OMG! How long can you own a niche?

Remember my blog a few months ago about the wonders of MGP scooters as a brand story?

Well now there’s Slamm scooters… you tell me the difference between the two.  And what lessons can we learn from this folks?

Business Mentoring Tip #70 – Blow your own trumpet

You cannot be shy and be in business.  If you are going to build a business that someone will ultimately pay a large sum of money for, you cannot afford for your business to blend with the wallpaper.  You have to put your business out there and make sure it is seen.  You have to focus on your reputation. If you focus on the following two strategies from this moment onwards you will build your company’s reputation and grow its perceived value.

1.      Be an expert

You know your business better than anyone and I’ll bet you know all there is to know about your industry too, right?  When you talk to your clients/customers, you reassure them about the money they spend with you by giving them the confidence that they are buying the best.  If you are a health professional, your clients think you are the best in your field – otherwise they wouldn’t come to you.  If you are a retailer, your customers believe you have the best product on offer otherwise they wouldn’t buy from you.  So if people think you are the best, why not prove them right?  Become an expert and start telling the world what you know.  Start writing articles and send them off to all the publications in your industry.  Set up a blog and start blogging about your industry.  Turn some of your ideas into a flyer, get it printed and distribute it to your customers.  Or make it an ‘e’ version and email it to them, or promote it via your website or blog and get people to ask for it (thereby building an email database too).  In terms of the subject matter, just write about what you know.  It doesn’t have to be lengthy.  Lists work really well, especially if you number them… eg.  A chiropractor could write “The 9 things people don’t realise about their spine”.  A fashion retailer could write “5 ways to wear boots this winter” or “11 tips to looking slimmer in dresses this summer” You get the idea – it’s about adding value to people and having them see you as the expert in your field.

If you are confident at public speaking you can also put yourself forward as a speaker in your area of expertise and let business networking groups know that you are available to give talks.  You don’t need to charge for your time necessarily, just be aware you are building your reputation as an expert.

2.      Win awards

I’ve always been a big fan of entering awards.  I was runner up for Business Woman of the Year three times when I owned my advertising agency.  Even though I didn’t win, I got masses of media coverage by being a runner up.  And when we won Agency of the Year, our reputation really took off. The same year we entered our work for national effectiveness awards and ran off with a swagger of gold and silver gongs for our clients.  It was that year that the multi-national agency group came knocking on my door… and yes, they paid a premium for my business.  What put us on their radar was the media coverage that came with winning those awards.

Business magazines are always looking for good stories and everyone loves a winner.  When our pet care company won Supreme Business Woman of the Year for our region we found ourselves on the front page of the business section in the daily newspaper, as well as on national TV.  Not only did our sales see a marked spike from this coverage, we are also building our reputation as a company so prospective franchisees will pay a premium too.

There is no doubt about it, awards are impressive and when a buyer is looking for a business to buy, a business that has won numerous awards in its industry must be a good one, right?

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

10 things you need to know about sales this week

Welcome to guest entrepreneur and salesman extraordinaire Mike Brunel for some more of his always useful tips on sales.  Enjoy…

1. Create a sales culture– In Laura’s upcoming book she talks about creating a great sales culture- it has to however begin with you changing your mind set around being committed to turning your company into a sales machine and not a hobby machine.

2. Train, train train- – According to the Harvard Business review, only 10 percent of the population has what’s  called “the learning mind set” These are the people who love to learn. Too many businesses fail to train and only do it when there is a crisis. Train your team or be derailed. In economic times like these,  products knowledge is critical.

3. Prospect for new business – prospect for new business 2 ½ hours a day. This is what one trainer told me recently, if you are a business how you are prospecting? This is often too hard for many businesses but it is critical to being successful.

4. Conduct regular workshop with your staff- get them to present a new product to the rest of the team. Ask each salesperson on your team to suggest some training and product presentation ideas.

5. Qualify the Buyer- what is their need, if you sell a product and have actually sold quite a few of them, why did those customers buy? They must have some sort of need satisfied. What was it? Are you asking them?

6. Build value into your business– Value is the secret sauce to everything. If you can add some type of value and not just be price driven then you will create more sales long term.

7. Are you a price seller- if that strategy works for you then great, in many cases businesses think it is all about the price? I think it is about the story you present. A story about your product sells why?

8. What is your story- If you focus on price then people will choose the price and not the person. If you position a story about all the great things your product does, then maybe, just maybe, the buyer might just be thinking.” I like this person I might buy them”

9. Become an expert – An expert gives me something, something that I can use. If you are perceived as an expert in your field then it puts you ahead just a bit of your competitors.

10. Finally, anticipation and reaction. If you start to anticipate what is going to happen then you a not a slave to crisis or reaction.

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 selected clients. For more information contact

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

Business Mentor tip #69 – Understand the TWO key reasons for being in business

For me, there are only two reasons why you would be in business for yourself: to make money and to make a difference.

1. Making money

Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art”. Andy Warhol

Business is a financial game. People who are very good at business understand that business is all about delivering returns to the shareholders. Why do you think the CEOs of large corporate earn multi-million dollar salaries? Because they are good at business and they know their job is to build a business with positive returns each year. They know how to drive a business machine that generates profit. They are hired as CEO’s for this very ability. When I work with business owners I get them to see their business through the eyes of a large corporate CEO. I get them to take their job as CEO and Director seriously. The role of a CEO is to ensure that the business is planned and managed in a way that ensures it is consistently generating healthy returns to its shareholders. The Director of a company has a fiduciary duty to ensure the business is achieving maximum profit year on year. As the Director and CEO of your own business you have a fiduciary duty to yourself as a shareholder to build a business that delivers maximum returns to you. To look at it any other way is letting emotions get ahead of business.

