Ep 27. How Dominique Lyone Built a Multi-million Dollar Business

Multi-million Dollar Business



Dominique Lyone, Managing Director of COS (Complete Office Supplies), on his journey from immigrant to head of Australia’s only privately-owned national office supplies business, COS, which has an annual turnover of $130 million.

Dominique’s story is one of family, perseverance and passion. After fleeing Egypt following the 1967 Six Day War, Dominique and his family settled in Western Sydney with almost nothing to start a new life.

Family Business equates to about 70% of all business in Australia, with an average turnover of $12M and the wealth of the sector is estimated at 4.3 Trillion dollars.

Dominique's family migrated to Australia when he was 13 years of age, and he had very little in terms of material possessions. However, his family did own a small business in Egypt and in 1976 at the age of 22 years; he started a local office stationery business selling mainly typewriter ribbons and carbon paper. Dominique shares his motivation for becoming a business owner.

Now 40 years on, he's grown COS to have an annual revenue of $130 million. He sells over 21,000 products, has over 350 staff and warehouses and offices in every Australian state and territory, servicing more than 5,000 business customers.

While Dominique has built a multi-million dollar business now, the early days were challenging. He shares those early problems and the learning he gained from going through those times.

We discuss the catalyst for Dom's success in business.

The family have received numerous offers over the years to be bought out; we discuss what the driving force is behind keeping the company privately owned.

Innovation is integral to remaining relevant in an ever-changing market, no matter your industry. Dominique shares how COS have innovated to remain relevant to grow their business.

Dominique shares his thoughts on how important the customer experience to COS.

We discuss their aggressive approach to sales and business development.

Dominique shares his advice for anyone starting a business today.

In the early 90s, COS saw the arrival of larger international competitors in the office supplies space which had access to lots of capital. Rather than throw in the towel, Dominique stood his ground and stayed true to his vision. He shares how he was able to survive when the odds were against him.

In 2013 Dominique established the Lyone Foundation with the goal of giving $1 million each year to charities who help others in need. 15 per cent of all of the COS profits goes to the Foundation. It's so refreshing to hear about businesses who are more than just bottom line focused. We delve into the decision to donate such a significant portion of their profits.

Dominique shares the 3 main tips he has for other businesses, in terms of how they can punch above their weight.

Being in business is fraught with risk and stress, we talk with Dominique about what keeps you awake at night.

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Have any questions, email me at [email protected] and I’ll be more than happy to help.

Your host

Caroline Kennedy

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