Aussie SMB owners share their small business tips

15 min read
Emma Fletcher

One thing’s for sure, Australian small businesses have been doing it tough in 2020. But if this year of bushfires, floods and a global pandemic have shown us anything, it’s that small businesses are resilient and deserve to be celebrated. At GoDaddy, we’re proud of everything our customers have achieved — in spite of the obstacles. Meet some homegrown heroes crushing it their way and enjoy their small business tips.

Related: Resilient Australian business owners motivated by a challenge

1. Glampr

Luxurious, fully-furnished bell tent hire

Interacting with your customers can often be the greatest feeling, and for Paula and Laura Elliott of Glampr, that’s definitely the case.

Best part of your day?

When a customer opens the door to our tent and you see the look on their face and they are just blown away by what they see. They are always surprised, always impressed and always amazed. That reaction is the best thing.

What advice do you have for someone just beginning?

Glampr Bell Tent

Consider the person who will be consuming your product, whoever that happens to be. Do some market research, create a business plan and respond to the feedback you get.

How do you define success?

Success is about our own enjoyment of life. In business, sales are also important. The real measure of success is the positive feedback from our customers and making sure they are really happy.

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2. Niketi Project

Interior design

Starting a new project can be difficult, that’s why we asked Niketi Project founders Nicola and Katherine Manettas for their small business tips for those just beginning their journey.

Best part of your day?​

Starting the day with a team meeting and hitting the day off on a positive by connecting as a team.

Do you have any small business tips for someone just starting?

Have a very clear direction and stay true to that. Know your end purpose and why you are doing it.

How do you define success?

Constantly improving, changing and growing.

3. Sol Invictus

Australian motorcycle brand

Sol Invictus Motorcycles Homepage

John Benton, creative director of Sol Invictus, is no stranger to overcoming challenges in order to get the bikes and business up and running.

Tell us about your business model

Our initial strategy was to follow the bigger manufacturers, where you build a dealer network around the country and then you sell into them and they then sell to customers.

We found a lot of the dealers had already done deals with other manufacturers, so it made a small independent like us very difficult to get in there.

That really resulted in us kind of changing tactics massively and saying we’re not going to rely on dealers, we are going to:

  • Have our own stores
  • Connect to the customers directly
  • Not have anyone pollute our brand story

Best part of your day?

When you see a new customer picking up their bike for their first time and they’re so excited with the whole experience, with the brand and everything and eager to get out there.

What advice do you have for someone just beginning?

​It’s important to follow your passion but also important to properly evaluate a market need for something. Without passion it's very difficult to keep everything moving. But there’s no point being super passionate about something if there is actually not going to be a market that would buy it.

How do you define success?

Anyone who’s running a business and they’re actually profitable, they’re a success. For me, I set certain goals and when I achieve them I consider them mini successes. It’s not a singular destination you reach.

4. La Porte Space

Luxury serviced offices spaces, event spaces and photographic studios

La Porte Space Homepage

We’re all working towards some form of success, and for La Porte Space’s Hayley Bonham and Rory Elsom, their vision is dependent on customer satisfaction.

Best part of your day?

Waking up everyday and feeling so blessed to do what I do. Being a creative, the possibilities are endless.

Do you have any small business tips for someone just starting?

Have a clear idea of a gap, of something that doesn’t exist. Then back your idea, pursue it and don’t doubt yourself.

How do you define success?

It’s measured by how people feel, how we can make people feel. It’s not a financial thing for us at all, it’s being able to watch one person walk through the door and get the feeling that we wanted to create.

5. Rebecca Enya Lourey

Illustrator, artist and designer

When owning and running your own business, it can be quite easy to get bogged down and lose sight of why you started in the first place. For designer Rebecca Lourey, it’s the feeling of people appreciating her work that makes the hard yards all worth it.

Best part of your day?

Making things. I love to make things no matter what it is. Getting into that hyper focus.

What makes it all worth it?

When I’m painting a mural and I see someone stop and smile as I’m painting, it is a huge thing for me. Or when someone spends a little bit longer looking at your piece in your exhibition.

