The story of Australian Outdoor Living A coffee at a cafe on a windy day inspired Colin Kuchel to create a business that has grown from a staff of three to 45 in just seven years. Kuchel believed the shelter provided by the pull-down blinds at cafes and pubs might also be useful in the backyards of Aussie homes. He founded Australian Outdoor Living with just a receptionist and part-time bookkepper, and today the business provides blinds, roller shutters, artificial grass, spas, & swimming pools and other outdoor products. Annual turnover has grown tenfold in the past two years to $30 million. Asked about his secret for success, Kuchel says: \u201cI think it\u2019s about our people, \u201cWe managed to, from day one, attract and maintain very strong people. \u201cI know it sounds cliche but Australian Outdoor Living is genuinely a family of passionate people. \u201cAs we have grown, those people have grown within the company.\u201d Kuchel says business owners should be prepared to take calculated and educated risks, and not afraid to go outside their comfort zone. Australian Outdoor Living\u00a0did this after suffering supply delays for its products, so it became a blind manufacturer in its own right. \u201cManufacturing was a big move for us and a risk, but it paid dividends because we went in there with a fresh approach,\u201d Kuchel says. Australian Outdoor Living\u00a0is an entrant in the 2012 Telstra Australian Business Awards. State finalists will be announced from this week, with South Australia\u2019s finalists revealed tomorrow and the winner\u2019s on July 20. State winners will compete at the national awards on August 29. Telstra business group managing director Will Irving says the awards have been recognising great work for 20 years. \u201cWe\u2019ve been very impressed by the calibre of the entrants this year, which come from virtually every industry across the small and medium business sector,\u201d he says. Today is the last day for voting for the 1300 Australia People\u2019s Choice Awards, which offer $2000 cash prizes in each state and territory. \u201cMembers of the public may vote as many times as they would like before voting closes at midnight tonight,\u201d Irving says. Read here to find out how you can see AOL at the Royal Adelaide Show. Australian Outdoor Living is passionate about helping people love their life outdoors. We offer a range of products, including: \tOutdoor blinds \tArtificial grass \tRoller shutters \tConcrete\u00a0and\u00a0fibreglass\u00a0swimming pools \tCarports \tTimber decking \tPergolas, verandah and patios Have you been thinking about renovating your home? Fill out the free measure and quote form at the top of this article and a member of our dedicated sales team will be in touch.