Applying Theories of Entrepreneurship to Brad Stinson of Stinson Air

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

The purpose for this paper is to apply the theory covered in the relevant theme to the entrepreneur we had interviewed for the project. There are several aspects which are worth discussing for an entrepreneur. The paper will look at four different aspects accordingly, Sources of entrepreneurial finance, Managing growth of the entrepreneurial firm, Entrepreneurial networks and Strategic planning of the entrepreneurial firm. These four topics will be used to demonstrate, where "real life" confirms the theory and where it disproves it. This paper will be focusing on Brad Stinson, the owner of Stinson Air.

Stinson Air is a well-known air-conditioning company that was first established in 1995. It is located in Perth. Brad Stinson is the founder for Stinson Air when he was only 20 years old and he started with an old van initially. Over the years, the Company has progressed into one of the top air conditioning companies in Perth. Last year, Stinson Air achieved one of its remarkable achievements when they signed up with Australia's biggest building company as their clients and won the award, "The Australia Post Stirling Business of the Year" (Air Conditioning Perth 2009). Without doubt, Brad is a man with vision to grow his business by looking for opportunities to expand the company throughout Perth, by working on numerous projects ranging from mining to commercial.

Sources of entrepreneurial finance

In today's increasingly competitive business world, one of the major challenges faced by entrepreneurs is their abilities to acquire financial capital (Denis 2003, 304). Financial capital is one of the most important resources for an entrepreneur because it can be used to develop a business venture and expand it by bringing in talented human capital as well as high-technology resources (Brush 2006, 17). According to Brush (2006, 18), the pecking order of capital structure theory stated that most entrepreneurs will pursue their sources of capital initially with flexible internal resources such as own-savings and then progress to less flexible external resources such as debt-financing. In reality, this is true as Brad initially funded Stinson Air by using his own savings and then to debt-financing during after he had used up all his own savings.

Gries and Naude (2010, 14) stated that most entrepreneurs rely on their own personal-savings as their main start-up capital, followed by families and lastly, bank loan. This research has clearly demonstrated that in real life entrepreneur, Brad Stinson has used his own personal-savings as the main start-up capital for his business. Furthermore, Au and Kwan (2009, 889) did further research on entrepreneurs' funding over 30 countries and found that 42% of the start-up capital for entrepreneurs came from their own family members, followed by friends 29% and lastly 71% of all start-up funds come from informal investments. In reality, Brad used his own savings to buy half of his company and the other half through the financial assistance from his father. By doing this, Brad had actually avoided paying the high interest rates which he had to pay if his funding was from debt-financing.

Furthermore, Carter and Auken (2005, 130) stated that entrepreneurs may consider the use of 'bootstrapping' financing methods to fund their business venture due to the limited access to traditional capital markets. In reality, Brad did not have problems with limited access to traditional capital markets as his parents were from a well-off family. In addition, credit card is one of the bootstrapping financing methods that are commonly used by entrepreneurs due to its easy accessibility and uncontrolled by banks (Cole 2005). Studies have shown that the most common uses of credit cards are to buy business supplies (Cote 2005). In reality, Brad did made use of his credit cards to purchase goods for his company.

Auken (2004, 157) found that risk and operating environment can be the factor in determining the importance of bootstrap financing. For example, firms that are competing in an intense environment and have limited time in searching for capital will value bootstrap financing more than those firms competing in a less risky environment. However, this is not true for Brad's case. According to Brad, there were a lot of competitors when Stinson Air first entered the air-conditioning industry and during times of financial difficulties; he would prefer to get the needed funding from his family rather than relying on credit cards where the interest rated would be high.

Frederick and Kuratko (2010, 261) also highlighted that most firms would find it necessary in taking up debt-financing as they need the money to purchase properties in the early-stage of the ventures and at the same time they can keep their ownership intact and control their ventures. However, Brad did not undertake debt-financing in purchasing his property as he bought his property through his own savings and other half through his father. Hindle and Wenban (1999, 14) further stated that entrepreneurs may finance their business venture through the use of bank overdrafts to purchase supplies during the emergent stage of their business due to its flexibility and help to maintain cash flow. In reality, Brad did undertake short-term bank overdrafts in purchasing supplies for his ventures when he had cash flow problems to pay to his suppliers.

