JAMIE PHEROUS: THE DAY I LITERALLY CRIED AND WHY YOU NEED TO DIVERSIFY YOUR CLIENT BASE
Written on the 29 August 2017 by Ben Hall
HE founded his company, Corporate Travel Management (ASX: CTD), in 1994 with just two staff in a small Brisbane office and Jamie Pherous now heads a business that employs 2,200 people, services more than 70 countries and has a market capitalisation of around $2.5 billion.
"We also wanted a really good ROI methodology which means that if a client was spending, say, $5 million, let us show them how to get down to $4 million and be accountable for it."
Q: So, what's that recipe for 23 consecutive years of growth, what do you do differently?
In our business, there's four areas we get everyone to focus on and we want to make sure everyone in our business understands how to focus on those four areas. First, it's clients and how we win and retain them. Next is people. We want to attract, retain and develop our people and the glue that holds that together is number three and four: innovation and process.
"Quite frankly when you put that all together, profit falls out of the bottom."
Everyone's working for the customer and everyone's tied together to understand how they contribute to the customer and by doing so, you've got a very good sustainable business over the long term.
"We were going along with our lofty growth and we were at $10 million in sales and we had a $5 million client which was obviously a big part of our base and we lost that client. That was a day on which I literally cried."
You want to know why we lost it? It wasn't service, it wasn't price, it was technology. So, I actually cried, I really did cry, but we got together with the team and we said: 'okay what does this mean?' and we were able to recover and it meant we did not have to lose jobs.
"And for us the most important thing is we're going to be innovative and we're going to drive innovation and we're going to do it in a way that is customer facing. Innovation is at the core of everything we do."
Q: Is there any way to foresee, or at least prepare for, a major shock to the business like that one in 1996?
Business News Australia
Author: Ben Hall