Dorry Kordahi grew up in Sydney’s western suburbs and trained as a hairdresser in his father’s business before starting his promotional merchandise company, DKM, in his parents’ garage nine years ago.
The business now turns over $10 million annually and has offices in Sydney, Melbourne, London and Shanghai. Kordahi has just signed a deal to open an office in Beirut, which will be the business’ Middle Eastern base.
Not a bad result for someone who failed his HSC and never went to uni.
SMB What was the biggest turning point in your business and what brought it on?
DK In recent years, probably the merger of my company and my brother’s to form DKM Blue in 2009. That really brought about some great synergies and cost consolidation opportunities.
It also brought together a different set of complimentary skill bases that had not existed when the two companies stood alone.
SMB What has been your biggest learning experience running your business?
DK Managing expectations; without doubt this is the single most important tenet. Whether it be in yourself, your client, your staff or your suppliers you must understand their weaknesses as well as the strengths and then work with them. Be ready to understand and offer help if necessary.
SMB What’s the best advice you ever got for your business?
DK I really don’t think there has ever been one single moment when an individual gave me the ultimate answer. It has been more of a cumulative process: I have always been a ‘sponge’ when it comes to learning; especially from others’ mistakes: then you know what ‘not’ to do!
SMB What do you think is the biggest change that Business Owners will need to adapt to over the next 2 years 5.
DK Owners really need to focus on the balance between new technologically and traditional business communication. Sure, email and, increasingly, social media are playing a massive part in the business world, but thinking that these alone are all that is needed is as dangerous as ignoring them completely. A lot can be gained from personal contact; it’s just a matter of making sure each complements the other.
SMB What piece of technology or app can you not live without ev ery day to make your business more efficient?
DK Basically, my calculator, whether it is app on my phone or tablet or the little ones we all still seem to have in our desk drawers: basically I am a direct importer, if I get my sums wrong, I’m stuffed!
SMB What business strategies are you focusing on to grow your business over the next year?
DK Two really: first is licensing; we have signed agreements with a select few worldwide brands to create extension ranges not cover by their core product(s).
Second is focussing on Bangladesh as an emerging manufacturing base to complement our established Chinese operations.
SMB One thing you want NSW Government to change to help small business grow?
DK As a successful entrepreneur myself, I help and advise businesses all over the country: it is one of the reasons I wrote my book Power to Act.
The most common problem I encounter in start-ups is that people find th e amount of regulation so great that they get bogged down. If governments, of all persuasions, made things simpler more people would succeed. Maybe even just a three-year ‘grace’ period of some sort would suffice.
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