Ask an Expert
Want to learn how to build, launch and sell a billion-dollar digital business? Find out here from someone who’s already done it. Gabby Leibovich, the co-founder of iconic brands such as Catch of the Day, Scoopon and Menulog, kindly shares the secrets of his success for our readers.
The perception is that online business is easy, a passive way to make money. Is that the truth?
Not really. We worked super hard then, and still did, right up until we sold the business to Wesfarmers. We were hands-on owners. And we did it all, especially in the beginning. As the Catch business grew, a typical day for us would look something like this: upon waking, we’d check our emails. We’d drive to the office, be at our desks by 8am, solve the problems from the night before, attend a supplier meeting at 9am, juggle a thousand different balls, eat a hurried lunch at our desk, have more meetings with suppliers in the afternoon, head home at 8pm, have a quick dinner, kiss the kids, say hello to our wives, hit the desk for another few hours, get to bed around 1am and then get up and do it all again the next day. You could say we ‘bootstrapped’ it.
Many of the leading digital entrepreneurs got their start at Catch. And many stayed for years, some longer than you! What made Catch such a great place to work?
Our culture. We loved to party, celebrate, have a good time. We also knew that if people enjoyed work, they’d stay longer to hang out with their colleagues. It was a win-win. Nothing made us happier than seeing work mates play basketball at lunchtime, or have a drink in the café after work. We had loads of dress up days, and took any chance we could to celebrate an occasion.
What did you look for in an employee?
We looked for people with a ‘big head’ mentality. What that meant was, people who could step out of line and tell us the truth to help us build the business. I remember walking through the warehouse one day when a young staff member from the packing team approached me.
‘Hi,’ he said. ‘My name is Soji and I would love to have some of your time to chat with you about my observations on the packing floor’.
The other 99 packers must have thought that Soji was mad, or out of line, to stop the owner and bother him with his ideas and suggestions. I didn’t think he was mad. I appreciated his bravery in speaking up.
Soji was one of a hundred packers walking kilometres every day to pack an order, and thanks to his willingness to ‘step out of line’ his ideas went on to help us implement a range of changes that dramatically improved our receiving and dispatch functions. It’s this kind of ‘Big Head’ thinking we looked for, and encouraged in our team.
What would you recommend to those starting out to help them create awareness?
You have to tell everyone how good you are. No one is going to seek you out and showcase your success. You have to clap for yourself and hopefully the others will join in. We’ve just released our new book, Catch of the Decade, and I’ve been on LinkedIn every day shouting from the rooftops how good this book is. And it is! But I got the applause started and now everyone is joining in. In fact, we’re at #1 on Booktopia. You have to believe in yourself and tell others about you how good you are. How else are they going to know if you don’t tell them?
After nearly two decades working at the forefront of Australian business, it’s clear that Gabby and Hezi Leibovich have pioneered the way forward for many other start-ups. They leave a legacy that empowers others to have the ‘chutzpah’ to get out there and do it for themselves.
Any final words Gabby?
Buy the book!
Buy it here. https://tinyurl.com/y4pf9mtx