34/110 Sussex Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000 0413 611 334 angela@thesmallbusinessparty.com

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Speech: Bendigo Business Lesson

I have been travelling around Australia since March for The Commonwealth Bank Small Business Forums with the esteemed Peter Switzer. I have had a lot of fun, learnt a lot and experienced a little peek into the corporate world. I normally do almost zero travelling, after all my business is land locked in Sydney and specifically George St. I’ve never had to struggle with packing or doing three states in two days with six flights. To suddenly become this business traveller has made me appreciate my routine at work and how glad I am to come home and be home.


So I’ve grown as a business person and expanded my world. That’s nice I guess. What I hadn’t realised was that I had also become a snob of my environment. The very last stop on the tour was Bendigo, The Lakeview Resort. This is a Motel. I have never stayed in a Motel. It’s been big hotels all the way up until here. Not 5 star accommodation, but not Motels. I made some assumptions and judgements that I am ashamed of (to begin with!). I pulled up to the Motel at around 7.30pm – dark, cold and lonely. That has been another big lesson, being alone. No one at the desk. I waited. No sign to say what to do if desk was unattended. I had to assume someone was going to come back eventually. But I was starting to get nervous and pouty, bad combo. Very princess like behaviour. Finally a young lady popped in. Finally. Now check in everywhere else has been a long laborious process with each person in every hotel trying to get me to sign up for something and asking me to fill out mountains of forms (slight exaggeration 🙂 ). This was smooth and very quick. Then she handed me a pot of milk – huh? and a huge key, pointed me outside in the direction I was to go. Room 27, turn left. Outside. In the dark. By myself. So I went out, followed her directions sort of, and went around the entire resort looking for my room. It was at the end of the row, very dark, no outside lights, no people. And next to a paddock of some kind. Images of the movie Psycho were really coming to mind. I’m from the city; this was not the optimum safety zone for a single female. And I was being dramatic drama queen.

Got inside the room, couldn’t lock it fast enough. Room was cold, I was shivering, thought about calling my mother. Then I found the aircon, electric blanket and room service menu. It all went up from there. My meal was delivered as though I was dining in the restaurant, entree / then main / then later dessert. Of course it meant I couldn’t put my PJ’s on but the chef was so sweet delivering, and my meal was magnificent. Best meal I had on the whole tour. By this time my room was cosy, I felt like I was in the country on holidays and I got a beautiful night’s sleep. Up nice and early for our event, I went into the function room and immediately was asked if I wanted a coffee. Best coffee I had on the whole tour, and I like to think I know something about coffee :). This was trumped by breakfast. I was so impressed by that meal that I am now going to put the “Bendigo Breakfast” on my menu in honour of them. Of course it was all overshadowed by the people, who made me feel so welcome that I wish I was going back.

My ultimate lesson was to not do unto others as they have done unto me – judged me on the outside before they got to know me on the inside where it counts. I have fought against the stereotype of a waitress or coffee shop owner not being a serious business person. I have spent 3 years building a speaking career from a minus position and getting knocked back by every speakers bureau because I didn’t have a big profile, never mind if I had the business experience and credentials to prove otherwise.

So thank you Bendigo – for the food, the coffee and the experience. For keeping me real.

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