Q&A with Mary Philippou (Guest Webinar Presenter)

Bestselling author and business mentor Mary Philippou recently facilitated an exclusive webinar for APPA members, ‘How to Cut and Reduce Costs Through a Crisis’. This webinar, tailored for application to the promotional products industry, is filled with practical tips and strategies to help APPA members stay afloat during the current global economic crisis.

Since 1992, Mary has founded a number of successful small businesses in Australia (Corporate Innovations, Business Wings), accumulating a wealth of knowledge and business acumen along the way. She is continually recognized by her peers and clients for her high-energy, no-nonsense approach to business, and has received two Australian Achiever Awards for her work as both a marketer and supplier.

Mary’s bestselling novel Show Me The Money: For Those Screaming Profit, teaches readers how to navigate obstacles, overcome financial challenges and generate profit in a product-based business. APPA recently sat down with Mary for a Q&A session:  

Q: How do you build a successful customer base?
A: Look for credible customers and identify your product with those customers.  Position yourself as the expert in your field. Build rapport with each customer and deliver on expected outcomes; over time you will build trust. Customers want to deal with businesses and professionals who really ‘know their stuff’. Know your business, know your products, and you will not only build a successful customer base, but a loyal one.

Q: What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Plan and set sales goals monthly and review these constantly. Always have your finger on the pulse with overheads and review your profit and loss report monthly. Keep an eye out for your competitors, stay ahead of the competition and most of all, be innovative at all times.

Q: What would you say are the five key elements for starting and running a successful business?
A: 1. Passion- drive and enthusiasm.
2. People- connect, build relationships with integrity, and follow through at each interval.
3. Perseverance- never giving up.
4. Proactivity- do not just wait for things to happen, you need to be the one to take the first step.
5. Profit- generate profit by becoming an expert in your field.

Q: What sacrifices have you made in order to succeed as a business owner?
A: Working long hours- particularly when starting out, so the balance in my life was not great. Unfortunately, there is no real way around this if you are a business owner, so I am lucky I enjoy what I do.

Q: Who has been your greatest inspiration?
A: My dad has been my greatest inspiration. I learned a great deal from a young age working in his business- seeing the passion, enthusiasm, perseverance and hard work he put in to make it in this country as an immigrant- all to make a better life for his family. The professionalism and detail to his business was extraordinary.

Q: How do you select the right staff for your business?
A: After reviewing a candidate’s resume, make sure you communicate with others in the industry to ensure they this person is the right fit. Do they have the right amount of knowledge? What are their communication skills like? Ensure their work ethic and values align with your business.

Q: What three pieces of advice would you give to anyone who wanted to start their own business?
A: 1. Have a business/marketing plan.
2. Capital is crucial to invest in your business.
3. Have the right product mix to target the right customers and be aware of who you are competing against.

Q: Do you believe that there is a pattern or formula to becoming a successful business owner?
A: Yes, there is definitely a formula for success. First and foremost, you need to have a plan. Whether or not this plan is executed successfully will depend on your ability to work diligently in pursuit of your goals. Keep a positive mindset and have the right professionals (such as an accountant and bookkeeper) on hand to guide you and ensure your figures are moving in the right direction.

Q: What is your favourite aspect of owning a business?
A: My favourite aspect of being a business owner is working with others and selling products that I truly love and believe in. I also enjoy making my own decisions and having the flexibility to determine the pace and balance of my lifestyle.

Q: What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
A: To achieve long-term success is to always plan ahead and execute your goals. Communicate with your customers, be innovative and spend money to make more money. Always be proactive with finding new customers and generating sales, as this is the only way to achieve long-term success.

APPA members can email Mary directly today to claim a free one hour, one-on-one discovery session. Email mary@showmethemoneymentor.com.au to claim this exclusive offer!