NZ Entrepreneur Issue 19

Page 1


June 2014

We interview

Tim von Dadelszen

Life Direct of


Interviews with other World Class #nzentrepreneurs

NZ Small Business Why do we fail?

Page Six

Five Ways To Improve Your Call To Action Buttons Page Twenty

Why your Business is not your Baby Page Sixteen

Latest News from Young Enterprise Trust Page Ten & Page Twenty-eight

Page Thirty

iP is about igniting passion Great ideas shape our world if they are harnessed and protected in the right way. At AJ Park, we work with you to understand your business and where you want to take it. Our experts specialise in helping you identify, protect, commercialise, and manage your intellectual property. If you’re looking for clear IP advice, call us today. 0800 257 275 I I New Zealand + Australia

AJ Park is about iP • intellectual property • igniting passion • ideas pervading 2 •

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

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From the Editor NZ Small Business Why do we fail? Interview: Tim Von Dadelson of Life Direct Three reasons why your business is not your baby

GROUP EDITOR / Nick Harley CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER / Alastair Noble CONTENT ENQUIRIES / Phone Richard on (09) 522 7257 or email ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES / Phone Richard on (09) 522 7257 or email ADDRESS / NZ Entrepreneur, C/- Espire Media, PO Box 99758, Newmarket, Auckland 1151, NZ


Five Ways to Improve your Call-to-action Buttons


Got your registered trademark! What’s next?


Young Enterprise Trust

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Interview: Max Voskob of MVentory


ISSN 2253-5683 NZ Entrepreneur is a GREEN MAG created and distributed without the use of paper so it’s environmentally friendly. Please think before you print. Thank you!

Parting Shot • 3


NOT EVERYBODY creates a business with the goal of selling it, but what does set successful entrepreneurs apart is their ability to separate a business from their personal commitment.

Founder’s syndrome is a very real problem and it’s important you realise the symptoms.

In this issue you’ll hear some great advice from other entrepreneurs who have similar messages. Treat Any decisions that are made your business as another must be in the best interest person entirely and always of the company, not for the be working towards a stage people that are running it, and where the business can it’s hard to take emotion out survive without you, even of the equation when people if you have no intentions of are too focused on their own selling right now. personal outcomes. Otherwise you might find You’ll hear this time and yourself needing to escape, time again, but if you can’t but without any sign of an remove yourself from a exit point. business without it failing, you have a dilemma.



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Good business is getting a small business package worth up to $700. *

It’s Talk to us about all the free features of

0800 269 763

Our small business team is available 7am-7pm Monday to Friday, and 8am-2pm on weekends. *Based on the total amount of fees that a business will save over 12 months if it takes up all of the features of our small business package. Businesses can obtain any or all of the features of the Small Business Edge for free, except for the independent business assessment which is free for businesses that take up a minimum of 2 other Small Business Edge features. Product and fee waivers only available for 12 months. Simply make your first purchase within 12 months of your credit card account opening to get the interest rate of 2.99% per annum. After 12 months from the date of your first purchase, any outstanding balances will revert to the current credit card interest rate. Other fees may apply. • 5


NZ SMALL BUSINESS Why do we fail?

By Bob Weir

New Zealand is a nation of small businesses. The Small Business Advisory Group states that: “97% of all enterprises in New Zealand employ 19 or fewer staff. 69% have no employees.” Unfortunately, far too many of them fail prematurely.

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THE STATISTICS NEW ZEALAND report, Business Demography Statistics Feb 2013 provides some sobering quotes: • In 2013, 42,690 new enterprises started operation (births) and 46,550 enterprises ceased operation (deaths) • Of the births in 2012, 84 per cent survived the first year. • Howecer, only 27% of enterprises survived to their 10th year. It’s worth noting that in these statistics, company births and deaths exclude temporary inactivity; mergers, takeovers; or any change in the structure of an existing business. The smaller you are the more likely you are to fail. The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) report, Small Business in New Zealand 2013 states that from 2009 to 2012, only 53% of ‘non-employing’ businesses survived, and only 31% of businesses with one to five employees. However, 94% of companies with greater than 50 employees survived the same period.

