Creative Design – Discovering Business Success

Our client requests anonymity, therefore the business in this text is referred to as “Creative Design”, and its business partners are referred to as “the owners”.

When the owners started their creative business, little did they know they would become one of the largest creative event providers in Australia, featuring the work of independent designers from all over country.

“We wanted to create a social atmosphere that fostered creativity, community and supported others.  We had no idea how to run an event, we just learnt along the way.”

Success did not come easily for Creative Design.   As most creative entrepreneurs understand, it takes a lot of imagination, a unique business model, and a clever marketing technique, to stand out from the competition.   Afterall, creatives are driven by their passion.  Long lasting branding and recognition takes time.

Eventually, after years of trial, and learning to focus on what worked for the business, Creative Design began to flourish and expand.  At this point the owners knew they would need to move on from their part time jobs and focus full time on their project.  With the increase in popularity came increasing demands including logistics and expenses, and with little money to invest, the owners knew they needed professional help.

“The biggest challenge with our business when we started was that we are creatives first and foremost, so we lacked the business, strategy and finance skills we needed, and that’s where we needed the most guidance.” 

Our Assessment

Like many young entrepreneurs, the owners started their business with enthusiasm and passion, and a true belief that they would be successful, utilising the power of social media.

When we started working with Creative Design it was micro in size.   We conducted a review of the internal operations of the business, the resources and support networks available to the business owners, the financial situation, as well as seeking a clear understanding of where the business owners wanted to take their venture over the next three years.  At the time, both women were working part time to support themselves while building the business.

As is the case with many fledgling businesses, managing cashflow and generating the right margin is imperative for ongoing success, and we could see that these were the main areas that the business required assistance with.  The owners were not achieving adequate remuneration for themselves, and had no personal contingency plans.  With a clear focus on the creative side of their business, there was limited time for consideration of appropriate business and asset protection strategies.

The owners of Creative Design had the most wonderful can-do attitude and a real passion for making a difference for the design community, but they had limited financial experience and knowledge to move their ideas in the direction they wished.

Working Together 

The most important step for us was to reassure the owners that there was a solution to their problems, and to provide them with peace of mind about the financial future of the business they were working so hard on.

We assisted them to identify the primary obstacles that were standing in the way of the business achieving improved performance, and growth.   The primary concern for the business at that time was margins.  We worked with the owners, assisting them to introduce new income streams, apply pricing adjustments, negotiate supplier costs, and adopt various product strategies, to correct their margins.  Without these changes, the business would not have been in a position to sustain itself.

We created a foundation from which the business would then be able to grow.  Eventually permanent staff replaced contractors, the team and its owners were adequately remunerated for the first time, and profits were returned back into the business to drive it forward.

The business was restructured to support its expansion and to minimise personal liability.  Family trusts were established for the owners to minimise tax and to help protect them from business risk, and to plan for the future as both the business and their families grew and they were faced with more complexity in their affairs.

As is common with most entrepreneurial startups, the owners certainly felt cash flow pressure in their personal sphere, as they were reliant on the success of the business as their primary income generator, and were required to consistently inject capital.   The business was kept in a positive and healthy cash flow position at all times to ensure there was no reliance on debt, and the owners could move their asset in any direction they felt necessary at any time.   This together with accumulating profits resulting from correct margins enabled the business to grow at the rapid rate that it has in the past few years.

The owners of Creative Design have always been very much across internal systems and technologies, along with outsourcing and hiring staff at the right time, to streamline working processes and create efficiencies in the business.   All recommendations made have been in line with affordability by the business at the time, as moderation for the sake of cash flow is essential during phases of rapid growth, as long as the business is relying internal funding.

With such rapid growth, the owners are now putting steps in place to ensure they are working on their business full time, as opposed to being tied up in day to day business operations.  The owners understand the importance of delegating, to adequately manage their time, and utilise reliable support networks to ensure they remain balanced and energised.  This is a difficult transition that every entrepreneur faces at the turning point of their endeavour.

By working in partnership, we have been able to act as mentors to the owners of Creative Designers on the financial side of their business, and to provide so much more than standard business services.  This has enabled them to make long term decisions with confidence, such as hiring employees at right time, and shifting the business to each new level on its journey.

We have coached the owners to understand the holistic nature of managing their business, so they are able to make informed decisions which result in positive business outcomes, and ultimately translate these outcomes to personal wealth.

The Owner’s Success

The Minnik Program has helped the owners and their team transition from running their business day to day, to planning for growth and taking control of their future.  It is this financial mentorship that our clients find so empowering.

The owners should feel enormous pride in the current status of their business and its growth.  They have undeniable skill and professionalism in running their business, and their ability to learn and utilise advice to make better business decisions is evident in their success and expansion.  The owners are supporting independent designers and the local community in their chosen field, and providing a wonderful creative experience for all.

What The Owners have to say . . . .

“The heart of our business is about encouraging creativity, and inspiring and empowering the creative community, so we knew that choosing a collaborative partner to help us achieve business success was very important.”

“Minnik has offered us a treasure trove of financial management and strategic business services which has helped us to plan and improve the way we run our business.  They have helped us build a business model and working environment which keeps us motivated, and is in sync with our changing personal lives.  Leah has helped every step of the way, not only with our business, but with our personal position as well.”

“Leah and her team have true understanding of our creative and community approach to building our business and also have empathy for the needs of our families.”

“We highly recommend Leah and her team to any women operating their own businesses.  Leah is incredibly supportive and there is no doubt that she can help any business and its owners to realise their full potential.”