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Spark Success: Tips for starting a small business

We caught up with Angelene Eynon from Perth’s own Solid Scaffolding to talk small business…

1. Tell us about Solid Scaffolding and the services you provide?

We’re a small, family-owned residential/commercial scaffolding business. We provide scaffolding for anything from the small time residential renovator to large corporate clients.

We offer dry hire options and use various types of scaffolding systems. By being diverse in product, you provide more possibilities.

2. How did you get started?

My husband, Boyd (General Manager) couldn’t move any further in his previous company. I also felt that he, like many of us, was something of a puppet. Basically, there was no room for him to grow, so the next step was Solid Scaffolding.

He has many years’ experience in the scaffolding/rigging/mining and oil and gas industries. He’s always one for game-changing value adds that benefit both the company and client. He has the initiative to create opportunities. Putting ideas into action, however, is much harder if you’re not the boss. So basically, that’s how Solid Scaffolding came about.

A bonus is that with his vast knowledge, networking and expertise, it was the best time to move forward and go out on our own. Being an entrepreneur is hard work and most small business owners find that they end up doing a variety of tasks, at least for the first few years. I believe that building a new business is an incredible feeling and something to be very proud of.

3. What are the ongoing challenges for your business?

Like every business, we’re constantly trying to grow, retain good clients and suppliers, and be competitive in the marketplace in terms of pricing. Other challenges include:

  • Having all the up-to-date information at hand
  • Downturn in the economy
  • Profitability
  • Cashflow
  • Customers
  • Regulations
  • Processes

The biggest one for Solid Scaffolding is Time. Whilst time is infinite, the hours in a day are not.

4. How does Kwik Kopy help your business?

Basically, it’s just one less thing I have to worry about. I chat with Denise (Managing Director, Kwik Kopy Osborne Park), tell her what we need, and she comes back with options on price and countless other things we didn’t think of. So, we like that about the Osborne Park Office. They know their stuff! They do the thinking for us.

5. What keeps you coming back (to Kwik Kopy)?

Denise and Charlotte (Graphic Designer, Kwik Kopy Osborne Park) are easy to deal with. They help the little ‘start-up’ companies, like us. For this, we’re grateful. With other marketing stores, you need to order a minimum of 1000 items.

For us, those numbers are far too high. Kwik Kopy caters to our specific print needs and that’s why we’ll return every single time. As our business expands, our printing and marketing requirements will also grow.

6. What do you find most rewarding about running a family business?

Being a business owner means you are your own boss. You won’t get dismissed or fired and that’s a comfort that you don’t have when working for an employer. However, you need broad shoulders to take on the extra weight of making the business successful and stay above water.

Basically, you make the rules – we create the space we want as business owners. This is particularly beneficial to small business owners with families, like us. Being able to expand and also have the flexibility to scale back when we want to is greatly satisfying.

7. What’s next for Solid Scaffolding? What are your business goals for the future?

  • Continue to service Perth in the residential and small commercial market.
  • Get our name out in the market.
  • Showcase our work and gain more brand exposure.

The five-year plan looks something like this:

Eventually we would like to expand into the Commercial Industry. Oil, Gas and Mining will play a major part in that equation. We will always remain in the residential and small commercial market in Perth with my husband stepping back and overseeing jobs.

8. What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own small business?

My suggestions would be to speak with those who have already built successful businesses. Learn from their mistakes and successes. A good business coach could also be helpful to guide you through this journey. They tend to advise you on your accountabilities and remind you when you’re not dealing with them.

Seek out and listen openly to advice. But you only need to take on board what feels right/relevant to you.

Foster innovation in the workplace (this was notably lacking in previous employment). I think our business has thrived because we speak openly about ideas in the right forum regarding issues daily.

And finally, open communication. Always.

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