Sell­ing pos­i­tive ideas

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

Pos­i­tiv­ity, courage and grit against the odds was the open­ing mes­sage lo­cal busi­ness­peo­ple re­ceived at the Pil­bara Busi­ness Boot­camp from its high-en­ergy keynote speaker.

Beech­worth Bak­ery founder and au­thor Tom O’Toole got at­ten­dees mo­ti­vated off the bat with an open­ing ad­dress about his rise from child­hood poverty to start­ing his own busi­ness and later fran­chise which is now recog­nised as the most suc­cess­ful stand­alone retail bak­ery in Aus­tralia.

He said start­ing the busi­ness in his then-quiet home­town of Beech­worth in Vic­to­ria 33 years ago was the re­al­i­sa­tion of a long-held dream, but it had taken great per­se­ver­ance to build and ex­pand it through dif­fi­cult times.

To­day it has grown to have 250 staff across six thriv­ing stores and makes a col­lec­tive turnover of about $17 mil­lion each year sell­ing to more than a mil­lion cus­tomers.

Mr O’Toole said his bak­ery was “no dif­fer­ent to any­one else’s” but the key to his busi­ness suc­cess had been a fo­cus on peo­ple — both em­ploy­ees and cus­tomers.

“I’ve been in busi­ness since I was 21, and I know the great­est sick­ness in this world to­day is lone­li­ness,” he said.

“My busi­ness is about peo­ple. You can buy cof­fee and cake any­where, so why buy from my place? Be­cause of my staff.

“It’s 5 per cent tech­nol­ogy, 95 per cent psy­chol­ogy and at­ti­tude.

“Qual­ity and ser­vice are re­mem­bered long af­ter price is gone.”

Thor­ough staff train­ing, trans­par­ent com­mu­ni­ca­tion, strong in­volve­ment with com­mu­nity events and a fo­cus on fun were some of the main ways Mr O’Toole rec­om­mended busi­nesses could build their peo­ple’s morale.

He urged Kar­ratha busi­ness own­ers to think pos­i­tively, fo­cus on adding value to oth­ers, set and write down goals and not give up on their dreams.

“There’s heaps of dream tak­ers out there who’ll tell you it can’t be done,” he said.

“Don’t let any­one steal your day. Keep in touch with your dreams.”

Pic­ture: Ali­cia Per­era

Pil­bara Busi­ness Boot­camp open­ing speaker Tom O'Toole.

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