How does Honesty & Respect help when Building a Multi-Million dollar Business?

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1 year ago Tradie Exchange

Dear Tradie Exchange readers,

What are your views on this? Do you put Honesty & Respect into your toolbox when heading out at the beginning of each day? Does it help to bring the big bucks, fill up the piggy bank? 

To help kickstart the conversation Tradie Exchange Marketing had a chat with Kazan Hadden from Nickaz Commercial Interiors.

Not only did we talk about the growth of the Nickaz business, but we pushed the boundaries and talked about the passion behind the man, and the values that help to keep us on the straight and narrow.

Now ordinarily I don’t get nervous when having a chat with someone and asking nosey questions about how they grew their business. But I did a little research prior and thought, oh man I wish I could build a multi-million dollar business. And as I flipped my thinking I thought this is a great opportunity to get a lot of tips – for myself and the broader Tradie Exchange network.

The purpose for sharing this on Tradie Exchange – for Builders, Tradespeople, Apprentices and across the industry – is that I have no doubt many of you will be nodding your head in agreement. Or if there’s a half nod then perhaps you have views from your own experience you will want to share.

I wanted to pull out the insights on how Kazan made his transition, from a 14 year old boy playing professional football, through to living by himself in a caravan and onto managing a successful and sustainable business in the Building, Design & Construction Industry in Australia.

A Quick Bio on the Nickaz Business 

To give some street cred to the story here’s the bio on Kazan’s business which he founded 20 years ago from a garage.

Nickaz are multi-million dollar commercial interiors company, specialising in commercial interior fitout, building refurbishment as well as construction management across industries. They have been operating in the industry for 20 years with offices located in the Norwest Business Park, and more recently Nickaz launched offices in the centre of Sydney.

At the most recent Hills Building and Design Awards, Nickaz was awarded two prestigious awards, the Best Interior Fitout and The People’s Choice awards. Check them out here >>

[Tradie Exchange] Whew. Sounds good. Especially the 20 years part. Then the awards, and business expansion. How do we grow to be like that?

Kazan, how did you get started in the Industry?

I’m actually a carpenter by Trade, I started working for my brother-in-law between the age of 18-21 years. But after a while I wanted more, so I asked for a pay rise. It was a no. So I quit.

I started playing professional football at the age of 14, but then got 2 Broken Legs

I actually left home at the age of 14. Family life was not ideal, there were 8 of us as kids growing up and none of us stayed past the age of 16. As a young kid I was exposed to a lot.

As a 14 year old I got chosen as part of a professional football program to travel to the UK and play. I first played in England and then in Argentina. But unfortunately, this didn’t last long. When I got two broken legs at the age of 17 that was that for my professional football.

From there I spent quite a bit of time on my own, figuring out what I was going to do, what I wanted to do. I came back to Australia and was living in a caravan and I spent time in the bush to get over my injuries.

Working with Family and doing my Apprenticeship

I got introduced to the trades through my two brother in-laws. One was a carpenter and one was a builder. Every day I was doing odd jobs and I was on the broom for 6-months. It took about 4 years to focus and get through it all. So when I finally asked for a pay rise, and it was a “no” that’s when I just quit.

Did you have a big fancy job lined up? What did you do when you quit?

I sat in a coffee shop every day. From 6 in the morning to 5 at night. I had no job. I had nothing to do.

But each day I would turn up at the coffee shop. I’d set out a plan and I’d just start ringing people. I eventually became friends with the coffee shop owner and together we’ve since opened 3 bars together.

I just took things 1 step at a time and this is where things started.

[Tradie Exchange] 3 Bars! Nice work.

Do you have any advice for people who are looking for a job?

Be honest and open when talking to people.

It’s your ability to create relationships that will build trust. Then you’ll be given opportunities.

You can work through things. Acknowledge what you can do, what you can’t and what you’re willing to try and do your best on.

What inspiration do you have for someone starting their career?

Just be yourself. You can achieve and you can get what you want. Just be yourself. And as above – be honest and open.

Are there any Insights You Wish the Younger You Had?

As I said, my upbringing was not the best which is why I took the opportunity to leave as soon as I could. I went overseas and lived on my own. Clearly, I stepped outside of my comfort zone. But I don’t know that I would change anything in my experience. It has built resilience and perseverance.

My insights now…

1. Enjoy life and love what you do
2. Build relationships & connect
3. People see through fakeness
4. Accept help
5. Never break a relationship

Enjoy life and love what you do

I know to enjoy life and love what you do.

You can see the difference between someone who’s doing something they’ve been told to do, or told they ‘should’ do. Even if that’s getting an apprenticeship when they want to follow a creative path. They’re detached.