Small business failures cannot be considered a minor issue for New Zealand considering that small business is central to New Zealand’s economy. The MBIE report states that over 30% of all New Zealand’s employees work in businesses with less than 20 employees and 50% are in companies with fewer than 50 people. 15% of New Zealand’s export income and over 27% of our GDP comes from businesses with less than 20 people. Considering the importance of small business, we need to understand why failure rates are so high, and more importantly, what we can do to improve the situation. Here are the key reasons why small businesses fail: We, the business owners, are an issue! We are the small business’ greatest strength. Unfortunately, we are also its greatest threat! Too often we apportion success or failure to external factors or the government ‘failing’ to do something. Unfortunately success or failure is nearly always driven from within. • 7

Life in small business does not live up to our expectations.

We lack basic financial skills and disciplines

It is very easy to start a business in New Zealand and we often do it for lifestyle reasons. We have an idea; a passion; a love - or we simply want the freedom small business offers. Unfortunately, we find the work that was born out of love becomes a chore, requiring us to use less familiar and less pleasant skills. We are earning much less than we thought.

We have an inability to grasp and accurately track day-today financial performance. We may have strong growth potential but we are crippled with insufficient cash. We have insufficient cash reserves for the down times. We have too many fixed costs. We may not be managing our commitments with the IRD. We may not be vigorously chasing every dollar owed to us. If we don’t like or understand the financials we can be too embarrassed to ask questions.

We don’t have a long-term view We often don’t take a long-term view; we have no strategy, no business plan, and no exit strategy or succession plan. We see strategy as the domain of big business, when it can be brief and simple. Strategy should address some simple questions: What is the core purpose of this business? What are our three to five year goals? What external threats and opportunities might exist? What are we good at and not good at? What will we do, and more importantly what won’t we do?

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We don’t employ and keep the right people We often fail to employ the right people, struggle to manage our employees, and many of us dislike peoplemanagement challenges. We are petrified of the Employment Relations process. We struggle to understand that our employees will never be as devoted to the business as we are. We don’t articulate what we expect of our employees; we don’t give them feedback, and rarely assess their performance.

We too often Go-It-Alone

on our old Yellow Pages advert and then waiting for the calls won’t cut it anymore!

We don’t surround ourselves with expertise, nor seek help. We believe we don’t need help, or if we acknowledge we need When we do grow, we fail to help we think it’s too expensive. control it. We fail to realise the cost of Those of us that do grow do it suffering in silence is huge. in an uncontrolled manner. We over commit and fail to consider We lack sufficient funds (we the worst-case scenarios. are under-capitalised) While there is never a We lack the funds to run the guarantee in small business, business and/or grow the there is some certainty that if business. We are reluctant to we ignore the above issues we consider all funding options will become a statistic. and have an inability to make So, let’s humbly accept our our business more attractive limitations and find people to to funders. help us. If they don’t meet our needs, change them. Let’s reassess where we are going and We don’t have even the most what our business goals are. basic marketing plan We don’t have even a basic marketing plan which retains existing customers and attracts new customers. We are reluctant to put ourselves out there to engage with new customers. We hate cold calling! We may also fail to accept that we need to use the online world to find, attract and keep customers. Relying

Remember there are easier ways for us to make a living than in small business. However, if we know where we are heading; love what we do, ask and use help, manage our day-to-day operations; look after our people, then there may be few more rewarding ventures we can take on in our life than a small business! •

Bob Weir started Pinpoint Business as a way to provide real-world business experience to the many small business owners who are struggling to create their ideal business. With over 25 years of practical experience, Bob’s value is not in simply preaching theories or case studies, but in providing real-life experiences and guidance in decision making and planning. Find out more at • 9


