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tauranga-startup-weekendImagine walking into a room on a Friday night with an idea scribbled on a napkin, and walking out at the end of the weekend with a company, a team and even revenue!

That’s a typical StartUp Weekend.

“Startup Weekend works by delivering the opportunity to learn how to start a business and promoting entrepreneurship in local communities . This is an event that brings together developers, designers, marketers, product managers, startup enthusiasts and members of the community who can support them. Together they  share ideas, form teams, build products and launch startups- all in a 54 hour week-end.”

I lead a team to bring  to StartUp Weekend to Tauranga in 2012 and 2013, but I couldn’t spare the time in 2014. But instead of cancelling the event, 2 friends of mine offered to take it over and they did an amazing job.

They invited me to do an opening talk at the beginning of the 2014 event and I thought you might get some benefit of what I had to say.

Start

Be bold and start something new (not just this weekend).

What do we need?

  • We need more opportunities for awesome people to meet other awesome people face to face
  • More regular business breakfasts/lunches
  • More events like StartUp Weekend or TEDx or Pechacucha
  • Steal event formats from Auckland or New York or Beijing and bring them here

How?

  • With a team. Just like tonight, to attract a team around you, you need to share your vision of a better tomorrow

Own several domain names?

  • It’s great to get excited about that a domain name that is available and to buy it, but build something immediately while you’re excited

Stop

When somethings not working out for you anymore, don’t be afraid to stop.

It creates space for others to get involved and benefit from the experience.

I have 2 failures & 1 success to tell you about:

Example #1: Failure with ChickenCoops.co.nz

  • It was a network of chicken coop builders around New Zealand
  • In 12 months I sold $25,000 worth of chicken coops, yay! :)
  • But my commission was only 5%, boo! :(
  • So I earned just over $1000 for 250 hours of website building and admin which equals $5/hour, boo! :(
  • So I stopped (and sold the website to one of my suppliers for a few hundred dollars)

Example #2: Failure with RestaurantMarketing.co.nz

  • It was a series of articles about how Cafe’s, Restaurants and Bars could use the internet to get new customers and look after existing ones
  • The problem was the owners of these businesses are so busy, they don’t have time to spare to do a Google search for solutions like this
  • So I stopped (and let the domain name expire)

Example #3: Success with Tauranga StartUp Weekend

  • For the first time in my life I’ve left a legacy behind. I started something, but when I stopped, the event lived on. Yay!

Steal

Steal ideas whenever you see one and adapt it for your own use.

Spread your ideas to who-ever will listen.

Make your idea easy for others to spread.

Never ask anyone to sign a Non-Disclosure-Agreement before you’ll share with them – be thankful they are giving you 60 seconds.

They might turn into

  • a customer,
  • an investor,
  • a co-founder,
  • an advocate

Don’t put any barriers in the way of that chance.

An idea is just the very first step in a long and awesome journey.

Stick

Heard of “Mentor Whiplash”?

It’s when one mentor walks in and gives you great advice, but then the next mentor walks in and says the opposite!

It’s your project, so you make the decisions: stick to your vision, stick up a note that says “Mentors, we are deep in it, please come back at 2pm”

Stick with what your customers tell you is valuable.

Embrace mentors that just ask questions instead of give opinions.

Your Thoughts?

Agree? Disagree? Have your say in the comments below.

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I’m a big fan of Simon Sinek’s TED talks. (In fact, I watched the rehearsal for his latest one live on stage in Vancouver in March of this year).

I was surprised to find that this book was about drugs.

Not the ones that might come to mind when I use that word, but the kind of drugs that our own brains secrete into our nervous system.

One of the big lessons for me was about how large corporations think that internal competition is healthy and necessary for innovation. They are wrong. That kind of competition is damaging and disrupts the “Circle of Safety” that Simon talks about in this book.

Another one nicely reinforced the direction my life is going in at the moment – that is, my mission is to bring people together at inspiring events.

His thoughts on how video conferencing can never replace a business trip was very interesting.

Let’s take a look.

Here are my notes on “Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t” by Simon Sinek.

When the people have to manage dangers from inside the organization, the organization itself becomes less able to face the dangers from outside.

By creating a Circle of Safety around the people in the organization, leadership reduces the threats people feel inside the group, which frees them up to focus more time and energy to protect the organization from the constant dangers outside and seize the big opportunities.

Without a Circle of Safety, people are forced to spend too much time and energy protecting themselves from each other.

It is easy to know when we are in the Circle of Safety because we can feel it.

We feel valued by our colleagues and we feel cared for by our superiors.

We become absolutely confident that the leaders of the organization and all those with whom we work are there for us and will do what they can to help us succeed.

We become members of the group.

We feel like we belong.

When we believe that those inside our group, those inside the Circle, will look out for us, it creates an environment for the free exchange of information and effective communication.

