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“You tell me that something is impossible and I will make it possible.”

A stubborn streak is just part of Taylan Atar’s make-up.
When told, as a young boy, that he could not do something he would go out of his way to defy the naysayers.
As an adult in the early 90s, the script had not changed.
Trying to pay his way through university through a part-time business installing alarms, a salesman approached him with an offer to buy an Optus phone dealership. Atar was dismissive.
“I told him to leave me alone, to leave me in peace, and that if I wanted to buy a dealership, I would go through the carriers directly, and not through some guy at the markets,” he says.
“He told me that the carriers most likely wouldn’t give it to me, and that’s when I decided that I would do it (anyway).”
As managing director of Solution 1, Atar has proven his point. He and wife Megan control a group that delivers telecommunication solutions for customers through the Optus network. They own six Optus dealerships and an Optus Business Direct outlet, all of which makes him one of the telco giant’s most productive franchisees. 
Such success shows that Atar has lost none of his childhood determination.
“That’s just who I am – you tell me that something is impossible and I will make it possible.”
Balancing family life
Atar is certainly different, whether it is selling phones – or goats.
Goats? Through his stud farm Seven Hills, located in Tallarook, about 100km outside Melbourne, Atar and his family have created the perfect getaway from the pressures of mainstream business.
The venture started when Atar met boer goat breeder Glenn Martin at the Seymour Alternative Farming Expo, a huge annual showcase of farm machinery, products and services, and they struck up a conversation about the animals.
Atar explains: “We had a lot of weeds on our property, so we thought it might be a good idea to get some goats in for that. And (now we have) 600 boer goats, soon to be 2000.”
Spending four days a week in Melbourne and the other three on the farm, Atar says he and wife Megan made the shift for family reasons.
“It’s about life balance,” he says. “We’ve got three boys under the age of three, and a daughter who is 14, so we wanted to make sure that they stayed earthed and grounded. Also it was an opportunity for Megan and myself to unwind and forget the normal pressures of work.”
Not that they are just sitting around.
“We’re industrious people, so we can’t sit and enjoy things like normal people do, so we’re forever picking up sticks, building fences, putting in roads, splitting paddocks and fixing things on the farm or whatever. The goats were just a natural extension of that.”
Learning from his mistakes
Working in a vibrant industry such as telecommunications ensures Atar will always be kept on his toes.
“It’s a tough place to be in, but it’s still very rewarding, it’s still very challenging, and to some degree it’s still very lucrative as well.”
Discipline has been one of his great assets. Of Turkish heritage, his father spent 18 years in the air force and insisted on a family culture built around respect and integrity.
“He was forever talking to me and giving advice on life and real-life experiences that he or others had gone through.”
As for the mistakes he has made along the way – Atar says they only make him stronger. He says there is a healthy dose of risk with all business decisions.
“There are outside factors that sometimes influence your decision-making, your profitability, all of those kinds of things – it’s a risk. That’s why we’re entrepreneurs – we take risks. And the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.”
Atar says, now, more than ever he wants a bright, profitable future through Solution 1.
 “Our vision for the future is ... to continue to be the best, to be market leaders, an employer of choice and to have the best possible people working for us that the industry can offer.”
Entrepreneur’s diary
Taylan Atar says ...
"Someone once told me ... don't play poker unless you’re willing to lose. You've got to take the risks accordingly!
For me ... it’s not tough to grow a business. It’s tough to grow a business and maintain the profitability. I think that’s the key challenge.
The best advice I have received ... is that honesty is always the best policy. Also make sure that your integrity is right and that you always listen. Everyone has a point of view. Just listen and learn.
To me, being a leader means ... doing things by example. I was (just) up a ladder, changing a light globe even though I have three other staff members here who could quite easily do it.
I think it’s important to ... never forget where you came from, what you’ve started, and what you’ve been through.
My dad told me ... grapes get darker by looking at one another. In other words, you will be influenced by the people that you surround yourself with. Good people will influence you in a positive manner and vice versa."

Published on: Thursday, July 16, 2009

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