This week is Global Entrepreneurship Week 2015, and to celebrate we are taking up the challenge/call from our friends at Kiwi Connect to highlight some #NewFaces. Young people who are wrangling business and generally being awesome within our community! For even more follow the hashtags #Newfaces and #GEW2015 on social this week.
1. NAME: Aston Wells
2. AGE: 30 yrs
3. COMPANY: JAN-PRO of New Zealand
4. What is your business?
JAN-PRO is the newest International Commercial Cleaning Franchise to enter the NZ Market in approximately 10 years. JAN-PRO originated in the U.S 25 years ago & have grown to service 14 countries & have over 10,000 franchisees internationally. They were rated the fastest growing cleaning franchise in the world 2013, 2014, 2015 by Entrepreneur Magazine.
I started a small cleaning company with my brother seven years ago whilst finishing our Degrees at AUT in Auckland. Sean unfortunately passed five years ago leaving me to run the company. Late last year I initiated a joint venture with JAN-PRO that resulted in a rebrand of my company & acquiring the Master Franchisor rights for NZ.
From April 1st, 2015 I have grown the company significantly (doubled annual revenue) and now have a full management team consisting of a Sales Manager, Operations Manager, and Accounts Manager. I am looking at taking the company national within the first year with the support of the JAN-PRO systems I have subsequently acquired through the deal.
5. If you could time travel back to day one of your startup and have 15 min with your former self to communicate any lessons you’ve acquired, what advice would you give yourself?
I would start by telling him to ensure he is aware of all the financial obligations of running a company in NZ. I would stress that even though growth is key, having the resources & systems available and ready are essential to coping with that growth. There are a robust amount of systems to help manage their business so selecting the right ones is also key.
Surround yourself with key people of experience in the world of business, and ideally with some knowledge of the industry. And don’t be worried whether any questions you may have are “silly,” as no question is silly!
Be prepared to be busy! Don’t let the passion or motivation dwindle as anything is possible with the right attitude & determination.
Set goals. Start working backwards from the end result you want to achieve. A clear path with planning is very important.
Finally…ENJOY YOURSELF!!! Don’t let the little things worry you or interfere!
6. List three qualities that you believe are essential to the character of an entrepreneur.
Motivation, determination & passion. Everything else can be learned.
7. How does your job now compare to childhood dreams? Did you expect to be running your own company?
It’s fair to say I never, NEVER dreamed of running a cleaning company but now that I am here I wouldn’t change it for the world! I get to meet people from all walks of life and provide solutions to problems most would rather not deal with.
8. How do you feel about the startup ecosystem in New Zealand? Where do we excel and what do we need to strengthen?
I feel that it can be very supportive if you know where to look for help. If that info is not understood then it can be quite daunting. An idea is never enough, unfortunately. I feel the lack of Capital available for business is also a huge barrier. I have never come across a bank that is willing to provide “start up” money if there isn’t a house or other substantial asset to leverage off. Most young entrepreneurs need the help of family which is not always readily available. You have to be willing to throw everything into your business: time, energy, and money, in order for it to get off the ground & I feel we may have lost some of our most talented people due to these barriers.