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What is 30under30?
30under30 is an Anthill initiative launched in early 2008 to encourage and promote entrepreneurship among young Australians. This year saw more outstanding entries than ever before. So, we thought we would highlight some of the bright and innovative nominees who just missed Top 30 by a wink. Behold, our 2011 30under30 Honourable Mentions! More.
Michael Baker, NSW (b. 1983)
Name: Michael Baker
Age: 28 (Born: June 1983)
Franchise owner Michael Baker is proud to have a business “first” to his name: he’s the owner of the first individual GNC LiveWell franchise in Australia — and the first to be granted by the sport nutrition giant outside of America.
Baker, 28, acquired the GNC store in the Sydney suburb of Rockdale in 2009. Today he owns three franchises in all, among the most successful of the 40 GNC locations across the country.
“It is in alignment with my core values,” he says. “I’m very passionate about health and well-being. I also have a passion for business. Starting the first GNC franchise in Australia was the perfect match for me.”
Five years ago, Baker was a university dropout. He arrived in Sydney and found a mentor in a successful entrepreneur: “I was a sponge and learnt everything I could,” he says. He came to manage one of his mentor’s Domino’s Pizza franchises and won himself a trip to Las Vegas for its high sales.
The opportunity to own the Rockdale franchise presented itself in 2009, but also proved to be a test of endurance. Besides competing with other bidders, Baker recalls “wrestling with the banks for nine months” to get a loan approved, then haggling to prevent a steep rent increase. After standing his ground and finally becoming the new owner, sales increased 40% in a few weeks.
Since then, he has strived to perfect a model and then apply it, taking over a new franchise every nine months (the other two are in Bondi and Kings Cross). At the moment, he’s “looking for a bigger challenge,” he says.
Baker attracts people and sales by networking with personal trainers and fitness professionals, and knows how to build a rapport with his staff. “I basically let my employees have input in the selection process of future employees,” he says. “We have a very relaxed, trusting, fun culture within our company. Everyone adds their own special touch to the team.”
He sees entrepreneurship as a sport with rewards and setbacks, and while there are profits galore, playing is its own reward.
“The freedom that business provides is empowering,” he says. “Knowing that I’m 100% accountable for my own success, that empowers and excites me.”
Michael Baker’s favourite quote:
“Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal.” — E. Joseph Cossman
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To check out the full list of Anthill’s 30under30 winners, click here.