Getting to the Heart of Business
The Trailer, Season 1

The Trailer, Season 1

February 2, 2021

In our launch season of Getting to the Heart of Business, we dive deep to mine the gold in some brilliant business owners. A lawyer who breaks every mould, a coach of high-flying corporate execs, leaders in the construction industry, a decluttering-expert-slash-podcaster... and more. Enjoy this sneak peek....

Starting from Zero: Corporate Coach Paul Donovan on Leaving his Brilliant Career to Go Solo - Ep 1

Starting from Zero: Corporate Coach Paul Donovan on Leaving his Brilliant Career to Go Solo - Ep 1

February 8, 2021

Paul Donovan was working an impressive, well-paid job in a Fortune-500 pharmaceutical co, when he decided to leave it all behind.

Starting out from ground zero, he became a solo consultant under the name The Change Company. Now, 21 years later, he's in high demand, consulting to high-flying, senior executives, helping them to clarify their vision, fix their culture, resolve conflict, and succeed in the corporate world. 

But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. In our interview, Paul opens up about some intensely personal moments - including the terror of losing all his clients on day one; and the corporate gig that turned into a train-wreck.

He also gives us a fascinating insight into what it’s like to sit in a room with executives at loggerheads, and guide them to a place of reconciliation. And you’ll catch some of Paul’s expertise, too, on handling conflict, and creating a more safe and honest workplace . 

***

KEY MOMENTS IN THIS EPISODE 

03:17 – Leaving his well-paying job, Paul took a risk and went solo as a consultant. The day of his farewell, he found out that he’d just lost every single one of his startup clients…

05:52 – Paul describes a unique strategy to help himself feel positive when phoning prospective clients.  

10:32 - 10 years into his business, Paul tried to grow a bigger team… and it didn't go as planned.

15:28 – Anxiety and stress management … Paul shares the strategies he’s used to manage his anxiety levels.

22:45 – Paul shares about the time he spoke at an event and it turned into a train wreck - and how he used that experience to grow as a person, and as a business.

28:29 – A sneak peek inside a coaching session, where executives of a large firm are in intense conflict.

32:35 – The strategies Paul uses to help a group in conflict.

37:33 – Psychologically safe workplaces – what are they, and how do we create them? 

41:36 – Paul leaves us with a great tip for starting a new business venture. 

***

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“Come to Me With Your Ideas!” The Lawyer-Entrepreneur Who Breaks Glass Ceilings & Innovates - Ep 2

“Come to Me With Your Ideas!” The Lawyer-Entrepreneur Who Breaks Glass Ceilings & Innovates - Ep 2

February 8, 2021

With degrees in law AND advertising, Amanda Little is a family lawyer with a difference.

As you'll hear in our fascinating and at-times hilarious interview, she’s an innovator, a breaker of glass ceilings—and an incurable entrepreneur who’s known to buy domain names on her holidays. She's the “ten-new-ideas-before-breakfast” type. 

Amanda shares what made her step away from a big city law firm to start out on her own, and how she juggles being a wife, a mum, a lawyer and a business owner at the same time.

You’ll hear about her approach to hiring, budgeting and business growing pains; why workplace shenanigans are high on her agenda; and how Amanda’s nearly-all-female team survived COVID-19, after "falling off a fiscal cliff". Together they led the way in finding new ways for lawyers to operate. 

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KEY MOMENTS IN THIS EPISODE:

07:15 – Amanda talks about some of the areas of business where lawyers often struggle.

10:14 – Both James and Amanda recall their first hiring experiences, and what made those early staffing decisions a success.  

14:25 – Amanda shares why being a flexible, adaptable workplace is so important to her – and how it’s attracted brilliant staff. 

18:28  - The growing pains and keys to growth in Amanda’s early years in business.  

23:35 – How manage an overactive creative brain that is always coming up with new ideas. 

27:55 – Surviving 2020: “We fell off a fiscal cliff, the work dried up instantly.”  

30:37 – Amanda realized she was losing money by hiring too many juniors, and had to undergo a major paradigm shift.

35:24 - Amanda discusses the value of investing in outsourcing.

36:51 – A fun workplace is one that staff don’t want to leave – Amanda shares how she’s created a culture of fun.
***

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A Family Business Goes National - Evan Graham & Alex Nelson at Limcora Group - Ep 3

A Family Business Goes National - Evan Graham & Alex Nelson at Limcora Group - Ep 3

February 8, 2021

The growth of Limcora Group is a great Aussie success story. Starting as a little family plumbing co handed down from father to son, it's now grown into a major player in the construction industry with more than 60 staff, working on major development projects in Sydney and interstate.

