Each week Beaumont Tiles delivers nearly 100 shipping containers of tiles, stone and bathroom ware, much of which is sourced from around the globe – Europe, Asia, Asia Minor and the US.
Getting people to love your product and getting it into their homes and building projects across the nation takes a massive effort.
A well-oiled international buying, marketing, warehousing, distribution and retail model, and the ability for all these elements to work together seamlessly, is crucial.
Beaumont Tiles has faced and overcome many challenges however we’ve been quick to take on new opportunities and back ourselves.
We had our own computer back in 1972, the size of a very large desk; for a small business to have a computer at all was unbelievable – it was about equivalent to having a private jet! We also started to advertise on TV in 1976 when no one else in the market was doing it.
Instilling a real ‘spirit’ in a business and building a ‘confident culture’ in an organisation so that brave decisions can be made is just as important as having the right systems and structures to support the life and product cycle of a business.
It’s these tangibles and intangibles that can be found in most successful businesses and they can be applied no matter what the business size or ownership model. They are elements that hold equally true for a franchise.
When you have your own business you need to be prepared to work 80 hours a week because there are many areas that need your attention – it’s not just about selling a product or service. There are some important philosophies that sit higher than strategies and structures – they are a way of thinking, imagining and doing and can be summed up in the four Ps: Passion to be the best, Professional attitude in all business dealings, respect for People (customers, staff and suppliers alike), and a love for the Product (or service) you’re selling.
The four Ps are a guide to help people make good decisions, and are a great foundation to think through when operating a business.
Without passion, everything is a slog and feels like hard work. With passion, your interest and energy levels are high and you‘re naturally more resilient to the ‘hard yards’.
Don’t think big, think huge. In 1992 Beaumont Tiles was nearly broke and struggling. I set a goal of a turnover of 100 million dollars by 2000. I was called all sorts of things – idiot, irresponsible and the only person that believed in me was my wife. Sure as eggs, in 2000, we made our $100 million turnover target. And it took passion to get there.
A golden rule is to do to others what you would want done to you. Don’t over promise; don’t say it’s going to be there tomorrow if it’s going to be the following day.
Ethics should run through your veins – it truly is the lifeblood of a business. If you do the right thing, people will always want to deal you. You might lose business or money in the short term, but in the end, customers will support you and recommend you.
Let’s face it, people are a challenge. We’re all people, we’re all individuals, and we’re all challenging at some time or other. Now put that aside. In business, as in society, we need common goals, beliefs and shared values to operate effectively.
When Beaumont Tiles introduced a value statement in the 1970s, we received a great deal of criticism because no one did things like that.
Values help steer the ship – in fact they are your navigation. Values are never old fashioned, they can’t be replaced. There are of course a few values that change around the periphery – socially engineered into society today, but values are values.
Creating loyalty, while challenging, is the most cost effective way of doing business if you get it right.
I am not a proponent of staff churn. Loyal staff will easily go above and beyond and always act in the best interests of the business. There’s a tangible sense of spirit at Beaumont Tiles. There’s a culture, something special and people tend to stick around for a long time. I think it’s incredibly important to hold onto staff. Loyal customers will not only come back to you time and again (significantly cutting the cost of acquisition) but they’ll recommend your products and the experience they have with you to other people. The economics are simple.
Tiles are a fashion item and trends change all the time. What’s in fashion today maybe wasn’t fashionable two years ago.
Beaumont Tiles has to be on the leading edge, not the bleeding edge of style. We’ve seen radical changes over the years and constant transitions. You can’t short change the public – it has to be good quality.
As a business owner, you need to absolutely believe in your products and services. When I built my first house in the early 1970s and put tiles in the living area (as well as the bathroom), people thought I was nuts. I told them that I believed in my product. I still do.
Bob Beaumont has been at the helm of Beaumont Tiles for 38 years. His philosophy of ‘don’t think big, think huge’ has resulted in a small South Australian business growing into a multi-million dollar enterprise with 108 stores across most of Australia. Bob oversees a company owned and franchised retail model. For him, business success takes drive, visiona nd risk taking, innovation, uniqueness and a dash of unconventionality.