New Zealand is a little country making a huge difference in business around the world. According to the 2016 World Bank Doing Business survey, we're the second easiest country in the world (behind Singapore) to do business in AND the easiest place in the world to start a business.
But are we getting it right? I asked 15 of New Zealand's entrepreneurs this question:
What do you think New Zealand businesses need to do better?
They need to recognise the value of engaging with professional advisors. In particular, around planning, forecasting, and accountability.
-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.
Want more, i.e. have greater ambition, the aspiration to build businesses, grow, earn more, contribute more, participate more - personally and professionally. Basically to go beyond the "Bach, Beamer and Boat = Success" mentality.
-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.
Because it's so easy to set up a business in NZ, I don't think a lot of people really appreciate what's actually going to be required/involved to be successful. Business owners need to have a much better understanding of their metrics and what drives the business. It's not enough to just be an excellent 'INSERT JOB TITLE HERE'. They need to be thinking like a 'business owner' from the outset.
Absolutely it's customer service. Customers are people and need to be loved just like everyone does. How can we love our customers and make their lives better? Customers need to feel good when they interact with us and that we care. We have to care and not fake care.
-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.
Every business depends on people, yet businesses are not always willing to invest in their people's soft skills. Developing people – building the leadership capability and teams – means the business gets better results, with much less fallout from conflict and ineffective leadership.
-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.
Dream big - go beyond the major NZ cities and tap into an international customer base.
-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.
Hmm.. That’s a tricky one as there are so many amazing NZ businesses out there! In saying that, I think many NZ businesses could be more eco-conscious and environmentally sustainable.
Lose the “I’m everything to everybody” attitude! Embrace outsourcing tasks to those who are better at performing them so you can concentrate on what you do well and love to do!
-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.
Stay on top of trends and pounce on them, be the first to market and use them well and upskill in them. This relates to tools, systems, marketing tactics and the latest innovations.
-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.
Nothing really, NZ businesses are generally innovative and not afraid to take a risk.
-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.
Our clients are primarily small businesses in NZ and around the world. A key theme among many small businesses is how little value they place on their online potential. In New Zealand, we’re so connected to each other and having recently returned to NZ from being based in the UK it's clear to me that this high level of connection may lead to some laxness in investing in their online presence. Even for word of mouth referrals, we know that customers will often check people out online before making contact.
As a recent personal example, we’re looking to build a home now that we’ve returned to NZ were referred to an architect by a builder who was referred to us by a good friend. We very nearly didn’t contact the architect based on the quality of his website. This one project would have paid for the cost of his website for many years.
What we’ve seen, is that if these small businesses do the basics well, they can perform really well. We get to see how well some of these small businesses can perform when they do the online essentials well. In fact, I would love to have some of these businesses as my own. To do the basics well is not actually that hard and we’ve got loads of helpful articles to guide people, but only a small number of businesses make the effort. If you have a professional looking website, a great 'about us' page that tells their story, and you write genuinely helpful articles in a blog you’ll be miles ahead of most other small businesses in NZ.
-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.
Need to plan more. As Kiwis, we're generally pretty keen to take a risk, bet the house on a good idea that they've asked three people for their opinion, who probably know nothing about that industry but think it's a good idea. Business owners hate forecasting and planning mainly because of two reasons, they don’t know how to and/or they find it boring. So they should either outsource it or get educated, either way leave the emotion out of the planning - leave the hi-fives, back-pats and team hugs to when you have delivered the results.
Stop and drop the bullshit No.8 wire mentality that was useful back then. The world is more digital and there is no reason to do anything short of the world’s best - anytime, every time.
Stop being one-man-bands and build your business so it doesn't have to have you in it all the time. Then you will have the freedom to develop another business (or go to the beach). Life's short - don't be your own slave master.
-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.
Following up, responding and doing what you say you're going to do. It is pretty bad. A lack of inbox management knowledge? A lack of resources? More team training required? Maybe all of those things would help. I'm guilty of it at times and when a business does do all of those things, it is very noticeable and definitely a great way to stand out.
-Me, Jo Muggeridge. The founder of Strictly Savvy and The VA Foundry. 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.
That's the final post in this six part series. What changes will you be making in your business, your life, or your mindset?
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