Sirromet is a family owned and run winery situated at picturesque Mount Cotton, just a short drive from Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Their story began when Terry Morris mentioned that he had tried a great wine from Queensland’s Granite Belt.
 
Guest Speaker at BSR Club's breakfast meeting on Friday November 12, 2021 was Mr Terry Morris, who heads up Morris International.
 
Mr Morris is an inducted Member of the Hall of Fame run by the Gold Coast Business Excellence Awards. He is well known as the founder of Carrara Markets, Sirromet Wines, Pronto Direct, the Performance Driving Centre at Norwell, GC Wake Park, TEMA Property Services, and The GoodTimes Pub Group.
 
Terry was born in Victoria and owned a successful insurance business in the La Trobe Valley before moving to the Gold Coast in 1976. He started his Queensland operations in Nerang Street, Southport and quickly built up the insurance business. He then successfully ran for election to the Albert Shire Council.
 
Terry established Morris International in 1981 and since then the group of family businesses has grown exponentially, employing more than 500 people in a wide range of enterprises.
 
 
Our story began when Terry Morris, Queensland entrepreneur and businessman, was in Victoria attending a dinner party with friends. Terry mentioned that he had tried a great wine from Queensland’s Granite Belt to which his Victorian friends laughed and said "There’s no such thing as a great wine from Queensland."
 
 

We are privileged to bring you Terry's talk at our breakfast...

 
I feel honoured to be asked to share with you a little bit of my life and like all things it had to have a beginning and in my case it all started  at Colac, a quiet country town in the western district of Victoria at 4.03 am on august the 16th, 1939 when I was born the 2nd of 5 children to Marjory Estelle and Michael James Morris.
 
Our family lived on a small rural block large enough to run 1 cow, some chooks, and a vegetable garden. Dad was employed as a process worker at the local milk factory earning extra income by bagging onions picking peas and other seasonal work.
 
I still remember the excitement in the family the day the electricity was connected. Before that it was kerosene lamps, candles, wood fires and a copper to heat the water for the weekly bath shared tub the last one in got the coldest water.
 
When I was 9 Mum and Dad decided to move to Morwell, a booming electricity generating industrial town. They felt that their children would have more opportunities because of the greater range of employment available.
 
I had been attending a small rural school with 23 pupils. All grades were in the same classroom. Imagine the wonder in the mind of a little kid from the sticks when he attended his first day at a much larger school. Over 450 kids all fighting over the same patch of playground all trying to show the newcomer who was boss.
 
My formal education ceased at the age of 14 completing 9th grade. Mum and Dad could not afford for me to stay at school with 3 other kids to educate. I got a temporary job as a junior postal officer delivering telegrams by bike. They had a vacancy for a full time trainee postal officer. So I applied for the job and failed miserably. On reflection, it was because of my terrible handwriting.
 
Through my Mum's influence, I got a job in a local grocery store. This lasted two years and some of the basic principles R.Y. Faulkner  taught me are still with me today.
 
Further jobs - 2 in retail menswear in the same town. Then as an insurance collector salesman calling on families weekly to collect their life insurance premiums, noting the details in their little book and in my big book and selling policies for new babies or kids who had just started work.
 
After 6 months, can you imagine what the books looked like?  All the little ones in the family homes were not too bad as the mums and dads helped me out but the big book was a disaster! So I started looking for a new position. I was lucky enough to get a junior sales trainee position with the 3M company selling scotch tape. The kid from the sticks had to move to the city
 
Sales no problem. Bookwork again disastrous.
 
Several other sales rep jobs until at the last one, my bookwork again failed and I was asked to leave. Then I even tried selling vacuum cleaners door to door but couldn't get the commission because I had not filled in the paperwork properly.
 
This was in 1961. Here was I a 22 year old, still trying to find out what to do with my life. I was engaged to be married with no real hope of being a good provider.
 
Then I was told about a commission only job selling life insurance, so I applied for a job with the MLC. I was appointed and took to it like a duck to water. This was pure selling. The only paperwork was filling in the client application  forms and I could ask the customer to do that.
 
I finally figured out that the writing problem was my mind was racing ahead and my hands created havok on the paper trying to keep up so I stared printing instead of writing this at least enabled some level of legibility
 
Morwell was a boom town in the Latrobe Valley the home of electricity generating for victoria  and there were literally thousands of employees who could have their life insurance premiums deducted from their pay packet.
 
