The Business Concierge e-Magazine

flipboard magazine cover

I have just popped together a few of the reader’s favourite posts into an e-magazine. Check out my Flipboard magazine, The Business Concierge 


Let me know how you found the flipboard magazine experience. Are you keen to get your Business Concierge posts all organised and easy to access or is this format a fizzer?

Half of NZ small firms have no website | Radio New Zealand News

Time to get connected?

Many consumers are now routinely using a clicks and mortar approach. They are researching online for what is close to home and what they can get. After that, they go to the shops to look.

While you might not yet be ready for an online shop, you definitely need to show customers that you are  present and open for business. A simple yet beautifully constructed website such as outlines their services in a way that resonates with their target market. More importantly it gives them an online presence that people can peruse and consider before making contact.

That said, many bespoke and handmade artisan products sell extraordinarily well online.  Building an online shop is achievable with some of the better free software packages built with the small business owner in mind.

Please click through to the article… it is an interesting read.

Happy to say that if you are part of the half that do not have a website then The Business Concierge can fix this for you for a lot less than you might think too  🙂


Half of NZ small firms have no website | Radio New Zealand News.

Are you one of half without a website?… please leave me a comment why you have decided to not go online.

If you are one of the half that is connected, please let me know why you decided to get a website and how you found the process.

Business is Personal!

In this day and age it is perhaps timely to touch on business ethics and social responsibility.  Have you ever heard someone who is making what could be a contentious decision, often excuse it by saying, ‘nothing personal, it’s just business’.

business is personal

My answer to this is, that business is overwhelming personal!

Just ask the many clients who take spending their consumer dollar personally. If you get this wrong, you can bet they will tell others! This then can impact on your business.

Just ask your employees; the way you treat them and how you reward them is very personal. Just ask people who have been made redundant how this changes their and their families lives and you will get a personal answer.

Even ask your suppliers! They too have families to support and obligations to meet. Business decisions actually affect real people!

Why then do so many businesses have trouble with their decision making?

My first rule of thumb is if you would be embarrassed for your Mum, Dad, or friends to find out what you have done, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.  This idea contributes to our understanding of a moral compass. All sorts of things from growing up, culture, religious teachings, and education impact on a person’s moral compass. The tricky part as an employer, is getting all of our staff to internalise and then act in a manner that is how we want them to act on our behalf.

The following link outlines some interesting starter points to understand business ethics better. It will provide a framework to start discussing what you want your employees to think about when making decisions in your company name.

It is important to have these conversations so your expectations are clear. You can then communicate your expectations (values) to your stakeholders so they also know who they are doing business with.

Business Ethics and Social Responsibility.

Business videos to showcase you

The Business Concierge can make a business showcase video for you at very reasonable prices.  These little marketing gems can start for as little as $50 + GST and go up in price from there (depending on requirements).

Please feel free to have a wee look at some of the examples below:



When your past colleagues and students take a moment to share their thoughts

Kim Love founder of The Business Concierge

One of the toughest part about starting a new adventure is leaving the people and the experiences you have shared together behind.

While I am no longer part of the academic world, the last 17 years has done a lot to shape the person I am today.

To my old tribe, thanks for all your support and love.  I miss you and treasure the times we spent together. I look forward to the adventures that await…


Another way to get your message across – Animation in marketing

kim Love

We are thrilled to show you a wee MP4 that one of the businesses we trust to do work for us, Task Zombie,  has produced 🙂

If you are interested in getting an animated video made for your business then please get in touch as I am happy to put you in touch with Melissa from Task Zombie  directly or am happy to work with you to develop a concept and script.  Melissa is one of our  fellow Network NZ  members.

Look forward to connecting soon


kim Love NZ Network community foundation member

Work smart – network and gain the benefit of experience from other business owners The Business ConciergeI’m proud to say that The Business Concierge is a foundation member of the NZ Networking community.

You can check out our listing on their directory at

Network NZ is all about supporting New Zealanders in business. They help other New Zealand based businesses to grow through providing a networking platform to connect with other businesses, as well as giving plentiful opportunities to discuss and learn new ideas to grow and prosper.  It is a powerful way to connect both professionally and personally and the sense of comradeship where you can learn, let off steam, and pick the brains of other business owners is great. You can click through to for further information.

Hope to see you there soon  :-). NZ Network community foundation member

The Tough Stuff launches their website and social media

kim Love last six months have proved without a shadow of a doubt that Kylie Ryan, founder of The Tough Stuff, is indeed made of Tough Stuff and the right person to see this new business venture launched.  This company looks to break taboos and get workplaces, organisations, education providers, healthcare providers, and parents and caregivers learning and discussing tough issues around mental health and sexual health.

The Business Concierge is delighted to be supporting The Tough Stuff in its start up and really enjoyed putting together a website that reflects your brand and ethos. I know you are ready with many helpful resources to post to your resources section on your site and to your Facebook page.

Congratulations Kylie and we look forward to partnering with you as you grow.


Where do we work? How far will we travel?

People often ask where do you work? Our first reply is always ‘anywhere where we are paid on time and the people are nice’ ;-).

Seriously though, much of our business is centred in  in the Rodney District of the Greater Auckland Super City.

