The house that Jack built


a | a | a

When Jack Daly crossed the threshold into his teenage years he was fortunate enough to get good advice that would shape his business life: have written goals and understand the numbers.

“I’ve been working from written goals since I was 13-years-old. I view the practice of written goal setting process, combined with developing a plan to achieve them, a system of measurement, and a system of accountability to be THE keys to success.

“Also, when I was 13 I was a caddy at a golf course. I realised that the people whose bags I was carrying every day were special so I asked them lots of questions. Several of them said I was a natural sales guy – but they recommended I get an accounting background first.”

The young Daly was quick to take up the advice of these early mentors. He graduated in accounting and spent the next few years notching up experience in the big end of town.

“I was an accountant with the idea of being a better entrepreneur. My accounting experience was a means to an end.”

Daly, who describes himself as a ‘serial entrepreneur’, has spent 30 years in mortgage and financial services, having built six businesses from scratch.

“I love to take a blank sheet of paper and put down what I’d like to build and find a way to market it until it starts to take off and grow,” he says.

“The successful entrepreneur realises in the business building process, that life is a series of ‘uncontrollables’. The key is to focus on that which you have control over. Business entrepreneurs actually enjoy the equivalent of walking the high wire without a net. Meeting payroll, juggling cash flows, hiring and retaining talent, getting prospects to consider us, etc, are all part of the high-wire act.

“This business of building a business is not for the faint of heart. Whether it’s bungy jumping, skydiving, competing in an Ironman or any number of other extreme sports, they all seem tame in comparison to the extreme sport of running a business! After all, these endeavours put only ‘you’, the participant ‘at risk’, whereas the entrepreneurial undertaking takes many others along for the ride and the leader bears responsibility for their safety. The extreme sports outlet provides the rush, with a lot less risk,” he says.

Being a strong believer that success is by design, not chance, Daly says anyone aiming for success needs to consider every element in the plan – and naturally that includes valuing your employees.

“The manager who puts his people above his/her personal agenda will reap significant rewards. An individual, no matter how good they are, can only do so much business. However, the growth in production is unlimited for a growing firm. And, growing firms are the product of a growing team,” he says.

Daly’s views on being professional

If ‘professionalism’ were a cake, these would be key ingredients: integrity; knowledge; industry current, and always learning; puts clients first; adds value.

And, as in a good cake, if any one of the key ingredients is missing, it becomes easily noticed.

Integrity lays the foundation for TRUST, from which all business emanates. It is essentially doing what you say you are going to do, when you say you will do it, whether you want to or not, in a way that is high morals. Knowing your business is a minimum price of admission to play today’s game of business, and staying abreast of he market and business is critical in a world that is constantly changing.

The ‘professional’ thinks of their clients first and lets the business model then drive their business results. If one is not adding `value`, then what is the purpose?

On leadership

The biggest thing lacking in unsuccessful business leaders/entrepreneurs is they haven't thought clearly through what the vision is for the company. Too often, they ‘make it up as they go along’, which makes it impossible for followers to line up and support the leader. Find people who have ‘been there, done that’, and they will take you there (the vision) quicker than any single ingredient. 

Designing a winning culture, one where the leader not only engages the minds and bodies of their staffs, but wins over their hearts, results in a sustainable competitive advantage. Proactive communication, both inside and outside the company, is a consistent hallmark of successful leaders.

When the leader role models for their staffs that the client comes first, the firm is moving in the right direction.

Getting the best out of your team

  • Ensure that there are goals for each member.
  • Help each team member with achieving their goals.
  • Communicate, both by sharing and listening.
  • Present career path opportunities.

How to keep clients

  • Meet and exceed the client’s needs. Provide added-value, by bringing the customer more than they expected upon their arrival.
  • Listen, and listen some more.
  • Always show integrity.

On closing a sale

People don't want to be ‘sold’ (closed). As customers, we know when a salesperson is trying hard to close us. This then erodes the foundation of trust. People do business with people they trust. Spend more time worrying about meeting and exceeding the needs of the customer, and the loans will be there.

Quotes for the tough times

  • When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
  • If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.
  • No worthwhile effort is ever lost.
  • Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
  • Show me a successful person, and I will show you a person who has weathered ‘tough times’. The ‘free lunch’ is fiction.

similar articles
Atlassian: the change agent
see more
Gerry Harvey: A life about something
see more
Carla Zampatti: a cut above
see more
SME spotlight: Joshua Nicholls
see more
Mark Bouris: my lessons from Kerry Packer
see more
CEO’s corner: David Tudehope, Macquarie Telecom
see more
O’Tooles of the trade
see more
The ring master
see more