13 March 2024

From Shame to Spirits Soaring: Tom’s Distillery Takes Flight

Tom* is a man with passion for whisky and a nose for the perfect blend. He has poured his heart and soul into his small-batch distillery named "Distell the Truth."

The reality of running a business wasn't as smooth as his whisky. The books were a mess, expenses were spiraling and Tom felt increasingly overwhelmed and ashamed. He feared his dream was slipping away, yet pride prevented him from seeking help.

The Shame:

Tom felt like a failure. He’d built his business from the ground up, pouring his life savings into it. Admitting he needed help felt like acknowledging his own inadequacy. He couldn’t bear the thought of his friends and family, who had supported his dream, knowing he was struggling. The shame gnawed at him, causing him to retreat further into isolation.

The Turning Point:

One evening, drowning his sorrows in his own whiskey, Tom stumbled upon an article about a successful entrepreneur who had overcome financial difficulties by seeking guidance. The story struck a chord, and Tom realised he wasn’t alone. He finally made the decision to reach out to a trusted accountant, Jess.

The Guidance:

Jess’s calm demeanor and genuine interest in Tom’s business put him at ease. She reviewed his books, identified the financial bottlenecks, and developed a clear roadmap for improvement. Jess emphasised the importance of financial management, budgeting, and strategic planning. She also helped Tom access government grants and subsidies for small businesses.

The Transformation:

With Jess’s guidance, Tom implemented the recommended changes. He gained control over his finances, streamlined operations, and made smarter investments. The distillery started turning a profit, and Tom’s stress began to melt away. He found himself enjoying the challenges of running his business again, fueled by a renewed sense of confidence.

The Outcome:

Distell The Truth became a thriving local business. The whisky was recognised for its exceptional quality, winning awards and garnering a loyal following. Tom felt immense relief and gratitude for overcoming his shame and seeking help. He became an advocate for financial literacy, encouraging fellow entrepreneurs to embrace guidance as a sign of strength, not weakness.

The Lesson:

Tom’s story is a testament to the transformative power of seeking help. It shows that even the most successful entrepreneurs face challenges, and overcoming them often requires support. By embracing shame-free leadership and prioritising financial health, we can unlock our true potential and soar towards success.

** Not the business owners real name.


Bruno Palermo, Head of Accounting, Senior Adviser.

Freedom = Football

Bruno says he is very proud that he was born and raised in Hobart. On the weekends he enjoys playing soccer, hitting the gym and enjoying the fun and busyness of raising his two daughters with his wife. He is a passionate Chair of Variety Tasmania. Variety – the Children’s Charity supports kids and families who are facing many challenges through sickness, disadvantage or living with additional needs.

Bruno invests in lasting relationships. By understanding his client’s needs and wants, he assists by getting to the core of the challenge or opportunity, for example, increasing profits for their business, advises on business strategies and the most tax effective way to structure businesses and personal affairs. Our team and valued clients are lucky to experience the warmth and genuine care that Bruno demonstrates with everyone he meets.
Bachelor of Commerce, CA, Cert. in Public Practice, Diploma of Financial Planning, Cert. IV in Finance, Registered Tax Agent LinkedIn