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Brisbane Business News

STREAM STEAMS AHEAD

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18 Aug, 2011

A COMPANY that speeds up insurance claims and repairs for cyclone and flood-affected Queenslanders is on target to achieve record growth and annual revenue of $22 million this FY.

Stream Group recently completed insurance job 35,600 for the year ending June 30. Founder Don McKenzie attributes the company’s success to service.

“We’re fortunate that we get to help people in need and we get paid for it – insurance claims can be very stressful and we’ve had significant growth with staff numbers increasing from 122 to 145 since the beginning of the year,” he says.

“We had humble beginnings and started off in a little office next to a tattoo parlour in north Brisbane and at 5pm we had to lock everything up and wait for the burnouts to subside.

“In 2008, when we got our first job, we ended up doing 2000 jobs and this financial year just finished, we did 35,600 jobs.”

McKenzie recently scored a double whammy at the Telstra Business Awards after being crowned the state’s Business of the Year and picking up the Panasonic Australia Medium Business Award.
He was also crowned ‘Trailblazer of the Year’ in the 2010 Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Awards.

“We’re a people business and to succeed, we try and ensure that when our staff comes to work, that it’s not like work, it’s something new and we try and perpetuate that through the business. From here we’re looking at moving into a range of different areas,” says McKenzie.

Flash Fotos also won a category in the awards after almost shutting down two years ago. Director Melanie Schwartze was rewarded for her resilience after picking up the MYOB Small Business Award and Telstra Regional Business Award.

“Just two-and-a-half years ago we thought we’d have to close our doors, so I’m very proud that instead we quadrupled our turnover and it was during that time that I learned the most about business. As a single mum, it was never going to be easy, but I made a decision to succeed and we now deliver photography to regional areas all over Australia,” says Schwartze.

“The photography industry in itself had a downturn of 15 per cent in the last year, the majority of photographers don’t earn more than $32k per year. Last year, we had more than 250,000 customers and a turnover of close to $3 million.

“I believe we achieved a breakthrough when we stopped worrying about what our competitors did. We embraced our new motto, which was ‘amateurs compete, and professionals create’, it was then that we stopped blaming others for our failures and we took responsibility for everything we did - the good things and the bad things.”

Other winner were JADE Corporate & Community Development (Business Owner Micro-Business Award); Zehnder Gluten Free (AMP Innovation Award – see story page 30); Samies Girl Seafoods (Yellow Pages Social Responsibility Award); and VetShop Australia (The BlackBerry People’s Choice Award).