Two conferences unintentionally held in the same week could turn coincidence into an annual NZ business boost.
Inspire Auckland 2013 put on by KEA (supported by NZTE) and sponsored by AUT, was held two days before the annual Dept of Ethnic Affairs EPIC event promoting powerful connections, a common theme for both events. (A big thanks to Air New Zealand – our home away from home, when abroad – for the prize received for my business value proposition!)
The same names popped up during success stories at both events. EPIC’s Keynote speaker Priv Bradoo shares a common history with Sean Simpson (a great contributor to the Inspire line-up), both at the cutting edge of converting waste into precious metals and fuel sources (respectively.)
Some common themes from both events were:
- When you discover the thing you absolutely have to do, find a way to get it done.
- You will absolutely need to convert believers to do it.
- You will absolutely experience pain (lots of it) along the way – some internal, some external and much to do with people.
- You will need drive at a level sufficient to take you through the pain barriers.
- You will need smart people who have navigated the path ahead to manage risk and contain fallout (Good governance will considerably limit pain and fallout.)
- Remember the “why” – success will only come from giving people more of what they want and less of what they don’t. Forget customers in the rush of blood to the head and you will be punished. (Forget your sponsors and you will suffer similarly – thanks to Sir Peter Blake for driving that one home.)
- Kiwis (even Chiwis!) get great things done through global connections – distance melts. What really matters is aligned interest, passion and vision.
- Sustained success will always be a relay, not a 100 m sprint.
- Get funding from banks before you need it.
- Get lenders onto your turf – it’s not only customers who respond to sticky promotion.
- Along the way you will need to win substantial ‘skin-in-the-game’ support from investors, customers, managers, staff and even friends and family.
- Sustainable success is associated with endeavours of substance – positive impact across a range of metrics.
Common names that popped up in many kiwi success stories were Derek Handley (of whom I am a micro sponsor) and Sir Stephen Tindall (of whom I am a benefactor). It became clear that those who are backed become future backers. (Check out https://bteamnews.squarespace.com.) As Branson said, “Wonderful things won’t get done if you don’t do them.”
NZTE and Dept of Ethnic Affairs could add the MBIE’s Business Growth Agenda for a powerful annual boost to NZ Inc, to grow the current number of about 180 companies that account for 80% of our exports. (The Business Growth Agenda focuses on six key business growth “ingredients”: Export markets, innovation, infrastructure, skilled and safe workplaces, natural resources, and capital. Each is a programme of innovative initiatives and policy reform – see www.mbie.govt.nz. As Geraldine McBride who spoke at Inspire said, not many people are using this agenda to coordinate effort and energy.)
The strands that connect powerful people to inspiring visions have never been more important. (What some e.g. Paul Cameron refer to as the kiwimafia.) KEA and The Landing Pad in San Francisco want to ensure that no call is a cold call. Put all the brain cells of both local and expat kiwis together and you have a neural powerpack.
Finally, seek the right connections – not everyone and everything will be the right match. Then, when you make the approach, your IQ (Influencing Quotient) will immediately showcase both person and proposition. These must both get the numbers to realise your vision.