Tag Archives: entrepreneurship



A remarkable hour that I got to spend with Jack Daly

August 3rd, 2010

Now I know many of you (including me) would probably hesitant to engage with someone that calls them a sales coach, however Jack Daly is the real deal, he was Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006 and has built half a dozen (from scratch) national businesses in the US.

On a recent visit to New Zealand (yay!) I was lucky enough (thanks to the Results.com!) to sit down with him and talk business.  Of which I am really grateful for (thanks guys!).

I’ve shared the YouTube videos below, they’re absolute gold, and gold for everyone.

In effect we’re all in sales, we need people on our side (in personal & professional modes) to help us get going from community work to business, if you have the time please have a listen I’m sure you’ll either get value out of it today if not in the future.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Thanks again to Results.com & Jack Daly for giving up his precious (and very expensive) time – legends.


Sharing the story is crucial in the 21st century

October 11th, 2009

Talking with other entrepreneurs looking at starting businesses (anything from a cafe to a saas provider) and how they tell their story there is one thing I have noticed…

That I cannot fathom the idea of a new business that isn’t story telling and engaging.

That is sharing their story and engaging the community to help grow their business.

What is your story? What can you share? How can you build a community?

Even a cafe with a blog or a Petrol Station with live tweets? A doctors blog sharing advice or heads up on common ailments.

No this wouldn’t be relevant to everyone but it would be relevant to those that matter – your community.

If you are looking at starting a business (or launching a new product), look at how you can strategically build a community, engage and build real relationships… even 6 months before you want to start it…


Evaluating business opportunities: finding the signal in the noise

September 28th, 2009

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?


The delicate balance between thinking and doing

September 15th, 2009

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.


Running & Reading

April 2nd, 2009

Watch this quick clip of Will Smith receiving his award at the Childrens Choice 2005.

Makes sense now that he is one of the most successful male actors of our time… in summary:

1) Any problem you have had someone has already experienced it & solved it before (potentially in a different context but same framework).
2) Running (or any exercise) forces you to push yourself and squash the quitting voice inside you.


Entrepreneurship is Marketing

March 31st, 2009

Ok stay with me for a minute.

Marketing traditionally has meant to you, putting some advertising out, get your message in front of enough people, you convert a few to sales.  The return used to be enough to justify it.

However in a market where people are counting their pennies, you just aren’t getting the same return you used to.

Now organisations are going hey time to try something new.

Word of Mouth is on the tip of everyones tongue.

How do you stimulate word of mouth? Through action.  Actions that are worth talking about.  

Right so we have gone from advertising to action in all of 30 seconds.

Now how can you stimulate action? Through entrepreneurship.

Stimulate entrepreneurial traits in your employees, to try something new, perhaps it will make you a few more dollars but also send a message to the market.

Innovation, sales & marketing? Entrepreneurship is marketing. (And always has been).


A Kiva story to share

March 23rd, 2009

I wanted to share with you an update I got on my loan I made via Kiva to a group of Bolivians, they were creating a small group to reloan the funds to other entrepreneurs.

I got this update November 20th last year:

“This is an update on your loan to MARANATHA 2 Group in Bolivia. I visited Lucy and her next-door neighbor Felipa, both members of the Maranatha group, one Friday afternoon in Montero, a small city of 100,000 in eastern Bolivia. Lucy was at the market when we arrived, so we sat under the shade of her mango tree to enjoy some homegrown
tamarinds with her husband while we waited. Lucy soon returned with bags full of produce to cook the night’s dinner.

Lucy sells meals from her home in the evenings, and she used her Kiva loan of 4,000 bolivianos (US $557) to buy a refrigerator and some ingredients to make her specialties: tripe and pig’s stomach. She also sells chicha and somó, a
popular drink made with boiled corn, sugar, cinnamon and clove. Her cooking must have quite a reputation, because her customers come from near and far just to get their hands on a plate. Sales are good, she tells me, and she’s planning to stick with the group for its next loan cycle (its fifth).

The smell of freshly baked bread wafts into Lucy’s yard. I follow my nose next door, where Felipa and her granddaughters are hard at work baking today’s batch of bread. Felipa, like Lucy, is a founding member of the Maranatha group and has participated in all four if its loan cycles. She started her business selling donuts and pan de arroz (bread made with rice flour and mashed yucca). Then she started making regular bread, and today she sells
several varieties of rolls, some sweet and some savory. I can’t resist trying one of her piping hot rolls, which is rich, white and fluffy with a sugary topping—very delicious.

