GROUND ZERO

I was not born to be a businessman. None of us are in fact. We are all born with certain skills and talents yes, but often it’s the world or society that begins to interpret what those skills and talents mean for our life path and direction.

I believe that being in business or making the decision to become an entrepreneur is a choice. Often not an easy choice as the odds are largely stacked against those brave enough to venture forwards. They are the ones who dig deep within, taking their natural skills and talents, taking stock of their weaknesses and the ones who decide to embrace their one shot at life.

They make a choice to become far more than what the world may try to define them as, rather they take ownership of their world and create their own definition, their own legacy.

Growing up in Exmouth, in country Western Australia (WA), I lived a very carefree childhood. Full of long sunny days on the beach my life revolved around the outdoors. One of the most beautiful places on earth, with soft white sandy shores and turquoise waves, the town itself was removed from much of the hustle and bustle of a large city, yet it had everything I needed as a young boy growing up. I was very driven from a young age to become involved in professional sports and so the time came as a I grew up and entered into high school, that I needed to move closer to WA’s capital city, Perth.

My teenage years were firmly focussed on my ambitions as an Australian Rules Footballer (AFL) and I was working hard to establish myself as an elite sportsman in this area. I found a significant level of success and my hard work for many years and dedication was finally starting to see everything come together. However, as I prepared to consolidate my career path along this road, my life was torn apart in a terrorist attack, a 700kg bomb detonated by terrorists 20 metres away from where I stood at the age of 22. Ground zero. All my plans for the future completely destroyed. To say I was lost would be an overwhelming understatement.

The skills and talents that I was born with was a competitive nature, an inquisitive soul and being naturally athletic. This is what had led me to believe I was destined to become a professional sportsman, a career that I had invested myself heavily into and embraced in the fullest. Until the moment of the terror attacks.

A moment, that made me reconsider every definition I had placed around myself until that very point.

And a moment that threatened to become my ultimate definition unless I dug deep within and searched for what it was that truly inspired, motivated and would ultimately define me by MY own choice

After the Bali bombing in 2002, I had been burnt to 60% of my body and my professional AFL career and ambitions, all but over. My trade, a refrigeration air-conditioning mechanic (because everyone tells you to have a good trade behind you in case things don’t work out) wasn’t working out so well for me as I could no longer physically take on this role either.

I had to make a choice. I still had my naturally born skills and talents but I no longer had the path I believed I was destined for in front of me. I decided to start doing what felt good, what felt right, for me, in my case, this was Martial Arts.

Piece by piece I began putting my life back together and it was through this process that I found my ultimate passion and purpose. I started spending more time in my passions, working on the speaking circuit as well as in martial arts and found that in these industries, I was in flow, working in areas that inspired me enough to get through the late nights, the sacrifices and the obstacles.

I began to diversify and one venture led to another, all stemming from a desire to help and serve others. It was along this path that I realised that by doing what truly fulfilled me, it gave me the fuel and drive I needed to turn my passions into a profit.

I’ve been building businesses and speaking professionally for the past 15 years. A keen student, not initially in a traditional sense, I immersed myself with mentors, networked and critically examined the world around me and its relationship to industry. I began to learn about business, every angle, every topic from the ground up. I started to look at how this would apply to me and the industry I wanted to navigate. Martial Arts was largely considered a hobby, a part-time side business, not necessarily a profitable venture.

Perhaps this was now my competitive nature coming into play, but I believed that this hobby, could become something more. By purchasing a small existing martial arts school and innovating both business development strategies and current industry models, revenue began to steadily increase on an average of 16% per annum and within 18 months, student numbers had increased by 46.7% and revenue 98.2%.

Over the next few years, one martial arts school expanded into three, by 2010 becoming one of the largest single-owned multiple school organisations in Australia and one of the most profitable in the world (the top 1% in Industry).

My portfolio of three martial arts school expanded into seven different business ventures; diversifying into defence, corporate services training, business consulting and public speaking.

Each business, in spite of being spread across various industries, has a common thread – they are created to provide opportunities for people to build themselves up and to better themselves.

Summit Success, based in Western Australia is the overarching Company I own which controls The WA Institute of Martial Arts (WAIMA), The Institute of Martial Arts (TIMA), International Defensive Solutions (IDS), Master Your Destiny (MYD) and WA Martial Arts Supplies.

From an employee in my industry, to operator, to business owner and now to investor, growth and change is a part of that journey. If you never change, you never grow and if you’re unwilling to grow, very little will change.

I grew with my business model and expanded into not only being good at business and the businesses I owned but into an arena where I now teach others how to do that for themselves. In other words, I practice what I preach.

Marketing and sales is probably one of the largest industries to see a shift in its fundamental practices over the past 15 years. Despite having so much more access to customers than ever before and a greater international reach that a only generation ago, it would have seemed unimaginable, it takes 16 – 20 times for a person to be exposed to your brand before they make the decision to become a customer or client.

Standing out from the crowd, forward thinking and getting that competitive edge while remaining efficient in how you do all of that can make or break your business. You need to keep your brand front and centre where people’s attention is the most, rather than trying to bring their attention over towards you.

With 100 people in a room all screaming ‘look at me’, you can join into that chorus with a 1 in 100 chance of success or you can step directly in front your potential client and get yourself a 50/50 chance. They’ll either like your business or they won’t but you’re already in front because they’ll now definitely have seen you.

