What were some of the points that resonated with you as you were talking to the group?
I think the curiosity for people were things like ‘think, feel, know’. This is about understanding the difference about how you make decisions in life. The first one is your head space, where there is a place to do SWOT analysis and lots of calculations, doing research and so on, to come up with a decision around some sort of process that you’re going to put into place in the business. The other is decisions of the heart, and sometimes it’s an emotive decision, for example “do I want to keep going with my business?” or “do I want to keep that person employed or not keep them employed?”. It’s just a feeling that you have.
The final thing is what we call gut feel, where you can’t even explain entirely why you are able to make this decision, but you just go, “I just don’t think we should do that.” In the past, I got lost on that in thinking, “Well, that’s not a good reason, just because I don’t think I should,” but I’ve come to learn to trust it and go, “You know what, it’s my greater being pulling everything together to tell me “Don’t do it or do it”.
Have you ever not listened to your intuition?
Of course. You can’t explain it, but intuition is something. It’s just a God-given process that is there to give you some sort of guidance in life. It’s a sort of internal compass.
How important have networks been for you and your business?
I create extension networks. It’s the people. It’s the mentors. I’ve been so blessed in my life to have met many mentors, and they’re not just one person with all the ideas. I love speaking to different people. You can just pick up, sometimes from a person you least expected it, you can pick up a little gem of an idea and go, “Wow. That was fantastic.” Investing your time into spending time with other successful business people, I think, is crucial. Sometimes you can then put your own challenge out and go, “I’m struggling with this now,” and someone else will say, “Have you ever thought about blah?” You go, “No, I hadn’t, but I’m going to explore that.” I think the ability to talk, converse and share ideas is critical, particularly for small businesses who really don’t have the infrastructure support that perhaps bigger corporations get.
What is your advice for business owners wanting to grow to the next level?
You’ve got to have ambition. It’s really, really important to have ambition, but it needs to be well researched so you know this is not just some flimsy idea. Do all your homework. Ask questions. Delve. Look for industry experts. Then you build a business plan around it. Keep curiosity. Keep asking questions all the time. Never lose faith in yourself. What I know is most people stumble because they feel the journey’s too challenging. If you can get past that point in time, if you can keep your passion, you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve.
What’s been your toughest time in business, and how have you got through it?
Every time you go through a tough time, you go, “God, that was tough,” but I really believe that the global financial crisis was toughest for us. What happened in our industry were the prices fell anywhere from 30 to 50 percent. It meant that our income went down accordingly, because we get paid on purchase price. We had massive falls in income. Costs didn’t fall. It wasn’t so much the depth of that challenge; it was the length of that challenge. It went on for eight years here on the Gold Coast. To get up every day with a really positive attitude was by far the biggest challenge. I’d go to the office every day and try and tell everybody, “Today’s another day. We’re getting better. We’re heading in the right direction.” There were times where even I questioned it. “How much longer is this going to last?” It’s that ability to have real gutsy determination to get through it on a daily basis. That was my biggest challenge.