The three Blonde Robot founders describe themselves as pure capitalists. They buy a product (in this case high-end photographic, audio and video equipment), receive it, and sell it to someone else for a profit. The company grew quickly, but after four years their growth stalled.
Dan Miall, Blonde Robot Co-Founder and Managing Director attended a Growth Clinic and went on to participate in the Growth Modules with two members of his executive team via the ANZ Business Growth Program.
During the Growth Clinic, they identified these challenges:
- They had no brand equity;
- Their value as a distributor was completely dependent on the brands they represented;
- The founders were confused about their roles and responsibilities;
- It was difficult to source innovative products, and find new resellers.
Additionally, the company was operating in a rapidly evolving technology sector, where there were doubts about the future of photography, and the long-term viability of distributors.
Blonde Robot made good use of the diagnostics and Growth Experts in the Growth Clinic and Growth Modules, to identify what was getting in the way of growth and what was needed to accelerate it. By assessing and adjusting systems, processes and people, the team moved closer to ‘best practice’.
They took steps to build their brand and identified Asia as a key growth market. The team then planned how to leverage offshore growth and how to establish staff that could quickly ramp-up their distributors and retailers in Asia.
The three founders redefined their roles and responsibilities to capitalise on their individual skillsets. One also accepted responsibility for Asia, and offered to relocate, if necessary. Staffing issues were addressed and decision-making was delegated to the operational level, which freed up the founders to focus on business strategy and brand building.
In the past year, Blonde Robot has seen Asian growth more than double, with growth in last year’s Q2 being four times that of Q1. The team is building their brand and have signed new, major retailers in Australia and Asia.
The ANZ Business Growth Program let the founders shift their vision from growing a cash business that could fund their lifestyle, to growing a highly sophisticated sales and distribution business in Asia that could become very significant if, and when, they decided to sell. One founder commented that he used to look at Blonde Robot as his ‘baby’; now, he looks at the company as an increasingly valuable asset.