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Grow A Small Business Podcast

Jun 14, 2020

In this episode, I interview Kylee Scott, a director, and the studio manager at Cumulus Studio. After leaving a leading architectural firm to work for a large engineering company, Kylee saw how profitable a well run professional services company can be, so she convinced her partner in Hobart and a best friend to quit their architectural jobs and in late 2011 started Cumulus studios, a national and international award-winning firm. 

Starting with 4 full-time employees and two of the founders working other jobs to pay the bills, they quickly grew to 18 with more than half of those females. Adding an office in Melbourne and working around southeast Asia and Australia, revenue exploded from $55,000 in 2012 to now $3 Million. In 2020, Cumulus was named one of Ten Small Architecture Firms To Watch from a leading New York architecture magazine. They have continually funded their growth from their initial savings and now profits. 

Kylee invests a lot in professional development and their culture, and she believes the hardest thing in growing a small business is maintaining work-life balance especially when working with your life partner. The advice she would give herself on day one is, “Don’t try and work everything out on your own. Get mentors” Stay tuned for more on her amazing business ownership journey and the insights she has to share.

This Cast Covers:

  • Creating unique buildings, master plans, and spaces within a team of architects, project coordinators, and designers.
  • Their specialization in creating and delivering unique projects instead of specializing in one sector, and how that has aided in their growth.
  • How she learned the operational dynamics of running a professional services company to later on start Cumulus Studio with her partner.
  • From one full time employee to 24 and $55,000 to $3 Million in sales within an 8 year period.
  • Experiencing the feeling of success by visiting one of their completed projects after all their combined hard work.
  • Gaining international recognition for their amazing projects and being named one of the 10 small architectural firms to watch in 2020.
  • Bootstrapping: Working other jobs and using their savings to start the business and currently running solely on cash flow.
  • Ensuring the office culture is not too friendly and giving priority to personal mental and physical wellness.
  • The importance of having efficient cloud-based systems and assistants in place and delegating.
  • The excitement that comes with fast growth and the pain of finding affordable and flexible office space.
  • Going through a branding update process and how it’s enabled the founders to embrace each other's differences.
  • The significance of a business owner developing a habit of keeping a really good eye on the cash flow and forecasting.
  • Setting high standards for their employees and extending their probationary period for new hires from 3 to 6 months.
  • Consuming relevant podcasts and gaining from partly studying three units in an MBA setting.
  • Maintaining a work-life balance when one’s business partner is also their life partner.

Additional Resources:

Music from "Cold Funk" by Kevin MacLeod ( License: CC BY (