Directors' Circle: Melissa Green, Bank of Queensland

A prominent member of the Mackay business community, if you haven’t already heard of Melissa Green from BOQ Mackay City – then you have quite possibly been living under a rock, almost literally. Whether you’re familiar or not with Mel’s cheeky sense of humour, incredible business insight or genuine desire to help other business owners – having a quick look into what makes her tick is well worth the read.

What’s your favourite part about being a business owner? 
The relationships with the clients who have now become friends over the past 22 years. I am now looking after three generations of families in a few instances. Another joy is guiding my clients from their first car to first home and then eventually paying it off. Seeing business go from a sole trader to a company with staff is a real buzz. 

What’s been the steepest learning curve since starting a business? 
I wish I’d learnt earlier to automate every aspect of the business. Initially I only worked with people that I liked which was problematic for a number of reasons and the business lacked the skills, insight and work ethic to execute on the idea. I also wished I asked for more feedback in the beginning but then that being said, they might have talked me out of purchasing the business as who would be crazy enough to buy a bank!

What happens in a typical day for you? 
My first part of the morning is spent speaking to each of my lending team to see where each deal is at and what obstacles do they need to overcome. I then speak to the Branch Manager to confirm results compared to budget and discuss what the team needs to do to close that gap. The rest of my day is then meeting existing and potential clients at their or my office working on their financial strategy and opportunities that have come their way. There are lots of coffee, lunches and networking events. I might give a speech to a school class about what to expect when leaving school or present to a board about a banking proposal. I am generally the person that will see clients after hours too.

How do you stay motivated when challenges arise? 
Being able to understand that you can only control what you can control has been beneficial during those times. The more control I have or appear to have, then the more able I am to deal with challenges. The more challenging the time, the more I look inwards to the team and myself and focus on our own activity. I am involved in a group with other Owner Managers that I respect and trust and we meet every month to six weeks for a day of sharing experiences of what has worked and what hasn’t worked that month. We also spend part of that day on personal or business development with an external presenter. This has been the most motivating activity I have done in the past two years. Developing strong local networks with other business owners or people of influence within a business has also been motivating. I also do a lot of reading of business books.

How do you generate new ideas for the business? 
Again the Owner Manager group has been very beneficial but really most of the ideas come from the team. There are the ones on the coal face and can generally come with the what needs to be done to make things more streamline and reduce errors. I have learnt to review every event or process that we implemented and if it doesn’t work, be prepared to throw it out and start again. 

What are your non-work habits that help with your life-work balance? 
I don’t read emails after hours and I turn the mobile phone off every evening at a certain time.  What influence can I really have at 8pm at night anyway? It only ends up making you frustrated and affects time with your loved ones.  For me being quite clinical with work and life boundaries has been the best way to manage this. I forward my phone calls when I am on annual leave to the team. I have trained my team to be best versions of themselves and I fully trust that they will assist our clients the way they should be. 

Give a shout out to three local businesses!
Oscars Coffee Shop, Kevin’s Place and Burp – a lot of my coffee and lunch catch ups are at these locations. The staff are always knowledgeable and friendly. I know I can get in and out in a set timeframe and the menu is always reasonable priced and most importantly yummy!  

Payne Print and Snap Printing – There have been many opportunities that come my way and sometimes they come at the eleventh hour. These businesses have always delivered on any of my marketing needs in a cost effective and timely fashion. 

The many accountant/solicitor/financial planning firms – they are only a phone call away for all those curly questions that come my way!