Booming CQ business shares secret to success
TAKE it from Mick Shore, the key to keeping your business alive is not putting all your eggs in one basket.
Rockhampton based Norstate Industrial Supplies services the local and Central Queensland region for welding, fabrication, maintenance supporting the mining and rural sectors.
Since he bought Norstate Industrial Supplies a decade ago, Managing Director Mick Shore has tapped into his 25 years of industry knowledge to skilfully negotiate the economic ups and downs.
Although the present economic climate isn't brilliant, Mick says his business is looking in good shape.
"It's been pretty tough out there for everybody over the last few years with the down turn in the mining industry but you have to be fairly diversified,” Mick said.
"I think you've got to have a good mix these days, it's no good having all your eggs all in one basket.”
He said it was one of the ways to survive, otherwise if you solely concentrated your efforts in one area and they
went quiet, you could get into trouble.
"We don't just target the mines, we also deal quite a bit with the cattle industry and the guys with small crops.
"There's a fair bit of that stuff around this area, a lot of our customers are from that rural market.”
Mick said their biggest sector at the moment is the rural industry largely due to farmers getting a good price for cattle, keeping Norstate busy helping with maintenance projects and building new yards.
"We supply quite a bit of product in that range from welding wires, to welding machines and accessories,” he said.
"We also do a lot of safety apparel, gloves and welding helmets. That market is going well.”
Mick said he was seeing signs of a turn around in the mining sector with engineering and fabrication companies he deals with starting to pick up more work.
"It's good for the area, it spins around to everybody eventually, whether you're dealing direct with the mines of not.”
He's determined to maintain their edge on market by constantly looking to incorporate new strategies and products into his tried and true core product range.
The business has diversified into a new area where they offer gas cylinders to purchase and swap instead of paying rental - potentially saving his clients hundreds or thousands in rental costs when their gas cylinders are often gathering dust in their sheds.
Another way Mick is leading the way in his field is his phasing in of LPG as a much cheaper and less volatile alternative gas to the acetylene for cutting and heating metal.
"LPG is a fraction of the cost of acetylene and if you have the right gear, it'll perform just as well,” he said.
"A large bottle of acetylene generally will cost you up to $250 a bottle and then you're looking at paying $400 per year in cylinder rent.
"If you use the Harris cutting equipment, you'll get the same heating and cutting with a 9kg BBQ bottle which costs you $25 to fill up and you're not paying rent on it, it's a bit of a no brainer but it's just surprising how many people out there don't know about it.
Mick prides himself with his customer service which has been winning back customers from the internet vending competition by being available not only to demonstrate how his products work, but also to provide after sales service and assistance in times of hardware malfunction.
As a big believer in cooperation, Mick strongly encourages local companies try and work a lot more together to support local businesses because ultimately, it will help the broader community.