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Speedy Business Success for Dave Stevens and Brennan IT

Speedy Business Success for Dave Stevens and Brennan IT

Dave Stevens, F1 driver and founder of Brennan IT, explains why running a business isn’t all that different from achieving the perfect lap on the racetrack.

DB: How and when did you get into racing driving?
DS: I started racing in 2003, but got heavily into cars in 2001. I’ve driven a mixture of sports cars: Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lotus, and some open wheelers too, Formula Ford and Formula 3.

DB: What do you drive?
DS: In the Australian GT Championships I drive a stunning Ferrari F430 Challenge. I have had lots of race cars but this is definitely the most capable, good looking and fun to drive.

DB: What car do you drive off the racetrack?
DS: I drive a Porsche 911 Turbo. It’s good for dropping the kids off to school and is also a weapon!

DB: What has been your biggest achievement on the racetrack so far?
DS: I would have to say taking third place in three races at this year’s Australian F1 Grand Prix. Although they were only third places, they happened after a break of 18 months and were also in front of my wife and 70,000 other fans! We got to do the whole podium presentation, champagne spraying and press conference. Awesome fun. This all took place in front of the corporate box of our newest sponsor, NEC. So a great weekend!

DB: What has been your biggest achievement with Brennan so far?
DS: Maintaining a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40-plus percent over 10 years and a CAGR of 80-plus percent profitability over the same time. We have built an exceptional business that is able to grow its revenue rapidly over a long period of time and still keep record levels of profitability. This is a unique result.

DB: How do you fit your racing commitments around your day job?
DS: I’m lucky that the management team at Brennan is capable of running the business on a day-to-day basis and that they don’t need me around all of the time. It makes it easier to fit a life in around the hard work and long hours.

DB: How does your exciting hobby impact on your job?
DS: It’s a great way to switch off. Nothing focuses the attention like taking a corner at 240km per hour! It also allows me to meet lots of great people in business.

DB: How does racing compare to running a business?
DS: The process of making a racecar work properly and delivering a great lap time at a given circuit on any given day is much like running a business. It’s a matter of having a go, giving feedback to the team and reviewing data, making changes to the setup, and then having another go to assess how the changes have impacted the car. This process is repeated constantly until you get closer to the perfect set-up and result.

DB: How do you juggle the two successfully?
DS: I don’t really. Work takes priority and when it allows then I go racing. Although the Brennan team is highly skilled, experienced and more then capable of running the business in my absence, so it isn’t often that work prohibits me from racing.

DB: How important do you think it is, as an entrepreneur, to have interests outside of your business?
DS: I think it’s important from a quality of life perspective. However for many years building Brennan was the only hobby I had and because I enjoyed it so much I didn’t feel that I was missing out. After many years’ hard at work, it’s great to have a couple of avenues for release!

DB: What is the best thing about racing?
DS: Winning! Followed closely by putting in that perfect lap where everything works perfectly on the car. It all seems to slow down inside the cockpit and it gets a lot easier, and then bang, a lap record pops up on the dash!

DB: Are people in racing surprised to hear that you work in IT?
DS: Not at all, there is a big Brennan sign on the side of the car! Also all the guys we race against are successful businessmen, so they expect that I be related to Brennan somehow.

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Jen Bishop

Jen Bishop

Jen was the publisher at Loyalty Media and editor of Dynamic Business, Australia's largest circulating small business magazine, from 2008 until 2012. She is now a full-time blogger at The Interiors Addict.

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