In this edition of the Startup Files, we chat with Paul Crozier who established Biggies at Bertram. The business became a great success and graduated by taking a lease.
Paul shares some of his experience and the knowledge he gained along the way.
What is the one thing you wish you knew before you set up the bar?
I wish I knew it was possible. I had this misconception that it was an unrealistic pipe dream. That the funds required to set up such a business were upwards of $200K. Obviously Renew Adelaide was a massive help and many costs were avoided due to ties with council etc. But as a whole, the outlay was not nearly as expensive as I had assumed. As our team had opened multiple properties for larger hotel groups the physical aspect of set up was something we were well aware of. From buying goods months before in auctions to having a team of friends do the fit-out, these all helped us in opening the business without huge debt hanging over us. But we regret not having a GREAT accountant from day one. It has all been cleaned up now, but at what cost? Financial advice is very important.
What are the top 3 construction tips you’d give to someone building into a space?
1. Make sure the person performing the tasks is qualified. There are different levels of trades-person. We found out, someone that was qualified to build an entire house may not necessarily be qualified to put up a simple stud wall in a retail space. This cost us over $1000.00 the day before we opened as we had to pay for a private certifier to approve the works. Not to mention dealing with something so trivial 24 hours from opening.
2. Get EVERYONE you can to be involved. Having a friend paint a wall, sweep a floor or nail a thingy down will save you a fortune. Trades get paid by the hour. Only pay them for something you or your contacts legally cannot do. Youtube if you have to. Get quotes for jobs and get the trades to stick to that specific task and timeline. When you have plumbers, sparkies, and builders from separate businesses all working around each other it can be a logistical nightmare and a waste of time (which is money).
3. Most importantly – BE ONSITE! As much as possible. Someone needs to be there to make decisions, and fast. You are literally paying people to stand there until a decision is made.
What has been the most enjoyable thing about having established Biggies?
It’s taken a year but we have created a community. Seeing the friendships (and love stories) unfold, watching people come out of their shells. It is such a fun loving environment and people keep coming back. We have given Bar staff opportunities that have moved on to “Bigger” and better things. DJ’s have literally started careers with us and now get regular gigs at Adelaide events. Nights like ‘Disco is not a Dirty Word’ began here and are becoming monthly events on peoples calendars. The collaboration that has moved beyond this space amazes me. More than anything. The smiles! The team get to make people smile, watch them dance and drink plenty of Cafe Patron (or) Espresso Martinis haha.
What is the best piece of advice you could give to someone looking to go into business?
Don’t spend your life wondering “What if?” … You literally only have money to lose and experience to gain. What you will learn on this journey is priceless. No matter how much you think you know, you will be blindsided by something you least expect. Just have a go, and go hard at it (maybe not too hard on drinking if you’re opening a bar). My motto – Look Good, Smell Great & Be AWESOME! (just to clarify… looking good is about personal appearance, not vanity. In not only yourself but all aspects of your business. Clean & tidy. Smelling great is about the basic hygiene of both yourself and your business. Smells are nostalgic, make them good ones. And well being AWESOME is self-explanatory)
Go and kick some ASS!