Home' Forge : Vol 2 No 1 Contents 22 // INSIGHT
F: Do you plan to sell all or some
of Schnitz one day as part of an
AD: No. We had ofers to buy
Schnitz soon after we started, and
[we’ve had] ofers ever since. I
received one just this month from
a United States private equity frm
that wanted to talk about a deal.
I reply with the same answer: we
appreciate the interest, but Schnitz
is not for sale.
We see Schnitz as potentially a
multi-generational family company.
I'd like to pass my share of the
business on to my kids one day, and
hope they will do the same for their
kids. Schnitz is not something we
intend to build up and make a quick
exit from; our stakeholders know
we are in this for the long haul, and
[that we] have a lot invested in the
business being successful.
We may one day sell a small part of
Schnitz if we need capital to expand
overseas, but that is a long way of.
Why would we sell a chunk of the
business now when it is going to be
worth a lot more one day, and lose
the soul and passion behind Schnitz?
F: What advice would you give
an aspiring entrepreneur who is
considering starting a franchise
AD: Invest time and money to
educate yourself. That doesn't
necessarily mean doing a university
course on entrepreneurship; I'm
convinced you either have an
attitude for risk-taking or you do not.
When I started, I had no fnancial
acumen or guidance, so I read
dozens of books and listened to a lot
of audio books in my car on the way
to appointments about building a
business -- my 'university on wheels',
so to speak. It gave me the skills to
deal with the many unknowns that
occur in growing companies.
Also, do whatever it takes to hold on
to your equity in the business. Don't
sell it to others at the start to raise
capital, when it is not worth much.
Raise debt if you have to, before
you issue equity and dilute your
ownership; the longer you hold out in
keeping equity, the more chance you
have of turning your business into a
freight train and keeping control.
Spend time experimenting with the
product and getting it right. Don't
launch a product that you think
customers will like; get close to them,
listen carefully to what they want, and
adapt the product quickly. If you don't,
you'll end up spending lots of time
and money developing a product that
is completely useless in the market.
Finally, get good at focusing on
what makes the biggest diference
to your business. Time is not the
entrepreneur 's friend. At Schnitz,
we divide work into Critical Goals,
Important Goals and Nice-to-have
Goals. It's our way of resolving the
signifcant tasks that help us get to
the key goals frst, and not waste
time on things that matter less.
F: What have you learnt most about
entrepreneurship in your time
AD: That you have to accept that
failure is a normal part of building
a fast-growth business, and know
how to deal with it. All successful
entrepreneurs have an ability to
recover from failure and become
stronger from it. I've failed many
times since starting in business in
1999, and I learnt that knowing
how to fail is an essential part of the
personal development process.
Also, if I had my time again, I would
invest more in systems, policies and
procedures up-front. When you are
building a business from scratch,
and everything is uncertain, you can
overlook the importance of getting
things right from the start. You end
up spending a lot more time and
money after the business has taken
of to get the systems right.
F: What does your typical workday
AD: I normally work 10--12 hours
a day, often six days a week, and
do the occasional all-nighter when
work is very busy. Early mornings
are spent responding to emails, and
the rest of each day is spent mostly
supporting the 13 departments within
Schnitz, to ensure that they have
everything they need to keep moving
forward. I usually only get time to do
my own work after standard work
hours. Thankfully, I live very close
to the ofce, so I am able to alternate
between work and home.
F: What do you enjoy most about
AD: I am on a mission to transform
our franchisees' lives; helping them
create passive income to do the things
they love. We have a philosophy that
every deal we work on has to be a
win-win -- for franchisees, Schnitz,
suppliers, landlords, staf and so on.
It's very satisfying knowing you are
building something big, and helping
others share in the success. We also
work hard to help staf members
achieve their career, fnancial and
personal goals; it's rewarding seeing
staf grow and really step up as the
F: How do you relax away from work?
AD: I enjoy watching movies --
particularly documentaries -- and
catching up with friends. I'm
also writing a book to help other
business owners and hopefully
give something back to the
entrepreneurship community. I
made a decision to have a bit more
time for myself this year, but so far
it's as busy as ever!
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