is to learn how to apply that, how to have the right behaviour, and the right attitude, how to apply the plethora of information that’s bombarding them every second into something that’s tangible and something that they direct. That’s the skill set we don’t know how to teach yet. I don’t think there are many universities that teach that. So, by default, you sort of go back to Accounting 101 and Statistics 101 and Business 101. And it gives you a reasonable grounding. But I don’t know where the transcendence happens from that and how you apply that.

The connection that Nathan was talking about between how you take kids at the universities and put them into a work environment before they even come up with a degree, ready to deliver value. There’s a difference between becoming a graduate and delivering value. And that gap is quite substantial right now.

Nick Slack: I don’t want to be the nay-sayer, but that transference, isn’t that what experience is?

Yelena Wenman: With knowledge, but without experience.

Nick Slack: With some knowledge. I mean a Philosphy Degree might be thoroughly unsuitable, you know, in the world of commerce. But it might give you a strategy for thinking and analysing things.

I sometimes think, in the current climate, there’s almost an insane urge to say that our graduates need to hit the ground running on Day 1. All of a sudden, they’re meant to be able to solve problems that we ourselves with 20, 30, 40 years experience haven’t been able to solve. It’s that experience that ultimately gets you where you need to be.

David Amaneddine: What you’re saying is correct. A lot of the people come out of university with compartmentalised learning. And this can be used to our benefit. That is what Steve Jobs was. He was a conductor. He wasn’t the most intelligent person, but he conducted the show the way it ought to go. I surround myself with people that are smart.

Angela Haynes: What if you can’t afford to surround yourself with smart people – and there’s a lot of businesses out there that just don’t have that spare capital to be able to spend on increasing their internal skill set or free themselves up to go out and actually have that thinking time. How would you suggest that somebody does that, when they’ve really got to be in their business because they’ve got all these pain points?

David Amaneddine: That was one of the hardest decisions that I’ve made in my life. One year ago, I let go of 9 trucks in one day at the detriment of $6,000 loss a week. I was forking back into the business. I had a decision to make. Integrity, or let’s keep these guys that’ll work 24 hours a day 7 day a week who say: Yes boss, to everything, but were not up to the standard that I expected. I had a decision to make. Am I going to walk my walk and walk by faith, or by sight? And I walked by faith. The decision was: basically, these guys are affecting my business anyway, so I jumped into the unknown and haven’t looked back since. And that was one year ago. I don’t know if that’s going to be applicable to every single person over here. But it was the most difficult decision I made in my life.

Jim Taggart: Thanks for sharing that. Let me pose this question? Where do you get your advice to make decisions?

Theo Drivas: Reflecting on what Richard said about his four brothers, if you’ve ever had a family-run business, it’s very hard to be in partnership with somebody, let alone your own sibling, your own father, your own brother.

Jim Taggart: And respectfully, they’re partners.

Theo Drivas: Correct. And that’s one thing with my brothers and I – in particular Chris, my second brother, who I’ve been partners with for 47 years. There are things that he can do that I don’t do as well. And there’s things that I do that he just doesn’t want to get involved with, like with everyday events and people.

In my case, I’m a mediator, I’m a marriage counsellor, I’m a celebrant. You name it. It’s got to do with dealing with people’s problems and listening to what people have to say.

Richard over here has got three other brothers – so I can totally sympathise because even though you’re from the one hand, all the fingers are different. So, there’ll be opinions. But you’ve got to have that demarcation. You’ve got to have that chain of command. And, you’ve got to have that fine line you don’t cross. And, if you do, the other person doesn’t tread on your toes.

The fish sinks from the head. So there’s got to be somebody leading the way. And you’ve got to take responsibility. That’s what we do in our company. It’s not about you. It’s about us. It’s not “it’s your fault – it’s our fault”. We’re all in it. So, if we’re going to take the praise, we’ve also got to take the blame.

Jim Taggart: I agree with that.

Ben, you’ve a lot of experiences with firms over many years. When you go in, do you question where they’re at? You know, in the sense of maybe poor quality advice that’s got them into this situation, or processes, or things.

Ben Brokken: The biggest things we sell are circumspect and external challenge. So really, most of what you’re doing is challenging the thinking in a business around their trajectory or what they’re focussing on, in an informed way, because you have relevant expertise and you’ve seen a lot of different situations unfold. So when you break it down, that’s ultimately what you’re doing.

I finished an MBA a couple of weeks ago. The most interesting subjects I did were philosophy, and the other one was around decision frameworks and bias – and the amount of bias in businesses around maintaining the status quo.

It’s quite insightful when you’re in business and you see the decisions that happen, how front of mind those biases are at the table and how they manifest themselves in the trajectory of the business. So yeah, that’s something that I definitely see a lot.

Jim Taggart: Angela and I came up with the term called “Business Detox”. We come to Christmas where we want to cleanse ourselves, our thinking, our family relationships, and all our relationships. I’m wondering whether businesses do that and whether they do it well?

