11 Mountain Bikes Direct
Jen Geale (31), Michael Geale (33), Tim McCullough (33), Mylene McCullough (34)
Retail and consumer products
Online bike retailer Mountain Bikes Direct managed to almost double its revenue in 2017-18 to $7.8 million in what founder Jen Geale describes as a team effort with her 10 employees.
There’s just one catch though: they rarely see one another. Mountain Bike Direct has no central offices and its entire team works from home, communicating through platforms like Slack and Asana.
Despite working hundreds, if not thousands, of kilometres apart, the MTB team has been able to work through complex projects, including a website migration, while also providing a comprehensive customer support service — call centre not included.
Contrary to being an impediment, Geale believes the company’s flexible work model has been the cornerstone of its success.
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“We can recruit the best people, no matter where they are located, [and] our team gets to work hours that suit their lives,” she says.
“One team member is a recreational pilot and takes his plane out in the morning and works for us in the afternoon.”
The e-commerce business was born in 2012 from a previous venture: a bricks-and-mortar mountain bike store. It has grown by 236% since 2015, earning it the 11th spot on this year’s Smart50 list.
Geale says the cycle retailing industry has come under increasing pressure from international competitors offering prices that come close to wholesale figures, prompting a change to a retail model that could survive with low overheads and streamlined systems.
“We believe that not only can we compete, we can build and sustain a thriving business,” Geale says.
As for the money saved on office costs, Geale says there’s an all-team gathering being planned in one of Australia’s premier mountain biking locations.
And the business? “All we need is laptops and wifi,” Geale explains.