Tips from Boost Founder

By Janine Allis, Founder – Boost Juice Bars

This article appears in Edition 4.1 (November/December 09) of Business Franchise Australia and New Zealand

BOOST your business … tips from the founder of Boost Juice

They say “to succeed you need money, a college education and be really, really smart ...”

Bollocks!  What you need is a huge care factor, to be a quick learner, have an impeccable integrity and to work, really, really hard.

Let me introduce myself.  My name is Janine Allis and you may have heard the Boost story ... it goes something like this:  Mother of 3 (now 4, but that’s another story) starts a new retail concept:  Boost Juice.  It explodes, she makes a bucketful of money and everything is just dandy.  Or is it?

The truth is it’s been 9 years of relentless pressure on a woman with no formal business training, but a brilliant simple approach to solving the myriad of problems she has been faced with in getting Boost to where it is today.  Being underestimated and being a woman has been one of my great strengths; as the ‘’perfumed scorpion‘’ I utilised all my natural abilities to achieve the unthinkable. 

To understand my thought process, you will need to understand a bit of my back ground.  I have never been in a job that I was qualified for.  I left school at 16 years and 10 months of age and worked in an advertising agency called McCann Erickson.  This was the 80s and it was a massive eye opener for a young girl from the “burbs”.  I had a real desire to travel the world so I started working two or three jobs to get enough money, which I did at 21.  From there I was a camp councillor to blind and deaf children in San Francisco, nanny in France (no; I did not speak French), promotions person in Portugal and Spain, stewardess on David Bowie’s boat (yes, I can name drop) and a cinema manager in Singapore.  Why, you may ask, is this relevant to me opening my own business or starting a franchise?  The answer is ATTITUDE.  A young girl with very little life experience needed to have incredible problem-solving skills, tenacity and drive to be able to travel around the world and get herself out of trouble on a daily basis.  Sounds a bit like business to me!

Today, Boost juices and smoothies sell from about 230 outlets in 16 countries and the business and its franchises collectively turn over between A$95 million and A$100 million per annum.  Boost remains a growth company with our first store opening up in China in June this year.  We also have this amazing brand call Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill (Mexican, like you have never tasted), which we have now over 15 outlets in Australia.

Below is what I believe you need to consider, including throwing out the myths of getting into your own business:

Myth 1: “I will have more time for my family if I own my own business.”

It took me 8 years before this became a reality.  When you start your own business the only way it will succeed is if you throw your whole body and soul into it.  You need to understand every aspect of the business and to do this; you need to do every part of the business yourself.  Sometimes people think that they can buy a business and put a manager in.  This way of thinking is the quickest way to going broke.

If you have a seven day business, it will be YOU that is called to come in to work when you are at the park with your family; because one of your staff members had a big night the night before and called in sick!

Myth 2:  “I will hire a bookkeeper so that I can focus on the business and this will help me make more money.”

There is nothing like handling every single invoice and paying the staff yourself to fully understand how you make profit from any business.  It is not the bookkeeper’s money, so they will not care like you do.  Also, YOU MUST do a bank reconciliation EVERY MONTH and make sure your profit and loss is done monthly.  A common mistake from people is to do the P & L every quarter, or even yearly, when commonly by the time they see that there is a problem, it can be too late.

Myth 3:  “I will hire my children and my friends as they will be more reliable.”

The quickest way to lose friends is to do business with them or hire them.  Sometimes friends are best to stay that way as they may have very different work ethics.  A relation of mine took a year to forgive me for firing her daughter!  It does work sometimes, but mostly it is wise to keep business away from personal life.

At the end of the day, you need to enjoy life and business.  Make sure you have great people surrounding you and do not settle for mediocrity, if you do; then this is what your business will be.

Janine Allis opened the first Boost Juice Bar in Adelaide in 2000.  Boost is the largest and fastest growing juice and smoothie chain in the Southern Hemisphere.