Listen to the brand guys… and change the name of your book!

books save livesSo the book is written… yes, it’s finished and off to proof reading next week.  Yipee!  One year and two months in the making.  That’s approximately three hundred 5 am starts, 70,000 words and a heck of a lot of late nights.  It ain’t no breeze this book writing thing.   But it’s done, my editor is happy (so far) and it moves onto the next stage.

Now we are into publishing and soon my baby will be off to be designed.  It will have a sexy cover and fabulous interior… can’t wait to see it.  But the question of what to call it came up again last week.  I’ve been calling it The Liber8 Factor – The revolutionary planning technique that will set every small business owner free.  Made total sense to me – it consists of eight stages, each with an exercise to take the reader step by step through my proven blueprint for building a business you can sell one day for millions.

But my brand designer says it should be called Liber8 Your Business.  Keep it simple, he says. This is what it does.  If it sounds like a duck and walks like a duck, call it a duck.  Call a spade a spade. Or something like that.

I’ve been sitting on it for a few weeks now and I’ve come around to it.  Liber8 Your Business… the first of the Liber8 Series.  Soon (well another several thousand 5am starts) there will be a series of Liber8 business books:  Liber8 Your Sales, Liber8 Your Marketing; Liber8 Your Team; Liber8 Your Social Media; Liber8 Your Presenting Skills… and many more besides (I’ll be taking a vote later in the year for the most popular title to come of the rank first).

I hope you like the title… I’ll be posting another excerpt soon.

Keep the feedback rolling in.

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness. Business mentors and publisher of Liber8 Your Business.

A business or a life-long job? Which is it for you?

guy-with-ball-and-chain1Here’s another extract from my book… to be launched late July…

 A business or a life-long job?

‘Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.’

–          John Maxwell

One of the first questions I ask when I present to business groups is: ‘Why are you here? Why are you in business? Why on earth have you left the security of a job with regular pay to start your own business, with all the uncertainty this holds?’

I always get similar answers. Mostly, people say they don’t want to work for someone else. They don’t want someone else’s culture. They don’t want to be told how the way it should be done. They want to be in control. They want flexible hours and to spend time with their children. They want to be able to go on holiday when they want. They don’t want someone telling them how many weeks’ holiday they can have a year. They want to do something they really love.

These are all honourable reasons for starting a business. But, ironically, many business owner-operators end up with the complete opposite. They find themselves with little control. They discover their clients have the control and will often demand they work longer hours than they ever did when working for someone else. Most small business owners pay themselves less than they would be paid working for another company. Crazy, I know, but it’s true. You go into business for freedom and control and end up working longer hours and earning less. Sound familiar?

Many business owner-operators don’t take holidays. They start their business believing they will be in charge of their own holidays, but they find they don’t go on holiday at all. I met a woman who owned a chain of motels with her husband. They hadn’t been on holiday for five years. When I asked her why she got into the motel business in the first place, she told me it was for the lifestyle. Go figure!

If you pay yourself too little, work long hours, and don’t take decent holidays, you can feel resentful. Worse, you can fall sick and be unable to carry on. A high percentage of businesses fail (and by fail I mean they stop; the owner gives up) within five years of start-up. Disillusionment gets the better of them. They go into business to set themselves free and find themselves with a virtual chain around their ankle. Not surprisingly, they decide they don’t want to do it anymore.

But that’s not going to be you, is it? Most people who fail to achieve financial freedom through their business do not have the right mindset. By the time you have finished this section of The Liber8 Factor, you will know how to develop this mindset and increase your chances of success.

The story of Julie and Fliss

I was having coffee with an old friend one day. Julie is an amazing lady who had started her first business and built it over 20 years until it was bought by a huge multinational group. She became wealthy and continues to build her wealth through angel investing and mentoring start-up businesses. She has a wonderful life. We discussed how special it was to be able to spend quality time with our kids after school each day and how we enjoyed helping other people learn to build a quality life through business.

We got to talking about a woman we both knew. I’ll call her Fliss, for the purposes of this story. Fliss opened a business at the same time as Julie. She is a dress designer and opened up a little retail store in the town where she lived. Twenty years later she still had that small shop and she was still making the dresses. Fliss was no better off financially and she still had to keep designing and making the dresses to sell in her shop. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that as a life choice and as far as I know, Fliss is content in her life. I don’t want to appear scornful of someone doing something they love. If you’ve got a talent for design and you’re happy with a small retail shop in a small town, there’s nothing wrong with that – as long as you are aware that this is where you are at. But what worries me with the owner-operator mindset is that Fliss, like so many other owner-operators, will wake up one day and won’t want to do it anymore. As much as she loves designing dresses, something will happen that changes her ability to live off its income, for health reasons or, more likely, because she’s lost the passion for it. The danger of not having a plan to sell is that she can end up with a business worth nothing to anyone else, meaning she’s stuck with it. What will she do for income when her desire or ability to make dresses is no longer there?

