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money-master-the-gameHere are my notes on the book “Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom” by Tony Robbins.

There are 3 things you need to know about this book:

  1. This book is huge
    • Most business books take me 4 hours to get through, this one took me 12
    • I read it on my Kindle, so at times I thought it would never end (whereas, with a hardcopy book, you can feel with your fingers how far through you are)
  2. Tony repeats points over and over
    • This can be a bit annoying at times. But that’s just his teaching style. He knows that for the important bits to stick in your head, he needs to repeat them.
  3. His writing style is not crisp and concise like most business authors
    • His writing is like a conversation in your head between you and him. It’s like he’s talking to you personally

Having said that, this was a very good book. I’ve broken it into 4 parts:

  1. Part one is about psychology, how your brain works, what humans really need, how money serves those needs
  2. Part two is a lesson on how the economy works (watch the video, it is a real eye opener)
  3. Part three shows you what a truly balanced portfolio looks like
  4. Part four is a 7 step checklist to get started in investment

 

Here’s a collection of my favourite bits from this book.

Part One: Human Needs

  • If we get underneath what you’re really after, it’s not money at all.
  • What you’re really after is what you think money is going to give you.
  • Ultimately, it’s a set of feelings.
  • And beneath those feelings are needs.

NEED 1: CERTAINTY/COMFORT

  • It’s our need to feel in control and to know what’s coming next so we can feel secure.
  • It’s the need for basic comfort, the need to avoid pain and stress, and also to create pleasure.
  • Our need for certainty is a survival mechanism.
  • It affects how much risk we’re willing to take in life – in our jobs, in our investments, and in our relationships.
  • The higher the need for certainty, the less risk you’ll be willing to take or emotionally bear.
  • By the way, this is where your real “risk tolerance” comes from.

NEED 2: UNCERTAINTY/VARIETY

  • We need variety. We need surprise.
  • You like the surprises you want. The ones you don’t want you call problems!
  • But you still need them to put some muscle in your life.
  • You can’t grow muscle – or character – unless you have something to push back against.

NEED 3: SIGNIFICANCE

  • We all need to feel important, special, unique, or needed.
  • So how do some of us get significance?
    • You can get it by earning billions of dollars or collecting academic degrees—distinguishing yourself with a master’s or a PhD.
    • You can build a giant Twitter following.
    • Or you can go on The Bachelor or become one of the next Real Housewives of Orange County.
    • Some do it by putting tattoos and piercings all over themselves and in places we don’t want to know about.
    • You can get significance by having more or bigger problems than anybody else. “You think your husband’s a dirtbag? Take mine for a day!”
    • Of course, you can also get it by being more spiritual (or pretending to be).
    • Unfortunately, one of the fastest ways to get significance—that costs no money and requires no education—is through violence. If someone puts a gun to your head, in that instant he becomes the most significant thing in your life, right?
    • Spending a lot of money can make you feel significant, and so can spending very little.
    • We all know people who constantly brag about their bargains, or who feel special because they heat their homes with cow manure and sunlight.
    • Some very wealthy people gain significance by hiding their wealth.
  • Significance is also a moneymaker—that’s where my dear friend Steve Wynn has made his fortune.
    • The man who made Las Vegas what it is today knows people will pay for anything they believe is “the best”—anything that makes them feel special, unique, or important; anything that makes them stand out from the crowd.
    • He provides the most exclusive, luxurious experiences imaginable in his casinos and hotels—they are truly magnificent and unmatched in the world.
    • He’s got a nightclub called XS (what else?) that is the hottest spot in Las Vegas.
      • Even on a weeknight, it has a line out the door.
      • Once you’re in, you have the privilege of purchasing an ordinary bottle of champagne for $700, or if you want to step up and show everyone you’re a player, you can spend $10,000 for a special “Ono cocktail” of rare vintage cognac and fresh orange juice that comes with a white-gold necklace.
      • Hey, it comes to your table with a sparkler, just so everybody knows you’re significant (and out of your mind).

NEED 4 LOVE AND CONNECTION

  • Love is the oxygen of life; it’s what we all want and need most.
  • When we love completely, we feel alive, but when we lose love, the pain is so great that most people settle on connection, the crumbs of love.
  • You can get that sense of connection or love through intimacy, or friendship, or prayer, or walking in nature.
  • If nothing else works, you can get a dog.

NEED 5: GROWTH

  • If you’re not growing, you’re what? You’re dying.

NEED 6: CONTRIBUTION

  • The secret to living is giving.
  • Sharing enhances everything you experience.
  • Life is really about creating meaning.
  • And meaning does not come from what you get, it comes from what you give.
  • Ultimately, what you get will never make you happy long term.
  • But who you become and what you contribute will.
  • “What’s the secret to wealth?” And he said, “Tony, you know it, and you know it well. You teach it to everyone. It’s gratitude.”

Part Two: How The Economy Works

All you need to do is watch this 30 minute video:

Also available from www.EconomicPrinciples.org

Part Three: What A Truely Balanced Portfolio Looks Like

Ray’s view boils it down to only four different possible environments, or economic seasons, that will ultimately affect whether investments (asset prices) go up or down. (Except unlike nature, there is not a predetermined order in which the seasons will arrive.)

They are:

  1. higher than expected inflation (rising prices)
  2. lower than expected inflation (or deflation)
  3. higher than expected economic growth, and
  4. lower than expected economic growth.

You should have 25% of your risk in each of these four categories.

“Today we can structure a portfolio that will do well in 2022, even though we can’t possibly know what the world will look like in 2022.

So let’s call this portfolio herein the “All Seasons” portfolio:

  • 30% in stocks
    • for instance, the S&P 500 or other indexes for further diversification in this basket
  • 15% percent in intermediate term [seven- to ten-year Treasuries]
  • 40% in long-term bonds [20- to 25-year Treasuries]
    • “Why such a large percentage?” I asked. “Because this counters the volatility of the stocks.”
  • 7.5% in gold
  • 7.5% in commodities
    • “You need to have a piece of that portfolio that will do well with accelerated inflation, so you would want a percentage in gold and commodities. These have high volatility. Because there are environments where rapid inflation can hurt both stocks and bonds.”