Furthermore, Auken (2005, 345) has also suggested that the nature of growth can be a factor in determine the sources of capital that an entrepreneurial firm will likely to pursue. For example, companies that are achieving rapid growth could finance from venture capitalists and in contrast, companies with slower growth could finance from company profits and banks. However, this clearly does not apply to Stinson Air. During the early-growth of Stinson Air, Brad finances Stinson Air using his own savings when he was still working under a leading air conditioning company. Later in the rapid-growth of Stinson Air, he financed Stinson Air using funds from his family business that was operated by his family members.

As mentioned by Auken (2005, 344), the goals of the firms can be a factor in influencing the firm's financial strategies. For example, firms that are motivated by life-style preferences may rely their financial capital on banks and personal equity; in contrast firms that are motivated by economic gain will rely on angel and venture capital to fund their company. In reality, it is true for Brad. Brad is a person who prefers to work leisurely with a carefree lifestyle. His goals for Stinson Air is to be the most respected air-conditioning company in Perth rather than being the biggest air-conditioning company in Perth. Therefore, he will rely his financial capital more on personal equity or debt-financing like bank overdrafts rather than equity-financing. Besides, researchers further stated that tax issues can be a factor that will affect the preferable sources of capital. For example, firms may pursue sources of capital that do not increase tax liability such as debt-financing than those that would increase tax liability such as personal savings (Auken 2005, 345). This is clearly the case for Brad as one of the reasons he undertook bank overdrafts was to increase the tax savings for Stinson Air rather than solely depends on his own-savings.

Brush (2006, 20) further stated that as the entrepreneur's business venture began to expand, more capital will be needed for the expansion and thus, equity investment will be viewed as the suitable pathway as equity investors can provide all the sufficient financial aid to entrepreneurs. However, in reality this is not the case for Brad. Brad said that he would not use equity-financing to fund Stinson Air when the company needed capital for expansion as he did not want to lose his ownership intact for Stinson Air and he would prefer to get funding from his family.

Managing Growth

The most typical difference between entrepreneur and small business owner is entrepreneur desire the business to grow rapidly (Gundry and Welsch 2001, 454), and so is Brad Stinson.

Before going into growth stage, high growth oriented entrepreneur will need to obtain related knowledge as one of the resources required to support rapid growth as desired (Gundry and Welsch 2001, 465). Research showed that entrepreneur prefer short, precise, and content oriented learning experience, when it is taught by practicing professionals (Sexton et al. 1997, 1). For Brad Stinson, when he realized that he need to learn something to support the growth of business, he made a choice in between Curtin University Entrepreneurship lecture and business coach from large professional company. Comparing these two options, it is perceived that large professional company will provide a relatively shorter and precise learning process, and most important that it is from a practicing professionals. Hence, this entrepreneurial preference theory exactly describes what Brad Stinson needed.

Hambrick and Cozier (1985, 44) mentioned that a successful entrepreneur who managing a rapid growth firm will empower his or her employees to make quick decisions. At the same time, the entrepreneur will also implement strong organizational culture to ensure all decisions are conform to organizational vision and mission. Although Brad Stinson has the organization's belief statement hanging on his office wall, he is still doing all decisions by himself. This is different with what have been mentioned by Hambrick and Cozier. Although research finding (Fombrun and Wally 1989, 108) showed that there is no significant direct relation between structure and performance, but Fredick, Kuratko and Hodgetts (2006, 440) argued that organization structure need to be decentralize in order to perform effectively. Furthermore, from the word of Fredick, Kuratko and Hodgetts (2006, 440), the key factor for an entrepreneurial company to be successful is transition of one-man leadership to managerial team. It is because one entrepreneur's ability is not enough to handle all business function. For example, entrepreneur cannot handle accounting, marketing, and administration at the same time. Hence, Brad Stinson's decision making style is opposite of what an entrepreneur will do, and still yet to get the key of success.

Innovation is the process of implementing idea that creates value (O'Regan, Ghobadian, and Gallear. 2006, 32). Bessant et al. (2005, 1366) highlighted that innovation is very important for entrepreneur to achieve business growth, when Canals (2001, 590) was having the same idea and added that innovation is necessary for long term growth. However, the author stated that, targeting on sales is only for short term growth. Brad Stinson encourages high sales target, approaching to larger customer (e.g. Construction company), and postpone the use of new product to avoid uncertainty risks. This was described as inadvisable action by Bessant et al. (2005, 1366) and Canals (2001, 590). However, O'Regan, Ghobadian, and Gallear (2006, 39) stated that high-growth small and medium entrepreneurial firms are having high sales target compare to high innovation target. This finding supported the high sales target to also be a correct entrepreneurial decision in short term. Besides, as an air-conditioning service provider, Brad Stinson has developed a website for price quoting and news release. In addition, he also provides service for design energy efficiency air-conditioning system. These actions could be considered as innovation but there is no obvious evidence to prove it as valuable.

