The Whitestone story is ultimately a positive one…with many storms and trials along the way.
After a successful career in a range of operations and sales management roles, Brett Stringer decided to move out onto his own, and provide call centre operational consulting to a multi-national not for profit looking to establish the then new remote call centre technology in Australia. The year was 2006, and like many people that start businesses under similar circumstances, Brett was confident the engagement would lead to other more substantial work.
This proved to be the case, with Brett securing engagements with a new and exciting media company, and database developer. And then GFC 1.0 hit. The call centre engagement had ended, and the media company began to founder, and Brett was left without 70% of his billing December 28, 2008. Not much of a Christmas message to take home to the family.
With 1 client still on the books, and four hungry kids to feed, Brett set about looking for a job. Many interviews and a couple of job offer retractions later, it was apparent that the job market was not what it used to be for a man with a great CV, likeable personality, and outstanding people skills. In the midst of this despair, Brett was struck by an idea. It was a moment of truth. Who is helping the small business owner out there is a recessed economy identify and take advantage of business growth opportunities? Business owners are nervous, lack the skilled staff, or are simply so busy with their paying clients that new ideas and other opportunities get left behind.
After a couple of weeks of research and development, Brett made his first sales call with his new business idea.
The call became a client. Being flat out servicing customers, the new client had little time and no dedicated staff for business development. One new client became two, two became three, and so on. The idea was proved, and the business was up and running.
As time progressed, Brett had other ideas too. Some on behalf of his clients, and others that were designed to build his own business. The ideas, once properly developed invariably resulted in almost immediate bottom line impact. As he worked to develop the ideas, it became very apparent that the process he was going through, replicated for other businesses, would also invariably reap similar results for them.
Brett then developed a program he called Business Builders to assist professional athletes get business ideas together while still engaged in their sport in order to provide for life and career after their playing days ceased. The Australian Cricketers Association was the first group to come on board, funding the program to interested members through their player development and welfare area. Other associations showed great interest as well, including Rugby League, Rugby Union, and the Australian Institute of Sport. A punchy program that was designed to provide mentoring and coaching to the players, it also had a perfect application for the broader SME market. Brett tailored the program to suit Small Business, and re-branded to Build Up Your Biz.
Business owners often failed to see the value of business coaching as it had few tangible outcomes and seemed to drag on, often with a bottomless pit mindset from consultants. Build Up Your Biz provided a clearly defined list of outcomes, was constrained to an agreed timeframe, and was built with a small businesses budget in mind.
Whitestone and Brett continue to develop exciting new ideas for their own, and their clients’ benefit. In reality, Our Story, as Karen Carpenter sang, has only just begun. We look forward to you sharing our journey with us.
In private, Brett has enjoyed almost 20 years of marriage to the love of his life, 4 very energetic children, and has become a dedicated junior basketball coach, coaching up to 4 games per week, including the last two seasons in junior representative teams with the Melbourne Tigers for 1 championship from two finals series. He was once a committed golfer, although basketball seems to have replaced this of late, and is currently working on a number of other exciting creative projects ready for release in the next 6-12 months.