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From sales to signage: one man’s determination to take the leap Determination and drive leads to a new direction

After working in the commercial audio-visual industry for more than 15 years, Grant Dimitriadis was longing for a career change and knew he was ready to take the leap to make it all happen.

The father of three said although he had gained much experience and knowledge from working in the corporate world and enjoyed his time at various companies, he felt like there was a missing piece to his professional puzzle.

“I always worked in large corporates. Even though most companies say they promote a family-friendly work balance, it didn't really feel like it at the time and I wanted to work in a smaller organisation who did share that mindset and provide that kind of environment for their employees,” Grant explained.

That’s when Grant decided to invest his time and money into Out There Media – a signage solution specialist business which designs, prints and installs graphics for their clients on vehicles, offices and retail frontages, as well as event materials.

The company’s services were one of the many small businesses who contributed to making CGU’s Big Small Business Christmas Party – an event supporting small businesses, powered by small businesses – a reality on December 10, and were the signage specialists for the celebration.

Out There Media has had an impressive list of clients and is the national print supplier for Westfields; provides court graphics for all of the league teams in the National Basketball League; and brand vehicles for Holden’s sponsored events such as Mardi Gras, NRL Grand Final and State of Origin matches – just to name a few.

Having been around since 2004, Grant bought half the business in July 2015.

“For as long as I can remember, I always had long ambitions to do my own thing,” he said. “I wanted to start my own business, but I just never had the right concept. The former owner of Out There Media – who was also a salesman – wanted to try something new and take the business in a fresh direction. I figured I already knew the company, loved what they did and how they worked with clients, and it seemed like a good fit for me.”

Grant took the leap and dived into his new endeavour and never looked back.

“I get a buzz out of seeing results within my business,” he said. “I am driven by the little things that go towards doing that, like getting a meeting with a new client, or the first order from a new client, seeing a big project come in after months of work.”

The small business owner explained that even though his traditional expertise was operating in sales roles, he was comfortable with his new role as Business Development Manager and Director within the establishment and was inevitably pushed completely out of his comfort zone.

“I really got pushed in almost every other area of the business,” he said. “I was learning things along the way. Like learning to run a business, manage staff and carry the weight that comes with financial and personal investment.”

The accountability of running a small business means that Grant’s role, and other employees within the company, wasn’t and isn’t limited to only one function and responsibility. Grant says everyone has to chip in and do everything that needs to get done.

“So, besides a Business Development Manager and Director, sometimes I am a delivery driver, a cleaner – basically a general dogsbody! And I think my biggest challenge has been getting my head around owning and running a business, and all the nasty little surprises that come along with it rather than just selling.”

Grant has described the transition to step out of his every day role – to spend time on the business rather than in the business – the leading setback as a small business owner. But he says the trials and tribulations are what makes the perks of running your own business all the more worthwhile.

“I have 3 young girls, so I love the flexibility. Just yesterday I was able to attend their school awards during the day. I make up the hours and them some but I’m able to do it as I please.”

It seems that Out There Media is going nowhere but up, having almost doubled their turnover in the last three years and have grown from a work family of five staff to eight staff in that same period.

Grant is evidently proud of the relationships his team has been able to develop with their customers that have enabled business growth.

“I’m really proud of my team for delivering such amazing projects for our clients – often under tight deadlines and difficult circumstances – that keep them coming back for more,” he said.

“Our ambition as a business is to continue growing our skill set and product offerings to help our customers grow, and in turn, we’ll grow ourselves as a result of this mindset.”