Archive for the 'Blog' Category

True Global Competition

Whilst countries have been negotiating and battling it out for Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) the internet has been sneaking up on us.

It has quietly provided a restriction free global platform (few exceptions in places like China) of knowledge.  Free Trade Agreements aside at a local level it is going to have an impact.  Someone in India can offer the same service as you cheaper, faster and much more effectively.

Knowledge can flow freely around the world… ie

Local charities now compete with the likes of Kiva for funding.

Admin now has to compete with Virtual Assistants.

Local book store competes with Amazon.

It may not be true for your industry (yet) so look ahead, embrace the change and prepare for it.

July 30th, 2009

Who? What?

If I can’t relate what you’re saying or who you are mentioning to my frame of reference I’m lost.

I do not really care if so and so said that.  If I have no idea who they are it doesn’t establish anything for me.

Remember who you are talking to and who or what they relate to.

As if you can make the connection they will get it.  Otherwise they are lost.

July 29th, 2009

The Listening Assumption

Just because you’re talking doesn’t mean I’m listening.

It’s easy to make the assumption that people are.

Question it.

Go back and check, is your market really listening? Or just brushing you aside?

July 28th, 2009

Amazons Jeff Bezos on what makes a successful company

1. Obsess about Customers.
2. Invent (you can invent your way out of any box if you believe you can).

This is absolute gold, an incredible succinct video from Jeff Bezos founder of


In short:

  1. Obsess about Customers.
  2. Invent (you can invent your way out of any box if you believe you can).
  3. Think long term.
  4. It’s always day one. There is always invention in the future…(always new ways to obsess about customers).

Awesome huh?

July 27th, 2009

Get it started!

Like fridays post – it has been said before…. but if you have an idea sitting in the back of your mind, irritating you – get it started!

What are the next steps? Write them down and TAKE THEM

Why am I bringing this up today? Well this week marks another huge week for me:

  • Shipping my pre-orders of the The Best Ideas are Free.
  • Wrapping up videos for the book (huge undertaking).
  • Speaking on marketing (Topic: Why marketing just got small….real small) this friday (should have a video to share from it).
  • Getting someone onboard part time to assist with some of my marketing activities.

If I hadn’t chased ideas and put them into action none of this would be happening, now, today.

July 26th, 2009

It's been said before but….

This is the main reason you SHOULD blog:


Amongst the million ok dozen or so other reasons I have talked about…

(Video courtesy of Seth Godin & Tom Peters.  I also interviewed Tom Peters earlier this year.)

July 23rd, 2009

Going out on your own: Pursuing the Passion 2, 3 & 4

#2: Read lots!
Read lots and lots.  Read Autobiographies by other entrepreneurs who gave it a go. This helps your in untold ways (depending on your situation) – lessons, frames of reference, new perspectives.

#3: Tighten your belt
Whatever you were earning before, prepare to live on 1/3 of it.  And prepare to do for 6-9 months.  I know you think it sounds drastic, but ask anyone who has done this it sounds realistic. (You will be surprised at how much income you wasted before!)

#4: When do you quit? (your current job)
If possible get a fixed contract to go off (before you quit), this will help ease you into the process.  If you are the kind of person to procrastinate forever quit your job to put yourself in the deep end, in order to get you started faster.

July 22nd, 2009

The *Bonus* Prize

Retro TV Commercial

You can learn a lot from infomercials.

Yes they are corny.

Yes they are known for flogging rubbish and….

Yes they do work.

Just by law of survival they wouldn’t be around if they didn’t.

Often you will see they have ‘but wait there’s more!’ and a bonus is introduced.

You see they establish value to a point where customers are on the verge of making the decision to purchase then tip them over the edge to a purchase through bonuses.  It’s the unexpected value.

Now it’s not the only way to sell but it is something you can use in your toolset, finding bonus value you can deliver that your competitors can’t deliver (or haven’t anticipated) that can help set you apart from the pack.

It’s the Bonus Prize!

July 21st, 2009

The easiest people to sell to

Are those you have already sold to before.

Pick up the phone, ring all your current clients and previous clients.

What issues are they having? Can you help them? Maybe you can pitch an idea to them?

Looking after and obsessing about your current clients is much easier than trying to sell to a completely new client.

A potential client of mine is looking to turn a whole industry upside down, just by obsessing about their clients rather than always seeking the new client (as is the industry standard).  I think they’ll be quite successful…

July 20th, 2009

Have fun! Import products (and learn something new)

A simple business hack if you are a bit bored this week.

1) Jump on  Find five products you are interested in importing.  Contact each of the suppliers and order a some samples of each.

2) Setup a cheap local adwords campaign for the products you have sourced.  Point them towards a quick page of info about the product (collect emails of interest).

