Philip Blanco was one of the brains behind T2 and Mad Mex. In this Q&A he shares his business ideas and explains how they have fuelled his new venture - Snag Stand.
Snag Stand is a new retail food concept, hatched by Philip Blanco, and offers 'haute dogs' - aka posh sausages - in Sydney's new CBD Westfield. A Melbourne store is due soon.
Q: What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you started in business?
Everything usually takes twice as long and costs twice as much as you budgeted.
Q: What are your most effective work habits?
Working from home....alone.
Q: Best business decision you’ve ever made?
Proceeding with Snag Stand, a concept where there was no other working example to follow.
Q: What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in business? How did you fix it?
Going into a project under-capitalised. I fixed it by bringing in a strong financial partner and being accountable for the financial results. A smaller portion of a healthier pie is better than choking to death on the whole thing alone.
Q: How do you delight customers?
The difference between good and great is usually in the details and special touches, a belief I apply to Snag Stand, where all of our ingredients are of the highest quality. It usually requires you to work harder and sometimes make less money but it’s worth it in the long run.
Q: Share your number one sales technique with us. –
A: Offer a free sample. People respond to generosity
Q: Best tip for managing people?
A: Empowerment: Hire people with sound character and track record of getting results. Remember to give them a voice, solicit their opinions – always listen to those closest to the customer.
Q: What’s more important in business: passion or preparation? Why?
A: Passion is what gets you out of bed in the morning and preparation is what lets you sleep at night.
Q: I drive a ... because ....:
A: Volvo S60 R – Conservative, yet deceptively fast.
Q: What’s your favourite networking activity? Why?
I don’t network. I’m so networked already the last thing I need is more networking. I’d rather focus on quality rather than quantity. I tend to pick and stick.
Q: How do you relax?
I’m a real wine geek. I drink a fair bit of obscure and expensive wine ... my one indulgence. Bit of an occupational hazard as well.
Q: Favourite sporting team? Why
A: Brisbane Broncos – love the combination of grit, determination and talent...
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: There’s always more opportunity than available funding so that’s an easy one - I’d build another Snag Stand!
Q: Generation Y: are they as demanding as everyone says?
A: I think so. You have to keep it real. They can see through the marketing and corporate facades.
Q: The Internet is a massively disruptive force. What’s your reaction to disruption?
A: It’s a pipeline of information which serves to fuel my ideas factory. It’s changed the speed at which new ideas and concepts manifest
Q: How do you foster and express creativity?
A: Invite and virtually insist that everyone acts and thinks as an owner. Empowerment is critical but it doesn’t always come naturally. People need to feel safe in expressing ideas and opinions regardless how on or off target they may be.