TOM O’Toole is not your average motivational speaker.
The man describes himself as being ‘as thick as two bricks’ yet despite never completing high school has been likened to ‘John Cleese on steroids’ as he travels around the country giving entertaining and unorthodox presentations on his multimillion-dollar business success.
“All I can do is tell my story and people say ‘if this bugger can do it, anyone can’,” says O’Toole.
Establishing the Beechworth Bakery company in 1984, O’Toole now has 200 staff running six bakeries across Victoria, turning over $11 million a year.
The original Beechworth Bakery is the highest single earning bakery in Australia, growing from an annual revenue of $100,000 in 1984 to more than $4 million in a town with a population of only 3000 people.
Admitting that he now leaves most of the operations to people more educated on large business management than himself, O’Toole’s motivational presentations focus on mental commitment and dedication, positive thinking and goal setting.
“My business is far from perfect, and I tell people that,” he says.
“I aim to change people’s way of thinking, times can get tough and business can be challenging but it’s all about your attitude.”
O’Toole says a large factor in his business success has been engaging with the community and pushing the brand as much as possible.
“People always say to me it’s hard or it can’t be done. You’ve got to talk your business up, give the business motivation and positivity from the top.”
With hot reviews, O’Toole believes his presentations are different to the status quo as he is a real business owner, and doesn’t rely on an education or statistics to convey his messages.
“Many people have been there done that, but my speeches have credibility as I have a real business with a front door,” he says.
“I encourage people to get out of their comfort zone, stop cruising, set goals and walk the talk.”
When asked about the comparison with John Cleese, O’Toole says he runs ‘around flat out with my eyes popping out of my head, all wound-up trying to give as much as possible during the speech.’
Growing up in an impoverished environment in rural Victoria, O’Toole had severe learning difficulties at school and admits today he still doesn’t ‘know times tables or the alphabet’.
O’Toole will speak at the Beenleigh-Yatala Chamber of Commerce business breakfast on Friday October 9. For more information visit www.beenleighregion.com.au.
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