Tim von Dadelszen

Life Direct

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Tell us about Life Direct, what is it exactly that you do? LifeDirect is an insurance comparison website and service. We provide a way for Kiwis to compare insurance prices and policies – simply, transparently, and without the usual hassle. Our core product lines are life insurance, health insurance and income protection, but note that we have a bunch of projects on the go and will be launching other product lines in the near future. Who are the founders? What’s the story behind the business, How did it get started and why? There are three people that have lost the most sleep (and hair) building the LifeDirect business: Conor Sligo, James Punnet, and me. We all have quite different skill-sets, and it is the combination of these that has put us in good stead. We constantly challenge each other on the little things (which is healthy), but tend to agree on the big picture stuff. Our idea for LifeDirect was simple. We saw the good that insurance does, providing

money when people need it most. But the process of comparing and starting insurance was difficult and antiquated. We wanted to give people an easier, simpler way to compare insurance and clear up the confusion that was involved with this important life decision. How did you survive those early days? Did you have any money? Did you make any sacrifices? How did you pay the bills and keep growing your business? The early days were rough. We didn’t make much money. Back in the early 2000s the internet was where people went to get information, but there wasn’t a huge amount of transactional behaviour going on. In the first couple of years the business was run on a shoestring budget, and the founders took almost nothing out. Personally I found it pretty stressful. There was a constant internal battle between, “I know this will work” and, “But what if it doesn’t?” The fear of failure was a big stick in those early days. • 11

Have you experienced any bad times? What was the most painful lesson you’ve had to learn in business? Those early years were littered with stress and doubt. To get a new business idea off the ground, you need to put a lot on the line. For me, it wasn’t so much introducing capital, but it was the huge amount of time, energy – and the opportunity cost if it didn’t work. Cash flow was always a problem, and this translated into tough times personally. Thinking back, I’m not sure how my girlfriend (now wife) put up with it. However, back then my personal situation was fairly uncomplicated – I didn’t have kids to feed for example.

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How have you managed to get customers? How do you market your products and what advice do you have for others around marketing? Before we sold the business to Trade Me, the cost of customer acquisition was always a challenge. SEM was always the key source of good quality traffic. Insurancerelated keywords are some of the most expensive in the world, so Google has done quite well out of us. Over the years we’ve tested pretty much everything, and have now got a strategy that delivers an ROI that we’re happy with. There’s always more to try, but it’s

Life Direct's HQ

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted: the trouble is I don’t know which half.” - John Wanamaker

Do entrepreneurs need lots of money or external funding to build a big business? Any advice for others looking to raise funding or for those who have little money to get going with? easy to waste money on marketing, so the trick is to measure everything. I always remember the famous John Wanamaker quote, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted: the trouble is I don’t know which half.” I think this nicely illustrates how difficult it is to make good advertising decisions.

It depends, of course, on the nature of the business, but in general I think funding facilitates speed. It’s a slow process building a significant business without funding, and not something I would do again. I think most people overestimate how hard it is to attract investors – there are lots of investors out there looking for opportunities. • 13

There are some personality traits that most entrepreneurs share, and in general I think you need to be a ‘perseverant problem


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What are the three most important business skills you would advise up and coming entrepreneurs to develop? There are some personality traits that most entrepreneurs share, and in general I think you need to be a ‘perseverant problem solver’. However, in terms of skills to develop, I can think of a couple that I had to work on. Networking – easier for some than others, but you definitely get better with practice. Financial knowledge – you don’t need to be an expert, but you do need to be able to read a P&L.

Without face-to-face customer contact there’s very little room for error, because you’re judged on the smallest things As a predominantly online business, what do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of selling online? The web provides a relatively low-cost way to disrupt. There are plenty of industries out there that still haven’t transitioned to online in a meaningful way, so this presents opportunities. I don’t think there are disadvantages of selling online, but I do think there are things you need to get right. An online business needs to design every customer touch point. Without face-to-face customer contact there’s very little room for error, because you’re judged on the smallest things.

