Every business entrepreneur wants success for its business — may it be SME’s or big corporations.
But how is it to become successful in business?
Dorry Kordahi — former hairdresser and professional basketballer now turned highly successful entrepreneur and founder of the once Dorry Kordahi Management (DKM), a merchandising and marketing company, now currently called DKM Blue, a company currently listed 20th on the BRW’s 2011 list of Australian 100 Fast Starters — discusses in his latest book called Power to Act his secret to success.
According to Dorry Kordahi, “Business is about common sense, but common sense is uncommon. People tend to make their business overly complex.”
Kordahi’s approach to business is refreshingly straightforward.
Here are some of Kordahi’s “secrets to success”
Keep the Business Simple and Focus on Cash Flow
According to Kordahi, in order to be successful, one needs to follow basic principles — keep the business simple and focus on cash flow.
He said that the smartest business people know that a business’ success is all about as little as possible to make as much as possible.
After failing his high school certificate and not attending University, Dorry Kordahi was trained as a hairdresser in his father’s business before he built his promotional merchandise company, DKM, in his parents’ garage in late 2002 while still in his mid-twenties.
In 2009 he merged with his brother’s Company DK Blue and now has built a global business called DKM Blue. Now, the business turns over $10 million a year and continues to grow, with a HQ in Sydney, Australia and regional offices in Melbourne, London and Shanghai — which currently now supplies a wide range of promotional merchandise, including bags, umbrellas and corporate clothing.
Kordahi has just signed a deal to open an office in Beirut, which will be the business’ Middle Eastern base.
Not a bad outcome for someone who failed his HSC and never went to uni.
According to Kordahi, one of the most important lessons he learned during his first years was patience. He said, “Right at the start I was working in my parent’s shed, which was a struggle, but provided a valuable lesson in budgeting and patience. Patience was something I had to develop, because if you don’t have patience you are at risk of making bad decisions.”
Be Hands-On and be Prepared
Kordahi, who went on a stint travelling around the world for six months before starting DKM said that his getting away really helped as “It was a good time for me to reflect and organise how I was going to run my business.”
He explained that he does not want to return without working out everything he needs to know and learn on how to run a business like tax, small business accounting software and the legalities of starting a business.
So in his return, he immersed himself in every aspect of the business — from accounts to product and logistics.
He further said that one of his most important lessons was to be hands-on so when he started hiring, he already knows the different roles.
Determination is the key to success
Crediting his success to his determination, Kordahi said that business owners should not cut corners with the brand by building a good quality website and business cards and by identifying a niche.
With as many as 5000 competitors in the very cut-throat market of promotional advertising, Kordahi said that he didn’t want to position his business at the bottom end but he wants to be a management company.
So envision taking his business out of just selling products but instead he consulted to marketing managers and came up with solutions and ideas about how to manage their budget.
“It’s about thinking for them and making them looked good.” Kordahi said.
Kordahi’s ability to find a point of difference from his competitors is not the only innovative aspect of his business but also he launched the first industry magazine for branded products, which can generate up to $140,000 in sales per issue.
The publication — named Branded — is inserted into marketing trade publications including Marketing magazine, B&T and Direct Marketing magazine twice a year. Though it costs him $20,000 to produce Branded, the revenue from the ads sold to product suppliers negates the cost of publishing.
Fascinatingly, according to Kordahi, his early interest in basketball has greatly influenced and formed his attitude towards business — Kordahi was once a professional basketballer in Lebanon and in the NSW state league for a short stint as well as a towel boy for the Sydney Kings at the age of 12 and at 31, he was a part-owner in the team though currently he no longer has a financial interest.
He explains that he took a lot of his business lessons about his mental approach and the need to visualize success and the importance of preparation from basketball.
Moreover, the early decision to open a Shanghai office is an important key to his business’ success.
Kordahi’s being able to directly import products has helped him increase his margins, given him better product control and access to a much bigger market of products.
For two years in a row, Kordahi has been named in BRW’s Fast Starters list and debuted on the BRW Young Rich list last year and was also a finalist in the 2008 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
As for the future, Kordahi wants his business to be number one in its market as well as wanting to mentor other entrepreneurs and increase his public speaking engagements.