What advice do you have for someone just beginning?

Don’t put things in your portfolio that you don’t want to do again. Pick and choose what you show on the internet.

How do you define success?

Being able to make work that you love, get eight hours of sleep a night and achieve that work-life balance where you have time to go out and see your friends and you’re making time to exercise and eat.

6. Olga Solar

Musical artist

Starting a business can be one of the most challenging experiences you’ll face, but a few things make the whole process worth it. For Olga Solar, it’s all about the journey.

Best part of your day?

The community — meeting other people and bands at live shows. It’s a very welcoming community in my experience so far.

What makes it all worth it?

Just enjoying the journey. Enjoying yourself in the moment because that’s all you’re in control of. And seeing other people respond to what you’ve created is very special.

What advice do you have for someone just beginning?

Just do something. Start somewhere and one thing will lead to another.

7. Studio A

Art studio

studio A homepage

In order to run a successful business, you need a great deal of motivation. Gabrielle Mordy, owner of Studio A, builds her business by being motivated by what art does for people.

Best part of your day?

Seeing people have that new, proud sense of identity and place in the world and realising that creativity and art can transform people, and relationships between people, when it’s good.

What makes it all worth it?

​It’s that process of having seen potential, having a sparkly idea, having a sense of energy about something and then sharing that idea with people, putting processes in place to realise that and then actually seeing it manifest and realising that sparkly feeling, it’s not all just fairy dust. That feeling is something to be followed and you can trust that feeling.

Got any small business tips for someone just beginning?

You need to assess the reasons why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Is it driven by ego or by a need in the community? Have you tested that need?

Do you really have the commitment and passion to follow it through? Particularly in this sector, you're making a commitment to the often marginalised, under privileged people that you’re working with, so if you’re going to make that commitment to make change in their life you need to be able to follow it through.

How do you define success?

My motivation is what art does for people. Does the art that we’re making create greater understanding between diverse people?

Does it open conversations between people who may not have otherwise come into contact or understand one another, and at worst really dismiss one another as having meaningful lives?

So I define success by saying are the activities that Studio A does creating greater respect between diverse people?

8. Splendid Wren Ceramics

Hand-made ceramics

Founder of Splendid Wren Ceramics Catherine Field’s key to success is being happy with what she does every day.

Best part of your day?

​The making. When you see them come out of the glaze kiln looking fabulous, it’s like Christmas every time.

What makes it all worth it?

​Making people feel amazing. The way people react when people see my work is really satisfying.

What advice do you have for someone just beginning?

Try new things. Find something you love and follow that because it’s so nice to do something you love everyday.

How do you define success?

Being happy to do what you do everyday.

9. Supercyclers

Sustainable design

When you have a business that’s all about design activism, your version of success might be different to others. That’s exactly the case for Sarah King, cofounder of Supercyclers, who believes success is all about making a change for the better.

Best part of your day?

The beginning: coffee + plans

What makes it all worth it?

Knowing what we are doing is contributing positively to the future.

What advice do you have for someone just beginning?

Stick to your guns (also never be afraid to ask for advice).

How do you define success?

This is interesting because we haven’t made millions from our business (yet) — who knows? We may not [make millions] but we are able to do what we do with relatively low stress levels and creative satisfaction. I think (hope) we’ll go down as having contributed substantially to the environmental movement that changed the world for the better.

Art gallery

Jon Beinart, from Beinart Gallery, has one solid piece of advice for anyone starting a business: be passionate.

What makes it all worth it?

It’s really rewarding when stuff starts happening for the emerging artists we work with.

What’s the best part of your day?

Cuddles with my six-year-old son.

What advice would you have for someone starting out?

Follow the thing that you’re passionate about. It’s best to start a business in an area you are truly passionate about and it’s not just about money. Preserve and be flexible and adapt, but not to the point that you’re no longer doing what you’re passionate about.

How do you define success?

There’s many facets. One level of success would be doing something that gives your life meaning. Another would be monetary success — earning a living — and another would be having a positive impact on the world.

