The valuable life lessons learnt from a new start in a new land
When Mitch Stambolie moved from strife-torn Zimbabwe to Kurri Kurri, New South Wales, he knew there’d be some adjustment. But despite running a successful dry good business in Africa, he was still surprised at how different it was to operating a franchise in Australia.
Introducing Mitch Stambolie – Red Rooster Franchise Partner in Kurri Kurri, NSW
Armed with new tools about team building and staff culture, Mitch’s store is now a success and his family has settled in well. He shares what he’s learnt here.
Mitch, tell us a bit about your background?
So I emigrated to Australia with my wife and kids six years ago from Zimbabwe in Africa. We originally came here to visit my brother and just loved it. We were determined to move here and carve out a new life for ourselves. While we were in Zimbabwe, I had a dry goods packaging and spices company which involved both manufacturing and creating recipes so I was previously in a food-related business and wanted to operate another one. I opened my Red Rooster store in Kurri Kurri in 2016 after a 12-week franchise training course.
What has the experience been like coming from Zimbabwe to country New South Wales?
Life in Zimbabwe is tough, much of the country is cash-strapped and impoverished and you just have to do the best you can. I was fortunate that my former boss in Zimbabwe taught me a lot about business and I always had good leaders. However, running a business here has really opened my eyes to a lot of things. We have learnt lots about team building and looking after each other. Learning how to communicate and work with a young crew here is also very different to Africa. The biggest revelation in moving to a country which hasn’t experienced any major misfortunes is that you suddenly realise what’s possible and what’s important.
So, what is important to you in terms of business success?
To me success is not about commodity or monetary value, it’s about being passionate and loving what you do. Happiness at the end of the day is success.
passionate | proud | strict
Why were you drawn to Red Rooster in particular?
Moving to a different country and having to learn a whole new way of life and different business rules is challenging enough, so I was really looking for a franchise where I’d have the support and training to draw upon. Starting a business on our own from scratch wouldn’t have been feasible, so Red Rooster has really stepped up and been incredible in their support of us. Plus I really love the roast chicken!
What have you learnt during your time here which is important for all franchisees to know?
I’ve learnt a lot about good customer service, the importance of food quality and how to run a business with a happy team. For any franchisee to have success you need to stick to your business plan and run your store with pride. You also can’t buy a franchise thinking it will run itself. It takes commitment and you need to have a clear vision. It is like a marriage – you need to commit and work hard at it 24 hours a day.
How has the local community embraced you?
It has been very positive. Opening the store was really special and we have met some great business colleagues and friends who we trust and respect. We also like to give back so we’re very involved in sports and like to support and endorse The Blacks Rugby Club – the second oldest club in the country with the biggest number of junior players – and the Kurri Bulldogs club.
How do you see the brand growing?
Red Rooster’s CEO Nick Keenan and the new leadership team have been brilliant. They’ve got the model right and have a good vision for the brand which I’m sure it is going to take us all forward. I’m also hoping in the future that new initiatives will be put in place such as gluten-free spices to attract more customers.
What are your own future business plans?
I’ll be sticking to our plan and looking for a second store.
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