2. Making a difference

If every business could make an effort to be a force for good then a lot of the problems in the world could be solved” Richard Branson

A business that cares only about money is a business without a soul. Your business is also there to fulfil a purpose, to add value and make a difference to the lives it touches, whether those people are customers, employees or beneficiaries of the higher purpose your business serves. There is a new movement afoot, led to a degree by the champion of business idealism in action, Sir Richard Branson. In his book, ‘Screw business as usual’, Sir Richard encourages business owners to become a force for good. It is no longer OK to just be great at making money. You have to make a difference too. And there’s a fun irony to this concept if you can really grasp it. If your business is truly focused on making a real difference to as many people as possible, you will attract more people to you. The more people you attract, the more successful you become and the more people you make a difference to. It’s a wonderful win/win and something I ask readers continue to think about as you work your way through the ideas and exercises in my soon to be released book, The Liber8 Factor.

The Liber8 Factor shows you how to combine the concepts of making money and making a difference, so that you build a business that will not only make you rich, but make you feel like a million dollars too!
From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.  Based in Wellington, New Zealand.

Business Mentor Tip #68 – Develop a freedom mindset

To build wealth and freedom from your business, you need a certain mindset.  You must have the willingness and ability to see yourself totally free from the need to work for a living.  And you have to believe that your business is your major wealth creation tool and your ticket to the life of your dreams.

I call this way of thinking “A Freedom Mindset”. From my interviews with many wealthy entrepreneurs I discovered ten traits they all had in common which create the foundation for the Freedom Mindset:

  1. Vision.  Successful business people have a really clear picture of their business when it’s ‘complete’, they can see where it is all heading.
  2. Belief. However big and daring their goal, they believe that they can do it.
  3. Passion.  Starting each day with a fire in your belly and feeling passionate about what you do is another factor that unites the business elite.
  4. Goals. Successful business people are goal setters.  They have the willingness to look out to the future, to see the vision and then set goals along the way to make sure they get there.
  5. Plan. But of course goals without a plan are just goals, so another trait that comes through when you talk to wealthy entrepreneurs that is that they had a plan for their business. They see the vision of ultimate success, they set some really clear goals and then they put a plan in place of how they will get there
  6. Action. A plan is just a plan until you put it into action.  The best plan in the world will not succeed unless someone implements it.  Another trait of really successful people is that they are action-orientated people. They are people who will actually follow through on the plan that they’ve created for themselves.
  7. Determination. Wealthy entrepreneurs don’t give up when the going gets tough. They keep going no matter what.
  8. Failure. Things will go wrong.  The ability to learn from the failure, to take the learning, pick yourself up and carry on – that is a key trait to being a successful business person.
  9. Wealth positive not money negative.  The business elite are not frightened to build a business that makes them phenomenally wealthy.
  10. Giving back.  To share and make a difference on the planet is what drives the difference between the average business owner-operator and those that go forward and create phenomenal wealth.

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

Business Mentor Tip #67 – Practice persistently persisting with your persistence

Ok Ok, enough already!  But I have a point to make (of course) and that is this… you cannot succeed in business without the persistence chip well and truly embedded in your body.  I will use one oldie but very goodlyy example of how persistence pays off and then I’ll set you a challenge for the week.

My example is the often story of Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken.  At age 65, after he had to shut down his restaurant business because a new highway was being built where his restaurant was located, the Colonel decided to franchise his chicken recipe.  He travelled by car and cooked his fried chicken on the spot for restaurant owners.  Legend has it that Colonel Sanders heard 1009 “no’s” before he heard “yes”.  Can you believe that?  He was turned down one thousand and nine times before he sold something.  Within a few years he had 600 franchises and today KFC is one of the largest food franchises in the world.  Talk about persistence!

And now for the challenge.  The next time you try to sell something… anything… an idea, a product, your pick for a restaurant for lunch… practice your persistence… don’t give up!

What does financial freedom mean to you?

Here’s another excerpt from my very nearly finished book:

I’ll quickly tell you this story about my father. He died at age 73.  Which seems far too young these days, when most of us hope to live well into our eighties. The good news was that he retired not long after his fiftieth birthday, so he’d had 23 years of freedom before he died.Thanks to the sale of his photocopier sales business he had a grand old time after retirement. Not a flashy life but a very fulfilling one.  He and my mother travelled first class around the world to places they’d always wanted to see.  When my first child was born and we were living in New Zealand, he flew my family first class back to England so he could see his grandson. The ability to do that is really cool, don’t you think?

A story was told at his funeral that I’d never heard before and it sums up the beauty of financial freedom for me.  Apparently one day my mum got a call from a Veterans Association in England wanting to talk to my dad. When she told them he was out, they said “We just want to thank him for the £10,000.”   “What £10,000?” she asked.  “Oh, didn’t he tell you?” they replied. “We’ve just received a cheque from your husband for £10,000.”  So when my dad came home later she asked him what on earth he was doing sending £10,000 to the Veterans Association. He looked at her and said, “I saw their ad in the paper, trying to raise funds to send a party of veterans to a memorial in France where a bunch of their colleagues had died at war.  So I rang them and asked them how much they needed.  They said they needed £10,000 and I gave them the whole lot.” My mum said, “Why on earth did you do that?”  To which he replied, “After everything they’ve done for our country they shouldn’t have to beg.”

To me, thanks to the lessons from my father, finanical freedom means the ability to make a difference to others without having to worry about paying the bills.

What does it mean to you?

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