Top 10 Business Tips for Kiwi Guys

With Michael McHugh, editor of MiNDFOOD Magazine

Michael McHugh started MiNDFOOD magazine five years ago this March, and has since grown it from the ground upwards. MiNDFOOD is now sold in Australia, the UK and all across Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The MiNDFOOD App that Michael developed was also listed in Apple’s ‘Best of 2012’ Apps just months after launching, and MiNDFOOD has launched a radio show that is syndicated across 50 Australian radio stations. Michael has managed to grow MiNDFOOD into a media company with 300,000 unique website users per month, 310,000 weekly e-newsletter subscribers and 32,000daily recipe subscribers – all this while the rest of the magazine industry is downsizing or shutting down.

Michael joins to give us his 10 Top Tips for Kiwi blokes in business.

1. Know your audience before you start anything. It's one thing to have an idea or concept, but if you aren't quite sure who is going to buy your product then you need to have a serious think about your plan of attack. It’s extremely important to understand the marketplace before you launch, and understand what your point of difference is.

2. Understand the industry you are working in, gain experience and learn from your mistakes, the lessons you learn from those experiences is invaluable. It’s just as important to make mistakes and learn from them, as it is to get it right. Everyone is in a rush these days, learn your craft well.

3. Always budget for the worst-case scenario. Understand cash flow, projections and when the money comes in and goes out. This is basic business stuff, but I'm always amazed by how many people don't understand this basic cash in, cash out process that’s fundamental to making business happen.

4. Surround yourself with people who complement your own talent, and fill in the gaps. We can't all be good at everything and it's very rare to be a complete all rounder. Your business will be the most successful, and run smoothly if you surround yourself with talent that fills in your talent gaps – the best part is, this means you won’t have to do the things you’re not so good at, or don't enjoy.

5. Give yourself time to think. This is super important, I'm a big fan of dreaming.

6. Make sure there is enough time in the day for your family. The most important thing in life is your family and the quality of those relationships. The hardest part is the juggle and making it all happen. Always a work in progress, you’re not going to be on your deathbed and wished you worked longer or harder and made more money.  Work hard, by all means, but find the balance and make sure you focus on what’s most important to you.

7. Listen to people who have been in business a long time, and seen markets and conditions change. If you can, find a couple of people you trust and pick their brains about how they have survived in business, and about the ever-moving market. It will be well worthwhile to make time to listen to these experienced business people, it's always surprising what little gem of advice can come your way.

8. Never be afraid to ask any question. I've learnt it's always good to ask the dumb question, as it makes people stop and think. Sometimes logic can disappear and so to stop and ask: 'Why are we doing this again?' brings you back to what’s important. It can make you re-think the potential and possibilities of your own business. Never, ever be afraid to ask any question of a supplier, staff member or of yourself. Always remind yourself, 'Why am I doing this? What am I trying to achieve?’

9. Constantly reassess how you are working and where you are spending your money, time and focus. Things can change quickly. We are all busy and time poor and what worked last year, month or week often doesn't work today and to be successful, we have to be able to adapt. Constantly reflect on your business, and be honest with yourself.

10. Eat well, get fit and dream big time! This is harder than you think, as you get stretched for time, eat on the run, sit at a desk too long, and forget to give yourself time. It’s important to be happy and healthy, and in the end you just have to prioritise and make it happen.

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