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The gift of failure

When you think of successful Australian entrepreneurs, Janine Allis - founder and Executive Director of Boost Juice Bars, stands out as one of the most impressive.

Janine is not your run-of-the-mill entrepreneur. She grew her juice and smoothie business from the most humble of beginnings, her kitchen bench, to the international empire it is now. She has gone on to share her unrivalled knowledge with others as a mentor, including her a role as a "Shark" on Network Ten’s Shark Tank.

At a recent St.George customer dinner, we were lucky enough to have Janine share some great insights she's picked up on her journey. She’s the first to admit, her path has included some character-building lows, among its dizzying highs.

Boost Juice was very successful early on. By her own admission, she fell into a trap that many business people do when they experience success. Complacency. In 2004-2005, the confidence that they could sustain success made them complacent. This complacency led to failure; Boost Juice sales went south. It would take them two years to turn it around.

So, what did Janine learn from her experience?

In their quest to turn their sales around, they tried and failed with several creative solutions to their problems. Looking back on her experience, she now feels that everything they did wrong during that period was the right move at the time.

Why? Because "failure is a gift".

All businesses need to understand that you have to fail to learn. You need self-reflection to improve. Also, ideas don’t have value if you cannot execute them.  Businesses need to embrace fear and keeping on trying, to keep on doing.

What else did she learn from the difficult 2004-2005 period?

Often, when things go wrong, the first thing that people do is to point fingers. Janine’s view on this is simple; Business leaders who experience setbacks should look at themselves first. Blaming employees, competitors, bad luck or anything else isn’t the solution. Instead, learn how to better your own performance and concentrate on finding a positive solution.

Another sage piece of advice is that "you’re only as good as worst employee." In difficult times, having the right people with the right mindset is incredibly important. You need to make sure you surround yourself with great people who bring positivity to the table. You can’t do it on your own.

What happened next? Boost Juice turned things around. It now has 280 stores in Australia with another 214 stores internationally.

If anyone knows how to turn things around, it's Janine Allis.

Published: 10 September 2018

The views expressed are those of the speakers and readers should seek their own professional advice.