A member of The Alternative Board (TAB) for just over a year, Grant Colburt has been running a second-generation family business for fifteen years now. Pioneer Poultry was established by Grant’s father 48 years ago in Sydney and has been constantly growing.
Grant says that they are especially in a growth stage currently and are working on substantially growing the business over the next few years.
Pioneer primarily work with value-added chicken products, including fresh, ready to eat, cooked, and ready to cook products. Focusing mainly on retail, they supply the products on a national basis. Grant says, “It’s a fairly unique business in the marketplace. We don’t have any direct competitors as such because we go across a couple of different categories.”
Finding The Alternative Board
About a year ago, Grant and Pioneer were going through a low phase, a number of factors putting them through a few difficult years. At this point, Grant was actively looking to move the business forward. And that’s when he found TAB through Andrew Lawrence, TAB Gordon’s owner. “We were a little bit lost, I suppose, at that time,” says Grant. “And I was actively looking for something. And he came along pretty much right at that time, so, it sort of worked really well. I had done some business coaching many years ago and I didn’t really get a lot out of it, but I thought TAB was different so it was worth giving a try.”
Being a part of TAB
Grant says he has found the insight from other business owners valuable, particularly thanks to the diverse backgrounds – helping him problem-solve and grow his vision for the company. “You think some issues that some people bring aren’t that relevant to you but then as you work through them, you realise, ‘well, hang on, I should be thinking more about that’, or ‘I should be doing that’, or ‘I should be looking at that’, or ‘maybe that is relevant’,” he says. “I had a major presentation at Woolworths. I shared that with the team, got a lot of feedback on it which was very valuable. I ended up in a much better place.”
Grant also says he finds value in the monthly boards as other members have either experienced similar to what you’re going through, or can offer insight from another perspective. “It’s nice to have a support base, that A) is going through the same thing, and B) probably has some strength in areas that you don’t,” says Grant.
Meetings for The Alternative Board take place monthly, and Grant says he’s found value in every single one. “Every one has been valuable. And every one has been different. For different reasons; because of the topics you discuss, slightly different personnel. It’s purely because people bring their own perspectives, and that’s great. It’s really valuable.
“People are genuine and honest. Sometimes they tell you things that you sort of know that you don’t really want to accept, and they are able to convey that, and that’s really valuable,” says Grant. “I think a lot of times, it’s just that people need to hear it from people that are in a similar position to you.”
Grant’s advice for other business owners
When asked about what he thinks other business owners should have their focus on, Grant gave some great pointers. He says, “First one is, don’t be afraid to seek assistance; to open your mind to a process. At the end of the day, your business is a reflection of you. So, you should work on yourself first.”
In addition to focusing on yourself, Grant also recommends joining TAB due to the value it brings to a business owner’s life. He says, “It’s very easy in a business just to get stuck in a day-to-day and not look at the bigger picture, and I think that’s when TAB allows you that broader vision just to get out and talk about your business for a day without actually being in the business.”
He also says that TAB reminds you and assists small business owners “to have bigger vision, bigger plans.”
Finally, and perhaps more importantly, Grant says that “TAB also keeps you accountable.” Each month, members have homework after the meetings, they’re required to address the issues flagged and solved in the meetings, and are required to feed back on the matter the following month.
Being your own boss can often tend to take a toll on you and TAB provides the positive kind of motivation one sometimes needs to get things done.
Best takeaway from TAB
The most important thing Grant learned from joining TAB is, as he says, “Essentially we are all doing the same thing even though we are in different industries or different categories, some are in services and some are in goods, but at the end of the day, we are all selling. So, there is plenty of commonality.”
Talking about the different people involved in TAB, Grant also adds, “The beauty is that they all have slightly different nuances in their business, and they all have different skillsets they bring because their background.” And so, at the end of the day, it is not about the business they are running but the fact that they are all running businesses and that together, they can help each other do much better than they might have been able to do alone.
You can see more about Pioneer Poultry at pioneerpoultry.com.au.
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