What do you think are the things New Zealand needs to improve upon when it comes to creating more successful businesses? I won’t talk about internet speed, because that’s too obvious. Actually, I think we’re doing pretty well. As a small country, a huge challenge for us is keeping our talent - and attracting talent. Most of your readers would be familiar with the presentation that Sir Paul Callaghan gave at StrategyNZ 2011. I think he summed it up as well as anyone could. What’s next for you? Where do you see yourself and the business in five years’ time? I haven’t had much time to think that far ahead. There’s a truck load of work still to be done with LifeDirect, and plenty of fun stuff on the horizon. I’m also hopeful that being part of the wider Trade Me family will present new and interesting opportunities for me in the long term.• • 15


THREE REASONS WHY YOUR BUSINESS IS NOT YOUR BABY Before you read this article please take a moment to watch this quick video – the story of a woman who lost it all then rebuilt it – with major success. By Laura Humphreys

I LOVE HOW towards the end of the video, Kathleen King says the reason for the success of her second business was because she took the emotion out. “I knew I had to execute efficiently and grow a viable business,” she says, “I didn’t have the same emotional attachment that I had with

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my first business.” Her first business was her baby. After 23 years, when she was emotionally wrung out and exhausted from caring for this demanding baby for so long, she ended up $200,000 in debt instead of financially rewarded. Her baby bit her in the bum.

It’s not personal, it’s business How many times have you heard someone refer to their business their ‘baby’? Have you ever called your own business your baby? It’s a very common analogy and one we can all relate to given the blood, sweat and tears we put into our business when we decide to take that leap of faith and build our own dream. But in my view it’s not a good analogy at all. Here are the reasons why I strongly believe your business is not your baby: Babies are dependent on you for at least 18 years

Prepare to cut the apron strings before your baby turns five. Don’t get so attached that you are not willing to let go. A baby is the single most emotional connection you will ever have. You will love your baby forever, regardless of who they become. I’ll never forget my mother on the night before my wedding hugging me tight and saying (after a few wines), “I loved you the minute you were born: and then you started taking drugs!”

Yes, I was a troubled and troublesome teenager With business one of your (although I like to think there primary goals should be to were a few memories in decrease its dependency on you. A business is meant to be between birth and my first foray into magic mushrooms). an asset, not a job. But she still had to love me, In the first few years, there and thankfully still does. are some similarities with parenting a new-born for sure The emotional connection – long hours, sleepless nights, is what makes parenthood relentless giving of your time worthwhile. But in business, the emotion can make us and energy, to name but a few – but this is not meant to weak and cloud our judgment. Remember Kathleen King in last forever. Certainly not for the video? She had her first 18 years! • 17

to pay for you when you grow old? I know I don’t. That’s why I create businesses with a view to ensuring a financial pay back down the track, so I know I’ll be able to care for myself.

business – her baby – for 23 years and all it did was leave her with $200k in debt. Her second business she did without the emotion; just a clear plan and a determination to execute the plan. She went from scratch to $Six million in revenue in just eight years, selling cookies in 50 US states. A far cry from the 23 years of her previous business, where she kept her apron strings on right up to the very bitter end. A baby is unlikely to pay you back financially The days of the younger generation taking care of their parents financially are mostly over. Do you expect your kids

It’s important to view your business as an asset; something that you build to pay you back financially. Sure, you have to be passionate about what you do, and love your business for the difference it makes in the world. But don’t be so attached to it you can’t see it for what it really is: one of your primary wealth creation tools. Unlike a baby, it should be feeding you. In summary Your business is not a baby. It’s a business. The game is to keep the emotion out of it, decrease its dependency and regard it as an asset that will ultimately feed you financially, not drain all of your resources.•

Laura Humphreys started her working career as a secretary. She went on to build and sell a number of businesses, using a formula that she now teaches business owners around the world. Laura’s business and life journey has been full of highs and lows, her lessons well learned and her stories full of experience. Laura says, “if a secretary can build a multi-million dollar business, anyone can.” Laura’s book is available at

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Talk to one of our Business Consultants today and we’ll help drive your business forward. Call 0800 022 249To orfind visitout more about Brad and Storkk visit






Five Ways to Improve your Call-to-action Buttons By Duncan Jones

THE ONE ELEMENT that all websites have in common, whether an eCommerce site or lead generation, is call-toaction buttons. Each and every action you want your website visitors to take will have a CTA button to encourage them to take it. Every button is not created equal however, and there are still countless ‘Submit’ buttons around the internet that will be lowering conversion rates and losing companies sales or leads. One instance of changing and improving a button on a large eCommerce website resulted in a $300 million increase in sales annually; so improving your call-toaction buttons is extremely important. So how do you improve your own buttons?

