NEW ZEALANDâ€™S E-MAG FOR ENTREPRENEURS AND BUSINESS OWNERS
10 Questions with
Toby Ruckert of Unified Inbox
Challenges Faced By Female Founders Showcase: YET & The BP Business Challenge Profile on #nzentrepreneur Ryan Baker of Timely Learning To Say No
Plus heaps more inside!
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From the Editor
Challenges Faced by Female Founders
10 Questions with Toby Ruckert of Unified Inbox
Entrepreneurial Intelligence with Sandy Geyer
Profile: Ryan Baker of Timely
Learning To Say No
Startup Showcase Wraps Capital Around Digital Tech
ABOUT / Short and sharp, New Zealand Entrepreneur is a free e-magazine delivering thought provoking and enlightening articles, industry news and information to forward-thinking entrepreneurs. EDITOR / Nick Harley ART DIRECTOR / Jodi Olsson GROUP EDITOR / Trudi Caffell CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER / Alastair Noble CONTENT ENQUIRIES / Phone Richard on (09) 522 7257 or email firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES / Phone Richard on (09) 522 7257 or email
From the Editor
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ntrepreneurship comes with extreme highs and extreme lows. You’re on top of the world, everything is going swimmingly, yet the next day you’re awake
at 3am, not knowing who you are, what you’re doing or why everything is seemingly falling apart around you. At times like these it’s important to lean on your support network. The wives, husbands, partners, family and friends who stand beside us, never questioning or doubting us, willing and prepared to make the sacrifices needed in order for us to succeed. They are the silent warriors, whose efforts go relatively unrecognised to outsiders. They are the people we turn to when times are tough who help us spring back into action. They are the people we need and couldn’t be without, so we must appreciate them. Another great resource for support are your fellow entrepreneurs. Many people have been on the same journey, faced similar problems and are more than willing to help you. You are not alone. At NZ Entrepreneur we aim to advise, educate and inspire our readers and ultimately help generate more successful Kiwi businesses. So if you have anything you’d like to contribute to readers please drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you. Finally, if you enjoy reading this free digital magazine and support what we’re trying to achieve, please help us out by sharing a quick tweet, email or Facebook post to let your own networks know about NZ Entrepreneur. Let’s help each other.
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EMPOWERING WOMEN IN BUSINESS
Challenges Faced by Female Founders Noted Women
By Lou Donnelly-Davey
Collaboration is key to changing the ratio for women founders
he client’s boardroom was lavish. A beautiful oak table took pride of place in the centre of the room and expensive artworks hung from the surrounding
walls. I took my seat beside the GM and was preparing for the meeting when an uncomfortable feeling rose up within me. I had been mistaken for the GM’s secretary and looks of wonder and confusion blanketed the faces of those present. Why was I sitting there? Why was I not scuttling around making coffee? I was, back then 20 something. I was bright and enthusiastic, had a million ideas to share and thought the world simply was at my feet. Surely I needn’t be concerned over being treated any different to my male counterparts. I was wrong.
Unfortunately, this was not a solitary instance in my corporate career. After having my second child I ventured out on my own. I was my own boss. An entrepreneur. But the same problems followed me, this time they were a little more subtle but no less frustrating and considerably restrictive. Only 4% of all funded start-ups are founded by women. Why? Various reasons, but most have one thing in common. Access. Access to knowledge, access to mentors, access to investors and access to funding. In order to get noticed by an investor you need a personal recommendation via a close friend or business acquaintance of that person. Problem is, most VC firms are made up of men, in fact the average make up in top tier firms is 92% male. That’s just a fact. And by default a good proportion of the circles
Statistics show that female led companies generate on average more than 12% higher profits than those led by males. they move in are occupied by men. It is not a conspiracy, nor is it a deliberate plan to keep women out. It just is. This makes it harder for women to find their way in to get under the nose of these investors. To confound this problem, female entrepreneurs are far less likely to be considered for investment if they do not hold a technical or engineering qualification. A fact that did not jeopardise a male entrepreneurs chances of receiving funding.
better place if men thought more like women. We should care because this same study extrapolated that the essence of a modern leader is feminine in nature, possessing qualities such as patience, passion and an ability to build a consensus and get things done. One of the most compelling pieces of data however was that collaboration, a traditionally female characteristic, was one of the key driving factors today in achieving career success, with around 80% of respondents agreeing.
We should care because around 2/3 of all those surveyed in
This brings me to what we should be doing about this. While I don’t necessarily disagree with Sheryl Sandberg’s “lean in” philosophy, I do believe that it is more about “leaning on” rather than “in” and using this collaborative force to tip the balance back towards an equilibrium.
a large worldwide study responded that the world would be a
The “lean on” doctrine suggests that instead of telling women
What should we do about this and why should we care? We should care not only because equality matters but because the statistics show that female led companies generate on average more than 12% higher profits than those led by males.
EMPOWERING WOMEN IN BUSINESS
that they need to change what they think and how they map out their career path that women seek out meaningful connections that will help them to reach their career aspirations. Collaboration being the key. Furthermore, it is about a shift in consciousness within our organisations to embrace those characteristics that make women great leaders rather than trying to change the very nature of what makes women indispensable in the higher echelons of business.
It is this collaborative approach to fully equipping women with the skills, knowledge and connections that they need in order to launch and more importantly scale their businesses. I am currently working with some amazing women in New York and DC on a platform to help enable this collaborative process. Mumâ€™s the word for now but you can find out a little more here www.facebook.com/notedwomen. It is our intention to change the ratio and ultimately change the game for female founders and female led businesses for the benefit of both women and the economy.
