Whilst Business Benchmark Group was formed in July 2014, there have been many notable events leading up to its launch.
Business is second nature to Stefan. The son of a migrant family, he grew up in the 70s and 80s watching his parents build a successful textile manufacturing company. As his parents’ business flourished he went to university, graduating in social sciences with a major in economics and a minor in law. But when the family textile business struck trouble in the early 90s, it was Stefan’s opportunity to step in.
Over the course of 10 years he rebuilt the company into a thriving business, forming partnerships with iconic brands including Nike, Adidas, Puma, AFL, NRL and the Australian Open.
By the time he sold the business in 2002, it had gone from the brink of bankruptcy to a multi-million dollar powerhouse.
Working from serviced offices in Collingwood, Stefan joined a world renowned coaching organisation and quickly earned a reputation as a leading business strategist for small business owners. He was ranked in the top 1% of business coaches globally.
Stefan’s first client was Dean Wright from A Discount Signs in Thomastown who was a client for over 32 months.
Stefan began to fill his book with many private mentoring clients including Danielle Storey of The Cartridge Family in 2008 who was a client for 63 months, and Brendan Dover of The Drain Man – Stefan’s longest standing client who commenced working with him in 2007.
Stefan moved out of his serviced office in the CBD and into Suite 8002 on the 8th level of the Westfield Tower in Doncaster.
It quickly become apparent that more space was required and Stefan took over the lease of Suite 8001 in August 2013.
By 2011 Stefan was quickly running out of space in his diary to be able to help any more small business owners. It was as this time that he made a decision to launch the Board of Directors 12 program.
Stefan’s plan for this unique program was to help more business owners achieve a greater quality of life. The program launched with six business owners, which quickly grew in numbers to what it is today – 12 business owners per program.
In March 2015, the program was further enhanced with the inclusion of monthly one-on-one accountability sessions with a senior strategist from the coaching team.
Nikki Sadler joined the team as the Office Manager. Nikki was a manager of a small business and, along with the owner, was coached by Stefan as a one-on-one and Board of Directors 12 client.
When the overseas investor in the business decided it was time to sell, Nikki joined Stefan’s team.
With her strong administration experience, and first-hand knowledge from being a client for over 5 years, Nikki quickly became an invaluable member of the team.
With the formation of Business Benchmark Group in 2014, Nikki was promoted to Business Manager.
Business Benchmark Group launched its first community project in collaboration with Manningham Business.
Running a series of workshops for business owners in the evenings, the project was very well received and in February 2014 the Manningham 500 project was launched.
By the end of 2014, word had spread about the workshops and in 2015 the project was opened to all businesses in Melbourne and renamed M500.
This monthly event now attracts over 60 business owners who are all committed to taking their business to the next level.
Stefan wrote and published his first book, “From Deadwood to Diamonds”, which was written to help business owners unlock the profit potential in their business.
Jackey Coyle, Editor of Inside Small Business Magazine wrote about the book, “If your business isn’t going anywhere, this book should spur it on”, and book reviewer Good Reads wrote “When it comes to Stefan Kazakis, think Donald Trump meets Bradley J. Sugars. He dishes out brutal truth mixed with practical steps to get your business profitable. Kazakis outlines simple steps you can take to turn your business around. Kazakis has written an action manual that’s a must-read for all small business owners.”
Stefan acquired RED Business in London and Damien Churton joined the team as a Senior Business Strategist.
Damien had recently made the decision to live in Australia and, with Damien’s wealth of international business experience, this provided the perfect base from which he could build upon his experiences.
At this time, Stefan founded the Business Benchmark Group with plans to build a company dedicated to business coaching and helping more business owners achieve their goals.
The company’s philosophy was established with Stefan’s unwavering belief that business has the power to transform lives, build legacies, create abundance and achieve dreams – for both owners and employees.
Due to the popularity of Stefan’s book “From Deadwood to Diamonds” and the ever increasing number of smaller business owners needing guidance and support, a new program, Diamond Club, was launched.
It was originally launched as a monthly program for small business owners that wanted to create growth and achieve greater levels of business success.
Additionally, the program was designed as a stepping stone to the signature program, Board of Directors 12.
In February 2016, Diamond Club, because of its popularity, became a more regular, fortnightly program.
In line with its 5-year plan, July to October 2015 saw the transformation of BBG's office space in the Westfield Tower.
With the acquisition of Suite 8003, a major refurbishment was undertaken which improved coaching room facilities, created six office spaces for the growing team and gave the whole office a much-needed face lift.
Precise planning ensured that the transition into a temporary office space was seamless for the clients and the project was completed on time and on budget.
In what will be seen as a pinnacle moment in the history of Business Benchmark Group, February saw the launch of new branding and a new website.
As the long-term plan for Business Benchmark Group continues to be realised, the new logo captures the essence of growth and the continued push forward in what is a fast-growing company and future growth moving forward.
As with all changes of identity, much thought had been put into this process and February 2016 will be remembered as the time when the bar was again raised for, not only Business Benchmark Group, but the coaching industry as a whole both here and overseas.