Lastly, the portfolio must be rebalanced.

  • Meaning, when one segment does well, you must sell a portion and reallocate back to the original allocation.
  • This should be done at least annually, and, if done properly, it can actually increase the tax efficiency.

Part Four: Guide to Getting Your Investment Started

Step 1: Make the Most Important Financial Decision of Your Life

  1. Did you make the decision to become an investor, not just a consumer?
  2. Have you committed a specific percentage of savings that always goes toward your Freedom Fund?
  3. Have you automated it? If not, do it now: www.tdameritrade.com or www.schwab.com.
  4. If the amount you’re committing now is small, have you committed to your employer to use the Save More Tomorrow program? See http:// befi.allianzgi.com/en/befi-tv/pages/save-more-tomorrow.aspx.

Step 2: Become the Insider: Know the Rules Before You Get in the Game

  1. Do you know the 9 Myths, and are you now protected? Here’s a mini- test:
    • What percentage of mutual funds beat the market (or their benchmark) over any ten years?
    • Do fees matter, and what’s the average mutual fund fee?
    • If you pay 1% versus 3% in fees, how much of a difference does it make to your final nest egg?
    • Have you taken your broker for a test drive? Have you gone online and seen what your current costs are, how much risk you have in your current investments, and how your current investment strategy has compared over the last 15 years with other simple, inexpensive options?
    • Do you know the difference between advertised returns and what you actually earn?
    • Do you know the difference between a broker and a fiduciary?
    • Are target-date funds your best option?
    • How do you maximize your 401(k), and should you elect to use a Roth 401(k)?
    • Do you have to take huge risks to make big rewards? What are some of the tools that will allow you to get the upside of the market without the downside losses?
    • Have you identified any of the limiting stories or emotions that have held you back or sabotaged you in the past, and have you broken their pattern of control in your life?
  2. Do you have a fiduciary now representing and guiding you? If not, go online and find one at http://findanadvisor.napfa.org/home.aspx or go to Stronghold and review its services approach (www.Stronghold Financial.com).
  3. If you own a company, or you’re an employee with a 401(k) plan, have you taken 30 seconds to check how your fees compare with the rest of the market? Go to http://americasbest401k.com/401k-fee-checker.
  4. If you’re a business owner, have you met your legal requirement to benchmark your 401(k) against other comparable plans? Remember, the Department of Labor has reported that 75% of the 401(k)s it audited resulted in an average penalty of $600,000 (www.americasbest401k.com).

Step 3: Make the Game Winnable

  1. Have you made the game winnable?
    • Have you found out what your real numbers are? Have you figured out what it’s really going to take for you to achieve financial security, vitality, and independence? Have you calculated it?
    • If not, go back and do that right now. Or if you want to revisit them, go back and do the numbers now or go to your app, where you can keep the numbers in your pocket, and it will be calculated in a few minutes. You can do it in just a few minutes.
    • Remember, clarity is power. See www.tonyrobbins.com/masterthegame.
  2. Once you’ve got the numbers, did you use your wealth calculator and come up with a plan that shows you how many years it will take in a conservative, moderate, or an aggressive plan to achieve financial security or independence? If not, give yourself the gift. Go to the app and do this now.
  3. Have you looked over and made any decisions about the five elements of how you can speed up your plan and achieve financial security or independence even faster?
    • Save more:
      • Have you looked at the places you could save? Your mortgage? Daily purchases?
      • Have you implemented a Save More Tomorrow plan so that you don’t have to give up anything today, but when you get additional income in the future, you’ll save more? Go to http://befi.allianzgi .com/en/befi-tv/pages/save-more-tomorrow.aspx.
      • Have you found something that you could cut down easily in order to increase your savings? Is it the $40 pizza? Is it the water bottle? Is it Starbucks? And have you calculated how much more money you’ll have in your Freedom Fund and how much faster you can achieve your goals by doing this?
      • Remember, $40 a week can equal $500,000 over an investment lifetime.
      • You don’t have to do any of these if you’re already on target, but these are options if you’re not yet on target to achieve your financial goals.
    • Earn more.
      • Have you found ways to increase the value you can add to others?
      • Do you need to retool yourself and switch to a different industry?
      • What are the ways you can add more value and grow more so you can give more?
    • Save in fees and taxes.
      • Have you come up with a way to apply what we’ve taught you to reduce your fees and/or reduce your taxes?
    • Get better returns.
      • Have you found a way to invest with greater returns without undue risk?
      • Have you reviewed any of the portfolios that are here that might enhance your earnings and protect you from those gut-wrenching downturns in the market?
    • Change your life—and improve your lifestyle.
      • Have you considered a new location with an even better lifestyle?
      • Have you considered putting yourself in a place where you reduce or eliminate state taxes and then put all of that money toward building wealth and your family’s financial security and freedom?