It includes the following towns:

Auckland City, Ahuroa, Albany Heights, Algies Bay, Arkles Bay, Army Bay, Big Manly, Coatesvile, Dairy Flat, Glorit, Gulf Harbour, Hatfields Beach, Helensville, Hobbs Bay, Hoteo, Huapai, Kaipara Flats, Kaukapakapa, Kumeu, Leigh, Little Manly, Mahurangi East, Mahurangi West,  Makarau,  Manly,  Matakana,  Matakatia Bay, Maygrove, Millwater, Muriwai Beach, Muriwai Valley, North Shore, Omaha Flats,  Orewa,  Pakiri,  Parakai,  Parkhurst, Point Wells, Puhoi, Red Beach,  Redvale,  Riverhead, Sandspit, Shelly Beach, Silverdale, Snells Beach, South Auckland, South  Head,  Stanmore Bay,  Stillwater, Streamlands,  Tapora,  Tauhoa,  Taupaki,  Tawharanui Peninsula,  Te Arai, Te Hana,  The Grange, Tindalls Beach, Tomarata, Topuni, Wade Heads, WaikoukouValley, Waimauku, Wainui, Waitoki, Waiwera, Warkworth, Wellsford, West Auckland, Whangaparoa,  Whangaripo, Woodcocks, and  Woodhill.

We have completed contracts as far south as Waipukurau and as far north as the Far North. We are geared up to travel and with modern communications, much of what we do can be done remotely and through the internet and phone. Most of the time there is no need to meet face-to-face and when/if you would like such a meeting or support then we can negotiate to make that happen.

If your location is not listed above then give us a ring, you probably fit into our first category ;-).

kim Love

Tradespeople… we want you!


The Business Concierge is very experienced in supporting busy tradespeople who are looking to ensure their business is well positioned to grow.  We routinely create and manage the critical business infrastructure to take organisations to the next level. Pick up the phone and call Kim on 021482268 as you will be surprised how easy it is to get your website and email sorted so google knows your name,  and how health and safety is not a drag when you have us steer you through customised changes to ensure your business is compliant and then able to pick up work with big principal contractors. We also make it easy for you to get your name out there so more work is coming in.

We are here to ensure that you making the most of your commercial expertise and innovations so you can solve your customers problems in a profitable way.

kim Love

Websites by The Business Concierge

kim Love

We do have links available to click through to client websites our our Business Partner’s page.  But it is also nice to have a look in one quick location.





Doing our Part – Living our values

kim Love

Living our values





Here at The Business Concierge we believe in walking our talk and living our values.  This is why we support:

Nourish – a community led initiative, born out of Kim’s work with Plunket, up here in the Rodney District. We provide time, resources, management, and cooking to ensure that people going through crisis know that there are people that care. Nourish also works with other local organisations to ensure that our local community stays connected and well and that our vulnerable don’t fall through the gaps.

Snells Beach School – As well as being a member of the PTA and sitting on the BOT, The Business Concierge sponsors the monthly costs of the electronic health and safety sign in system at the school. Kim also sits on several sub-committees of the Board. This include: sponsorship committee, health and safety committee, ICT committee, policies team, and when required, the appointments team.

Business is personal because businesses do make up part of our society and have influence on how society operates. To find out more about business ethics and social responsibility click here.

For important and useful information on charitable donations should be treated in your books, please click on Accountant’s Do The Sums blog post.


kim Love



Shrinkclad has a new web platform

Congratulations to Sam and Elle  and their team for upgrading their digital platform capabilities. We really enjoy working with you. You can see the site here

Best wishes


kim Love

R F Masonry has a new web platform

congrats dog pic

Congratulations to Rory and his team for upgrading their digital platform capabilities. We really enjoy working with you. You can see the site here

We thought the picture was apt as we fell in love with Puggles the Dog, the official R F Masonry mascot ;-).

Best wishes


Welcome to 2017

goal setting

Happy new year 🙂

We hope you had the chance for some rest and relaxation over the festive season.

Here at The Business Concierge the January focus is sorting out some of your legal compliance issues that could be on your to do lists.

We have customable employment agreement and job description special running starting from $50 + gst.

We have customisable Health and Safety Management Kits starting at $1000 + GST.

We would also like to get your business up and running into 2017, so are running a special on Website design and delivery. Packages vary depending on your needs but our entry kit where you can get your own domain (with a one years registration) and a one page website from $200 + GST.  If you are also wanting to include emails then we can work out how much this will cost. A five/six page website with email is currently $700* + Gst (*monthly hosting is additional ).

As always, we are here to support and grow your business in anyway it might need.  If you need accurate and innovative advice and solutions, please call Kim on 021 48 22 68.

Available work placements are filling up fast so these specials will not last long… don’t hesitate, just ring and find out how we can look after you.

Best wishes and I look forward to hearing from you.

Kim Love


Thanks for a busy and exciting 2016

Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas

We couldn’t leave the office without wishing all our wonderful clients a happy and safe festive season.   Please accept our heartfelt thanks for your patronage this year.

It has been an exciting and challenging year as we customised solutions to your business needs. I don’t think I have ever spent so much time writing and in such big blocks of time before (thesis stuff aside ;-)). Although I foresaw the clear need for health and safety management systems, I never anticipated the demand that would come from so many companies. Your patience was much appreciated.

As always, we are thrilled that so many of our clients were able to achieve their organisational goals, in part, because of our support and expertise. And in particular, have so many wonderful businesses achieve prequalification contractor status with their respective principal organisations.  It truly is a pleasure to see you soar and implement positive change into your organisational culture.

At this time of the year I try to fit in some R &R and make the most of the time with our family so please forgive me if I’m a little slower in picking up the phone or that there could be raucous background noise as the kids blast their way through the summer break.

My contact details remain the same.  You can email me on or you can phone 021 48 22 68.

I look forward to another brilliant year in 2017 and to supporting you again.

Best wishes and Merry Christmas





Congratulations to our clients Toms Toys for H&S success

kim Love are delighted to announce that the Toms Toys team continues to impress with our health and safety focused work practices (

Achieving health and safety contractor management prequalification status  with takes a significant amount of time and resources and commitment to a safe workplace by all of the team in an organisation.