If you’re focused on doing something you love, it becomes more than just the money. It’s about doing a good job. Bringing along the right work ethic.

Saying what you’re going to do and then doing it. Not ‘saying’ you’ll turn up and then not turning up.

Sometimes if you don’t try you’ll never know. Overcoming that fear of taking the first few steps.

Build Relationships & Connect

It’s easier if you’re passionate about what you do. It becomes natural. You believe in what you’re doing. If you’re passionate about something give it a go.

People see through fakeness

It’s not just about the money. Care.

Accept Help

Also, don’t be afraid of letting go. If you’ve got something you want to do, or something you want to get out there – don’t take it to the grave.

If it’s a problem shared – then seek help and get the right expertise. Sometimes it’s about letting go and finding the right like minded expertise where you can help each other achieve.

[Tradie Exchange] About now I’m thinking far out, is he reading my mind? All those projects I want to get out there…. All those projects I know you want to get out there…

Never Break A Relationship

In your 20’s & 30’s you might do work that you think is a one-off. But never forget, don’t burn your bridges. Do the right thing. It’s all about repeat business. Referral business. Trusted Relationships.

[Tradie Exchange] Nah, that’s not me. Meh, that’s someone else. I’m off to do my Hail Mary’s…

And what about now, what drives you? I suppose as you go through different stages and times of your life things can change.

Yes, a lot of different things can happen over time. Now a lot of it has to do with Family and wanting to look after them.

There is always a desire to achieve and see how far you can go. You look at things and think “how can we make this better”. A lot of it is having the courage to step outside of your comfort zone.

And you do get to a stage where you want to give back. I’m currently on the board of John McLean foundation and the Steve Waugh Foundation Ride.

*Nickaz are involved in many charities including, Ride to Conquer Cancer, The World’s Greatest Shave, the annual Property Industry Foundation charity for homeless children, the City2Surf, Steve Waugh Foundation Ride and more recently Kazan has been working closely with John Maclean and his foundation, which assists children in wheelchairs and their families.

[Tradie Exchange] Gulp, where do you find the time? Yes – when there’s passion there is a way. No more T.V for me. Does anyone want to start something? Me, You, We?

Do You Have a Project That is Special To You?

Yes, my ‘coming of age’ project. The Wiggles Sound & TV studio. At the time I’d never built a sound or TV studio. I was approached to do this, as a trusted contact. This was one project that helped to put us on the map. When you’re really passionate about something you become a quick learner. You research, you learn, you do. TRUST again played a big role with our client relationship. With our client, we’re good friends.

Wiggles Sound Studio

Do you have any insights for the Industry or things you wish were better?

It does seem like it has become unregulated. When there becomes a shortage of trades that’s when you see a lot of different things happening.

You may be a Young Apprentice and then operating a business. Pushing things hard, but not owning mistakes.

We need a bigger push on accountability. There is a breakdown.

I don’t have all of the answers, but there is something around how we build in honesty and respect. And thinking about how long you’re going to be in the industry. It’s not just about the quick wins.

And advice for people going through their Apprenticeship?

It would be good to find a way to teach the moral part of providing a service vs doing 1/2 a job a getting the money. There can be a trap, with trades having the best of intentions to get the work done, but then getting overloaded. With so much work available and taking on so much, then the ball drops.

Thinking aloud… how do we get people to stop putting up smoke and mirrors or encourage them not go down that path to begin with? Is it about teaching the moral part? Should this be taught throughout schools and when teaching and starting with mums & dads?

And if you had a Magic Wand? What would you do?

If there was a platform to teach kids the pitfalls of running a business a certain way, and not to fall into certain traps and temptations. A way to instil a moral and business conscience into the way we do things. Just thinking about things like;

* A Business conscience
* A Financial conscience
* A Social conscience

What would that look like? What have you got? Can I have a look?

We have a set of values at Nickaz which include:

* Honesty at all times
* Respect
* Effort
* Pride
* Communication
* Perseverance

Nickaz Values 2016

The above was kindly provided by the team at Nickaz. Passed onto us at TradieExchange and now passed onto You.

We hope you have enjoyed this Tradie Exchange, and we sincerely thank the time Kazan took to pass on his insights. During this conversation I had a lot of aha moments, and soon after passed on a few nuggets to others on the network. Just the kinda stuff like “hang in there mate”, “you’re THIS close to finishing and you know you can do it”.

I can imagine there would be great satisfaction when looking back on the paths that have been travelled and to receive a testimonial like this…

“Nickaz has not only helped piece my dream together, they have helped make it come true”.

I believe Honesty & Respect can help build a Sustainable & Financially Successful business.



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