Archive for the 'Blog' Category

What happens when the poor get hit hard?

As many of you will know by now, yesterday an earthquake set off a Tsunami in the Pacific.

Yesterday in Auckland we awoke to Tsunami warnings, a tense hour or so  before reports confirmed that the swell wasn’t going to be big enough to cause significant damage.  Ok crisis averted.

However Samoa wasn’t so well off… the death toll is at 100….for now.


What a lot of people don’t realise is that some of the worlds worst poverty is experienced in the pacific (literally hours flight from New Zealand).   You can read more on Poverty in the Pacific over at Oxfam.

So how can they recover? When the standard was low to start off with.  With your support.

It is up to the rest of us to lend a helping hand (and I am proud to say the New Zealand government has made a long term commitment to providing aid – on top of our existing commitments to Samoa).

Now giving money isn’t always the best answer but for those of us that can’t help directly it is the best way of enabling those who can.

If you happen to be in Samoa, I suggest you share the story, blog about it, make this event ever so real for people around the world, that is the best way to get their support.

For the rest of us, please support the NZ Red Cross.

(Even $5 makes a difference.)

September 30th, 2009

Copy 101

Having difficulty writing a proposal?

Remember the copy basics…

  1. Here’s what I’ve got.
  2. Here’s what it’ll do for you.
  3. Here’s what I want you to do next.

Flesh this basic framework out…

September 29th, 2009

Quality over quantity

Here’s a thought, when looking at any metric.

Quality over quantity.

Those that focus on quality don’t worry about the big numbers, they obsess on quality.  As a consequence they get the numbers.

Those that focus on quantity, aspire to be the former but end up with sub par results, as they focus on quantity over quality.

The funny thing is that the quality guys don’t care about the numbers but the latter do.

Paradox but rings true time and time again.

September 28th, 2009

Evaluating business opportunities: finding the signal in the noise

My grandma always used to say to me; there are two kinds of people in this world, those who do and those who don’t.

The same can be said when evaluating business opportunities, those that do them and those that talk.

The question is how can you tell which are serious and those that are just excited about an idea (and have no substance).

First thing is to look at their body language, when you ask the hard questions how do they respond? Do they fidget a lot, touch their face or kind of give a winded response. Chances are they have their doubts.

Also check up on their history, do they follow through on ideas or bounce from idea to idea?

What about boundaries and responsibilities? The hot air guys often juggle a lot and aren’t solid with boundaries.  Those that are seriously value yours and their time.  They also have no qualms about setting boundaries, goals.

Finally putting money on the line, can be a quick qualifier (but also a false one) so make sure this is in align with other positive signals.

I’m not saying you aren’t going to have a fruitful relationship (hey the second idea might be the winner) but throw caution into the wind, your time is way too valuable to waste.

What else do you use to separate the signal from the noise?

September 28th, 2009

Build processes to avoid paralysis

Paralysis kills business, procrastination is cited as one of the biggest regrets by owners of failed small business.

When you have a small team, procrastinating for a few hours can be a huge cost, as each person carries a larger impact on the bottom line.

What I suggest is develop some systems or processes to highlight when it is happening, then how to deal with it, much better to identify and deal with it now rather than tomorrow.

It doesn’t take long and is well worth your time investment….

September 27th, 2009

Going out on your own: Pursuing the Passion 17, 18 & 19

#17 Client Obsession: Turning clients into your sales team
Your clients are your best sales people, so look after them, obsess about their business, recommend their product to others.

#18 Referrals build a solid business
Your #1 business driver should be referrals! Why? Once you have a tight client base who know how you operate, what you deliver, they will naturally attract similar clients.

#19 Remember to say NO
Say no to clients. Forget the ‘i need cash asap’ and do things you wouldn’t normally do, maintain your focus and instead in tough times innovate. You will find much more reward in innovation than taking work that you don’t like. It doesn’t build your core business, doesn’t pay well, and isn’t growing anything.

September 24th, 2009

What do I do? And what I'm working on

What does Ben do? Well that’s a very ambiguous question.

