Business booms as it goes online
THEY'VE done the sums and are confident it can work.
While the lure of a successful online business has taken many into the red, Rob and Maureen Byrne have already proven that their site is a winner - so much so they are closing the doors to their Prince Street shop and going completely online.
“It's got legs of its own to sustain us,” Rob said.
Valley Country is now the biggest website in Australia in terms of market share and is the only equestrian supplies site in the top 40 of all leisure and sporting websites in the country.
But before you start thinking about starting work in your pyjamas at 11am, their success has not come without a whole lot of experience.
“Both Rob and I came from an IT background, Rob was the Asia Pacific Manager of Lotus and MIPS and I was the marketing manager for another international IT company,” Maureen said.
The couple moved to Byron Bay in the mid-90s and then to Grafton, opening Valley Country in 2002.
“We realised there was a hole in the market and equestrian supplies were not being serviced. The internet site came soon after but it was only after a year that it started to profit,” Maureen said.
The internet-savvy couple obviously have the know-how behind them to make a successful site, however, Maureen said there were tips to follow in making a go out of an online business.
“Find the right person and stick to a budget,” she recommends.
And don't forget that a site does not run itself.
The Byrnes are keeping their staff on, once the doors close at the end of August, to process orders, pack, send and order stock.
“I currently work on the site full-time, but the day I close the doors on the shop will be the best day of my life,” she said.