It is a fantastic feeling to celebrate 15 years in business, and we have so many people to thank who have assisted us on our journey. Over the years, we have built magnificent partnerships and relationships with our customers and staff, past and present. Like most small businesses, there have been many challenges over the last 15 years, as well as many celebrations. It is not easy being a business owner. I always say that being an owner means you must have sheer determination and high resilience every day. That goes with the day-to-day running of a business because it’s what tests you out as a business owner. Many people think it is easy to run a business, but it is not. However, if you have passion, drive, and courage, then it can be very rewarding in so many ways.
The first person I have to thank is my wife, Lorraine, who put her hand up and said, “I will support you.” And as we jumped in, leaving behind two high-paid jobs while bringing up our two beautiful daughters, Carina, who was 8 at the time, and Eliza, who was 5, in our newly built home in Strathmore, our friends, family, and past work colleagues thought we were crazy. When I look back, yes, they were probably right, but we did it anyway, and we surrounded ourselves with positive people who shared our values. Along our journey, we have made costly mistakes and rewarding decisions, and we now know that not many businesses make it as far as we have done as a first-generation business.
So where does the business name Key Business Advisors (KBA or Keyba) come from?
When Lorraine and I started our company, we wanted a name that people could remember, and it is not linked to us personally. The word KEY comes from the KEY staff you employ and the KEY words you use in communication. Our brand was always going to be customer focused, where the words Quality, Focus, and Delivery are our intent with every client that engages our services. And our mission, ‘Taking Businesses from Good To Great’, comes from a book by Jim Collins where building level 5 leadership is paramount to a successful business.
The intent was to build a Sales Training Business backed by HR Services. KBA invested in a franchise called HR Coach, which is now called HR Coach Australasia. I had 22 years of sales and management experience in the office technology industry and knew I could create and customise my own Sales Training Programs. Our theory behind investing in an HR Company was that it would give us great insight and tools that we could use and recommend to many SMEs and industry associations in Australia. This gave us a massive point of difference, and it still does today, as driving sales and managing staff is paramount for the success of any company.
So, our journey began in early January 2008 when we attended the HR Coach Academy to learn how to become a successful HR Business. Lorraine and I flew up to the Gold Coast with babysitters and underwent a two-week solid induction process. On our trip home I sat beside a business owner, who became our first client, and still is today. Thank you, Frank Rossi, from Leeda Projects. I have a copy of that first cheque in my office on display to remind me of where we started.
To me, running a successful company means you need to have great products and services that customers want to buy. In 2008, the Rudd Government was elected, and Fair Work Australia was introduced with many changes to legislation and industry. This was a great opportunity to showcase what KBA was capable of, as there was a lot of confusion in the market. Lorraine and I did not have an HR Degree, so we employed staff who had a passion for HR. Like most start-ups, they were young, as this was all we could afford. Today we have very experienced HR Professionals, and we train and develop newcomers the KBA way.
At the start, I was out networking at every opportunity just to showcase what we were doing while learning about other people’s success stories in business. I attended many networking events, and the industry I came from was very kind to me in opening up doors to their dealer channel, which created more and more opportunities. Today, we still have great relationships and partnerships from those early connections. Coming from a solid sales background, I knew the value of referrals, and this was and still is a massive driving factor of our success today.
Lorraine and I were the perfect team for the business. I worked the front end building relationships, driving opportunities, and delivering solid outcomes whilst she, being a process-driven person, was my rock supporting the business at the back end, making sure everything worked like clockwork. In 2012 we became a Telstra Small Business Finalist because the growth factor and opportunities we had created were so great. Between the two of us, we made everything look so easy in setting up and running a business. The best duck on a pond story ever!
Now, you cannot run a company without passionate staff and good suppliers. Over the years, this has been a challenge because things have changed. Staff will come and go, and suppliers will change their strategies to meet their needs. As industries and markets change, things can change your company overnight. Who would ever think we would have a pandemic that would change the world? Nevertheless, we pivot, take on the challenges, and keep moving forward, not looking in the rear vision mirror.
Today, Key Business Advisors has evolved. We have a team of the most passionate people who want to make a difference for our clients. Lorraine and I have also created a careers business called Keyba Careers that helps many young people to find the job of their choice. As we train and support many businesses, and through some volunteer work, we now train and coach many young people to see the world through the eyes of a business owner. This type of training is missing, and we believe this is the link to mutual success for the owner and a staff member. So today, I mainly run Key Business Advisors, and Lorraine runs Keyba Careers.
A big question I get asked is, “How do you work with your wife?” Well, I can tell you this is a great question. It is called love and tolerance, where we stay in our lane and back one another. We are responsible for our actions and decisions every day in running our businesses. It is not easy, I assure you, and as we collaborate and work with so many wonderful people, we connect well when sharing their stories. The bottom line is we are a team in everything we do and stand by each other.
At Key Business Advisors, we have proven our worth in what we commit to and deliver. We follow our mission, vision, values, and purpose. Every day, we inspire our staff to do the same. We are a winning team that does meaningful work, which creates high motivation. I believe we have good foundations and set a pathway for our company to follow, which in return delivers great outcomes, both internally for our team and externally for our clients. We are grateful for what we do and what we have achieved along our 15-year journey.
To learn more about our companies, check out:
- Key Business Advisors – www.keyba.com.au
- Keyba Careers – www.keybacareers.com.au
If you would like help or want to know more about our services, please contact us at Key Business Advisors on 1300 4 ADVICE