Episode 004 - Brenton Spiteri - Avoiding Ruin - A Pivot During Lockdown | Limeworks

Episode 004 - Brenton Spireri

Avoiding Ruin - A Pivot During Lockdown

Brenton found a rapid solution to avoid total business annihilation.

Just two weeks after taking the keys to the Witchmount Estate Function Centre, Brenton's world was shattered as lockdowns shut his brand new business down.

Not to be beaten however, he initialised a rapid pivot to help survive the COVID-19 crisis.

Check out the Witchmount Estate Function Centre - witchmountestate.com.au

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Please note, while an effort is made to provide an accurate transcription, errors and omissions may be present. No part of this transcription can be referenced or reproduced without permission.

Rob: So thank you Brenton Spiteri from Witchmount Estate Function Centre. I really wanted to have a bit of a chat to you today about the interesting predicament that you've found yourself in, having bought a function centre right before all function centres got shut down. And I thought I thought I'd have a bit of a chat about that. But before we do, I'd really love to get a bit of background and understand just how you got to this stage. And, cause I know that you run a photography studio, you have a photo booth hire business.

Brenton: Yep

Rob: And so you're a bit of a parallel entrepreneur, and it gives us some really interesting things to discuss. So can we learn a little bit about where you started and how you got to where you are now?

Brenton: Yeah. So basically, I started in hospitality, so my background is work in hotels for ALH Group hotels. And I was doing that alongside photography. And I got to a point where I was kind of pulled between both. I was really encouraged to kind of come pursue the photography. So I did that. That was about 12 years ago that I went full time and progressively grew into my studio space, as our business grew and we took on team members. And then over the years from there, just added in other avenues of how to create revenue streams, which is how the photo booth hire business came about, seeing that my couples were going out hiring options for their wedding. And I just thought I can solve their issue about having multiple people to have to pay, to have to coordinate. I can do it all for them. And that's how I developed those two businesses. And then, yeah, down the track in my mind, I always had the idea of a function centre and the opportunity came up at an OK time, I guess, at the time. And then, yeah, just pursued it with options of what I could do and decided to push the boundaries and jump in.

Rob: So was it like a deliberate attempt at almost vertical integration, like being able to provide the photography, the photo booth for the event and the event space itself? Or did it just kind of happenstance that way and falls back, you know, just sort of happened?

Brenton: So for me, I've done photography for 14 years. Both my shoulders were starting to give out from doing that. And to be really honest, it's about looking at the next step for me, about pulling back and not doing, being a bit more selective with the weddings that I take on and doing them for passion, not for purpose. And I had to be able to supplement that income through another means. And with a function centre, I can have an amazing management team running it. And I don't have to commit to being here in 18 months time to actually be here for a particular function. I feel with weddings when someone books you they book you, not the business. They have a personal connection with you. When someone looks at venue, they're booking the venue based on the looks and how it fits in what their dream is. They know booking me as a as a business owner, which means I can have an amazing team to be here to make sure everything runs smoothly. And if I want to go on a holiday at the drop of a hat, I can. With photography, it is a massive commitment for photographers to say, I promise you that I'll be here in 18 months time to photograph your wedding. It really puts that family time and leisure time with your own friends and family. On the on the back burner, when you're committing to other people's weddings and events.

Rob: I mean, by its very nature as well, I'm guessing a lot of the wedding bookings and anything outdoors is going to be in those premium dates where it's long weekends or it's, you know, anything like that. And as much as you may not get away from that with the events, as you say, you can step away. But I do know a little bit about your photography business, and I understand you're pretty good at implementing process and management and things like that as well. So can you explain a bit about how you've kind of set that up?

Brenton: In terms of photography?

Rob: Yeah.

