Retailers win spots in ANZ development program

Ry-screenshotOnline cosmetics retailer, Ry.com.au, and dance fashion retailer, Energetiks, are among 10 high-performing SMEs chosen to participate in the 2016 ANZ Business Growth Program.

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Developed by Professor Jana Matthews, director of the Centre of Business Growth at University of South Australia, the program is a nine-month intensive course aimed at helping businesses build foundations for long-term growth. Held in capital cities, the program is aimed at CEOs and executive teams of companies with less than 200 employees and more than $5 million in annual sales.

“The 10 companies who participated in 2015 have since created 114 jobs in total and achieved an aggregate 24 per cent increase in revenue, taking earnings from $132 million to $164 million,” said Professor Matthews.

ANZ said that 30 per cent of businesses that have participated in the program have since opened up offices in new countries and 40 per cent now sell their products and services in nine new countries.

Ry.com.au co-owner and co-founder, James Patten told Inside Retail Weekly that the program is a guide on how to best manage the challenge of a growing company and, “making sure we are not the handbrake on our own growth internally”.

“How we ran the business with a team of two is different to how we run a business with a team of 30 and beyond that,” said Patten. “Growing a business is a vastly different challenge to starting a business, and it was exciting to see a program that dealt with some of the growing pain issues we could face as we move though a period of fast growth.”

Being prepared to accommodate expanding teams and the rise in sales growth provided the main impetus for Ry.com.au’s entry into the program.

“As co-owner and having taken this business from the backroom of a hair salon to where it is now, it’s easy for me to think I know best,” said Patten. “I learnt on the program that the very decisions I made during the start-up phase could well be the decisions that could sabotage our growth now and in the future. Time for me to learn to be a CEO.”

Based on the current economy and labour market, Patten said achieving growth in the future rests firmly with SMEs.

“Start-ups may offer the promise of the next big thing, but if you are looking for a way to create jobs, I think that taking a company with a good track record from $10 million to $50 million surely offers a strong argument to creating jobs and growing the economy,” said Patten. “Many SMEs are primed, and with programs like this, could go on to fulfil their potential.”

Energetiks director, Gail Gardiner, told Inside Retail Weekly, that the dance fashion brand was excited to participate in the program after seeing the results of previous businesses that took part in the series of three, three-day modules for CEOs or MDs and executive team members.

We applied to enter the program because we were inspired by Jana Matthews and wanted to learn from a valued growth expert said Gardiner. “The aspects of the program that excited us in particular were the results achieved by companies Jana has previously coached.”

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