Our view, I hope I can speak for Angela, is: we don’t think they do. We often talk about Business Plans. And I think someone made a comment, I think Yelena, about 26 pages of beautiful, you know, quality paper and ink and all that type of stuff but (A), do they really own it? and (B), do they really understand what it means to sacrifice to do those things and so on?

I’m not being condescending about Business Plans. Far from it. But I’m wondering whether businesses have the skills to really pull their business apart on their own – right? And I’m saying no. When we were in business – I was like you, David – and still am today – I will ring you up. I’ve rung David up and got help – all the time.

And I think that’s the relationship: I don’t know this. Can you help me? What I’m saying is: in a business that’s changing so rapidly , for example by 2050, two million people will be working in Western Sydney. There’ll be half a million businesses. The change is incredible. How do you keep up with that?

Lloyd Gilbert: Can I make a comment?

Jim Taggart: Sure.

Lloyd Gilbert: The Detox piece – I think people actually need independent and objective – I wouldn’t say “advice” – but sometimes the dynamic in a business means people get shut down and there’s a belief system that, you know, people don’t challenge, someone externally has to challenge that for them.

Jim Taggart: So how do they find out about people like you?

Lloyd Gilbert: You ask a few questions. And just say to somebody: Do you challenge your strategy every 6 months. No. Well, you’re probably missing something.

Jim Taggart: I think that’s a good take-out: challenging the business every 6 months.

Lloyd Gilbert: Yeah, you’ve got nothing to lose. You’ll probably make the leadership team more collegiate and you’ll probably get a better result.

Jim Taggart: What about myself with 16 people? I turn over $2 million a year. I’m just making an example up. Do I still need that?

Lloyd Gilbert: Of course. I mean you don’t want to remain on $2 million a year. You want to be a lot bigger.

Jim Taggart: I want to grow by 10% next year or 15%.

David Pring: I think, regardless of what size the business is, you need a mindset of looking for sources of input. That could be people with skills that you don’t have. Look for someone who can provide you advice in a certain area.

The other areas which are really critical is leveraging the wealth of talent in our organisations – if only we’d ask them what could change or what the opportunities might be.

So perhaps once a quarter we go out and ask for people for their one, two or three things that might happen. And it’s quite interesting. Sometimes it’s an absolutely brilliant idea that comes through. But sometimes it’s a theme around customer service or quality or whatever else. And you get the collective wisdom coming through from individuals. You can listen to that or not but I think it’s a missed opportunity not to.

And the third one I have is: who are those people that you know and trust who are not in your sphere, who are in an adjacent sphere?

I’ll often be talking to clients about their business and issues they’re having, and thinking about how that relates back to me.

Jim Taggart: Steve?

Steve Phillips: I don’t know if the question’s been answered that Angela asked: How do you afford? So, just drawing it back to that if you don’t mind...

Steve Phillips: I think that the way to do that is just basically meet people who are in similar situations. You go and seek them. Most people want to talk to you. Some people want to charge you for it, and that’s OK. But if you’re in a position where you don’t have capital or you can’t raise seeding, and need to go out, you go and talk to people that are in the industry. And people want to talk, because they want to bounce ideas. YouTube Webinars are a perfect forum for that, where you can go on and talk to people. Go and ask, and you shall find out – if you ask enough people. The other thing too, is just read all the books that everybody reads – all the biographies, all the Steve Jobs. The messages in those books have most of the answers. You don’t need to necessarily go and get it structurally formulated and paid for. So, does that help with the answer?

Vanessa Ferreira: Can I also just jump in on that?

Jim Taggart: Vanessa?

Vanessa Ferreira: My role prior to joining Light Rail was with the Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner (OSBC). So my experience is communities and small businesses working across NSW. What I know is that small businesses are not great at embracing change, especially when it comes to the digital economy. A lot of small business owners are should I say ‘older’and technology doesn’t necessarily come as easily to them as to teenagers.

A program I was aware of during my time time with the OSBC partnered small business owners with high school students to assist them to create websites, and social networks for them. And what I was picking up on was that this opportuntiy has given these students work experience that they may never otherwise have had.

Experience in a real world setting, learning about the business and from the small business owner directly. . So, when these students get to university, they’ve got a different perspective.

So I would say to any small business owner that embracing change and new techonologies doesn’t have to be cost prohibitive. Look outside the box at what other options and resources are out there. We know that high schools and universities are craving opportunities for their students to gain practical experience. We just need to create opportunities for that.

Jim Taggart: I think that’s excellent.

I’m going to make a statement and then, I’m going to shoot to you, Angela, if I can – because I know you have a number of areas where you have a massive range of skills, but particularly the influence of cash flow on a business.

Let me give you this quote, I found. It’s only 2 lines, and it’s in the form of a question:

Is poor cash a symptom of the business, or the cause of the problem to the business?

Angela Haynes: Budgets are sometimes like a crystal ball. But inevitably most organisations do them. But they’re often not supported by a cash flow forecast. And we all know that a P&L or a cash flow statement is not a cash flow forecast – nor is a P&L that adds 4% CPI increase and one or two changes.