Sales were going very well. My commission account was growing and then I became a father. This was one of the major turning points of my life. Here was the reason for being.   This is what it was all about. I was going to make sure that my kids would be looked after.   So I decided to become good at what I did. I started studying all about death duties, income, tax, superannuation, business planning.
 
At an industry meeting I heard about the million-dollar round table in the USA where all the top insurance men from around the world met to share ideas. I decided I would become a member. To achieve this I had to sell over a million dollars of permanent life insurance in a calendar year. It seemed an impossible task but others had done it, why not me.
 
I set my mind to the task and achieved my goal. In 1972 I attended my first million dollar roundtable meeting in Washington DC. Another turning point. I was exposed to far bigger minds than mine. I realised that I was really a very small fish in a very small pond but that I could grow and the world was ready to return tenfold any effort put in.
 
A speaker at the convention made a huge impression on me when he said "Oh what fools we are when we invest in land and stocks and shares when every morning, staring at us in the  mirror is the greatest  investment opportunity of all, yourself. Invest in yourself. An investment in yourself will repay dividends far in excess of any other investment."
 
In  1976 after  returning  from another  million-dollar round table meeting, my wife joined me in Hawaii. On returning  to  Morwell  it  was winter and depressing so I said to Lurleen "Let's move to Queensland where we don't have to put up with this". We decided to re-locate to the Gold Coast, turning my back on the successful agency I had built up.
 
It started all over again. Cold calling, building a network of centres of influence, being good at what you do.
 
For 25 years I enjoyed my life in the insurance business making an excellent living. Nice house, good friends and the love of my wife and two children.
 
My membership of the million-dollar round table introduced me to the whole man concept in which you should aspire to be a whole person by being good at your profession,  being a good   family man and making a contribution to your community. So in 1981 I stood for election  in local  government and  became a Councillor for the Albert Shire. This was a very interesting and educational experience.
 
The only problem was that my time for face to face contact in the insurance business dropped dramatically, along with my income.
 
Something had to be done. A state election was due and one evening after a rotary meeting, I was having a drink with my rotarian friends and I commented "No doubt about Joh, he will get the smokers' vote with no tobacco tax in Queensland". A light went on and I thought there is a business idea here.
 
The next day I ran an ad in the Victorian Herald Sun saying "Smokers, use your constitutional rights. Buy your cigarettes from Queensland, the low tax state. Contact "save on smokes" etc."
 
The response from that ad got us started in a whole new business. My son Paul did the packing and administration whilst I developed the strategy and did a direct marketing course by correspondence. What we learned from this was that if you provide customer satisfaction and service with good value with a product that people consume, you should do ok.
 
We operated out of my insurance office. We lived frugally and poured every thing back into the growth of the business. We took home mail to prepare and insert on the kitchen table.  Lurleen and I often working well past midnight.
 
The business has continued to evolve and today is very different to the one we started. It has created several divisions including Carrara Markets the Performance Driving Cenre and probably the most visible, the Sirromet Winery, and  I would like to share the Sirromet jouney to date.
 
 
We opened in 2000 and my how the years have flown I have realised that time passes quickly when you are on a mission. And our mission was then and still is to create a world class winery producing world class wines and providing an enjoyable memorable experience for our patrons.
 
As our popularity increased I am often asked what inspired you to create Sirromet.
 
When we lived in Victoria, Lurleen’s mum was the wine buyer for a large grocery chain and during our courtship I got to try plenty of the samples the reps plied her with creating a lifetime interest in wine.
 
In the early seventies we established a vineyard in Gippsland, Victoria however when we decided to relocate to Qld it was sold without producing one bottle of our own  wine.
 
So we had a little bit of unfinished business.
 
While we were building our business and property portfolio we had acquired the Mount Cotton  property in the mid eighties  as a long term strategic investment thinking that 550 acres with Bay Views between Brisbane and the Gold Coast must have some long term intrinsic value.
 
I still had a hankering to do something in the wine business and visited many wine regions around the world. I often commented to Lurleen that if someone did something serious about wine close to Brisbane and the Gold Coast there would be appeal to the locals and the huge tourist market.
 
On one of our wine trips Lurleen said to me, "You have the perfect place to build your dream winery at Mount Cotton. Why don't you do something about it?"
 