According to Canals (2001, 597), the four major types of growth driver are the following: Corporate Renewal Based Growth, Innovation Driven Growth, Capabilities, Acquisitions and Growth, External opportunity and Market expansion Growth, the growth driver for Brad Stinson are "External opportunity and Market expansion Growth". This is also the driver of the high growth oriented entrepreneur (Gundry and Welsch 2001, 465). It is where he recognized external opportunity during the financial crisis and trying to cooperate with construction companies and approach to more potential customers. He established a new way of business rather than doing solely business that rely on word of mouth to gain customers. Hynes (2010, 88) suggested that entrepreneur will have great influence on the growth style of the company, and this has best described the situation of Brad Stinson.

When managing growth, entrepreneur will have the belief of corporate capabilities (Fredick, Kuratko and Hodgetts 2006, 440). During the interview, brad has stated that he believe his company is able to grow continuously.

Besides, entrepreneur will expect changes to their company in the future (Fredick, Kuratko and Hodgetts 2006, 440). By managing growth wisely, it will help firms to adapt the changes of environment at anytime. Obviously, Brad has expecting change in the future when he writes the company short, middle, and long term company goals. In reality, it is shown that Stinson Air has achieved growth during financial crisis and this proved that Brad Stinson has the ability in adapting to intensive environmental change.

In order to motivate employees and create culture, entrepreneur will share enthusiastic vision to employees (Fredick, Kuratko and Hodgetts 2006, 440). He has shared his vision throughout the company by claiming that he wanted Stinson Air to be the best and respected company in the air-conditioning industry rather than the biggest one. Besides, research finding has showed that high growth oriented entrepreneur's strategic success measurement will be the firm's reputation and also quality of product or service (Gundry and Welsch 2001, 465). This is very supportive to the vision developed by Brad Stinson as an entrepreneur.

In addition, further research finding (Gundry and Welsch 2001, 465) has also suggested that high growth oriented entrepreneur is willing to do whatever it takes to grow the company, for instance, sacrificing some of his or her family goals. At the same time, Brad Stinson prefers to have work-life balance and place family at the higher position, for example, he went for a half day leave to accompany his son to play at beach.

The other high growth oriented entrepreneur characteristic included they tend to have equity in other firms, and tend to plan for growth earlier in the life of their business (Gundry and Welsch 2001, 466). Brad Stinson is holding equity in his family business started lately which is building corporate, but according to him, he only came out with a proper plan for growth recently although the business has been established since 15 years ago.


Entrepreneurial Networking

The topic of networking has been the focus of interest to the entrepreneurship, organizational and management studies. According to Kratzer, Gemunden, and Lettl (2008, 539) networks linkages are significant for leading organizational processes and outcomes.

According to Rex (2005, 21) the resources and information accessed from the formal networks help entrepreneur to monitor, maintain and grow their wealth. By joining the membership of formal organization and partnering with professional advisor, it allows an entrepreneur to expand their customer line and benefits from receiving constantly updated information. Brad Stinson has built a strong relationship with his main supplier Daikin. Through Daikin, it helps Brad to expand his customer line and get chances to attend a lot of big conferences and meets people in same industry. Recently, Daikin has invited Brad to attend a 3 day trip to ARBS which is one of the largest air conditioner and refrigeration trade show in Sydney. In ARBS, Brad has met a lot of suppliers and specialists in the air conditioning industry. By attending the trade show, Brad is loaded up with new knowledge and explored all the latest air conditioning technologies and products.

As for the informal networks, it will be very useful for entrepreneur to get inspiration and creative ideas (Harding 2007, 24). This theory clearly applied for Brad's case. Brad was born from an entrepreneur background. He used to seek advices from his father who is a successful entrepreneur in car tyre industry. According to Jacobs (2009, 57-8) it is better to seek opinion from peer groups rather than close friends. This is because they are honest and can provide unbiased information. However Brad rely more on his parents' opinion rather than peer group. When Brad decides to make a big decision, he will seek his parent's advices. According to Dowling (2009), English families are better in handling conflict and have effective communication between themselves. Their culture allows them to provide rational advices to the entrepreneur.