Step 4: Make the Most Important Investment Decision of Your Life

  1. Have you decided on asset allocation so that you never put yourself in a position to lose too much? (Not all your eggs are in one basket, right?)
  2. Have you decided what percentage belongs in your Security Bucket and what specific types of investment you’ll use to be safe and still maximize returns?
    • Are you diversifying with different types of investments within the Security Bucket?
    • Have you decided what percentage of your savings or investment capital will go in the Security Bucket?
  3. Have you decided what percentage belongs in your Risk/Growth Bucket and what specific types of investments you’ll use to maximize returns yet still limit your downside as best as possible?
    • Are you diversified with your Risk/Growth Bucket?
  4. Have you evaluated your actual risk tolerance effectively?
  5. Have you considered your stage of life and whether you should be more or less aggressive based on the length of time you have to save and invest?
    • (If you’re young, you can lose a bit more because you have more time to recover; if you’re closer to retirement, you have less time to recover, and perhaps you need more in your Security Bucket.)
  6. Have you evaluated the amount and size of your cash flow and whether that will play a role in your level of conservativeness or aggressiveness in your asset allocation?
  7. Have you resolved the ratio of Security versus Risk/Growth as a percentage of your overall investments?
    • 50/50? 60/40? 70/30? 30/70? 40/60? 80/20?
  8. Have you come up with a list of short-term and long-term goals for your Dream Bucket that excite you?
    • Do you have to wait until someday in the future, or do you have some things you’re going to make happen right away?
  9. Have you established a way to fund your Dream Bucket with either a small amount of savings or a portion of the profits of windfalls from successes in your Risk/Growth Bucket?
  10. Rebalancing and dollar-cost averaging:
    • Are you consistently committing the same amount of money to investments regardless of whether the market is moving up or down? Remember, timing the market never works.
    • Are you continually rebalancing your portfolio, or do you have a fiduciary doing this for you? Either way, this is crucial to optimizing returns and minimizing volatility.

Step 5: Create a Lifetime Income Plan

  1. The power of All Seasons:
    • Have you taken the time to read, understand, and take action on the powerful insights that Ray Dalio gave us with his All Seasons approach? He has brought successful investment returns 85% of the time and lost money only four times in 30 years, but never more than 3.93% to date!
    • Have you gone to Stronghold and taken five minutes to see what kind of returns you’re getting on your current investments compared with All Seasons (and other portfolios) or to see what it would take to set up an All Seasons portfolio in minutes?
  2. Income Insurance:
    • Have you done the most important thing of all? Have you made sure that you will not run out of income as long as you live? Have you established a guaranteed lifetime income plan?
    • Do you know the difference between an immediate annuity and a deferred annuity, and have you selected which might be right for you depending on your stage in life?
    • Have you reviewed and initiated a hybrid annuity or tapped into the upside-without-the-downside strategy that’s now available to anyone regardless of age and without any lump-sum payment whatsoever?
    • Have you gone online and found out how much future income you could have for as little as $300 a month or more? If not, go to www.lifetimeincome.com or call an annuity specialist at Stronghold.
  3. Secrets of the Ultrawealthy:
    • Have you investigated how to drastically cut the amount of time it will take you to achieve financial freedom by 30% to 50% through the use of tax-efficient life insurance strategies? Remember, PPLI (private placement life insurance) is great for high net worth, but anyone can use the policies offered through TIAA-CREF (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund ) with minimal deposit amounts. If you haven’t yet explored these tools, reach out to a qualified, expert fiduciary today or contact Stronghold for a free analysis
    • Have you invested the $250 to set up a living trust so that your family is protected and your assets will go to them without going through a year of probate Have you protected your wealth not only fro your current generation but also your grandchildren and your great grandchildren?

Step 6: Invest Like the .001%

  1. Have you taken the time to absorb some of the short interviews with 12 of the smartest financial people on earth, the greatest investors in history?
  2. Who is the “Master of the Universe” in the financial world? What kind of returns has he gotten compared with anyone else, including Warren Buffett, and how could you invest with him if you wanted to?
  3. What did you learn about asset allocation from Yale’s David Swensen? Or J.P. Morgan’s Mary Callahan Erdoes?
  4. What did you learn from the indexing master Jack Bogle? Or from Dr. Doom, Marc Faber?
  5. Did you capture the simple strategy that Warren Buffett now recommends for everyone, including his wife and her legacy trust?
  6. Did you absorb the importance of how to get asymmetric returns?
  7. Did you absorb the $100,000 MBA that Paul Tudor Jones gave you by never making an investment of less than five to one and always tapping into the power of the trend?
  8. Did you check out Ray Dalio’s How the Economic Machine Works—In Thirty Minutes video? If not, watch it now at www.economicprinciples.org.
  9. Did you soak in the concepts of Kyle Bass’s solution on investing where you cannot lose money? Remember the power of nickels? Where investments are guaranteed forever by the US government, and you’ll have a potential upside of anywhere from 20% to 30%?
  10. Did you take in the core lessons from Charles Schwab, and Sir John Templeton’s gift that continues to give of being able to know that the worst environment is your greatest opportunity—to be most optimistic when the world is “ending” like it did in World War II, like it did in inflation in South America, like it did in the Depression, like it did in Japan after World War II? Did you absorb his true core strategic philosophy that made him the first international investment billionaire in history?
  11. What actions can you take today to start investing like the .001%?

Step 7: Just Do It, Enjoy It, and Share It!

  1. Your Hidden Asset:
    • Have you connected to the truth that the future is a magnificent place?
    • It will be filled with exciting challenges.
    • Opportunities and problems are always there, but are you clear that there is a wave of technology that is going to continue to innovate and empower us as individuals and enhance the quality of life for human beings all over the earth?
  2. Have you given yourself the ultimate gift?
    • The commitment to be wealthy now, not someday in the future – by appreciating and developing the daily habit of priming your appreciation of what you already have and building on that success?
  3. Would you trade expectation for appreciation?
    • And have you committed to a life of progress?
    • Progress equals happiness.
    • Life is about growing and giving.
  4. Have you figured out what you’re here to serve and what the higher purpose is for your life?
    • Have you begun to think about your legacy?
  5. Have you decided to convert your pocket change into massive change in the world?
    • If so, go to www.swipeout.com now, take one minute, and start the process of saving lives while you enjoy your own.
  6. Are you embodying the truth that makes you wealthy in this moment: the secret to living is giving?

What Do You Think?

Have your say in the comments below.

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The NZ Cafe Owners network is where cafe owners in a particular city are matched to a cafe owner in a neighbouring city.

They call each other once a fortnight (8pm on a Thursday night) to share marketing ideas to grow their businesses.

