Monday, September 24, 2007

It doesn't have to cost much

At a cafe today I noticed a business card draw jar that offered a prize for a $50 voucher.

There must have been 200 business cards in the jar, which surprised me how cheaply people give away valuable information.

If you're looking for ideas to get leads, try a business card draw offering a prize.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Protecting a brand

I think Kevin Robert's (from Saatchi & Sattchi) Lovemarks site is a great idea that engages many people through brands.

Lovemarks is also a good lesson in protecting a brand. I see that Kevin's PR company also own

I wonder how many companies proactively protect their brands and intellectual property in this way, or do they wait for an issue to react to?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Passion & Pride House

You may not be aware that Saatchi & Saatchi have rebranded.

In recognition of the All Blacks at the Rugby World Cup, Saatchi & Saatchi in Wellington have created an amazing experience.

The building has been rebranded Passion & Pride House.

Check out my elevator ride to the 5th floor and back with the All Black team.
This is Lovemarks in action!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Brand or "bland"?

New Zealand has 7,701 SMEs per 100,000 of people (this is about twice as many as Australia) according to Lezlie Mearns from Maxim at Wellington's premier business event - Thrive.

She also challenged business owners to develop more meaningful vision statements rather than rolling out the usual cliched versions.

Lezlie suggested many businesses should rename their brand and refer to it as their "bland".

Company names should be:
  1. Meaningful
  2. Memorable
  3. Future-proof
  4. Visual
The graph above was to help business owners try and discover where they want their customers to see them. Where do your customers see you?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The tangible beneits of effective communication

Reflecting on my season as a kids soccer coach, I believe one of the best things I did was to set up a blog so parents and relatives could see what was happening. It also helped them understand the game from my perspective.

Other teams had some off-field issues that probably could have been avoided with effective communication.

The other benefit of the blog is that we have a record of our season.

Thinking about how to communicate with other stakeholders in any environment can be a challenge. Having a communication strategy can help. I'm not suggesting a blog should be the only way to communicate. This soccer season, in addition to the blog, we communicated by text, phone, face to face and by e-mail.

When things are going well it is worth reflecting on what is working and to keep doing what works.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Getting "Buy-in"

Sometimes I hear people talk about getting "buy-in".

I believe "ownership" is much more powerful than "buy-in".

Ownership allows people the chance of creating something that they will own and ensure it succeeds.

Where possible give people the opportunity to "own" it.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I recall being asked if I could do 6% better each month than the month before.

This clever little sum means in a little over a year I would be doing twice what I was doing the previous year. Great journeys start with single steps.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

NZ made

Today I met a memorable character called Davey Hughes.

Just when a number of clothing companies are being lured to China because of lower labour costs, Davey is committing to staying in New Zealand.

His staff and customers are loyal too.

The clothing is top quality. It gets used by hunters, farmers, defence forces and search and rescue.

His business tips were:

1. It's never too late to talk things over.

2. Fire customers who aren't fun.

3. Tell staff they must have 2 possible solutions to every problem they bring to you.

4. Remember there's more to life than business.

5. Customers own the brand.

6. Forget 'passion', focus on 'love'.

7. Treasure your brand & use intellectual property protection.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Is "Good" only average?

98% of people say they are ‘good’ when asked ‘how are you?”.

In other words, people who say they are ‘good’ are really just average.

This week, have a week better that’s better than good.
Try using words like: ‘splendid’, ‘ideal’, ‘top-notch’, ‘pleasurable’, ‘unrivalled’, productive’, ‘brilliant’, ‘smashing’, ‘roaring’, the list is endless!

If you’re interested, my weekend was ‘world-class’.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

7 Years Key Reflections

The University of Auckland Business School established ICEHOUSE in 2001 to provide education for owner mangers. Recently they brought their 7 key reflections from the last 7 years alive in a workshop.
  1. Back to basics.
    Using Jim Collins' Good to Great, they challenged participants to identify:
    a. What they are deeply passionate about.
    b. What they can be the best in the world at.
    c. What drives their economic engine

    They also asked us where we had spent most of our time in the last month - using the urgent/ important matrix.
  2. Getting to the heart of the matter.
    We were asked to do a business exercise based around:
    a. Winning
    b. People
    c. Passion
    d. Purpose

    We were also told about the need to confront brutal facts.
  3. It's lonely out there.
    We discussed the importance of conversations to:
    a. Share stories with like-minded people.
    b. Discuss problems.
    c. Explore dreams.
    d. Build confidence.
  4. Serious play.
    We shared ideas of making work fun and ensuring the owner manager knew how important their attitude was in determining the culture of the workplace.
  5. Outside in thinking.
    We were taught about perspective & reframing, also learning from the edge & blue sky thinking (rather than focusing on the competition).
  6. Making it happen.
    Setting and achieving goals will move the business forward.
  7. Tension of growth.
    Balancing profits day versus future growth.
    Balancing the person and the business.

Overall, I found the workshop useful and thought-provoking. I thoroughly recommend taking time out of the business to spend working on the business.