Coffee king mentors Brisbane’s founders
Philip Di Bella, small-business mentor at the co-working community, Little Tokyo Two, may be known to many as the driving force behind mega-business DiBella Coffee. Phil has grander plans including giving back to business by helping build a smarter society. He has been a strong and integral mentor for entrepreneurs for the past five years, “I love to get involved with start-ups and try to help them be the best they can be.”
Phil’s expertise includes strategy, branding, marketing, succession planning, human and resource management “managing the best people for the job.”
He believes support for entrepreneurs sometimes “can be a good thing and can be a bad thing”. Starting his coffee kingdom in 2002 there wasn’t the support there is now. He warns today many people have high expectations “with more resources you should be able to achieve more outcomes but that’s not necessarily the case.” There is a danger for entrepreneurs to think it becomes easier and “quicker for success.” Phil says, “It’s a bit like a scalpel where it can be positive or it can be negative, it really comes down to the individual.”
The coffee mogul advises when choosing a mentor to, “choose the right person with the right attitude.” Entrepreneurs should also be acutely aware of “identifying problems in their business.” From there, the best way forward is to choose mentors “who have the skills to help solve those problems.” Phil says it’s a “simple and successful formula” for the right mentor-entrepreneur dynamic.
Don’t think a mentor is a magic buddha, you can’t magically rub them and success will happen. They’re not there to do the work for you. Mentors are there to help you see clarity and refocus direction.
“I like to provide clarity, resources, keep people on track, hold them accountable, rather than the magic buddha scenario.”
The Brisbane businessman advises entrepreneurs,“the best businesses in the world solve problems. You have to make sure your solutions are relevant to the market, so you will have a relevance to the target audience.” He warns, “many people start businesses with no idea in mind.”
Phil believes in a three stage plan, “have a very clear vision, set a very strong plan to execute and surround yourself with the right people.”
A simple business plan is also integral to business focus, “keep the business plan simple—then it’s achievable.” Phil advises, “It is harder to build a simple plan than it is to build a complex plan. However, the simpler the plan and the clearer it is, the easier it comes to achieve what you need to achieve.”
Follow our article series on startups leading up to QUT CEA’s Creative Tech Start-up Weekend. We will also be looking closely at how choosing the right team is important with ‘awarding’ business development. There will also be interviews from experts looking at how investors play key roles in developing the extraordinary creative tech-talent we have in Australia.