Boost Juice founder and Shark Tank regular Janine Allis reveals why business leaders need to be willing to sacrifice their ego, resist short-term thinking, and even sack disruptive staff.
Janine Allis is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Australia and can offer lessons by the bucket load for principals and aspiring real estate business leaders.
Ms Allis won the coveted Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year award in 2004, just four years after founding Boost Juice Bars. She speaks from experience when she says that launching a business is a lengthy and complicated process.
“You start with a blank piece of paper with ‘business plan’ written at the top, then you think about the idea, name and logo and once you’ve got the logo, you think about the recipes and the product and once you’ve got the product, you think about how you’re going to sell that product in store and how you’re going to get people to make the product in an efficient way, and if you’ve only got 18 square metres of a kiosk then you think about how you’re going to fit these ingredients in there to create the variety that you need,” she says.
You start with a blank piece of paper with ‘business plan’ written at the top
Ms Allis is living proof that the main ingredient for success is drive. She left school at 16 and travelled all over the world, working as everything from a cinema manager in Singapore to head stewardess on David Bowie’s yacht.
It was on a trip to the US in the late 1990s with her husband, Jeff, where she first noticed the juice and smoothie fad – something that was not prominent in Australia at the time.
Upon returning to Australia, Ms Allis obtained $250,000 from friends and savings to launch her next adventure.
Fifteen years on, Boost has more than 400 stores operating throughout Australia and overseas, making it one of the world’s largest juice bar franchises.
Ms Allis helped build the first store from the ground up, doing everything from scrubbing the floors to overseeing the finances, taking the time to learn what worked and what didn’t before expanding to other towns, cities and countries.
She credits her success to her team, and says their willingness to go above and beyond for the brand has made it the organisation it is today.
“We’re not necessarily after an enormous amount of experience, unless they’re a lawyer or accountant,” she says.
“What we’re looking for is that x-factor, that drive, the twinkle in their eye to achieve something great and their passion for being part of a dynamic, high-performing team.”
Part of her success has been building a team of positive people who provide service with a smile and are on first-name terms with their customers. Boost staff work out of small, music-filled locations to offer a distinctive experience.
Keep a close eye on staff
While people are one of Boost’s biggest strengths, they can sometimes be one of its biggest weaknesses.
“Half the things that go wrong in your business are caused by a person not doing their role correctly or not focusing on the right things,” Ms Allis says.
“If you are looking to create or expand your business, ensure you take enough time so you’re confident you’ve found the right person.”
Keeping an eye on staff to identify a wrong match early on is important, says Ms Allis, as is the decision to dismiss them from your company if you believe they will be catastrophic to your brand.
“The amount of times I look back and go ‘I wish I did that earlier’ is a lot, due to the damage that they do,” she says. “The most dangerous people are the ones who can talk the talk. You end up putting up with them longer because you don’t see the destruction until it’s too late.”
The most dangerous people are the ones who can talk the talk
Plan, plan and plan some more
Ms Allis is seen as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs.
She says the best thing people who want to be seen as successful can do is not let ego get in their way.
“Success and leadership will come if you just focus on the business, focus on the customer and never do things for the short term,” she says.
Planning well ahead will help prevent you from burning people along the way and ensure your reputation is upheld, according to Ms Allis.
“People who want to make their mark should remember it’s a long journey, not a sprint,” she says. “You may make less money along the way but it’ll be sustainable and a bigger bucket at the end if you do it the right way.”
Ms Allis says organisation is essential when running a business, so she makes sure she starts the week well prepared.
“One of the things that I make sure I do every Sunday is clear up everything for the week because I need to start the week fresh,” she says. “If I don’t, I’m all out of sorts for a while.”
Holding staff accountable is also a must for people looking to have a successful business, Ms Allis says.
“I’m a very big communicator and will make sure what I require is very clear,” she says. “[My staff] do weekly work-in-progress reports so we know where we are, where I can help, where I can clear the freeway for them to achieve what they set out to achieve.”
I’m a very big communicator and will make sure what I require is very clear
Ms Allis runs a tight ship and advises other leaders or aspiring entrepreneurs to do the same.
“I just want people to do what they say they’re going to do and deliver what they say they’re going to deliver,” she says.
“You tell me that you’re going to deliver at 3pm, I don’t want it there at 3:01pm.”
Business never sleeps
These days, the mum of four feels most content waking up early for a spot of yoga and coffee, followed by a walk with her husband and their dog.
She starts most mornings at 10am, working on new campaigns, designs and products before finishing up around 6pm.
Her goals for the future include continuing to develop innovative ideas, as well as mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs.
As one of the sharks on Channel 10’s Shark Tank, she says her investments will continue to take up a lot of her time but are very gratifying.
On creating and running a business, Ms Allis says hard work and determination will conquer all and bring great rewards.
“I think one of the great things about having your own business is you really do work your own hours,” she says.
“What I love about my life now is that it’s got great highs and no lows.”