In 1995 Maxine Horne asked herself a question, “Why can’t Australians buy mobile phones in shopping centres?” It seemed so silly to her that they couldn’t, and so she started Fone Zone.

Fast-forward 23 years later and she is now the CEO of the Vita Group, with annual revenue of $674.6 million and 1700 employees.

She has achieved so much and had a career that many aspire to, which is rather incredible considering she left school at age 16. Her less than privileged background was a cornerstone of her success, however. And when discussing the very beginnings of her Fone Zone store she stated, “One of the things that really worked for me is I came from a very poor background and was very frugal with my money and I ran the business like that.”

Her life experience taught her hard work, sacrifice, and perseverance. But no venture is ever perfect and Horne acknowledges that she has made plenty of mistakes along the way. “”Any business has a bit of luck. Yes you have a well designed strategy and the people behind you but you also need luck. My luck was I had worked in an industry that was growing quickly. I got to make a few mistakes without it crippling the business.”

From one small idea, she was able to grow an empire. She didn’t allow herself to be held back, and neither should you!


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