Lou Donnelly-Davey has been involved in start ups for the past 9 years, starting her first business at the age of 32. Lou is currently getting ready to launch her first tech startup, Scrattch, a crowd-sourcing and community platform designed to make it easier for people to source the best information possible on the Internet about topics they are interested in. Lou is passionate about changing the ratio when it comes to female founded start ups and is working with her co-founders in DC and New York on a platform called Noted.Women to assist female founders in launching and more importantly scaling their businesses.
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10 Questions with
Toby Ruckert of Unified Inbox
Great businesses are started every day when people act upon an opportunity. Toby Ruckert is a classically trained musician, entrepreneur and startup founder, helping you to take control of your inbox.
Toby, when did you start Unified Inbox and how did the idea come about? Looking back, I often ask myself that very same question. The correct answer probably is mid 2010 which is when I purchased the domain name “unifiedinbox.com”. At that time I saw a clear need for a unified solution in the communication & collaboration space and for the first time was also able to express my strategy clearly. I had also gained just enough experience in the space to see what I was getting myself into. But when I really look at it, my journey that lead me to Unified Inbox started much earlier: I used to do software testing for IBM (“OS/2 Warp”) during my school days and along with it founded a mailbox called “LIGHT-BBS” (BBS = Bulletin Board System) and got early access to a mobile phone. This was in the early 90s and gave me a taste of how email and electronic communication in general would likely evolve. Eventually the internet came, my mailbox crashed and the backup didn’t work either. “Fate intervened” I’d say but since then I’ve always been keen to find better ways to communicate and collaborate together using digital communication channels. Yet, it was not until after coming to New Zealand in 2003 that I realised the importance of having smarter tools available that
would enable us to communicate and collaborate much more effectively across a wide variety of locations and time zones. I then first tried to optimize email (around between 2007 and 2009) but found this very hard to do as the problem with email was not recognised yet (junk maybe, but that’s it) and most investors had just changed their mode into backing social networking and B2C related startups, not B2B / enterprise ones. The idea ultimately formed with the rise of social media and I just wanted to have one place to look at all my stuff, neatly organised and prioritised and without the fear of losing something in another communication channel or browser tab. A personal dashboard of sorts was what my original vision was. But where do you start creating such a dashboard? By creating a Unified Inbox first. It’s funny that things in life often don’t make sense until (sometimes much) later. So chances are that Unified Inbox is just another stepping stone for my understanding of the “bigger picture” of life’s journey, a question I repeatedly keep myself asking. I’m a big believer in connecting the dots between what you’ve done in the past, what you are doing now and where you eventually want to go. Whilst nobody can ultimately control the future outcome, connecting the dots along the way simply helps to aim with greater accuracy.
You’re also a classically trained musician. What’s the history behind that? I was lucky to have very generous parents who encouraged me in anything I wanted to learn. While it wasn’t always easy for them to support me (both financially and because they didn’t have experience in many of the skills I was after), they really went out of their way to accommodate my various desires to learn different subjects. Piano was one of them and one that I was naturally good at. By practising much less than my peers and reaching a similar (or even better) outcome in performances and competitions, I quickly realised I have something nice going here: small effort + big results. What more can you wish for as a kid when you just want to play? Things changed of course when I entered various music
What are the three most important business skills you would advise up and coming entrepreneurs to develop? Personally I consider Confidence, Balance and Intuition as three of the most important skills one needs to succeed in business. I’m not sure if I’d call them the “three most important business skills” as really, they are general skills and principles that can be applied to more than just business. But why these three? Confidence - without it, it’s next to impossible to recruit a team, raise funds, sell well, turn things around when you’re hitting a dark patch and, ultimately, just get yourself started and register a company. You really need to have confidence in yourself first and foremost to stand in front of your team, investors, partners and clients when you’re conveying an idea or a strategic roadmap. Without confidence, nobody will believe you. In order to have that confidence, two factors are essential, 1) know yourself (and keep getting better at knowing yourself all the time) and 2) trust your team (without it, you can’t scale that confidence). Ask the “why” question above the “what” or “how” questions, both for things and people and with good answers, confidence arises. BTW: Trust and confidence go hand in
competitions and, ultimately, university. There the standards were incredibly high + talent was ubiquitous and while I was certainly able to compete, I needed a new, additional challenge. That’s when my passion for technology and innovation saw my venturing into various entrepreneurial ideas while still at university and starting www.viva-lite.com Since then I am keenly aware of the importance of music (or any creative arts for that matter) and the power it can have on innovation, process, design and general creativity (for instance in sales and marketing) and really would like to promote this more, especially as there is plenty of scientific research and evidence supporting this theory. I also wrote a blog post about this titled “Music or MBA?” in which I explain my journey from musician turned entrepreneur.
hand. You can doubt yourself from time to time to get to know yourself better and reach a more mature confidence level, but, be careful when doubting life’s purpose in general. Chances are, that at this very moment, you’re out of balance. Balance - being an entrepreneur and particularly so in a young startup is incredibly stressful, hard work and comes with a lot of sacrifices. If you ask me when I went to the cinema the last time, I don’t remember. Some time last year I think. Make no mistake, there is no shortcut to entrepreneurial success than through hard, hard work. But that’s where balance comes in and where it is so important. For instance - I like movies and I like the cinema, but I’m not feeling lost or suffer, if I haven’t been in a year or two. But, I really like swimming. Living next to a beautiful beach and not having a swim every day because my workload wouldn’t permit it, that’s impacting my personal and professional balance. There is no question, that every entrepreneur is facing the problem of work-life balance all the time, but there is the question of how you deal with it. Know what is important to you and have very clear techniques and recipes of how to consciously create balance in your life, especially when it’s getting lost. Note that if you’re the founder or CEO
of a business, there is an incredible connection between your personal mood and the companies general performance or even team members individual situations. So maintaining balance to me is a key skill that serves not only myself personally and professionally, but everybody else I’m associated and working with.
what’s around the corner, very much is.
