Tim McNamara, 42
- Head office
Noosa Heads, Queensland
- Year founded
Retail and consumer products
Tim McNamara is the brains behind Powerpod, a vending machine business that provides battery packs, headphones, and charger cables for people to use with their mobile phones in times of need.
The Queensland-based business employs nine people, and has annual revenue of $2.1 million, but McNamara says building his business in the early days was a steep learning curve as he was forced to become “competent in every aspect” of Powerpod’s development.
This included product development, sourcing and importing, business development, branding and marketing, staffing, industrial relations, and vending machine technology, just to name a few.
Through this crash course, McNamara learnt the benefits of acquiring new skills quickly.
“I learnt how to utilise all available resources, most importantly the people around you as well as online resources, and how to maintain focus whilst learning and researching and knowing when and which of the many rabbit holes to go down,” McNamara says.
Powerpod grew quickly from early on and McNamara found himself attempting to find a balance between “getting new business, coping with the daily operational demands of existing business, and building the capabilities and capacity to meet current and future demand”.
“We were fortunate to be profitable fairly early and to be able to get the business into a strong position to be able to remove the focus from growth for six to 12 months,” he says.
Being in the physical kiosk and vending machine space, McNamara hasn’t needed to spend much time marketing his business, with the machines themselves act like “billboards”.
Powerpod exists within the automated retail space, and McNamara believes his business is at the forefront of the industry’s transformation.
“Firstly, traditional vending is transforming from old fashioned vending machines with snacks and drinks to higher value products and fancier machines with the likes of Powerpod,” he says.
“Secondly, traditional stores are transforming in the other direction by becoming more automated, with self service ordering (McDonalds) and self service checkouts (supermarkets) being early forays towards a larger movement.”
Right now, Powerpod is focused on expanding across different cities, products, and venues, but McNamara says he keeps an open mind when it comes to developing new business ideas.
“Technology is moving at such a speed that something that was the right thing to do six months ago may no longer be the best thing today,” he says.
“Maintaining open and curious minds generates so many new ideas that the problem is more choosing which ideas to action.”