The theory of entrepreneurial networking is dynamic. In each stage of business development, entrepreneur's personal networking plays a vital role. In the stage of discovery and business emergent, it is easier for an entrepreneur to access help from close relationship. The new business entity is less likely to been seen as potential ties by others institution due to their lack knowledge about the trustworthiness of the company and low likelihood of reciprocation (Hite and Hesterly 2001, 279). Hoang and Antoncic (2002, 174) have stated that strong relationship is useful in the stage of discovery and emergence because it provides cheap-cost links to vital resources. When Brad first started his business, he does not build any networks with outsiders, he relies more on his family members. In addition, he hired his cousins and sisters as his employees to help him in the office and marketing during the time where he just started Stinson Air, he did not have sufficient capital to hire employees. Furthermore, he also seeks advices and learns valuable knowledge from his father's friend who also works in the same industry like him.

As the business grows, it is necessary for the entrepreneur to attract new stakeholders. The entrepreneur has shifted from a strong tie networks to weak tie networks during business growth (Hite and Hesterly 2001, 278). Zyl (2010) has stated that when there is a group of weak ties people from specialist line of service gathered, these weak ties became powerful tools. An entrepreneur can obtain diversify information and generate new strategy to gain competitive advantages. Therefore, in the business growing stage and maturity stage, weak ties networks are more useful than strong tie networks. During the recent recession, Brad knew that this would be his opportunity in searching for new suppliers as well as customers. He worked hard through his goals and successfully won the contract from Daikin, the top manufacturer of air conditioners in Japan and largest supplier in Australia. Moreover, Brad also seeks a business coach to help Stinson Air design and develop more efficient planning and skills to run the business more effectively. Furthermore, Daikin who is the main supplier for Stinson Air has brought their existing customers into Stinson Air. In addition, he major customer bases of Stinson Air are those building construction and commercial projects. By attending conferences in Sydney, Brad gets to know a lot people in the same industry. For the 3 days conference in Sydney, Brad spend a lot of time in bonding them in order to turn their weak tie relationship into strong tie relationship. Furthermore, Brad met a lot of well-known suppliers around Australia during the 3 days conference and through this these suppliers willing to share their successful experiences and advices to Brad as most of them are operating in different state. Through the networking with outsider, Brad gains a lot of useful information and knowledge that benefits his business. Apart from that, Brad starts to hire new employees as the business grew. For Brad, ability and skills are not the main criteria to get hired. Brad put more emphasize on the candidates' passion towards the jobs, personality, and reliability. He hopes that new employees will bring in creative ideas into the company.

However, there are some challenges in building networks with outsider. In the article written by Hite and Hesterly (2001, 277), during the business early growth stage, an entrepreneur is facing challenges on how to identify which resources are useful for business, how to obtain the resources and the unpredictable of changing technology, social demands and others. The high level uncertainty of future business trend has worsened the ability of entrepreneur to identify what resources are favorable to their business. Goel and Karri (2006, 488) also have mentioned that some entrepreneur might over trusted their business partners. Over-trust of business partners will cause entrepreneur to make mistakes in their decision-making. Even though Brad did not face challenges as what the literature review have found but Brad do face others challenges when building his business networking. According to Goldman (2005, 38), businessmen must be able to deliver their messages, ideas, products and services to the public in order to run their business successfully. Shy and introverted people suffer a sense of nervousness when come to networking. Furthermore, face to face meeting, telephone call will be unavoidable. Brad has shared that when he just started the business, he is an introversion person. He felt uncomfortable to mix with people who are not close with him. However, as time passed and his business growth, he becomes more extroversion. By attending numerous of conferences and through Daikin, he slowly overcomes his weakness in socializing with strangers. Today, Brad described himself as an outgoing person and he enjoys networking with others.

Apart from that, time is also one of the key elements to build a strong networking. Networking is a time consuming activity. In order to build a stable and highly diverse network it requires entrepreneur to spend most of their time to mix with others in order to get to know them better in their needs and demands. They may spend most of their time to developing new contacts and managing old ones. As for an infant enterprise, it is quite challenging. During the start-up business, entrepreneur needs to perform multiple tasks that are associated with risks such as advertising, sales and fund raising (Carsrud and Brannback 2007, 27-8). According to Brad, when he just established Stinson air, it is hard for him to build business network as he was always busy. He also feels that there is always insufficient time for him to keep in touch with everyone. Furthermore, he has to do every task for Stinson Air by himself such as the installation of air conditioner, product maintenance as there were limited employees. As his business start to expand, he began to hire more people in helping him. Through delegate some of the tasks to his employees; Brad is able to spend his time effectively.