So I got busy. Engaged the worlds leading viticulturist Dr Richard Smart who told us that we could grow chambourcin grapes at Mount Cotton but, if we wanted to make world class wines, the Granite Belt with its cold climate and marvellous decomposing granitic soils was the perfect place to grow the noble varieties.
 
Because Qld had been very good commercially to our family, we pondered if we could help put the Qld wine industry on the map we would be making a significant contribution to the long term social fabric of our great state.
 
We made the decision to establish a world's best practise winery and associated tourism facilities at Mount Cotton and to invest in new vineyards at Ballandean on the Granite Belt.
 
The Mount Cotton premise had to have a major WOW effect we had to impress on our visitors that this was a serious commercial undertaking and that this was an experience that would be memorable and they would want to return again and again.
 
To achieve this we took our design team on a tour of the best Australia had to offer in wine tourism  with the goal of designing a facility that would deliver a great experience and enhance our products perception.
 
Why go in boots and all? Well we have always believed that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
 
I am pleased to be able to report that it is working.
 
So many customers tell me that whenever they have guests from interstate or overseas they love taking them to Sirromet.
 
The testimonials and thank you notes keep rolling in.
 
All our team strive to make the very best first impression to deliver the most memorable experience possible because this is what creates marketing magic, unpaid advertising:
 
W.       O.        M
Word of Mouth
 
We have a strategy of being family friendly we want the kids of today to tell their kids of tomorrow about the great family times they had at Sirromet.
 
We want the kids of today to become lifetime consumers of our product.
 
We want the people who attend one of our day on the green concerts to tell their friends about the fabulous experience of listening to Tom Jones, or Joe Cocker, or another international act whilst kicking back on a rolling pasture under a new moon with a glass of wine .
 
I see the future of Sirromet as continully evolving listening to our customers providing the best product and giving value for money.
 
But what this is really all about is selling wine.
 
You probably now know that our core belief is that if a customer visits and enjoys the experience their is a fair chance they will continue to buy our product.
 
When we started the Qld wine industry was not understood by the consumers it had done very little to educate Queenslanders on what a great and unique product it could provide.
 
Make no mistake about it, Adam Chapman, our chief winemaker and his team, make great wines.  You don't win over 800 international and national medals trophys and awards unless your product is very good indeed.
 
Gradually the perception is changing, the future is exciting, and our best opportunity is in our own back yard.
 
If every wine consumer in Qld drank just 2 bottles of Qld wine per year Queensland would need  5 more wineries like Sirromet.
 
Queensland would create 2500 new permanent jobs, 2600 casual positions, and have replicated the Barossa Valley in the Granite Belt.
 
Queensland would have added a whole new dimension to tourism and given our young people another marvellous career path to consider.
 
Yes I believe the wine industry has the potential to significantly enhance the Queensland lifestyle .
 
We are continually on the lookout for opportunities. We believe it is vitally important that we invest in our staff and encourage them to grow and achieve. Nothing gives us greater pleasure than seeing a team member achieving their ambitions and developing as a professional member of our team.
 
When you think about it, to be successful we need to have successful team players working with us. We aim to provide the best training, the best environment and more than fair remuneration package.
On looking back over the past 60 years I have learnt a lot and am still learning. What I have realised is business success can be distilled into 5 basic simple business secrets. They are:
 
 
(1)       Know your stuff or product knowledge
(2)       Set goals and continually review them
(3)        Keep accurate honest records of results
(4)       Understand that human capital is your greatest asset
(5)        Be inspired. Be grateful for tall poppy's, don't cut them down, look to them for inspiration
 
(1)         Know your stuff
 
It is vital that if you are to succeed in any business you must know more about your product or service  than the person or organization you are doing business with.
 
It is vital that you project an image that enhances your professional standing.
 
You don’t have to know everything all you need to do is become an expert in your chosen field of endeavour.
 
Examples are all around  us think about who you  prefer to shop with for your personal needs is it a professional or an amateur.
 
How do you get to know your stuff
 
First  of  all you must really want to get to know not just a half baked wish. You must desire it
 
The information and knowledge that you need to acquire is  all  around  you  ready    to  be  absorbed  but  you  must make a conscious  effort and  do it - not just think about doing it.
 
(2)         Set goals and constantly review them
 
It always amazes me that so many people do not know why they get out of bed in the morning and  have nothing to look forward to that day
 
In my opinion  the reason is they have not set themselves any goals. Goals should be set for every facet of our lives personal, business, family, social, community. Each facet should have short medium and long term  goals.
 
