A successful business owner with a love for Lego, Reuven Barukh’s biggest inspiration is his father, who taught him the meaning of perseverance from a young age.
Business name: Live group
Industry: Financial services
Operating since: Founded in 2006, privatised in 2008 and restructured as Live group
Headquarters: Sydney, NSW
1. What was your first paid job?
I started out doing web design for a skip bin company at the age of 14. It was my first foray into the power of smart design and e-commerce, and I’ve not looked back since.
2. What made you get into your current business?
My father, Ewaz Barukh, was one of the founding directors who built the Cabcharge payment system in taxis – one of the first national mobile payment systems. This created an interest in payment systems since a very early age and provided a unique opportunity to watch payment systems evolve over a 20-year period.
3. How did you get your very first customer/client?
Our first business at Live group was Live taxi, providing payment solutions to taxi drivers. We started at the grassroots level and engaged taxi drivers at their place of business, taxi ranks, and educated them on the benefits of Live taxi.
4. What has been your biggest triumph in business?
Building unique systems, processes and operations, which allow our payments platform to seamlessly operate 24/7 365 days a year, from the ground up.
5. Conversely, what has been your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?
Not diversifying revenue streams early enough. We found that out the hard way when some years ago, some major changes to government legislation meant our profits were halved overnight. Since then, we’ve adapted the Live taxi technology to evolve into multiple brands with multiple revenue streams. A business with diversified products and revenue streams can significantly reduce long-term risk.
6. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
When creating a business, build with hyper-scale in mind – essentially, don’t just build your product or service with a linear frame of mind. Also, building your business from the ground up and having clarity around your vision, purpose and core values.
7. If you could change one thing to make life easier as a business owner, what would it be and why?
Having 24 hours more per week than the rest of the world. One needs to be constantly working – extra time would certainly give an edge over the rest!
8. Who do you look up to in business and why?
My dad has always been an inspiration for me. He was an entrepreneur as well, so I learnt what perseverance really meant from a very young age.
9. What do you do to get away from work?
Deep learning about topics that are completely unrelated to my field of day-to-day work. Also, building LEGO with my kids!
10. What is the best thing you have ever spent money on in your business (and why)?
Established an employee engagement budget. It’s people that build your business and who can spend more time at your business than with their own family and friends. Invest in them, make them feel appreciated, comfortable and energised. Help them foster strong working relationships.
11. Name a little-known fact about yourself.
When I was younger, one of my first business endeavours was running an online mobile phone store, selling mobile phones online.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.