Intuition - normally I wouldn’t call this “Intuition” but it really encompasses the other needs that come with it, such as ethics/principles, mindfulness and gut feeling (or having a 6th sense). While “there is no second chance for the first impression” you can always make up for a bad first impression with constant and continuous improvements - it’s hard, but it’s possible. However, if you’ve made a great impression first and then disappointed somebody, it is much harder to again instill trust and confidence into your leadership. Yet this is a key requirement to succeed, because sooner or later (and if you’re at fault or not), you will disappoint people. It’s a fact of life and only a matter of time.
I believe entrepreneurs and business people in general should focus more on learning techniques that help to strengthen these principles.
To deal with this, that’s where ethics and principles really matter. However ethics in today’s world have a problem: they’re either tied to certain achievements (he or she made it), religious beliefs (it is written that...) or scientific research (... found that...). So no matter what’s the basis of today’s ethics and despite having their individual merits, they all have their limits. Therefore being mindful is very important. This applies as much to legal contracts as to hiring decisions and the spoken word or Tweet that as an entrepreneur I’m ultimately responsible for. The challenge with mindfulness is though, that it still revolves around a great deal of thinking. Thinking however takes only those things into consideration that we know, not those which we can’t know yet. Just like big data analytics can be quite soulless and misleading by producing the wrong conclusions despite having great KPI’s and metrics in place. Unless you can bend the light, knowing the unknown is not possible, but developing a gut feeling for
For an entrepreneur in balance, intuition is a data independent tool to develop continuous confidence and vision. It helps to detect ethical imbalances such as ignorance and overconfidence (or arrogance) before they lead to bad decisions or a lack of leadership.
What would your advice be to any NZers reading this, who have an idea for a business but are scared about giving it a go? Firstly, ask yourself why you’re scared. Secondly, ask yourself if you really want to be scared of the answers you find to that first question. If your answer is yes, then don’t start. But if you actually don’t want to be scared, then just go for it, because the worst possible outcome - even of a “failed” entrepreneurial journey - is that you will have lost that fear of starting up and have a much better sense of whether or not giving it a go the next time is the right thing. Honestly (and this is particularly true for New Zealand) - what do you have to lose? According to international research, New Zealand is the easiest place to do business in. It probably has the world’s leading companies office and registrar system. Governments from all over the world are looking into replicating the ease of doing business from New Zealand into their countries. There is no capital gains tax and intellectual property laws are quite liberal (hopefully software patents will be abandoned in New Zealand, making it an even better place for software companies), so if you’re actually making it big or plan sell your company in future, you naturally have a great setup in place here in New Zealand already. The only thing I’d caution anybody is to start a business based
on an idea and giving up your day job. There naturally comes a time after starting a business when it requires your full attention and focus, but in my opinion it is not advisable doing so from the very beginning of the idea - unless one has proper funding of course. Many people put off starting a business because they don’t have any money. Does it really take money to make money? Time is money, so yes, at least indirectly it does. From an entrepreneurial perspective, I’m treating my time like the most valuable thing I have, because it is one of the few things I have free will to control in my life and thus one of the key differentiators of being employed vs. being an entrepreneur. I believe it is very important not to forget to value the business you build with that time or at least the experience you get in exchange for it. More than cash, the prize is life experience or “It is the time you have spent with your rose that makes your rose so important.” - as Antoine de Saint-Exupery has said so well, in his timeless book “The Little Prince”. And yes, it takes money to make money. Simply the fact that you’ll naturally invest a lot of the profit (if you have a successful business) back into it shows that. As for outside investment consider the old saying: when the student is ready, the master appears. I’m not saying investors are masters. But when I look back on my own journey, I’m glad I did not have money at my disposal at certain times in my career because due to lack of certain skills or experiences, I would have just wasted it. So by building the business with the time you have available, simply treat that time at least as important as a $ currency and try to develop a sense for when it is the right time to look out for capital. Note that capital raising takes a lot of time, energy and focus away of actually building your business (it is, in fact, a full time job), so if you have an idea that doesn’t require up-front
financing for buying big machinery, to promote faster growth or accelerated development, then that is often a better place to be in, especially if it’s your first business. I remember getting $5,000 from my grandma when I started Viva-Lite and now realise I was lucky in that regard. However getting lucky doesn’t mean making the most out of it. Some of my relatives who got the same amount bought a car, went for an overseas trip or bought some new shoes. I used the same amount to buy and sell lamps. It was risky at the time, but looking back, it was the right decision. So if you can actually get your hands on capital to build your business, make it count. Until then, the less capital you need and the more lean you can be, the better.
And yes, it takes money to make money. Simply the fact that you’ll naturally invest a lot of the profit (if you have a successful business) back into it shows that. 13
To start a business I believe it’s one of the best places on Earth and that’s one of the reasons I’m here. So ‘good’ wouldn’t do justice to New Zealand, it’s definitely a great, possibly the best, place to start a business.
