We met with Dale Steedman, Managing Director of DBS Medical Supplies to see what inspired him to start a business and to discover what advice he has for other business owners.
Watch our interview with Dale, and check out the breakdown below!
Tell us about your business and how it came about
DBS Medical Supplies specialise in podiatry and footcare products and provide goods to podiatrists, hospitals, medical centres, nursing homes and Allied Health professionals all around Australia and a small amount of export over to New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The idea for the business came about when I lived in Sydney and a friend of mine (who was a podiatrist) was having difficulty finding supplies. So we developed a partnership and that’s when DBS was born.
DBS moved up to the Northern Rivers in 2001 and set up in a warehouse in the Arts & Industrial Estate of Byron Bay and now employs 10 staff.
Who has been your most influential business role model?
I don’t look to be inspired by a particular role model, a lot of it is really just common sense. My foundation of looking after people and customer service was brought on in my early 20’s when I worked at a ski resort restaurant in Colorado and learned the American way of looking after customers. When I came back to Australia I stayed in Hospitality for a while until the opportunity came about to start my own business. I did get a few books and read about how to set up a business etc. When I started it was very small and I was doing it by myself, like so many other people. As the business grew we had to look at procedures, buying/selling/shipping methods. Then we needed to look at bringing in staff who were well suited to help run the business.
How do you manage work/life balance?
Work/life balance in Byron Bay is probably one of the easiest things to accomplish because when you aren’t working – you have this whole Northern Rivers area to play in.
Look, there’s times when you do have to come and work on the weekend just to get stuff done so it’s ready for the following week (e.g. when we’re doing trade shows). But generally I try to do my best to stick to doing work within work hours and enjoy the leisure time when I can.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learnt in business?
It’s about having good relationships. Over the past 20 years, we have built up a supply chain of products and have developed a good working relationship with the suppliers. The suppliers that we deal with have our attitude and they provide really high quality products.
Whilst we could go searching for the best possible priced products, or buy in bulk to save a few cents – in our industry we do need to look at quality.
What’s your top tips for other business owners?
Try not to take it too seriously, but knuckle down when it’s required. Try and think outside the box when you can.
When looking to take on a new product or service – analyse what it’s going to cost you, how much space it’s going to take, if you’re going in blind on something you could end up with a warehouse full of stuff that you can’t sell or taking up space that could be used for something more valuable. Understand what your customers want and then source the best possible version of that.
What makes your business different? Why should customers buy from you?
We call ourselves the “nicest” podiatry supplier – our competitive advantage is we are very friendly and helpful to our customers. And we provide a good quality product (not just something cheap).
Fantastic, thanks for your time Dale!
Stay tuned for the next edition of ETC’s Business Spotlight.
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