Let’s look at a personal goal of health because without that we really have not got very much at all.  In fact we become a liability if we are not able to look after ourselves.
 
The average australian male age 50 is overweight, unfit, and set in their ways. It takes a heart attack or some other event to make them think about  where they are going.
 
A set of personal goals to change this could be:
 
Short term-
 
Get a total physical examination
 
Medium term-
 
Set some time aside for an exercise program lose 4 kilo in 6 months
Walk 6km in 1 hour improve diet
 
Long term 3 years
 
Lose 10 kilo
Compete in your local marathon walking section
 
Setting goals demands lots of self-criticism, self discipline and total honesty with yourself.     It is important that goals must be attainable once you have attained them or are on the way you simply up the ante on yourself by raising the bar.
 
Here is a great example of goal setting:
 
Conrad Hilton, when he was paying off his first tiny hotel in Mobley, Texas, read about what was then the greatest hotel in America, the Waldorf Astoria. He put a picture of the Waldorf in his wallet with a note saying, "One day I will own the Waldorf."
 
Through all the trials and tribulations of building what was then the greatest hotel chain ever,   he would take out the picture of the waldorf and say to himself, "One day, one day you will be mine." Lo and behold one day much to the amazement of all, he became the owner of the Waldorf.
 
Do you think that this would have happened if he had not cut out that picture and created a personal goal that day in Mobley, Texas?
 
(3)         Keep accurate records of results
 
Because without results you cannot manage and goals like everything else must be managed.    Unfortunately they just won't happen. In our business we keep records of daily weekly, monthly and yearly sales and use past performance to measure future achievements.
 
I love the story of Charles Schwab of General Motors fame.    
 
When he took over the management of a Chevrolet  production facility, the night shift was always behind the day shift by about 15%. 
 
One evening he arrived on the factory floor just before the night shift came on and asked how many units day shift had produced. He then picked up piece of chalk and wrote on the floor in big letters for all the night shift to see day shift - 250.
 
The  very  next  morning he repeated the  procedure and was able to  write night shift - 255.
 
Yes, each day the total grew until the equipment was producing at  50% of design capacity.
 
This one simple bit of record keeping made that chevrolet plant the most profitable unit at general motors and charles schwab became a legendary g.m. Ceo.
 
With our health goal setter if he keeps a daily record of his weight and distance walked and  graphs this and reads it and thinks about it I guarantee he will achieve his goals.
 
(4)          Understand that your human capital is your greatest asset
 
Human capital is a term I use to describe the value we have in our own mind and body. I firmly believe the return that we get from human capital is far in excess of any other asset. Human capital turns ideas into money. Like any asset your human capital must be maintained and looked after. This means continual personal development through exposure to new thoughts, concepts and learning, and being in control of your physical machine through attitude diet and exercise.
 
So before you get off on machinery and buildings make sure you get your own human capital sorted out.
 
I guarantee you that if you expend just that little bit more of your very own human capital in doing a better job for your customers without thinking about what's in it for you your success will astound you.
 
(5)          Be inspired - in other words be grateful for tall poppies
 
I have always been amazed at what people can achieve and have been fortunate enough to have been personally associated with some great achievers.
 
If you ever see the scars on Mick Doohan's legs and arms and then realize that after suffering incredible injuries he still had the determination and desire and the goals to put aside the pain and suffering and go on to win five world championships.
 
What about the late great Keith Williams who parlayed a post bag making business into hamilton island
 
Go to Hamilton Island have a good look around and think about the sheer vision of this man.
 
At meetings like this it is very easy to get carried away, so a word of caution. Don't go home and expect your world to change overnight.
 
If you want to put the 5 business secrets to work the first step is for you to decide to become the very best you that you can be.
 
Set your goals. Work out your strategies and then plan your work and then work your    plan and most importantly be yourself.
 
Decide to spend the rest of your life being the very best you that you can be - for there is only one of you.
 
You are all there is to you.
 
It is up to you what you do with you.
 
If  by meetings and get togethers like this we can help each other develop a healthy  positive attitude and a zest and love for life we will have taken a giant step in making all our lives more  fulfilling and enjoyable and after all that is what it is all about.

One liners

Terry also gave us some 'one liners' he has found helpful during his distinguished career as entrepreneur and businessman. Read them here >>