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Success stories of a big business man inside a small business

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Success stories of greatness needn’t be restricted to the corporate giants of Australia. As Todd Young, owner of Bella Venezia, has learnt, the success story is as big as your approach.

Bella Venezia, an Italian restaurant on the Sunshine Coast, is one of the region’s tourist staples – and they have the gold to prove it. In 2009, they won the Sunshine Coast Excellence in Business Award in the Large Hospitality Business category. This came only two years after winning in the Best Large Business Restaurant category in 2008. While these are among a slew of hospitality awards won by the business, the business award wins are Young’s true pride and glory.

“Business awards are judged on how successful your business is and what business principles are being used to ensure the viability of a successful business,” says Young. “These kinds of awards are often judged by business professionals. You won’t be penalised for not having a tablecloth on your tables.”

A corporate affair

Having spent 15 years working in management for Coles Group Limited, Young is indoctrinated in the ways of the corporate world. His success in his popular Italian restaurant is proof of the valuable lessons he learnt during his big business tenure.

“I adopted many business principles and systems such as creating an overall business plan which provides the foundation for future company direction and growth,” he says. “Marketing plans, budgets, negotiation and cost control, human resources, legislation requirements and productivity analysis are just a few of many processes which I utilise on an ongoing basis.”

Contradictory to his corporate sensibilities is his belief that a business owner shouldn’t rule from the top – he adopts a more instrumental management approach to the business.

“One of the biggest lessons I have learnt to date is the importance of being hands on and knowing your business inside and out,” he says. “You need to be hands-on. You can’t afford to be just a figurehead.”

Commitment to excellence

Above all, Young believes that a perfect product equals a perfect business – Young works hard to deliver what the customers want time and again. For this reason, some of the dishes served have remained unchanged in the 28 years of business!

“Consistency is very important to our business and forms part of our mission statement. To ensure you deliver a consistent ultimate dining experience, you require systems which are easy to use,” he says. “I have a system in place for every employee from the dish hand to the duty manager. The business continues to revise systems and checklists all the time to ensure they work.”

And with over 45 employees, for Young, staff management is a full-time job. He believes that to realise peak performance in staff, the business owner should encourage more than a purely monetary incentive.

“Look after your staff and don’t think that paying them well will fix everything. Being in business (especially a large business) can be very challenging and sometimes you have to make some hard and fast decisions. Focus on employees overall working conditions. Why will they work for you and not the business down the road and what will retain them for years ahead?” he says. “Establishing and maintaining a great team is the foundation for success.”

Marketing magic

Other than a commitment to product excellence, Bella Venezia’s success hinges upon its successful marketing initiatives.

“I have an overall marketing plan which targets regional and national awareness,” he says.

This is particularly true of their online presence, which Young has identified as an important factor for businesses in a tourist hub. In fact, the current website has between 14,000 to 21,000 unique visitors per month, depending on the season.

“Online marketing is the new way in which consumers are searching for products and services,” says Young. “I have spent a lot of time on developing our website over the last two years. Consumers can view pictures of our establishment, menus and basically get a good feel for our restaurant when looking for a place to dine prior to their stay on the Sunshine Coast. Our website has the facility to book online which is very popular and they can even purchase gift vouchers.”

“Maintaining a solid marketing plan and being consistent with everything we do are areas in which I focus on to ensure continual growth,” he says.

With a full-house year round, Bella Venezia is truly one of the Sunshine Coast’s great success stories.

So, if you’re looking to work on your business rather than being stuck in it, book in for a complimentary business assessment today with Switzer Business Coaching

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

Published on: Tuesday, August 24, 2010

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