We at The Business Concierge would like to take this opportunity to say congratulations to Tom, Bron, Darren,  and Nick  on your brilliant achievement.

Thanks for continuing to provide us with the opportunity to consult and manage your health and safety qualification status and  to continue to champion and shape health and safety in your organisation.  Of particular note, your continuing focus and ethos on having a continuous improvement culture where health and safety is part of how you do things have ensured sound and focused health and safety and hazard management policy and procedures which are informed by industry standards and supported by best practice. Your dedication to ensure this is all evidenced with good recording and paper-trails has combined for wonderful score – overall 92%

Well done, we are thrilled for you!  🙂

We appreciate and believe in our long standing association and look forward to continuing to support your practice and growth as we move into the future together.


Best wishes

From The Business Concierge Team


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

business concierge christmas
Thanks for a wonderful year. Happy Holidays.

As the working year draws to a close,  The Business Concierge would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the fantastic people and businesses that we have worked with and for this year.

The work has fascinating and very diverse and we have enjoyed the challenges that this has presented.



We look forward to continuing to support  your aspirations in 2016.

The office runs limited hours throughout December into January as we choose to take time to spend with our families. If you need urgent assistance then phone Kim on 021 48 22 68 or email

May you have a very happy and  safe festive season filled with family, friends, and laughter.

Best wishes

Kim and team



Welcome to the latest member of The Business Concierge team – Dr. Joanna Edwards

jo edwards mug shotAfter having a working relationship that goes back some 15 years,  The Business Concierge is delighted to announce that Dr Joanna Edwards is joining both our  Business Consulting and Educational teams.

Joanna has a Doctor Of Philosophy in Management, a Master of Business Studies in Management, and a Bachelor of Commerce in Operations Management. Joanna is also studying Law so comes to us with a wide range of knowledge and experience.

Jo’s specialty area is in Health Promotion and Wellness so will be delighted to help any client who has specific issues in this area.

Welcome aboard, we are delighted to start another working adventure with you.




Support the Plunket 2015 Give us a hug appeal

give us a hug

The Business Concierge believes in walking the talk so spent the first six months of 2015 working 10 hours a week for Plunket. We all have the option of making a positive difference in this world, but so often we find excuses for not doing so. Finding the balance is key.

If you are in the position to donate to the 2015 Plunket Hug appeal then please do so by clicking on the link here:

If everyone manages to donate a few dollars then we can make a mountain that will sustain many. Come join our online campaign. Caring: we so can continue to make great communities for great families to raise great kids.

Plunket - Give us a hug 2015

Appreciation – the heartfelt business relationship cementer














I have just finished reading a little piece  by Graham McGregor  in the NZ Herald about the importance of showing appreciation by  (you can click on his name to read it)  and it got me to thinking.

Showing appreciation to the people that make positive difference for your life in general but also in particular to your business is a really smart idea. I have often heard about people who have gone out of their way to give a leg up to new businesses who then feel somewhat disillusioned that that was never acknowledged or seemingly quickly forgotten. I have also observed managers who have taken great care and time to help establish someone’s fledgling career and when the person is promoted or gets that opportunity they helped engender, they never hear from them again.

I really would hate to think that I have missed out on acknowledging and thanking any of the people who have been great supporters of mine so this post is a public tribute to all the people that  chose to make a difference.

In my life I have been very lucky to have wonderful career influencers and people who were prepared to go into bat for me to give me a go. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for all that you did and still do for me.

My first thanks are to my parents Tom and Bron Ashton. They have been unstintingly generous in their support even through some rough patches. Even today when we bump heads, I know that their love and care is always first and foremost. You have supported every enterprise I have been involved in in a variety of ways to numerous to mention. I really love, that sometimes, you consider me wise enough to help out.

Next came my past- employers. I blossomed and really came into my own under the loving care of Robyn Mason (then owner of Pampers Hair design). She schooled me well in the fundamentals. Another employer I think of very fondly is Cari Batenburg (then owner of CFB Hair Studio). We had so much fun exploring our craft, what an inspirational and strong lady. I look forward to reconnecting this summer.

Jumping forward a little, I have many academics and teachers who did and still continue to inspire me today by helping to shape my understanding of the world. Ann Dupuis, Janet Sayers, Duncan Jackson, Virginia Warriner, Kaye Thorn, Keith Macky, Andrew Barney, Bernie Frey, Bevan Catley, and Bill Kirkley you actively grew my little brain. I thrived because you were passionate about your subject knowledge and because you always made time to chat and engage even when I must have been painfully naïve and you had so many better things to do. I am forever grateful to have been part of your classes. That intellectual curiosity that you sparked still burns brightly today.

The efforts of those people above meant I also had opportunity to experience and inhabit the oft touted mysterious and slightly strange world of academia for a wee while. John Monin and Marie Wilson thanks also for believing in me and creating opportunities that were near impossible to engender in organisational systems very flawed. I also thank Joe Beer for his mentoring. Some of your lessons were tough but surely have stuck. Judy Bonny and Lyne Tunna I hold you both close to my heart. The toughest jobs ever, you both performed like the total stars you are.

Another group of people that have taught me so much are those that I was privileged to manage.  My first employee was Jude Trumm, a real firebrand, she was so much fun to have in the salon. That business ended up in so many unusual and unique situations because of her zaniness and wonderful outlook on life. Other people who inspired me every day that I worked with them include, Henry Shi, Parizad Mulla, Daniela Basurovic, Kit Peebles, Eli Nana, Michelle Kilkolly-Proffit, Mirko Benischke, Lydia Woolley, Antje Fiedler, and Natalie Jones. There are so many talented people starting out their careers that I got to share time with, so thanks for being crazy enough to keep signing up for the joys of stage one ;-).