James caught up with the two couples at the head of the business, Evan and Amy Graham, and Alex and Natalie Nelson, and it was a revealing insight into the highs and the lows of running a complex, multi-faceted company.

The team, affectionately labelled in their WhatsApp chat as the 'Awesome Foursome', share some of the keys to their growth, the challenges and tensions they’ve faced together – and how two couples can run a big business together and still stay the best of friends - (they even go on joint family holidays!)
***

KEY MOMENTS IN THIS EPISODE

03:47 – At age 21, Evan Graham snapped up the opportunity of a lifetime - and found himself managing a team nearly all older than him.

06:24 – The guys explain how diversification has paid off for Limcora.

10:10 – Alex Nelson shares how he handled being “the new guy” when he first joined Limcora - and the mindset that helped him to grow the business.

13:07 – The more staff you have, the more complexity in your business. We discuss the challenges of managing a large team.

14:44 – Alex shares the story of a young plumber who left with a poor attitude - and came back a different person.

18:15 – We ask the team how they work as a management team made up of two couples.

19:21 – A chat with the 'Awesome Foursome' about work-life balance, and the pressures of juggling business and family.

27:27 – Evan and Alex share about some of the toughest times they've faced, and the hard lessons they’ve learnt about stress management.

***

LEARN MORE

  • Limcora Group are plumbing and drainage contractors based out of the Hawkesbury in Sydney's West - https://limcora.com.au/ 
“It’s So Much Like Marriage!”  The Highs & Lows of Business Partnership: Kirsty Farrugia - Ep 4

“It’s So Much Like Marriage!” The Highs & Lows of Business Partnership: Kirsty Farrugia - Ep 4

February 14, 2021

If you’re in a business partnership, and it sometimes feels a bit like a marriage – then you’re not alone!

That’s how Kirsty Farrugia describes it, in this fascinating interview about her business, The Art of Decluttering. It’s a professional organizing co, run by Kirsty and her business partner and long-time friend, Amy Revell. Together they also host a highly successful podcast of the same name.

In her interview, Kirsty shares about the massive journey of personal growth she’s been on while working in the partnership – including both the struggles, and the great rewards.

She also gives us a fascinating insight into the powerful emotional ties people have with their clutter—and what happens when you’re in a client’s home, an “landmine”explodes…

***

KEY MOMENTS IN THIS EPISODE

03:43  - She may be a professional organizer, but Kirsty admits she was once a chaotic “red hot mess”!

07:51 – Feeling restless as a stay-at-home mum, Kirsty took a leap of faith. The story of how the business began.

14:17– It’s an ironic moment when two pro-declutterers, realise their business is rather… cluttered! 

16:04 – Anyone in a business partnership will agree – it’s not easy! Kirsty talks about the personal struggles of letting go, and making room for someone else’s wishes.

23:12 -  Relationship before profit, Generosity: two of the values at the heart of Kirsty’s business.

25:24 – A thriving Facebook Group has been a key to the Art of Declutterings’s success.  

26:11 – “Landmines” – a unique hazard of the decluttering profession.

31:23 – Kirsty talks about her great passion for helping people find freedom.

35:00 – Is it possible to ‘declutter’ your business? We ask Kirsty for her advice.  

39:28 – James and Jess talk about the business strategy of identifying gaps in the market.

43:09 – Using Facebook Groups as a business tool.

***

LEARN MORE

Find out more about Kirsty and her work at www.theartofdecluttering.com.au.

The Story of a Famous Aussie Snack: Karen Lebsanft, Kurrajong Kitchen - Ep 5

The Story of a Famous Aussie Snack: Karen Lebsanft, Kurrajong Kitchen - Ep 5

February 18, 2021

Karen Lebsanft is a business powerhouse.

She's the woman behind Kurrajong Kitchen, the Aussie snack brand famous for their Lavosh crackers, first baked at a little restaurant in the foothills of the Blue Mountains - and now found in supermarkets across Australia.

Karen has won awards in Australia and the USA, she’s appeared on Foxtel's Industry Leaders TV Series, and is in demand as a speaker and business couples mentor.  

In our interview at Kurrajong Kitchen HQ (where we may or may not have pocketed some of those iconic crackers), Karen shared countless gems of wisdom learnt through nearly 30 years in the business.

You’ll hear some of the keys to the company’s growth – like customer care, and a tireless commitment to quality.  You’ll also learn how they’ve made it through several crisis moments – including droughts, recessions, a pandemic…. and a giant face-off with Arnott’s.

