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15 Entrepreneurs Share What They Do Differently

When I thought about launching Strictly Savvy back in 2012, I had heard a thousand reasons not to start my own business - it's too risky, it'll be too much hard work, it's more secure to be employed, and business partners are a bad idea.

Strictly Savvy was born anyway because I truly believed that I would be successful and that it was what I did differently as a business owner that would lead to this success. Being successful is not that far-fetched if you can learn from what other successful business owners do. So I posed the question to our entrepreneurs...


What do you think you do differently that makes you a success?

I’m happy to talk about anything to do with my business and help anyone be a success with his or hers, anytime, anywhere, for no fee or rewards.

-Youssef Mourra is the founder of Nonsuch Consulting. Follow his irreverent utterances on the world of project management and strategic alignment on Twitter.

In the accounting profession, there are a lot of good accountants but to be successful, you need to able to relate to people and their situations and make the complicated understandable. 

 -Bruce Stormer is a Chartered Accountant who seeks to help business owners make the difficult understandable by explaining business and accounting terms in a way that his clients can relate to. For an example click here.

I look for what my clients are wanting and find ways to make that happen with the tools I have. 

-Cathy Sheppard is a leadership and team development specialist, with a passion for transforming businesses and changing people’s lives. She is the founder of BSI People Skills Ltd, helping businesses and organisations develop happy, healthy, high-performing teams.

Effort, Education, and Authenticity. I will always put in the effort when it's necessary, I'm always learning, and I don't try (anymore) to present as something that I'm not.

-Lance Jensen is the founder of Red Hot Business Coaching. Check out his business blog and YouTube channel #FromTheCoachesRoom


Through my career, I’ve found that having a deep understanding of your customers and clients is essential. Whether I was developing electronic livestock equipment at Tru-Test and spending time on the farm alongside the farmers using the equipment, or listening to customer calls at Vodafone, it actually made business and marketing much easier when you truly understood your customer. For example, a key insight at Vodafone was that customers didn’t have a great handle on what they were spending but they were afraid of overspending. By understanding this insight, we were able to help develop capped calling propositions where the fear of overspend was removed and phone usage went up. Aim for a deep insight to truly understand why people do what they do.
At Rocketspark we’re pretty fanatical about understanding our clients and what they want. Client feedback and feature requests are captured by the team and we’re constantly refining our website builder based on what clients want. The key is to filter through the feature request and understand what they are wanting to achieve so that you not only deliver what they want but properly delight them by delivering the solution in a way that really solves the challenge they faced. 

-Grant Johnson is a co-founder at Rocketspark, the beautifully simple website builder. Rocketspark enables non-technical people to create their own website or you can get Strictly Savvy to create the site for you. Check out the Rocketspark’s easy to understand blog to learn more about how to make the most your online presence. 

It’s funny, we don’t overly focus on what others are doing to know if what we are doing is different. There is always more we feel we could be doing! I think optimism, consistent effort, creating an ‘expert’ voice and keeping one eye on the future helps.

-Carissa Fairbrother is an Authorised Financial Advisor, Co-founder of RIVAL Wealth, a Financial Wellness Warrior and Keynote Speaker. Always happy to talk to one on one about getting financially organised.

I have this core belief that technology is here to serve us. Too often it seems the other way round. So I use my background is software engineering to build the tools to give us more access to a better life & freedom to choose how (and where) to live your life. 

-Gareth Foster runs Private Box - a mail forwarding company with its HQ in Wellington. Think digital mailroom, outsourcing your mail, virtual office and living your life anywhere. Secure, fast & addresses in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. Your Mail. Sorted. Gareth also runs Office Box - a one-stop shop to get everything you need to start a business online and Adventure Kiwi - a free advertising platform for your campervan, motorhome or caravan. 


I’d rather not reinvent the wheel. From a young age, I have experienced success by continually doing the little things that align to my dreams.

-Nigel Fowler is super passionate about the products and services smart entrepreneurs are inventing every day. He is on a mission to tell the stories of businesses worldwide and write their web content for their website.

Choosing to succeed despite the circumstances.

-Assia Salikhova is a dynamic entrepreneur, founder of NZ's largest business database and creator of profitable marketing ideas guaranteed to work for businesses of any size. Join a growing community here for the soon to be launched B2BMarketing Club.

I would say it's that I think globally and not locally. I also like to go deep on understanding whom I'm serving through research, surveys and where possible candid conversations to uncover the real gold.

-Natalie Sisson is a self-proclaimed Freedomist and Founder of the Suitcase Entrepreneur and she's dedicated to ensuring entrepreneurs create freedom in business and adventure in life through better systems, daily freedom routines and the right mindset to grow and scale your business without you. You can catch her live podcast updates on Quest for Freedom here.

I am completely myself in my business. I don't buy into competition or compare myself to others. If I find myself doing that, then I take a step back, and mentally congratulate them on their success, to avoid the slippery slope to envy. Then I go back to doing what I do, and seeing if I could do something a little bit better, or with a little bit more flair.

-Brenda Ratcliff is an experienced MC, presenter, trainer and leadership coach. Her business MindMeld Coaching continues to flourish. Her weekend job is as a marriage celebrant, themed weddings especially.

We ask our clients questions that allow us to get right inside their heads and truly understand what they do, what they want, and what they are struggling with. Through offering a tailored boutique CV and cover letter service, our focus is 100% on value for money and client satisfaction. There is no one in the market that offers what we do, and we go above and beyond to make sure our clients are happy. 90% + of our business comes straight from referrals. We would rather make a loss on a job and have a grateful client that refers us to 10 people than be in the market offering a substandard product just to make a quick buck.

-Jess Menon has built a business with clients all over the world, is an exceptional writer and a passionate vegan. Check out her CV writing and design company and follow her on Facebook and Twitter


  • I ensure that the contractors I work with receive massive support and opportunities to build their own mindfulness businesses.
  • I am willing to lose money in the short-term, for a bigger gain in the long-term.
  • I am willing to ask for help and to listen to others.

-Karl Baker is a creative entrepreneur who enjoys breaking rules and building innovative businesses. He is the founder and managing director of Mindfulness Works, the largest mindfulness training organisation in Australasia.

Knowing that you need to be different to be successful - differentiate or die as the saying goes. In my industry, there is some significant encroachment coming from banks and software providers as well as the IRD, so for us it’s about providing more. If that means pinching space in the legal sector, financial planning and even the property space so be it, our clients need to know that they have access to so much more than two columns of numbers that are 18 months old, they get advice, real advice from someone that is in business.

-Jono Rees owns Boostnest, an accounting firm in Wellington, and provides direct, results focused advice for any stage of your business.

I would say my lack of negative self-talk. It doesn't serve me so I don't do it. I have no idea why mine is so low (maybe 5%, if that) compared to most people. What that then does is aids my consistent action taking, reduces my fear, and propels my decision-making process. Lots of people talk about what they are going to do and never actually do it - I guess out of fear mostly.

-Me, Jo Muggeridge. The founder of Strictly SavvySavvy School and Savvy Spaces. Currently on a mission to upskill job seekers and mentor start-up virtual assistants so they too can have flexibility, freedom, and control in their lives.

In my final post of this six part series, entrepreneurs share what they think New Zealand businesses need to do better. Hopefully your business isn't lacking in one of the areas they identify and if it is, now is the time to do something about it.


Jo Muggeridge | Founder & Leader at Strictly SavvySavvy School & Savvy Spaces

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