On a side note for how the times have changed - today I might try to get the $5,000 from a crowd-sourced funding site such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo. The process of doing so will automatically force me into developing a clear thinking strategy how I can actually execute my idea, thus making it a more viable proposal not only for others, but also myself. You’ve helped build a wide range of businesses over the years – how do you know when you’re on to a good idea? By keen observation and noticing when local + global interests meet. I might hear about a problem or challenge from somebody in one country and will try to validate this problem in a different place. To me that is one possible recipe of building a global business and coming up with good ideas for solutions to real world problems. This could also be one of the reasons why many people get their business ideas during travels. So if you don’t have an idea which business you could start - travel :) Another clear metric to know that you’re onto something is if your “traction” shows this. Traction can have many faces such as investors knocking on your door, customers standing in line to buy your product, the press featuring you regularly and so on. Even competitors sending you lawsuits or somebody wanting to silence you by buying you out can be a sign of traction. However, while traction is a powerful ally (i.e. to raise funds etc.), it is also an unsustainable one. The moment you start asking people what they want and primarily follow that path, you all to easily lose that very thing that brought you that traction in the first place - doing what you envisioned was right in the time to come. This is one of the hardest things to do and one of the problems I see with validating ideas and
building viable businesses. Many people don’t really know what they want and businesses don’t know what they need until a certain thing happens. That moment in time however always - per definition - is in the future and it is then when big, new markets are created that didn’t exist before and when the next Fortune 500 company is born. And is it true that building businesses gets easier each time? I’m not sure about this one. I wonder what Richard Branson would say to this question just after he opened Virgin Atlantic and had to deal with British Airways at the time, though he was already an incredibly successful global entrepreneur. No. I don’t think it gets easier. Sometimes it definitely gets harder, as in my case, with Unified Inbox. This is logical in some way considering that overall life should make sense, and in entrepreneurs so by building up momentum for ever increasing challenges. So no business is quite the same and serial entrepreneurs would naturally look out for new challenges rather than repeating ones. Just like you probably wouldn’t buy exactly the same car make and model again. Sure the process, such as legal, accounting etc. stuffs gets easier (and is known) and you also tend to work with trusted people that you know for years and therefore (hopefully) make less mistakes in selecting new ones. But, thinking because you were successful once, you’d automatically be it again, definitely a “no”. In fact, with every success, you have something “more” to lose. When you have
nothing, you can only give it a fair go and see where you reach. Once we have something, we tend to grow fears of losing something else. Questions like “Should I start this business even though I might be sued by corporation A and might lose all the money I made from my previous business?” involuntarily come and such fears have never been good for real innovation. From that perspective it definitely doesn’t get easier. Also one should never underestimate luck. No matter what you do right or wrong and which paths you choose, there is always a huge amount of luck involved in any entrepreneurial journey. This has to do with timing more than anything else, such as to meeting the right people at the right time, under the right circumstances and to think, say, feel and do the right things given that opportunity. Maybe this explains why many entrepreneurs eventually become investors and then sit on boards and advise others rather than keep riding the entrepreneurial rollercoaster themselves. There are only but a very few true serial entrepreneurs anywhere in the world and this is true for New Zealand, too. No wonder, considering it takes several years and a fair deal of sacrifices to build a business up to a certain size or stability. Is New Zealand a good place to start a business and are there any ways we can improve? To start a business I believe it’s one of the best places on Earth and that’s one of the reasons I’m here. So “good” wouldn’t do justice to New Zealand, it’s definitely a great, possibly the best, place to start a business.
But there are definitely drawbacks, yes. New Zealand’s beautiful outdoors and lifestyle temptations don’t really help with being focused on business all the time - and at least for balance maybe, that is a good thing. But pushing harder and further from New Zealand often doesn’t happen. It happens then when people move overseas and open overseas offices to serve bigger markets. The biggest challenges here in New Zealand are: •
Lack of practical understanding around startups from the government (despite ease of doing business and great support in grants and services) - which could be solved by having more entrepreneurial-friendly government employees, No proper investor environment for startups (hardly any VCs and while there are a lot of property investors there are very few real angel investors that have been entrepreneurs themselves) - this will take time to grow,
Lack of skilled people in certain areas - could be solved by making a startup visa initiative like Canada does,
Distance to other markets (both location and time zone wise)
Learning from our mistakes is essential if we are to grow as entrepreneurs. What’s one of the biggest mistakes you’ve made as an entrepreneur and what lessons did you take away from it? Not sure if it is a mistake - but I think I started too many businesses too soon after another. By spreading my focus and energy across (at one point) 7 different ideas that I wanted to all turn into ventures, I lost the opportunity to really own one marketplace for one of these ventures. Today I consider this a mistake, but I don’t know about my perception tomorrow. Mostly there is no good or bad - history makes it so. To give an example: by losing that one market of one of the ventures, I certainly lost Mio. of $’s in sales. But it also opened multiple new opportunities that I was forced to enter into afterwards and which - at the moment - are growing much slower than this big one would have. However seen overall - if only some of the new opportunities take off, they will eventually by far exceed the “owning of the one marketplace”. When analysing mistakes, I think there is an immediateconstant (clear) and delayed/ever-changing (clouded in time) take away for them. For instance, I clearly learnt that focus
is very very important and never to be underestimated in anything I do in my life or business. But I also realise that what is seen as a mistake today, may appear to have been a great decision tomorrow and what was a great decision today, doesn’t appear so bright after all when time passes and the overall history changes. So while mistakes are providing a great learning opportunity, they need to be re-evaluate with the passing of time in order to get the maximum out of them. Were there times you doubted yourself in building your business? If so, what advice would you give to those who have periods of doubt about whether or not they’ll make it? Yes, I noticed that I have around 3-4 such - sometimes quite severe - phases (of a day or two) every year (so around one per quarter) when this happens. This is almost built-in and could be compared to the four seasons. So far, I have not found a way to avoid this completely, but I found some ways to manage it. At those times, I usually shut myself off the world and just want to be with myself, alone, to think and feel inside my “self”. Big questions come up like “did I really want to get into this?” or “is this really still what I want to do?”. “How did that happen?”, “why did I take that money?” and “why did I make this decision?”. It’s a house or spring cleaning of sorts, recurring regularly every quarter. I got used to it now, but it was pretty tough in the beginning. However, the reality is that without doubting myself, my business, and the decisions I’ve taken - chances are that I’m missing a big growth opportunity, both for myself personally and for my company (and my team) professionally. One thing that I’ve been extremely disciplined with and that so far had the biggest positive impact on my life and business in order to deal with challenging situations both from outside and inside has been learning how to meditate and doing self-analysis properly. Doing “self-analysis” regularly several times a week, in a calm atmosphere and alone, I have been able to reduce the quarterly “doubt” attacks significantly. To reach a point where this “self-analysis” is actually valuable and really works, meditation has proven to be an invaluable tool. Both combined help driving life and work with an improved steering wheel and the ability to shift gears if and when necessary.
