The best testimonial ever!

One of my last online members raced through the programme in record time and sent me an email to tell me how he’d found it.  If you haven’t done it and ever wondered what its about… read on.  Brynn says it much better than me:

Hi Laura!

I just completed your online course.  I found it really valuable and have already recommended it to friends. I thought you might like to know the bits that helped me:

  1. Team Structure.  I’m in the process of restructuring my team so I don’t have to work in my company.  Seeing how you structured Red Rocks and grew your team has helped me identify what additional staff I need to replace me.
  2. Annual Business Plan. I already have 12 month and 5 year business goals but they weren’t based on budget or EBIT goals.  I’m changing that.
  3. Vision and Goals. We already have Vision and Goals but they weren’t linked to our brand as demonstrated by Steve Bailey in Seminar 6.  We’re now going to go through Steve’s brand development process.
  4. Systems. I’m a strong believer in systems and I’ve automated most of my business but what your course revealed is that I have weak training processes.  I’ll fix that.
  5. Competitive Pitch.  I’ve never had to pitch for larger projects ($200K +).  They get offered to me by friends that need our specialist skills.  However what that also meant is I didn’t know how to pitch for large projects and we only got what was offered to us. Now I’m more confident that I can put together a “top 50” and try to win them as clients.
  6. Presentations. I’ve been developing courses and presentations for more than a decade but after seeing Olivia and Tony’s process I want to rewrite all my presentations.
  7. Interviews. Being able to listen to successful people (mostly kiwis) talk about how they succeeded and what they think is important is invaluable.  
  8. All encompassing.  Your course presents many topics (sales, HR, marketing, strategy, etc.) through practical examples that anyone can understand.  This is probably the biggest thing that differentiates it from other courses.

Those are the main items I got from the course but there’s plenty of other “jewels”.  My next plan is draw your course as a structure and then add my business and processes into it so it becomes the blueprint for the “Spinning Planet machine”
Thanks for the course.  One of the best I’ve done. Brynn.

Thanks to you Brynn.  One of the best testimonials I’ve seen.  Look forward to hearing more about Spinning Planet success!

You can find Brynn’s web company at

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business Mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.

And here’s the tip that made my day!

I’ve been feeling a bit down on myself in last day or so.  Self doubt can creep in when you least expect it.  So it absolutely made my day to return to my emails to find this waiting for me… from my Liber8 Tip Exchange, a tip from a wonderful entrepreneur that reminded me why I do what I do:

“I’m passing on a great tip I learned from Sue Lindsay (Take Action) – who said that you get great benefit from walking in the footsteps of others who have walked the same path as you. I have spent months pondering this and looking for someone just like me – ideally a young female entrepreneur, a writer, a single Mum and someone with a burning passion in her heart to make a difference. For me, that person is you Laura. I have spent seven days going through your programme – I have read both of your websites, the article in April’s NZ Business. So thank you Sue for the tip, and thank you Laura. As someone taking those first entrepreneurial steps, your story is inspirational. Entrepreneurship is by far and away the hardest thing I have ever done but I draw great courage from those who have walked the path before.

With warm regards to you and yours Laura,


Thanks Julia.  For your vote of confidence in me.  For lifting me up when I was down. And for calling me ‘young’!

Julia’s business by the way is and is very cool!

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies

Business Mentor tip # 80 – The incredible power of partner marketing… and how to sell glasses to people who don’t need them!

No problem with the marketing vision for the folk at Specsavers.  Not only do they have a very funny ad campaign – the ‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers’ series (my favourite is the father on the finishing line of school kids running race where he thinks the kid who comes first is his and goes crazy hugging him, while his own son plods up last).  They also do some clever stuff with their marketing and sales strategies behind the scenes.  On Friday I got an email from AA (automobile not alcohol version) offering me a free sight test with Specsavers plus $50 of their two for one deals.  I started needing glasses for reading a year or so ago and whilst being content with my $50 pair of reading specs from the pharmacy, I thought an eye test could be a good idea.  So I booked in and today went for my test, which was very thorough and examined my eyes from every angle as well as my near and far vision.

The good news for me is that my eyes are very healthy, my vision is pretty good for an old gal and the cheapo pharmacy readers are all I really need.

The good news for Specsavers is I spent $319 on two new pairs of reading glasses.  Well, it was $50 off a $299 two for one deal.  Plus of course I needed to spend the $70 on non-reflective coating naturally.  I walked out of there somewhat dazed yet bemused by my own shopaholic tendencies. Good eyesight does not necessarily equate to good judgement obviously.

However, I was impressed at the marketing process that got me to spend this money on items I didn’t need.  Let’s just recap:

Firstly the email from AA offering a free eye test.  Specsavers have clearly have a partnership arrangement with this organisation, which has opened up one of the largest databases in New Zealand to them.

Then the offer of $50 off.  I didn’t need to buy glasses.  I was told as much by the professional who tested my eyes.  But she did guide me towards the rack showing the lovely range of glasses they had, whilst telling me how much I’d enjoyed the extra comfort of an anti-glare coating.  It was hard to resist.  I mean $50 off.  Come on.  And the $299 options did look so much nicer than the $199 ones…

And to top it all off, the sales.  Oh the sales.  Yes by all means look at those ones, but have you seen these ones.  And are you sure you don’t want anti-glare coating?  Let me show you the difference, take a look through these glasses.  One lens has the coating the other doesn’t. Have a look in the mirror.  What a difference!  Of course I bloody want the coating. Bring it on.

Sold to the lady with the trembling credit card!

Well done Specsavers on a job well done. Am so looking forward to a life without glare and the best looking readers in the cafe next week!

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies. 

