What the Wolf of Wall Street Taught Me

While not a huge fan of the movie, something really struck a chord with me when watching this film.

It’s the scene where Jordan Belfort (Leonardo Dicaprio) explains to his team how he created his business empire.

“Just pick up the phone.”

It’s that simple. And it really is.

As a young woman stepping into her fourth year in the corporate world, if there is one lesson I have learned through my short career, it’s that you can’t sit back and wait for the phone to ring. That isn’t how businesses are made, nor how they grow. It is up to you to make business happen.

To truly succeed, you must view your role as a ‘sales’ position – regardless of if you are the company’s CEO, Account Manager or intern. To successfully grow in your role, add value to the company you work for, and therefore enjoy the benefits of a growing business, all it takes is picking up the phone.

The way I see it is that the life I have dreamed of is at the other end of the phone. That huge deal is a couple of buttons and a meeting away. If it means I have to call someone and set a time to meet with them first, then I’m okay with that.


Hollie Azzopardi, Account Manager for Michael Field Pty Ltd.


The “Fast, Good and Cheap” Analogy

In its simplest form, businesses have two growth options:

  • Increase sales
  • Reduce costs

In tough economic times, it can be challenging to grow sales. Cutting costs can appear to be the simplest and most direct way of improving profitability. But at what cost?

Recently our company was invited to submit a proposal on a strategic review of the market, competitors and options for a video production company. The company specialised in mining services and the decline in the mining market had dramatically affected revenues. They were seeking to review their options and understand how they might grow their business outside of their traditional mining markets.

The project was clearly defined in a scope of work. We submitted a proposal that met the requirements and ensured there were sufficiently skilled people and adequate time to complete the work to a very high standard.

It was a competitive pitch and we didn’t win the work. The project was awarded to an organisation that had submitted a quote 50% lower than our proposal. I was perplexed and simply could not understand how anyone could do the work required on such a small budget and still deliver a high standard of work.

It turns out they couldn’t. I telephoned the company a few weeks after the project ended. To their credit, when I asked them how the project went they were honest with me and told me they believed they had made a mistake.

The firm who won the work did not do a good job. Apparently they were underprepared and had not completed even basic market research prior to commencing the project. The available budget was spent on bringing the consultants up to speed, leaving no time or money to do the actual work. What the client was left with was a document that contained interesting facts about their business (which they already knew) and no solutions!

I am reminded of the Fast, Good and Cheap analogy where you are asked to pick any two. The Fast (Time), Good (Quality) and Cheap (Price/Resources) triangle suggests all three properties of a project are interrelated, and it is not possible to optimise all three – one will always suffer. In other words you have three options:

  • Design something quickly and to a high standard, but then it will not be cheap
  • Design something quickly and cheaply, but it will not be of high quality
  • Design something with high quality and cheaply, but it will take a long time

So keep this in mind – if you shop on price alone, you will most likely sacrifice quality and/or time. If you shop for value, you will get quality work that is adequately timed and for the right price.

This blog was originally posted on EvettField.


Michael Field, Director at Michael Field Pty Ltd.

Is your small business ‘Investor-Ready’?

I am inspired by the energy, passion and commitment of business owners.

I meet many who are looking to take their business to the next level.

They want more, but they are not quite sure how to get there.

Many are seeking investors in the belief it will help them get there, or at least chart the course to make navigation easier.

Before you decide you need an investor, ask yourself the following questions:

- Is the business ‘investor-ready’?

- Does it have enough customers, revenue or forward sales orders to determine a fair value?

- Are there more things you can or should do before you approach an investor?

- Do you really want an investor in the business? If so, why and for what purpose?

- Are you flexible enough to adapt to a new ownership and reporting structure?

- Are you ready to ‘give up your baby’ in favour of growing it?

- Does the business actually require investment, or is there something else it needs more?

- What do your require from the investor? Cash? Networks? Expertise? All of the above?

- Do you have a clear plan as to how the investor’s money will be applied and what returns it is likely to produce?

- Have you optimised the business revenues, marketing, processes, etc. to maximise the sale price?

- Are you the right person to take the business to the next level, or would it need an experienced manager so you can focus on what you do best?

- Will securing investment deliver your expected outcome of lifestyle, money, time, etc.?

This list of questions is not comprehensive, but hopefully will assist you in deciding if now is the right time to think about investors.


Michael Field, Director at Michael Field Pty Ltd.