  • There is no competition because they are in different cities, so they are free to share any, and all, ideas
  • They are more likely to take action on the new ideas because they hear about how other owners have implemented them and what results the changes generated
  • If the pair run short on ideas to share, they are simply re-matched with a new cafe owner (this is encouraged)
  • They work such long hours, they can never find the time to read marketing books or search Google for marketing ideas
  • They work so hard inside their business they sorely need an outsiders perspective to identify weaknesses and opportunities and ask challenging questions
  • They realise that just providing “great food and great service” isn’t enough these days. That’s just the new baseline minimum that people expect

Sounds pretty awesome, right?

Well, it doesn’t exist, sorry.

It’s just an idea I had the other day.

If you’d like to start providing this service, I suggest the following steps:

  1. Pitch the idea to 3 cafe’s near you and 3 more in a neighbouring city
  2. Set appointments for the phonecalls for them and share the phone numbers
  3. Briefly interview them the next day to see how it went (write down their testimonials)
  4. Ask them if they are prepared to pay $10/month for the service. And if so, send them an invoice for the first month immediately

All the best!

coffee-queue-out-the-door

Is it every cafe owners dream to be so popular that there is a queue out the door and down the street, but no-body minds waiting because waiting is part of the experience and it’s just the cost of being a super-fan?

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Having a list of email address of people who want to hear from you is gold. The secret to effective email newsletters is to mimic a one-to-one email conversation as closely as possible. Any elements that make the recipient suspect that your message is one-to-many will reduce the impact of your message. There are 6 […]

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I made my annual trip to TEDxAuckland on Saturday, and for the last 2 years I have captured my experience here on MarketingFirst.co.nz, but this time I’ve written my report on the TEDxTauranga website. Read it now: TEDxAuckland 2014: 18 Hours of Awesomeness

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How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by Scott Adams

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November 4, 2013
Thumbnail image for Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler

This book was pretty darn amazing. I’m already a pretty optimistic guy but this book backed up that optimism with facts and reasoning. Fantastic stuff. My favourite quote was “In today’s hyperlinked world, solving problems anywhere, solves problems everywhere.” Let’s start with the table of contents because you might spot areas that interest you that you […]

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Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal by Oren Klaff

October 23, 2013
Thumbnail image for Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal by Oren Klaff

My notes on Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal by Oren Klaff. Chapter 1: The Method The process using the acronym STRONG: Setting the frame Telling the story Revealing the intrigue Offering the prize Nailing the hookpoint Getting a decision Chapter 2: Frame Own the Frame, Win the Game A […]

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Advertising: “But What Advertising Methods Will Work For MY Business?”

September 25, 2013
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You might have read my list of 62 ways to advertise, but are these 2 questions on your mind right now?: Am I wasting money on the advertising I’m doing now? Which advertising methods will work for my business? The advice you get when you ask this question will change depending on the incentives of […]

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Google Calendar: How To Duplicate An Appointment

September 5, 2013
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I’ve been using Google Calendar for many years, but I only recently found this function, and now I couldn’t live without it. How to duplicate an appointment in Google Calendar Go into the details of the appointment you want to copy Along the top buttons there is a dropdown labelled “More Actions” Choose “Duplicate Event” from […]

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Google Calendar: How To Silently Rip An Appointment From An Invited Guests Calendar

September 4, 2013
Thumbnail image for Google Calendar: How To Silently Rip An Appointment From An Invited Guests Calendar

I’m a huge fan of Google Calendar. I even switched my reluctant wife over to it rather than her diary book, and now she loves it too. If you use Google Calendar and you use it to invite people to appointments and events, you need to occasionally cancel appointments, right? Well, you’ll know that you […]

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My Transition From Employee To Home Based Business To Co-Working

August 12, 2013

This is a short video on how I made the transition from employee, to home based business, to leading a co-working space in central Tauranga, New Zealand. Watch this video on Vimeo Thanks to Jono from EmergeFilm for all his work on this story (we work together at Studio64 co-working space).

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TEDx Auckland 2013: 17 Hours of Awesomeness

August 5, 2013

TEDxAuckland ran from 10am to 5.30pm on 3 Aug 2013: 7.5 hours of awesomeness. But my day started at 6am because I drove up from Tauranga for it, and got back home at 11pm. I’m still counting the 8.5 hours of waiting and driving because those were all awesome too. I was either talking to […]

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Only Prospects In Pain Will Buy: 6 Questions To Ask To Uncover Your Prospects Pain

July 17, 2013
Thumbnail image for Only Prospects In Pain Will Buy: 6 Questions To Ask To Uncover Your Prospects Pain

Did you know that only a prospect in pain will buy a solution from you? It’s true. The more pain they feel, the higher the price they will pay, and the more they crave your solution if you can show them that you understand their pain. If you have a warehouse full of widgets to […]

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Your New Website Says “Under Construction” or “Coming Soon”? 3 Reasons That’s A Disaster

May 22, 2013
Thumbnail image for Your New Website Says “Under Construction” or “Coming Soon”? 3 Reasons That’s A Disaster

I love purchasing a new website address, don’t you? (A website address is also known as a “domain name”, or a “url”) I’ve purchased about 60 website addresses over the last few years. For clients, friends, and for myself. I get the same rush of adrenaline every time I do it. It’s so exciting because it’s much […]

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9 Companies, 90 Days, Worth $9 Million

May 20, 2013

Last week I went down to Wellington to the Lightning Labs demo day. Lightning Labs is New Zealands first (and only) business accelerator. For a bit of background, read my article about Lighting Labs that I wrote a couple of weeks ago. 90 days ago these 9 companies were worth zip, nada, nothing. And now […]

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How to Create Start Up Companies Worth A Million Dollars Each In Just 90 Days

May 3, 2013

Did you meet Laura Rietel (and Nick Churchouse from Lightning Labs) on Thursday 2 May 2013? If not, you missed a great night! Laura shared her experience with Business Accelerators. I loved her presentation style. No slides. Just a few notes, lots of stories, and lots of questions. Casual and friendly, it felt less like a seminar […]

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Worried Someone Will Steal Your Awesome Idea? 7 Possible Reactions When You Share Your Idea

