Client Spotlight: West Beach Adventure

West Beach Adventure is an outdoor activity park featuring the largest aerial adventure course in Australia, including a MegaClimb area, Sky Walk platform, Kids Course and Giant Swing. Located in West Beach, South Australia, the park offers activities for both kids and adults and is a highly popular destination for tourists, parties, corporate team building, and school groups.

History of the business

The park was originally commissioned in 2014 by the Singapore-based company “Flying Dragon Adventures”, with the main structure designed by Partridge Engineering and built by Touch Cloud Global, winning Australia-wide awards for ‘Excellence in Structural Engineering’. 

The park began operations in November 2015, with Stephen Grundy serving as the General Manager. In October 2020, the opportunity came up for Stephen to purchase the business. 

Stephen says, “I was fortunate to be offered the business as a management buyout. This was driven by the onset of COVID-19, but the timing was great for me as I was open to the opportunity.”

The business went through some challenging times during COVID, but fortunately, these trials were short-lived, and the company was able to take advantage of government incentives including the JobKeeper scheme.

Today, the business employs three full-time staff and 15 casual employees (with an emphasis on casual staff due to the large seasonal swings in attendance). West Beach Adventure is a distinctive destination and has gained a great deal of popularity among both locals and tourists, attracting visitors from across the country and internationally.

Accru Harris Orchard Director Rhys Bithell says, “Their growth overall has been great. They’re located next to the West Beach Caravan Park, which definitely helps as that industry has exploded in recent years, but they also compliment their income with corporate and school groups throughout the week.”

Challenges along the way

While COVID certainly presented short-term challenges for the business, Stephen says that their biggest challenge is an ongoing one that can’t really be ‘solved’.

“We find ourselves in a similar situation to most B2C operations,” he explains. “All costs are rising at an unprecedented rate and our suppliers are happy to pass this on to us, but we receive heavy customer pushback as we try to increase ticket pricing.

“We’re fortunate to have a healthy margin that has allowed us to manage this squeeze better than many other businesses in a similar position.”

Building a great business

Stephen believes that investing heavily up front in infrastructure and automation, where possible, has been key to their success.

“Doing this allows an operation to reduce the most challenging and expensive aspect of most businesses – staffing – and ensure a consistent product offering,” he says. 

Another key has been focusing on what they do well and filtering out distractions. He learned very quickly that corporate team building events, which normally go hand-in-hand with this type of business, required huge internal resources to manage and would often end up being a loss leader.  

“I’ve been involved with many businesses that simply try to do too much, and the distractions allow the core product to suffer,” he states. “For example, for our business, it didn‘t make sense to create a complex food and beverage offering when there are already some fantastic options in the area.”

“We’ve found that simply putting in the hours as owners is fundamental,” Stephen adds. “I think this is something that’s hard for a lot of small business owners to swallow. In our case, we also have to ensure that our customer service and safety standards remain at the high level that’s demanded by the Australian consumer.”  

“The business has minimal competition,” notes Rhys. “The team is made up of passionate, knowledgeable and nice people who are always looking to better the business, and they make sure that safety is paramount.”

Accru Harris Orchard’s role in the journey

Rhys and the Accru Harris Orchard team have worked with Stephen for about four years. During that time, they’ve helped with numerous tasks, including entity establishment, to protect the company as best as possible from trading risk (which is higher than usual due to the nature of the business).

They also assisted with some complex accounting items at the time of the business purchase, which had to be worked through in a short space of time to ensure Stephen benefited from the opportunity.  

Stephen explains, “When purchasing the business, it was clear that my partner and I would need assistance in registering the various PLCs and setting up a trust. We were fortunate to be introduced to Rhys, who was able to set everything up in a quick and economical fashion, but also explain the process clearly to us as new business owners.”

He adds, “There are two stand-out areas that we have really appreciated when working with Rhys and Accru Harris Orchard. Firstly, Rhys’ ability to take a complicated subject and explain it at a level that less financially knowledgeable business owners can understand.

“Secondly, knowing that they can check into our accounting software and ensure that we’re not making any errors that could land us in hot water provides us with fantastic peace of mind.” 

Future of the business

After nine years of management and four years of ownership, Stephen and his team have recently made the difficult decision to place the business on the market and are currently seeking expressions of interest.

“We believe the business would further prosper under management with fresh ideas,” he says.   

This business has truly thrived under Stephen’s management, even in challenging conditions. However, as is often the case when building a great business, it’s now time for someone else to benefit from its prime location, robust infrastructure and efficient operations, and to take the business to the next level.

To learn more, visit the company website at West Beach Adventure.

Want to learn more about how Accru Harris Orchard can help you build a great business? Contact our team today.

About the Author

Rhys Bithell
Rhys thrives on the big picture and tackles clients’ challenges head-on as if they were his own. He analyses businesses thoroughly and draws on his experience with a diverse range of industries in order to provide considered advice. Rhys thrives on the big picture and tackles clients’ challenges head-on as if they were his own. He analyses businesses thoroughly and draws on his experience with a diverse range of industries in order to provide considered advice. Clients rely on Rhys during times of change. He undertakes the role of external CFO for several businesses and led Accru Harris Orchard’s largest sale of a client’s business. He appreciates that selling a business is often a once in a lifetime event and does everything in his power to maximise the outcome for his clients. Known for his approachable and affable nature, Rhys develops close relationships with his clients. He likes nothing more than knowing his clients are happy with their financial position, allowing them to enjoy the good things in life.

Learn More