In this Q&A, My Business meets Sydney-based Peter Nicholas, a seriously clued up entrepreneur who has cultivated massive growth in short time as CEO of HiLife Health & Beauty, an internationally recognised health and beauty product company.
HiLife Health & Beauty was launched in May 2008 with mineral make-up brand Nude by Nature and has since evolved with its Rapid range of healthcare products and its MD Visage and Derma Research beauty treatments creams. HiLife Health & Beauty is now a major player in each market segment.
HiLife Health and Beauty products are stocked in all the major retailers in Australia including David Jones, Myer & Target, as well as pharmacies such as Pulse, Terry White and Priceline. Nicholas has launched the HiLife Health & Beauty range in the UK, US and New Zealand, and they’re now eyeing off Asia and Europe.
My Business: Best business decision you’ve ever made?
Peter Nicholas: Turning the global financial crisis into a positive and taking on our competitors head on. Global brands were cutting advertising spends when we were increasing placements with our educational advertorials and live reads – which are significantly more engaging than a 30-second advertisement that doesn’t even tell you what the product is and why it is suited to you. This resulted in a turnover of $42,224,061 and a growth of 93.39 per cent in financial year 10/11, securing our number one position on the 2012 BRW Fast Starters list. This year we are on track to more than double that figure yet again.
MB: How do you delight customers?
PN: By providing them with innovative, efficacious products. I enjoy scouring the planet looking for solutions and breakthroughs that will transform people’s lives – whether it be by improving their quality of life through somebody losing 40kg, essentially saving a life, or by raising someone’s self-esteem by enhancing their beauty with non-invasive products.
MB: Share your number one sales technique with us.
PN: Our number one sales technique is our unique direct marketing strategy. The fact that we have our own in-house production team and studio enables us to be adaptable, have a quick turnaround and ensure our campaigns are resonating with our target audience.
MB: Who do you most admire and why?
PN: Erwin Rommel, the greatest General of our time. In 1945 he said, “Give me Australian soldiers, American logistics and German technology and I can rule the world”.
MB: What’s more important in business: passion or preparation? Why?
PN: I would say both play an integral role. However, I believe that the single most important ingredient in business and entrepreneurship is courage. One piece of advice I would offer to the next generation of entrepreneurs is that top line growth is just as important as bottom line growth – which is where preparation comes in.
MB: How do you relax?
PN: Whenever I have any down time, if I’m not in the gym you’ll usually find me reading a book. Many people don’t know it but I’m actually a bibliophile – I have a large collection of books and I invest a lot of time and money into research.
MB: Favourite sporting team and why?
PN: I’d like to say I’m the biggest supporter of the UFC. I support and manage talented Australian cage fighters, including Soa ‘The Hulk’ Palelei and Hector Lombard, and have set up my own private gym and training space where they can train and be mentored by some of the best trainers in the world. I am also a major sponsor and partner of many major MMA, kickboxing and boxing events around Australia including the CFC, K1 and Capital Punishment.
MB: Most important person in the business?
PN: My new Chief Operations Officer, Michael Karagiannis, who was Kerry Packer’s former confidant and right hand man. Michael stepped in at a time where we had all the pieces working independently but we needed someone to put them all together. Michael has been able to do just that and now our personnel are being utilised to their full potential and is the reason we expect to be number one again in the BRW Fast Starters list in 2013.
MB: How do you foster and express creativity?
PN: I surround myself with creative people and work in creative spaces. In my office I have a mood board of anything I come across that inspires me or evokes an idea.
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