My best friend Lyn Samson, we go back so far I don’t have enough body parts to count that high. Your kind heart and quick wit has been a mainstay of my life for so long. My children adore you; all our lives are richer for having you in it. My flawed friendship seems like a little return on your investment, but I really appreciate that you have never completely given up on me.

Thanks to the Business Concierge clients (a relatively small but hugely talented group) who have kept me out of trouble in the last six months. The variety of work has been mind-blowing and I really love that I am able to contribute in a very small way to your own business successes. I look forward to working with you as we head into the New Year and beyond. I also thank you for the referrals and the belief that you have to continue to chose me when this industry is over-run by people who market similar things that I can do.

My final appreciation award goes to my wonderful husband Nick Love. I must have got something right in my childhood to be gifted with such a strong and outstanding human being as my mate. I really like who you are you as a person, I admire your sense of what is right and just. You make me laugh and my knees still go a little weak when I look at you. You and the beautiful strong willed children we are blessed to parent, are so much an integral part of my happiness and contentment.

Occasionally, I catch myself obsessively looking to the future, I worry about where do we want to be and how will we get there. Following a pathway of overcoming infertility certainly heightens the anxiety of what if never comes or happens.

But then I catch myself and remind me to breathe, live in the moment, and to truly experience life as it is. As we head into the festive season, I want to let you know that I am grateful and I am blessed.  To those who are no longer a part of my everyday life, I remember you with fondness. To those who are still a part of my personal and/or professional circles, thanks for sticking with me. I really look forward to doing more together.

This post is not just about the people I have specifically named but also seeks to acknowledge some of the people who were unsung heroes but also important contributors to my well-being in life. I seek to remember something positive from everyone I have the privilege of spending time with. So to all, thanks for your efforts, and thanks for being generous enough to let me borrow some of your wisdom and verve for life.

I wish you all a happy and safe festive season. May you be continued to be blessed with wisdom,  a generosity of spirit, and the gift to teach others what really matters in life.




And another lovely thanks :-)

Waterwheels have featured in our media blog. They are an innovative organisation with a fierce determination to provide a safe and reliable product to the Amphibious Boat industry. This is a star on the rise 🙂

Awww shucks….

Here is the link to a wee post from one of my clients saying thanks. I love working with Toms Toys. They are a vibrant, passionate organisation and always a pleasure to deal with

Must be the time of year 🙂

The science behind a happy and productive workforce | HRZone

happy and productive workforceMary Parker Follet (the mother of management) once said ‘a happy worker is a productive worker’.

In New Zealand, we often say, ‘a happy cow produces more milk’.

The debate still rages about how to best engage workers and the link below adds to it the body of knowledge in this area.

A tidy piece of writing that highlights the need for bosses to know and understand their workers. The theory used to frame the point is easily accessible and applied.

Well worth a read over your morning coffee.

The science behind a happy and productive workforce | HRZone.

It has been a very busy and exciting time

For those of you following along at home you might be wondering why I haven’t been writing so much in the last few days to a week,  the Business Concierge has been engaged on a number of highly time sensitive projects.

I’m pleased to be able to show you tonight the new website of Waterwheels.

This is a very innovative organisation based just outside of Warkworth, New Zealand. Their passion are boats, and not just any boats. They create amphibious water craft. I have termed their products as innovation in motion.

The perfoIMG_7234 colour adjustedrmance of the crafts are truly impressive but the real genius is seen in the speed of the transition between the land and water. They term this ELAR – their easy launch and retrieval system.



The real boat with wheels because of their robust and safe naval architectural design, they enter the market as the Ultimate Amphibian!


IMG_7260IMG_7227  IMG_7191
IMG_7191 (1)






Anyway enough from me, go and check out the Waterwheels Cat and her love of the water at  You will find many pictures and a few videos of the Cat being put through her paces.

While you are there, take a look at the website, this is an example of how The Business Concierge can design an online presence that is both beautifully stylized and informative.


Would-be entrepreneurs hampered by fear of failure

failure hfA fear of failure can be both a barrier and a source of motivation to push for success. There are only three guarantees in life (birth, death and taxes), all the rest is determined by your genetics and your environment. How you choose to respond to both can set you up for life or for failure.

Would-be entrepreneurs hampered by fear of failure

Yes, failing is tough, but failing is never the end of a story. It often is where the plot becomes compelling and heart-felt. Keep pushing to write the chapters of what can happen next. What do you want the last chapter of your life to read like?

How five entrepreneurs bounced back after start-up failures

Second time round entrepreneurs find more success

Future of work

future of workAn interesting glimpse into the future of work.

Drop me a comment to let us know what you think your future will hold.

Below is an excerpt from an article written about Charles Handy. I was privileged to meet him and hear him give a talk for academics many years back. His work is visionary and well worth reading. Please click here for more from the original article.

If you put a frog in a pot of cold water and slowly heat it, the frog adapts its body temperature to that of the water until at 100 degrees centigrade it boils alive. Charles Handy uses this story to illustrate the dangers for people who do not notice that the world is changing. People think they are clever at adapting to the changing world; however, according to Charles Handy, people must do more than just adapt to change. They must jump out of their changing world and take charge of it if they are not to be boiled alive while they sleep.

Charles Handy is Visiting Professor at the London Business School, writer, teacher, and broadcaster. His 1989 book, The Age of Unreason is an argument in favour of discontinuous change as opposed to continuous change where the future is anticipated as more of the same, only better. In these times of discontinuous change, he believes that small changes, such as changes in the way work is organized, will make the biggest differences in our lives.

