SmartCompany’s Smart50 Awards recognises Australia’s 50 fastest-growing small and medium-sized businesses and many of this year’s crop started off at home.
One of those companies is Dynamiq, an international risk management firm which now turns over $25 million a year. The company counts helicoptering clients out of a blockaded Bangkok airport and accompanying media teams covering the Arab Spring amongst its recent projects.
However, Anthony Moorhouse, the jet-setting founder of Dynamiq, founded the business around his kitchen table with start-up capital of $19,000 on the basis of solid business planning, sound financial principles and innovative strategies.
“Those same factors have brought Dynamiq from the kitchen table into four continents and various countries including not only Australia, but the United States, Thailand, India, Papua New Guinea and many countries in Africa,” says Moorhouse.
Similarly, Grace Chu founded her consultancy business FirstClick Consulting from home while pregnant.
“When I started FirstClick consultancy, I was pregnant with my son at the same time,” she says.
“I have always loved the synergy of how the company grows as my child grows but, as you might imagine, it was a stressful time when we first started out.”
For the founder of E-Web Marketing, 25-year-old Gary Ng, it wasn’t working from his kitchen table but rather his bedroom that helped him keep costs down when he started up his business.
“I worked from my bedroom “office”, surviving on instant noodles and SPAM sandwiches,” Ng says.
Searching for an edge against his competitors, Ng’s bedroom fast became an all-day, all-night operation as he decided to set up a 24-hour hotline to design and put up posters for E-Web Marketing’s internet plans around universities and bus stops.
“Manned solely from my bedroom, my hotline regularly got calls between the 3am and 5am, from people who had just seen my poster while waiting for the bus,” he says.
“But those late night chats were worth it because they worked.
“The money from our reseller program boosted E-Web’s cashflow to the point where I could invest more into other marketing initiatives.”
Ng says these humble beginnings for his business helped him learn the value of doing less with more.
To be eligible for the Smart50, companies must have revenue of more than $500,000 and must produce revenue growth in each of the past three financial years, with companies ranked on average annual growth over that period.
Top spot on the Smart50 list was taken out by Audio Active Australia, which has recorded average annual growth of 262.5% over the past three years, and had sales of $6.1 million in 2011-12.