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Ensure Your Buttons Look Like Buttons The majority of internet users have been trained over the years on how to use and navigate websites through repetition. They know what buttons are for and how to use them. Trying to be different and using text links or other design elements in place of buttons can hurt your conversion rates. Equally, making non-buttons look like buttons can cause confusion, and for people to click or focus on the areas that will not lead them to converting on your website. Ensure each of your buttons looks like a button to avoid any confusion for visitors.

Use Contrasting Colours

Once you have found the highest converting colour, you should ensure your There are many guides on website uses the same colour improving your conversion for all important CTA’s, so rate that explicitly say to visitors can easily find their use a certain colour (usually orange/red) for all of your CTA way through the form or buttons. However, this advice checkout process. ignores the most important Once you have your main part of picking your colour. button colour, you don’t need People’s eyes are drawn to contrast, so if you have a red-themed website and you implement red buttons there will not be as much contrast as if you had used a different colour such as yellow or blue. It is a good idea to split-test the colours you use, starting with the most contrasting colours.

to stop there; you can also split test different shades of the same colour. How many will depend on the traffic you get to your site. Google is a big believer in split-testing. For just one button on their Gmail webpage, they tested 40 different shades of blue to find the best performer. • 21

Test Your Button Copy One of the most important things to test to improve your CTA buttons is the copy used. A lot of buttons use standard text such as ‘Submit’, ‘Click Here’ or ‘More Info’ and whilst these may be the best buttons for your website, you will never know without splittesting different variations. To get you started, here are some rules that you should follow initially: • Your button text should describe exactly what your website visitor will get by clicking, ie: ‘Get Your Free e-Book,’ vs ‘Download Now’ • Write button copy in the first person, ie: ‘Start My Free 30 Day Trial,’ vs ‘Start Your Free 30 Day Trial’ • Start your button with ‘Get’ instead of ‘Order’ or ‘Buy’

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• Don’t use ‘Subscribe’, ‘Submit’ or ‘Sign Up’ – be more descriptive with your buttons

Test Different Button Sizes & Locations Equally as important as testing the button copy is testing where the button is located on the page, as well as the size of your buttons. Using a heat map tool such as Crazy Egg or Mouseflow allows you to track where your website visitors are navigating and clicking. Using this information, you can determine where the best place to put your buttons is. Utilising white space around your buttons and arrows pointing at your buttons are also elements worth testing as they can both have a big effect.

Make Your Main CTA Button Different Many websites have multiple product plans or options and most designers make all of these CTA buttons the same. To improve your conversion rate however, it is essential that one of the buttons is different to the others, so that it gets the focus on the page. This will draw your visitors’ eyes to the button you want them to click and give them a clear indicator on which option they should pick. This is especially true on eCommerce shopping cart pages, which usually have multiple buttons for updating the cart or removing items. In this case the main CTA button is the ‘Checkout’ button; this should have the focus. trialled this on their own buttons. In the original version the button which got clicked most often

was the third one, due to it standing out from the two other buttons. This however was a free plan and not the most important plan for the company to sell. Joanna Wiebe split-tested these buttons and put the focus on the middle plan, which they wanted to sell more of, by using a contrasting colour, and by ensuring each button contained a line of sub-text. The result of this test was an incredible 95% lift in conversions. Despite CTA buttons being a relatively small part of your total website design they are very important, and can have a big effect on your conversion rate and the success of your marketing campaigns. There are hundreds of different button variations and positions you can test so the important thing is to start split-testing now; you just might be surprised at the results! •

Duncan Jones is an online marketing specialist who likes to maximise the return from every marketing dollar spent online by using conversion rate optimisation. He runs an online marketing blog with actionable strategies, tips and tricks for every business in New Zealand. • 23


GOT YOUR REGISTERED TRADEMARK! WHAT’S NEXT? By Lynell Tuffery Huria, Special Counsel trademarks AJ Park

You have finally registered your trademark: time to celebrate! But what rights does your trademark registration grant you, and what else should you do to get the most out of your trademark portfolio? Here are five tips on how to obtain the most value from the investment in your brands and how to manage your portfolio.

