Sandhurst Fine Foods is a family-owned business that has quickly become a household name. CEO Mimmo Lubrano shares his business insights with us, and reveals that he relaxes by playing in a band!
Q: What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you started in business?
A: That it takes 20 years to become an overnight success!
Q: What are your most effective work habits?
Getting stuff done quicker than most – probably too quickly!
Q: The most important person in my business is?
A: My customers and their perception of us, because it’s what they think that matters to me.
Q: Best business decision you’ve ever made?
A: To go beyond the normal scope of a small family business and trust that someone else (outside of the family) can bring value to the company.
Q: What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in business?
A: I once trusted the wrong customer, which ended up costing us a lot of dollars when they went bankrupt.
Q: How did you fix it?
By realising that the issue wasn’t going to resolve itself and knowing when to draw the line.
Q: How do you delight customers?
A: By sourcing and manufacturing the highest quality food from all over the world, that satisfies the Lubrano family seal of approval – in other words, the best tasting olives, semi dried tomatoes, eggplant and so on that you can find.
Q: Share your number one sales technique with us
A: Follow up, follow up, follow up until they have no choice but to buy!
Q: What’s your secret team-building tactic?
Establish rapport and speak to people on an even level. Treat everyone with respect and dignity.
Q: Favourite piece of business technology?
A: Probably the iPhone – because you can look at emails whenever and wherever you like!
Q: Best tip for managing people?
A: Ask questions.
Q: Who do you most admire? Why?
A: Les Schirato because he combines Italian passion for coffee with a single minded pursuit of teaching Australians how to drink Italian coffee – we do the same thing for condiments.
Q: What’s more important in business: passion or preparation? Why?
A: Passion will always get you an audience. I have never been prepared for anything but seem to wing it anyway – and if you are like me, then you need to gather people around you who have better organisational skills than you do!
Q: Favourite websites and why they add value to your work?
A: The food research websites that we can get product information from – these also make for good training materials.
Q: What do you drive and why?
A: I drive a Toyota because the brand is all about reliability and so makes customers for life.
Q What’s your favourite networking activity? Why?
A: Family Business Forums. Because you are with like minded business people that have a vested interest in seeing you do well – FBA FORUM rocks!
Q: How do you relax?
A: Playing Bass and singing with Agent 69.
Q: Favourite sporting team? Why?
A: Every 4 years I love watching the Socceroos We love the ultimate underdogs.
Q: If someone gave you $100,000 and said “Invest this in your business by the end of the week – or lose it” what would you do?
A: Buy some stock for the business and negotiate a good buy price so that I could sell it for a decent profit.
Q: Generation Y: are they as demanding as everyone says?
A: They are the future – learn to live with them!
Q: The Internet is a massively disruptive force. What’s your reaction to disruption?
A: It’s part of life – roll with the punches.
Q: How do you foster and express creativity?
A: By not having a closed mind about any idea!