Ron Thomson ran an automotive business that used laser cutting services.
In 1999, with the assistance of the Department of Industry and Regional Development, he secured a grant to investigate establishing his own cutting business.
That investment became a Western Sydney success story.
From one second-hand machine operating out of a sub-let factory, Laser Wizard grew to 43 staff, across two shifts, with lights out automation, running around the clock most days including weekends.
Choosing Western Sydney
Ron specifically positioned the business in the Western Sydney region of St. Mary’s for a number of reasons.
“It was the only region that did not have dedicated laser cutting specialists. It was a fantastic location with access to many transport links including rail and major motorways,” explains GM Brett Kingham.
“Staff access was a major influence, and back in the late 90s industrial real estate in the region had yet to fully recognise its true potential. Obviously, that has changed dramatically with the announcement of the Western Sydney Airport.”
A Shared Passion For The Region
Laser Wizard’s journey with WSBC began with a connection to a recruiter who had been a member, but it was when GM Amanda Brisot reached out directly at one of WSBC’s events that Brett's interest was piqued.
“When we met with Amanda it just became immediately obvious that we needed to be involved with WSBC. Her passion for the organisation and the way she spoke about the growth and development that was gaining so much momentum in the region... we just knew we had to get on board.
We already had several memberships to similar organisations within the region, but none of them appeared to have the ability to really influence any outcomes in the region like WSBC was doing.”
Networking With Like-Minded People
“Joining WSBC and forming a relationship with their executive team for us was primarily about networking with like-minded individuals who were seeking out real opportunities for Western Sydney companies and residents to participate in the growth story,” says Brett.
Whether that be via supply chain opportunities or by giving them a voice at various forums in the region, WSBC has provided Laser Wizard with a platform that connected them to other members who were driven by similar expectations.
Events That Open Doors To Opportunity
WSBC has connected Laser Wizard with multiple business opportunities via their member events.
“It was via a WSBC member event that we connected with an accounting firm that assisted us with an Innovations Connections Grant application recently.
We have participated in tailored meet the buyer events hosted by Industry Capability Network (ICN) and WSBC and these events have opened other doors for us to introduce our services to new industry channels.”
Showcasing Your Brand
The Laser Wizard leadership team attends most of WSBC’s Business Leader Luncheons and they participate wherever possible in other events. They have even taken the opportunity to put their own capabilities on show by presenting at a WSBC procurement workshop.
“We were one of the industry partners who provided a supply chain presentation for member companies wanting to do business with government via tendering. That allowed us to share some knowledge whilst also showcasing our brand.”
Many of the leads that Laser Wizard has made through WSBC, as for a lot of members, are businesses that they would be acutely aware of already.
“The difference,” Brett says, “is that WSBC facilitates the connection through several channels and this provides the opportunity for businesses to make connections at multiple levels within the partner organisations and further strengthen the relationships.”
Saving Time With Qualified Leads
Getting leads is not the hardest part of growing your business - it’s getting qualified, educated leads who are ready to engage. Making the right connections is a huge time saver.
Brett agrees. “The meet the buyer event was a definite time saver. We could spend months or even years lining up on platforms like the Industry Capability Network (ICN) and reaching out to buyers through the usual channels and be part of the herd of organisations wanting those same opportunities.
Through WSBC, the introduction process is far more formal and the initial groundwork is already done for us. So we save considerable time in the lead qualification process.”
The Right Exposure
As WSBC gold members, Laser Wizard benefits from being able to submit stories to the monthly newsletter and reach thousands of businesses across the region.
“We have the opportunity to make media announcements that have far more readership traction to WSBC members and the Western Sydney business community, than if we were to just release the same articles via our usual platforms,” Brett notes.
Laser Wizard Looks To The Future
Exciting things are happening at Laser Wizard - the business has doubled in the past three years and they expect to double it again in the next five.
They have recently invested in more facilities and more plant and equipment. They have doubled the headcount in the past two years and are currently recruiting to add another 10%.
“We have partnered with Western Sydney University (WSU) to provide their students with the opportunity to participate in an Innovation Award that is always targeted toward improving the region. This year’s theme was Smart Sustainable Health and Human Comfort in Western Sydney.
We participate in the Schools Industry Partnership program and we take apprentices from within the Catholic Education Trade Centres in the area, too – another connection made via WSBC,” explains Brett.
Brett believes that if businesses focused on developing talent and relationships within their region, the entire area could take advantage of the opportunities available and flourish.
“Some of the changes we are witnessing in the area are once-in-a-generation opportunities, such as the airport at Badgerys Creek,” he urges.
Growing At A Phenomenal Pace
“Western Sydney is planned to grow at a phenomenal pace. There is growth in medium to high-density housing along all the rail corridors... the new airport... the surrounding technology parks... the growth in the north-west corridor and obviously the amazing infrastructure spending that is happening now in NSW.
I think the only thing stopping business owners from being successful in the region is their own imagination.”
For organisations looking to do or grow their business in Western Sydney, Brett suggests you “get in touch with Amanda Brisot, the GM of WSBC.”
This article has been produced by Brilliant Digital, proud partners of the Western Sydney Business Connection.