Today we are introducing you to Murray, owner of Murray Webster Bar Slabs, a small business that produces slabs of timber.
Murray worked in the timber industry with his parents when he identified a market for bar slabs. He decided to take a leap and open his own business to accommodate the local demand.
“Until I got the machine, the biggest success has been the amount of people that actually want to buy the product – before I have even done anything! I have even been getting enquiries from interstate. Hopefully they can wait a little longer.”
We talked to Murray while he was setting up his business but was experiencing some delays due to COVID-19. Since this conversation, he has opened his business and it is operating well.
My business is a new bar slabbing business. Basically that means I cut and produce slabs of timber which are used to make bars, coffee tables, basically anything outdoor and furniture that relates to a table, bar or veranda. I also do housing material as well, like beams that hold up houses. So I cut the timber and either supply the raw material to people or I do the whole thing for them. This is my first year operating.
I’ve been working at a sawmill that belongs to my Mum and Dad. This is where I live and work at the moment. Last year was my gap year and I was down in Brisbane and I was at Uni the year before that.
I saw a market and it seemed like a good idea. I thought it would be a good side hustle because we are all in the timber business and I have the space to do it here. And everyone loves a good bar slab! Let me put it this way – we live here on the river, the house is about 30 metres from the water and is full of eating fish and it is warm and beautiful. Put a bar slab in front of all of that! So I wanted to put the idea in the minds of others that if they have the right set up, give me a call and I can set a bar up for them.
Working With Many Rivers
Many Rivers helped me heaps. We did a fair bit of stuff and a lot of organising and planning to be sure that it was going to work and that I was able and willing to perform the work duties that I needed to to make it work. Gordon and I looked at my goals, short-term and long-term – so over five weeks, five months and five years. We did long-term planning and looked at how much of a percentage I was going to use for overheads (cash flow forecasting). Then we looked at the risks and how competitors will affect me. Basically, we looked at everything I needed to do to get the business going. It was very thorough.
I can call them up straight away if I need anything and they are willing to help straight away. There is no waiting list; they are always just a message or a call away.
I am using the loan to purchase the machinery I need to produce the product but I haven’t purchased it yet.
The biggest and only challenge has been corona virus delaying the purchase of the equipment I need – otherwise everything is pretty much ready to go. It’s all on hold at the moment, but I have been getting plenty of enquiries and been asked for quotes.
Until I get the machine, the biggest success has been the amount of people that actually want to buy the product – before I have even done anything! I have even been getting enquiries from interstate. Hopefully they can wait a little longer.
Future Goals for his bar slab small business
I would like to buy more machinery, which will enable me to transport my product interstate. I’d like to employ others and grow as a business.
Thanks for sharing your small business journey Murray.
We know there are many other people out there looking to take the next step of setting and we know your story will inspire them to take the leap .
We’re here to support you the whole way. Please take our Small Business Self Assessment to see if we are the right fit for you.
Did you love hearing about Murray’s business journey? Read about Marilyn who makes and sells creams with ancient Australian plants and gives hands on healing in Alice Springs.