Secret of my success

KP founder Peter King at his Alexandria base.
KP founder Peter King at his Alexandria base.

PETER King started his business in 1995 with a second-hand van and $400 worth of tools. Today, his Alexandria-based KP Electric is one of the country’s biggest electrical contracting businesses, with 180 staff, 14 offices and depots across Australia, and turnover of $30 million a year.

Business Daily: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received in business?

Peter King: “It doesn’t matter what technical skill you possess the most important skill is managing people. I soon realised after a few years of initial growth and micro managing everything, the business was not a scalable model. From a management perspective, I engaged adviser, David Deane-Spread to assist in enabling me to develop a skill set that I had little experience in. One of the best pieces of advice he gave was to look at what makes happy employees. Empower them, develop them, and give them a future.”

BD: What was your toughest lesson in business?

PK: “Learning that creating a sustainable and profitable business doesn’t involve accepting every job that comes along.”

BD: What were your best and worst decisions in business?

PK: “One of the best decisionsI made was to embrace technology. I made the decision to install GPS tracking systems in all of our vans a decade ago. Our grassroots staff had iPads about three weeks after they came out and we have continued to develop apps and reports using the iPad since. We’ve had a real time, paperless system in place for about 10 years. I have made a few bad decisions … these included projects that were badly quoted and poor recruitment standards.”

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