6 Business Lessons from Entrepreneur Janine Allis

6 Business Lessons from Entrepreneur Janine Allis


Janine Allis has had a remarkable rise to her current role as a business leader in Australia.  The dominance of her brands in Australia, and the successful expansion of those same brands globally, stands her in a fascinating and exhilarating business position.

We were lucky enough to have Janine join us at the Australian Institute of Business Graduation Ceremony for 2014 in early November.  She gave a fantastic speech about her own business experiences, the path she took and the lessons she’s learnt along the way.

We’ve collated just a few of the amazing pieces of business wisdom that she shared below.

1. Know Your Roots:

Everyone has a background, a story of how they grew into the position they hold today. Janine’s story is a fairly spectacular one – leaving school at 16 and going to tech school, she learnt how to solder and sew, and type 100 words per minute. From there, she took a backpacking trip.

“It was 1984, and I told my Mother I was leaving for overseas to go on the typical Australian backpackers’ tour of the world, and that I would be going for 3 weeks. I came back 6 years later with a two year old.”

During that adventure, Janine worked in America and Europe, eventually scoring a job on a yacht – owned by none other than David Bowie.

“I hung out with David Bowie, Princess Margaret, Robin Williams and so many others. But it’s really interesting, in life: that even though you go, “Wow! You’ve hung out with all these really cool people!”, the reality was, guess who was the one who cleaned their toilets – it was me.”

If you know where you come from and how hard you’ve worked, you’re more likely to appreciate what you’ve become.

2. Lessons Are Everywhere:

Janine praised our graduating students for their efforts in achieving a formal qualification in business.

“The interesting thing about life, is that education is critical. I look at the business course I did, which was called Boost Juice Bars, and there were many things that I learned during that journey. I wish I had done what you guys did – then I might have known what I was talking about.”

“When I make mistakes that cost me money, I look at those mistakes as courses, so in actual fact, your course is cheap. And certainly to have that accreditation behind you for the future, it could save you millions” she said.

3. Know Your Passion:

After meeting and marrying her husband, Janine found herself at home as a mother of three, dreading the thought of returning to work for someone else. So Janine and her husband began their own business – but it took them a while to find their niche.

“You have to find the passion in what you do; without it, work is just a slog.” Janine said.

“It was only when I went to America and saw the market for Juices that I found my passion. I’m not a health freak, but I like to eat healthy. I’m not a gym junkie, but I love my yoga six days a week.”

This passion ignited the fire to succeed.

“Boost Juice bars are a beautiful healthy concept. It’s about doing things differently and having a bit of fun.”

4. Recruit for Success:

Boost Juice, and other brands in Janine’s growing portfolio, including Salsa’s Tex Mex and Cibo Espresso, are all very people-oriented businesses. They are about service – which makes recruiting hugely important.

“The number one reason our business fails or succeeds is the people we surround ourselves with.” She says.

Boost began with her and one temporary staff member – and has now grown to encompass a huge range of great employees.

“What we actually find with people in our businesses is that you have got to set goals and plan to succeed. You need people who will work through every single challenge, and just do it.”

5. Take Risks, and Be Afraid:

The growth of Boost Juice was a rapid one. From one store in Adelaide, Boost grew to 100 stores in 4 years. The business from inception has turnover over nearly $2 billion worth of sales, it has a 95% brand awareness, and 300 stores in 15 countries – but it all started with a risk.

“One of the things we found was we went from zero to 100 stores in 4 years with very little structure – and we found there was really a lot of cracks. We had to stop and really look at ourselves, make some tough decisions.” She said.

“We had wiped off 2 million dollars of expenses, we had done all sorts of things to make sure that in the future we were rock solid and interesting – that was 2004 and 2005, but from 2008 we have never gone backwards”.

When talking about her goals and achievements, Janine has one main motto that she sticks to.

“My goals petrify me, they scare the bejesus out of me. But we are given opportunities every single day, and it is so much easier to say ‘no’ instead of ‘yes.’ I think if we learn to say ‘yes’ first, extraordinary things happen.”

“Quite often if you have the courage to push forward no matter what the consequences, you get promoted, rather than losing your job.”

6. Know Your Inspirations:

Most business people have figures or leaders that they wish to emulate – and Janine is no different. She admires a variety of people for a variety of reasons – and not just business people. The Beatles, Michael Jordan, JK Rowling and Albert Einstein are all on her list of inspirations, as well as world-renowned entrepreneurs Richard Branson and Steve Jobs.

“I am a massive fan of Apple and what Steve Jobs has done. What he said, about “people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, usually do” – that’s important.” She said.

“In life you have choices. You can be a VERB, which is a “victim; entitled; rescue and blame”, or you can choose to soar, and I think all the successful people I have come across, they all choose to soar and they are all based on solutions, taking ownership of lives: being accountable and responsible for everything they do. It gives you incredible power.”

She had a great deal of amazing stories and advice to share, and we’re grateful to have had her speak at such an important occasion. Were you an attendee at our graduation? What valuable business lesson did you learn from Janine’s speech? Let us know in the comments!

This article was written by Simone Ball on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB.

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