He’s one of BRW’s most celebrated entrepreneurs, a philanthropist and one of Australia’s most passionate businessmen. His love affair with coffee and natural people skills have revolutionised the coffee industry. His name is Phillip Di Bella, and he’s the face behind the ever growing, always changing Di Bella Coffee.
In the lead up to the Entrepreneurs’ Unconvention we caught up with Phillip to find out how he turned his passion for coffee into a profitable business. To hear more from Phillip book your free seat to the Unconvention here.
1. Australians have an obsession with coffee. What do you think is the key to standing out in a crowded space like this?
As a roasting company, Di Bella Coffee stands out because we are totally dedicated to the pursuit of the highest quality of coffee. We aim to control all elements of the system that is required to provide unique, high-quality, distinctive coffees and services that can be tailored to the individual needs of the customer.
2. When you first started Di Bella Coffee what were the main challenges you faced? How did you overcome these?
The idea that got me started was my dissatisfaction with the level of customer service in the coffee industry and I was convinced I had something better to offer. I started by going from door to door and did everything possible to deliver great consistent coffee and service, basically any time of the day and week. It was hard work doing everything from roasting to sales, but you keep going because from the smallest opportunities Gianna and I grew loyal customers by out-servicing our competitors. I am very proud many of our early customers are still with us and we have grown our businesses together.
3. A lot of people say “You should follow your passion” but it doesn’t always eventuate into a viable career or business. As someone who has done this successfully, what would be your advice to people trying to turn their passion into a business?
Be dedicated and passionate about whatever you are doing, even if it isn’t your biggest passion. Strive to do whatever you are doing to be at your best. Your limitations are self-imposed so set yourself ambitious goals and be resilient in the case of failure. It is far worse not to try and regret.
4. Di Bella Coffee is known for its exceptional level of customer service. What do you think is the key to great customer service?
Passion and people are key to exceptional customer service. People buy from and interact with people, they will make or break the day. I am privileged to be surrounded by very passionate people who care about customer service and are willing to better themselves.
5. A lot of our audience at the Unconvention will be in the early stages, say in their first 1-2 years in business and trying to gain some traction – what would be your advice to them?
Be at your best at whatever you do. If you want to be excellent at something you will have to practise and work hard. Even for those things that might not seem important now but could be very valuable later on.
6. Di Bella coffee is quickly expanding internationally. What are the biggest challenges associated with scaling globally?
The biggest challenge I see is being able to pace yourself and not over-stretch. The Di Bella Coffee principles translate easily to other markets and we solve the same problem. My job is to make sure we have the same passion and a dedicated team in place that made Di Bella Coffee a success in Australia.
7. What do the next 6-12 months look like for you?
Since I started Di Bella Coffee, my focus was to guide the Di Bella Coffee team to deliver on our vision to create the ultimate coffee experience for all our customers. This remains my daily focus. There is never a boring moment for me and there are still so many opportunities yet to explore in our vibrant industry.
8. Can you give us some insight into what you’ll be sharing at the Unconvention?
Entrepreneurship is an intelligence rather than a title…… there is an entrepreneurial spirit in everyone, it can start in childhood or at a later age. My story will demonstrate what good can happen if you fully embrace your entrepreneurship.
Phillip Di Bella will be speaking about his journey at the upcoming Entrepreneurs’ Unconvention in Brisbane, August 29th.
Don’t forget to follow Di Bella coffee on Facebook to stay in the loop with everything Phil is working on.