To find out more about Toby and Unified Inbox, visit their website at www.unifiedinbox.com and www.tobyruckert.com
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Get your business off to a great start Securing a business name is simple with the new ONECheck online tool from Business.govt.nz Simply enter your proposed name, hit search and you’ll find out immediately if your name is available as a company name, website address and trademark.
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I P / I n n o vat i o n
Scammed Again? IP IN ACTION By Corinne Blumsky
Almost every day we are contacted by clients seeking confirmation about whether the communication they have received about another party registering their domain name is genuine! In almost 100% of cases the communication is a scam. So beware! To avoid being scammed, business owners must be on the alert and have systems in place to check the authenticity of all the correspondence they receive.
Domain name scams A domain name is simply an internet address, used to help people get to a website. For example, the AJ Park domain name is ajpark.com. As domain names must be renewed every couple of years, there are many opportunities for scammers to target owners. Domain name renewal scams can work in one of two ways. You might be sent an invoice for a domain name that is very similar to your current domain name - the scammer hopes that you don’t notice the difference and just pay the invoice. Alternatively, you could be sent a letter that looks like a renewal notice for your actual domain name, but is from a different company to the one you have previously used to register your domain name. Domain name holders are currently being targeted by fraudsters seemingly trying to help them get a domain name ahead of another party in either Hong Kong or China, or some other Asian country. The target email looks legitimate but it is easy to be fooled. It is not uncommon for some businesses to receive several scam letters in a week. They range from bogus invoice-like letters (trying to fool the account payer into paying for an alleged service), to letters that offer a new domain name similar to the business’s existing domain name. Other letters may offer website hosting, redirecting or email services. The creativity of a scammer has no boundaries. Many businesses choose to register many different levels of their name to ensure that all versions lead to their main website so customers can easily find them. It is this aspect of the domain name system that is exploited in some of the letters sent seeking domain name registrations. The letters
sent can look real, so if you are not on the alert, you could find yourself either the victim of a scam or the owner of an unnecessary new domain name. Scammers may also try to dupe you by charging you for a domain name that is very close to your existing one. They hope you won’t notice and pay their invoice. You’d be surprised how often they get away with it! So how do you avoid being scammed? You can avoid getting caught out by a scam by: •
Managing your domain names through a credible and reliable provider
Becoming familiar with the domain name registration and renewal process
Knowing the domain names you have and where you have licensed them
Being cautious of correspondence from any business, other than your local attorney firm, that seeks money for your domain names,
Setting up good business practices.
P E R S ONA L T R A I N E R What is a good business practice? A good business practice does not need to be onerous. Consider the following: Domain names: •
Reading the letter received carefully. Sometimes these letters are poorly written and do not make much sense this is a huge clue they are a scam!
Keeping a record of your domain names. Know what domain names you have registered, who your registrar is, and when each domain name falls due for renewal.
Checking all details on any invoice or letter received.
Checking the rates, terms and conditions on a renewal notice to see if they compare with those offered by your current provider.
Checking the website address carefully. Scammers often set up fake websites with similar addresses.
Assigning one person in the business to be responsible for making any payments for domain names.
Checking the service was ordered and delivered before paying an invoice.
Other steps to take: •
Checking the New Zealand Commerce Commission website (www.comcom.govt.nz).
Checking Scamwatch (www.consumeraffairs.govt. nz/scamwatch/), an information service run by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs which gives details of current scams.
Checking the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch website for current scams (www.scamwatch.gov.au).
Report scams to the above organisations so they can alert others.
If you are not sure whether the letter you have received is legitimate, check it out with your service provider. But make sure that you check before you pay the invoice or reply to the sender. Once paid, the fraudster will be off. And once you reply, it is difficult to stop the flood of further letters you will receive. Scams are designed to trick you into giving away your money or important information. Don’t let them get you. Be alert to fraudsters.
Written by Corinne Blumsky, Corrine is a trademark partner at AJ Park. An edited version of this column appeared in NZ Retail, issue 715.
