“David has helped us grow the business and we have now introduced the Outsourced CFO service. I feel safe and secure knowing someone has my back, and is looking at the business not only from a reporting and financial compliance perspective, but also with a focus on business efficiency and risk management.”
Events Director Kathy Park thought it would be less stressful running her own business than working as a Senior Executive for a large insurance company. Taking over management of the Brisbane Technology Park (BTP) Conference Centre three years ago, little did she realise that she was taking on a role that was listed as one of the Top 5 Most Stressful Jobs as reported in Forbes Magazine (1. Frontline Military Personnel; 2. Military General; 3. Fire-fighter; 4. Airline Pilot; 5. Events Coordinator.) “Shooting guns, fighting fires, landing jumbo-jet planes… managing events…Who knew?” says Kathy.
The BTP Conference Centre is a large venue seating up to 750 people for a formal presentation or 450 seated for a three-course banquet dinner, yet still intimate enough to cater for smaller individual groups because of its flexible design. The adjoining Atrium, with 7 metre high ceilings and abundant natural light and ventilation, is big enough to showcase large equipment, a new car product launch or 20 smaller individual trade show displays.
The on-site catering team can cater for 1,000 people for canapés and cocktails or lunch. “It’s a busy venue” says Kathy. “Our clients vary from large multi-nationals, to Government Departments, to local small businesses. Having a space that allows flexibility, as well as having on-site catering and an in-house Audio Visual and IT specialist ensures the client’s technical requirements are met and are stress-free.”
Kathy says, “The key to building a business is the level of service you provide. Anyone can replicate a product. It’s how you look after that client, the feeling they walk away with, that sets you apart from the pack. When people leave the BTP Conference Centre, we want them to feel special, that they’ve had a wonderful, stress-free experience here… and that means they’ll return. And they do!”
Taking on the BTP Conference Centre, meant being available 7 days a week whether it’s for a day conference, an evening banquet, or a weekend trade show. “Clients often change their minds about their event details at the last moment” says Kathy. “Maintaining a smile and a can-do attitude everyday is critical in this line of work. Clients are parting with a lot of money for some events, and they have an expectation that goes along with that responsibility. We make sure our staff are fully aware of the value of each client, so that they make sure they respond the same way I do.”
Kathy’s vision is to “constantly strive to provide a polished, professional service without the CBD price-tag.” She believes there’s a real balancing act between cost management and service delivery. Being on the south side of Brisbane, nestled between the Freeway, Gateway Motorway and Ipswich/Logan Motorway, her goal is to keep the BTP Conference Centre as a more affordable venue for those clients seeking a professional service. Kathy says many of their clients are looking to upgrade from clubs, pubs and RSLs as they want to project a more “corporate” look and feel for their events.
Initially concerned about being in a suburban location, Kathy soon realised that being “Southside’s best kept secret” was actually an advantage. “Clients want to get away from the CBD. When the economy went backwards a few years ago, people still booked events with us. The affordability factor, lots of parking space, along with the level of service, meant that we were able to offer a product which most companies could fit within their reduced budgets.”
“We’ve been fortunate to have some great support throughout” says Kathy. “de Blonk Smith Young have been our accountants and business advisers for many years. David has helped grow the business and we have now introduced de Blonk Smith Young’s Outsourced CFO service, allowing us to run the business with meaningful management accounting information. I feel safe and secure knowing someone has my back, and is looking at the business not only from a reporting and financial compliance perspective, but also with a focus on business efficiency and risk management.”