May 1, 2013
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New ideas are exciting! Sometimes great ideas wake you in the middle of the night (and at the time you are sure you’ll remember them so you don’t bother writing them down… oops). Sometimes great ideas happen to you when you are alone (like in the shower, or in the car), and it’s so annoying […]

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Startup Communities – Building An Entrepreneurial Ecosystem In Your City by Brad Feld

April 18, 2013
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My notes on “Startup Communities – Building An Entrepreneurial Ecosystem In Your City” by Brad Feld Give Before You Get Boulder is an incredibly inclusive community. Although there is some competition between companies, especially over talent, the community is defined by a strong sense of collaboration and philosophy of “giving before you get.” If you […]

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9 Questions To Get You Started When You’ve Got An Idea For A StartUp Business

April 16, 2013
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Heard of “a business plan”? It’s how you plan your business, right? Well, the bad news is that “business plans never survive first contact with customers” – Steve Blank. This means that you can plan all you like, but real customers with real money in their pockets will buy what they want to, not what […]

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“Tauranga University Enrolls First 99 Students, 4 Years Ahead Of Schedule” – Proposed Headline for BOP Times, Fri 26 July 2013

April 15, 2013

Dear universe, I would like the following headline appear in the Bay of Plenty Times on Fri 26 July 2013: “Tauranga University Enrolls First 99 Students, 4 Years Ahead Of Schedule”. Impossible? No. Not impossible. I’m going to tell you how. You can probably think of at least 5 reasons why a university here would be great […]

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The Future of “Work”: Are You A Cog In a Machine Or A Nanobot In A Swarm?

April 4, 2013

I had the honour of spending 60 seconds with John Key this morning. I was 1 of 10 young professionals invited to tell him about what we’re up to here in Tauranga, the city I love. Here’s my 60 second speech: Hi, I’m Sheldon Nesdale and I’m helping to build a eco-system of entrepreneurship and […]

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Testimonials: Tips About How You Can Get Powerful Testimonials For Your Website

March 27, 2013
Thumbnail image for Testimonials: Tips About How You Can Get Powerful Testimonials For Your Website

Firstly, Sean D’Souza in his book “The Brain Audit”, has this to say about Testimonials: — Why We Are All Sceptical About Testimonials Testimonials are like resumes; they’re not entirely believable.  Which is why most customers tend to view testimonials sceptically. Even if we don’t say it out loud, we view testimonials as one-sided. It’s the […]

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A Collection of 7 Bob Clarkson Thoughts

March 4, 2013
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Bob Clarkson (72 years old) invited me into his home on the weekend. For 90 minutes he told me his story. I can summarise it in 3 words: He loves building. We talked about many of his building projects. Past (those still standing today), Present (what he’s working on right now), and Future (those that […]

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What To Say When You Are Asked “What’s Your Hourly Rate?”

February 28, 2013
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Do you get asked the question “What’s Your Hourly Rate?” by potential clients? How do you respond? Do you just throw in one of these number into your response?: $10/hour $20/hour $50/hour $100/hour $200/hour $500/hour Potential clients often respond in one of these ways: “That’s too cheap!” “ooo, that’s too expensive and way out of my […]

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Should I Renew My Yellow Pages Listing For My Small Business?

February 18, 2013
Thumbnail image for Should I Renew My Yellow Pages Listing For My Small Business?

Is that a questions you are struggling with right now? Have you been advertising in the Yellow Pages hardcopy and/or online for years but now you’re thinking of cancelling? Do you suspect you are wasting your money, but you are shit-scared that your business will completely dry up if you stop paying them thousands of dollars […]

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Is Your Blog Stale? How Not Updating Your Blog Can Damage Your Business

February 11, 2013
Thumbnail image for Is Your Blog Stale? How Not Updating Your Blog Can Damage Your Business

“When I look at your blog I can almost see the tumbleweed rolling through…” Are visitors to your website thinking that? If you have a blog section on your website, at some point you thought it was a good idea to get one. You might call it your “news section” or your “article section”, they […]

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Job Hunting? Clever, But Simple Marketing Advice For Job Hunters

February 8, 2013

Looking for a new job? Does your job hunting plan look like this? Trawl through job ads on Seek, TradeMe Jobs and a couple of other sites Find jobs that look interesting and throw your CV at them Wait And wait some more And apply for some more (on the assumption that it takes 100 applications […]

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5 Co-Working Spaces in Auckland, The 6 Lessons I Learnt

January 29, 2013

Last week I visited all 5 of the co-working spaces in Auckland: Movers & Shakers, Auckland Central, Dion Bettjeman Loft503, Auckland Central, Matt Knight  Generator, Auckland Central, Ryan Wilson The Kitchen, Grey Lynn, Auckland, Murray Sheard Bizdojo, Auckland Central, Nick Shewring I am honoured that every single one of the founders/owners made time for me and my questions. I […]

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How Many Co-working Spaces in Hamilton?

January 25, 2013

Good news for you if you can answer “YES!” to these 3 questions: Are you are freelancer in Hamilton? Do you work from a home office? Do you want to move into a co-working space in Hamilton city? Up until now you would have had no option but to start your own space (which has […]

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Will You Join the 2013 Marketing Bootcamp in Tauranga?