Brenton: So for me, it was about letting go. So I've always been a control freak. And I had to learn to really trust in the people that I employ and allow them to make decisions without having to ask permission. And it's when you've when you've had a business for so long and hard to let go. That is something that I was grateful that I was able to start letting go of that. I trust the people around me. And just having the right processes in place. And they're not all perfect as things come up we make changes. But it's about having the systems in the way that you want it done and how you see it. And then changing as adapting as things come up. And so it means that someone else can step into that role and look through a system, a process, and understand how to do things without constantly needing to be led by other team members that then have to constantly go back to the drawing board, showing them how to do things. They can ask for help if they come past I guess an obstacle about here's the process is one part I didn't get to. And that's because it maybe it wasn't written perfectly in the steps or it was an automatic task that we just do not really thinking about it. And I didn't know how to do it. Just such a small task. It gets overlooked.

Rob: I can imagine it is a little bit hard to let go from something that as much as photography can be a business, it's still very much a creative process. And that's, I think, was it was it more challenging than you thought or did it sort of once you saw the benefits, did it sort of come naturally?

Brenton: It is hard when you're in a creative space. It is hard to let go because I've come up that a couple of times with my team. No I want to I want to photograph this way. But you've also got to have flexibility in letting them step into what they're really good at as well. And also know that the way I do it isn't perfect. You know, you need to trust the people that potentially are better than you as well in that creative space. But I guess for us, we've really tried to hone in on having a creative look and a brand that we all photograph to that look so that when someone comes in, no matter what say portrait family photographer that they get, they get the same result at the end. Same products and the same finishes and quality that they're not going to come in saying what they've seen on on social media, on the Web site and have any intention of getting a particular item. And it's nothing like that. So that's something that I had to really get the team to understand, that there's an expectation about clients so they're not walking away disappointed or I guess we don't want to go over and above too much that then another team member might not be able to actually to feel what's even the norm, what's expected for another client.

Rob: Yeah. So in effect, you're trying to manage expectations a lot as as much as delivering and and really pushing hard on that. So how did the

Rob: How does the photo booth hire run? Does it sort of work in conjunction with the photography business idea, sort of cross refer a lot of things, or do they run fairly independently?

Brenton: I run them quite independently, but initially it was so when I first started the photo booth business, I went out to market to all of my existing bookings and let them know that we'd added that service on. And it was just a no brainer for people to add on straight away when people are booking for their weddings they typically book the photo booth if they're thinking about having that service, it becomes just the add on. Without any stresses for them. But also with the photo booth, it runs independent. And I have a manager, a coordinator that runs that business. That means that we're able to use the people that are booking the photo booth to actually then have them knowing about our photography. So it's been really great to work together and get them into having family portraits or referring for wedding as well, because all the emails they get talk and allude to the different businesses that we have. That makes them curious and gets them in that in that funnel as well.

Rob: So in terms of you just touched on something interesting there, going from a wedding photo booth to family portraits, do you really make an effort to see that like that repeat business through as the customers age, or does it just happen that way?

Brenton: I don't spend enough time, I probably should spend a little more time. There's definitely a lot of a lot of opportunity there. And I guess with what's going on at the moment, that's given me a lot more of a chance to actually sit down and start looking at where where the holes are in the business and where we could be smart, smart marketing compared to just always out looking for new clients.

Rob: Yeah. Okay. So obviously the main topic and as we can see from the wine barrels behind you is your purchase of Witchmount Estate function centre, which happened to be I'm sure the wheels were in motion before Covid was even a phrase that we were familiar with. But how long was it from when you took the keys to basically Covid coming along and knocking out

Brenton: So about.

Rob: Any ability to trade normally?

Brenton: Three to four weeks. So we took over the 14th of Feb and I'm trying to think when the actual date was, but it was about three weeks. It's been several weeks since it took over. Let's say eesh. Since I've actually taken over. So, yes, it's

Rob: That was.

Brenton: Definitely thrown a spanner in the works.

Rob: That's that's pretty rapid, isn't it? I mean, four weeks in. I don't care what business is in its you'd still be barely finding your feet after four weeks of grabbing the keys. It's like how how frantic was was business life as soon as that all happened.

