21st April, 2022
Local, high-growth brands Heaps Normal and Who Gives A Crap offer insights into planning for, and managing, businesses that scale.
Getting started in business is only a fraction of the entire journey, as Simon Griffiths and Andy Miller are keenly aware. It’s also not the only thing they have in common.
Both are co-founders of startups that have grown quickly in a relatively short period of time, both having come up with a fresh take on existing products. As a result, they’re both still leading their respective businesses as CEO.
For Griffiths, the idea to market a toilet paper that would also help build toilets came to him during a visit to the bathroom. What else could the concept be called but ‘Who Gives A Crap’?
That was 10 years ago. Today, Who Gives A Crap sells toilet paper, paper towels and tissues in 40 countries, employing 135 people and growing.
Miller’s concept was no less unique, with Heaps Normal arriving on the scene in 2018 to pitch a non-alcoholic beer to a skeptical Australian public. Just 16 months after successfully launching the Quiet XPA in 2020, Heaps Normal secured $8.5 million in its Series A funding round and has since gone on to release its second beer, Another Lager.
As Heaps Normal and Who Gives A Crap well on their way to becoming household names Australia-wide, Miller and Griffiths recently joined General Manager for Enterprise at MYOB, Kim Clarke, for a panel discussion hosted by Amanda Rose, Founder and CEO of Business Women Australia and regular contributor to SmartCompany.
The hour-long chat represented an opportunity for the featured startup founders to tell the full story of their growth trajectory, giving a sneak peek into the challenges they overcame along the way.
Hot topics include funding and finances, such as when to bootstrap versus taking on investors, and what type of investors to consider depending on your business model.
The pair also discuss mindset and ambition, with some great tips for business leaders to help get ahead of their own growth curve. Griffiths even used the webinar as a way to show both his and Miller’s paths eventually crossed, and how the story serves as a fundamental example of how to be open-minded to new people and connections when growing a business.
“Andy, I think reached out to me maybe 2018 or 2019,” said Griffiths, recalling how Miller worked a mutual contact in order to seek out the Who Gives A Crap founder.
“I was two or three years in front of them [and in a good position] to provide advice around how he was thinking about funding the business.”
From there, Griffiths began joining monthly meetings to hear updates on Heaps Normal, and it wasn’t long before he took the opportunity to invest in the alcohol-free beer brand.
“It’s really nice to see that relationship happen over many, many years and be reinforced by the documentation of ideas and the trajectory of the business,” he said.
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Common themes presented throughout, with special focus given to the importance of finding the right help, mentors, employees and partners to work with as you grow. But the presenters were quick to note that your people have to be backed by great processes that are clearly documented and reported on.
Miller touched on reporting when discussing how to develop trust in a business’s growth plans, which he and his team picked up through their work in the Startmate accelerator program.
“We’ve borrowed the Startmate formula of reporting to our investors and to our team at the same time on the ‘good, bad and ugly’ for everything,” said Miller, giving an indication of Heaps Normal’s high standards of transparency.
For insights like these and much more, register to view the recent SmartCompany webinar, Nailing Growth: Ambitious leaders reflect on their journey from purpose to impact.