January 8, 2013

The 2013 Marketing Bootcamp is a series of 12 workshops (one per month) which will improve both you and your business. Is the “2013 Marketing Bootcamp” for you? YES! If you own a Tauranga-based Small Business and you are either a solo operator, a husband-and-wife team or have a business partner YES! If last year went […]

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Selling services? Find out how to set your prices, and if you should put them on your website

December 17, 2012

Are you selling services? Are you quoting your hourly rate or using “value based pricing”? Should you put these prices on your website or not? Find out the answer to these questions with this short 2.5 minute discussion with Sheldon Nesdale from www.MarketingFirst.co.nz and Dan Necklen from www.Likeable.co.nz

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15 Reasons Why Co-Working In The City Centre Is Awesome

December 13, 2012
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This article is for those of you who are working from home right now, and it’s purpose is to show you what you could gain from moving out of home into a co-working space in the city centre. This is part 2 of 2. Read part one: 5 Reasons Why Working From Home Sucks I worked […]

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5 Reasons Why Working From Home Sucks

December 13, 2012
Thumbnail image for 5 Reasons Why Working From Home Sucks

This article is for those of you who are working from home right now, and it’s purpose is to show you what you could gain from moving out of home into a co-working space in the city centre. This is part 1 of 2. Read part two: 15 Reasons Why Co-Working In The City Centre Is […]

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Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

November 20, 2012

My notes on Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Lots of interesting stories in this book, but I’m just going to talk about 2 that really struck a chord with me. The Cost To Avoid Guilt? Just $3 Economists in an Israeli study in day care centres started imposing a fine of $3 if any parent […]

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In the retail business? Waiting for the world to change back to the way it was?

November 13, 2012

Can you answer yes to any of these questions?: Are you in the retail business? Are you waiting for the good-old-days to come back in terms of the economy and retail sales? Do you want the world to change back to the way it was before the recession? If so, I have good news. The […]

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Own A Cafe, Restaurant, Bar But Have No Website? Get One Before 2013

November 5, 2012

If you don’t have a website for your Cafe, Restaurant or Bar, then take some comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Did you know that only about one third (to one half) of New Zealand’s Cafe’s, Restaurant’s and Bar’s have a website? The 5 Most Common Objections I Hear From Owners: When […]

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How to Turn Your Junk To Gold – 7 Simple Tips for Selling on TradeMe

November 1, 2012

This is an update on my original article in Jul 2009 Ahh TradeMe, we all love it (And the recent copy-cat auction sites are hilarious. They have no chance!) Don’t you think it’s amazing how much gold people will pay for your junk? Do you want to squeeze every last dollar out of each TradeMe […]

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Interview with Cheryl Reynolds, CEO of SODA Inc, Hamilton’s Business Incubator and Accelerator

October 31, 2012

I’m on a mission to establish a Business Incubator in Tauranga next year. Part 1 of this mission is to learn from people who have already succeeded. So last week I spent an amazing, inspiring, uplifting 3 hours with Cheryl Reynolds the CEO of SODA Inc and Rachel Wark, the Communications Manager (thanks for making […]

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Business Facebook Pages: 6 Simple Tips For Your Business Page on Facebook

October 29, 2012

Are you just about to set up a Business Page on Facebook? Or have you set one up already but it’s just not generating business for you? Then this short list of tips will save you some time and help you generate some results. #1. Don’t sign up for a new Facebook Personal Profile just for […]

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Customer Survey Package

Thumbnail image for Customer Survey Package October 29, 2012

I’m about to show you that with your next customer survey, it is possible to generate satisfaction rather than just measure satisfaction. Let’s consider the customer’s perspective first. Do any of the following 3 scenario’s sound familiar? 1. Imagine you have just started dinner and the phone rings… You pick up and it’s someone asking you to […]

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Market Research Package

Thumbnail image for Market Research Package October 26, 2012

Do you have your eye on a target market and want to find out what those customers want? Do you want to find out more about the competition (if any) in that space? Do you want to evaluate the risk and determine your chance of success? Then consider this Market Research Package. Q: “Is this […]

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Tauranga 2013: A Business Incubator, A Business Accelerator, And 3 Co-Working Spaces

October 15, 2012

Have I shared with you my plan for 2013? I want to establish a business incubator/accelerator/co-working space here in Tauranga. Tauranga’s first co-working space starts this week in the Priority One building, hooray! I’ll be doing my best to help them succeed. But that is only the beginning. Imagine there was one business incubator, one […]

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The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

October 15, 2012

My notes on “The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses” by Eric Ries I’ve only made notes on the sections I found most interesting, so to get the full benefit of this book I urge you to read a copy for yourself The Five Principles Of The Lean Startup Entrepreneurs are everywhere […]

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Have A Great Idea For A Start-Up Company But Worried Someone Will Steal It?

October 12, 2012

On Monday you’ll see my notes on the book by Eric Ries called “The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses”. Amaaaaazing book. But I couldn’t wait until then to share this with you. There is one section in there that talks about how many of us have ideas that we think are […]

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Quickguide to LinkedIn Part 2: How To Milk LinkedIn – The 8 Most Important Cows

October 11, 2012

(Missed part 1? Read it first) Firstly, it’s important to note that “100% completion” is your starting point. That’s right, spend a few hours and just get all the basics done and out of the way until you score 100% completion. Then come back here and read the rest of this article. The 8 Most Important Components […]

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Quickguide to LinkedIn Part 1: What Types of People Are Looking At Your LinkedIn Profile Today?

October 10, 2012

Think you should be doing more with your LinkedIn profile? First let’s consider your audience. Who’s actually going to look at your profile? The 5 types of people looking at your LinkedIn profile today: 1. People you meet who are curious about you You might hunt them down first, or they might find you first. […]

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TEDx Auckland 2012: 16 Hours of Awesomeness

October 9, 2012

TEDx Auckland ran from 10am to 5.30pm on 6 Oct 2012: 7.5 hours of awesomeness. But my day started at 6am because I drove up from Tauranga for it, and got back home at 10pm. I’m still counting the 8.5 hours of waiting and driving because those were all awesome too. I was either talking […]

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“I Think It’s Too Long, Can You Make It Shorter?” A Phrase I Dread

October 4, 2012

I do quite a bit of copywriting: email proposals email newsletters sales pages on websites blog articles direct response letters and the occasional fax (I’m joking about the fax, it’s not the nineties anymore) The pieces of work I create are as long as they need to be and often include all of the following components: Headline: […]

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5 Questions For Small Business Owners to Think About Today

August 8, 2012

Compete against yourself Pretend there is a brand new competitor opening next door to you, what product and service bundles should he start selling? To who? Don’t wait for this to happen, create those bundles and target those customers yourself today Why you? What are the top 3 reasons customers should choose you? Put those […]

