So… brace yourself for one of those posts. The I-my-gwad-I-can’t-believe-how-long-it’s-been-since-I’ve-blogged-ones. Yeah. I’m not a big one for apologies, so let’s launch straight into what the hell I have been doing in the three and a half months since I last wrote here. I tell you it’s been busy, and it’s been exciting, and it’s been a lot of learning, a lot of changes and a lot of fun.
I’ll only bore you with the big ones:
New job: My first interview happened to also be the right opportunity. Sometimes the universe just works that way, but pretty much upon meeting my boss and consequently, the senior management team and the rest of the team at Origin, I knew I had found what I was looking for.
I had an epiphany last night as I was falling asleep. Actually it was a series of epiphanies.
Bear with me.
I started thinking about all the different online and social media things I have done over the years for a wide range of people/product/services, and tried to tie them all together and articulate what I have learned and how I apply what I have learned to each new challenge, in one sentence.
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.
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:
Republished on Idealog Magazine
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.
(Though from recent experience I argue that being the valuer is the harder job).
A couple of weeks ago I was given the task of analysing five publically listed companies’ annual reports over a five year period, so that I could guesstimate where each company sits in the market in terms of value, strategy and market share, and how a privately owned company in the same space might compare.
It wasn’t easy, but I learned a lot (mainly that it wasn’t easy).
Republished on Idealog Magazine
Lately we have had first meetings with potential investment opportunities, and they have been an interesting and mixed bunch.
During the process I’ve learned a couple of things, namely to do with what my boss calls the three Ts; Team, Time and Technology.