I had to do some talks in South Africa to 3 very different groups of people. The first one was in a mountain area called the “Drakensburg”, a beautiful part of South Africa, about a 5 hours drive from Johannesburg.
I was speaking for the OK Supermarket chain, with owners from all over South Africa, Namibia & Botswana . They were a great bunch of people, mostly white Africans, with a few coloured (as they are known in South Africa) and some Asians.
I attended the conference for 2 days which I really enjoyed and got some good ideas for my own business. As part of the conference they showed a DVD that they had put together which showed many different supermarkets and the displays that they had in their stores and how each store is so involved in their communities. They really did do a lot. It was just wonderful to sit and watch this DVD.
Each owner of these stores was interviewed and asked what their strengths were, what they had achieved in the past 12 months and what their plans were for the next 12 months. All these store owners were in a national competition for various awards with all sorts of different categories…I believe that they were all winners, regardless of whether they got an award or not…because these people were all real achievers, as were the staff that worked for them. Lots of their staff were interviewed as well and they came across as very happy and proud to be working at their particular supermarket. It was a great conference.
After the Drakensburg we travelled to Hermanus which is a couple of hours drive from Cape Town, where we stayed with friends who had arranged for me to speak at the local community centre just up the road from where they lived. This centre had just opened and was in a black community. The centre is fantastic and has lots of volunteers working there, who do all sorts of different things from running the office, to teaching cooking in a fairly basic kitchen, music classes where they taught the young people some beautiful music as well as basic education type of classes.
My talk went really well, they really loved it and the audience was a very mixed group of people…blacks, coloured, white, teachers, trades people, trainers, students, leaders in the community, young and old people.
After my talk I got to speak to lots of the people who attended and had loads of photos taken with many of them and those that I did speak to all said that they got something out of my talk and many of them shared with me their goals and plans for the future. The one thing that stood for me was how proud they all were of their new community centre. They now use my 3 DVD’s and cookbook at the centre as part of the training programs that they run there.
We then travelled back to Cape Town a couple of days later and I spoke at the University of Cape Town to a small group of about 12 people who were teachers, professors, company CEO’s…all academics. Boy, did that get me out of my comfort zone! They were all white and very proper and loved my talk… once they got over the shock of my Aussie accent and my ‘different’ presentation style (as did the other groups I spoke to). This also can happen in Australia, as I can sometimes be a bit loud and a bit too honest and I can be a bit too confronting for some people at first…but then they relax.
I have spoken in South Africa before and have always found them to be terrific audiences, always keen to learn. The three groups I presented to this time couldn’t have been any more different, in appearance, background, education, you name it. But here’s the thing: in the end none of that mattered at all because they were all motivated by the same things all of us wanting to achieve something have in common. They were all hard working people with big dreams, they were all very community minded and they all had a great belief in their vision for the future. That’s why they could all identify with the Beechworth Bakery story.
My people have a big belief in our bakery. We also have some great people who are prepared to lead our teams. Beechworth Bakery is a big part of the community, which is one of our real strengths. Speaking to these very different groups just proved it again to me, what success is all about… People, Product, Partnership & Passion. It’s all about getting in there, boots and all. Action is the magic word!
You also need to have vision, persistence and discipline, but most of all you need to believe in yourself, your business and your community. We need to believe, because I know that it is the believers who pick up the prizes in this life.
Below is a poem that I would like to share that was given to me by the OK Supermarket group. I had sent them a copy of my cookbook prior to the conference and as you can see they have used the names of cakes etc out of it.
In seconds we realised what a mighty guest speaker we had on our hands
Like carrot cake, we wanted another slice
Like fruit Eccles, we licked our fingers
Like Dutch Apple cake we had to go for thirds
Like Savoury Scones, we had to give into temptation
Like pumpkin Bread, we had to let the neighbours get a taste of it
Like Turkish Bread we devoured every crumb
Like Canadian Slice, we had to ask for the recipe
Like Orange & Almond cake we sank our teeth into it
Like Bundy Bites, we asked for more
What a scrumptious presentation!
In turn, we would like you to feast your eyes on what South Africa can offer.
From the Staff & Management of the OK Franchise Division