Growth, How I did it

How my start-up nearly overwhelmed me

Michelle Hammond /

my-best-mistake-20120601-2-thumbBusiness planning is key to plotting a growth path for your start-up, but the reality often involves getting your hands dirty with an overwhelming number of tasks, as entrepreneur Edward Mallet found out.

 

Mallet is the managing director of Employsure, a Sydney-based employment law consultancy. He set up his business last year after recognising a gap in the Australian market.

 

“I was a barrister in the UK, specialising in employment law,” he says.

 

“I suppose I was providing advice on these issues in the most old-fashioned sort of way, charging by the hour or the day for my services.”

 

After relocating from the UK to Australia, Mallet decided to set up a one-stop-shop service aimed specifically at SMEs.

 

“Until recent legislation changes, there wasn’t such a heavy demand for advice at an SME level,” he says.

 

“Fair Work Australia changed that and suddenly SMEs needed advice as much as anyone. What makes us different to a HR firm or a law firm is we offer an entire service for a fixed fee.”

 

“We are a genuine one-stop-shop for these issues.”

 

However, Mallet says he underestimated how much money he would need to invest in the business, and soon found himself “running on the fumes of a start-up”.

 

“I invested all my own savings in the business, which was about $250,000 Australian,” he says.

 

“I used to have a property in the UK. I sold that when we moved over here and spent that money when I started the business.”

 

“As a classic start-up situation, I would run around doing 101 things, from sales to dealing with office admin to customer service – the whole lot. That’s not the way to create scale.”

 

Eventually, Mallet knew he would need to seek outside help in order to give his business the boost it needed, so he started looking towards investors.

 

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