He expects that in the future, people will have shorter and more careers, and they will do more part time work and volunteer work. More people will work independently in small businesses where they contract out their services to larger organizations. More workers, especially women, will work from their homes. With the move toward more self-employment and more work from the home and away from the organization, comes more choice and more responsibility, for both worker and employer. Individuals will have more freedom to shape work to fit the way they want to live instead of fitting life into a work schedule. But they also will have the freedom to do poor quality work, by cheating or by laziness. The organization will have more flexibility but can abuse that flexibility by exploiting the outsider, tightening its conditions, and reducing the rewards. Charles Handy explores the way in which the world of work is changing and what the thoughtful individual’s choices and responsibilities should be”

Click to see more of the original article.

Below are some other discussions of the future of work which are rather fascinating reads.

Future of work | Business growth | Lenovo ThinkFWD.

The Future of work

Technological employment

Your Company’s Purpose Is Not Its Vision, Mission, or Values – Graham Kenny – Harvard Business Review

onbusIf we reach back into a previous article from The Business Concierge, The 3 P’s,  you will find that the keystone idea that we called purpose covers an important area of our business that sets us up for the future. The vision, the mission, the values, and the strategies all tie into the ‘purpose keystone’.

For me, the perceived differences between the different statements discussed in the article  linked below is not the take home message. Instead, the message that is worth reflecting on should be that all small business owners and entrepreneurs need to do some work on ‘thinking about your business’. After the initial thinking about who you are and how do you want to do business is done, it is then important, even vital that you work out how to best communicate that thinking to your employees, your customers, and to your wider stakeholders.

When you watch a ‘save my business’ type of programme, you will see that the first thing the ‘expert’ does is to remove the owners from their business and send them away for a weekend or a week. This gives the owners a chance to regroup and more importantly, reflect on what is happening in their firm and what they would like to change going forward. Re-invigorated, the business owners often come back with great plans of what and how happens from here that they are excited to share with staff and customers.

You need to arrange your mini-break away. This could be a weekend away (oh yes please 😉 ) but could also be taking an hour out to meet with a business mentor or specialist (yup, that could be me).  Fleshing out your thoughts about your business is all part of the strategic purpose work that owners need to undertake to ensure the on-going viability of their firm. You would have heard the term ‘working on your business instead of working in your business’ bandied about like some kind of catch phrase. Well the strategic purpose stuff is working on your business.

A common criticism of businesses is that the owners are so integral to the functioning of the business, making the products and services, selling them, tending the shop/workshop etc., that there is no time to take care of the bigger picture.

I get that, from the age of 20- 28, I  owned and ran a hairdressing salon that was open six days a week. I worked in it for all six days. On the seventh day I did bookwork and caught up on the over-flow of laundry. It was a busy life as I took on the overwhelming majority of roles in the business. What I failed to realise  is that I needed time to be able to work on the future direction of the business, where did I want it to go from here, how did I want to ensure that happened.

I was great at doing this for my staff. I would often give them a budget of $100- $200 and send them off shopping for an afternoon. They would need to research, and then put together some outfits that were on-point for fashion for the upcoming season. They would then come back and design the hair and make-up to round off that look. The staff then wore the clothes and make-up in the store as to reflect and own the creativity and fashion they were recommending and selling to others.

This worked well for my customers and staff, but I still needed to be more deliberate in my business decision making so I could actually achieve the somewhat vague business goals that swam around in my head. Some regular time with a mentor would have helped me gain some clarity, it would have also ensured that I was better at communicating my companies vision to my employees and customers. Perhaps, it would have meant that instead of harvesting that business part-way through my undergraduate degree, I could have stayed with it.

As I mentioned above, communication of your purpose keystone is important. In essence, you are creating a big marker flag to plant in the ground for your stakeholders to see, to aim for, and to reach. By using vison and misson statements you are broadly defining who your are and how you want to engage in business. Your values and purpose break those ideals down further so your employees and customers know how you plan to do that. They become guiding statements of acceptable behaviour or the implicit rules of how people interact with your processes in your business. Those rules become the backbone of ‘how things are done around here’ and in turn a reason why your clients develop loyalty to your business.

Probably a lot to take away from one interesting little article, but business owners need to be able to articulate what they want from their companies.

If you would like a sounding board or mentor to help get you started working on your business, please get in touch, we are happy to help.

Your Company’s Purpose Is Not Its Vision, Mission, or Values – Graham Kenny – Harvard Business Review.

Radical Change, the Quiet Way – Harvard Business Review

radical changeI like this idea of working for change from the inside and in the context of getting your job done.

All too often it is easy to think that people at work are disconnected and not wanting to partake of and contribute to the overall vision and culture of the organisation.

It is important to remember that people do care and if enough tempered radicals start tuning, then turning the cogs of their organisations, change will happen.

Radical Change, the Quiet Way – Harvard Business Review.

Time Management: Timing Matters | Project Eve

time managementTime management is a crucial skill for small business owners. Yes, you are customising your work life and that is great :-). Now work on making all of your life and the time it involves work for you. Challenge the traditional notions of doing things when everyone else does, instead find a pattern/routine that works best for you.

In winter I often prepare our dinner while serving the kids breakfast. This means, regardless of when hubby gets home, there is hot nutritious food to feed everyone. It also ensures the kids get to have a lovely long play in the bath after they have done their ablutions and we head to that awkward witching hour (5 pm-ish) super chilled and non-stressed.

