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Outstanding growth: three 2022 Telstra Best of Business Awards State Winners on how they did it

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

These three extraordinary businesses have managed sustainable growth over a difficult few years and they’re not slowing down any time soon. Find out how they did it and what impressed the judges to make them State Winners at the 2022 Telstra Best of Business Awards in the Outstanding Growth category.

Growing a business is no small feat. It’s something that SignManager in New South Wales, Complete Home Filtration in Western Australia and Discount Party Supplies in South Australia can attest to. While they agree that forging a path ahead is challenging, their resilience has paid off. Their businesses thrived during an uncertain period which has now seen them crowned State Winners in the Outstanding Growth category in the 2022 Telstra Best of Business Awards.

The Telstra Best of Business Awards is a program created to reward and celebrate the inspirational and exceptional businesses moving Australia forward. Judges selected State Winners from a pool of over 24,000 nominees (including 239 Finalists), across 8 categories.

SignManager, Complete Home Filtration and Discount Party Supplies say the key to their success is a balancing act between propping up their staff and communities, and sourcing locally where possible. Their efforts have helped to create jobs and contributed to a stronger Australian economy.

Alan Hadley and Dan McHugh, directors of SignManager standing side by side.
Alan Hadley and Dan McHugh, directors of SignManager.

SignManager, NSW

  • Expanded their offices into Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria, New Zealand and the United States within a 10 year period.
  • Manage signage for more than 100 brands across 60,000 sites and 250,000 signage assets.
  • Built an impressive network with thousands of sign contractors across Australia.

For over 20 years, SignManager have helped big businesses like Aldi, Woolworths and John Deere manage their branding across multiple locations. For co-founder and director Alan Hadley, working with signage is like running a mini construction project. “We try to really understand where our client’s business is going. We foster a culture of innovation by understanding our client’s needs, and then we develop services to fit in with them,” he says. It’s this nimble, customer focused approach that continues to impress their clients and boost their growth. Two of their current accounts have stayed with the company since its launch in 2000. By pointing out the value of locally made signs to clients (which last longer in the Australian climate), it’s a success they share with their national network of local suppliers in the thousands. 

SignManager’s 24 full-time staff work hard, managing complex large scale signage projects. The business’s leadership team are passionate advocates for each employee’s work–life balance and active community involvement. Alan says it’s the foundation of SignManager’s team culture and social impact. “We like to give our employees two days paid-leave a year so they can participate in community or charity projects of their choice. We find that the level of wellbeing they get from being personally involved is far higher than if we were to just a write a cheque and send that off – as valuable as that is,” he says. SignManager’s progressive values and commitment to staff wellbeing rewards them with consistent growth and longstanding client relationships.

“To be successful in any business, you have to look after yourself and your health first and, in equal parts, your staff, your clients and your suppliers,”

Alan Hadley, director of SignManager
Suzanne Dodds, founder and managing director of Complete Home Filtration, standing in front of a white wall.
Suzanne Dodds, founder and managing director of Complete Home Filtration.

Complete Home Filtration, WA

  • Achieved 300% year-on-year growth and over $2 million month-to-month revenue, since opening their doors in 2019.
  • Have offices in Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, and will expand into the United States in 2022.
  • Are in the process of developing a patented PFAS filter system.

Complete Home Filtration have a clear vision: for everyone to enjoy cleaner water from every tap in their home. The company designs, manufactures and installs water filtration solutions. It sounds simple, but what they’re doing is innovative and category defining. The Australian designed and protected system they’ve developed filters or ‘softens’ the water entering your building using a process that removes calcium and magnesium salts. They’re also in the process of patenting a world-first system that removes all traces of PFAS chemicals, after receiving a $292,000 government grant.

Founder and managing director Suzanne Dodds says the key to their success story is innovation, ambitious goals, and a collegial, close-knit dynamic between their 40–plus staff. Suzanne emphasises the value of a collaborative work environment and team culture. “I like to think it’s a real ‘flat hierarchy’ here,” she says.

While the business is currently working with a small batch model, they’re quickly moving towards commercialising their new PFAS product. It's a move that will slingshot their business into a new growth stage. The larger manufacturing plan will create more jobs, greater revenue for the economy, and better water filtration systems for Australian homes.

“We’ve accelerated our growth by focusing on systems, setting very ambitious goals and, no matter what anyone says, just trying to achieve them,”

Suzanne Dodds, founder and managing director of Complete Home Filtration
James and Kirsty Chapman-Smith, the owners of Discount Party Supplies in front of party decorations.
James and Kirsty Chapman-Smith, the owners of Discount Party Supplies.

Discount Party Supplies, SA

  • Projected to turn over more than $30 million in the next five years.
  • Sell over 12,000 unique party items and caters to over 100 themes.
  • Will expand their 50 person team to 80 in order to keep up with demand.

In 2009, Kirsty Chapman-Smith launched Discount Party Supplies from her family home. What started as a mission to sell simple party decorations and make a modest income to support her family quickly snowballed. Kirsty attributes their sustained growth to a strong sense of community, solid business values, and delivering on their customer promises.

Kirsty and her husband and co-owner James are passionate about supporting local businesses. Each year, they spend an average of $5 million across 30 Australian businesses, including their suppliers, graphic design and IT support, web development and accounting services. They also started the ‘Adelaide Online Retailers’ meetup group to share knowledge, failures, and success stories. “The group creates a space for sharing and collaboration that allows other businesses to grow and prosper,” Kirsty says.

Kirsty says the team culture at Discount Party Supplies is her proudest business achievement. She was particularly touched by the staff response to the pinch of COVID-19 restrictions. When the business faced budget and staffing cuts, core employees offered to take on reduced hours or pay, so the business could keep all staff onboard. Now on the other side, Discount Party Supplies is experiencing another surge of growth. “Our team’s commitment to the business and to each other, and how I have helped shape that, is one of my proudest achievements,” she says.

“Our purpose is to deliver boxes full of happiness for all of life’s celebrations. The processes we’ve built our business on ensures that we deliver on what we promise,”

Kirsty Chapman-Smith, founder and CEO of Discount Party Supplies

The 2022 Telstra Best of Business Awards, Outstanding Growth State Winners

The full list of businesses by state is below.

Complete Home Filtration, WA

Dental Boutique, VIC

Discount Party Supplies, SA

Frida’s Sip N’ Paint, TAS

Heaps Normal, ACT

Medical Billing Experts, QLD

SignManager, NSW

Supporting Moo, NT

If you’d like to learn more about the 2022 Telstra Best of Business awards (and find out about the National Winners in April), check out the Telstra Best of Business Awards website. If you’d like to enter your own or another remarkable business, nominations for the 2023 Telstra Best of Business Awards are now open.

2022 Telstra Best of Business Awards

Discover the success stories behind the winners.

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