Let’s look at the situations of these two friends. Why did Julie go one route and Fliss go another? The key difference was the mindset. One knew she wanted a business she could sell and create a lifestyle where she never had to worry about money again. The other wanted to make pretty clothes. They both made their choice; probably without even realising they had done so. Fliss chose to employ herself in a job she enjoyed. She did not choose to build a business.

We make choices every day. The most important choice is one you may not have given much thought to – until now. Are you choosing to build a business that will pay you back or are you choosing to work for a living? By reading this book and completing the exercises, you are making a choice to do something different. And that’s a great start!

For about The Freedom Mindset and an exercise on assessing and addressing your attitude to wealth and money, you’ll have to buy my book when it launches late July.  To pre-order a copy just email me at

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Creating tools to set you free

Business Mentor tip #84 – Be wealth positive not money negative

By now you’ll be familiar with my belief that the purpose of a business is to create financially freedom for it’s owner.  Of course, you can’t be financially free without money. For most of us, we can’t live the life of our dreams and add value unless we have a healthy attitude to money. Mother Theresa, Buddhist monks and other humanitarians might be able to fulfil their purpose in life without money. But they are not reading this blog. They are not small business owner-operators looking to create freedom and wealth from their business. For those of us looking to make our way in business in western society, we need to love money, respect it and want to use it wisely. You’ll be amazed how many business owners I work with who limit their own success due to an ingrained fear of wealth.

 Changing negative beliefs

Is there anything buried in your psyche that limits your ability to build wealth from your business? Have you ever questioned what might be limiting you from creating a business that makes you a lot of money?

Here’s an exercise to help you check in with yourself about your own attitude to money and wealth. Find a pen and paper, and draw two columns. On one side, write the heading ‘Positive Attitude to Money’ and on the other, write ‘Negative Attitude to Money’.

Positive Attitude to Money Negative Attitude to Money

List as many things as you can in each column. Put your positive beliefs and feelings about money on one side and negative thoughts and feelings on the other.

What does this list tell you? If you have more negative thoughts on one side than positive, it’s possible you’ve got some negative beliefs that are holding you back. This will be true for many people.  If that’s the case for you, you might want to do some work about that. You might want to reconsider your underlying beliefs about money.  Contact me at if you’d like to know more about this.

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

Business Mentor tip #82 – How to save money attracting new clients without cold calling

Another great sales tip from guest entrepreneur Mike Brunel

With the cost of acquiring new customers mounting, many companies’ customer bases are shrinking, due to loss of confidence of advertisers and consumers alike.

What you will learn in this month’s Sales tip is the secret to understanding the power of client’s referrals.

Referrals are often one way to get your additional sales without too much additional work.

Why ask for a referral?

  1. It cuts down your prospecting time – The traditional way to build new prospects is to cold call. With referrals it can basically eliminate cold calling forever.
  2. It builds trust – If you get a referral from a client you work with, then that is a signal to you that they trust you, they are prepared to put their faith in you with another friend or business acquaintance.
  3. Helps you build a network – The buzz word these days is networking, this may be true, but by creating a referral programme with your advertisers you have a built in network at your fingertips.

What is a referral?

A referral is when one of your existing advertisers provides the name and contact information of another advertiser. In my experience, and there are also studies to prove this, this is the one area that most sales people fall down in.

3 types of referrals

There are basically three simple referrals systems we use, I will outline what they are and then talk about how you can action one straight away, today.

  1. Direct Referrals
  2. Direct Endorsement
  3. Implied Endorsement/Referral


I am going to discuss direct referrals in this blog and touch on the other two in the near future.

A direct referral is a request to your clients to direct you to a potential client who they know that may also like your services. It’s an endorsement, a reference from a client to another friend or business. This is usually the most common form of referral and usually the easiest.

Most sales people and business people  understand this one – many use it sporadically and often by chance.


Here are 3 action steps to get a direct referral that will increase your call rate and closure rate very quickly.

  1. Choose your top 10 clients you want to target. In other words who are you going to ask for a referral?
  2. Set a time every day to go and ask those clients the following using these scripts as a guide

“I’m building up my client list and I wanted to get a referral from you. When we met last you said that you were pleased with my work. I’d really appreciate it if you’d pass my name along to anyone else you know who would be interested in _____________ (what you do). May I leave these extra business cards with you?”


“I’m really glad that you’re pleased with my work. I’m always looking for referrals and wonder if you know anyone else in your circle of business acquaintances who might be interested in marketing or promoting their business as well as I have for your business.”

