You can imagine a young Randall Deer to be the kind of kid that never stopped asking “but why”. You know the child whose parents look like they are about to pull out their own hair if one more question rolls off their curious offspring’s tongue. Although he more than likely drove his mother up the wall, this inquisitive trait has set Randall in good stead for the career path in business that he has chosen to tread. Now 36, Randall is fast becoming known as one of tourism’s most sought after talents challenging the way the big tourism partners do business. And he is going quite nicely out of it too, with four businesses up and running and a list of credentials following suit.
Randall Deer started out in business with a big idea, a bit of cash and a bucket load of confidence. Following completion of his accounting degree and a stint in the army Randall took up a managerial position at Ernst Body Corporate Management managing over 2000 strata titled dwellings. Always seeking new opportunities and challenges for personal development, by the time he was 25 years old Randall was General Manager for Strand Resorts (Australia’s largest privately own management rights entity at the time) and at the ripe age of 27 he was the Chief Financial Officer for Breakfree Resorts. It was here, Randall leant the ropes of the tourism industry, an industry he now loves, and where his passion for creating new methods to overcome traditional shortcomings in the industry was fostered.
Randall got the opportunity to put his big idea into practice in 2005. The 30 year old budding entrepreneur and now-wife Bridget had just welcomed their first son Saffin into the world and purchased their first home, all in the same month. Not one to do things by halves Randall left the security of his full time job to start his own business Rewards Corp Group, now Ignite Travel Group with $50,000 in the bank and just five employees. It was a gamble worth taking though as the company generated 7.8 million in revenue in its first year of operation and five years later was worth $45 million. Not content with just the one business under his belt, Randall went on to create My Holiday Centre which has since been rated as the 8th fastest growing company in Australia with a 186 per cent growth rate and Group Buying Escapes followed by his latest edition Getaways Limited.
Randall’s innovative thinking and passion for challenging the traditional ways of business has positioned him as a leading player in the tourism industry. For any one person to experience such success is mind blowing but for Randall it makes sense.
“I have always been prepared to back what I thought would work,” explains Randall. “I love when people say you can’t so something, or something has never been done before. It is challenge. If you never ask then you will never innovate and if you never challenge you will never have the confidence to come up with a solution. That is when innovation is born.”
Such rapid growth does not evolve without some serious elbow grease and Randall admits he poured his heart and soul into developing the foundations of his business in those formative years. It wasn’t until Randall and his now-wife Bridget were forced to overcome a personal challenge that the time the young entrepreneur spent building his business was put into perspective. Now a father to Saffin (7) and Xavier (3), Randall and his wife Bridget had a third pregnancy, just nine months after Saffin was born. Nine months later, the baby was born, a son the couple called Ethan. However Ethan fell ill with an undiagnosed illness and passed away when he was just seven months old.
“After the death of Ethan I realised that I would have given everything up to make him ok again. I had to learn a lesson there. The business was starting to grow and I was doing the hours to get the foundations right. I was working far too much and I wasn’t enjoying Saffin as much as I should and I didn’t have a very good handle on perspective.
“Shortly after that the stock market crashed and along came the global financial crisis and when that all turned ugly I lost millions, I almost went under. Ethan gave me perspective. I realised it was just money, I would make it again and if not, it just wasn’t meant to be. It taught me how insignificant money is. Yes it was horrible, but I have my health and a beautiful family and you just pick up the pieces and move on.”
“My family gets 100 per cent of my time on the weekends now. I know the boys like to go to the beach, go fishing, take the remote control cars out and go to the park, I would just do all those things every weekend but Bridgie will say,’ hey I need a down day’. Life is so short and I just don’t want to waste it.”
Work challenges aside, raising his two boys is proving to be one of the biggest challenges Randall has encountered. Fatherhood has given him perspective and life has taken on a new meaning. First and foremost, Randall wants to create a legacy for his boys so they too can one day inject their skills and value into the business if they choose to do so but most importantly he wants them to believe they are capable of anything, something his mother instilled in him at a young age.
“I want them to believe in themselves, understand the concept that nothing comes for nothing, that you earn what you get and you get what you earn. I don’t want them to think everything just falls on a silver platter; I want them to work through the school paper runs and understand that effort equals reward, not entitlement equals reward. I want them to have compassion and treat people the way they would like to be treated themselves.”
For Randall, these moral principles are the most imperative quality he can pass to his boys, that of course along with the ability to never stop asking ‘but why’.
To see behind the scenes photos with Randall and his two excitable offspring visit here.