11. Biasol Design

Biasol Design Homepage

Design studio

Success, for some, is about money and fame. For Jean-Pierre Biasol from Biasol Design, it’s all about people.

What makes it all worth it?

It’s about seeing our team grow. Seeing how much they love being a part of what they do as well. Seeing them grow both personally and professionally and as part of our team.
In that there is an underlying factor of giving back. Making sure that we are giving back to our industry, giving back to the people.

We’ve been involved in Feast of Merit, which is a not for profit organisation.

We’re now supporting Manna for Life, which is about feeding the homeless. We’re doing the Herald Sun/Transurban Run for the Kids. It’s really about sharing our design love and our industry and giving back.

What’s the best part of your day? ​

Just waking up in general knowing that you love what you do. There’s something so special in that and we all feel that way. Every day I’m up at 4.30 in the morning to start my day and more than likely I’m in the office by 6.30. There’s definitely a key to passion and wanting to be here.

What advice would you have for someone starting out?

Be brave and be prepared to persevere through all the hard times. With your passion you’ll always find a way.

How do you define success?

You may need to ask this question in a few years. We’re definitely not there yet.

The road to success is long but it’s a journey we want to enjoy as a team and with the people around us, loved ones, family.

But fundamentally success is still a strong element of wanting to give back to the industry. We don’t just love design, we love the industry, we want to see others grow. It’s great seeing other studios do so well and there’s so much design out there and we’re all so diverse in our creativity and it’s so interesting to see how others think differently.

12. Little Alchemy


The concept of success changes for business owners throughout their journey. For Lou Easaw, owner of naturopathic brand Little Alchemy, it’s more than just chasing happiness.

Best part of your day?

Looking at my daughters and thinking ‘yeah I helped create you.’ That influences me when I’m tired and stressed to keep moving in the right direction.

What makes it all worth it?

Making that positive impact in the world. Being a good role model to my daughters.

What advice do you have for someone just beginning?

Just take the first step. Get out of your head and do something. Don’t wait until you are 100% ready.

How do you define success?

The idea of success changes, especially for business owners. It’s not necessarily happiness. I’m more into contentment. Success is when there is harmony in all aspects of your life and everything is working together.

13. Milton Wine Shop

Wine bar and bottle shop

When building a business it’s important to have a guiding philosophy that underpins your work. For Lyndon Kubis, owner of wine shop and bar Milton Wine Shop, it’s all about loving the product.

With us it’s in the context of what we do, which is to sell and share and be around the wines that we love.

Then as long as you’re not losing money, no matter what happens, you’re still at least surrounded by the wines you love and believe in. I think that’s the most important thing and then if financial success comes, that’s great. But at the bare minimum you’re doing something you love.

What makes it all worth it?

Me, and I think anyone who works here, we count ourselves truly lucky. We get to wake up and pour and share these wines. Our whole life is these wines.

Around vintage time, people are going to wineries, they’re working in wineries. Every day we get up and think about these wines and we get to share them with people.

What’s the best part of your day?

New deliveries. We buy up to 50-100 wines between the six stores every month. So we’ll select those over a course of a month and then the first two days of the new month those new wines come in so it’s just like Christmas at the start of every month unwrapping those boxes.

Do you have any small business tips for someone just starting?

Listen. Surround yourself with people who are a lot smarter to you and listen. Especially when it comes to accounting and things like that. Listen as much as possible. Listen, ask questions, repeat.

How do you define success?​

70% of what you do in life is working, so if you truly can tell yourself that you get up and enjoy that, then for me that’s success.

Make your own way (take these business tips with you)

Running your own small business is not easy but if you love what you do, you’re halfway there. It doesn’t hurt to have a few small business tips from those who are making the dream real.

From luxury tent hire and hand-made ceramics to sustainable design and boutique wine bars, Australian small businesses are breaking the mould and carving their own paths.

And GoDaddy is with them every step of the way. We’re committed to helping small businesses stay in business by shining a light on their inspiring success stories. Are you ready to take that next step and start doing what you love?