A Roma Success
Peter Sharpe is not your usual entrepreneur.
It says “Chief Executive Officer” on his office door but he readily admits he’s not a real Chief Executive in the true sense of the word because he just can’t stick to the job description.
Peter decided to go into business in 1995 and apply his knowledge and experience built up during a successful career in the oil and gas industry locally and overseas.
He started the business on his own, confident that the gas industry was about to take off in the Roma area and the gas companies would be crying out for engineering support.
After a decade establishing the company’s basic capabilities, Sharpe employed a salesperson in a Business Development role and spent months building up relationships with the gas companies rather than just pushing them for sales.
The tactic paid off handsomely.
By building a good reputation first, the business came to him.
Fast forward to 2017 and Peter now employs 67 staff over 3 locations – Roma, Chinchilla, and Brisbane along with a very substantial investment of plant and equipment.
That makes Sharpe Engineering one of the biggest employers in Roma and a success story that continues to grow.
Peter puts a large part of his success down to the appointment of a business coach in 2009, who has helped steer the business from a small, hands-on engineering firm to a multi-faceted and adaptable company, completely focused on quality.
As he puts it, “Quality drives how you run your business and that focus on quality took us from being a family in business to a family business”.
Peter also works on a philosophy of building capacity before looking for the work and believes many small businesses struggle because they try to do it the other way around.
With that in mind, Sharpe is in the process of doubling its maintenance capacity in Roma to accommodate the expected ‘maintenance phase’ of the CSG industry. Peter believes this will be the next business ‘boom’.
Peter says, “You have to grow, or you stagnate and someone else will come in a take it over”.
“You have to establish yourself in the marketplace where the big boys say it’ll be too hard to go and compete with us.”
“We want to become the industry leader and in order to do that we can’t just sit still.”
Peter’s advice to anyone wanting to start a similar business is, “You need some sort of accounting skills, a budget that you stick to, and always go with quality.”
“Build relationships, not just a sales pitch, and the business will come to you”.