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Business owners reveal secrets to succeed in business

Okay, you’ve got a great idea for a small business. But before you sign that lease, order that stock or commission that website design, listen to some words of wisdom from 5 small business people who’ve been there, done that.


1. Craig and Wendy Taylor, Red Blue Architecture and Design


Wendy & Craig Taylor of Red Blue Architecture and Design (

Do your homework, and then take a leap of faith. “It really is holding your breath and taking the plunge,” Wendy says. “It’s scary and you never know what is the right time to do it.” Craig adds: “The important thing is to make sure you know what you’re doing, you know what your market is if you’re trying to sell something or provide a service. You’ve got to know who you’re marketing to, and you’ve got to have some sort of plan for how you’re going to go about getting the business, otherwise you’ll be sitting around waiting for the phone to ring and it’ll never happen.”


2. Debbie Voudouris, Zohi Interiors


Do what you love and love what you do is the take home message from Debbie (the co-owner of Zohi interiors with daughter Natasha). “We’re hard workers,” she says. “We’re involved with all aspects of the business. Natasha’s very meticulous about products and customer service. Even though you’re online you have to feel that connection with your customers. We also work to keep the connection with our customers going through blogs because people get more information on how to put things together.”


 3. Ian Luff , Drive To Survive

Ian Luff of Drive To Survive

Attitudes only come in 2 packages, positive and negative,” Ian says. “People on a daily basis swap from yin to yang. But it’s how you can recover, because your mindset is either positive or negative. The motivation starts the minute your feet hit the floor to get out of bed. I’ve worked with 10 Australian world champions in various sports that have come through my driving academy. They have attitude and determination. They don’t want to be ordinary – they want to be extraordinary. Egos don’t win trophies, ability does. And you’ve got to know what your limits are or you will crash.” 


4. Aileen Dunbar, Fairytale Gardens

“If you can find a niche market, otherwise find something you are passionate about, this will help you to drive the business to its greatest.  For the first year or so put all your money back into the business, buy more stock and build it.  If you have a website get someone to do your back end keywords. Doing so this has giving me great web presence.  It doesn’t matter what your name is or what you’re selling, it all comes down to your advertising of your website. Last of all, it’s a lot of hours and hard work. It’s all worth it in the end!!”


5. Lissanne Oliver, Sorted!

Lissanne Oliver, CEO of Sorted!

“I always tell my students if I had my time again, I wouldn’t complicate things as much as I did,” Lissanne says referring to professional organiser training section of her business. “Your website can be a single page, mine became a content monster and is now a chunky mess! If you’re going to do ANY marketing, it needs to be measurable.



“Many successful businesses don’t have a web presence, business card or waste time setting up on Facebook. (Personally, I think Facebook suits a particular audience, so be sure that’s where your clients are if you set up there) Be good at what you do and provide exceptional customer service and marketing takes care of itself.

“If you’ve never run a business of been self-employed, just think of it as wearing many different hats. Running a business is nowhere near as difficult as you think it is. If you’re currently employed by someone, you probably wear just one or two hats to do with your skill set. When you’re self employed, you get used to wearing more hats, like: accounts, marketing, sales, HR, customer service, administration, cleaning and maintenance, and then your actual trade or skill hat!

‘It’s not that hard. You don’t have to be an expert in every area, just basic knowledge is needed. Learning from those who ARE experts is another way to go. Above all, DON’T MAKE IT MORE TRICKY THAN IT REALLY IS!’

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Phyllis Stylianou

Phyllis Stylianou is a journalist with 35 years’ experience as a reporter, sub-editor and editor. Writing is the great love of her life (after her family) – as is renovating old homes and building new ones (which she’s embarking on again!) So writing about everything to do with building, renovating and gardening is her passion.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.

  • Lisa

    As a small business owner – for the past 14 years – I know there are many things you have to take into account. It’s always great to speak with or read about other small business owners who’ve taken the leap. Great article!