Michael Bleby Reporter

Michael writes on emerging markets, architecture and engineering. He has served as a correspondent in Tokyo, London and Johannesburg and has written for Reuters, the Financial Times, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

View more articles from Michael Bleby

Succeeding with other people’s ideas

Published 06 November 2012 05:54, Updated 07 November 2012 04:34

+font -font print
Succeeding with other people’s ideas

Boost Juice founder Janine Allis says an idea only represents 10 per cent of success. Photo: Jesse Marlow

Australian entrepreneurs, like their counterparts all over the world, tap into a global roundabout of ideas. The hard part is to make those ideas work.

Boost Juice founder Janine Allis says she started the chain – which has just opened its 200th Australian store in Port Macquarie, NSW – in 2001 after seeing the popularity of juice bars on a trip to the US with her husband Jeff.

“The reason I was in the US in first place was that my husband was in radio and was seeing if there were any other ideas there,” Allis says.

It was logical for juice bars to develop first in the US, as they were a reaction to the obesity that was one consequence of fast food – itself an innovation that developed earlier in the US – Allis says. The challenge for entrepreneurs in any market is execution. Both Allis and CatchoftheDay.com co-founder Gabby Leibovich say an idea represents only 10 per cent of success. Taking the idea, adapting it to the local market and making it happen is the far harder task.

Leibovich agrees with Allis that there is a global trade in ideas that are borrowed and refined, whether in digital commerce or traditional retail.

“Companies like Facebook, Twitter etc … come up with something that can really change the world for everyone,” Leibovich says.

“There are very few others. Every other business, especially in e-commerce or a place where you do some form of trading is following ideas from the past and present. I would say Australians aren’t only borrowing from the US, everyone is borrowing from everyone.”

Keeping a business going in the face of the inevitable competition with a product such as fresh juice – an industry with few barriers to entry – is tough. Leibovich says Allis deserves credit.

“She’s built an amazing brand that people queue up to drink,” he says. “I’m sure it’s not about the taste. The next door neighbour can create something with just as good a taste. It’s about the image.”

Allis says her business, which last year recorded an after-tax profit of $4 million on revenue of $40 million, is one of the largest juice chains in the world. Still, any business has to continually develop to stay relevant.

The early adopters who first bought Boost Juice 11 years ago, she says, are now having babies and Allis says her challenge is to get today’s 10-year-olds to stick with the brand as they get older.

“The day you think you’re there is the day you need to sell up,” she says. “You’ve got to continue to attack.”

Boost Juice has 72 stores in NSW, 44 in Victoria, 42 in Queensland, 22 in Western Australia, 12 in South Australia, five stores in Australian Capital Territory, two in Northern Territory, and one in Tasmania. It plans to open a further 11 stores in Australia in the next six months. It has 70 outlets outside Australia.

Comments