Entrepreneurial Intelligence with Sandy Geyer Expanding the team By Sandy Geyer
I have been advised by my business mentor to delay paying my creditors for as long as possible to make sure I have the full benefit of those extra funds for as long as possible. Would you agree? I have a better idea. Don’t pay your business mentor and pay everyone else on time! Seriously, there are two important issues here that need to be addressed. The first is: your credibility. You agree to payment terms in some form when accepting services or goods from another company and defaulting on that agreement is a terrible reflection on your credibility. In my experience, the world turns, and what you put out there will come back to you. You have far more to gain from sticking to your word and establishing a trustworthy relationship with your suppliers. They might lead you to new customers and will always be willing to help you if you ever run into genuine cash flow breaks. The other issue is that by squeezing your supplier’s cash flow reserves and ensuring that they have to spend a lot of time chasing you for payment, you are contributing to, if not actually creating, a hostile business environment. As entrepreneurs we need to do the opposite and encourage good business practice. There are far more positive ways of providing for a healthy cash flow and I would strongly advise you to switch to a business mentor who can advise you constructively and positively in this area. In each issue Sandy will be answering commonly asked questions from new entrepreneurs. If you have a question for Sandy to do with entrepreneurship, building successful businesses or the challenges and difficulties faced by entrepreneurs, email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sandy Geyer is an entrepreneur and mentor and teaches the principles of entrepreneurial intelligence (EnQ), to entrepreneurs in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. You can visit Sandy’s website at www.enqpractice.com
TAKING THE PLUNGE
Ryan Baker Timely
Profile by Nick Harley
Each month, we talk to an up and coming New Zealand entrepreneur who has set about turning their idea into a real business. Briefly tell us about your business. How did you first come up with the idea? Timely is a cloud-based appointment scheduling system for small businesses in service industries; like clinics, salons, tutors, tradies etc. We launched in August 2012 and have businesses, in 12 countries so far, using Timely to schedule appointments, keep customer records, roster staff hours, take online bookings, automate tasks like SMS reminders & monitor their business performance via reports. Prior to starting Timely, Andrew and I co-founded BookIt - an online booking engine for the tourism industry which was acquired by Trade Me in 2010. When we started our new business, it made sense to reuse the knowledge that we had built up in this space and we had seen that existing appointment scheduling systems in the market were pretty ordinary. So away we went! What is the big goal for your business? Our goal is to make people’s lives better. Our customers are small business owners like us, who are super busy and are juggling work and life commitments. We love hearing from customer’s like Blair, a chiropractor in Wellington who said “Timely has given us something back that it’s hard to put a dollar value on... time in the evenings. Being a busy, working parent who now gets more time to play with my 3 year old, I am finding it brilliant.” What inspired you to take the plunge? We were inspired by our previous experience riding the start-up roller coaster. You get addicted to the highs and lows of building a business. We had also seen the amazing things that other Kiwi companies were doing with cloud software, particularly Xero and the ecosystem that was forming around them. So the planets aligned and it all pointed in one direction for us to get cracking building some sweet scheduling software in the cloud for small businesses.
What have you found to be the most challenging aspect of building your business so far? The big challenge will be over the next few months as we start to grow the team. We have a small team currently of founders who wear a lot of hats and get stuff done. But we are growing quickly and we need to find amazing people to join us on the roller coaster. What keeps you going when you feel like giving up? Knowing that there are highs that come after the lows is what keeps you going. The low points are often where you can learn the most and add the most value to the business. I often tell founders in the early stages - if you haven’t curled up in the fetal position on the floor with a tear in your eye yet, then you’re not doing it right. When things go well again, those low points make the wins taste that much sweeter. What advice would you give to any people reading this who are thinking of starting a business? Get out and talk to lots of people, especially the potential customers for your business. Once you have confirmation that there is demand for the product or service - then make a plan to deliver on it. Once you start riding the roller coaster, don’t get off, hang in there. Most successful businesses come down to a mixture of hard work and determination. For more information about Timely visit www.gettimely.com Are you a New Zealand entrepreneur that has recently “taken the plunge?” Would like to tell our readers your own story? Get in touch with Nick at email@example.com
Getting It Done
Learning To Say No By Stephen Lynch
Business leaders tend to be incredibly busy individuals. “Busyness” should never be confused with effectiveness however. We need to switch from being busy, to achieving results By Stephen Lynch
Effective leaders need to have the courage to ‘prune the rosebush’ – because that is exactly what you must do if you want to create beautiful blooms. ssuming you have a clear vision for your business, and have carefully chosen a small handful of strategic projects to focus on this quarter (one to
three maximum) – i.e. those actions which will position your firm for future success in your industry – you must
Drucker offered the following tips to help you become a more effective business leader: Put all activities, products, services, and people regularly “on trial for their lives” and get rid of those activities and people that cannot prove their productivity.
achieving these project outcomes.
Do not invest any more resources into activities that are no longer productive – or those that are unlikely to be productive in the future
What % of time do you spend focusing on strategic projects that will move your business forward? If you take a typical week and track every hour how you actually spend your time, the answer will likely shock you.
Prune ruthlessly. Yesterday’s successes always linger long beyond their productive life. Cut out activities that have ceased to promise future results. Ask - is this still worth doing?
Warren Buffet once said, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say NO to almost everything.” Very successful people force themselves to focus on what is strategically important and eliminate everything else.
Put your best people to work on the opportunities of tomorrow, not fixing the past
ensure that you and your people devote a sufficient % of your time each week to work on activities aligned to
Peter Drucker recommended that business leaders concentrate on the few things that will produce the greatest results. Do first things first - and second things not at all. There are always more things to do than there is time available. The changing environment outside your firm is the only area where results occur and that is where leaders need to focus their attention. But pressures always drag you back inside the firm. They drag you into what has happened, over what will happen in the future - the current crisis over the future opportunity - the urgent over the important. Creating a winning strategy, with clear strategic projects is the first step. To do that, you need to employ a disciplined strategic decision making process. However, the execution of strategic projects is still the major challenge for most business leaders, and it often requires a “stop doing list.”
Get rid of everything else so you can focus on the few activities that if done with excellence, will really make a difference in the future. Everyone is already too busy working on the activities of yesterday. Have the courage to get rid of an old activity before you start a new one. It is too easy to keep adding more activities, more projects, more products, more services. As I often tell clients, effective leaders need to have the courage to ‘prune the rosebush’ – because that is exactly what you must do if you want to create beautiful blooms. It sounds simple, but simple does not necessarily mean easy. It’s hard to stop doing things we have become attached to. Take a look at your current activities/products / services. What is on your “stop doing list” this year?