Business Mentor tip #79 – If Apollo 11 can be 97.5% off course, so can you…

You will know by now (if you’ve been reading my blogs or regular column in NZ Business Magazine; attending my talks or just following my random comments on Facebook or Twitter) that I am a dedicated believer in the power of forward planning.  To succeed you must have a clear goal and a plan to get there.  This I believe as strongly as I believe that Wellington is windy.  You must plan to build a great business.  It won’t happen by accident.

However, here’s something else that I believe with equal conviction  – your business plan will change along the way.  Once you’ve mapped out your direction, your business plan has to be flexible enough to allow you to adapt and correct as you go.  You must be willing to change your thinking and your model to keep abreast of the world we are living in.

In my soon to be released book The Liber8 Factor I talk about  how NASA used PERT (Performance Evaluation Review Technique) planning to put a man on a moon. How they set their end target then put their milestones in place. They began their planning in 1961 and gave themselves ten years to achieve their target (just as I did with my advertising agency and my goal to sell it). On July 16 1969, Apollo 11 was launched.  Four days later the lunar module, the Eagle, landed on the moon.

Do you know how much of the time the rocket was on track for its destination during those four days?


This means that 97.5% of the time the rocket was not on target.  So what on earth (or in space) was it doing?

It was correcting. As well planned as NASA ensured they were for that epic journey, they didn’t know exactly it would stay on track once it launched. They just knew it had to go in the right direction to reach the target.  Along the way it corrected and corrected, forming an imaginary zig zag pattern in space.

The lesson here is that it’s important to have an end goal and milestones but it’s equally important to keep reviewing and correcting as you go. You need to ensure your action steps to reach each milestone remain relevant to the trends and market influencers happening around you.

Goal. Plan. Review. Adapt. Got it?

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.

Business Mentor Tip #78 – Watch for changing paradigms

Although I teach business owners to set an end goal for their business and plot milestones back today, I always add the rule that you must stop and review your plan every year.  Yes do the macro work and aim for the big picture.  But keep your detailed planning for each year ahead. Attempting to plan action steps with any accuracy any further out than twelve months is not realistic, in my view.  Things are changing too fast these days and we are not supplied with a crystal ball.  Technology in particular is changing the business landscape faster than we can keep up with – the way we do things today will not be the way we will do things in a year or even in six months time.

Just look at good old telephone directories.  When was the last time you used a physical copy of a directory to find something?  If you are anything like me the answer to that question would be ‘years ago’.  Why would you bother with a hefty directory when you can ‘Google’ what you are looking for and have the answer at your fingertips in seconds, without getting up from your computer.  Printed directories have been money for jam for years and years, charging exorbitant amounts to advertisers to promote their business within the hallowed pages.  But now we don’t need them anymore.  Search engines such as Google have created a new paradigm for finding the person or business you are looking for.  Phone directories must now re-invent … and it isn’t easy.  They have been slow to realise their targets were based on a dying market and have a lot of work to do to ever find that lost market share again.  It’s the same story for the traditional post office.  Just take a look at the dramatic drop in mail volume for the United States in 2009.

This decline is continuing.  Of course we all use email now for our personal and business communication. I have not sent an invoice in the mail for years, have you? To survive, postal companies all around the world have to find a new model.  Any business plan they may have had prior to 2009 must be changed dramatically.

So look to the future and build a broad plan to get there.  But be sure to review your plan every year and keep an eye closely on the trends.  Always ask youself what the paradigm for your industry is and how could it be changing?  Better yet, find a way to be the one to change the paradigm yourself!

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.

Business mentoring tip #77 – The leader versus manager debate…

In my last tip I was pretty tough on us entrepreneurial types, stating boldly that if our employees were under performing it was our fault not theirs.  I do believe this is true in very many cases, although of course not all.  Some employees do simply suck and I’ll talk more about this in future tips.

However, there is a further distinction to be made on the subject of staff performance (in fact there are many distinctions and an expert in HR is the right person to make them, not me).  I’ve been noticing this one a lot recently as I observe so many small business owners struggle with growth.

The thing about growing is that it means employing people.  And when you employ people you need to manage them.  This is where the potential pit fall lies for many small business owners.  Typically someone who has the gumption to start their own business is likely to be a driven personality.  In the workshop with nine different businesses I held last weekend, nearly all could be described as ‘A’ type, dominant, strong and determined people.  All in my view had leadership quality.  They had vision, enthusisam, confidence, personality… they had ‘mana’.  They were the type of people other people want to follow.

So why would they struggle with growing a high performance team?  Because they are leaders, not managers.  There is a big difference between the two.  Another client recently told me she was going to invest $8,000 in a leadership course.  I looked at her vibrant, powerful personality and the amazing business she had built and asked her why.  She told me it was because she was crap at management.

And in that moment I saw the problem.  She was a good leader already – sure she could learn some new skills and talents in this area – but this course wasn’t going to help her with her management skills, nor with the lack of motivation engulfing a few of her team members.  She needed someone with different skills entirely to help her.  I suggested she spend that $8,000 on an independent HR consultant who could help her implement a more people driven culture.  Regular reviews, clear expecations, set KPI’s and measurements.  These are things that she neither has the time nor the inclination to spend time on herself, but are critical to the success of her growth plans.

The same issue came up for nearly every business owner at my workshop.  As we assessed the business growth plans we could see a distinct lack of planning around the processes that would be required to manage the people.

So I have now become the world’s biggest advocate for independent HR advisors.  Wonderful people who love to manage people and know exactly what you need to have in place to bring out the best in them.  I would engage one of these people to help with your growth from the minute you think about employing people.  You can always learn to be a better leader.  But if your staff have left because no one ever cared enough to manage them properly, you won’t have anyone to lead.

Get your processes in.  Learn how to manage.  Then lead the way.  In that order.

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.