Mike O’Hagan is a serial entrepreneur. Nearly 30 years ago he started MiniMovers, a local removalist company that revolutionised the industry and today employs over 350 people with an annual turnover exceeding $21 million.

Never one to rest on his laurels, he has also created several other successful businesses as well as mentored countless budding entrepreneurs to develop theirs. He has been on various government committees including a small business advisory panel to the Reserve Bank of Australia and a term as an Australian Fair Pay Commissioner. He currently sits on several boards including the Cyber Institute and the National Board of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

To continue his growth, Mike completed a 3 year Entrepreneurs Master’s Program at MIT in Boston USA, which gave him an insight into the new Globalised World.

In his spare time, Mike encourages more Entrepreneurship by running Business Learning Tours in Manila, Philippines.

Here is what Mike shared about running his business.

Q. How did you get into this business?

I identified a missing niche in the removalist industry and with $200 and a ute, developed a new concept that revolutionised the way people move locally.

Q. How long have you been in business?

30 years

Q. What did you do before you started this business?

Owned a second hand dealer business

Q. Who are your main customers and why do you enjoy working with them?

Everyone! We all move at some point and I enjoy knowing that we are able to make what is traditionally a stressful experience a whole lot easier

Q. Did you have any business training before you started?

Not at all, and I believe that is part of our success. We didn’t know about the removalist industry so we were able to build something unique and practical.

Q. Describe your business and products/services you offer

MiniMovers offers short distance, door to door removalist services in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. We also sell top quality, low cost moving boxes and materials.

Q. How many hours a week do you work in your business?

I work on my business, not in it. I hire great people and give them the training and encouragement to build my business. I’m especially proud of how many staff have been with us for more than 20 years, a rarity in today’s market. These days I mostly travel and helped other entrepreneurs build their business the right way.

Q. What kind of online and offline marketing do you do and which is working for you?

Over the years we have experimented with all aspects of marketing as it is vital to stay up to date with new trends. We still use some traditional methods such as direct mail, whilst also focusing on all areas of digital marketing

Q. Do you use social media as part of your marketing?

Yes – social media is an effective PR tool to build your brand awareness, connect with customers and show the ‘human’ side of your business.

Q. What mistakes have you made in running your business and what lessons have you learnt from those?

A few years ago I decided to step away from MiniMovers and put in a corporate board. It wasn’t a success for us as ‘corporate’ minds work differently to mine. They focused too much on reports and formalities and not enough on creating an environment where every single person in the company shares a vision.

Q. What obstacles or challenges do your small business clients face most often?

One of the biggest errors I see start-up business owners make is being too involved in the day to day running of it and not focused enough on building and expanding. People micro-manage every facet of their business and then wonder why there isn’t enough time to work on growing it.

Q. Any other tips you would like to share about running a small business?

I am a bootstrapper – meaning I build my businesses with very little capital and allow it to grow in line with its own revenue. I have seen too many businesses fail because they couldn’t cope with the debts from borrowing money or seeking investors in the initial stages.

For more information, visit the Mini Movers website.