In summer, Hubby and I try to sneak in an hour or two of fishing before dinner (weather and tide dependent). The kids love these outings and watching the sun start to set on the bay is simply breathtaking. The fishing trips mean we eat dinner later and the kids get a bigger snack for afternoon tea, and get to partake in some pre-packed munchies while we are fishing. Once home, we often chose to BBQ the meat and fish if it has been a successful trip while the kids enjoy a play in the yard and I throw the salad together. The extra 30-50 mins the kids get to stay up doesn’t cause negative effects the following day, instead it becomes an adventure and special family memory.  It does however bite into the time that hubby and I use after dinner and bedtime routines to complete chores and work… like writing articles for a certain blog ;-).

Can you see that I am letting you know that once fishing session is full on again, you will have to wait until later in the day to get your fix ;-).

The key is to making life easy and streamlined for you and your family and you and your business. For me I often get a great streak of productivity around 7-11pm each evening. I can power through a lot of work in this block of time so generally leave tasks that require a good amount of attention and focus to this time slot.

A good tip to start thinking about how to personalise your day for the best result is to create a day calendar. For the first one, make it on real paper/ cardboard and use markers to figure out and then highlight blocks of times. Once you have made the first chart, it is easy to transfer the ideas to your Outlook calendar and/or to internalise it.

The first step is to pop in all the ‘must do at a certain times’. For example, school runs and bed-times, and business appointments/making money.  Next, sit down and start factoring in the ‘needs to be dones’. For example, meal preparation, cleaning, laundry, and strategic business time.  Also ensure that you give yourself some leisure time each day, especially important when you are a parent… the family trips to the playground, beach, and skate-park is what your children will remember from their childhood 🙂  Plan even more family and leisure times for weekends. Block out 2-3 hours for your family at a time. Be fully engaged with them during that time, even go as far as turning your cell onto silent. Once you are all home again, and the kids are settled into their next activity you will be able to sneak five minutes to come up to the state of play. You will be surprised about how much you can achieve when you are working with your and your family’s natural rhythms.

Below are links to good time management resources:

Time Management: Timing Matters | Project Eve.

Mind Tools

10 time management tips that work –

Do better work by taking time off

Why Businesses Should Serve Consumers’ ‘Higher Needs’

It is always interesting when someone dusts off Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and brings it back to the modern era. While the conceptual gaps that were there from conception are still somehow glossed over , this has to be one of the most enduring pieces of theory taught in many  varsity stage one courses. It pops up in Management, Marketing, Human Development, Psychology, and many more disciplines.

The article From Wharton linked below does a great job of framing  emerging markets and why they are likely to exist  on the back of the Hierarchy of Needs.  Interesting information for small business looking to connect with customer needs, establish a niche, or who are forecasting trends and positioning for change.

Why Businesses Should Serve Consumers’ ‘Higher Needs’.


7 Things Successful Women Never Do | Business Women Experts

marineAn ex-FBI agent used to dealing with a masculine and somewhat unforgiving world gives us some direct advice.

Mental resilience and the ability to complete a post-match analysis on a failure or set-back is a vital skill in today’s fast changing world. Being able to then walk away with the lesson with most of your confidence and self-belief is something that all entrepreneurs must learn at some point.

No one can judge the conditions right 100% the time. This certainty ensures that we will face failure at some point. It is important to keep real and deal with what comes your way so you can recover and move on from the frustrations and the disappointments.

7 Things Successful Women Never Do | Business Women Experts.

For some further reading about mental resilience and keeping calm under fire try:

Martin Seligman’s Positive Psychology: 


Entrepreneurial exercise… how do you stack up?

Agrh, I’m so busy, I’m somewhat tired and okay an incy bit frazzled. I’m working all hours of the night and day and I really need that piece of Chocolate to get me through!

Is this you?

Unfortunately, sitting at your computer workstation can really limit the amount of incidental exercise you get in your day. It is vital that you take care of yourself in all ways (mentally, emotionally, and yes especially physically).entrepreneurial exercise

Here is wee article to help us all get up off our chairs… Look forward to your thoughts.

5 Ways to Turn Your Workstation Into a Workout Station |

Leadership Lessons Begin At Home | LinkedIn

richard branson This article is from the amazing, talented, and vibrant Richard Branson. He is recollecting some of the lessons he learnt about enterprise while growing up with his Mum and Dad.

I can certainly relate, I come from very hard working and inspiring copreneurial parents (Couples in business together for over 30 years and still going strong). Business, the economy, life, and everything and anything was a main-stay topic at our dinner table. Mum and Dad taught me much about leadership, organisation, backing yourself, creating your own path, and making some money along the way.

What fascinates me about Richard’s story is as entrepreneurial parents we have the wonderful ability to pass on some of our traits and behaviours to our children.

Hopefully this means, they too will grow the confidence to back themselves and to consciously shape and develop their realities.

Leadership Lessons Begin At Home | LinkedIn.

What knowledge do you consider important for your kids to know?

Connectivity Corner: How technology is changing time, space and relationships


This is a fantastic post from the blogspot of the very dynamic and talented Professor Darl Kolb, the world’s first Professor of Connectivity (University of Auckland, business school). Funnily enough, Prof Darl was the co-author of the first management textbook I ever bought while at varsity. That text was one of the most exciting and illuminating reads I had done at that point because it was putting names to the information I had learned from being in business. When I started working in the same department I asked him to sign the textbook for me. He looked at me like I was daft but shrugged his shoulders and did it anyway.

While the Prof’s reads are always interesting, this one resonated with me because never before has the rate of technological adoption and change moved so quickly. I have posted about connectivity addiction before and how that can affect the realities of every day life so it fits in nicely.

It appears that connectivity brings both opportunities and challenges. The first has to be at a global macro level… how are governments, institutions, think tanks, and organisations going to best bring all businesses through into the modern era so they can best maxmise their great ideas, services and products supported by technology. This has to help economies to grow and prosper.

