How to stand out and be a winner
THE big winners at the recent Sunshine Coast Excellence in Business Awards are once again a humble bunch.
In this story, we profile the employee of the year, the only business to win two awards on the night, 2011's best large retail business doing well in a tough market and a business broker who told the crowd at the presentation night that he had been trying to win his category for 17 years.
NEIL COLLIE, EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR
What does this award mean to you? It's more about showing employees that anyone can win as long as you stay strong with good morals. My customers deserve a lot of credit as they make the feeling contagious. It is a major highlight in my life.
Why do you think you won? Hard work has never hurt anyone. I do think that when you do something from the heart, all things fall into place.
Have you felt the impact of the economic slow-down in your business; and if so, what have you done to react/adapt? Retail has been tough, but it's important to keep doing the little things and do them well, don't take short cuts. Reinventing makes sense but adjusting small bits at a time, especially in small business seems to make more sense. Nambour is placing itself on the map to success. Keep an eye on it...Nambour is a place worth visiting.
Have you ever made a mistake in business? What was it and what did the experience teach you? I had a person I trusted let me down big time, but it's about getting on with life and moving forward.
What is the secret to being an award-winning business? Surrounding yourself with the best possible positive people. Live to fulfil your customers' needs. Keep an eye on the ball and don't take short cuts. But I find most important is make your day fun and enjoyable, even if it is a stressful day. Take time out to chill.
NAMBOUR HEIGHTS BUTCHERY, LARGE RETAIL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
OWNERS Danny and Angeline Dunne said the award acknowledged the time, effort and hard work they both put into the business, during business hours and long after dark.
"It rewards our staff for their hard work and their willingness to come with us on our quest to be a business with a fantastic reputation. It is incredibly significant, as we have been striving for more efficient systems, studying our local demographics and updating our staff training."
Why did you win? We believe it is due to our friendly staff, quality products, and our ability to offer our customers free-range chicken and grass-fed cattle. We have developed business systems, we have a five-year action plan and we review our marketing plan and business plan every 12 months.
HAVE you felt the downturn? Business has been tougher in recent times. We are fortunate that when money is tight, customers still need to eat. For us this means a difference in the cuts a customer may purchase. We just monitor our projections and save dollars where we can, without it affecting our service or product to our customers.
Ever made a mistake? Everyone makes mistakes. That is how you learn and grow.
What is your secret? Our success has come through long hours of hard work, loyal staff, fantastic customers and planning for the future. A huge thank you has to go to Rod Richards (Richards Consulting) for teaching us valuable business strategies.
HAHN ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, INNOVATION and ENTERPRISE OF THE YEAR
What does this award mean to you? Director Allan Lear said winning was something he always wanted to achieve.
Why do you think you won? I have created many innovations through government partnerships that have begun commercially operating. A huge amount of consultancy and fantastic key staff have made this possible.
Have you felt the downturn? Our business relies on implementing better technology and environmental initiatives, so the economic pressure on those industries that will adopt recycling practice also affects our business. Many of these businesses are improving environmental practice and we can help.
Have you ever made a mistake? Trying to achieve so many innovative concepts in an industry with a minefield of legislation for a research and development company is no easy feat. This educational process has taught us that we needed to move into two large facilities based at Narangba and our move-forward plan is to completely relocate any related administration and operate our operations from these facilities.
What is your secret? Trying to maintain the drive and business focus after 11 years in the associated areas of industry improvement and achieving the goals that are considered key to providing customers with innovative technology for councils and mines.
VERIFIED BUSINESSES, SMALL BUSINESS SERVICES
What do this mean to you? "It means that after starting this business two years ago, my peers have recognised that I have "excelled" in running my business in a very harsh and competitive market," David Bentley said.
Why do you think you won? Because we were seen as being successful, profitable, well run, with good staff, good systems, good training, good procedures, honest, credible and very goal orientated.
Have you felt the downturn? Yes, we definitely have felt the effects of the GFC. Business is the hardest I have known it in the 16 years I've been selling businesses. We have reacted to the GFC by being more professional, more "driven" and more effective.
Ever made a mistake? The mistake that I learnt the most from was to underestimate the difficulty there is in recruiting and keeping good business brokers. I now ensure I measuring trainees' activity more closely and improve my training methods to ensure the new recruit is successful quicker.
What is your secret? You have to want to win, firstly. You have to have a successful business and be able to prove that it is successful by being open and honest, and being prepared to "bare your soul" to the assessors. Have good systems and procedures, have a good team of staff, have written goals for the future, have a balanced life, have fun in your business and enjoy what you do.