Business Mentoring Tip # 51 – Goals and cocktails, a powerful combo

There’s nothing as satisfying in life as the achievement of a goal (Except perhaps a nice cold glass of rose on a summer’s day!).  Seriously… making progress in life, regardless of what you are trying to achieve, is made all the more meaningful if you are achieving what you set out to achieve. But I can tell you from my own experience that having other people to hold you accountable to your goals and then being there to celebrate with you when you achieve them… this makes all the difference.

Towards the end of last year I met up with two close friends for a cocktail.  We’ve been friends for a long time but hadn’t really seen much of each other in recent years.  One cocktail led to another.  And then cocktails led to dinner and a few wines.  All three of us are business women.  All self-employed and all with busy lives, sometimes struggling to fit everything in.  We got to talking about the projects that were really important to us and bemoaned the lack of time we had to  make headway with them.  We agreed we needed to feel some sense of accountabilty to motivate us to get moving on these projects.  We decided we would meet once a month over cocktails and dinner to review our milestones.

I told my friends about my book, The Liber8 Factor, which has been sitting inside my PC for a year now… all mapped out, the bones all in place just waiting to be given flesh.  The gauntlet was laid down.  I was challenged to commit an end date to finishing the first draft.  I bravely said end April 2012.  I had a milestone goal to have the first 12 chapters to them by end March.

As I write this blog… it is Saturday 31 March.  I am today reviewing the first 12 chapters.  They are all there… the flesh on the bones at last.  Tomorrow I will email them to my friends.  We will meet on Tuesday at our favourite restaurant and I’ll feel proud to have achieved my goal.  I will challenge them on their goals too, and offer support and help of course.

I am so enjoying re-connecting with my old pals in this way.  And LOVING the challenge, support and help we are giving each other.  So my tip for you today is ‘find yourself a support group’.  It could be old friends who share common interests and are also looking for motivation and encouragement in their goals.  Work colleagues.  Family.  Anyone who you know will both challenge and support you in your goals.  Agree your goals and timeframes then meet regularly.   Have fun with it… I highly recommend the cocktails and dinner approach…. for 12 chapters down and 12 to go… thanks so much Trish and Em.  We are on fire!

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.  Based in Wellington, New Zealand.

Business Mentoring Tip #49 – Rock the royalty of your Universe

I thoroughly enjoyed having coffee with Glenn Baker, editor of NZBusiness Magazine yesterday.  We shared lots of business ideas and thoughts about how we can work together to help small businesses succeed.  Glenn gave me a tip to share and as obvious as it is, you always need to look deep in your heart and ask yourself how well you are doing this:

Your profits come from your customers.  They rule your world.  But how much are you interacting with them?  Do they feel like the Kings and Queens of your Universe?  Are they loved beyond compare?  Are you showing them the respect they deserve?

Yes? Good for you.

No? Get to it!

Business Mentoring Tip #48 – Is your market big enough?

Just some numbers to think about.  What is your margin?  And how many/how much do you need to sell for your business to truly make great profit for you after normalised expenses?  What’s the population of New Zealand?  And what % of the population might want your product?  Are you going to make it happen here?  Just saying.  For those of you who are creating businesses for NZ only.  Most cities in the world have larger populations that our entire Country.  Again… just saying….

Become an official ‘drinker’… Now here’s a great job for Kiwis in China!

Just spent two days at a course on doing business in China run by New Zealand Trade & Enterprise.  It was a fantastic two days, run by a very good presenter called Amy Adams, an American living in China, teaching Kiwis how to do business there.  Loved it and learned heaps.  Highly recommend the course.

There were many juicy insights into Chinese culture and ways of doing things that every business owner should know.  But there was one particular tit bit that amused me very much.

At the heart of doing business in China is the cultural concept of Guanxi. Here’s the Wikipedia definition of Guanxi:

Guanxi refers to the benefits gained from social connections and usually extends from extended family, school friends, workmates and members of common clubs or organizations. It is custom for Chinese people to cultivate an intricate web of guanxi relationships, which may expand in a huge number of directions, and includes lifelong relationships. Staying in contact with members of your network is not necessary to bind reciprocal obligations. Reciprocal favors are the key factor to maintaining one’s guanxi web, failure to reciprocate is considered an unforgivable offense. The more you ask of someone the more you owe them. Guanxi can perpetuate a never ending cycle of favors.

With this at the core of the culture, it’s not surprising that business takes on a very social character.  It’s all about trust and doing business with people who can add value to your Guanxi.

A lovely Dutch man called Ferdinand, who is a New Zealand citizen living in China, came to share his experience of setting up a WOFE (Wholly Owned Foreign Enterprise) in China.  What a great guy and what stories to tell.  It has taken him over 12 months to get the company there established and during this time he has been spending a lot of time drinking and eating with his Chinese colleagues, clients and other influential people.  He told us how even though Chinese people do not go out and drink for drinking’s sake like the Kiwis, they do have a very big drinking culture when it comes to business and dinner.  Where even if you can’t drink, you need to drink to give your business partner face and respect, and also to show him that you are honest and trustworthy by putting your life on the line and drinking more than you are capable of.  And here’s the bit I loved the most… some of the very senior Chinese businessmen and officials who may have an intolerance to alcohol (quite common for many Asians) may bring a ‘drinker’ with them.  Someone who imbibes the alcohol on their behalf, so as not to be rude and turn down the hospitality.

