Ipitch chatted to Brad about his background, the challenges of running two businesses at the age of 21 and his plans for the future.
Q: What is your professional background?
When I was fifteen I left school and started an electrical apprenticeship. During that time I studied various things on my own: business models, ways that people started businesses and grew them, people management, emerging markets in terms of energy efficiency and lucrative markets. I also spoke to people in the industry, people who were successful in business and were where I wanted to be. That was my main focus during the apprenticeship and while I was learning the ropes of the industry.
Q. Why did you pursue this path?
I originally got into a trade because that was the best business model I could think of at the time. I wanted to leave school so I could get a head start on my apprenticeship and get into a business as early as I could.
Q. What were your first business building steps?
Using my own money I got a van towards the end of the apprenticeship for my own jobs, which helped build a clientele base. A client would have a friend that needed something done. My first contract in terms of property management came through a friend of a friend who was on the owners corporation of a building. It has all pretty much grown from there.
Q: How did Corplite come about?
Corplite is what I want to specialise in - a business to business type of electrical work. I saw a market opportunity in terms of electrical contractors not tailoring their services to property managers. A lot of property managers didn’t understand what the tradespeople were doing so there was a grey area in terms of relaying information back and forth. Corplite specialises in services that have all the paperwork in order. All our jobs are booked in a system which keeps all the property managers up to date, every step of the way.
Q: Why did you decide to acquire a second business?
I was finding a lot of (residential) clients from the back of my corporate brand and this didn’t align with what the brand was- a business to business electrical company. But as a growing company you don’t want to turn away all that residential work so we put it into the residential arm to ensure that the brand is well aligned with what we’re doing. I then looked into buying another electrical company and Aweelectrical was a well run business in the northern beaches which had a lot of exposure in the areas that we wanted to target. Now, it is our residential company which looks after all the business to consumer market.
Q.How do you coordinate both businesses at the same time?
It’s a lot more efficient to run the business to business company in terms of administration. I may deal with three managers in a day, which may take up an hour but result in ten jobs. On the residential side of things I could deal with three clients and only receive three jobs so it’s not as productive. It really depends on what ’s going on at the time but more of my day is tied up with the residential side of things.
Q.What are the challenges of running two businesses?
Time management. Being the only staff member in the office faces me with a lot of issues, such as not being able to growing the business in terms of the actual sales.
Q. What is the greatest reward of running your own business?
For me it’s about creating something. It’s not really about the dollars and cents, it’s about having something that’s yours and that you’ve created from ground zero. It’s a good feeling to know that you’ve created something that will hopefully last in the future. That’s the biggest driver behind what I do.
Q. What are your plans for the business?
Our goal for the next 12 months is doubling in terms of workers, revenues, margins and all the financials attached to that.
Q. Why did you choose Green Lane Digital as your HQ?
This year is a big year for us in terms of growing our presence in the eastern suburbs. Green Lane Digital is halfway between the eastern suburbs and the northern beaches so it’s a good hub for us to be able to service our existing clients and service our newer clients in the east as well.
Q. What is your advice for budding entrepreneurs?
Your business has to be something you’re passionate about. There is no point getting into business just because you want to be rich. It’s not really something that’s feasible and you’re never going to be good or successful at it if that’s your main motivator. It has to be something you enjoy.
While having an early focus on business building can give you a head start, gaining the knowledge needed to start a successful business is crucial. So define what you want to build and learn how to build it. Your passion is your own and no university will have all the answers. They can only come from you.