Stephen Lynch is the Chief Operating Officer of Results.com
T H E PA D D O C K Whatâ€™s happening in the NZ entrepreneur ecosystem
Upcoming ICEHOUSE Events First Wednesdays - 5th June 2013 On the First Wednesday of every month, The ICEHOUSE opens up to ambitious entrepreneurs who are hungry to understand the steps to start-up business success. Spend an afternoon with the experts at The ICEHOUSE Business Growth Centre, recognised by Forbes.com as one of the worldâ€™s Top 10 Technology Incubators. For more information visit: www.theicehouse.co.nz/first-wednesday/ Hatchery Entree Workshop 20th June 2013 The Hatchery Entree Workshop at The ICEHOUSE is an opportunity for ambitious entrepreneurs to learn more about the ICEHOUSE Hatchery Programme and the fundamentals of start-up success. The workshop is aimed at entrepreneurs who are at the beginning of their start-up journey, that have a great idea and want to put a framework in place to figure out the next steps. For more information visit: www.theicehouse.co.nz/hatchery-entree-workshop/
T o m o rr o w s E n t repre n e u rs
Eight amazing Kiwi’s announced as Hall of Fame laureates The 2013 laureates for the Fairfax Media New Zealand Business Hall of Fame have been announced, and will be inducted at a gala dinner on 31 July. The laureates are:
Sir John Anderson: Sir John started his career working with Deloittes by day and studying accountancy at night. He joined the new formed merchant bank Southpac in 1972 and became Chief Executive in 1979. He led the organisation through mergers with The National Bank in 1989 and ANZ in 2003. He retired as Chief Executive of ANZ National in 2005 and has since served on a number of boards as chair or director. These boards have included agriculture, health, media, industry, property, banking and other community roles, including chairmanship of New Zealand Cricket for 12 years.
Sir George Fistonich: Sir George Fistonich always had strong ambitions from an early age of becoming a winemaker. He leased two hectares of land from his father when he was just 21 years old and with just an acre of vines, he started making wine commercially under the name Villa Maria. Sir George has been a pioneer of the New Zealand wine industry ever since. Sir George set up a winemaking and viticultural cadet scheme within Villa Maria, and the company was also one of the founding members of Sustainable Winegrowing NZ. Sir George was knighted in 2009 for his services to the wine industry and he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Wine Challenge Awards in London in 2011.
Sir Colin Giltrap: Sir Colin’s passion for cars began at a young age , and he bought and sold Morris Minors cars as a teenager before opening his first car dealership, Monaco Motors, in Hamilton in 1966. Sir Colin’s empire extended through the Waikato to Auckland and then across the Tasman and into the United Kingdom.
Sir Dryden Spring: Sir Dryden has spent a lifetime at the forefront of New Zealand business, particularly in the agriculture and banking industries. He was chair of the NZ Co-operative Dairy Company from 1982 to 1989, and then chairman of the New Zealand Dairy Board for the following 10 years. Sir Dryden also represented New Zealand’s interests in Asia for many years as a member of the APEC Eminent Persons Group which drafted the APEC Vision of “Free and Open Trade in the Asia Pacific”, and the APEC Business Advisory Council. He was also a trustee of the Asia NZ Foundation for 10 years and Chairman for five years. Sir Dryden was awarded an honorary Doctor of Sience by Massey University in 2000, and knighted in 1994 for services to the dairy industry sector and to New Zealand.
Hugh Green (1932-2012) Hugh Green was born in Ireland and left school at the age of 12 to work with livestock and at cattle fairs. He worked in Scotland, England and Australia before he was 20, and then settled in New Zealand. Hugh and friend Barney McCahill formed a company that grew to become one of the major civil construction firms in the country. Hugh went on to have interests in engineering, construction and property investment. Hugh established the Hugh Green Trust in 1968, which became the Hugh Green Foundation in 1998. The foundation gives away $1.5m to $2m each year and has supported organisations including St Vincent De Paul Society, the Fred Hollows Foundation, Diabetes New Zealand and Medicine Mondiale.
Sir Colin has mentored many young motorsport drivers including Indy driver Scott Dixon, AIGP drivers Matt Halliday and Jonny Reid, and teenage star Mitch Evans. He is a life member of Yachting New Zealand, Patron of the McLaren Trust and a proud supporter of the Starship Foundation and many other recognised charities. Sir Colin was knighted in 2012 for services to motorsport and philanthropy.
T o m o rr o w s E n t repre n e u rs Mary Jane Innes (1852–1941) Mary Jane Innes was born in Wales but immigrated to New Zealand in 1870. After marrying husband Charles, the couple worked together in a brewery. Charles was the brewer and Mary Jane was the business manager. After Charles Innes was declared bankrupt in 1888, Mary Jane took over
the management of the Te Awamutu Brewery. A year later she took over Waikato Brewery as well. As a female living in the late 19th century, Mary Jane was never publicly acknowledged as the business owner. But she went on to create a soda and bottling factory, and her forward thinking laid the foundations for Waikato Breweries and also for soft drink giant Oasis Industries –now New Zealand’s largest bottling company.
Val Barfoot (1897–1987) & Maurice Thompson (1907–1968): Val Barfoot and Maurice Thompson created a real estate firm that is synonymous with real estate in New Zealand today. Val Barfoot bought a Newmarket land agency business in 1923 and eleven years later Maurice Thompson joined the firm. The business boomed following the end of the Second World War and by 1956 they had 15 branches throughout Auckland. Barfoot & Thompson is now New Zealand’s largest privately owned real estate company, and is still run by the Barfoot and Thompson families. The business that Val and Maurice grew now has over 1,400 salespeople in 62 branches throughout Auckland and Northland. Maurice passed away in 1968. Val retired in 1973 after 50 years in the business, and died in 1987.
