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Starting a business

Green-fingered entrepreneur has big growth dreams

Odi Reuveni has long been the nurturing kind. Before he started his CUP O FLORA business, he’d take home dying plants after visiting friends and nurse them back to health.

Today, as the driving force behind a growing start-up, he’s turned his hand to providing the right conditions for his business to flourish in Australia and beyond.

The idea for CUP O FLORA was born five years ago. With a family in the landscaping business, Odi had a green thumb but noticed that others didn’t find it so easy to keep their leafy friends alive

“I was constantly rescuing friends’ plants. I’d take a plant home, look after it and give it back to them when it recovered. I decided there had to be a way to make growing plants easier,” says Odi.

It was on a trip to South America that he stumbled upon the seed of a business he’s spent the past four and a half years growing.

“I saw a plant in a kind of self-watering pot. It was only plastic but the plant seemed to be quite happy in there. I came home and started experimenting with a few designs until I found something that worked well with a variety of different plants,” says Odi.

His design for a simple but stylish, self-watering glass plant pot has won design accolades and helped build a wholesale business that generates a steady/increasing annual revenue. Like the plants, he’s working on further growth.

From small acorns

Odi says being realistic about available resources and tapping into helpful online technologies has helped fuel the growth of his business. Like many entrepreneurs when they’re starting out, he was only able to work on the business one day a week and at weekends.

“I try to make sure whatever I do is scalable based on the time and money I can put into it,” he says.

Odi began using QuickBooks two years ago after trialling other online accounting software. By allowing him to automate manual and mundane tasks, the platform has played an important role in the continued success of his budding business.

“When you’re trying to build a business as a one-man show, it’s easy to get consumed by admin. This eats up the time you need to grow. You need to outsource as much as you can to clear your mind and focus on more meaningful activities,” he says.

For those businesses yet to bite the bullet and move to online accounting, Odi says it’s been well worth the effort. Tasks that previously felt overwhelming or required support are now done automatically. The software provides reminders for actions that might otherwise slip a busy small business owner’s mind.

Integrations with third-party applications have reduced duplication of efforts, with data entered into one system automatically carried across into others. He now has visibility of his company’s true financial position thanks to synchronisation with various bank and PayPal accounts.

Odi feels prepared for the implementation of Single Touch Payroll (STP), the Australian Tax Office’s new initiative to streamline the reporting of tax and super information. He’s even jumped the gun and become an early adopter of STP ahead of the 1 July deadline.

“STP is a small adjustment that should make it easier at the end of the year, given that the ATO already has a lot of your important data. I watched one of Intuit’s webinars and it was all straightforward. Where there were a couple of glitches, it was just a matter of calling the ATO and sorting it out,” says Odi.

Encouraging new growth

Beyond STP, Odi is looking to his next business challenges – building local market share and entering international markets like New Zealand and the US. Here too, online accounting software is playing a key role in setting the foundation for CUP O FLORA’s success.

Automation is helping Odi ensure he can focus his energy on ensuring he makes the right strategic decisions for his business, while the system’s scalability gives him confidence it will work whether a customer is in Australia or beyond, and no matter how fast his business grows.

“Once you go international, the margin for error is a lot bigger. If you send stock and pay for storage but it’s not selling, it can take down the whole business. You have to do things in a very targeted way,” he says.

For those who have yet to implement online accounting & payroll software – a requirement for STP compliance – Odi recommends tackling the task incrementally, accepting that trial and error is all part of the journey.

“There’s so much you can do with the system but you don’t have to install all the functionality at once. Just prioritise those things that are important to your business right now. You’ll make mistakes along the way but soon enough you’ll wonder how you managed before,” he says.

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