What Dominant did to provide a complete business solution

Like many small business owners, Christopher Short was flat out working in the business, but knew that the company, Dominant, lacked focus and direction. These were issues that he was keen to resolve. “This is common in small family-owned businesses,” he admits. “We had fantastic products and a strong commitment to research and development, but this wasn’t translating into significant growth.”

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.”

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.”

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