Peter Nolle, Director Treadstone, Government Grant and Business Development consultants.
I had a corporate background with BHP and ANZ and completed a part-time MBA. This, and competing in a entrepreneurial challenge several times gave me the confidence to start and build my own business.
Treadstone was born in 2008 to offer consulting on obtaining grants. From barely enough to feed my family, we now have a team of 7 and well over 100 customers.
My first step out of the corporate world was when I took an opportunity with cousin’s business to commercialise a prototype IT System using email and SMS service. My first job was to apply for a government grant which netted us a $310k budget. Unfortunately, the Global Financial Crisis hit hard in 2008 and we failed to get enough investors and traction in the market to continue.
I started Treadstone in 2008 and after 4 years of good growth, I introduced a major change by bringing in partner to share the risks and responsibilities to help scale the business. This partnership concluded in 2015. From this experience I learnt how to better manage the balance between letting go (delegation) and control.
What’s been your proudest moment in business?
I’m proud of the journey and results so far, rather than any particular moment. When I look back I see a series of small steps building in successes along the way.
What mistake have you learned most from?
It is not so much of a mistake but when the partnership concluded, I realised I had significantly more confidence to manage my business and all its risks.
What would you say is the recipe for success in your sector?
Having the integrity to provide expertise not just the service. For example I actively look to add value by helping clients more broadly by helping them source better support in the form of new business partners, web designers etc
The opportunity exists for us to join dots the dots of our personal life and expertise. For me I use my IT project management, engineering, finance and MBA related small business focus to allows me to talk to specific clients and present more strategic advice.
What have you learned about yourself?
It’s all about confidence. Having confidence in what you can offer and your ability to deliver. I may be over optimistic but so long as it's balanced by cash management I do not see that as a weakness.
What has been your biggest sacrifice for the business?
Like many small business owners there is a big Challenge to balance work and family life. I did lose the certainty of a corporate income but bought the opportunity of the profitable small business upside.
Given what you know now, what would you do differently?
I think I would do many of the same things but faster, more efficiently, with more confidence - and with more patience. I would focus on things that derived measurable outcomes and reduce time wasting and time wasters. You often try to please everyone and that can be bad for business.
Who would you most like to employ in your business – famous or otherwise?
I’ve never been one for role models. I like to employ those who share the passion and interest that come with dealing with innovation in small business.
Best piece of advice to other business owners?
Always think in two levels. The ‘Here and Now’ and the strategic. Don't say no to having a business coach if you are an individual business owner and if do find a business partner make sure you get along with them at a personal level before engaging in business.