James and Jess wrap up with some digital marketing tips, such as monitoring what your customers are saying about you online.

*** 

KEY MOMENTS IN THIS EPISODE

03:20 – Karen takes us back to 1993, to a little restaurant in the foothills of the Blue Mountains.

09:29 – Growing a network of buyers was hard yakka –  one supermarket at a time.

12:00 – Big brands came along wanting to buy Kurrajong Kitchen out.

12:59 – Every business has to deal with some element of risk. Karen’s risk profile is high.  

14:42 – Kurrajong Kitchen’s resolve to stay all-Australian became crucial when COVID-19 hit. 

17:12 – Karen opens up about some of the mistakes and lessons learnt through her 28 years in business.

18:40 – When Arnott’s came out with a similar product, Karen thought she would lose everything.

23:09 – In 2012, Kurrajong Kitchen faced a major crisis.

29:20 – Karen shares some of her keys to resilience and stress management.  

32:00 – Brand isn’t just about logos, colour and design. It’s also about reputation and quality.

34:17 – How Karen’s childhood experiences shaped her future.

36:30 – Karen now spends a lot of her time mentoring other couples in business.  

37:49 – James and Jess discuss brand consistency; and share tips on social media marketing.

*** 

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“It’s All About How the Customer Feels” - Josh Nicholls - from Solo Sparky, to National CEO - Ep 6

“It’s All About How the Customer Feels” - Josh Nicholls - from Solo Sparky, to National CEO - Ep 6

February 28, 2021

When we turned up to interview Josh Nicholls at Platinum Electricians HQ, it felt like we were stepping into a trendy Silicon Valley tech-startup.

It’s full of bright, ultra-modern décor; there’s inspirational slogans on the walls, and a buzz of motivation in the room.  It’s a long way from Josh’s days as a young apprentice electrician, facing up to workplace bullying. He now heads up around 300 employees with franchises around Australia, and having a happy and thriving workplace culture is one of his highest values.

In our interview he shares some of the keys to his success - as well as his biggest challenges, how he survived COVID-19, and what’s kept him going strong for close to 20 years.

James and Jess then explore some of Platinum’s marketing strategies – like their 21-Point Customer Experience checklist – and share tips on finding your own USP.

***

KEY MOMENTS  

04:07 – Leaving school at 15, Josh’s electrical career got off to a rough start - in an apprenticeship where bullying was common. But the experience had a silver lining.

06:15 – Josh’s first day as a business owner – “I’ll never forget the new car smell”.

08:05 – Growing as a business leader - “I learnt to leverage off others”.

12:35 – The difference between Leadership and Management.

17:17 – To grow a business you need to have humility and hand responsibilities over to others.

19:11 – Josh explains his “wow” principle: wowing his customers with “Crazy Customer Service”

21:53 – Establishing your business’s Culture and Values.

25:46 – For Josh and his wife their “Why” is to be a blessing to others, through a charitable Foundation.

28:30 – “The first million is hardest” – Josh explains why.

30:18 – Josh's toughest times in business, and how he navigated Covid-19.

33:54 – Work life balance – how Josh achieves it.

41:46 – James and Jess discuss how to develop a USP in your business.

***

BOOKS MENTIONED BY JOSH IN OUR INTERVIEW

  • 'The E Myth – Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It' – by Michael Gerber
  • 'Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action' - by Simon Sinek.
  • 'Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose' – by Tony Hsieh

*** 

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Helping Entrepreneurs to Soar: Roger Vertannes - From London, to Riyadh, to Sydney – Ep 7

Helping Entrepreneurs to Soar: Roger Vertannes - From London, to Riyadh, to Sydney – Ep 7

March 8, 2021

If you’re writing an action-drama novel, and you need a great storyline, you might look to the fascinating life of Roger Vertannes for inspiration. 

Growing up the youngest of 10 kids, Roger learnt that if you want brand new football boots, you’ll have to work for them… and so at the tender age of 12, he joined the family business.

Since then, his journey has been full of adventure: wheeling and dealing in the Middle East; starting up a national franchise in the UK; immigrating to Australia and reinventing himself as a business broker. Now, he’s in demand advising other business leaders, through his work as a Certified EOS Implementer™️ at Leadership Counts - using a unique set of tools called the ‘Entrepreneurial Operating System’. In our interview, Roger opens up about some of the toughest lessons he’s learnt in business; what happens when you don’t watch your balance sheet; and the great rewards that come when you know your values - and run your business by them.