TIP: Be specific with tying down the client’s area of influence. It’s no use asking a client something like “Is there anyone you know?” it’s too big a circle to think about. Get really specific.

With any scripts make them your own. George Clooney uses scripts but once he is familiar with the content he makes it his own.

3.  The final step is to create this system for your top 10 clients, businesses you deal with over a 30 day period. This will set a habit in place that will most certainly benefit you for the long term. Once you do that with your top ten, then move onto your next ten, and so on and so on.


It’s time to ACT: Here is what to do right now to get an immediate result. Call two clients and let them know that you will be coming to see them for a referral. Mentally visualise them giving you that referral. Write the goal in your diary or on your weekly planner.

Remind yourself every day that your goal to more sales and easier closing rates are referrals.

Is there anyone you know that would like to get more information on how to be a great media salesperson? Please feel free to refer them to

­­Good selling, Mike

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.

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.

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 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. 

Business Mentoring Tip #76 – Your team don’t suck. You do.

Having frustrations with staff seems to be a theme for the small business owners I’ve been working with this month.   Employees under performing, not taking responsibility for their outcomes, having little initiative and being too content to let the owner do the lion share of the income generation.

Does this sound familiar?

It certainly reminds me of my early days in business.   I remember like it were yesterday the mind blowing frustrations of having to take back project after project and do it myself… because no one else seemed to care enough to get it done right and on time.  The resentment ate away at me like a festering wound as once again I was at work before everyone else and working late on jobs I shouldn’t even have had to look at.   And the harder I had to work the grumpier I got with everyone else.  My fuse was short and my tongue sharp.  Mine was not a happy workplace…  for anyone.

It took me a few years and a nasty personal grievance claim to realise where the real problem was.  And it wasn’t with my staff.

It was me.  I was a crap manager.  I’d been so busy expecting everyone to be like me that I’d overlooked a fundamental life truth.  Most people are nothing like me.  I am actually quite unusual.  I am an entrepreneur.  I see the problem, I leap in with the solution, I get it fixed, I charge onto the next problem, seeing opportunities where others see barriers.  I get impatient with other people when they don’t behave the same way.

And this, my friends, is where the real problem with employees lies.

If you have started your own business there is a very good chance that you are not a great people manager.

Ask yourself this:  why are you not an employee?

Because you are a self starter, you want to be in charge of your own destiny, you want to achieve great things and realise your own dreams, in your own way.  You place high expectations on yourself and are willing to push yourself to make it all happen…Right?  You own your own business because you have taken a leap of faith and let go of the pay cheque.

You also have a lot at stake.  You have to make money to survive, to pay bills and grow your team.  Your customers are everything to you and you will bend over backwards to make sure they are happy.  You will do whatever it takes to succeed.

So why don’t your employees feel the same? Why does no one else work as hard as you? Why don’t they care as much? Where is their ambition? Their initiative?  Their drive?

Here’s a newsflash.  If your employees had all the same qualities as you they would not be your employees, they would be your competition!

You simply cannot expect your employees to have the same levels of drive about your business that you do.

But you can create an environment where they find their own sense of empowerment and passion.  Where their own unique skills are recognised and their efforts rewarded.  Where you see their strong points and use them to the company’s advantage, making them feel useful and treasured. They can come to work with a fire in their belly and work harder than you do to achieve amazing results.

As long as you get out of the way!

If you are struggling with your staff right now, take a look at your management skills.  How is the culture of your company?  Are you expecting everyone to behave the way you behave?  Are you behaving like a resentful parent… picking up after your kids then berating them for being messy?

If you are having team problems, it’s time to change your approach.  My world changed the day I realised that I was the problem.  I knew that my strengths lay in other areas, so I hired someone who was an amazing manager.  She took over the hiring and the management of people and left me to do what I was excellent at… being the leader, the visionary and the inspiration.

Maybe you should do the same.  If you are not ready to hire a General Manager as I did, bring in an HR expert on contract.  Get them to help you re-engineer your culture and your management style so that you get to empower more and work a whole lot less.

If you’d like the names of some excellent HR experts email me at

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

An important lesson on truth from the Bollywood Dentist…

I had a big shock last week on my way back from Tonga.  Upon the recommendation of a client I called into see a dentist for a second opinion on my troublesome tooth.  The dentist was Dr Loy at the Caring4smiles practice in Epsom.  After one hour with him I had committed to spending the next two years and over $20,000 with him, travelling from Wellington to Auckland to do so.  When all I had wanted was advice on one dodgy tooth.

How did this happen?

Quite simply, Dr Loy told me the truth.  And was the first dentist in my nearly 50 years of life to do so.  It wasn’t pleasant.  In fact it was quite horrifying.  The truth is a very powerful thing.  There are lessons to be learnt here.

