professional development

Get ‘em while they’re young

SmartCompany /

A small amount of good will towards a young person can create a lifetime of loyalty from a customer.


Kirsty Dunphey

I love McDonald’s, I have ever since I was a youngster. I fondly remember the birthday parties with ice cream cakes, the road trips we took with fries as fuel for the family, and I vividly remember the day I was finally a “grown up” in my family – the momentous day I progressed from eating cheese burgers to quarter pounders.


These are happy childhood memories, understandably associated with a company that actively targets children in its marketing, layout, menu and facilities.


What’s interesting to note however is that I’ve never grown out of my childish love of McDonald’s. I don’t go there as often as I used to, but I’ll always have a happy place in my heart for them.


Not for the quarter pounders. Not for the ice cream cakes. Not for the fries. For the actions of one person on one afternoon.


On “the afternoon” I was about 12 years old and I plucked up all my courage and went up to the owner of my local McDonald’s. I explained that I was a ten pin bowler (no giggling please) and that I thought McDonald’s would be the best company in the world to sponsor my uniforms. A few details and a hand shake later and I walked out of McDonald’s a sponsored athlete.


McDonald’s in my local area went on to provide me with uniforms (red and yellow parachute suit, skirt and tops – don’t laugh I designed them!) for the next couple of years.


The moral of the story? Everyone should love McDonald’s? Of course not! My own husband doesn’t even eat there!


The moral of the story is that businesses have the ability to create a lasting impression with children that could repay them in loyalty throughout their lives. I know I’ve bought enough quarter pounders over my adult life to pay for those uniforms many many times over!


The Beechworth baker Tom O’Toole does this by having school kids into his bakeries to make their own loaf of bread. McDonald’s did it by saying yes to sponsoring an unknown plucky 12-year-old (who by the way never achieved much in the sport). How could your business tap into this market of future customers?


Kirsty Dunphey is one of Australia’s most publicised young entrepreneurs and is the founder of – the ultimate tool to help real estate agents write amazing advertisements. The youngest ever winner of the Australian Telstra Young Business Woman of the Year award, Kirsty started her first business at 15, her own real estate agency at 21, was a self-made millionaire at 23 and a self-made multi-millionaire at 25. For more information on Kirsty or either of her books – Advance to Go, Collect $1 Million and Retired at 27, If I can do it anyone can, or to sign up to her weekly newsletter head to:


To read more Gen-Y Millionaire blogs, click here.



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