My journey as an “Apprentice” has come to an end, and it is now time for me to go out to the world, share my learnings and allow someone else the opportunity I have had over the past year. Last Friday I began to put my feelers out there to see what the world has to offer.
In May I was the organiser and marketer of a public event that managed to attract a crowd of 400 people in four days. Overall, most things around the event organisation and execution went perfectly, and most people had the experience we set out for them to have.
But if you are a *tiny* bit of control freak like me, most things and most people aren’t really good enough.
- I’m about the enter the last year of my 20s.
- I’m not sure that I’m ready to let them go just yet.
- My 20s were awesome.
- I did what nearly everyone else did.
- I studied a BA.
- I lived in Dunedin.
- I did what not many other people did.
- I lived in Paris.
There has been a lot of debate about the Crafar Farms deals, with some kiwis dead against it, some all for it and a minority even pulling out the race card, because no one really kicked up a stink when farmland was sold to James Cameron. However from a “big scheme of things” point of view, even though these deals are very bad for New Zealand’s long-term economic health, they aren’t the biggest fish we have to fry as a nation.
Everyone can agree that New Zealand has an economy reliant on agriculture and farming. Of this dairy exporting is our largest earner, and our own Fonterra controls 1/3 of the world’s international dairy trade.
The point of this site isn’t to document my personal life. Facebook is doing that job quite nicely thankyouverymuch. However (you knew that was coming right?) I do feel the need to share a little part of my personal life here, as I think it is relative.
On May 26th I’m doing a 35km trail run in Rotorua, and have been busy training for it with my fellow crazy-in-crime running buddy. Just this past week we ran 22km in the Waitakere Ranges and yesterday we completed 17km on Rangitoto, so you can see, not only do we need some serious psychological therapy, but we also have a lot of time to spend talking jibberish and getting all philosophical about life, work and the future.
The aim of this blog is to share what I learn as I work with, and as, an entrepreneur, but yet all my posts lately seem to be falling back to my default setting of writing about writing.
So the time has come to start writing about starting. (I was inspired to start sharing when I came across this website of the UK government, who are sharing the redesign and relaunch of their site.)
Part of my time lately has been spent working through a large number of applications for jobs we have advertised online. This has meant that I have seen a very wide range of applications over a very short period of time, and have quickly learned that the first thing a recruiter does when looking through a large number of CVs is to look for a reason to say no. Don’t give them a reason:
In my time I’ve written many, many business cases, starting when I conceived my first business idea about six years ago (cooking and travel tours in India… I’ve never been to India, I really just wanted to travel there). While doing my MBA I was paid to write business and marketing plans for businesses who didn’t have the ability to write one themselves and I also won the Venture Fund award for a business idea I developed into a plan. In the past six months alone I have written about eight plans in total.
I’ve probably written in the range of 50 plans over the past six years, and of those I’ve written for myself, one has seen the light of day and made it into a business (in the early days, an amazing learning experience, but not a good business idea). Most others have had various stages of success, but for some reason the reality is that they aren’t feasible and they get shelved.
My point is that I use the process of writing a business case to objectively work through an idea that I am excited about before I tell others about it. More often than not, I am able to work out myself why the idea is flawed, and in the cases where I am unsure or still positive I will work through the business case with someone whose opinion I respect.
Lessons I have learned along the way:
In marketing you do your research, brainstorm around the findings, plan your campaign and execute it as best as you can. Most of the time it will pay off, sometimes it doesn’t; that’s the risk you take.
Sales on the other hand has to return above ROI. A salesman who doesn’t return more than his salary and expenses in new customers costs the company more than he is bringing in, and won’t last long past his honeymoon period.
I’d never really understood or cared much about exchange rates before I started working for an exporter. All I knew was that when I was last in Europe my dollar didn’t go far at all and that wasn’t cool.
Working inside an international business that relies on the ability of the New Zealand dollar to be competitive with its major trading partners has meant I have began to learn a little more about the way exchange rates work, the factors that influence their movements, and how countries can manipulate exchange rates to grow their own domestic economies, stimulate demand for their goods and screw their neighbours.