The second is how can minimise digital interruption and invasion into previously held personal strongholds? Is this even seen to be a current user issue or a time-bomb still building?

Connectivity Corner: How technology is changing time, space and relationships.


I look forward to hearing your thoughts :-)… Gone on, leave me a comment!

Heart-Centered Leadership

heart centred leadershipOh what a lovely read. I reflect back on my times leading teams both big and small and hope that they experienced some heart leadership during those journeys. It is so important to stay authentic and be the best you can be while striving to meet organisational goals. It is great that modern business writing is exploring a more holistic approach to getting things done in business.


21 Unmistakable Traits of a Heart-Centered Leader |

Have you had a manager that has used this approach? Please share your experiences in the comments.

Cash flow for beginners

abacusManaging your cash flow in business can be like walking across a tightrope while blindfolded and with your hands tied behind your back.

Even the most prepared person in the world often doesn’t see the cross wind until they are in it,  so how can you learn to watch the environment and anticipate those speed wobbles?


This article is written with the new entrepreneur in mind. First of all, congratulations on your new venture!  You are filled with purpose, hope, and determination. It is both the best of and worst of times when your dreams are most likely bigger than your pockets.

Cash flow is crucial to your ability to stay in business. If you don’t have some folding then everything is going to ground to a shuddering halt. Disclaimer: This article isn’t meant to be a comprehensive look at cash flow management instead seeks to offer some practical common sense pointers of where to start. Please seek professional advice.


Most every entrepreneur will tell you that it generally takes twice as long and twice as much money to get into the black than you think it will. When running the figures in your business plan always create projected income streams with a triple trajectory. Whatever you anticipate your income to be (based on your costings and research); you then also need to crunch a ‘worser’ case scenario where you have 20-30% less sales than you would ideally want at any given stage. Your potential backers, the bank, and other shareholders need to see that you have awareness and a plan in place for if the business doesn’t meet its projected income in the short-term. You can also create and plot a more positive scenario where your business hits the ground running and takes the market by storm. This shows a great streak of idealism and the confidence to back yourself, something that every entrepreneur needs in spades.

If you ask people what made them successful, most will say they had a lucky break. I grew up with the school of thought that says, ‘where the harder you work, the luckier you get’. And to this day, successful people work hard so that does play a major part of success. But you can’t discount lady luck, just sometimes the clouds and stars align, the market is primed and you spot and maximise the opportunity to cash in. Lucky you ;-). Now go, go, go and work to capitalise on that break. Many would argue that it is this ability to finger emergent opportunities and then get resources in place to plunder it is what makes the entrepreneur an entrepreneur in the first place.

Timing is everything, so take heart… the best idea in the world may not fly if the market environment cannot support and sustain it. It could be that the technological advance is a step too far and consumers simply do not have the technical skills to use it at this point in time. This is one of the reasons why software companies tend to do so well. They seek to create gateways of change to herd their customers through. Lots of small incremental adjustments done through updates over a sustained time period and viola, most of their customers are then ready enough to step up to the next major product launch by the time it comes around.

It may be that the external environment you operate in (such as government policies and laws, major world events, and even mother nature) change overnight and all of a sudden ready flows of cash that looked like it had your name on it all of a sudden disappears back into someone else’s pockets. What do you do then? Well, that is where the lower scenario discussed above comes in. You batten down the hatches, you make what you can and concentrate on keeping the clients that are with you now happy throughout the adversity.


The first rule has to be a reminder… YOU DO NOT ONLY WORK FOR YOURSELF, you are in fact a collection agency for the government of the country you live in. No one is exempt!

Before you bask in the warming glow of clients monies sitting in your account there is a must do step! You need to take off all relevant sales taxes from your deposit and stick that into your business tax account.

In New Zealand, we call sales tax, GST (Goods and Services Tax); it adds another 15% onto the cost of your sales.  A good tip to determine the GST component of a final sales figure when working backwards is to times your sale price x3 and then divide that total by 23. That then gives you the amount to pop away in your tax account.  Of course when you are making the tax invoice you would take your sales figure and times by 1.15 to get the GST inclusive total to charge.  Depending on your GST cycle (mine is every two months), you then pay what you have collected on behalf of the government minus the GST content on what you have paid out during the same time. Sounds simple right ;-), but there are a few complexities that you need to get across.  Note: Not all businesses need to be GST registered. The threshold for GST registration in New Zealand currently sits at $60 000 in the last 12 months of trading. People who earn under this still may register if they chose to.

The next step (and this is still before you pay yourself) is to divvy up what is left of that client deposit into three parts. The first part is for the tax man, (yup the good old IRD again), the second is for the business, and the third is finally for you (and your partners if you are not a sole trader).

  1. Tax man (oops tax person)
  2. The Business
  3. You (and your partners)

As a general rule, I suggest you pop approximately (give or take through a rough calculation) 35% of all monies received into your tax account. This means that when it comes time to pay terminal tax (at the end of your first year of trading, it is there ready to go). But beware… this time is very tricky for businesses and it is here small firms can become derailed. For many businesses after the end of their first financial year they will be required to pay both terminal tax and then pay provisional tax (in effect this is a part- pre-payment of tax based on last year’s earnings) in short succession. So in this sense you need to over prepare to pay yourself across the first tax hump. From then regular payments make managing your obligations much easier. 

Provisional tax can put a significant dent into your cash flow so make sure you are generous and stay committed to filling up your tax account every time you get money through the door. This will avoid a nasty shock. NOTE: While a tax account can look like an easy pocket of monies for emergencies it is best to avoid that temptation altogether and simply lock it away until the IRD requires it. The game of paying back the tax account can all too soon fall apart as each deposit in requires a bigger and bigger contribution to cover the existent short-fall.

