50 fastest-growing start-ups
StartupSmart Awards 2011
Founder: Nicole Kersh
Revenue: $3.04 million
Head Office: New South Wales
Industry: IT & Technology
The inspiration that would lead to 4Cabling may have hit Nicole Kersh while she was working at her parents’ electrical cabling company, but she denies that she was always destined to run her own company.
“I’d studied interior architecture at university and I didn’t think I’d get into something like this, it just evolved,” says the 27-year-old.
The business was spawned from that common entrepreneurial motivator – frustration. “It all just felt so hard,” Kersh says. “My job was to respond to tender documents and obtain product pricing for the tender documents.”
“Getting pricing from suppliers was always a nightmare – you would send them a fax, they would scribble on it and fax it back eventually. The timing wasn't the only issue, the pricing was the other major hurdle.”
“The industry has always been controlled by a few large wholesalers. They dictate the pricing throughout the industry. There has never been any real competition.”
Realising that none of the major cabling suppliers had impressive online offerings, Kersh saw an opportunity to exploit the niche, supplying voice, data, fibre, electrical and server rack equipment to customers. It was, however, a steep learning curve.
“Knowing the industry is a bit a like learning a language,” she says. “We’re fluent in it now, but at the start it was so foreign. However, I think that’s been a good thing. We weren’t stuck in a mould or routine, like everyone else.”
“People are used to doing the same thing for 10 years, so they don’t know how to react to something new. But we had it easy in a way because we could go to the tech people in my parents’ company and say, ‘What do you think of this product?’ and get their feedback. We sent out a lot of products for free and now have quite a few loyal customers.”
The business is clearly on the up, but that doesn’t stop Kersh still being subjected to outdated attitudes.
“Customers still look at me sometimes and say, ‘I want the boss’,” she says. “I just go and find the oldest male employee. It’s a very male dominated industry and people can’t comprehend I’m the boss.”
“If they like the product, the notion of who runs the business doesn’t bother me.”
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