When the business started in 1958, they were a manufacturer of commercial-grade cleaning and sanitation products. Initially servicing the Adelaide area, they expanded into the rest of Australia over the next twenty-six years. In 1981, they added the Home Care division. “It was originally a multi-level marketing sales force,” Chris explains. “It reached great heights during the early 90s with consultants Australia-wide selling cleaning and personal care products directly to households.”
It was Chris himself who came up with Dominant’s next idea. “I’m a passionate coffee enthusiast,” he says. “I started thinking about how espresso machines are cleaned. After a little bit of research, it was obvious there was a huge gap in the market, especially in Australia where virtually no products were available specifically for this purpose.”
Cafetto® launched its first product, Espresso Clean® in 2004 and has now grown to be an internationally recognised brand for coffee machine cleaning products. So much so that Cafetto® is now the Official Cleaning Product Partner of the World Barista Championship as well as World Latte, World Brewer, World Coffee in Good Spirits, World Cup Tasters and World Roasting Championships.
Dominant attended the ANZ Business Growth Program earlier in the year. Along with the lack of focus, culture, strategic planning, and how Chris managed his own time were some of the issues addressed by the program. “We concluded I was spending too much time in the business, rather than working on the business,” he explains. “We’ve addressed these issues by implementing and rolling out a performance management process, rewarding high performing employees and ensuring a commitment to the company values.”
Dominant have also implemented a strategic review which identified infrastructure requirements including the need for employee changes and new key staff. “We have reviewed products and customers, go to market strategies and equipment needs to eliminate capacity constraints and drive the business towards manufacturing automation,” Chris says. “New staff are already making a significant positive impact on the business. In the first 3 months of this financial year we have enjoyed record sales each month which has us well ahead of an already aggressive budget.”
Chris credits the ANZ Business Growth Program with helping them to understand there are two types of innovation to support growth. “There’s the fuzzy front end which is all about inventions and there is the speedy back end which is all about implementation and systems,” he says. “We have a good balance, hence the changes we’re making with systems.”
With ANZ’s help, Dominant were able to identify all the issues holding them back, and assisted them with putting in place action plans to address the issues. “ANZ very much facilitated the process,” he says. “The performance and values matrix we learned about in the ANZ Business Growth Program has been an invaluable tool for us to support the changes we are making in culture and vision for the business.”
When it comes to their choice of ANZ as a business partner, Chris says they are incredibly supportive of him and his business. “If I had to start again, I would have done the ANZ Business Growth Program from the beginning,” he admits. “One of the key learnings was gaining an understanding the stages of growth, from start-up, initial growth and rapid growth, to continuous growth. Understanding the changes you have to make in order to be successful through these stages is invaluable.”
Dominant switched to ANZ in 2012, and Chris compliments them with being proactive in providing finance and business solutions that have helped them expand and grow. “To then be recommended for the ANZ Business Growth Program was a great honour,” he enthuses. “The bank is to be commended for such an initiative. It shows they value customer relationships far more than just being a provider of finance. They recognise that our success translates to their success.”
Hear more of what Christopher has to say about expanding his business into Asia here.
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