May 24, 2020
In this episode, I interview David Wise, a Co-founder, and Director at SFM Environmental Solutions Pty Ltd, a professional forestry business that provides forest management and consultancy services to a range of clients in Australia and New Zealand. David and his 2 partners started SFM back in 2001 when he was only 25. They were having a beer at the Uni bar and they decided to start a business instead of getting real jobs. With financial support from friends and family, and almost 20 years later, they have a team of 25 full-time employees, and 100 sub-contractors, and an annual turnover of $20 Million (projected to reach $30 Million in 2020).
The company has two offices in Tasmania, one in Queensland and another in New Zealand. Two years after starting SFM, the three launched a risky but innovative subsidiary business called Hydrowood, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SFM that salvages Tasmanian specialty timbers standing underwater for decades in man-made hydro-lakes and creates timber products for bespoke joinery, furniture, and high-end architectural applications. They have one customer on the mainland that buys 95% of that unique product. The state government provided a $250,000 grant to test the Hydrowood idea and the Australian government a further $5 Million to take the venture to reality.
The founders guard recruiting carefully with a no dick head policy and put their culture first (Hire smart, like-minded people as you can train them). David believes the hardest thing in growing a small business is, “Have the courage to do it, get financial management under control, and make sure you have something people wanna buy. The advice he would give himself on day one is, “Work hard, don’t give up, and focus. Don’t diversify, Specify” It’s going to be a super insightful episode you won’t wanna miss as David shares some of his business ownership wisdom.
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Music from https://filmmusic.io "Cold Funk" by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com). License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/