Nutting out a financial plan for Australian Gourmet Hazelnuts

Image of hazelnuts in a bowl

Clem and Vanessa Cox had built a thriving hazelnut business near Mudgee in NSW, using Australian varieties not available anywhere else in the world. But one day, their tractor seized up completely. “By the time it was fixed, there wasn’t enough time left in the season to complete the harvest,” Vanessa said. “When our world fell apart, Phillip was the first person I thought of.”

Phillip Small is a Business Connect advisor in Mudgee and met Clem and Vanessa at the 2015 Delicious Magazine awards. “I called him and said, what do we do?” Vanessa said. “We’d overstretched our finances and couldn’t afford to repair the tractor, which meant our entire business came to a halt.”

Phillip directed Clem and Vanessa to a small business funding body and helped them apply for a grant, so they could afford to get through the harvest. They were soon back in business and decided to continue meeting with Phillip to improve other areas of their business.

It was Phillip who suggested that Clem and Vanessa start selling their hazelnut products directly to consumers online, something they’d never considered before that point. “Phillip said 60% of retail sales are happening online, so we were potentially missing out on 60% of business opportunities by not selling our products online,” Vanessa said.

Clem and Vanessa are now working with Phillip to develop an exit strategy for the business, so they can retire and feel confident that the local hazelnut industry is in good hands.