August 2014 Issue 96

Turning businesses into success stories

B2B Editor1 August 2014

Turning businesses into success stories

I recently attended the Entrepeneur of the Year awards hosted by EY and was reminded of the incredible success stories continually occurring in the Canberra business community.

While our daily papers are filled with tales of woe on the state of the economy and the budgetary impact on the ACT over the next few years, these businesses are continuing to thrive and provide employment opportunities for thousands of citizens.

It was also wonderful to be reminded of the great achievements of Glenn Keys and Andrew Walker and the whole team of Aspen Medical who were inducted into the EY Entrepeneur of the Year Global Hall of Fame earlier in the year.

The passion of these individuals to turn a good idea into a highly successful business is indeed inspiring, and while each story has its own nuances, a common theme emerges that it requires a strong team to take the business to the next level. That team may consist of only a couple of the founders and their families or it may grow into a much larger and more complex management structure. Regardless of its size and complexity, the clear understanding of the strategic vision and the shorter term goals by the team is critical.

It was also interesting hearing the views regarding family businesses from a recent interview with Glenn Cooper of Coopers Brewery. When asked about some of the challenges that family businesses have to deal with he reflected “the trap is to bring children or family relations into the business straight after school or university when they are not ready. Coopers’ charter requires that no family member can join the business before age 30. The Cooper family members on the board and in management had a strong career before the joined the family business. I would argue that this has been one of the keys to our success”. Glen Cooper also noted that changes continued as the organisation evolved ” life as a public unlisted company is different to a private company because you have to publish more information”.

The importance of the ongoing strength of Australia’s small business community cannot be overstated. At Company Directors, we are committed to continue providing assistance to the small business community, and are launching a series of business owner sessions across Australia in the coming months. Keep an eye out for more information at

Phil Butler is Manager – NFP, Public Sector & ACT at the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Level 3 54 Marcus Clarke Street Canberra T: 02 6132 3200 |