Growing a “Thick Skin”

Marcus Allchin, Cafe2U Homebush Bay, shares his 7 Small Business Insights with Sydney Business Month

1. What was the biggest turning point in your business and what brought it on?

The biggest turning point occurred in January at the Annual Cafe2U conference held in Auckland. One of the sessions was on analysing our business data and looking at the gaps in our business and where opportunities lay.

It was so clear from that moment what I had to do.

In the sessions afterwards and in the network session with other Franchise Partners I was able to talk to them about my new objective of gaining more stops and any strategies they had used to do the same.
My Cafe2U Franchise Development Manager also gave me some direction. After implementing all the learnings, my turnover is 70 % up on last year.

The theme of the conference was “Working Smarter not harder” which is something I have been able to do to achieve this fantastic result.

2. What has been your biggest learning experience running your business?

Growing a “thick skin” had been a huge learning experience for me. Coming from a corporate career I had never had to go through the business troughs by myself.

Once I realised that there were often factors beyond my control that led to a particular business cycle, I was able to ensure I didn’t take the downturns so personally. My business is effected by my customers pay cycles and once I realised that, I was able to manage my expectations better.

3. What’s the best advice you ever got for your business?

Another Sydney based Franchise Partner said to me that once I stopped going to work and started the day knowing I was going to see all my friends, I had a total mindshift and it took a lot of pressure off me. My motivation levels changed and I started to realise how much I was appreciated by my customers.

4. What do you think is the biggest change that Business Owners will need to adapt to over the next 2 years.

Being in business for the first time and building something quite successful has shown me how people become attracted to successful businesses. The Cafe2U tagline is “Best part of your day” and its true ! My customers come to see me everyday for their daily coffee fix but also some respite from the daily grind. I always remain positive and that attracts people and keeps them loyal.

Customers also love the fact that I am a franchisee that owns my own business but also part of a global organisation that was founded in Australia and remains 100% Australian owned and run.

Australians love other Australian success stories, and Australian businesses need to realise that they need to celebrate their origin. As Australian businesses become fewer in the coming years, this is something that local business people need to recognise and foster to their advantage.

5. What piece of technology or app can you not live without every day to make your business more efficient?

My Iphone – I use it to contact customers if I am running late or early – I use it to get emails from Head Office in regards to events during the day – I’d be lost without it!

6. What business strategies are you focusing on to grow your business over the next year?

I’ve now got to a stage where I need to watch how my revenue increases, without driving the costs up to much. Coffee is the core of my business and this is not only what I’m known for, but what the Cafe2U brand stands for.

Adding more lines to my range that take more time to order, have more shrinkage, is often just not a wise choice. Back to the theme of our annual conference “Working Smarter not Harder|” is what you have to keep your eye on.

7. One thing you want NSW Government to change to help small business grow?

Cafe2U Managing Director, Derek Black comments that both the community and small businesses could benefit greatly with greater incentives to train and employ people.

He also comments that a reduction in compliance paperwork would also be a benefit.

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Growing a “Thick Skin”
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