ANDREW Federowsky is a principal founder of one of Australia's largest trade exchanges and although the businessman has attempted to retire, his passion for Bartercard has kept him work for the Gold Coast-founded business for more than 25 years.

Along with co-founders Wayne Sharpe and Brian Hall, Federowsky sold the company in 2007 for $25.5 million.

Federowsky says retirement didn't agree with him, but he didn't give it much of a chance, as he officially retired on a Monday, and by Wednesday he had bought his own Bartercard franchise, the Bartercard South Gold Coast branch.

Federowsky talks to Gold Coast Business News about some of the highlights of his career along with the challenges facing Bartercard, including misperceptions facing the brand.

What are three key leadership strengths you bring to your role at Bartercard South Gold Coast and how do they assist in the successful running of the business?

Inspirational, focused, being goal orientated and never giving up.  Inspiring staff and members is a key part in any industry that is slightly out of the norm and often misunderstood.  I have learned very early on in my 'Mercedes days' that setting goals and staying focused on them are key to success.  Never give up well, what can I say, I am relentless in pursuing my goals. Even if there are failures during the way of getting to them, you don't build a global company if you give up easily.

What have been some of the biggest challenges Bartercard and you have faced over the past five years and how did you overcome these?

Over the last five years, the biggest challenge has been the economic impact on our members and their ability to trade through Bartercard.  The second one is the understanding of what can be done with a business tool like Bartercard - most people just don't know.  People think they are busy and fighting for survival, rather than taking the time to plan.

In an interview with Gold Coast Business News you conceded that even after two decades of operation, Bartercard is one of the most 'misunderstood' businesses.  Why is it misunderstood and how does the business continue to grow despite this?

We engage in a number of charities and sports clubs, and sometimes people feel more at ease to ask about Bartercard in a 'low pressure' environment.  I also think that the referrals we get from our members have increased.  The message that Bartercard is really for every business but maybe not for every business owner has made some people think twice.

What have been some of the biggest highlights of your career?

  • Meeting the King of Jordan.
  • Listing on the AIM market in the UK.
  • Listed Bartercard in Germany - my home country.  What a buzz.
  • Setting up Bartercard NZ as our first International operation in 1993.
  • Getting paid $1 million for an international license basically for an idea we had.
  • Getting inducted into the Bartercard Hall of Fame in 2005.

What are some of the challenges the Gold Coast represents moving forward for Bartercard?

The only challenge is really the understanding of business owners and what Bartercard could do for them, or their willingness to find out.

What can the Gold Coast do to improve conditions for business owners?

I believe that everyone is in charge of their destiny, but an easier approval system for building applications could help since the Coast relies on the building industry.  In addition, making it easier to market and promote a business, rather than policing and restrictions from the Gold Coast City Council.

What makes the Gold Coast a great place to do business?

It makes work-life balance a lot easier when you live in a beautiful place. Great weather makes the Gold Coast a happy place. In general, the open mindedness of people who live on the Coast. Also, it is great that on the Gold Coast people don't mind having a go.

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