Jun 7, 2020
In this episode, I interview Jon
Stagg, the Founder/Owner of Atlas Cafe, The Stagg, and Hobart
Mountain Bike Tours, all based in beautiful Hobart, Tasmania. After
years working in banking and IT, in a blanket in the Wimbledon
Common in London, where the Wimbles live, Jon and his wife decided
to move back to Tasmania for more space and a better lifestyle soon
after their first child arrived.
In 2002, aged 32, they bought a
small cafe restaurant in Hobart and sold it five years later. After
a couple of years back working for the man, they got the small
business itch again and in 2009 set up Atlas Cafe, and then in
2016, The Stagg, a successful cafe. With both cafes running
smoothly and needing little of their time, Jon decided to start
Hobart Mountain Bike Tours, which has had mixed success. Their
funding was solely from their own savings initially, then a small
bank loan for Atlas Cafe later on. Starting with 5 full-time
employees in 2002, they now have around 20 in the team, and over $2
Million in annual sales, with most of that coming from the two
Jon says a business owner should
use a new employee’s probation period to ensure they are a good
fit, especially culturally, and employ the no dickhead policy. He
admits that that has dramatically changed the way he manages
people. He believes the hardest thing in growing a small business
is, “Staff, Staff, Staff” and the advice he would give himself on
day one is, “Dont be scared, jump in with your boots on. You’re
going to make mistakes. Don’t be scared to make mistakes. Believe
in yourself. Do it”. Listen in as Jon shares his years of
experience in small business ownership, and I promise you you will
leave wiser as you seek to grow your own small business.
This Cast Covers:
- Leaving the IT and banking industry to venture
into small business ownership.
- Succeeding in an industry that is tough to run
well and make money from.
- Starting the mountain bike tour business and
the extreme challenges they’re currently facing.
turning over $300 when they started The Stagg, to the current
weekly turnover of $20,000.
- Building a team of 20 full-time employees
spread across their three businesses over the years they’ve been in
analogy of paddling in front of the wave and how it applies to
- Gaining time freedom by successfully detaching
from the daily operations of the businesses through setting up
- Grappling with the low margins, dealing with a
usually young staff, and the terrible staff retention rates in the
- Bootstrapping at the startup stage, getting a
small bank loan later on, and currently getting interest free
funding from the government to set up a third (catering)
vision: Working on setting up a mountain biking lodge.
- Communication issues and the pain of letting
employees down as a business owner.
- Investing in proper accounting and bookkeeping
to add the greatest value to the business.
beauty of running a business in the hospitality industry for
- Learning to be more accommodating and
understanding of his staff and how that has benefitted his business
in the long run.
importance of keeping an eye on the numbers and having a probation
period for every new hire.
- Getting the Guinness Book of World Records win
for the most number of cappuccinos made within an hour.
- Attending coffee events and conferences to
network in the industry and learn different techniques.
regret of spending too much time in the business focusing too much
on the money.
to build a hospitality business and be able to get out of the day
to day operations.
- Believing in yourself, not fearing mistakes,
and going all-in on your dream business.
Music from https://filmmusic.io "Cold Funk" by Kevin MacLeod
(https://incompetech.com). License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/