In Australia, everyone has a mate called “Thommo” and I’m proud to count a few. This weeks Nailing It goes to my mate Ben Thompson (aka Thommo) who is going from strength to strength.
Thommo is a wonderful mate who is generous with his time and wisdom. He and Caz (his wife) and beautiful children Henry, George and Grace have been a model for my Partner (Sally) and I.
It was overlooking a stormy Bondi Beach, Sally and I had learned we were expecting number 2. We were anxious about it living up to the experience of a first child – who we were very much in love with.
Ben who had his 3 explained, “You have your first child and you think: “wow a real person!” – “How amazing is this” – “How can the second one top that?” But then… you’re there, the 2nd emotion. You reach a higher place than you ever thought possible. You are filled with so much love. You think to yourself wow not only did that top the first it added to it”.
His sagely words helped both Sally and I. We were going to have another child and wrongly thought some sort of law of diminishing returns applied. Maybe the best definition of a being mate is not telling you when you have it right, but teaching you when you have it wrong.
When I met Thommo in 2006 he had just taken over his fathers legal firm that specialised in Workplace HR, Litigation and Enterprise Agreements.
This side of his businesses remains in good nick, but all the growth has come from his innovations – not his birthright.
Ben has created a few businesses since that all complement each other. I use the term Empire, but I could as well call it a family of businesses.
He has in addition the the HR law firm an outsourced payroll company – that in turn has become best known for its software Key Pay. Key Pay now powers Quickbooks Online payroll functionality.
Thommo started licensing a rewards and recognition software called Power 2 Motivate from a Canadian firm in 2007. This has grown 100% year –on-year since he started selling it across the Asia Pacific region. It’s now an 8-figure business.
It’s been so successful that he has actually “Done a Ronson”. To “Do a Ronson” is when you like a product so much that you buy the company.
Thommo now owns most of Power 2 Motivate internationally, which counts multinational giants like Cisco amongst its clients. He has diversified the customers for Power 2 Motivate so that now instead of 100% of the clients coming from employee recognition programs only about 40% come from employee recognition programs and 60% comes from reseller channels and one is coming out, and you are flooded with all this channel partners that need incentivizing for sales.
Power 2 Motivate is huge – and its range of clients impressive – but Thommo’s Empire is building due to his Employment Hero business. Employment Hero has the goal of helping 10000 Australian businesses by 2020.
Employment Hero aims to become the Xero of HR. It enables a business to recruit, on-board, manage, pay and incentivise staff. It’s sold on an as-a-service basis for $30/mth making it ideal for high growth and startup companies right the way through to listed companies.
Between HR, Legal, Payroll, Incentives and Processes he has created an Empire. It’s basis in the most fundamental of business practices – employment. Layer upon layer he is adding technology, smarts and soft skills that employers may lack.
Then giving them robust processes like they’re a huge business, cheap prices and expert advice.
Whilst Thommo has built this empire he has had a few scary occasions, every business owner does. But year after year each business unit has achieved 100%+ growth and he’s now at that level of security and success that he’ll survive almost any wrong turn.
He also funds a charity True Blue Dreaming that financially supports remote townships and gives them access to things like tele-health and culturally specific school of the air. Not to mention keeping the airport in a condition that should the royal flying doctors be required to, they can land.
The remote community of Looma in WA 300kms East of Broome is supported by and large by Ben.
Thommo you amaze me with your business skills and you charm me with your personal skills. Your business and family are a credit to you.
You my friend, my mate, are Nailing It.
And if you decide to do that NZ coast to coast trek you’ll nail that too.