To conclude, Brad Stinson can be regarded as an entrepreneur as he had fulfilled most of the criteria related to the sources of financial capital that an entrepreneur would pursue. As discussed in the above preceding paragraphs, it has been shown that Brad Stinson had credibly demonstrated well to support the underlying theories aforementioned and for that reason, I would confidently conclude that he is, indeed, an entrepreneur in the true sense of the word and in the true spirit of entrepreneurship.

Brad Stinson has most of the characteristic of entrepreneur when managing growth, but he is not intensively pursuing growth when tend to maintain work-life balance. Hence, he shall not be determined as the traditional entrepreneur. However, he could be identified as a lifestyle entrepreneur who is not motivated by earnings but motivated by enjoyable and working freedom

Reference Lists

Air Conditioning Perth. 2009. (accessed April 20, 2010).

Au, K., and K. Ho Kwong. 2009. Start-Up Capital and Chinese Entrepreneurs: The Role of

Family. Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice 33 (4): 889-908. buh. (accessed May 8, 2010).

Auken, H. V. 2004. Differences in the Usage of Bootstrap Financing among Technology-

Based versus Nontechnology-Based Firms. Journal of Small Business Management 43 (1): 93-103. buh. (accessed May 12, 2010).

Auken, H. V. 2005. A Model of Small Firm Capital Acquisition Decisions. International

Entrepreneurship and Management Journal 1 (3): 335-352. (accessed May 2, 2010).

Arch G Woodside.  2005. Opening up decision making: making sense of entrepreneur and

reseller business-to-business strategies. The Journal of Business & Industrial

Marketing 20 (7): 347-54.  Proquest.

Bessant, J., R. Lamming, H. Noke, and W. Philips. 2005. Managing innovation beyond the steady state. Technovation 25(12): 1366-76. Sciencedirect. (accessed May 12, 2010).

Brush, C. G., N. M. Carter, E. J. Gatewood, P. G. Greene, and M. M. Hart. 2006. The use of

bootstrapping by women entrepreneurs in positioning for growth. Venture Capital 8 (1): 15-31. buh. (accessed May 6, 2010).

Canals, J. 2001. How to Think about Corporate Growth? European Management Journal 19 (6): 587-98. Sciencedirect. (accessed April 20, 2010).

Carsrud, A. L. and M. E. Brannback. 2007. Entrepreneurship. United State of America:

Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc.

Carter, R. B., and H. Van Auken. 2005. Bootstrap financing and owners' perceptions of their

business constraints and opportunities. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development 17 (2): 129-144. buh. (accessed May 11, 2010).

Cole, J. D., R.J.Lahm, H.T.Little, and S.J.Seipel. 2005. Credit cards as a source of start-up

capital and ongoing capital management. (accessed April 28, 2010).

Denis, D. J. 2004. Entrepreneurial finance: an overview of the issues and evidence. Journal of

Corporate Finance 10 (2): 301-326. (accessed April 29, 2010).

Dowling, J. 2009. Entrepreneurs who keep it in the family.

d/16/Entrepreneurs-who-keep-it-in-the-family.aspx (May 10, 2010).

Frederick, H. H. & D.F. Kurakto. 2010. Entrepreneurship: Theory, process and practice, 2nd

Asia-Pacific edition. Melbourne, Australia: Cengage Learning.

Fombrun, C. J. and S. Wally. 1989. Structuring small firms for rapid growth. Journal of Business

Venturing 4 (2): 107-22. Sciencedirect. (accessed April 20, 2010).

Goel, S., and R. Karri. 2006. Entrepreneurs, effectual logic, and over-trust.

Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 30 (4): 477-93. WILEY InterScience. (accessed April 23,


Goldman, G. S. 2005. Don't be shy, network. Landscape management 43 (2): 38-40.

EBSCOhost. (accessed May 11,

2010 ).

Graham Beaver.  2007. The strategy payoff for smaller enterprises. The Journal of Business

Strategy 28 (1): 11-7. Proquest. (accessed May 14, 2010).

Gries, T., and W. Naude. 2010. Entrepreneurship and structural economic transformation. Small

Business Economics 34 (1): 13. (accessed May 13, 2010).

Gundry, L. K., and H. P. Welsch. 2001. The ambitious entrepreneur: High growth strategies of women-owned enterprises. Journal of Business Venturing 16(5): 453-70. Sciencedirect. (accessed May 14, 2010).

