Parafield Ink and Toner

Parafield Ink and Toner is a successful Pooraka-based business providing computer and printer consumables with a strong focus on the environmental benefits of refilling cartridges. The company has been in operation for the past five years and has experienced many changes in the process of establishing its current place in the market.

“The cost of becoming involved with Polaris is very, very minor compared to the value that you get out of it. It is a very valuable service that is not widely known enough”
– Parafield Ink and Toner general manager Rex Wallace

“We took over a closed franchisee store in November 2009 and operated in Mawson Lakes under the franchise name. We were struggling to break even under the existing arrangements. My background is in large corporate and not in small retail, so I used the Polaris Centre as a non-employed board to bounce ideas off,” said general manager Rex Wallace.

“We weren’t told what to do, but had a reality check of which ideas were sensible and which weren’t. In October 2011 we moved out of Mawson Lakes into the store at Parafield Discount City under the new name Parafield Discount Ink and Toner. The Polaris Centre helped confirm the shift away from the franchise and the move to a new location was a good idea, and they were 100% right. The store has gone ahead in leaps and bounds.”

Through the Mentoring for Success and Business Fundamentals programs, Rex said it became clear what needed to change. “We were aiming too broadly. We were trying to be all things to all people and a jack-of-all-trades, so we re-focused our marketing efforts on our core strengths,” he said. “That’s when we changed our colour scheme, our logo, and our main marketing focus from general stationary supplies to ink and toner cartridge refilling.”

Rex said the Polaris Centre helped him realise his unique selling point; the environmental benefit of refilling cartridges. “That was our sustainable competitive advantage, our core point of difference with the supermarkets and the big stores, and what we were also making the most money on. Polaris helped us to recognise that.”

 

Dresseasy Clothing Inspired by Lacey Shea

Dresseasy Clothing Inspired by Lacey Shea designs functional, high quality clothing for people with special needs such as those with stiff limbs, broken arms, people in aged care or those suffering with dementia or autism. Dresseasy Clothing Inspired by Lacey Shea is based at Munno Para West and has grown from initially specialising in making children’s wear to catering for all sizes.

“It is worth a chat and they are more than willing to help or point you in the right direction. I have actually referred a couple of people to the Polaris Centre and it has helped them, they were more than happy” – Dresseasy Clothing Inspired by Lacey Shea designer Kay Rault

“We were on a very limited budget and needed a little bit of direction, as we were struggling to get the marketing right,” said Dresseasy Clothing Inspired by Lacey Shea designer Kay Rault. “We participated in the (Polaris Centre’s) Mentoring for Success program and we’ve found that Geoff Haygreen (business advisor, city development) has been very good.”

“Geoff has helped us get our website sorted and he’s helped us with our marketing area. We are now much more hands on. We are getting out there and talking to people and meeting with people. Because we don’t have a shopfront and are purely online, we want to let people know who we are and what we are about.”

Kay followed her Mentoring for Success enrolment with a selection of free informative programs.

“Through the Polaris Centre I was introduced to a solid networking group,” she said. “The Polaris networking group has been invaluable in allowing me to meet and mix with many new and well established businesses within Salisbury and the surrounding area. They are all only too willing to help and guide me to a successful business. Many of my business contacts have come through the Polaris Centre.”

“Dresseasy Clothing Inspired by Lacey Shea will continue to be associated with the Polaris Centre as I have found their support has strengthened our business,” Kay added.

Talking Matters

Talking Matters, based at Elizabeth Downs, provides speech pathology, occupational therapy and psychology services to children aged 18 months to 18 years. The business opened eight years ago and began with two staff members, eventually expanding into new premises.

“As a small to medium business you need to be able to tap into what resources are out there to try and manage all the different things that comes up for a business owner” – Talking Matters director Carla Branson

“For the first couple years I had no business support and was doing the best I could – although feeling very lost and unsupported,” said Talking Matters director Carla Branson. “I’ve faced challenges like trying to get an IT system that would work effectively… (snip) and managing all the things that came up in the process of refitting a building and moving from one location to another.”

After participating in the Polaris Centre’s Mentoring for Success program, Carla enrolled in the Digital Enterprise program and received significant benefits. “Rhys Moult (eBusiness Strategic Advisor) encouraged me to look at our website and use of social media,” Carla said.

“Talking Matters has been doing a lot of (online) work over many years, but Rhys was able to come in and actually look at our existing website and blog. He gave some really good input about how I could shift the market of people that were looking at my social media to be more local. We’ve had quite a big following worldwide, but we were wanting to hit our local market. The blog has grown from 400 followers up to 1000 followers in a period of a few months.”

“The Polaris Centre has lots of different people with lots of different skills sets. They seem to have good networks that they can put you in touch with to answer any of your questions.”