Brenton: Well, yeah, it was pretty, pretty manic to go from having three businesses that they say diversify. So that's what I've done. But I don't think there was anything I could've done unless I was making facemasks that the business would've succeeded or been safe. All three businesses within the matter of, you know, three or four days were having cancellations of corporate clients. So corporate events were having postponements of couples that have walked in. Well in advance, then picking new dates that aren't maybe available and having to navigate through that to make sure that they are still happy. Able to have their dream team of suppliers as long as well as a venue. That's probably the hardest part, just having to having to deal with that in terms of venue, even photography, and then photo booth to just work at how we're going to make that possible. We were quite lucky that most of the people that wanted particular dates requested we were available to reshuffle. But that was one of the first things I thought was how are we going to navigate through this when people want particular dates and they're just not available?

Rob: You know, because, I mean, nobody could have predicted this, and just because someone booked a date 12 months from now, you know, they can't be shuffled because someone who had a date for six weeks from now can't use that date either. So and obviously, there's only a finite amount of space and a finite amount of photographers. And as you say, you diversified but happened to be in three industries that or, you know, working in three industries that still are all affected by the shutdown effectively because Victorian changes have been fairly significant, haven't they? I think they've been a little bit more than us here in New South Wales.

Brenton: They have yeah. So it's been pretty it's pretty tight. Yeah, pretty. Oh, I'll use the word tight restrictions to make sure that they're stopping the spread. And at the moment, it's like driving into a country town. There's just no one out. And it's a bit strange. And it's the whole unknown of we're hearing of New South Wales lifting some of the ban soon. Whereas for us we've got no idea when things will start happening yet. So it's kind of. We've had some people in calling about events for even December, but they're really hesitant to even book. Now a lot of them are looking at next year. As a result we're now losing effectively twelve months worth of revenue that we had forecasted. That will mean there will be effectively starting our weddings, mainly weddings, from January onwards for next year. And so that's that's kind of what we're going for the moment, is what the steps are going to be to maintain the revenue to at least break even and keep the team employed.

Rob: Because I mean, the good thing about being in events is that the forward bookings are generally there. And so you have a pretty good calendar to base payroll and supplies, you know, food, kitchen, everything, and keeping that rolling. And so at the moment, you've got not really any certainty for rebooking anyway. So have you. Have you managed to kind of keep those forward bookings at tentative new dates? Or is it all sort of just on pause and up in the air?

Brenton: Yeah. So any bookings that kind of coming in we're trying to encourage them to still book in for potentially like November, December, which is when we feel that we're gonna be able to go back to some sort of normality. But again, we can't promise that we give them that hope. So I want to be really honest with them that I don't want them, setting them up for potential failure. You know, we're quite lucky that the venue is a big space that effectively with the social distancing rules that came in place initially before they shut down cafes and restaurants. We could have around 60 to 75 guests here. Which means you could host smaller functions. So that's a bit of a bonus for us that we're looking at. What are the options of what might happen? And so for us, it's about working out. Giving people a little advice. Not kind of. I don't want to get people to commit to events that may not happen. I'd prefer to sort of guide them give them information as things come up or if they're comfortable to book in because they want to secure a date. They can, but I'm being quite flexible with people but just being a realist, those events may not happen until next year.

Rob: Sure. So obviously forward bookings and all that sort of thing is something that you want to get back online. But with a six to nine month sort of runway before you know that you're working with currently, it's kind of hard to predict. So right now, we understand you've pivoted to

Rob: Take away model to leverage some of the facilities that you've got and retain some of the talent in the building. And can you give us a bit of a rundown on how that came about and what you've actually done?

Brenton: Yes. So initially when it all happened, I decided we're going to create a restaurant style. And then that was crushed, a couple of days later by the government. It was just a quick pivot. So, yeah, just decided what are the tools we've got at the moment? We've got an amazing chef, talented chef. We have access to suppliers still that need our support because a lot of those suppliers a hemorrhaging with needing sales. And I have a venue that's still able to service people and people still need to eat. So we have that solution that people, Home-Schooling, aren't going to have time to teach their kids, cook amazing food and clean the house. So we thought, what can we do to offer amazing gourmet food within a budget price? That means that people can have what they like, have different flavours and things as well, but also not have to worry about the financial aspect of what it might be if you were eating that food at, say, a restaurant or in a function centre.