Hambrick, D. C., and L. M. Cozier. 1985. Stumbler and star in the management of rapid growth. Journal of Business Venturing. 1 (1): 31-45. Sciencedirect. (accessed April 20, 2010).

Heriot, K., and T. Loughman. 2009. Resolving the Planning Conundrum in New Venture

Creation: An Adaptation of Mintzberg's Strategy Formation Perspective. Journal of

Applied Management and Entrepreneurship 14 (4): 14-

24.  Proquest. (accessed May 14, 2010).

Hindle, K., and R. Wenban. 1999. Australia's informal venture capitalists: an exploratory profile.

Venture Capital 1 (2): 169-186. buh. (accessed May 13, 2010).

Hamilton, R.T., and M.A. Fox. 1998. The financing preferences of small firm owners.

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour 4(3): 239-248. (accessed April 28, 2010).

Harding, R. 2007. Our mutual friend. Director 61 (2): 24. EBSCOhost. (accessed April 23,

2010 ).

Hite, J. M., and W. S. Hesterly. 2001. The evolution of firm networks from emergence to

early growth of the firm. Strategic Management Journal 22 (3): 275-86. JSTOR. (access April 23, 2010).

Hoang, H., and B. Antoncic. 2002. Network-based research in entrepreneurship: A

critical review. Journal of Business Venturing 18 (2) : 165-87. ScienceDirect. (accessed April 18, 2010).

Jacobs, D. G. 2009. With a little help from my friends. Landscape Management 48 (10) :

56-63. EBSCOhost.

(accessed April 23, 2010).

John L Thompson.  2004. The facets of the entrepreneur: identifying entrepreneurial

potential. Management Decision 42 (1/2) 243-58. Proquest. (accessed May 14, 2010).

Keith Glancey, Malcolm Greig, and Malcolm Pettigrew. 1998. Entrepreneurial dynamics in

small business service firms. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour &

Research 4 (3): 249-68.  Proquest. (accessed May

14, 2010).

Kratzer, J., H. G. Gemunden., and C. Lettl. 2008. Balancing creativity and time

efficiency in multi-team R & D projects: the alignment of formal and informal

networks. R & D Management 38 (5): 538-49. EBSCOhost.

(accessed April 23, 2010).

O'Regan, N., A. Ghobadian, and D. Gallear. 2006. In search of the drivers of high growth in manufacturing SMEs Technovation 26 (1): 30-41. Sciencedirect. (accessed April 20, 2010).

Sexton, D., N. Upton, L. Wacholtz, and P, McDougall. 1997. Learning needs of growth-oriented entrepreneurs. Journal of Business Venturing 12(1): 1-8. Sciencedirect. (accessed May 12, 2010).

Tim Berry.  2010. Entrepreneur Column. McClatchy - Tribune Business News April 8. Proquest. (accessed May 14, 2010).

Rex, K. P. 2005. Strategic business alliances-Finding strength in numbers. National

Underwriter/ Life & Health Financial Services 109 (42): 21. EBSCOhost.

(accessed April 22, 2010).

Zyl, A. S. V. 2010. Social networking revisited. Accountancy SA, February.

Proquest. (accessed March 31, 2010)


Jonathan. Which source of capital did u choose as your start-up capital?

Brad. In the beginning, I have chosen to use my own-savings as the start-up capital for Stinson Air. Before the establishing of Stinson Air, I do save some money when I was working as an employee for Direct Engineering Services, a leading air conditioning company at that time. When I first bought Stinson Air, I used all my savings together with funding from my dad. After 2 years, I paid back all the money I borrow from my dad with no interests.

Jonathan. During the early-growth phase of your company, did u take any bootstrapping methods such as the use of credit cards to finance your venture?

Brad. Yes, I do use credit cards to purchase goods for Stinson Air as there are times where Stinson Air doesn't have enough cash to purchase goods.

Jonathan. Do you use any debt-financing or equity financing during any stage of your company?

Brad. Yes, I do use debt-financing such as bank overdraft for a limited period. For me, bank overdraft is very convenient for me as it allowed me to borrow what I need when I need money to buy my goods and I only need to pay the interest when I overdrawn. Sorry, I did not take any equity-financing.

Jonathan. What is the main factor that influences your decisions on particular financing method?

Brad. For me, it will be personality. I prefer to work leisurely with a carefree lifestyle. Furthermore, my goals for Stinson Air is to be the most respected air-conditioning company in Perth rather than being the biggest air-conditioning company in Perth. Therefore, I do not need a large amount of capital to expand Stinson Air as I can finance Stinson Air through my own-savings or from my families rather from banks.

