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Imagine Better

Imagine running your business on your phone.

Bootstraps & Bathing: How Soak Bathhouse Became a Thriving Health Business

Imagine running your business on your phone.

Co-founder of Gold Coast day spa Soak Bathhouse Niki Dean did. By partnering with SRJ Walker Wayland—he made it a reality.

For over 10 years, the right systems and processes—and the right guidance along the way—have helped Niki turn dollar businesses into multi-million dollar enterprises.

“I had no idea when I was first starting my business in the fitness industry,” says Niki, “Everything was done manually and we had zero systems in place. SRJ Walker Wayland helped us imagine better—to the point that I can run my current wellness business from my phone.”

From the ground up.

Niki started his first gym in 2007. “It was a bootstrap business”, he says, “We were a startup with ideas and passion—but without the structure and know-how to take it to the next level.”

“We needed expert advice if we wanted to grow”.

Niki teamed up with SRJ Walker Wayland in 2009—and gave his business the breakthrough he was looking for. What started as a single gym grew to multiple sites and a franchise that he sold for an impressive $30M in 2017.

For eight of those 10 years, SRJ Walker Wayland was by his side.

“When you’re a small business—there are a lot of unknowns” says Niki, “Tax compliance in particular was a real worry for us.”

“SRJ WW crossed every ‘i’ and dot every ‘t’—we knew we were compliant to the end. And the systems and processes they implemented gave us the solid base we needed to expand from.”

The bigger picture.

Niki had built a $30M business—with his experience he became CEO of one of Australia's largest and most popular health club chains Goodlife Health Clubs.

Niki had the responsibility of 3700 staff on his shoulders—he needed the right partners to guarantee he stayed on the straight and narrow.

Niki retained SRJ Walker Wayland as his personal accountants. From statutory audits to taxation compliance, SRJ WW supported, guided and advised Niki at every step.

"The simplicity of how my accounting needs were managed—the time and effort saved plus the assurance that everything was right the first time—let me focus on what I do best,” says Niki.

Imagine better business.

And do best is just what Niki did.

After running a successful multi-million dollar health club chain, Niki had the vision to see what defines success—systems and processes. At the same time, Niki was witnessing the evolution of fitness into wellness.

“Fitness culture has typically been about striving for more, pushing harder and transforming mental strength into physical strength,” Niki says.

“But over the past few years, that's started to change. People are realising just how important recovery is to making progress and the culture has shifted. The image of health is now about balance and overall wellness.”

Niki opened a new type of wellness space on the Gold Coast called Soak Bathhouse—rather than intense workout classes, it offers indoor and outdoor mineral baths, hot spas, cold plunge, sauna, yoga and meditation.

“We envisaged a place where people could connect, move and nourish their bodies—and recover both mentally and physically,” says Niki.

The whole picture.

The challenge for Niki was taking the learnings from his career in big business and applying them to his new venture.

“It was our vision to run Soak Bathhouse from our phones. We knew we needed to outsource and automate to streamline our business,” says Niki. “But we were hesitant—handing over the reins to someone else was nerve wracking.”

Having worked with SRJ Walker Wayland throughout his career, Niki knew just who to ask for help.

“My existing relationship with SRJ made choosing them for my accounting needs a no-brainer,” says Niki, “But I’d never used their end-to-end finance solution before. Nonetheless, I trusted them to make it happen.”

“Running a business is about more than numbers,” says SRJ’s Tracy Johnson—Soak Bathhouse’s CFO. “At SRJ Walker Wayland, it starts with people and their goals. We’re proud to be true partners in business for our clients—a one-stop shop—not just accountants.”

“SRJ imagined the whole picture,” says Niki. “From strategic planning to workflow automation and bookkeeping, they got us where we wanted to go with a clear roadmap and business support every step of the way”.

Time for more.

Without the burden of managing a financial team, Niki’s time is freed up. He gets the data he needs to make decisions—and his bandwidth back.

“We can get into detail,” says Tracy, “But our clients’ time is better spent elsewhere. We use automated tech to capture and report on data, giving our clients better business insights, performance, and compliance—fast.”

The proof is in the pudding, with Soak having its best year yet.

“COVID has shone a light on health and wellbeing—it's more of a priority for people and there’s a thriving health economy,” says Niki.

“And the best part? I can run it all from my phone.”

We imagine better for your business everyday. For a confidential conversation with an SRJ Walker Wayland partner, contact us today today.

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