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Small Business Website: Do It Yourself For Only $141.50

August 7, 2012

If you don’t have a website for your small business, then take some comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Did you know that only about one third (to one half) of New Zealand businesses have a website? The 5 Most Common Objections I Hear From Owners: When asked why they don’t have a website, […]

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Email Marketing: 7 Reasons Why It’s Cool, 3 Reasons It Sucks, 7 Tips To Make It Work

August 6, 2012

Why are you attracted to the idea of “email marketing”? 7 Reasons Why Email Marketing Seems Cool Because sending emails is cheap (or free). It’s a cheap way to keep in contact with your customers It’s scalable – if you double or triple the number of customers on your email database there is no extra […]

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The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur by Mike Michalowicz

August 3, 2012

My notes on “The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur” by Mike Michalowicz This book had excellent structure, but I’ve only made notes on the sections I found most interesting, so you might find these notes jump around a bit. Launching Businesses I loved entrepreneurialism. I could talk about business all day, read every magazine, attend every seminar, and […]

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Business Cards: Don’t Waste Money Printing Business Cards

July 5, 2012
Thumbnail image for Business Cards: Don’t  Waste Money Printing Business Cards

When people first start their own business, the first thing they do is get 1000 business cards printed. Don’t bother! Don’t print business cards because only people who want to sell you something (that you don’t need) will take them from you and use them. Do people that you need something from ever take your business card […]

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Twitter: You Suspect It Would Waste Your Time, Are You Right?

July 1, 2012
Thumbnail image for Twitter: You Suspect It Would Waste Your Time, Are You Right?

What is it? Twitter is a micro-blogging platform which enables 160 character text messages (called “Tweets”) to be broadcast to “Followers”. From a business perspective, Twitter can be useful in 2 ways: For introducing your brand to a new, tech-savvy segment of the population When you “Follow” someone they are notified via email (unless they […]

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Rework by Jason Fried

June 20, 2012

My notes on “Rework” by Jason Fried TAKEDOWNS Ignore the real world “That would never work in the real world”. Dont’ believe them. That world may be real for them, but it doesn’t mean you will live in it Learning from mistakes is overrated You hear that failure build character. People advise, “Fail early and […]

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In What Type Of Business Is The CEO Also The Receptionist?

June 11, 2012
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You’ve probably noticed that there are often 2 types of receptionists in 9-5pm business offices: The first type I’ll call Wendy Winter and the second I’ll call Susan Summer. Wendy Winter Wendy doesn’t really want to be there She’ll be on Facebook most of the time if it hasn’t been blocked, and txt msg friends […]

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9 Reasons Why Outsourcing Your Sales Role Would be a Disaster

May 7, 2012
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Can you answer “yes” to one or more of these questions?: Is your business a one-man-band or husband-and-wife type of business? Are you a bit shy and find the prospect of networking and meeting people face to face a bit daunting? Are you thinking about outsourcing the sales role to a sales rep, either hiring […]

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The Brain Audit by Sean D’Souza

May 2, 2012

My notes on The Brain Audit by Sean D’Souza The following is just a copy/paste of the summary’s at the end of every chapter. I couldn’t do better myself because they are so well written. The most interesting parts for me was “how to construct a testimonial” and “how to determine what is unique about […]

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Made to Stick by Chip & Dan Heath

April 30, 2012

My notes on “Made to Stick” by Chip & Dan Heath S.U.C.C.E.S.s: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible Stories Simplicity Not dumbed down or sound bites Find the core fo the idea “The curse of knowledge” if you say 3 things you say nothing Simple = core + compact, forced prioritisation To make a profund idea compact […]

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Should You Quit Your Job And Start A Home Based Business? 8 Pros and 12 Cons To Help You Decide

April 27, 2012

Yesterday I was reading through one of my old journals from 3 years ago when I faced exactly this decision. In the journal I found my list of Pros and Cons that I had written to help me decide. Maybe they could help you to? PROS I’m ready. I’ve had my 3 years of experience. […]

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Getting Things Done by David Allen

April 23, 2012

My notes on “Getting Things Done” by David Allen [Borrowed heavily from Josh Kaufmans notes] 1. Define what being “done” looks like Most of the tasks people keep on their to-do lists are “amorphous blobs of undoability” – commitments without any clear vision of what being “done” looks like What does the end point look like? […]

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How To Make Millions With Your Ideas by Dan S. Kennedy

April 16, 2012

My notes on “How To Make Millions With Your Ideas” by Dan S. Kennedy To win with premium prices, clobber competitors with service Call every customer after the job is completed to verify satisfaction Offer strong guarantees Get crazy publicity & word of mouth with free product to local companies (works if you own a cafe anyway) Stake […]

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The Unwritten Laws of Business by J. King and James G. Skakoon

April 9, 2012

My notes on “The Unwritten Laws of Business” by J. King & James G. Skakoon. 2007 Good advice for employees who want to get the most out of their current role. However menial and trivial your early assignments may appear, give them your best efforts Demonstrate the ability to get things done Show Initiative. Start […]

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How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

April 2, 2012

My notes on “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie 3 Fundamental Techniques in Handling People Don’t crisicise, condemn or complain Instead, try to understand them, why they do what they do The most important human desire: A feeling of importance Give honest and sincere appreciation Find out their good points Try […]

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Purple Cow by Seth Godin

March 26, 2012

My notes on “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin Remarkable marketing is the art of building things worth noticing right into your product. If it isn’t remarkable, its invisible The Advertising Age Before: Word-of-Mouth During: Ever increasing consumer prosperity, and endless consumer desire. Simple formula: Advertise on TV & mass media = increased sales After: Word-of-Mouth with new networks at rocket speed Being first […]

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Confession: I Only Have 4 Skills

March 14, 2012

It’s true. My confession to you today is that I only have 4 skills. Skill #1: I Can Read Being able to read is my first skill. I read a speed reading book 4 years ago and it changed my life: 10 Days to Faster Reading by Abby Marks Beale It increased my comprehension from […]

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The Award For The Worst Toll Free Number Goes To 0800 MELANOMA

March 12, 2012

There’s an ad playing on the radio at the moment about a local skin cancer specialist. I have a problem with their choice of phone number: 0800 MELANOMA To me, this is a classic case of being unable to consider the customers perspective, who is looking into the business from the outside. The business owner […]

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A Facebook Page For Your Business? Should You Bother?