Jonathan. Do you face any difficulties in getting funds for your company?

Brad. No, as I can always get money from my dad and also from my properties development that I shared with my siblings.

Hui Kiu: Who are your supplier, target customer, and main competitor? How do you maintain the relationship with them?

Brad: In this industry, there are too many competitors; if you open the yellow book, you can find that there are few pages list of company name which offers air conditioning service. There are many suppliers for Stinson air such as Daikin, Advantage air, Fujitsu, LG and others. Our major supplier Daikin has introduced a lot of construction projects to Stinson Air. The major customer bases of Stinson Air are the construction builder and architectural firms on their residential and construction projects. In order to maintain the relationship, I will keep in touch with them. Sometime we will hang out for lunch or drink. We also try to do our best and show them a qualify job. This is the way to gain trust and retain relationship with suppliers and customers. Our supplier Daikin trusts us a lot. We won a lot of awards from Daikin as their best dealer every year since 2005.

Hui Kiu: How do you value your customers and employees?

Brad: We always work close with our customers and understand their needs. We have regular meeting with our customers or building supervisors to avoid any potential problems during the construction process. We always put our customers as first priority the let them feeling of being respected. For employees, we always motivate and trusted them. We also offer bonus for employees who worked hard and organize trip to travel around during off peak season.

Hui Kiu: Does your networking change after you established Stinson Air compared to previous status? (Discovery stage, emergence stage, growing stage and maturity stage)

Brad: When my business just start, of cause I do not network. I rely on the assistance provided by my family members. When the business just established, I hired my sister to work in the office as reception clerk and hired my cousin to help me in marketing. Before I started Stinson Air, I worked with my dad's friend who specializes in air conditioners and refrigerators. I have learnt a lot from him. This is useful for my business in the emergence stage. My dad also helped me to bear some uncertainty risk in the beginning stage of business. He provided financial aids for me to purchase Stinson Air. As my business start to expand, I try to seek advices from outsider. I start networking and spend a lot of time to deal with my suppliers, potential customers. I consult a business coach and he helped me a lot.

Hui Kiu: When making business decisions, who are you relied on? Where and how you get your innovation ideas from?

Brad: Mostly I make decision by myself but I will take a consideration of my parents and my business coach advice. This is my first business, even though I have many years experience working in air conditioning industry but I have no experience in running business. I trusted my dad a lot. He is also an entrepreneur, so I think his advice would be valuable for my business especially when the business just started. As business grows, I am thinking of whether to find Louis in Curtin as my advisor or business coach. After a deep consideration, I choose to consult a business coach to assist me in the planning process. Both my parents and business coach are my source of innovation ideas.

Hui Kiu: Do you face any difficulty during the stage of building networks with others? If yes, please share with us.

Brad: yes, I do face some challenges in building network at the beginning stage of my business. When I just run my business, there is lot of tasks that I needed to do. I felt like no time for me to networking and I am not an outgoing person. So when I first start networking with others, I could not enjoy myself. I do not comfortable to present and share ideas in front of many people. However, as time passed, now I'm enjoying to network with others. I like attend for conference and happy to meet people from different background and places. During the conference, we share the knowledge and tips of doing business. Competitors from different state do not mind to share their secret of success with me as I am operating business in Perth and they run business in other states.

Khe Han. What stage do you think Stinson Air is in? (New venture, growth, mature, decline)

Brad. Yes, still going well. Last year is a very good year. Now we have a long way to built up. We want to picking up some big client from big company around town. This year will be moderate year and we hoping to go correct next year.

Although this (business, Stinson Air) started 15 years ago, but I did the business as a sub contractor from the bigger service provider, just pick up the air-condition and go to the house here and there, with a lot of liberal. I did that for quite a few years. So only in the last five years really has become a "real" business. 4years ago I took the air-condition and put in my house and garage and full of everywhere around the room, that is why we have fixed this property here, and probably in three to five years we will run out of room here and we need to somewhere else more bigger

Khe Han. How long do you think the term of the industry cycle could be? (from new venture to decline) Do you have any target of company growth?

Brad. I think this will keep going forever. Lots of air-condition service provider get into building and construction, maybe I will go to that stage. But at the moment we always try to keep growing. Compare to the construction business that last whole year, our business most around summer season. It could be advantage because we will have time to maintain relationship with business partner, supplier.

