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.
Michael Cohen, 28 (VIC)
Name: Michael Cohen
This isn’t going to sound fresh. Certainly, not to readers who have closely followed our 30 under 30 series for the past few years.
That’s because Michael Cohen, the man dubbed the ‘smiling assassin,’ was a winner in 2011 and 2012. And here he is now again, presumably, flashing his signature pearly whites.
Michael calls his ability to smile through the worst adversities – “I am able to calm those around me, think clearly and logically and never let the stress get to me! – his “superpower” but he is no slouch in building buzz.
After Anthill flashed his favourite epithet, Cohen ran with it on the social media and how!
“Post the release of the 2011/2012 Top 30 under 30, our social media gurus went to work on exploiting the ‘smiling assassin’s’ new approach to security and taking on the giants,” he confesses. “Through social media we were able to show our audience why we really are different to our competitors. We have become the friendly face of security and it shows through our constant stream of new job applications and requests for service because of the fun and friendly campaign. Security doesn’t always have to be serious.”
So that was help for what is a far-from-sexy security services company, Executive Security Solutions.
Michael represents a breed that jumps into entrepreneurship at a young age, regardless of domain expertise or experience. He left university at age 20 to start the company in an industry in which he had no prior experience. But he identified a “major gap in the level of service being provided in the security industry” and shaped Executive Security Solutions to exploit that opportunity.
“ESS specialises in providing all-encompassing security services including static guards, concierge and customer service officers, armed guards, mobile patrol and alarm response services, special event security staff, first aid responders, risk management and security consultants,” he says.
Over the past year, Michael has grown his business a further 50% through “focusing my energy on being less managerial and more strategic.” Today, ESS is ranked 19th on the BRW Fast 100 list, employs nearly 300 people, and has over 100 clients with a turnover of $6.2 million in its most recent financial year. It also expanded its base in Melbourne to New South Wales, and is about to launch a new Executive Monitoring Services business that will be drive more growth.
Anthill asks: Michael Cohen, what has been your greatest ‘sales’ achievement?
“My greatest sales achievement was actually not selling. In our fourth year we were made a very attractive offer by an international security company who were looking to acquire us. At 25 I could have taken a nice long holiday to Mexico for 12 months, come home and started my next venture. But belief in myself, our company and its future earning potential shut down any shortsightedness and we gracefully rejected the offer.”
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To check out the full list of Anthill’s 30under30 winners, click here.