Rob: And how how did you implement sort of hand like facilitation of that process of takeaway? Did you. Were you able to leverage existing point of sale and things like that? Or, you know, how did you sort of overcome rather than just getting people to the door? How did you actually deal with it once they came?

Brenton: Well, I had a good chat to some friends that have restaurants to ask them their pain points. And the biggest thing that came up was the joys of having people call up and place an order, get the order wrong, put on a piece of paper that gets forgotten. And I just didn't want to do that. I also didn't want to have a la carte menu where people can expect to order and have hot food delivered to the house because everyone else has that, if that's what people are after. There's so much abundance of restaurants in the area that can offer that. We wanted to create that point of difference, which is why we went for a great meal served cold that allows people to heat up in their own at their own leisure so that they don't need to wait till 7:00 at night when they're starving. They can do it during the day because a lot of people are on less hours at work. They want to stay at the house for an hour or so. They can come and grab their food and head home. But in terms of what systems are used, we kind of really push for everything, online sales. I'm using a system that I've got for my other business that sells portrait sessions, which is not at all for takeaway food. So it's a woocommerce plugin. But I just couldn't financially spend money on another system or another monthly subscription. So I just worked really crazy to make it work for us in the best possible way.

Brenton: So it's not the best but its working for now. And we just go shoot obstacles as things come up that it's given us the ability to now do suggestive up-selling, which is increasing our average sales and just sort of suddenly telling people, hey, check this out. We've been using SMS once a week or twice a week occasionally to encourage people back in to see us. So just looking at all the systems, if someone hasn't been to us for a week or so, just reaching out via SMS to offer them a little a little carrot to get them back in. And we were quite lucky. We're partnered with the winery here. So we've got access at a wholesale rate for the wines that also allows us to you know, there's a bit of margin there to help us increase their sales. And again, that point of difference compared to maybe other places that don't have access to liquor. I was quite lucky. I jumped on the phone straight away to liquor licensing and requested a an endorsement on the liquor license to do home delivery of alcohol. That was a huge help for us that allowed us to sell off premise of alcohol. So that was just that alone. Took a huge stress off knowing that people at home. Want to be able to enjoy really great wines. They may not want to go out to a bottle shop and be around people. So that's been a huge leverage for us as well.

Rob: So I think an interesting part there that I didn't quite appreciate before was that everything's coming out cold. Is it? Was that accurate? Everything's coming out cold.

Brenton: Most of it. Yes. There's a few things on Fridays and Saturdays. We're doing some hot food just to encourage the people that are missing the Friday knock off drinks or the pub meals. We're really honing in on that to create a a product that people love. And it's really great quality that's been helping doing that. But other than that, everything else is served cold that can be heated up with a decent quality compared to maybe places where you're buying it hot. And it's expected that you need to finish it then and there. It won't be great the next day.

Rob: So does that create some extra flexibility in getting the delivery mechanism right where and maybe broadening the delivery area? Was that conscious or

Brenton: Yes.

Rob: Was that just sort of an added benefit?

Brenton: Yes. I just didn't want to have it set up that we were committing someone that if they order food now, they can have it in 20 minutes like a traditional restaurant. So if they do pick up, they can have it within 20. That can pick up within 20 minutes or if they stop in, they can purchase it. But when it comes to deliver, we have a two and half hour window that overlap between timing to navigate through if someone asked between four and six thirty or the next bracket is between six and seven thirty I think at night we can then overlap and do the same delivery route with those two people. So there's a slight overlay because when I say we like it's me leaving the chef here to serve people that come in while I'm driving out doing deliveries until we can increase the revenue to actually warrant having an extra person, maybe help with deliveries as well. So that's effectively what we're doing.

Rob: And so obviously the liquor sales contributes to that as well. And the partnership with the winery, does that encompass, like, are you effectively able to open up the bar to go with the food or, you know, in terms obviously close containers like, you know, in a bottle shop scenario. But are there limitations on that? Can you basically include anything?