3) Finally once the products arrive, test one of the samples, sell the other on Ebay (or your local equivalent). You should be able to easily sell it for more than the total cost of both units, often making a tidy profit.

(Note: You can stop here, the next step is if you want to build a small business out of it.)

4) Review your adwords / traffic of your test websites.  Which has gained the most interest? Use that data to sell to a local retailer or setup a niche online store selling them.

5) Begin systemising, once you have sold a few start building some systems to automate sales and distribution.  Often you can get dropshippping (manufacturer ships direct to consumer).

Give it a go, have a bit of fun, I have done this every now and again made some good dollars but at the very least you’ll learn something.

(Passionate about local products? Do the reverse help a local manufacturer get their details on Alibaba and help them sell to the world.)

July 19th, 2009

It's the little things that people notice

The silver fern pattern on the top of your espresso, the smile of the attendant at the petrol station, the thank you note included with your proposal.  People notice.  And they care.

July 16th, 2009

Going out on your own: Pursuing the Passion

A few months back I sat down and wrote down 83 or so errings on what I would tell someone else at the start of going out on their own.

I am going to break these up and post every now and again, once they are all said and done I’ll put it together in an ebook.

#1: Going out on your own: Pursuing the Passion

Purchase the E-Myth by Michael Gerber, The Dip by Seth Godin, Losing my Virginity by Richard Branson.  Read these… over and over.  You will find inspiration, learnings, and systems to get your business going.  Get The 4 hour work week by Tim Ferriss for thoughts on automation and getting out of the way of the business.

These will teach you about systems, adding value, when to quit, creativity and provide inspiration.

(Note: If you have anything to add feel free to do so in the comments, your feedback may end up in the final ebook.)

July 15th, 2009

DHL increases prices by just over 2% in a decade…wow?!?

A colleague of mine was running a DHL press conference last week and invited me along as a blogger (they just opened a big distribution centre locally).

During the Q and A one of the guys from DHL stated they have only increased prices twice in the last decade, one at 0.75% increase the other just over 1% making for ~2% increase.

That is amazing if you ask me.  As a point of comparison during that time crude oil prices (a driving cost in logistics) have gone from (inflation adjusted) $21.12/barrel in 1999 to $126/barrel in 2008! Source: InflationData.

How did they achieve it?

Well DHL has an internal measure (and belief) that they shouldn’t have to increase prices as long as they focus on productivity gains.

By driving productivity as costs increase DHL have actually been quite successful don’t you think?

July 14th, 2009

Why Entrepreneurs should go to University

There is some huge stat that 7/10 successful entrepreneurs are university drop outs.

But the key is they WENT to university.

Some of the handy stuff I learned from university that kept me in good stead…

1) Actually Listening

As an entrepreneur I realised the real value of university, so unlike my colleagues I actually paid attention in class, which has stood me in good stead since university.  Case studies, lessons learned, models all very helpful.  The application of these has helped me learn / grow my business / avoid pitfalls my peers make in an outstanding manner.

2) Forcing you to do stuff that’s painful

In business often you want to shy away from anything that is painful (*cough tax returns).  However Uni teaches you to persevere through this by forcing you to do papers and assignments you don’t like.  (Note: this is hugely valuable).

3) The people you meet

The absolute biggest value is the people I met and the relationships I forged.  University has introduced me to my best friends and extensive networks of interesting people.

4) Time to goof around

Sure starting a business at 18 is cool, but it is nice to goof around for a bit, realise the world isn’t on your shoulders, gives you time to experiment.  At university I started and sold three small businesses without a *need* for them to be massive successes.  A sandbox persay. (Case in point Facebook started whilst the founder was at uni.)

5) A train ticket

Gaining a degree allowed me to take on much higher paying jobs in order to finance some of my ventures.  It also provides a fallback should you ever need it.

6) Freebies!

Being a student allows you many freebies, business advice, legal advice, entrance to events, business speakers, networks, alumni.  Hey I even leveraged my role as a student to get into a conference (for free by helping out with registrations) where I met Sir Bob Geldof amongst others.

If you attend university with the right attitude it will accelerate your learning and avoidance of mistakes others have already made.  Thus (I believe) cancelling out the time you have invested in uni.

(Update: By the above statement ‘but the key is they WENT to university’ I wanted to more quash the common defence I hear ‘but yeah the good entrepreneurs drop out’, unfortunately it has been understood by a few as causation, moreso hey they went to uni maybe they got the same stuff I did out of it, thanks guys -Ben).

July 13th, 2009

Just see what happens

Do not stress, the downside is not nearly as bad you think, just give it a go and see what happens.

July 12th, 2009

What are you doing all the way down here? You could:
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