For example, we all know people are consumed daily by social media, yet very few business owners know how to position their business front and centre in this arena, how to leverage off this mass marketing platform, other than setting up a simple page. A page, in millions of other pages.

People no longer want be sold to in a traditional sense; clients are market savvy, they are researched and can often see through fancy advertising campaigns. They want to be in control of their decisions to buy, decisions largely influenced by whether or not they think you will add value to their life. Decisions based upon trust and a personal connection with your brand. People want to do business with those that they know, like and trust. And you create that connection by providing consistent value, not just value to obtain that initial sale.

I live in Western Australia, where bushfires are a part of life, but what never ceases to amaze me when driving through an area previously ravaged by a fire, is the amount of new growth once the ashes have settled. Seeing adaptation come to life and regenerating the landscape stronger than ever before is awe inspiring.

The past 30 years of industry has seen a bushfire of its own, the flames of technology swept through traditional landscapes, burning down boundaries and removing traditional barriers of business. The opportunity for dynamic growth, for regeneration is there for those willing to adapt, innovate and rise up stronger than ever before out of the ashes.

My primary business is innovating, it’s taking what people already have, what people already know and getting them to pull it completely apart and build it back together in a way that works best for them, not the other way around. I take people from where they are now and help get them to where they really want to be, not only in their professional lives, but their personal lives also.

I am known internationally for my ability to inspire, innovate and influence audiences on a personal level to get out there and be the very best that they can be. I teach people how to not only build and grow but also to monetise their business so that they can truly pursue what they love, rather than simply dreaming with the ‘one day when’ mindset.

I have worked on international stages alongside Andy Harrington – The World’s #1 Public Speaking Expert, Gary Vaynerchuck (Investor and Serial Entrepreneur) and many more; consulted for clients including BHP, Roy Hill Mines, Red Cross in Australia, UK-based Elite Property Bootcamp and the US-based Educational Funding Company (EFC).

Being in business for yourself or being an entrepreneur is not something that can be done without passion. The more you invest into yourself and your vision, the more passionate you have to become and it’s only natural that this translates into your personal life as well.

Successful entrepreneurs are passionate and motivated individuals and I am no different.

My professional passions, once I stripped down all the individual levels are very simple. It’s helping take people from where they are to where they want to be. I do this by combining my skills as an inspirational and motivational speaker and my real-life experiences in building highly successful businesses. Challenging the status quo, I work with clients to become the change that they need and give them the skills and techniques required to find long-term and lasting success.

In my personal life, I’m a passionate adventurer. I believe you have one life and that life should be lived to the fullest. Travelling, immersing myself in breathtaking landscapes and diverse cultures inspires me to keep my own world in perspective and I love to do this with my family. Being able to guide my children’s life experiences, seeing the world all over again through their eyes is what renews my soul. Being a father to my children is the greatest privilege on earth; it’s important that no matter how hard you work and push for your passions on a professional level, that you keep your personal passions front and centre at all times.

When I’m not working, I’m at home with my family. In the garden, in the pool, at the park, the beach, spending time together just playing and having fun is my ultimate day off. I run a laptop lifestyle so it’s important that I keep a very clear line between my downtime and my work time or things can begin to cross over. It would end up feeling as if you’ve never switched ‘off’ so I’ve learnt to make that line a defined one. The phone is off, the computer is away and I make sure that I’m completely present in whatever it is that I’m doing.

Giving back to society also makes up a big part of my life. As an Ambassador for The Adventurers, a unique Australian charity which is committed to finding a cure for Childhood Cancer, I have led adventures including a unique survival trek through the remote Kimberley region in WA, climbed Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa and Gran Paradiso in Italy and trekked the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea. The Adventures raise much needed funds for childhood cancer research, millions of dollars per year, and has made such significant developments in the understanding of this disease.

I am also an Advisor for the Bali Peace Park Association which is working towards developing a Peace Park on the site of former Sari Club site, where one of the 2002 Bali bombings occurred. As survivor from those attacks, this project is very close to my heart. One of the greatest feelings in the world is that of being able to do good for others and I always encourage people to get involved with a charitable project that will have meaning for them.

I have been recognised with the WA Business News 40 Under 40 Awards, The Nifnex Influential 100, Momentum Forum Most Inspiring Man of the Year and Professional Speakers Academy (UK) Australian Speaker of the Year for the past two years.

In spite of all of this, and no matter how much I love what I do, the one thing that I would not compromise is the balance of spending time with my family. I don’t live to work, I work to live and I want to make sure that I can be there for the important moments in their lives. I am committed to making memories with my loved ones and being a bystander in their lives is not part of that plan.

From ground zero, where my story almost ended, but instead became the point where my story truly began, I built myself and my businesses out of the ashes. I took everything that I knew and combined it with everything that I believed in and committed myself to growth.

My goal is that of legacy. I want to be remembered for being a leader in inspiring and teaching others to build, grow and monetise a business based on their passions, one that they can control, not that controls them.

Each of us has a different amount of time on this earth but we each only get one time. One chance to make the most of our gifts and to make a lasting contribution to our society. If everyone is able to make the most of those gifts and do so with purpose, it is my belief that our world will continue to become a much better place.

Phil Britten

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PHIL BRITTEN

INTERNATIONAL SPEAKER, AUTHOR, ENTREPRENEUR & FOUNDER OF BUSINESS GROWTH MASTERY





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