Brenton: So we include anything, there is limitations on how many how much like two bottles of wine or a bottle of wine and a six pack of beer. There are limitations there. But we're definitely adapting to that to create ways that we've got some cocktail mixes starting in a few weeks, just wise to spice it up a bit and get people interested in what we've gone because they know that the alcohol and the dessert is normally the catalyst to get people in the door and they happen to buy the food in order to access the alcohol, which has been awesome.

Rob: Hey, whatever works, right?

Brenton: That's it.

Rob: So how did you go about getting the word out with this pivot? Obviously, as you say, woocommerce like the WordPress plugin was

Rob: implemented quickly and

Rob: all the rest. Obviously don't want to be in development for for, three months or something trying to get this going either. But once those, you know, minimum viable elements were in, how did you actually go about pushing this to them or, you know, putting this out to the universe?

Brenton: So mine started with just friends. I put a really and I'm not really an open person, I'm always really honest and vulnerable through social media. Even on my personal page, just ask for the support of friends and family and the networks around me that helped a lot initially to get the sales happening. And those had the backing to have referral links in emails that people get when they're buying the food. So there's that social proof and then referral as well. And then I've just been on you know, I looked at who our clients, so I had to change my mindset is, is our avatar, who is our ideal client for the venue? And I had to completely flip that around and say, what are the trends happening with government funding? Who is getting access to that? Who might have excess money that they're not used to having? So they that that, I guess, person become our ideal client that we're really trying to access. And where do they hang out? What sort of cars do they drive? And so it's gonna be generalisation in saying this. We're on, you know, I do a lot of posting on the buy swap sells the community pages, but that's where I'm getting, that's where people are really happy to help struggling people. I've just had a really great support from from those networks, and that's where we tend to post. We're looking at different cultures in the area. And creating menus that are going to suit different cultures that are looking for something that, again, maybe they just don't have the time to cook for their families while they're doing home schooling. And the other big one for us is medical. Medical teams and teachers and creating special discounts for them as an appreciation, but also then it helps us and helps them as well.

Rob: Yeah, okay. Because, I mean, it's an interesting challenge to sort of reframe that that customer profile so rapidly based on events and based on what you're offering. Is there a roadmap yet to getting back to your traditional model? Actually, before we touch on that, was there when you acquired the business, was there like new marketing lists and things that you could engage with as well? Or did you really have to rely on what you were bringing in?

Brenton: I was quite lucky. The previous owners had a really great. We'll say at list a list of clients they've had each year in the past. Over the last about seven or eight years. So I was quite lucky to have access to that, but I wouldn't call it a database because they kind of they weren't sure about how to use that to their advantage. So I was able to access that information and use that to start marketing for future bookings like christenings and things as well, and also use that through Facebook. Face the audience. Advertising. But there's still other avenues of. I've got access to my photography business database and I've even emailed out, asking them for support as well, which has been really great because the trust is already there. And again, just putting myself out there, which is really makes me uncomfortable. But doing that I know helps people understand that I'm just like them. I'm not a big corporate company and that I truly need their support at the moment. And that's been the biggest help for us is just being really open with people.

Rob: I think the transparency is key here as well, because it's. It is very easy for people to look at business owners as a whole and think that there's tons of money there, no risk there. Everything's fine. And that we're all business owners are insulated from what's going on. But I think what you've demonstrated is that just as they can be out of a job, you know, you're effectively out of a consistent revenue stream that was pretty much written, at least written in your booking papers for quite a while. Right? So if we come back to that, trying to maintain this pivot for now, but obviously it's a function centre and you don't need a large function venue for takeaway food. So obviously, I think we want to roadmap it back as soon as you can. Have you started on that or are you still basically in crisis management mode?