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Monitor your market

Understand your rights Your registration entitles you to stop others from using a trademark that infringes upon your rights. It also grants you the exclusive right to use the same trademark on the same or similar goods and services. In certain situations, you can stop others from using a similar trademark on the same or similar goods and services, or the same trademark on different goods and services. For example, your registration may be restricted to goods such as computers or computer software, but you may be able to rely on this registration to stop others from using a similar trademark on related services such as the retail of computers or the development of computer hardware or software. Speak to your intellectual property (IP) advisor to find out when your mark can be relied on to stop unauthorised use.

To maintain a broad monopoly, you should monitor your market, because it is important you act quickly when you become aware of any unauthorised use by a third party. In most cases, dealing with unauthorised use will not require a court action: a simple notification of your rights is usually sufficient. An appropriate letter from your IP advisor could be all that is needed. Any delay in taking action could damage your chances of a successful outcome. Always use your trademark correctly As a trademark owner, you need to ensure your trademark is used correctly to maintain your monopoly. If you don’t, your trademark could suffer the same fate as trademarks such as ESCALATOR and LINOLEUM. Both of these names were once registered trademarks, but are now considered generic or descriptive names. • 25

To keep you mark distinctive, follow these rules:

Trademarks should always

Trademarks should never:

• Be followed by the descriptive name for the product.

• Be pluralised;

Correct use: SAVLON antiseptic cream, LUX soap, ELECTROLUX vacuum cleaner. Incorrect use: SAVLON, LUX, ELECTROLUX. • Look distinctive, preferably in all capitals or italics, with the descriptive name in lower case. Correct use: NILVERM sheep drench, VASELINE petroleum jelly. Incorrect use: nilverm drench, VASELINE JELLY.

Correct use: a range of formulations of SAVLON ANTISEPTICS. Incorrect use: a range of SAVLONS. • Be used in possessive form; Correct use: selective effectiveness of ROUNDUP herbicide. Incorrect use: ROUNDUP’S selective effectiveness. • Be used with any description other than the proper descriptive commercial name; Correct use: RESENE paints. Incorrect use: RESENE products. • Be abbreviated, or used with other terms. Correct use: DULUX acrylic house paint. Incorrect use: acrylic DULUX.

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Showcase your registration You are not obliged to show your trademark is a registered trademark, but we recommend you let others know your mark is registered. Use words such as registered trademark, registered mark, or symbols such as ®, or even the abbreviation TM. If you have space, we also recommend you include the name of the trademark owner, particularly if you are using trademarks owned by different companies on your packaging. This notice can be included in your sales literature if you do not have space on packaging. You must be careful not to indicate your mark is registered when it is not, because it is an offence to call a mark a registered trademark if it is not. If your mark is unregistered or is a pending application, you should use the words ‘trademark’ or the abbreviation TM.

Review your portfolio and fill any gaps in your level of protection. Your trademark registration covers one trademark for a specified range of goods or services. If you update or change your mark, or introduce a new range of goods or services, your trademark registration may not give you the rights you need. Introducing a regular review or discussion with your IP advisor on your trademark portfolio is important to ensure you have the on-going protection you need.• • 27


Young Enterprise Trust Terry Shubkin, CEO

Young Enterprise Trust THERE WAS A GREAT article on Stuff recently about the art of the elevator pitch. Every company needs to be able to explain in 30 seconds or less what they do, how they do it and why I as a listener should be interested. People of all ages find the elevator pitch a challenge to perfect, and we’re helping teens get to grips with the elevator pitch as well. There are over 500 student companies that have formed this year in The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme, and this month they have all been competing in their own regional Dragon’s Den competitions. Each company has just five minutes to pitch their business

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to a panel of local judges in the Dragon’s Den; just like the TV show. Companies are asked to outline their business practice, detail their marketing, production and financial plans, and convince the judges that their business is innovative and worthy of investment. It’s no easy task, and with the judges sitting through up to 20 presentations in a day, each company needs to kick off their presentation with an elevator pitch that gets the judges’ attention. I know teachers and mentors have been extremely proud of how students have stood up in the Dragon’s Den events around the country. Check out just some of the companies who’ve told us their story.

