Ramzey Choker is the Co-Owner of the immensely popular cafe and event space; Grounds of Alexandria. Located in Sydney, it's become one of the most Instagrammed places in Australia. Since they first opened their doors in 2012, Ramzey and his team have since expanded to create The Grounds of the City which was three years in the making. We spoke with the creative entrepreneur to find out how he sets goals and the exciting projects he has in the pipeline.
How did the idea for The Grounds come about?
The concept behind The Grounds was born from a difficult time in my life. My father was an amazing businessman and entrepreneur and so I grew up being exposed to his work and inspired by his ethic. After our family was hit incredibly hard with the GFC and lost everything my father had worked for decades to build, he was diagnosed with cancer and passed away. Creating The Grounds was a way for me to honour his memory, and recreate the feelings and experiences I was fortunate enough to experience growing up in his presence.
How do you set goals?
A few years ago I took Dr Demartini’s ‘Master Planning for Life’ 3-day course which is a very intensive, in depth workshop for goal setting in the 7 areas of life. There are around 1500 questions in total that he asks to get to the core of your values, your goals and how you’re going to achieve them for each area of life. I take the course yearly to extract my main goals for the year and then break them down into sub-goals that I set quarterly, monthly and weekly markers for to ensure I’m on track. I also set two, three and five-year goals as well as a big overarching goal in the end of where I want to go.
One key takeaway from Dr Demartini’s course is his quote, “The quality of your life is determined by the questions you ask yourself daily.” I ask myself questions every morning and evening to ensure I’m on track and that my goals are constantly top of mind. I have my key business questions, for example, printed and attached to my computer monitor at my desk.
Dr Demartini’s process is intensive but really effective for achieving bigger more complex goals. For a simpler method, Tony Robbins has helpful goal setting methods. The key takeaways are to work out what you want in that area of life, why you want it and the steps you need to take to achieve it. It’s important to be real with yourself. As long as it’s not a fantasy or silly, you’ll know in your heart what you can and can’t achieve.
How do you deal with roadblocks?
I always look to leaders in the industry or professionals who are experts in the field I’ve hit an issue in. Whatever the issue you’re facing, it’s important to remember that someone has faced this issue before you. Whether it means turning to a mentor or picking up a book, spend some time researching how you can best manage the issue.
A more recent example is when our The Grounds of the City budget blew out by $1.5million during the build and we had to face the tough issue of how we’d overcome it. We reached out to friends and contacts to find the people who believed in us and worked to be smarter in making the existing business more profitable. Our vision for the venue and end goals were so strong that we were determined to make it work.
Throughout your career who is someone who has inspired you?
My biggest inspirations are ‘the greats’ (innovative and creative world leaders such as Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Dr John Demartini etc.) and my dad, who was an incredible businessman.
What is some advice you would give to people wanting to start their own business?
You need to know your why and your hunger because it’s going to be brutal.
Do you have any tips for productivity?
Productivity is one thing I struggled with when I was younger, but now using this goal system I have daily questions in place to ask myself to ensure I’m on track every day. I read a few books on productivity too - one that I recommend is Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott. I’m always listening to books or articles when I’m driving to make that a more productive use of time.
What is your favourite quote/saying?
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all” - Dale Carnegie
What is your why?
My personal why is to make life better for all I touch and I’m endeavouring to do that through my business legacy.