TBS spoke with Philip Weinman, CEO of corporate travel wizards Locomote, who shared his views on running a diligent workspace.
Can you please tell the TBS audience a little about your background – how did you become the CEO of Locomote?
I’ve been an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember. In the last 20 years, I’ve founded and sold 17 companies and I hold, at any point in time, investments in a number of companies. I started my first company in 1983 – a software and hardware solutions business, HiSoft. Within three years, HiSoft became Australia’s largest privately owned computer company with a 35 percent market share and turnover in excess of $300 million.
In 1995, I co-founded CTS Travel and Events, which in 1998, merged with Internet Travel Group and listed on the Australian Stock Exchange with a turnover exceeding $450 million. I’m passionate about starting businesses and scaling them to their true potential.
In 2012, I invested in Locomote and became its CEO with the aim of leading its disruptive innovation, taking on the billions of dollars of inefficiency in company travel, and changing the industry forever.
What is the one thing you wish clients would understand about Locomote the first time they may connect with you?
I’d like people to understand the breadth of the technology that we offer. We like to think of it as the Apple TV for corporate travel. Locomote is an all-encompassing agnostic travel technology solution, simplifying and improving corporate travel processes for companies across Australia. It’s been designed with the user in mind, making booking and tailored travel programmes efficient and smarter. Our technology allows travel requests, a duty of care, authorisations and more, to be logged from any browser or mobile device, anywhere in the world.
Corporate travel is a pain point for most companies, but we’ve made it easier, faster and have assisted businesses to save up to 35 percent on travel administration costs by improving the efficiency and behaviours of the corporate traveller.
What has been the toughest obstacle for Locomote to battle since you launched?
As a company, it’s been crucial that we remain firmly grounded and really place our focus on the end game. The business travel industry can be a very traditional, staid and at times, a wasteful industry to operate in. We’ve needed to take a helicopter view of the industry as a whole and really make an effort to help educate people to understand how Locomote can benefit both their travel management and the business in general.
How do you manage your own schedule, do you have any daily rituals you could share with us?
I am always “on” and like to be responsive to my team at all hours of the day or night. That said, there are a few things that I do each day, to ensure that my day gets off to the right start.
As soon as I walk into my office I try to have a coffee straight up. It gets me going and is part of my strict routine. I then meet with Amber (my brilliant EA) and my first question is always “what’s happening?”, followed by “are there any deal-breakers to worry about?”. This is crucial and helps keep me focussed on the end game of each day.
Every morning I do a walk around our St Kilda office building and say hello to as many team members as possible. It’s important to gain an understanding of what’s happening in their world and for me to get a feel for the mood of the day.
Throughout the day, my iPhone is always with me. I’m constantly checking out new apps, travel apps and corresponding. It helps me stay on top of the industry and news.
What would be your main piece of advice for aspiring CEO’s/entrepreneurs?
Loyalty ranks number one for every company I’ve founded. When you work with loyal people, as a company you can look forward and not behind you. In every business I’ve grown, loyalty has been the most significant reason behind the success.
In terms of building that loyalty, I believe that celebrating everyone’s success and wins – both big and small – is important. When someone achieves great results within the company, we share and celebrate the news across the entire company. It helps to build an understanding of the different roles and creates a supportive work environment.
And in addition, it’s important to remember that nothing is impossible. I firmly believe that there is always a way. It’s the mantra that we’ve built Locomote on – tell us it’s impossible and we’ll work overtime to prove that it’s not.