Blessing in disguise results in Business Success

by Zoran Sarabaca 4th of February, 2022
Blessing in disguise results in Business Success

I was born in Libya in 1970, 2 years later due to the revolution in Libya, we had to move back to Yugoslavia. Initially, we were in Croatia then 2 years later we moved to Serbia. In 1991 trouble in Yugoslavia started, I had just finished my National service and I received call papers to join the Army. I had family in both Serbia and Croatia and did not want to join. I was now a refugee who left the country because I didn’t want to participate in the civil war.

I then spent the next 4 months travelling by land through Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka then back to India when I finally got my visa to enter Australia.

Soon after arriving in Australia I fell ill and learnt that I had contracted hepatitis in India and not having any access to Medicare, I had to borrow money to pay for the treatment.

Although I only had a three-month visa, the Australian Government granted Yugoslavs a special condition allowing them to stay in Australia for the duration of the unrest. Had I returned, I would have been drafted into either the Serbian or Croatian army, depending on where I landed. This is because my parents were Croatian but I grew up in Serbia.

Yugoslavia was divided and I was not eligible for Serbian citizenship because I was born in Libya and I was not eligible for Croatian citizenship because I never had permanent residency in Croatia.

When I arrived in Australia I had no job, spoke no English and had no money. Because of my lack of language skills, the only work I could find was as a labourer, but as I dug ditches, I dreamt of one day owning my own business. My father had been a businessman and that was my dream, but it seemed very remote in the early days, as I struggled in a new country without family support.

When my Yugoslav passport expired, I was unable to return home for my father’s funeral and I realised my future was in Australia. I applied for permanent residency and two years later became an Australian citizen.

I had a degree from the former Yugoslavia as an electrical technician, and after several years in Australia, I started an electrical contracting business called Odyssey Electrical. At the time it was formed I had no money and no contacts, so I had to work tirelessly to build the business from the ground up.


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Although the business flourished, there were always cash flow issues, and when two customers went into liquidation things worsened, and I had no choice but to put the business on the market. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it led to the creation of Xcllusive Business Sales.

I appointed an agent to sell Odyssey Electrical and was so disappointed with the performance of the broker that after three months I decided to sell it myself. I bought a dozen business sales books, talked to as many people as I could and in no time developed a sales and marketing strategy designed specifically to sell my business. Four weeks and 30 enquiries later I had four offers on the table. Four weeks after that, I sold my business for the exact price that I wanted.

At that point I realised that I could come up with a formula that could sell businesses other than my own, and, committed to a process that worked in the best interests of the seller, Xcllusive Business Sales was established.

This whole experience gave me an appreciation for what it takes and I wanted to also hire staff from a diverse range of backgrounds.

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About the author

Zoran Sarabaca

As a business owner from the age of 17, Zoran understands business. Through selling his own business, he learned that it wasn’t good enough just ...

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