Brenton: So, yeah, I've started to now put plans in to action about where we want to be in three months time, six months time, twelve months time, because I don't want to sit back. I'm seeing a lot of friends in the industry, in the wedding industry, a whole kind of on Facebook. And they're really that they're in just that mode of I don't know, just in that freeze mode. They don't know where they're going and what's gonna happen, where they're going to be. Whereas I'm kind of going ok, I've got to find the positives in these so, for instance, I've got really great friends and family that have been able to come and help transform the space and do the renovations here that I needed. So then we're ready for that relaunch. I understand that there's a lot of venues there that are a lot higher capacity in terms of bookings, and their occupancies are a lot higher than ours. Probably at least three to four times more. So I look at that as an opportunity and think a lot of these venues that may not be out to help couples in the future to

Brenton: rebook or even people that are now looking at venues because they're thinking, okay, we were looking at next year, the year after. Now, those dates are not going to be available because of people rescheduling. So I'm looking at it as an opportunity, thinking I need to have our new menus done, our look and feel of the venue. Everything renovated as much as possible so that when people start looking, we've got that advantage to say we're here and we're able to take on the booking compared to waiting until we have bookings coming in to then start trying to find time to do renovations between in-between events as well. So there's a lot of things that we're trying to get into place. Some things are taken away because then we pull back into doing stuff to take away. But it's about thinking and then going right this is important right now to get it done so that in six months time we're not thinking, OK, we're back at busy again. And now we need to think we should have done that when we had the time.

Rob: Yeah, of course. So in some ways, you're actually positioning yourself to take advantage of the very problem that you had earlier during Covid, where people are trying to rebook and couldn't get dates. You're sort of hoping to get some of that overflow business as well. That's interesting.

Brenton: Yes.

Rob: Do you think that once it does return to normal, at least whatever the new normal is for the foreseeable future, do you think you will retain this takeaway revenue model long term, or is it purely just basically biding time?

Brenton: It's a hard question. Look, there's opportunity, there's a restaurant next door that is on the roadmap as a secondary function centre, a smaller space function centre and for catering. That was the plan was to do external catering as well. This has definitely shown me a couple of things that it is hard, like I do take my hat off to a lot of restaurant owners. It is long days, long hours, and there is high risk. So it's one of those hard things that I may decide to. But right now it would be a probably not because it is long hours.

Rob: Yeah, that makes sense. And so you've said about some of your friends and people that, you know, in similar positions in the industry, mainly in the wedding industry mentioned. How important is, say, advice and mentoring through a period like this to really get you out of the funk and get get proactive on how you can cater for these problems?

Brenton: Yeah, I think it's important to make sure you've got good people around you that are not too positive. It's hard because I'm normally that person that people come to for that positivity and that support. And being honest, I've actually had to sort of push people and say I actually can't support you now because I need to work on myself and keep myself mentally alert as well, because it is a challenging time for myself and my family. And so I would definitely say to people, you're not alone its also good to ask for help. And if you need to chat to people like get the support you need because it is a hard time for everyone, especially the wedding industry, that we have had to push things out. We're not going to just open the doors and sweep out some leaves and say ok we're open for business once we get the green light. There's such a huge lead time before any functions will even even happen. So I'd say you've got to get around the people that can help you diversify, work out what else is next and just support you, because it's hard when you're in a bit of a funk, like you said, to start marketing, being creative as well. I know myself. There's days that I just sit there and think todays not the day. I'm going to just I'm going to do what I have to do for work to generate revenue. I'm not gonna be creative. I'm not going to be artistic and think about marketing because I'm just not in that mind space much at the moment. I've got to just do what I'm doing. And that's it.

Rob: And I guess at the moment, it's still a very real challenge to deal with on a daily basis, just keeping the wheels, turning it. We're certainly not out the other side yet. So I'm conscious of your time because you are busy trying to keep things afloat. And we are coming up on time. But I've got a few quick questions, which are sort of a little bit abstracted from this. But I would love to ask you, the first one is

Rob: If there's one thing that you consider the single most important lesson that you've learned in your business career?

Brenton: From this experience?

Rob: Not necessarily. But if it's the most important, then absolutely.

Brenton: Oh, so many things come up. It would be um

Rob: You can go for a few if you need to.

