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in 2013 alt-collective founder - courtney tune - left a well paying government job to pursue a career in small business. grab a tissue - this is his story... 


Finding a .22 bullet in the letterbox...

...spies hiding out in the toilets, dodging media at the police station, chasing down ice addicts in alley ways, jumping jetty's at midnight - sounds like Underbelly Season 1 - alas just a day in the life of a small business owner. In 2013, having completed a couple of fancy pants University Business Degrees, with a honey & two little cherubs in tow, I kicked off my own business - a bar, restaurant & live music venue on the Sawtell main drag - and so began the real education in business. 5-years & a good psychologist later, I came out with one of the richest business educations the main drag could provide. 



Your bleeding cash, you're overstaffed, you're stressed, you're broken boned, you're a slave to an unnameable half-forgotten ambition, you're just another guy on the lost highway, a ramblin' man... 

 July 2013 

Putting together the fanciest 120-page Business Plan, one that'd get any academic or accountant up and excited, only to let it sit on the shelf, untouched for 5-years.

 What I Learned 

Keep It Simple Stupid - Business Planning's important but it doesn't have to be complicated. A few key pages stuck on the toilet door, checked and updated from time to time, will get you by.


 November 2013 

The Coffee Roaster tells you to spend all your money on a Coffee Machine - the Brewer tells you to spend all your money on Beer Taps - the Fromager tells you to spend all your money on an oversized cheese fridge.

 What I Learned 

Trust your gut, stay focussed & stick with what you're good at and passionate about. Really nail 1 thing and then think about expanding your offering. Beers by far the best.

Beer Taps.jpg

 February 2014 

Police turn up on our opening night, and on a regular basis thereafter, to address concerns/complaints from our 'community minded' licensed behemoth competitors.

 What I Learned 

Work with the authorities - be open & transparent - they know when someone's being a bully & they know you won't be perfect from the start - they're there to help...usually!

Crowded Room MoMo.jpg

 February 2014 

Getting on the front page of the local rag, & featuring in some fancy national food mag.

 What I Learned 

You need your buddies the most at the beginning so draw on your networks and don't be afraid to ask for help and a few favours. Get involved in what you can. You can pull a lot of favours when you have copious amounts of beer at your disposal. 

Courtney Mothers Milk.jpg

 April 2014 

Finding out my new best buddy at the bar was actually a spy for 'the local' and that he'd gone and measured my disabled toilet notifying Council that it was 55mm short of the 2100mm requirement.

 What I Learned 

Make sure you stick a poster in the toilet stating 'No Needles or Measuring Tapes Allowed.' Oh yeah & make sure you get it right with your approvals because if the authorities don't take you to task for it one of your insecure competitors will.


 November 2014 

Finding a .22 Bullet in the Letterbox & having to ship the family out of the state at short notice.

 What I Learned 

Book flights as early as possible...they're really expensive when you have to book them last minute.


 Can't remember when 

Having to get a prescription for Sleeping Tablets & a referral to a Psychologist.

 What I Learned 

Meditation classes work a hell of a lot better than sleeping tablets & a good shrink focusses on wellbeing to cure nuttiness rather than pills to mask it.





That stage where you realise that only through your enjoyment in business will your customers get the most out of your offering. That less is more. That happiness, wellbeing and enjoyment in what you do play a bigger role in business success than 'Tim Shaw's 10 Top Tips on Selling'...but wait there's more...  

 July 2016 

Jack McCoy, legendary surf film maker, drops in unannounced, on his way back from doing a film clip for Paul McCartney, to do a Q&A for the local Boardriders at our screening for one of his classic surf films.

 What I Learned 

If you do things with the best intentions, in conjunction with good people good stuff will happen. 


 August 2016 

With our nearest and dearest customers we converge on the biggest beer festival in the Southern Hemisphere drinking beer that's brewed with yeast cultured from the belly button fluff of the brewer. 

 What I Learned 

Get out & about & inspired on a regular basis. Really engage with your best customers - it's a partnership. Beer brewed with the fluff of a hairy bellied brewer is pretty average. 


 Sometime 2016 

I buddy up with a punk with a pain in the butt 'anything is possible' mentality and a bromance blossoms.

 What I Learned 

Look out for gurus and mentors - they don't always come dressed in a saffron robe with a shaved head - sometimes they come with a bunch of tatts & pink hair.


 May 2017 

Holding the record for 'smallest commercial kitchen' in the country we manage to secure the services of two highly regarded Chefs who've run some of the most successful kitchens in the country.

 What I Learned 

Drop the Ego. Hang out with people who are better than you - you'll learn more. Just ask the question - you never know they might say yes.  

Share Food.jpg

 November 2017 

Australian music legend - Tim Rogers of You Am I - swings by to play one of the most awesome and intimate little gigs he's played in his career.

 What I Learned 

When someone you highly respect tells you that you won't be able to pull something off just politely thank them for their time and go ahead and do it anyway.

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 January 2018 

The Head Chef bails & the oven packs it in all at the start of your busiest week of the year. 

 What I Learned 

Whatever stage in business you're at there's always going to be 'curve balls' so learn to be permeable - be childlike - get your little 'tanty' out of the way and then move on like it never happened...'roll with the punches' was one of the best pieces of advice I got.


 2018 Sometime 

You become comfortable with  your space and you start to involve the family more - the kids get more involved and they give you a youthful appreciation for what you're doing. 

 What I Learned 

Kids are really cheap labour but they eat things off the plate when they're taking the food out to your patrons, & they generally get bored of doing the same thing after 7 minutes. Also keep them away from your beer taps.  


 July 2018 

We sell the business!

 What I Learned 

Celebrate your successes with your nearest & dearest - go out with a bang. Use professionals - they might cost you a bunch of money but they'll save you a lot of pain, they'll get the job done properly, and they'll get you a better result in the end. Do a good handover to the new owner - if you play your cards right they might let you come back from time to time to taste test new brews and 'clear the lines.' 



2018 & beyond...

So what happens when you sell a Business...once you've spent a few days on the couch...thinking about nothing really...over indulging in a few post match think about starting the next Business that's what happens next...

 August 2018 

We start Alt-Collective & in the first 3-Years we've been fortunate enough to have been able to support over 800 businesses through Individual & Group Sessions, & Special Events.  

 What I Learned 

Small Business is addictive - to get to share something you're passionate about with other likeminded people - the independence, creativity & flexibility of being your own boss. To be able to share the journey & help those just starting out to help navigate some the pitfalls & to be able to share in those successes is a real privilege to be a part of!


Anyway you get
the picture...

So I've taken what we learned on the main drag, in academia, & my previous experience having worked over 10-years in Economic & Business Development, to deliver less boring Community & Economic Development outcomes.

If you got this far, thanks for following my story. Be sure to follow Alt-Collective on social media to keep up with what is currently unfolding, because with us business is an adventure!


Courtney Tune.

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