Khe Han. Do you calculate your business risk? What are they?

Brad. I never really need to fund the business from outside sources.

A lot of overdraft

I think you have to learn. The bigger you are, the more you going to do. Like, watch your cash flow. May be you can make more money, but if you have a couple of bad months, that will tear you down. I am sort of luck because I have property company as well. I have cash coming in from development, so if I have to help my cash flow, I can bring funding to help it.

Khe Han. What elements or factor that lead your company into growth? Or what is the process you take? (Aggressive or Steady)

Brad. In the financial crisis, we grew. That was the time when we to go and contact the bigger client and in the pass, I never gone to looking for work. I advertise and done the website work, and work came to us. And as the way I mentioned before, like we do the house, the Mr & Ms Smith, and then the builders happy with what we did, and we ask do you want some more work, and we get new client that give us some more work, and that will happen again and again. When the financial crisis came, I think it's time to look for some work. I never look for work, really. So that year I think 90 percent of air-conditioning in Perth declined and we are one of the companies that went up. And now we are the top seller of Daikin within Australia from bottom half.

I am pretty motivated, but I wasn't show of which way to do it. So I am looking options and considering going to Curtin University, business entrepreneur Louis. I look right into that and was deciding between that and business coach. I am sure if I went either one will have been very good, but the business coach is actually on board.

It become more like family business, I have help from few cousins, best sells man advice from father and sister. My cousins jointed me eight years ago, and the younger cousin joints. My sister at the front desk

I think we have to trust on who we hire. We are very big on our team works, we pay our staffs couple shares as well. I think that motivates them. If the business do well, that mean it is making money for everyone.

Khe Han. Do you have any innovative ideas or business action that may form competitive advantages in the industry? Do green issue and business ethic come to your mind when consider of business growth?

Brad. Our strength. We are very design motivated. We put a lot of detail in our design. We do work on some high tech homes. Those multi-million homes. We getting on the case with architects and getting the design right.

Anyone will take customer service, but I think us just going extra steps. I feel like calling up them, making someone stay. Try to keep their phone.

We are good at planning.

And go back to education, we have a business coach. A flow business coach and am action business coach, which is biggest business coach in the world. He is very good at helping us setup system, code, and also helping us plan. He really taught us about planning, and how important it is. Before he came along three years ago, there were probably three people in the company. Since he came along, he helped us grow and grow and grow. We went double in three years. Planning is a really big thing that we all make sure we plan our weeks properly. Every three months we all sit in and discuss our three months plan, and then we write 12 months goal, and also five years goal as well.

We don't give up. When look into our competitors, most of them are 50s 60s years old and we still have a long way to go. I think we are very keen.

One man company, dad's friend doing well and have many luxury product

You need be honest, and we are trying to be an honest company. For example, we are now more on doing some small project, but if something really big come to us, we are going to be honest and do not try something we cannot do. We will say that is for some advance engineer job and say directly sorry that is beyond it, and try to maintain relationship.

For the green issue, it is closely related to this industry. We use pretty much industry leading product from Daikin. There are some new products out there but we are not the first to go try use the product when it come out, it should be check a little bit.

We have been spoken to representative of Carbon Planet and we like to be carbon tested in next year or two. That is going to be the trend. The bigger the company the more carbon emission and higher requirement for control. We are going to have to do that sooner or later like two years or ten years away. But we like to jump ahead of competitors.

We are trying to give client most energy efficiency design, but however it largely depends on the budget of client. Normally people will want to air-condition any place they want in the house. Especially for the multi-millions house, they want it to be full air-conditioned. We have to do if that's they want. However, we provide options and use Daikin energy efficient products.

We are not going to be the biggest but we want to be the top best and respected and we are getting there now.

In five years we may looking at more business growth and a new place with larger space. I am looking at northwest but I will probably take in a partner to operate branch because I want to maintain work-life balance. I don't have to be the richest man.

Thank You Letter

Dear Brad Stinson,

Thank you for taking the time to share with us your successful journey with Stinson Air. We appreciated all the information and advice you shared with us. Your assistance has been invaluable during the interview. Throughout the interview, we learned a lot from you and benefit greatly from your talent, wisdom and experience. Again, thank you very much. We greatly appreciate your generosity. Lastly, we wish you much success in all your endeavors.


Ling Hui Kiu,

Jonathan Wong Ching Howe,

Sean Teo Poh Chen,

Lai Khe Han

(Undergraduates of Curtin University of Technology)