Terry Shubkin, CEO Young Enterprise Trust
any people know of our work with young people, but there is another string to our bow that we’re very proud of. In 1994, we created
the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame which recognises New Zealanders who have made important contributions to business and the community. Each year, a select group of people are announced as Hall of Fame laureates. Each laureate is inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Governor-General who is our Patron. This month, we are proud to announce the 2013 laureates. These men and women have incredible stories of enterprise and dedication, and we’re delighted to help celebrate their success. The gala dinner will be held on Wednesday 31 July at The Langham, Auckland. We’d love to see you there – tickets are available by phone on 04 5700452 or online at www.businesshalloffame.co.nz
Young Enterprise Trust is dedicated to growing a more prosperous New Zealand through enterprise. Our aim is to ensure all New Zealand students participate in experiential enterprise education and financial literacy programmes. Young Enterprise also runs the Fairfax Media NZ Business Hall of Fame, which recognises New Zealanders who have made outstanding contributions to business and the community.
Support Young Enterprise Trust at Give A Little
BP Challenge This month saw me become a judge for the afternoon at the BP Business Challenge, a program led by the Young Enterprise Trust helping to inspire the next generation of Kiwi entrepreneurs.
t’s actually fairly intimidating being applauded by 150 or so high school pupils as you and your fellow judges enter the room. It must be even more intimidating for the
pupils, who after several days of hard work and preparation, have to pitch their business ideas multiple times in front of complete strangers. The BP Business Challenge enters high schools as a unique 3 day experiential learning programme that develops skills, understandings and attitudes about how a successful business operates and connects the students with their local business community.
throughout the program. Catering for seasonal sales, projected units sold and customer acquisition strategies, which were present in every business pitch we heard. There have been several success stories throughout the programme’s history that have seen pupils go on to launch their businesses in the real world and generate real profits. I was truly inspired by the afternoon’s events and can only congratulate all the people involved in this fantastic scheme. I urge you to take on the role of judge one afternoon and help out the Young Enterprise Trust. If you can’t afford to contribute some of your time then head over to the Trust’s ‘Give A Little’ page and donate what you can for this amazing scheme helping to generate New Zealand’s future entrepreneurs.
In just three days the students: • Form a virtual company, with an organisational structure and directors roles.
On the final day, the students present their business ideas, creations and discoveries to a panel of judges at a business expo. The judges, who are typically local business people, celebrities and MP’s, evaluate each team’s presentation and determine a winning team.
• Devise a product which solves a problem, or fills a need.
I really didn’t know what to expect when I agreed to do this but I was simply blown away by the experience. Not only did these pupils deliver well rehearsed and professional pitches, their display stands had been meticulously thought out to present solid business cases. What surprised me most about these budding entrepreneurs is the ingenuity of their ideas, some of which could well go on to be highly successful businesses.
• Develop a business plan including strategic planning, finance, sales and marketing and production elements.Prepare and deliver a ten minute presentation of their business to the panel of judges.
• Research the product, target market and competition.
It was also clear that they had been expertly tutored
Startup Showcase Wraps Capital Around Digital Tech Nine digital startup companies sought more than $2 million at New Zealand’s largest-ever gathering of ‘angel’ investors in Wellington. The event was attended by many of the movers and shakers in the New Zealand startup scene and it was fantastic to see the Lightning Lab programme so heavily supported by the early stage business community.
ightning Lab Demo Day, was the investment showcase
were selected from 80 applications for the Lightning Lab late
for New Zealand’s first digital startup accelerator
last year and received $6000 per head from a set of founding
programme, which saw 12 weeks of intense business
investors to undertake a three-month intensive acceleration
development, mentoring and pitch practice come to a head in
programme designed to get digital concepts validated, built
front of 300 people, half of whom were looking to invest.
and established with early customers and a huge opportunity
The nine companies pitching for seed investment at the event
for global growth.
Lightning Lab programme director Dan Kahn says the progress he has seen the teams of entrepreneurs since they entered Lightning Lab in February has been phenomenal, and far from easy. “Most of these teams have now lived through an experience unlike anything they have ever been faced with. The amount of pressure and rigour they have been exposed to has targeted getting them ready to go up in front of this huge tranche of potential support.” “All of them have turned an idea into a global business opportunity. Investors at Demo Day are looking to get in early on the potential upside of startup businesses with real traction,” Kahn says. The inaugural Lightning Lab class, the startup companies have spent 12 weeks surrounded by local and international mentors, a programme of hard deadlines in terms of growth targets, and a structured model for accelerating early stage business growth based on international best practice. Tui Te Hau, CEO of Wellington startup incubator Creative HQ, says 18 months of hard work getting public and private support to set up Lightning Lab has proven to be well worth it at Demo Day. “We saw this as a natural evolution for the Kiwi startup ecosystem; the support from Ministry of Business Innovation ad Employment and the founding investors showed a real and committed vision in terms of creating a new generation of global digital companies from New Zealand.”
Any investment secured through Demo Day will go to the next stage of development and expansion into global markets, Te Hau says, a journey that was strewn with failed ventures. “Lightning Lab is turning out 30 entrepreneurs with a harder edge and a keener and smarter drive to succeed than many. How far they go is up to them, but these companies are 12 weeks old and they already have more scars than most get in several years,” she says. Applications for the Lightning Lab 2014 intake will open in September this year.
See www.lightninglab.co.nz for team profiles and further Lightning Lab programme information. You can also contact Nick Churchouse at firstname.lastname@example.org
P A R T I N G S H OT
Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are asking, what’s in it for me? ” Brian Tracy