What is the 30under30?
30under30 is an Anthill initiative launched in early 2008 to encourage and promote entrepreneurship among young Australians.
Each year, we invite our readers to nominate young Australian entrepreneurs deserving of recognition for their outstanding entrepreneurial endeavours. More.
Greg Latham, QLD (b. 1986)
Name: Greg Latham
Age: 26 (Born: July 1986)
Known for: GSL RallySport / Brakes Direct
Greg Latham lives for motorsport. He sleeps, eats and breathes motorsport. It is this incessant love for motorsport that pushed him to discover the entrepreneur in him waiting to be unleashed.
The sport is undeniably expensive and sponsors are hard to secure, but while his fellow competitors chose to wallow in self pity, Latham instead looked for ways he could bring in the money needed.
“I knew that to compete, I either had to be born with a silver spoon in my mouth or have my own business… I had only one choice!” Latham reveals. This is when he became an entrepreneur.
So in 2007, with the help of angel investors, Latham started GSL RallySport (also trading as Brakes Direct) to fund his rally career.
Latham innovatively generated a buzz for his business with automotive forums, using a system of paid sub-sections where they posted their wares, answered questions and offered technical advice.
This quickly built them trust among customers who then went on to do the marketing for them. And as a cherry on top, forums also provided fantastic SEO and content marketing by default! Sleek huh?
Brakes Direct then sponsored Australia’s most successful rally driver, Chris Atkinson back into the WRC last year with the factory Citroen team which took Latham himself to Finland, raising the brand’s profile internationally.
Furthermore, in 2012, Brakes Direct was the title sponsor of one of only two FIA international events in Australia (the other being the Formula 1) with the brand being broadcast into hundreds of millions of homes in Asia Pacific.
Before he knew it, the major brands were chased Latham down to stock their renowned products, rather than the other way round!
“In a protected industry like the automotive one, when the likes of Disc Brakes Australia, Fulcrum, ATAP (just bought out by Metcash) contact you to distribute their products, then you know you are really making waves,” Latham explains.
However, Latham’s ride to glory has been anything but smooth. At one point, the business fell in the common start-up’s trap of growing too quick. Latham lost track of the numbers and soon, they owed a lot of people a lot of money.
Latham decided to get honest with both his suppliers and staff, organized payment plans with suppliers and luckily, his staff were motivated enough to work overtime for nothing. Six months later, the business was back on its feet (or should I say wheels?) and Latham had learnt his lesson.
The business now consistently registers double digit growth and is among the top suppliers of brakes, suspension and other automotive parts to the retail and trade markets.
“What sets us apart is the passion and knowledge of the products we sell compared to the large chains,” Latham proudly declares.
Anthill asks: Greg Latham, what motivates you as an entrepreneur?
I am driven by a desire to compete in the World Rally Championship. Everything I do in business, what gets me out of bed in the morning, what keeps me going on the long days, tough weeks, hard months is my burning desire to compete and prove myself at the highest level. I don’t want to die wondering what I could’ve done if I had the opportunity. I want that door, and business is the key.
Brakes Direct’s Greg Latham explains 2 bit rotors
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