Glenn Baker, NZBusiness Magazine - What has close to 15 years of interviewing business owners taught him.
Going into business for yourself is usually prompted by quite a few very good reasons.
The desire for more flexibility and autonomy are two; a hankering for freedom and more time with family are a couple more. Having a real passion for your unique product or service is a huge motivating force and the want to make (more) money a no-brainer.
When these key things combine to kick-start a whole new enterprise, expectations run high.
Sometimes, so does disappointment.
It’s hard to think of someone with more business zen than Glenn – he writes in-depth articles about small to medium businesses (SME’s) every day.
However, personal experience taught Glenn all about disappointment. His time as a business owner resulted in a massive learning curve that he couldn’t master or sustain, eventually tossing him and his business partner wife off into the drink.
“Don’t buy a business if you’re not cut out for it and really passionate about it.”
The stuff Glenn learned along the way gave him an insight as to how tough it is for the unsuspecting individual who thinks being a business owner is a great idea.
It’s a hard row to hoe, finding out there’s a lot that can go wrong and that the tenacity (or resilience) needed to get you through, simply doesn’t exist.
Just what can go pear-shaped? Too much it seems. Glenn says to avoid these potential pitfalls:
- Investing in a business solely as a financial decision
- Regarding your business as buying yourself a job
- Having your business operate as nothing more than an expensive hobby
- Cutting corners on due diligence; business and wider community – industry, trends, competition
- Stagnation due to complacency
- Going it alone when you encounter cash flow crises
- Not having a bigger picture or written goals in place
- Being afraid to employ staff
- Not having the passion to drive you on.
Writing about owner/ managers of businesses with less than 20 employees* (and more commonly less than 10) as well as having been there himself, means Glenn writes with authority and empathy.
He sees very clearly where success lies, and why mistakes are made … and reckons that every business has a great story to tell; as editor of NZBusiness Magazine, Glenn’s literary objective is to ‘inspire, inform and educate’.
He’s pleased that the naysayers who predicted the death of print media are eating their words as readership is steady (and millennials tired of screen time are actually a generation of page-turners, preferring to pick up, hold and read publications of interest** – future subscribers no doubt!)
Once you’ve weighed up the risks and then decided to take the plunge into business ownership, start making checklists and ticking boxes. Glenn and NZBusiness Magazine contributor, Mark Loveys say these actions will endure in any business:
- Nurture soft skills in your team i.e. communication, being relatable, approachable, personable
- Continually find ways to delight your customers
- Value word-of-mouth advertising
- Look for PR opportunities like https://nzbusiness.co.nz/
- Learn how to use digital marketing as a tool
- Network for knowledge, support and inspiration
- Be relevant to your target audience
- Choose your first customers carefully; they are your walking billboards.
Things are looking pretty exciting for the business landscape, now and in the future. The Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality and cashless transactions … hard to fathom? Glenn says they are already here.
He also states however, that nothing will replace human ‘face to face, hand shaking, eye contact’ interaction and the social aspects of doing commerce. So get those interpersonal skills up to speed – you’re gonna need them.
You can contact Glenn at https://nzbusiness.co.nz/
Or at LinkedIn; via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone him on 021 634 056. He’s got an ear for a good story if you’ve got one to tell!
And by the way, if you need more help in moving your business from chaos to control visit me, Craig Oliver at: https://www.projecthq.co.nz/
Or read the show notes from our other amazingly informative, inspirational and gritty podcasts at: https://www.talkingbetterbusiness.com/
So many insights, tips and ideas to be had! Just sit back, listen and learn.
Go on, smash through the glass ceiling and grow your business into something remarkable
*97% of small businesses in New Zealand have less than 20 employees. Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 2017 https://www.beehive.govt.nz/sites/default/files/2017-12/Small%20Business%20-%20Annex%203%20Small%20Business%20Factsheet.pdf
**“Millennials like to hold print in their hands, read it, smell it, use it to link to a video or coupon, save it, take it to the store with them, and share it with friends.” Source: Quad/Graphics. Millennials: An Emerging Consumer Powerhouse 2015