Ace Karts is a kart racing track that has been offering a fun experience to families and a competitive environment to serious racers for over two decades. Inside Small Business recently spoke to one of the business’s co-founders, Ali Sadiku, about his journey and how the business has not only survived but thrived – revenue has increased by 20 per cent in the last two years – by embracing digital transformation to attract and retain customers.
ISB: How did the Ace Karts business come about?
AS: My Co-Founder Paul was working with his family at a well-established track in Melbourne when he began to appreciate the innovation and excitement surrounding the go-karting industry. Having grown up in the city’s western suburbs, Paul appreciated that this area was the perfect location for a track and that the market was ready for it. He approached me to join him in the venture and together we opened up a 10-kart, tin shed, gravel car park establishment working 7am till 1am saying yes to everyone and anyone who wanted a ride. We now run a state-of-the art real-life racing facility with 65 high-octane Super Karts boasting one of the most challenging open-air Go Kart tracks in Australia.
ISB: How did you fund the enterprise in its start-up phase?
AS: This venture started in 1994. There were very few financing options at that time. We borrowed money against our mortgages. We sank everything into this dream.
ISB: What was the single biggest challenge you faced in turning your concept into a reality?
AS: The biggest challenge was acquiring the land from the council. The case was simple. Ace Karts would be providing employment to local youths in an industry with longevity to help clean up the streets in the west of Melbourne. The plan worked and to this day – 23 years down the track – we still have some of the original staff from day one who are now achieving their own dreams.
ISB: I understand the business has really taken off after embracing the concept of data and undergoing a digital transformation – please expand on how this came about, and the impact it has had on the business.
AS: We recognised that customers are reaching for technology and so a digital transformation was the only way to continue to connect with our 70,000+ strong customer base. We are all about our customer experience and so we must always find a way to connect and communicate with our customers in a language that speaks to them. If they want the information digitally, then that is the way we will deliver it. Our consumer response to our digital transformation has been out of this world, so we know we are on the right track.
ISB: How did you go about devising and implementing your business plan?
AS: There are so many facets to business development these days that didn’t exist 23 years ago when the business was established. We have grown to understand that surrounding ourselves with the right team to help create a business plan and a clear pathway to our end goals is the key. We aren’t experts in everything, however, if we engage with those who are the best in their fields then we have the opportunity to constantly push our business goals further whilst maintaining our competitive edge.
ISB: What was the most important lesson you have learned on your journey that you would pass on to others with an idea they’d like to turn into a business?
AS: Get to know every role within your business intimately. The more you know, the more accurately you can plan for the business to keep it moving forward. Always be building something exciting.
Inside Small Business