But first let me tell you more about Dr Loy.  His story is worth telling.

Dr Loy graduated ‘cum laude’ in Dentistry in India in 1978 and started his own private practice in Bombay. He told me how he invested 250,00 rupees in this practice and his ‘uncles’ (indian term for all male relatives) told him he was crazy.  The average start up cost for a business was 60,000 rupees.  He went out on a limb from day one, believing that if he built it people would come.  His commitment from the start was to tell people the truth about their teeth.  Within a few years he had so many customers he could no longer drive his own car to work, because people would follow him trying to get an appointment.  He was the dentist to the Bollywood stars and could command any price he wanted.  It seems when it comes to their teeth, the truth is an important factor.

Dr Loy had a wake up call about the importance of family the day his young son asked him where the bed was at work, claiming his father must sleep at work because he’d never seen him sleeping at home.  Soon after Dr Loy moved his practice and his family to Auckland where after some years working part time to spend time with his kids, he began to build his practice from scratch all over.  Again, he spent a fortune on start up – renovating an old villa in Epson, believing that if he built it, the people would come.  And once again, his commitment was to tell people the truth about their teeth.

Now people like me are travelling all over New Zealand to see Dr Loy, turning their backs on the dentist they’ve had for years in their home town.  Why?  Because he tells you the truth.

So why is the truth so powerful?

Let me ask you this.  Have you ever seen a picture of your teeth?  I mean all of your teeth, inside, close up with a powerful camera?  Have you had someone sit with you for half an hour and tell you the history of your teeth and predict the future based on everything they see?  I suspect not.  I certainly had never experienced this.

It was not a pretty sight.  My back teeth are a mess.  A patchwork of fillings made by different dentists over the years, who have been chipping away at my teeth for decades.  There is very little actual tooth left on my major molars, and what is left is a spiderweb of fine cracks spreading all over, just waiting for me to bite on a popcorn kernel and crack them wide open.  This is why I was visiting Dr Loy in the first place.  A big molar cracked when I bit on a chicken bone causing major pain right into my roots.  There is now doubt as to whether this tooth can be saved.

Dr Loy showed me that all of my molars are the same.  A timebomb of cracks waiting to explode.  It’s a matter of when not if.  Teeth should never be repaired in this manner he told me.  There should be a building plan with long term sustainability in mind, not a lifetime of quick fixes with no care for the future.  He likened dentistry to the building trade.  If you keep patching up a house with no plan, eventually it will fall apart and need total gutting and re-building.  But if you get a good engineer and architect in and build with the future in mind, you can keep a house in great shape forever.

In half an hour Dr Loy did two very important things.  He firstly destroyed my faith in my current dentist, who has been patching up my teeth for the last fifteen years and has never once shown me what they look like.  Not once.  And secondly, Dr Loy gave me total faith in himself by showing me the history and future of my teeth and offering me a solution.

We need a plan, he said.  We can re-build your teeth and give you a healthy mouth for the rest of your life.  It will take time and money.  He was completely upfront about the cost and the options.  He didn’t charge me for the photos.  He said he was happy for me to take them somewhere else and get another dentist to do the work if I wanted.  But how could I?  I left angry at all of the dentists who have been chipping away at my teeth for years without a care for the long term impact.  I only trust one dentist now.  And that’s the one who told me the truth.

There are lessons to be learned here for all of us in business.  What is the truth your customers need to hear that your competitors are not willing to tell? 

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

Business Mentor Tip #74 – Kick sand in the gorilla’s face

Kicking sand in the gorilla’s face. I love this expression.  Told to me by clever guy called Dion Mortensen, investor, company director and all round smart guy to have coffee with.  We agreed over said coffee that building an exit strategy into your business plan was a critical element to overall success.  And the sooner you set your sights on the company that will eventually buy your business the better.  Pick a company that will be able to take what your business offers and add it to their own offering to increase value.  Work out who will want what you produce in the future, then set about building the business they will pay a lot of money for.

So where does the sand and the gorilla come into it?  See the gorilla as the big guys you want to notice you.  What better way to get them to notice you than to annoy them.  Dion talked about Trademe stealing the classifed advertising from under the nose of Fairfax Media… with their advertising revenues disappearing onto Trademe, Fairfax needed to buy that business to get their revenues back.

We talked about other stories of companies deliberately taking customers from their potential future buyer.  Annoying them to the point of increasing their desire to make you go away.  I recalled entrepreneur Jim Donovan telling me how his former company Deltec moved their head office to the same city in USA as the big company they had picked as their buyer.  When customers began raving about Deltec and moving their business across, Andrews Corporation felt very compelled to make them go away.  And paid them a lot of money to make it happen.  Classic!

So what about you?  Have you identified your future buyer yet?  How could you kick sand in their face?

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