***

KEY MOMENTS  IN THIS EPISODE 

03:22- The youngest of 10 kids, Roger starts learning about business as a 12-year-old.

07:22 – At 17, Roger joins the family export trade, and finds his niche in the Middle East.

11:55 – A crushing blow in the family business leads to some serious soul-searching.

16:24 – With his brother, Roger starts a business that changes the face of sports education.

22:58 – ‘Team Elite’ is a roaring success – until they hit cash-flow issues.  

27:10 – A plan begins to form: shape up, sell up – and leave the country!

29:00 – Roger immigrates, with a mix of “What the hell am I doing?”, and a deep a sense of ‘calling’.

31:20 – Landing in Australia, Roger is confronted by a lot of closed doors.  

33:30 – A famous cricketing family gives Roger his first break.

37:31 – Roger explains EOS – the ‘Entrepreneurial Operating System’.

41:48 – Advice for business people who are feeling ‘stuck’.  

43:34 – The struggle is real: balancing business life and family life.

***

BOOKS & RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

***

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Playing the Numbers Game - How Entrepreneur Steve Waters is Changing the Face of Property Investment - Ep 8

Playing the Numbers Game - How Entrepreneur Steve Waters is Changing the Face of Property Investment - Ep 8

March 14, 2021

The story of Steve’s business, Right Property Group is a classic story of diving in the deep end.

As a respected authority in the Australian investment property game, Steve makes regular appearances on TV and in print and is known as an industry pioneer.

But the way he started out in property investment, is quite surprising.

He was on track to continue in his family’s beef export business – until he met a girl (now his wife) - who was a successful property investor. Never afraid to put “skin in the game”, Steve switched career paths, and took the dive - to focus on investment.

What’s incredible about Steve is – even though he’s seen over a billion dollars cross his desk having negotiated over 5,000 property deals, he doesn’t lose sleep at night worrying about all those zeros. That’s because he clearly knows his industry inside out—and he also knows more than a thing or two about running a successful business.

Steve shares with searing honesty about his wins and losses, and how he learned the hard way, that greed and ego are often at the root of failure.

***

KEY MOMENTS

03:03 – Growing up, Steve knew he was destined to be in business, learning from his father who ran a beef export company.

05:50 – He wheels and deals in high-stakes property – but Steve is a low-risk taker.

08:20 – Everything changed the day Steve met a girl…

10:03 – “Patient and tactically aggressive” – the qualities that have made Steve a good investor.

13:43 – Steve’s first investment property – he admits “greed and ego” got in the way

21:07 – Lessons learnt during the Global Financial Crisis and the COVID-19 crisis.

23:54 – A chat about media, social media, and market forces.

26:28 –Right Property Group specialises in an emerging industry called buyer’s advocacy.

28:44 – Industries like real estate and digital marketing are full of ‘sharks’.

34:18 – When do you let go of an unfruitful enterprise? Steve shares his thoughts.

***

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“My Business Tripled Overnight” - How a Young Mum’s Hobby Became a National Brand - Ep 9

“My Business Tripled Overnight” - How a Young Mum’s Hobby Became a National Brand - Ep 9

March 21, 2021

It’s the perfect story of a Stay at Home Mum with a hobby that goes viral. But peek behind the beautifully curated Instagram feed to hear about the real-life journey which has taken Wild Indiana from a back bedroom operation to a national brand. 

It all started with a play gym made by Laura’s husband, Luke. With nine months maternity leave ahead of her, Laura began selling a few on Instagram. 

Then she happened upon a certain silicone baby's bowl, and entered the importing game.

When Covid hit and an Instagram influencer shared a post, Wild Indiana went viral - reaching seven figures and a social following of over 34,000. 

Laura’s story of courage, tenacity, and a heart to help other mums - is incredibly inspiring. 

***

KEY MOMENTS

03:48 - Laura discovers her knack for selling on Instagram, before the rest of the world catches on.

07:46 - A new product range enables Laura to support and encourage mums, while building a successful business.

12:17 – Laura enters the world of importing and overseas manufacture.

13:00 - Sales triple when an influencer shares an Instagram post – and Covid helps online purchases to soar.

17:00 - Time to move house. The back room just isn’t big enough for this growing business!

19:31 - After a few kinks along the way, Laura is grateful to the forgiving customers who have stuck with Wild Indiana through the growing years.

22:17 – From a painful experience, Laura reshaped her business.

24:00 - Laura shares some tips for Instagram marketing. 

29:29 - When the rubber hits the road, Laura revisits her motivations, and her idea of success.

***

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