When Conrad Taylor left England in 1987 for a new life in Australia, he never imagined in his wildest dreams he’d be managing a multi-million dollar automotive business in Melbourne’s western suburbs.
As a young boy, cars were never his thing – soccer was his passion but he knew he’d never be a David Beckham.
Today he is the managing director at Werribee and Western Automotive Group, employs more than 200 staff and the business has gone from strength-to-strength to achieve an annual turnover of $180 million.
He chats with Nathalie Silva about his determination to succeed, how he pushes through challenging situations and what he attributes his success to.
When did you realise you had become successful?
“I have always measured success by how the business and I have influenced the success of other people. That may be by helping an employee purchase their first property or receive a promotion through hard work and being a team player. I don’t measure success by money or profitability. Yes, you’ve got to be profitable to sustain a business but you cannot have a successful business without a team of happy employees who share the same vision and are happy to come to work. The business is a destination where employees can start their journey and be part of a community so without a good culture and happy employees, you’ll never have happy customers. Also, my focus is working with and giving back to the community from a business point of view. Being able to contribute $200,000 a year on sponsorships to local sporting clubs and hospitals, means I’m able to share my success with the community.
What do you attribute your success to?
Being prepared to lead but always being prepared to listen as well. Always remember where you and the business started.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your success when you started out?
Fear of failure and a determination to succeed. Fear can either make people numb or it can make you challenge yourself. When I started as a sales cadet 30-years-ago in 1987 when I came to Australia from England, I worked hard and moved up to buy my first car dealership in Werribee in 1998.
What are the Top 3 things you would tell people to give up if they want to be exceptionally successful?
- Don’t worry about what people may be saying about you
- Avoid negative people
- Don’t waste time and opportunities
What are the Top 3 things people should do to be exceptionally successful?
- Love what you do
- Have a vision and a plan and then plan again and again
- Find like minded people who share your passion and vision and make sure they are cleverer than you
What makes you tick every day and push through your worst times?
Business is challenging and not for everyone. Once you have chosen your path, you need to remember that you have a responsibility to your staff and they are the most important part of your business. Once again, without happy employees in the business, you won’t have happy customers or any customers. Therefore, happy staff and customers, means there are fewer challenging times.
Who is your hero or someone you’ve looked up to that has influenced your decisions and success?
I admire my wife Shona. We have been together over 25 years, we met when we both had nothing and have shared in the fact we have two healthy children and whilst the financial side is easier now, we haven’t changed as people. She keeps me grounded and always reminds me that we were happy when we didn’t have anything.
How do you wake up or what is your usual routine in the morning?
I like to be in the office by 8.30am and I usually go to the gym three mornings a week. I find it’s a great way to clear your head. I love mornings because I love going to work.
What do you do in your spare time to recharge?
Up until recently, I worked six days a week, so on Sundays, I help coach my kids’ sports teams. And now that I have Saturdays free, I work in with my wife’s schedule, I enjoy going to the movies or just spending time together with the kids.
Are there any other factors that have contributed to your success?
The key to being successful is also being able to switch off. It can sometimes be hard and we can’t always do it, but it helps if you have a good, stable rock foundation at home, and I’ve been very lucky in that respect.