March 5, 2012
Thumbnail image for A Facebook Page For Your Business? Should You Bother?

Word of Mouth is how a business dies, survives or thrives, right? Well, social media platforms such as Facebook are Word-of-Mouth with a megaphone. Traditional, mass-media, or “broadcast” forms of advertising are becoming less effective because they are based on interruption. Media is continuing to fragment (more websites, more TV channels, more magazines) so it […]

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How To Handle Negative Reviews About Your Business

February 21, 2012

Have you ever looked up your own business online and found a negative review somewhere? Maybe you own a restaurant and you’ve just found a negative review on a restaurant directory written by someone who was grumpy that night and they have lashed out at you? Maybe you own a motel and you’ve just found […]

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The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki

February 17, 2012

My notes on “The Art of the Start” by Guy Kawasaki Complete This Sentence If your organisation never existed, the world would be worse off because… Take Notes To Impress When you are doing a pitch to an investor and they speak, take notes. The visible act of taking notes says: I think you’re smart […]

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Anything You Want by Derek Sivers

January 20, 2012

My notes on “Anything You Want” by Derek Sivers My personal philosophy’s Business is not about money. It’s about making dreams come true for others and for yourself Making a company is a great way to improve the world while improving yourself When you make a company, you make a utopia. It’s where you design […]

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How Are You Going To Change Your World in 2012?

December 9, 2011

Notice how I said “your world” rather than “the world”. Can one person change the world? Well, I do think one person can change 10 people. And those people can change 10 people each. And so on. And perhaps, in that fashion, you can change the world. But I’m talking about “your world”. Your world could be: […]

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Game-based Marketing by Gabe Zichermann

December 1, 2011

My notes on “Game-based Marketing: Inspire Customer Loyalty Through Rewards, Challenges and Contests” by Gabe Zichermann & Joselin Linder. Games are all around us “The Subway Game” is passive – most people don’t realise there is a game on, the players stand close to the train doors, block other players with their body language and compete […]

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Real-Time Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott

October 20, 2011

My notes on “Real-Time Marketing and PR” by David Meerman Scott. “How to instantly engage your market, connect with customers and create products that grow your business now.” What’s Expected In The Corporate World: Wait, to make certain Work from checklists dictated by one-year and even five-year business plans Measure results quarterly Execute based on a […]

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I Earn 540 Dollars Per Month From A Blog About Hot Pools, Could You Do The Same With A Topic You Are Passionate About?

September 22, 2011

Almost 2 years ago I wrote an article called “Should You Sell Space On Your NZ Website For Banner Advertising?” in which I suggested you shouldn’t. 2 years later I haven’t change my mind. If it’s your core business then your website should focused on attracting new customers, and making sales, not earning a few dollars […]

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Hit The Ground Running: A Manual For New Leaders by Jason Jennings

September 16, 2011

My notes on “Hit The Ground Running: A Manual For New Leaders” by Jason Jennings  The number one cause of business failure isn’t poor cash-flow or pricing it’s copying a competitors strategy Shareholders are best served by looking after consumers, retailers, employees, suppliers and community first. A different perspective from what you’d hear from Wall […]

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Why Now Is The Time To Crush It! Cash In On Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk

August 4, 2011

My notes on “Why Now Is The Time To Crush It! Cash In On Your Passion” by Gary Vaynerchuk Gary’s checklist for creating your personal brand: Identify your passion Make sure you can think of at least 50 awesome blog topics to ensure stickiness Answer the following questions: Am I sure my passion is what I […]

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In New Zealand Is Facebook Just For Kids? No.

July 28, 2011

I thought it would be interesting to combine age group data from Facebook with age group data from Statistics New Zealand to see what proportion of each age group is using Facebook. In particular, I was interested in answers to questions like: Is Facebook mainly for teenagers? Are people over 50 using Facebook? Are people […]

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Poke The Box by Seth Godin

July 12, 2011

My notes on “Poke The Box” by Seth Godin Kinds of capital What can you invest? What can your company invest? Financial capital – Money in the bank that can be put to work on a project or investment Network capital – People you know, connections you can make, retailers and systems you can plug […]

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Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead

July 4, 2011

My notes on “Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation” by Sally Hogshead Fascination Scale Avoidance You’ll take steps to avoid TV commercials Disinterest You might leave the room during a commercial break to grab a bite Neutrality You don’t really care if you watch the commercial or not. You’re not going to take […]

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Overdue Invoices: 4 Simple Tips To Ensure Your Clients Pay On Time, Every Time. No More Overdue Invoices

June 3, 2011

Did you know that poor cashflow is the #1 killer of small New Zealand businesses? Do you have clients with overdue invoices right now? Do you grit your teeth when you check your bank account on the 20th of the month and find the deposits you were expecting, missing? Are your customers/clients slow to pay? […]

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Money Back Guarantees: Should You Offer None, 30 Days, or 30 Years?

May 23, 2011
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You may have heard that money-back guarantees are a good idea but you are not sure if they are right for your business? Perhaps you are holding back because you are worried it’s going to cost you money handing out dozens of refunds, right? Offering any kind of money back guarantee is better than offering […]

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The No-Bullshit Way To Make Money Online: Slow Cook, Not Get-Rich-Quick

January 24, 2011
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Over the last few years I have tried several ways of making money online. I wanted to get rich quick. Don’t we all? I fell for the hype and got out my credit card, but I’m not ashamed. I’m human, and the sales copy was brilliantly written and tapped into my psyche and convinced me. […]

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