Founders: Geoffrey Austen, 39 Stephen Austen, 33 Chris Simon, 33
Head Office: New South Wales
Industry: Information technology
The founders of the Scotney Group spotted a gap in the market after noticing the “highly inefficient” way that food services were provided to corporate employees.
Geoffrey Austen, Stephen Austen and Chris Simon decided to solve this problem with a customisable online menu which linked employees with food suppliers to improve the service for both parties.
“Employees would get exactly what they want from the convenience of their desk and suppliers would have a more efficient way of collecting orders and reducing waste,” says Geoffrey Austen.
But once the Sydney-based trio launched the business, they identified a greater opportunity in providing highly featured micropayments ordering, point of sale and transaction processing services for any market which could be considered a 'closed-loop'.
The Scotney Group is now Australia's leading provider of online ordering and cashless payment systems to the education and corporate market; processing more than 70,000 online orders and 20,000 card transactions per week.
The business works in a difficult environment, with a high technology load thanks to huge order volumes in small windows, high customer service expectations, micropayments and low margins.
The Scotney Group has to deal with both customers and suppliers who have zero tolerance for errors or system outages.
The trio have learnt that commitment to a medium to longer-term strategy is necessary, along with a lot of patience and confidence.
They advise entrepreneurs to put the time into detailed analysis and business planning.
“A good idea is not enough. This business plan has to be comprehensive, realistic and coherent. It is the basis of your decisions as well as engaging key stakeholders,” Austen says.
The trio also stress the importance of having a clear idea and a financial plan that meets any unforeseen challenges or overly optimistic forecasts.
“The other key factor is quality staff. Investment in high quality staff, engaging them and making them passionate about the business is the best investment you can make,” Austen says.