Brett Kelly – Business Owners' Wisdom

Posted by Oliver Hogue on 23/01/2013

Redundant at 22 and not knowing what to do with his life, Brett Kelly took control. But it wasn’t your average response to unemployment.

Instead, he raised the funds to self-publish a book of interviews with prominent Australian’s including Bob Hawke, Gerry Harvey and Peter Brock. The book became a national bestseller.

In Brett’s own words, he thought the interviews could help him ‘learn a thing or two’. He clearly did because fourteen years later, the long-time SCA member is the founder of a top 40 accounting firm and has just released his third book.

“I’m inspired by successful people. They challenge me to push my standards higher and demand more of myself,” Brett said.

Brett’s new book ‘Business Owners Wisdom’ features sixteen interviews with leading business owners and entrepreneurs, including Imelda Roche, Harry Triguboff and Matt Moran.

“It never ceases to amaze me how generous some of Australia’s most successful people can be with their time and wisdom,” he said.

Brett met with property billionaire and founder of Meriton Apartments Harry Triguboff by chance, while walking at Nielson Park in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

“Harry didn’t have to give up any of his time for me but he did and that speaks volumes,” Brett said.

“Harry’s story is genuinely inspiring. Born in China, he came to Australia in 1948, driving taxis and owning a milk run before he established Meriton in 1963,” he said.

“Harry loves what he does and is still very hands-on. He said it’s impossible to like everything so, if you find the thing you like, stick to it. And until you find that thing, keep looking.”

Renowned Australian architect Peter Stutchbury also reinforced the importance of enjoying what you do, Brett said.

“Peter originally enrolled in a commerce degree at university but when the women at the counter asked him if that’s what he wanted to do for the rest of his life, he changed his mind and chose architecture,” Brett said.

“Peter also highlighted the importance of people in his success. He told me it’s about understanding people, the way you sense them and understand what they can and can’t accommodate. That sort of insight is amazing,” he said.

Back for a second interview with Brett is Nutrimetics entrepreneur, Imelda Roche.

“Imelda’s story highlights the amazing ability to succeed in business while not losing the sight of important things in life,” Brett said.

“With exceptional passion and enterprise, Imelda and her husband grew one of most profitable divisions of a multimillion-dollar international business. And they did this staying married for over fifty years and raising four children,” he said.

“Imelda says that in any successful business, the leadership must maintain a strong work ethic, generate high energy and never forget the contribution of everyone that works within the business.”

Brett’s book was launched at Sydney’s ARIA restaurant, which is owned by celebrity chef Matt Moran.

“Matt is a chef because he loves it. It wasn’t about the money and it wasn’t about becoming successful.

Matt spoke a lot about continuous learning and that’s something we can all aspire too,” Brett said.

“I’ve come to realise that there’s no excuse for living unconsciously. There are few things worse than the idea of turning fifty and realising you still don’t know much more about life than when you were twenty.”

Staying true to his word, Brett applies much of what he learns to ensure that his own company, Kelly+Partners is the best it can be.

“As boring as this may sound, we are focused on quality accounting advice because that’s what we love doing,” he said.

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