This is fundamental to driving innovation, preventing problems from escalating and making organizations better equipped to defend themselves from the outside dangers and to seize the opportunities.

Absent a Circle of Safety, paranoia, cynicism and self-interest prevail.

The whole purpose of maintaining the Circle of Safety is so that we can invest all our time and energy to guard against the dangers outside.

A study by two researchers at the Graduate School of Social Work at Boston College found that a child’s sense of well-being is affected less by the long hours their parents put in at work and more by the mood their parents are in when they come home.

Children are better off having a parent who works into the night in a job they love than a parent who works shorter hours but comes home unhappy.

There are four primary chemicals in our body that contribute to all our positive feelings that I will generically call “happy”:

  1. endorphins
  2. dopamine
  3. serotonin
  4. oxytocin

Whether acting alone or in concert, in small doses or large, anytime we feel any sense of happiness or joy, odds are it is because one or more of these chemicals is coursing through our veins.

They do not exist simply to make us feel good. They each serve a very real and practical purpose: our survival.

The first two chemicals, endorphins and dopamine, work to get us where we need to go as individuals—to persevere, find food, build shelters, invent tools, drive forward and get things done.

I like to call these the “selfish” chemicals.

The other two, serotonin and oxytocin, are there to incentivize us to work together and develop feelings of trust and loyalty.

I like to call these the “selfless” chemicals.

They work to help strengthen our social bonds so that we are more likely to work together and to cooperate, so that we can ultimately survive and ensure our progeny will live on beyond us.

The Selfish Chemicals

Imagine if every time we felt hungry, we had to go hunting for a few hours … with no guarantee that we’d catch anything.

Our bodies, in an effort to get us to repeat behaviors that are in our best interest, came up with a way to encourage us to go hunting and gathering on a regular basis instead of waiting until we were starving.

Two chemicals—endorphins and dopamine—are the reason that we are driven to hunt, gather and achieve.

They make us feel good when we find something we’re looking for, build something we need or accomplish our goals.

These are the chemicals of progress.

E Is for Endorphins: The Runner’s High

Endorphins serve one purpose and one purpose only: to mask physical pain. That’s it.

“You can’t laugh and be afraid at the same time,” he said. And he’d be right. Laughing actually releases endorphins.

During tense times, a little lightheartedness may go a long way to help relax those around us and reduce tensions so that we can focus on getting our jobs done.

D Is for Dopamine: An Incentive for Progress

Dopamine is the reason for the good feeling we get when we find something we’re looking for or do something that needs to get done.

It is responsible for the feeling of satisfaction after we’ve finished an important task, completed a project, reached a goal or even reached one of the markers on our way to a bigger goal.

We all know how good it feels to cross something off our to-do list.

That feeling of progress or accomplishment is primarily because of dopamine.

Dopamine can help us get through college, become a doctor or work tirelessly to realize an imagined vision of the future.

Dopamine is also highly, highly addictive.

Cocaine, nicotine, alcohol and gambling all release dopamine.

There is another thing to add to that list of things that can hijack our dopamine reward system: social media. Texting, e-mail, the number of likes we collect, the ding, the buzz or the flash of our phones that tell us “You’ve got mail,” feels amazing.

Without endorphins to give us the edge we need to keep going, we would not keep striving even when we were tired and exhausted.

Dopamine rewards us with a chemical rush when we’ve accomplished something, making us want to do it again and again, which is exactly what it takes to find things, build things and get things done.

But it’s harder to do all things alone, especially the big things.

Together is better.

The Selfless Chemicals

It is the selfless chemicals that make us feel valued when we are in the company of those we trust, give us the feeling of belonging and inspire us to want to work for the good of the group.

There is no part of the crocodile’s reptilian brain that rewards any cooperative behavior.

We’re just not strong enough to survive alone, let alone thrive. Whether we like to admit it or not, we need each other. That’s where serotonin and oxytocin come in. They are the backbone of the Circle of Safety.

S Is for Serotonin: The Leadership Chemical

Serotonin is the feeling of pride. It is the feeling we get when we perceive that others like or respect us. It makes us feel strong and confident, like we can take on anything. And more than confidence boosting, it raises our status.

At the moment that college graduate feels the serotonin course through their veins as they receive their diploma, their parents, sitting in the audience, also get bursts of serotonin and feel equally as proud.

And that’s the point.

Serotonin is attempting to reinforce the bond between parent and child, teacher and student, coach and player, boss and employee, leader and follower.

O Is for Oxytocin: Chemical Love

Oxytocin is most people’s favorite chemical.

It’s the feeling of friendship, love or deep trust. It is the feeling we get when we’re in the company of our closest friends or trusted colleagues. It is the feeling we get when we do something nice for someone or someone does something nice for us. It is responsible for all the warm and fuzzies.