Now you can picture the reaction to this… a room full of Kiwis imagining a job where you are paid to drink someone else’s drinks all night.  We could send bus loads of young Kiwi drinkers over happy to save face all night and drink those Chinese colleagues under the table.  Saving face by getting drunk … maybe this could be our next export to China!!

Business Mentoring Tip #47 – What’s your Mission Possible?

I’ll keep the tips even more simple today.  Facebook’s mission is ‘to make the world more open and connected’… what’s yours?

If you are following my blogs with any regularity you will know I am mad keen on all businesses having a purpose and a mission.  They are much the same thing… a reason for being that is greater than the company itself and beyond the making of money.  Think about your mission … what is your business doing here?  Really? What value are you adding to the world by having your business succeed?

Believe me, the greater value your business adds the greater value added to your business.

Business Mentoring Tip #46 – Have a plan and execute it

A simple tip today. Just some advice I have a very good friend as he left for the airport today. How do you take your business to the next level? Work out a plan… for new business, for growing existing clients, for building the best team, for keeping your margins as high as possible…. then…. EXECUTE IT!

Business Mentoring Tip #45 – Budget from the bottom up

It’s budget time!  If you haven’t already set your budget for 2013/14 year… now’s the time.  There is an entire seminar in the liber8yourbusiness programme to walk you though the best way to do this.  Here are the key steps:

Decide what profit you want/need to make this year.

Then put in your expenses for the year, using last year’s expenses plus some extra for growth.

This will tell you what your Gross Profit needs to be (Gross Profit minus expenses = profit).

The put in your cost of sales based on last year’s margin (Sales minus cost of sales = Gross Profit.  The margin is the % difference).

This will tell you what your sales income needs to be to meet profit targets.

Then spread all the numbers out across the 12 months, allowing for a ramp up across the year as your sales and marketing plans kick in.

This is your budget.  Beside each budgeted figure each month there should be an ‘actual’ column. This is where you put in what actually happens each month so you can see how you are tracking against budget.

Of course you need an awesome plan to achieve your targets each month. That’s the game… set the targets, plan the attack and achieve them.

If you want to know more on how to do this and all the planning you need to achieve targets.. join the  liber8yourbusiness programme!

Guest business mentor tips – 10 things you need to know about sales this week

Look out for regular guest mentor tips from now on as I call upon experts from all specialist fields of business to share their top tips with you. Today I welcome these tips on sales from one of the best sales people I know, Mike Brunel.

10 things you need to know about sales this week….

1. Everyone is a salesperson. Everyone is in sales, we just do not realise it. Have you ever tried to convince your partner that you want chinese food and she or he wants Italian? Whoever wins that discussion employs all the skills that great salespeople use.
2. Presenting face to face is better than doing it by email. Do not hide behind email, get out and meet your customers, face to face selling is not dead. Email is often an easy way to hear a no from a client.
3. Closing is never over until your client dies or goes out of business. Closing a sale is really the beginning of a sale, unless you are in the business like selling TV and electronic products where you may never see the client, the sale actually begins when the client says YES.
4. There is no such thing as a No- think of it as a KNOW- the client wants to know more. Too many salespeople give up after the first no… All your client is saying to you is… I want to know more.
5. Telling your clients that you are the best is not their concern- solving their problem is. So many sales people think it is about them. Big mistake. It’s about the customer stupid!
6. People want the unusual-are you? What makes you any different from the 50 salespeople your clients see every week? What makes you different?
7. Wealth is in the list. Work your client list; the regulars are the first to target with up sells and your lapsed clients next.
8. You will not win if you follow the crowd. If you are in too broad category you will be like everyone else. What make you the best in your field?
9. Cheating in school is call marketing in the real world. Learn from others, if there is a good idea you think you can use from another field adapt it and then use for your industry.
10. Sit with your client or vendor for the day and see how they do it. When was the last time you went out with your client, or worked in their store for the day, or ran a focus group with your clients if you own a business?
Mike Brunel is a director of a number of companies both in New Zealand and worldwide which specialise in generating sales revenue for television newspaper and radio stations. NRS Media operates in over 65 markets throughout New Zealand, Australia, US, Canada and Europe. Their simple sales concepts have generated in excess of US$900 million.
Mike is a phenomenal sales person, as well as a stimulating and relatable trainer.
Contact him at
Mike offers a limited private consultancy for select clients. For more information contact

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.  Based in Wellington, New Zealand

Watch #Sir Richard Branson talk about #Screw Business as Usual

“Do good, have fun and the money will come”. So says Sir Richard Branson. We are in the new era of business, where the lines between work and purpose are merging into one. Where all businesses need to be thinking about how they can become a force for good. I love this. Take a look at the video, buy the book. And let me know how your business is making a difference.

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness. Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies. Based in Wellington, New Zealand.

Business Mentor Tip #43 – Get real…

Here’s a quote from Abraham Lincoln:

“How many legs does a dog have if you call a tail a leg?  Four.  Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

In other words, don’t kid yourself you are something you are not.  In business it’s all too easy for us to convince ourselves everything is alright.  That we are running a wonderful business (just because you are telling the world you are doing famously, doesn’t mean its true) and will one day be millionaires.  Here’s the thing… you have to know what’s really going on with your business.  You have to know what your targets are, what your breakeven points are, what your margins are and how you are tracking against all of these.  Don’t leave it to the end of the year to find out if you are making money or not.  Do a reality check on your numbers right now.  Get your foundations strong… then blow your targets out of the water!

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness. Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.  Based in Wellington, New Zealand.