Brisbane coffee king Phillip Di Bella shared the lessons he learnt building a business empire from scratch with members of The Hills and Districts Chamber of Commerce at the group’s 2021 Big Breakfast Charity Fundraiser this week.
The event, of which Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism was a platinum sponsor, was held at the Eatons Hill Hotel on September 15.
Phillip founded Di Bella Coffee in 2002, with just $5000, and has since sold the business with about $60 million to show for his efforts.
He says businesses of all types are “in the people business”, which is about connecting a person with a product or service.
This philosophy transformed the coffee industry, offering customers more than beans to help them grow their businesses, which in turn grew his.
He grew a brand from nothing and actively sought feedback from those potential customers who knocked him back in the first instance.
Phillip says this is key to any business’ success – to find out why customers aren’t buying your product or using your service, and then adapting your offering to turn them around. Equally important is not ignoring your existing customer base, or changing your offering in a way that alienates them.
In March, he launched The Coffee Commune, a venture focused on supporting the growth and development of other businesses by bringing the hospitality community together to collaborate.
He says he has a passion for helping others accelerate their potential through education, advocacy, support and events.
During the breakfast event, he explained entrepreneurial intelligence which is comprised of three elements - vision, passion and brand.
He says business owners and their teams must have a clear vision of what they want the business to be.
In his view passion equals resilience. He says business owners need to identify the reasons why potential customers are saying no to them and work out what strategies they need to develop to attract their business. And they have to keep working at it.
He defines brand as what people say about your product or service when you’re not in the room, not what they say to your face. He says it’s not about logos or colours. It’s about a customer’s emotional response to what you are offering.
Phillip also spoke about the importance of good communication – in all its forms – the need to go above and beyond for customers to earn and retain their business, how to constantly assess a business’ performance and the secrets to hiring good staff.
And it seems reading resumes is not how it’s done. It’s achieved by asking some key questions face-to-face.
“Where are you now, where do you want to be in 12 months (what’s their vision for themselves), what will I like most about you, what am I going to hate about you – what’s your worst quality,” he explains.
“You want people good enough to be able to own their own business, but you need to give them a reason not to leave.”
This could be by offering an attractive pay structure, and even giving them some skin in the game.
Want to know more about The Hills and Districts Chamber of Commerce? Visit the website
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