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ServiceSeeking.com.au

Jeremy Levitt
Jeremy Levitt
Smart50 rank: 16
Revenue: $3145971
Growth: 100.56%
Founders: Oliver Pennington, 32, Jeremy Levitt, 32, Daniel Sabados, 30
Head Office: New South Wales
Employees: 48
Industry: Internet
Website: www.serviceseeking.com.au

Cashflow is the most common explanation behind a new business’s failure. Entrepreneurs simply don’t have enough cash coming in to pay the bills – and it was this exact problem that nearly led to the downfall of ServiceSeeking.com.au.

Founders Oliver Pennington, Jeremy Levitt and Daniel Sabados were forced to confront the possibility of closing up shop just a year in.

But they took a different route instead.

“We racked our brains for ways to cut costs, improve cashflow and raise some money. For a few months we didn't take salaries.”

“We applied for a Research and Development grant. We negotiated extended payment terms with suppliers to extend us credit and focused our efforts on raising money, which we did from a private investor a few months later.”

The business compares quotes provided by small businesses for all sorts of services including accounting, carpentry and even graphic design. And since 2007 it’s grown to make more than $3.1 million a year.

That volatile start meant the trio had to search extra hard for cheap deals. They bought all their furniture at an auction for less than $500, and extended credit terms with major suppliers to help out with cashflow.

“You do need to spend money getting off the ground, but spend money on things that grow the business, not things with marginal benefits like furniture or comfort,” they warn.

Looking ahead, the company has a key focus on mobile – its mobile traffic has grown 400% over the past year. “People want a better experience,” they warn, adding this focus on usability has allowed them to survive ahead of competitors.

“When we started, you could get away with having a clunky website if you had great content. I think people are less likely to tolerate clunky or confusing interfaces or sub-par experiences.”

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