From a bizarre workplace coincidence to a customer complaining to them in a case of mistaken identity, twin brothers Mark and David Fazio have accrued some fascinating insights during their time in business together.
- Names: Mark Fazio (general manager) and David Fazio (CEO)
- Business name: MATE
- Industry: Telecommunications
- Number of employees: 40+
- Operating since: July 2015
What was your first paid job?
Mark: Working at Kmart in layby at 16.
David: Apprentice cabinet maker at the age of 14.
What made you get into your current business?
Mark: I saw gaps in these types of services in the market and wanted to fix these for consumers. I also know how much my twin brother had to offer a business like this and I wanted to back him to achieve something bigger and better for all of us.
David: I slipped discs in my lower back at 19, so I needed to take extended leave from the industry. A friend helped me get a job in a telco called Worldxchange in the year 1999, and here I am today.
How did you get your very first customer/client?
Mark: My first customer was via Facebook.
David: Through a referral from a friend.
What has been your biggest mistake in business?
Mark: Lead generation activity. Even though I think there is a place for it, consumers are savvier to it and this type of approach is not having the success it had in the past (my opinion).
David: Spending money in areas where the result could not be measured. You always need to be able to measure your results or you shouldn’t do it.
What is the best thing about owning your own business?
Mark: Agility and speed to get things done. We aren’t the big boys in our space, so the advantage is our speed to market over them.
David: Growing a business and achieving goals with my team and family.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Mark: Don’t let anyone make you change; this is when you stop believing in yourself and stop being authentic with what you do.
David: Don’t be afraid to fail, but if you’re going to fail, then do it fast and try again.
If you could change one thing to make life easier as a business owner, what would it be and why?
Mark: Traffic in Sydney, it’s the only thing that puts me off my day!
David: Right now, I can’t really think of one.
Who do you look up to in business and why?
Mark: There are two people. First one is a mentor of mine who gave me my first shot in the corporate world at the age of 22 by giving me the national account manager role for the biggest tech retailer at the time, Dick Smith. His name is Matt Farmer who is a true pioneer in the channel space and well known to all. The second person would be my twin brother. He started early as an apprentice and hurt his back quite badly, which meant he had to start a new profession and career from scratch again.
David: I love football, so I follow Cristiano Ronaldo. He is one of the biggest brands in the world. He’s got there from hard work, but also being very humble and paying it forward multiple times along the way in his career. To be successful is one thing, but to be successful sharing and helping people along the way is the ultimate.
What do you do to get away from work?
Mark: I eat with friends and family, but more than anything, I go spend time with my nieces and nephews: that’s who grounds me and takes away any worries I may have.
David: Spend time with my wife and kids. Nothing more makes me happier than taking my kids to sporting activities and outings on the weekend. The reason I do what I do is for them first and foremost.
Name a little-known fact about yourself.
Mark: Apart from being an identical twin, I lived in Singapore for three years.
David: Besides being a twin, I’m a cabinet maker by trade.
What is the funniest thing you have come across in business?
Mark: Funny but heart-warming at the same time: I was in a meeting where two people from two different businesses in the same room realised they were actually brother and sister who were both adopted. Completely coincidental!
David: Once there was a consumer (in our early days when were sub-1,000 customers) who called in and just went off complaining about our service from the get-go; we could not get a word in. They wouldn’t give their details, just kept demanding to talk to a manager. The manager called back and again the customer went off and demanded to talk to the CEO. We were such a small company, so I gave the customer a call back and, after 40 minutes of listening to them, tell me how bad we were as a business, we realised the customer wasn’t even a customer and they thought they were ringing another provider. After all that, they apologised. I managed to sign them up and get them connected the same day. That customer is still a customer today.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.
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