Felipa used her Kiva loan of 1,800 bolivianos (US$257) to buy flour, lard, cheese and other ingredients to make bread. She works seven days a week and sells about 230 bolivianos’ (US$33) worth of bread each day, earning 60 bolivianos (US$8) in profits. She says she enjoys working with the group, since the women all know one another very well and everyone is responsible and punctual. She has taken out individual loans before, she tells me, but prefers the
group loan because it doesn’t involve so much paperwork. Like Lucy, Felipa plans to continue working with Maranatha in future loan cycles. Out of curiosity, I ask Felipa what Maranatha means, and she shrugs and laughs—neither she nor her loan officer, Julio Cesar, can remember who thought up the name or why. “

This made my week! 

I printed it off, emailed to my friends and reread over and over.

Not only had I been to Bolivia to La Paz (near Montero) but the average income is $1,100 usd/year (Source: World Bank, 2006) and…

Felipa is now making about 350 days * $8 = $2800 a year! In a country where 40% of the population ~ 3.7 million people live in extreme poverty providing entrepreneurs with micro loans enables them to excel.  

What really really gets me excited is the flow on affects, Felipa can employee, invest, increase consumption thus reinvesting in the local economy.  

In developing countries income can flow through the economy many times in a year (adding up to potentially $10,000/year to the GDP).  

Most importantly micro loans provide capability to those willing to give it a go who in turn inspire others around them.   

Given not all Kiva loans have updates, the ones that do are worth it, and best yet I got all my money back! (reinvested in other loans).  If your still here and haven’t loaned, why not? Hop over to Kiva.


Information flows in a Knowledge Economy

March 22nd, 2009

I am a huge Kiva evangelist, enabling anybody anywhere to provide micro loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries.  The capital flows are very neat.

Imagine though getting knowledge flowing in a Kiva like system.

You match up entrepreneurs in developing countries with entrepreneurs in the western world.

For sure there are barriers such as language, technology use (at the other end), lack of context by information providers.

However these aside I think there is a real need.  The cross pollination would benefit both parties.

Imagine dedicating an hour a week to work with or chat with an entrepreneur on the other side of the world.  That would be a real dream.

Oh also it would enhance the catch up effect of developing countries.  Just a thought.


Dreaming

January 28th, 2009

I once had the opportunity at a conference to ask Sir Bob Geldof a question.

I asked ‘What is your vision for the world 10 years from now’.

Now this is paraphrasing but he said:

I don’t have a vision for the world in 10 years, you need to stop dreaming, you need to wake up, you need to do it now.

He went on to explain its easy to get lost dreaming about what you would like the world to be rather than simply going out there and getting it done.

Whilst I truly believe in having a vision and seeking to fulfill that and I’m sure Sir Bob does as well he is right, often we get lost in the big picture and forget all the steps it takes to get there.  It’s too easy.

I just thought I’d share that with you, stop dreaming and start doing.


It's all about me

January 1st, 2009

Yes it is.

But also it isn’t.

You think movies can earn billions of dollars by keeping all the money for themselves.

No they don’t.

They involve hundreds of different organisations to help produce, edit, marketing, distribute, sell, merchandise, ringtones, cross promotions with McDonalds.

Growing an organisation is the same, sharing the pie with others.

So it is all about you, but to make it big do not be afraid to bring others in.

They add credibility, expand the pie and most of all share the risk.

(oh and plus its fun).

That’s my rant on entrepreneurs whom want to keep the pie all to themselves. Stop it. Chances are your too arrogant to grow what you’ve got.


I fail lots

July 17th, 2008

Well, I do…

At least 2 – 4 times / month

However

I also learn 2 – 4 things / month that don’t work

I only recently realised that

I have become so accustomed to failure that I bounce back virtually instantaneously

Weird

but awesome! this means I am willing to give anything a go.

Chances are the cost of doing it outweigh the cost of not doing it…

plus every now and again i come up with something brilliant!

this blog being one of them 😉

so go ahead

try some crazy ideas, fail lots and win sometimes.

(believe me, you’ll soon forget the failures, learn the lessons and win overall!)

(and you’ll get better at minimising risk and limiting the downside)

(oh and once your no longer afraid of failure the world is your oyster)



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