Without oxytocin there would be no empathy. Without oxytocin, we wouldn’t be able to develop strong bonds of trust and friendship.

Oxytocin makes us social.

Unlike dopamine, which is about instant gratification, oxytocin is long-lasting.

My favorite definition of love is giving someone the power to destroy us and trusting they won’t use it.

Simply seeing or hearing about acts of human generosity actually inspires us to want to do the same.

This is the science behind “paying it forward.”

That’s the reason it is a big deal when world leaders shake hands—it is a sign to each other and all who witness that they can do business together.

The Big C

Cortisol is responsible for the stress and anxiety we experience when something goes bump in the night.

It is the first level of our fight or flight response.

Cortisol actually inhibits the release of oxytocin, the chemical responsible for empathy.

This means that when there is only a weak Circle of Safety and people must invest time and energy to guard against politics and other dangers inside the company, it actually makes us even more selfish and less concerned about one another or the organization.

It’s not the nature of the work we do or the number of hours we work that will help us reduce stress and achieve work-life balance; it’s increased amounts of oxytocin and serotonin.

Serotonin boosts our self-confidence and inspires us to help those who work for us and make proud those for whom we work.

Oxytocin relieves stress, increases our interest in our work and improves our cognitive abilities, making us better able to solve complex problems.

It boosts our immune systems, lowers blood pressure, increases our libido and actually lessens our cravings and addictions.

And best of all, it inspires us to work together.

“Trust is not formed through a screen, it is formed across a table”

It seems to stir controversy when I talk about the fact that no matter how great social media is, it is not as effective for building strong bonds of trust as real human contact is.

Social media fans will tell me about all the close friends they’ve made online.

But if social media is the end-all-be-all, then why do over thirty thousand bloggers and podcasters descend on Las Vegas every year for a huge conference called BlogWorld?

Why don’t they meet online?

Because nothing can replace face-to-face meetings for social animals like us.

A live concert is better than the DVD and going to a ball game feels different from watching on TV, even though the view is better on television.

We like to actually be around people who are like us. It makes us feel like we belong.

It is also the reason a video conference can never replace a business trip.

Trust is not formed through a screen, it is formed across a table. It takes a handshake to bind humans … and no technology yet can replace that. There is no such thing as virtual trust.

It is why telecommuters never really feel like they are a part of the team as strongly as the ones who go to work every day.

No matter how many e-mails they send or receive, no matter how kept in the loop they are, they are missing all the social time, the gaps, the nuance … the humanity of being around other humans.

“Numbers don’t save companies in hard times, people do”

The most common display of a lack of integrity in the business world is when a leader of an organization says what others want to hear and not the truth.

This is the reason we don’t trust politicians.

Though we may sit down with a list of statements a politician has made and agree with every single one of them, the reason we tend not to trust them is because we suspect they do not believe all the things they are saying.

We don’t even agree with everything our close friends and family say or believe, so it stands to reason that if a politician is in perfect alignment with us they are not being completely honest.

Politicians spend time on the road shaking hands and learning about us when they are campaigning.

But if they really cared about us, then they would spend time shaking hands and meeting us all year-round and not just when it suited their agenda.

Consider GE: like many of the powerful financial companies of the 1980s and 1990s, it was not built for hard times. Nor was Enron. Or Worldcom. Or Tyco.

These companies had something else in common as well: they all had hero CEOs who maximized shareholder value for the short term and managed the lives of human beings like they were numbers on a spreadsheet.

But numbers never save anyone in hard times. People do.

Every CEO of Southwest Airlines has known that their first responsibility is to their people. Serve them and they will serve the customer, who will ultimately drive the business and benefit the stakeholders. In that order.

Human beings have thrived for fifty thousand years not because we are driven to serve ourselves, but because we are inspired to serve others.

Leadership is not a license to do less; it is a responsibility to do more. And that’s the trouble. Leadership takes work.

What Do You Think?

Have your say in the comments below.

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Less Doing, More Living: Make Everything in Life Easier by Ari Meisel

September 29, 2014
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Here are my notes on “Less Doing, More Living: Make Everything in Life Easier” by Ari Meisel. I thought I knew a lot about productivity and efficiency, so I haven’t picked up books like this lately. I’m glad I did though, because even a few tips can make a big difference on your time management […]

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Facebook Basics Workshop (Tauranga): Fri 26th September 1pm – 3pm

September 22, 2014

I’m running a “Facebook Basics Workshop” with Likeable Social Marketing (Dan Necklen). Know a business owner that might need our help? This Facebook workshop is for you if: You need help setting up your Facebook business page You’ve got an existing Facebook business page, but don’t know how to use it effectively You have Facebook […]

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Email Newsletters: 6 Tips To Get Your Automated Emails Opened, Read, And Acted On

September 19, 2014
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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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Flash Foresight: See The Invisible To Do The Impossible by Daniel Burrus

