Skills shortages are something we hear a lot about in the oil, gas and mining sectors.
It stood to reason then that Paul Morffew, 45, and Daniela Athan, 40, were on to something when they started up Management Resource Solutions back in December 2007.
But, as with any start-up, the early days had their challenges, not least the eternal bane of cashflow issues.
“We learnt that cash is king and to always have a reserve in the bank in case a big debtor decides not to pay for any reason. Most of the times the reason is a missed payment from their end,” MRS co-founder and chief executive Paul Morffew told StartupSmart.
The cashflow issues have started to subside though in the past couple of years as the business has consolidated its niche as a specialist supplier to the resources industry, furnishing teams of skilled professionals for construction projects as well as quality assurance and control programs.
By December 2011, the company had already reached its 2010-11 revenue figure of $3.8 million and is on the way to $8 million this financial year.
Morffew says revenue from three projects in Queensland and another in New Caledonia had significantly contributed to the company’s booming bottom line figures.
He says the industry had started to see MRS as “not just a recruitment company but rather a services-based company”.
For Morffew, it had been an important breakthrough in perception that meant the company could now better showcase its services and grow the business.
Far from the cashflow worries of just a couple of years ago, MRS is now only a month or so from being listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange, a move Morffew says has the potential to fund expansion plans.
“We now have a market cap of $20 million and will be listed in the next month on the Frankfurt Entry Standard exchange with a market cap of between $40 million and $60 million… Once we get scrip we will look at expanding by buying similar companies.”
However, having been through the tight times encountered by many start-ups, Morffew remained levelheaded about the company’s future prospects: “We’re never over-confident and I always think as if this [the business] could all end the next day.”