Brenton: I would say, you know, having some sort of, you know, business continuity planning and making time for that, something that we've done a little bit, but not enough. And that came up and bit us on the bottom as these things came through. And I can already see there could've been things we could have avoided. And not not saying that from Covid-19 that it would've been okay. That it would have been. We could have gone. Bang. Open the doors and the. This is what we're doing. And this is what we're doing now is we're thinking, what are all the possible scenarios the government will allow us to do until we can do events? Let's plan for that. Let's do menus, you know, for things out in the beer garden, things that we can do, because if they happen, we're ready for it. Compared to being reactive and going, this is now happening. Let's open and try this and doing it in a in desperation. So that'll be my my I guess. My thing there. The other thing, takeaway for me in terms business that I say to people that I learned a few years ago is like, pay yourself first. I think its important to make make sure you're paying yourself before you pay your bills, because and it might not be a lot of money, but a little bit. It's amazing how even two hundred or three hundred dollars a week will give you the motivation to want to get out of bed whereas I see, a lot of people and I've gone through that where I haven't paid myself for sometimes a couple months at a time. And it does it does make you despise the business. So sometimes it's just good to make sure that you do that. Yeah.

Rob: Awesome.

Brenton: Let's do that. They're my two major ones.

Rob: Yeah, I mean, I think Covid deserves its own because who could have predicted a pandemic? Next question. If you had your time again, is there a major decision that you made along the way that you would have changed? And it can't be about buying a function centre?

Brenton: I don't regret, but I don't at all regret even this going on that I've bought the venue. I know it's gonna be amazing and I can see the potential beyond.

Rob: Awesome.

Brenton: And what's going to happen in 10 years time. So I'm excited about all of that. I just sometimes you wonder if taking such big risks is smart because I'm taking some big, big risks to make this happen. And this is where we are now. So that would be, I guess, have my time again. In my overall career, I would probably say I would have gone to business college a lot earlier. I tried to do a lot of things on my own and failed a lot. And as a result, you know, I got to a point where I think, wow, I wasted so much passion, learning and failing. Through the years, compared to asking for help from people that have done it and been there and action not being, not being tight and spent the money on learning from the start from I started the business when I was 18 years old. So when you're young, you know how it is. And

Rob: We know everything when we're 18.

Brenton: That's it. That's my my biggest take that I tell people all the time now is invest in having a coach or an adviser. Have a great account accountant to give you guidance. Don't just try to always do it on your own.

Rob: Awesome. And last quick question is, who is one person that you would love to have lunch with? Dead or alive anywhere in the world?

Brenton: Rob Bell. Oh I don't know. Who would I love to have lunch or dinner with?

Rob: No wrong answer.

Brenton: Yes. I don't know. I don't wanna get political so I'm not going to use any names. There's a few in my mind, but it'll upset some people, so I'll just say Rob Bell.

Rob: Rob Bell.

Brenton: That's it.

Rob: All right, awesome. Well, Brenton Spiteri,

Brenton: Yes.

Rob: This has been an absolutely amazing chat.

Brenton: Thank you.

Rob: And for anyone, obviously, you can't deliver nationwide, sadly, or we will be

Brenton: We can deliver nationwide with wine witchmountestate.com.au and we can deliver wine all over Australia and New Zealand if you need it.

Rob: Okay, but if you need some food, what's for someone around your area? What's your rough delivery radius for someone who'd know what the suburbs are?

Brenton: So effectively, we can deliver 30 k's around us. If you're willing to pay the little bit extra in delivery. Yeah, we've got some clients in Melbourne's CBD that are buying on a weekly basis. Yeah.

Rob: So even in a Melbourne city, I can get some absolutely magical food delivered right to their door.

Brenton: Absolutely. Here we've got two clients in Docklands. A couple in Footscray that are ordering weekly. So, yeah, I really appreciate that.

Rob: Amazing. All right, well, I'll let you get back to your crisis management. I really

Brenton: Thank you.

Rob: appreciate your time and thank you for the chat.

Brenton: Thanks, buddy.

Rob: Thanks, mate.

Rob: There you have it. I hope you really enjoyed this episode. And if you did, please like it, share it or leave us a review on your favourite platform. It helps us show more of this content to people just like you.

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