August 28, 2014
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Here are my notes on “Flash Foresight: See the Invisible to Do the Impossible” by Daniel Burrus. I learnt a lot from this book. The 2 biggest lessons for me were: I’ve heard about the aging population a million times, but this book made me think about it in 2 different ways: It will create […]

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TEDxAuckland 2014: 18 Hours of Awesomeness

August 18, 2014

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

July 31, 2014
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Here are my notes on “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life” by Scott Adams Scott Adams is the author of the world famous Dilbert comic strip that make fun of life in an office cubicle. Like his comic strip, this book is certainly amusing. He […]

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Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World by Gary Vaynerchuk

July 30, 2014
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Here are my notes on the book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World” by Gary Vaynerchuk For me, I got 3 things out of this book: I got a simple introduction into the major social media platforms all in one place I got a simple explanation of […]

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Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step At A Time – Jeff Speck

April 28, 2014
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Here are my notes on the book “Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step At A Time” by Jeff Speck. On the surface this book is about urban planning, but really, it’s about marketing the downtown area of the city in which you live. Don’t let the word “America” put you off. These […]

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The Power of Less: The 6 Essential Productivity Principles That Will Change Your Life by Leo Babauta

March 12, 2014
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I’m no stranger to productivity books, this is about the 7th one I’ve read over the last 5 years. It’s amazing how the little tips and changes you pick-up from books like this one, become so important and valuable, but just slip away over time, one by one. So this was a fantastic refresher. Here, […]

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Value-Based Fees: How to Charge, and Get, What You’re Worth by Alan Weiss

January 23, 2014
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This book has changed the way I do business. It’s that good. I also know much more about value-based pricing and I am able to provide advice to friends/clients/acquaintences who still stuck in the work-for-an-hour-get-paid-for-an-hour trap. Here, I’ve recorded the parts of the book that were particularly useful to me. I encourage you to read […]

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Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson

December 19, 2013
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From this book I’ve just pulled out sections that were of particular interest to me. I don’t have a huge amount of notes because I worked from home for 3.5 years and in a co-working space for the last 14 months so I’m very much aware of the pros and cons of not working in a […]

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Tauranga City: The First Truly Digital City of New Zealand?

December 9, 2013
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What does digital mean to you? What does a digital city look and feel like? Do we want this for Tauranga? Why? Is a digital city attractive to work, live and play in? What is the councils role? What is the citizens role? These are some of the questions that a small group of passionate […]

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Marketing Ebooks: All 4 Of My Marketing Ebooks Are Now Free

December 2, 2013

The most important thing for every author is that their work will be read and appreciated. Every sale, every download, every note of appreciation, is exciting and fulfilling. At first I thought writing books was about making money too, but now I realise it isn’t. It’s about spreading ideas, and having an opinion, and being […]

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The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout

November 5, 2013
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This book is very old now: 1994, but much of the advice is still pretty good. It’s a very easy read – each of the 22 chapters are only a couple of pages each. It’s not available on Kindle which is annoying but there are a few pdf versions floating around. I found the notes of […]

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Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler

November 4, 2013
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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 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
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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
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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
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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
Thumbnail image for Money Back Guarantees: Should You Offer None, 30 Days, or 30 Years?

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

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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2 Vital Elements The “About Us” Page on Your Website May Be Missing

December 21, 2010

If you pay any attention to your webstats, you may have noticed that your About Us page is one of the least visited webpages on your website. This doesn’t mean it is unimportant. It is vitally important. The low traffic means that each prospective customer will visit it only once, so you’ve got one chance […]

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Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business by Erik Qualman

December 6, 2010

My notes on “Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business” by Erik Qualman The story about bacon salt Bacon Salt was an idea that was born out of the minds of two Seattle buddies, Justin Esch and Dave Lefkow, who over a few beers jokingly posed the question – “Wouldn’t […]

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Online Advertising In NZ: A Crash Course On How You Can Get Started Advertising Your Business Online in New Zealand

November 17, 2010

Have you noticed how much publicity the growth of online advertising has been getting lately? If you are wondering: “Am I missing out because I haven’t tried online advertising yet?” and “How can I dip my toe in the water to see if online advertising is right for my business?”, then this crash course on […]

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The Squeaky Window Gets The Lube

November 10, 2010

For about a week I have noticed an extremely squeaky rear electric window in my car. It is like 5 teenagers scratching on a chalk board – a really horrendous sound. I hadn’t thought too deeply about what I should do about it when I heard a radio ad this afternoon “Free electric window lube […]

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Social Media 101 by Chris Brogan

November 5, 2010

My notes on “Social Media 101″ by Chris Brogan In this book Chris talks about how he doesn’t use the word “expert” but uses the word “advisor” instead. So I extracted 4 pieces of advice from what I read. Here they are: (Should you read the book yourself you are sure to extract different advice […]

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