Business and Pleasure, Altogether

VO Group is a full-service creation and communications agency, specialising in web design and development, social media management, photography, videography, branding, and public relations. We speak to the Managing Director, Kelsie Smith about business life on the Gold Coast.

Are you from the Gold Coast originally?

I was born in Toowoomba, and grew up on a Hobby Farm with my family. I decided to move to the Gold Coast when I was 18 as I was eager to meet new friends and live a bit more of a fast-paced life. And I got that, the Gold Coast is such a fun and creative place to live! I didn’t attend university, but I studied business and completed a few courses after school.

Why did you start your own business here?

I was an executive assistant for a few years and was lucky enough to meet some great business contacts, so when I left that position, I decided to use the skills and networking I had under my belt and go out on my own. I love being able to lead others and inspire others through my own hard work and my own passion. 

Who are your clients?  

We have worked with hundreds of clients around Australia and even overseas. Our clients range from small start-ups to publicly-listed companies. Some of the most recent work we have done is for brands such as Australian Sports Nutrition, Eco Tan, Milky Lane and Suite24.

How do you get new business? 

Mostly through word of mouth. The Gold Coast is a medium-sized city, but really, it’s small in nature because everyone knows everyone in the world of business and marketing. I love going to events, and making contacts through friends and my existing clients. 

What is the best thing about doing business on the Gold Coast?

The endless opportunities! For such a small city, there really is so much potential for expansion and growth, it’s only limited by your own imagination and work ethic. No matter what kind of business you want to start, I always encourage people to just give it a go. First and foremost, those who take risks (and work hard) will be those who reap the rewards. It’s never easy, but the journey is what makes it special. And on the Gold Coast you can meet some wonderful and inspiring people who you work alongside if you are open to asking for help and looking at others for inspiration.  

And the worst?

Well there will always be competition, and jealousy, which can be tough. The Gold Coast can be a little bit flashy, so people often get jealous of those who look like they are succeeding. There have been times where things have been said about my business or my employees that aren’t true, which can be hurtful. The same thing happens in many industries, like hospitality for example. But at the end of the day, if you concentrate on the clients who are authentic and keep working hard for them, the negative side of doing business on the Gold Coast will quickly fade into the back ground.  

What would you like to say to legislators about doing business on the Gold Coast? 

Improve the process of applying for zone changes with new leases! Particularly when you are looking at opening a fitness facility, which is such a booming industry on the Gold Coast, it currently costs potential new businesses thousands of dollars just to apply for the correct ‘zone’ to open their facility in, and it might not even get approved. This is one thing that I find challenging – the bureaucracy around small business doesn’t always allow for businesses to thrive. Supporting small business should be the number one focus of legislators, or we risk turning into a city dominated by chain restaurants and supermarkets, which isn’t what the Gold Coast is all about.  

What do you love about the Gold Coast? 

The proximity to water and the ocean is great, from most suburbs you are only a few minutes’ drive from a river, lake, or the ocean. I love the fact that you can be walking down the street and there are always tourists – people who had to wait for their vacation to come here and see the Gold Coast, which just reminds us how lucky we are to live here. It’s truly a beautiful city, both the landmarks and the natural features. We have the best of the beaches and the best of the hinterland at our back door!

What are your favourite haunts on the Gold Coast?

I love the new Casino vibe since they have opened the Darling, and with the continued expansion of the Casino and its new towers I think it will continue to be a luring place for Gold Coasters to go for a cocktail on the weekend. My favourite hangs for Friday night drinks are without a doubt Mamasan in Broadbeach, and Moo Moo for a good dinner, too. Weekends I love to check out the nightlife at Hideaway Lounge, Hellenika Rooftop bar or the new Burleigh Pavilion. 

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