Zip CEO Urges ‘Can Do’ Attitude

Friday 15 October, 2010

This week's Wednesday night guest -- one of Australia’s most successful businessmen, Mr Michael Crouch AO -- encouraged residents to maintain the “can do” attitude that has made Australia a great nation.

Mr Crouch, who is the CEO of Zip Industries, said Australia had become the world’s 15th biggest economy because Australians had a proud tradition of being able to innovate and survive, reaching back to the first European settlement.

His own company, which manufactures boiling and chilled filtered water products, had had a modest beginning before he took it over in the 1960s. The first company to develop instant boiling water heaters, it went on to open up a world market.

“In the first year after I bought the business we only sold 62 units,” he said. “By the third year we were still only selling 220. But now we are in 54 countries.”

Mr Crouch said the only quality that he has ever looked for from the hundreds of people he employs is reliability. “We use a psychological test to establish that each new recruit is reliable,” he said. “We just want to be sure that a person will do what they say they will do.”

He said that Zip Industries had succeeded due to teamwork and by a conscious policy of pointing out the “unique selling benefits” of its products. “You guys have your own unique benefits and you need to exploit those benefits,” he said.

Mr Crouch said that one thing that concerned him about young people today was that they tended not to be members of a church or a political party and they tended not to do anything for the community.

“I think we need spirit,” he said.

Asked what he considered to be the most important qualities needed to succeed in business, he said it was important to be passionate about what you are doing and to believe that you are going to succeed.

Read more news from Warrane College