I am an author, a blogger and most prominently an entrepreneur.  Day to day I deliver Marketing Strategy to startups (which pays the bills).

However I am working on something new, slowly but surely, a new marketing business model.

As I work on it, the opportunity has arisen to work with me, in a marketing capacity.

My specialty is strategy, a unique arrangement of tactics to rapidly achieve goals.

The model (whilst still in development) will focus around:

  • DIY: Whereby strategies are shared with you to implement yourself.  A cost effective (and smart to those that are committed) way of leveraging experienced intellectual property.
  • Standardised Services: Hands on services to stimulate growth, whilst more pricey you buy the reassurance of having someone else responsible for objectives.
  • Super High Level, Ultra NON-scalable, get me to turn up services.  This is going to be very limited as my time is super scarce.

With my continual focus on leverage, the smartest way to create the biggest impact is to provide services which can scale very quickly (and globally) overnight.  Thus the DIY component is of vital importance to me.

I need your feedback (to help me help you guys)

What I would like to do is poll you guys on firstly as the challenge for me is to figure out what intellectual property I hold from my experience that you can leverage.  As I live inside my own mind the best way is to ask you.

I have created a survey here, it is only five questions and shouldn’t take more than a minute to fill out.  The responses from will help me help you.  Any help or feedback you can provide would be incredibly valued.

Also you know what really gets me excited about this? The ability to leverage my knowledge to create massive change but also the second tier change it can create.

10% of any zero variable cost services bwagy offers I set aside for Kiva.  Over time I would like to build this pool of funds to form into a charitable trust – to help stimulate entrepreneurship around the world.  (Another form of my leverage focus). Thus a leveraging approach helps achieve this.

Get me in

Finally if you happen to be local and would like me to come in and speak with your organisation, provide an organisational hand grenade or just provide an independent view on your approach send me an email.

Please get in contact I really want to build something significant here of which you can be a part of.


Thanks guys, please enjoy the weekend, -Ben

September 24th, 2009

101 Tasks

The ultimate brain dump.

When the pressure is on, I find the easiest way to gain clarity is to just write own each and every task that needs to get done.  From paying the electricity bill to client work.  It all matters as it all adds stress.

Then I am able to quickly evaluate what is important and what isn’t.  A simple activity that you don’t need to do day to day but when the crunch on this simple task helps get the stress out of your mind and onto paper.

September 23rd, 2009

Proud to be a kiwi

That’s right I am kiwi born & bred, that means I’m from New Zealand (for those who don’t know).

I am proud to be a kiwi, taking my blog to the world and proud to live in Auckland (*cough* 4th equal best city in the world to live in), New Zealand truly is an amazing place. ***

Where did the term Kiwi come from? It comes from the native bird Kiwi – also you may have heard of the Kiwifruit which is grown in New Zealand and marketed to the world (truth be told it originates from China but was cultivated here).


Mahurangi Beach just outside Auckland

I was brought up in Otago, originally around Queenstown & Glenorchy.  Both of which happen to be my most favourite places in New Zealand – also known by tourists as scenes from Lord of the Rings haha.

As I know most of my readers aren’t from New Zealand, I do invite you to come down, check it out, see what the gossip is.  In fact if you are coming through Auckland email me and let’s have a pint, wine or coffee.

If you are planning on doing so I suggest you check out AA Top 101 Destinations in New Zealand – it was voted on by the locals and really does highlight the amazing stuff you can do here.

*** Note I am incredibly beyond belief biased.

September 22nd, 2009

Freemium Models

Freemium works by providing a base service free, their tiers of service at a premium.

Flickr is an early example of this, use their service for free, upload a decent amount of photos a month.  Premium service offers increased upload for heavy users and photo sets (as well as a nice little badge).

I’d like to see more of this in day to day life:

  • Free bus rides as long as you stand.  Pay a premium for seating, can even tier the seating offering a more comfortable seat.
  • Do the same with trains, free to stand, pay for seating.
  • Free broadband as long as you use the modified browser which earns revenue from all searches.  Pay for access to unlimited Facebook & YouTube or pay for backups, file sharing mode.

Offering something for free offers a great lead in and conversation for your customers.