JESH Designs:: The JESH Designs multipurpose cushion is made using recycled materials

Teen Entrepreneurs Bring Businesses to Life TEENAGE ENTREPRENEURS throughout New Zealand are coming up with a wide array of business ideas as part of The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme. The year-long programme challenges students to set up and run a small business for a year. They research, produce and bring their new product or service to the market.

With more than 500 companies taking part, there are a wide range of ideas. JESH Designs, from Palmerston North Girls High School, has created a multipurpose cushion or footstool. The cushion is made from everyday recycled materials which are donated by local businesses. Uniquely, the cushions are held upright • 29

CREDIT Kevin Stent Fairfax NZ

Tash Gelato: The four members of Tash Gelato – Lilia Alexander, Kristina Hutley, Dorothy Tanuvasa and Shannon Sologar.

by being filled with recycled plastic bottles, which reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. The products come in three sizes and are available to order via their Facebook page. Gelato is the cool new trend, according to four students from Wellington’s Hutt Valley High School. Tash Gelato has teamed up with a gelato manufacturer to create a gelato flavoured with crushed pieces of Cadbury’s Pineapple

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Lumps. The team surveyed schoolmates to see what their favourite ‘Kiwiana’ flavour was. Pineapple lumps beat out pavlova and gingernuts, and the team got permission from Cadbury to use the confectionary in their gelato. The gelato is produced by Carrello del Gelato and could be sold nationwide through Carrello’s existing retail network. Not all companies are focusing on creating new

CREDIT Marion Van Dijk Fairfax NZ:

NEXT Social Media Consultancy. Rees Vinsen who runs NEXT Social.

products. Some are opting to run service businesses instead. Rees Vinsen from Nelson College has created Next Social Media Consultancy, and offers a range of services, including website building and social media marketing. Rees has worked with local businesses and has also picked up clients in the US,

Canada and parts of Europe. Rees has three fellow Nelson College students - working on commission - who pick up work for him when multiple projects are underway. He said the business was easy to set up, and he would continue to run it while studying a Bachelor of Commerce at Auckland University next year.•

Would you like to mentor a student company in 2015? Please contact Young Enterprise Trust on 04 570 0452 or email to volunteer. • 31


Max Voskob MVentory Briefly tell us about your business. How did you first come up with the idea?

A couple of years ago I was given an Android smartphone, and being a bit of a tinkerer I thought I’d learn how to program them. A quick project came to mind - help my friend to manage his website from the phone. We talked, I gave it a try, and then I hired a programmer to help me. Then I hired another; then we ended up signing up shops nearby as customers; and now we have several staff, some happy customers and a lot of growth potential ahead of us.

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What is the big goal for your business? We want to break the boundary between offline and online retail and warehousing. They are usually looked at as two completely separate businesses, with the online one being the poor cousin. What we say is, what’s in the store should be online and what’s online should be in stock, or at least available.

What inspired you to take the plunge? I am fascinated with the opportunities brought to us by these little devices. Some of them pack more computing power than an old laptop. They have cameras, Wi-Fi, super-crisp screens and the main thing is they are always with us. A traditional checkout system needs a scanner and costs thousands. Even the newer iPad-based systems need an external scanner. A smartphone can scan any barcode or even an RFID tag. What have you found to be the most challenging aspect of building your business so far? My experience was mainly in SaaS and building exporting businesses that operate online only. Here we have to deal with real people; meet them face to face; hear their stories, try to understand their specific needs. It is very different from the faceless interaction our team was used to.

What keeps you going when you feel like giving up? We haven’t had that moment yet. It has been quite positive so far. Our product has just been released onto the market, so maybe ask us again in a few months. Positive customer feedback is definitely a big spirit-booster. Watching a customer upload a product on their website in just a few seconds with quality product photos is very inspiring. What advice would you give to any people reading this who are thinking of starting a business? Don’t do it unless you are absolutely passionate about your big idea and can last the distance. Be prepared to fail and maybe start over. •

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“When you innovate you’ve got to be prepared for everyone telling you you’re nuts” Larry Ellison

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