The businesses that I’ve gone into that are distressed – or even just unable to move in any direction – are that way because they can’t extract the cash or the funding out of the business to make that change.

Sometimes it’s not because it costs too much to change. It’s more about finding ‘where can I actually unlock that cash so I can invest in that change or that innovation, or even just that business improvement piece?’. My suggestion is: aside from producing a cash flow forecast that attaches to your budget, say, monthly over 12 months, try running a 12 or 13 week cash flow, followed by monthly. You always have unexpected events, but you’re more prepared. Over time you can build a cash reserve that you probably didn’t know that you had.

It might be pulling some working capital levers; offloading some obsolete inventory, it might be attacking your debtors and timing your creditors’ payments, or it might be looking into your supply chain and your procurement practices. There are a range of operational measures. But equally, it’s getting in there and finding where those little gems of cash are so that you can then take the business forward and invest.

Ben Brokken: It’s interesting that you talk about cash. I spent three months working with a large ASX listed entity last year. They didn’t have a 13-week cash flow. So, basic principles around cash, managing your cash, apply from small companies all the way up to the bigger companies.

So 12 months cash flow budget, 13 week rolling cash flow, that should ideally tie to each other. These are basic principles but it’s amazing how many companies don’t apply them.

Richard Gremmo: The first sign is usually they can’t pay a bill because they don’t have the cash.

Ben Brokken: Most situations I go into it’s because, you know: We can’t pay our wages next week.

David Amaneddine: If I may ask a question? In my business I don’t have any debtors. We deal with charities and government organisations, and they pay within 30 days – 40 days maximum. For the rest, we get paid at the end of every single job. How do I forecast when there’s minimal debtors? How can I forecast when I’m at the mercy of the market based on what’s happening outside in removal world?

Angela Haynes: That’s on your revenue side, certainly. But, in your sort of business, you probably have got more control around your costs. And that’s really the area you can try and extract that value, if you are constrained on the revenue side.

Steve Phillips: So, the two pick-ups on that is: you can actually choose your customers. And you can actually go into a company and apply two principles. One of them is looking at whether they can sustain cost reduction, and then using that cash to propel some growth. But you can also go through and weed out – if you’re dealing with customers that pay you on time, you’re one of the few, because there’s a lot customers that don’t. Everything gets dragged out to 60 or 90 days, you see.

Jim Taggart: Thanks Steve. Ben?

Ben Brokken: What I see with SMEs when it comes to cash is there are a lot unpredictable things in your business. Is that what you’re saying?

What generally happens is, as soon as there’s a growth agenda, people make growth decisions without adequately thinking about the cash that’s required to make those decisions, or execute on those decisions – and that’s ultimately when they run into problems.

So, when you have a predictable business, you know when your revenue is going to come in, you know you deal with the same suppliers, you know you pay them the same time every month. That’s all routine. But it’s when you’ve got a growth objective and you need to fund that, we see, particularly with SMEs, they get in strife if they haven’t adquately forecast their cash flows and made the right allowances for those growth objectives.

Yelena Wenman: Can I just add to this?

Jim Taggart: Please Yelena. Thank you, Ben.

Yelena Wenman: Something which you mentioned right in the beginning – which is key to making sure that your growth agenda is absolutely embedded in your budgeting.

How often do you go into any business and they have a budget that absolutely replicates, with changes, what they’ve always done? And then, on top of it, you have a transformation agenda or a programme of work or a strategy implementation that’s completely divorced from the monies that will fund that.

So, the first question is: which one trumps the other? Of course, the money will always trump the aspirations – unless it is very clearly supported by planning all the way through.

Angela Haynes: Say, for a hypothesis, I’m going to spend $500,000 on putting a new technology in my business. You might actually put away that $500,000, or you’ll get a funding structure to support that. But what happens as you proceed? There could be positive aspects and there could be negative cash impacts along the way. It might be that I’m putting in a technology project and it’s taking longer than forecast so it’s going to drain cash. Or, I’m gaining these efficiencies but I suddenly have excess staff.

It’s all about budgeting and cash forecasting, particularly when you’re preparing for change – it’s more than just: I’ve got a project budget, and this is my investment. It’s ‘how does that dovetail into your budgets AND your cash flow forecasts?’.

Jim Taggart: David, I’ll give you the second last word. And then Angela, if you’d wrap up.

David Pring: Thank you all for coming along today. I’ve approached this with a view of: we’ve got a business here in Western Sydney that’s new, it’s growing and it’s less than 3 years old. So, listening to all the comments has been really helpful for me in terms of running our business.

Richard, thanks very much for your thoughts on customers and the way we look at businesses.

So I hope you also gained something from today. I look forward to continuing the conversations around growth and how we can take all of our respective businesses forward.

Jim Taggart: Thank you, David.

Angela Haynes: Thank you all for coming. 

 



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