It also paves the way for more customers through the doors, however you do have to be smart and ensure there is the upsell, as without it you are just catering to freeloaders.

What free models would you like to see? Or have seen? Be great to hear from you…

September 21st, 2009

Providing a filter

I did a radio interview this morning and one of the questions was how does an idea become a chapter in the book.

Well it has actually gone through a few filters, as you may know from my Great but not great enough post that is the first big filter.

For every blog post that makes it about 3 don’t.  So for the 300 or odd so posts that are live, about 900 haven’t.

Then for those that made it live, the filter was based on popularity, my personal favourites and relevance.

By the time it has made it to the book, it has gone through three filters, at each step ideas have been refined, questioned, and put back together.

All I am doing is providing a series of filters, where at each step the most remarkable stuff makes it through and the rest drops off.

This is all that YouTube does, or that email newsletter, or the people you follow on twitter.  They provide a filtered view of the mass content.  By following and engaging you get access to the end result.

So what do you filter for your customers? Can you deliver filtered (and relevant) content do your audience as a way of engaging? For if you can, you’re customers will love you for it.

September 20th, 2009

Rule of three

What is the rule of three?

Well if you’re ever asking yourself what should I charge for my time? Figure out what you’d like to earn then multiple it by three.

Why? Well it is all too easy to under price yourself (way too easy).  We often forget the initial meeting we had, the two hours putting together a proposal, the time cost of getting to and from meetings, not to even mention fuel costs, calling, hardware and our own intellectual property.

This rule helps you avoid falling into the trap of being too cheap, over time you will get a feel of your market rate but use this as a baseline to start from.

September 17th, 2009

the bwagy classics

By now you will have received a number of posts from the blog which I’m sure you are enjoying (over 300 since day 1 in fact!)

Often it’s not the post itself but what you take away from the ideas that provide the most value. A conversation, a new idea, something you can implement in your own life.

That’s the real kick I get, stimulating new thought that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

Blogs are fantastic in providing fresh content each and every day – however the restriction is how do I expose some of the classics to new readers? So what I have done is included some of them below.

The Most Popular Posts (ever)
You Can do what YOU Want
Why Entrepreneurs should go to university
12 Hour Startup
bwagy marketing manifesto
Free Marketing Advice Pay What You Want

Most Controversial
You Can do what YOU Want
Why Entrepreneurs should go to university
Five Star Service
12 Hour Startup
Remarkable Content is like a drug

My Personal Favourites
You Can Do What You Want
You are Always Wrong
Are you made of rubber?
How I am tipping the book model
Fifteen Percent on
bwagy Networking Theory

And any post on Kiva http://blog.local/tag/kiva/

September 16th, 2009

Hey hey that's not attractive

Selling out on your customers. Delivering sub par service.

It’s easy to take a shortcut, cut corners to get the short term win…. But it’s not attractive…

Not attractive to your current; prospective or past customers.

You can may win them back.  But at what cost?

I daresay it’s less than the windfall from your original shortcut…

September 16th, 2009

The delicate balance between thinking and doing

Between working on your business versus working in your business.

It’s the same with your career, idea or goal.  There are always elements of getting the job done versus the oversight view figuring out new ways of doing things.

Now this is the delicate balance between the two, how much do you do of each? Some people resign to do all the doing and others to do all the thinking… either or isn’t that hard (nor inferior).  Whatever keeps you happy.

But for those that need to do both (case in point small business owner) how do you strike the balance? I haven’t found a solid rule but my personal guideline (as it is for all goals) is today better than yesterday? Am I little bit closer to my goal? Each day I want to inch closer.

For all those small changes really add up.

At the least I need to do a little bit each and every day working on my business versus in it.  Some days I hit the sweet spot others I miss it.  As long as it is a bit better and I am increasing momentum I’m happy.

To be honest even that’s not easy to get that little bit each and every day what I can share is that over time it gets easier.  Hang in there, focus on the vision, keep chipping away at it.

September 15th, 2009

What are you doing all the way down here? You could:
- View my about page
- Or for first timers the New Here? page
- Or maybe email this to a friend
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