Integrity is the most important thing in life. Lead by example and surround yourself with good people. TELL, SHOW, TRY, DO—And then get them DOING IT as if their life depended on it. Always, TEACH TO TRAIN AND TRAIN TO TEACH. Be sure to take good care of your people.
People will never buy into your personal goals, but they will always buy into a sound vision. Make your key people think it’s their idea. Start by publicly painting them in on the direction you want to take your company. When you formally present your vision statement your key players will believe it was their idea in the first place and treat your vision as their own.
Fine companies that have been around for decades go broke. They’ve remained so focused on their targeted area of expertise that they’ve failed to see what’s come onto the horizon. They’ve simply taken their eye off the ball. Surf Pacific has always been nimble enough to TAKE ACTION, and quickly in line with market trends.
Prior to working in Australia, Surf Pacific worked within the film industry. Working with highly creative clients is challenging—with massive egos they often lost sight of their end game. A balance sheet will never lie.
Dealing with bureaucracy is irritating and frustrating at times. Government regulations imposed by people who’ve never run a business or understand a balance sheet isn’t funny. Isn’t it a shame they know a lot less than they think they know.
I don’t wish anything was different about my work. I love work, period. Everybody has good days and bad days, bottom line is; the good days far outweigh the bad.
There are always challenges and nuts to crack for clients, promoting their goods and services. Where there’s a will, there’s always a way. And there is always a way. Simply put yourself in the place of the end user and ask yourself? What’s in it for me?
The marketing industry changes daily, but its core element always remains. Turn a stranger into a friend; and a friend into a paying client or customer: for life.
You’ve always got to be thinking about the end user’s needs and wants. People only buy what they know is available.
Keep things simple. Always remember, God gave us two ears and one mouth. Use them it that proportion and not the other way around. Learn to be interested and not interesting. Speak to express and not impress.
The worst client is one who’ll tell you: “My wife’s brother-in-law’s niece has a friend that’s in marketing and he or she, is a WIZ.” Further questioning will virtually always reveal that that person’s magic carpet has never quite got off the ground. Typically, they’re either a university student who’s never marketed and sold a thing or a failed business owner.
Interrupt. Engage. Educate. Offer. It always boils down to the Socratic method of leading someone to a YES decision, this can only ever be achieved by education. Today consumers are sophisticated, they’re certainly not fools. Education will always get them to YES, coupled with logic and emotion.
The most challenging client is always the client who’s undercapitalised or is working on a too smaller margin. Tact and diplomacy must always be used when ascertaining how a client is capitalised.
The most challenging campaign we’ve ever worked on was a client in the finance industry. We did all their marketing collaterals which included some sixty odd websites targeting geographical areas. From day one it was a raging success, and when the client sold the business, it transpired the true intrinsic value of the business was the lead generation we had created. That particular client was one of the most demanding, but also by far the most rewarding.
Be the best that you can be at everything you do. Simply immerse yourself. Throw yourself in and be the best version of yourself.
The Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. In six years, I toured Germany, Kenya the Sudan, Northern Ireland and a short period performing ceremonial public duties in London.
In the mid-seventies, during the troubles in Northern Ireland, I worked in a covert intelligence cell alongside my battalion who were based in Armagh. The entire South Armagh border area was then commonly known as ‘Bandit Country’. Situated smack on the border between Eire (Southern Ireland) and Northern Ireland. The entire border was, and still is, predominantly bleak, arable farmland with official border crossings situated on all major roads that join the north with the south. Other than a few official checkpoints, the border was nothing more than an invisible line. Terrorist activities were an everyday occurrence; IED’s (improvised explosive devices), sniper attacks, illegal VCP’s (vehicle checkpoints), human trafficking, kidnappings, kneecapping, murder, and the trafficking and smuggling of arms and munitions were rife. The theatre worsened in winter months with freezing fog and inclement weather. Here that I gained a wealth of in-depth knowledge and experience on border security in active conditions. No different to what we are seeing today on the U.S. Mexican border.
In 1978, I left the army in order to marry my wife Carolyn. In the September joined the police service working in London. Having completed the statutory four-year period as a uniformed officer working on numerous crime squads, I gained detective status and was seconded to the Metropolitan Police’s 4 Area Major Investigation Pool as a detective, working homicide. In 1990 my career was abruptly ended as a result of a leg injury.
Finding myself unemployed during the middle of a global recession, getting an income on par with my police salary was challenging. My previous work experience was useless to me in civilian life. Being a good communicator and an even better listener, commission-only sales seemed the obvious answer. After all the only real attribute I had was getting was somebody to ‘YES’. At the end of my first year in direct sales, I’d tripled my police income and was earning a respectable six-figure income. In 1997, together with my wife Carolyn and our eldest son Greg, we founded one of London’s first digital agencies. In late 2000, with our four sons we relocated to Australia.
Let the dog see the bunny. My four grown sons are now all equal co-directors of Surf Pacific and now run the company brilliantly. Our company employs some thirty-odd, full-time staff and is the largest Ad Agency in Australia specialising in elective healthcare. The family now owns offices in both the U.S. and Australia, with clients worldwide.
Never a minute to spare. At the age of fifty-seven, I took up my first ever hobby. Having parachuted in the army on a recreational basis, I thought I might like to try paragliding. Being reasonably fit and having completed seven solo free flights, my core strength simply wasn’t what it was. I would arrive home at the end of a day’s flying and I could barely get out of the car. Wheel-based powered paragliding was the only way to go.
Buying my first ever Light Sports Recreational Aircraft. The truth is I wasn’t that wasn’t enamoured with even the market leaders. Having always been a ‘Petrol Head’, I knew I could do better. Coupled with in-depth knowledge of Aerial Reconnaissance and Border Security I could see another business on the horizon that I could be passionate about. Once we’d completed or due diligence and talked things through with Carolyn and the boy’s we incorporated MilSpecPPG. We were going to design and manufacture a slow flying wheel based paramotoring trike, classed as a Light Sports Aircraft, and sell it into the Law Enforcement and Military markets.
The rest is history.
The Gander Mk I and Gander Mk II are currently being accessed for full airworthy compliance under the ASTM (American Standards Test Method – International) as a light sports aircraft in-line with all regulations set out by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Recreational Aviation Australia. It is conservatively estimated that both aircraft will be fully accredited by January 2019.