Risk & Business Magazine California Risk & Business Magazine Summer 2017 - Page 14

ONE DAY A WEEK One Day A Week This Entrepreneur More Than Doubled His M Revenue By Cutting His Hours urray Seward cut his hours to 10 hours a week, yet he has grown his Survivor-style adventure outing business from $3 million to $8 million in revenue in just three years. Here’s how. In 2013, Murray Seward’s firm, the Outback Group of companies, was stuck at around $3 million in annual revenue. Since then, revenues in its core business — consisting of team-building operations Canadian Outback Adventures & Events and American Outback Adventures & Events — have grown 166% and profits have ticked up by 333%. Meanwhile, Seward has reduced his hours to just one day a week, though his company also owns a significant stake in three other ventures: 14 Corporate Explorer Training, Canadian Outback Rafting Company, and Vancouver Christmas Market. Seward’s secret? He became more disciplined about how he runs his 32-employee, Vancouver-based company. After Seward became a shareholder in the firm in 1999, the Outback Group grew gradually. Like many enthusiastic entrepreneurs, Seward threw himself into working around the clock to spark growth, but he couldn’t move the needle much. DIFFERENT APPROACH While chatting about the business at a hockey game, a friend suggested he try a different approach—one that wasn’t built on hunkering down at the office. Seward tried it, and since then, he has seen dramatic growth at the company, founded in 1992. “Profitability has gone through the roof,” says Seward, the firm’s president. “It just blows me away.” This year, his company will run 2,500 corporate team building events and leadership training programs in North America but it has become so efficient that Seward has pared his hours dramatically— to just 10 hours a week. Working only on Thursdays, he has freed plenty of time to do what he loves: spending time with his wife and children, coaching baseball, fishing, volunteering as a mentor in a group that teaches entrepreneurship to young people and reading business books—one of his passions. “I suck up those books,” he says. So how did he pull it off? Seward used