Dorry Kordahi, CEO of DKM Blue shares his lessons in leadership

Dorry Kordahi, CEO of DKM Blue shares his lessons in leadership 657 404 C-Suite Network
Dorry Kordahi, CEO of DKM Blue shares his lessons in leadership

Building a business is tough and running a successful one is a long-haul endeavour, writes Dorry Kordahi, CEO of DKM Blue.

Dorry Kordahi is Managing Director and Co-founder of DKM Blue Global, a multi-award-winning promotional marketing and corporate clothing company. Author of several books including Power To Act.

Exploring and testing my beliefs. The climb begins

My climb began 16 years ago with a business plan that looked like pages from a doodle pad. Just 3 pages, virtually illegible to all but me. I was in Europe when I scratched out these ideas. I’d done a few different things in my life, with varying degrees of success, but I realised that the field I loved and wanted to pursue was promotional merchandise.

My industry training exposure to merchandise came from working for a family company in Sydney, but spending time overseas made me want to prove that, at the age of 26, with no academic qualifications, money or help, I could become a success in the industry. With that clear in my head, I booked a flight back from Europe the next day and registered my company, DK Management, as soon as I arrived.

Dorry Kordahi, CEO of DKM Blue

My first Australian office was in my parents’ backyard shed, and while still there I decided to open another office – the all-important one in Shanghai. Of course, China was a different, harder culture in which to operate, especially for a start-up like me. But I sensed that success there would prove pivotal.

As it was, it became a cornerstone for my business. Had I not succeeded in this area, things might have turned out quite differently, but I was very hungry for success and determined to follow my gut instincts. Today we call that entrepreneurship.

I didn’t realise I was behaving entrepreneurially when I took on 4,000 established competitors in Australia. To me, they were stuck with old-fashioned attitudes that had given my chosen industry a down-market image. I could also see they didn’t have a clue about customer service. Attitude and customer service were the 2 things in which my company was going to excel – the next 2 cornerstones.

Within a few years, I was turning over 3 times the median of my competitors and had moved to my first proper commercial premises. The climb had begun in earnest.

Sustaining and diversifying. Staying on the peak

It may sound obvious, but business is about…