Tom Potter, founder of Australian-owned Eagle Boys Pizza, left school at 15 and found himself jobless at 23. He opened his first pizza shop in Albury, New South Wales in 1987 and proceeded to build the business to become Australia and New Zealand's largest privately-owned pizza company.
Tom is a country boy, starting his business with a minimal education and very little money behind him. Tom built Eagle Boys to become one of Australia's home-grown retail and franchise successes, through radical change, innovation and at times unusual business and marketing tactics. Along the way, Eagle Boys won various National Franchising Awards and Tom was awarded with the Australian Financial Review's Young Business Person of the Year. He was chosen to give the valedictorian speech at his graduation class at Harvard Business School.
He is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a present and past Director on various private and government boards including the AFL and has been recently inducted into the Australian Franchising Hall of Fame.
Tom Potter is one of Australia's most outstanding retailers, entrepreneurs and inspirational leaders and his straightforward, no nonsense approach endears audiences to be inspired to change and cut through the clutter to achieve higher results at all levels.
Client Comments for Tom Potter
Tom Potter travels from Queensland Australia
- Tom Potter was great, for the rest of the day and even in today's workshops the presenters are referring to points that Tom mentioned.
- Tom was dynamic, full of life, and held the audience in the palm of his hand the whole time. Very well received, and beneficial to all attendees.
Australian Friendly Societies Association
- Tom was excellent - delivery, content, relevance to our group were all 100%. He is one of the best speakers we have ever had and he was perfect for our audience.
Combined Rural Traders
- Tom was a guest speaker at our Conference last year and we invited him back to participate in a workshop panel. He is very well regarded by our delegates, his business is similar to our member businesses and they can relate. He was very professional and has the right style and culture for our group.
- He was very engaging with the audience. It was encouraging to see that he spoke of his failures on his journey as anyone in business would understand it is not just sunshine an rainbows. His manner was very down to earth and genuine and was well suited to the audience.
NSW Business Chamber
- Standing Out Like a Zebra Amongst Horses
- Change or Die (Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable)
- Marketing, Sales and ‘What Really Matters’
- International Markets
- Hurry Up and Slow Down
Standing Out Like a Zebra Amongst Horses
Eagle Boys commenced across the Australian landscape with a new bright business model only to be overrun by competitive forces soon after. It was then they had to dig deep, re-invent themselves and get real about competition and winning the war of the 'share of stomach'. But it wasn't until the mid/late 90s did they realise that although the company was tracking well it had to make diabolical changes if it were to survive and thrive over the coming ten years.
Enter the two-minute pizza - 'come and get your pizza from Eagle Boys and if it's not ready in two minutes it's free', along with the drive-thru - throwing a complete cat amongst the pigeons and challenging an entire industry but ultimately standing out like a zebra amongst the horses.
Tom's reason for change was clear, “We want to be the leader in the industry - terrifying our competitors as to what we would do next in order to improve a customer experience, instead of being the ones waiting for the rouge elephant to come over the hill and crush us.
Change or Die (Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable)
Most markets continue to evolve with change/new ideas and improved customer-friendly options, however as employees and small business owners we defy and side-step change almost daily, as our human nature tells us.
Tom's solution here regarding 'getting comfortable with being uncomfortable' is all about constant environmental influences in the workplace, allowing people to gently get comfortable with constant and innovative change. Certain measures, actions, protocols and exercises with your people will enable this to create a environment of creativity and change.
Marketing, Sales and 'What Really Matters'
With over 20 years of Eagle Boys with substantial marketing budgets, along with directorships on various other companies and government-owned corporations, Tom has become familiar with seeing enormous waste in the marketing arena with people making unqualified decisions and emotional knee jerk reactions.
Enter clear strategy, precise pin-point marketing and above all defining what really matters to the customer. Tom's approach focuses on the fact that most research and customer feedback does not recognise prioritisation of the driving factors to purchase. In other words, customers, employees and overall consumers will ask for up to ten things in their demands but two of these will be the 80% driver to do business.
The key factor here is 'how do we recognise these hugely important key points'.
Tactical and guerrilla marketing were a huge part of the Eagle Boys penetration into the markets using radical, low cost yet highly affective campaigns and stunts to target the customer and become instantly relevant.
Tom tells some hilarious stories about the guerrilla marketing tactics used and the effectiveness of these campaigns.
When Eagle Boys was sold there were over 5000 employees across three countries with a 10% growth rate, all owned and lead by one person.
Tom's philosophy on leadership is all about choosing the right people and the right person for the right job, sharing the vision and trusting them with the responsibility then leaving your people to do their job unhindered. In addition, it's important to pursue their wants and needs with constructive questions like 'what do you want from this company and your career' and allowing each individual to sculpture their career path individually.
Eagle Boys had a flowing and highly affective corporate governance program with a board of directors and senior management team who understood every facet of the business. They all spent time in stores up to their elbows in flour. However, 'culture’ was Tom's catchcry and he is always emphasising an 'employ to skills and culture'.
Leadership is a constant and difficult path to walk however there are certain values to be put in place that will work wonders.
Tom's 20 years as CEO / Founder of Eagle Boys and various board positions on franchise companies such as Brumby's allows him to talk in detail about joint team leadership and at times trying to 'herd cats' in a fast-growing franchise business.
This topic relates to the winning values, structures and focus required to run a company with hundreds of owners and stake holders.
What is a good franchisee?
How do we share and drive the vision together?
What a franchisee / franchisor must do to succeed.
How to steer the company in a different direction to become more successful or divert disaster with franchisees asking why?
How franchising is a family and you have to protect your brother and sister.
Eagle Boys entered New Zealand and within five years was the largest pizza company in the country with 55% market share overall, and was named the third largest known brand in New Zealand.
This was achieved with the following points:
* Choosing the right partners with a shared vision and values.
* Business plan clarity.
* Sticking to the plan!
* Understanding and respecting local cultures.
* Geographical and tactical growth.
* Leading the new franchisees to a bigger vision than ever considered before – 'if you build it they will come'.
* Senior management remaining on the ground and in touch with the business constantly.
* Failures to launch in South Africa and China and closure of the business in Fiji (we can learn from our failures).
Hurry Up and Slow Down
Tom's philosophy on business success is all about the right strategy, researched market data and ultimately the right plan. Speed to market can be a disaster if the product is marketed incorrectly to the wrong market.
Stories relating around success and failures of both Eagle Boys and its competitors along with other retail companies mistiming, rushing in and missing the mark are realistic, devastating and very educational based on ensuring all parts of the jigsaw are done.
In today's high speed/high tech/high profile society, Tom will help you hurry up and slow down to get it right!
"Emma was a joy to deal with, had great suggestions and nothing was a problem when changes required. Pricing, customer service and variety of speakers/entertainers is excellent."
Manroland Australasia Pty Ltd
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"I dream of a company where people come to work every day in a rush to try something they woke up thinking about the night before. We want them to go home from work wanting to talk about what they did that day, rather than trying to forget it. We want factories where the whistle blows and everybody wonders where the time went, and then somebody suddenly wonders aloud why we need a whistle. We want a company where people find a better way, everyday, of doing things, and where by shaping their own work experience, they make their lives better and their company the best."
Jack Welch, CEO, General Electric.