Right, phew, you have got the tax stuff covered in the first regard… you can now relook at that pile of money. Surely it can now be yours, the reward to your hard work. Well, kind of. The reality is businesses that are growing require additional resources. In order to keep moving forward and to keep growing, you will be buying more, you will be upgrading equipment, and you will be adapting and adopting new technologies. Your business will need a continual flow of income to be able to manage its growth spurts. By leaving a portion of your funds in the business, you are more likely to be able to get those additional resources as required. Keep that money in your operational account as it will also fund the outgoings as well (bills, supplies, utilities, etc.).

Finally, you can pay yourself. Now, I hear you protest, you have been reading lots of other stuff on the net where you pay yourself first! That’s not fair; I’m the one doing all the work! Well, I guess for the fly by the seat of the pants operator that is there to make a quick buck and then get the heck out, paying yourself first and leaving the cards to fall where they fall for the rest could work. But for the ethical business person who plans to be in business for the long haul and who is networking and building sustainable relationships with customers, clients, suppliers, and industry, Reputation is critical. If you don’t pay regularly it won’t take long for trade services and credit to be withdrawn. You will become or remain a cash account. This then makes cash flow management even tighter and trickier.

Why does paying your bills matter? Lots of cash flow management proponents state the way to stay in business is to delay paying your creditors as long as possible to ensure you have your money in the bank as so to stay liquid.  Yes, on an individualistic level, that makes sense. However, you are not just an individual, you are not even just a business, you live in a community and as such may have feelings about what responsibilities that entails. Did you know that paying your creditors on time is actually a critical component of a healthy economy. If you are paying your bills each 20th each month or as they become due (depending on contractual obligations), then that business that you paid has the money to also pay their creditors and staff. Those people then have money to pay their bills and buy the goods and services that they need and so the money cycle eventually recycles back into your pockets.

In a downtime, what often sends businesses under is that they run out of cash flow. People aren’t paying their business, so they eke into their cash flow reserves until such time it is all gone.  When it is gone, businesses don’t have the means to continue trading. In a small town, a business closing can be catastrophic! The business closes; say five workers are made redundant as a consequence. These workers then need to look for new jobs, when none is found in the town, this could mean that these  families have to pack up to  shift someplace else to go find work. The money that these families used to spend in the community has now also shifted elsewhere. When a small town loses residents then there is less demand for goods and services. If you don’t have as many customers and less demand then the remaining businesses could also be looking at a downturn. It becomes a sad spiral seen in little towns all over the world. Before too long the hospital is closed, the last gas station has pulled out, and the post shop is quietly working to put their stamps into the corner store so it can leave in the middle of the night to avoid protest.

This decay and displacement feeds itself into the economy as a whole, unemployment grows and more individuals and families are forced to access help to survive.

What is immensely unfair is that there are many big businesses in our economy that routinely use small businesses as their bank rolls. I guess they subscribe to that theory that the business of business is business and therefore nothing is personal, because it is business!   Hmmm, hang on a sec! These types of corporations make it a routine practice to put clients on a 60-90 day cycle before paying despite what the contract might say. They get away with this practice because they hold a dominant position in the market and people who want do to business with them are forced to agree to their terms.

This puts significant cash flow pressure on small and medium size businesses as they have to wait for their (often  major) clients to pay while still having to maintain enough liquidity to pay for their staff and own 20ths. When you are a small business, it is quite easy to be bullied as these companies can choose to walk away from your preferred payment requirements and say take it or leave it. If you do decide to acquiesce to the delayed payment option then you will need to put more aside for the business than the rough guide given above. However, we can explore this more in a future post.

So with all this (dis)heartening information, where do you go from here? Well, the first must do is get yourself some accounting software. In this day and age there simply is no excuse for not knowing where your business is at financially at any given moment. Technology can take care of our point of sale, our inventory, our re-ordering, and help support us to know where our business is financially. Products like MYOB,  Xero , and many others offer free trial periods and very reasonable monthly subscriptions through cloud based services. You then have access to their support team for help to set up their systems to your business needs as part of that subscription. Great! Expert advice and often an designated account manager on tap, helping you!

Regardless of what you choose, Accounting activities can no longer be considered a post-match analysis of what your business has been doing. In this fast changing and dynamic, explosive globalised business environment you should be looking for a blow-blow play of what is happening in your business as you go about your daily activities. This makes budgeting and monitoring of expenditure seamless and ensures that you have up-to-date information to support your decision making.

Another idea is to go to your accountant (or one that someone has recommended) and ask them to help set up the accounting side of your business. They will recommend systems they prefer and set you up so when it comes to reporting and tax obligations they don’t have to spend as much time working through your finances. This then saves you money.  Another good place for free advice is IRD. They have excellent online resources and their business team members are great to deal with on the phone.

Remember: the quicker you can record and report your financial figures (this often means technological integration) the better equipped you are to make sound business decisions.

The last piece of advice I proffer is to actually bone up on your financial literacy. The most loudly heard and frequent complaint I hear about people’s schooling is there wasn’t enough budgeting, cash-flow management and other practical financially literacy information taught.  Research shows that more financial literacy is needed.

While I know time is precious and scarce for the emergent entrepreneur, a lack of knowledge and clarity in managing finances can be a game changer. Signing up and sticking with that free online course or local high school night course could be one of the better decisions that you ever make.


Please leave me a comment and let me know what your worries and experiences about cash flow management are.








5 Things School Did Not Prepare Me For | Project Eve

school failProject Eve is fast becoming one of my favourite reading spots. This article tickled my fancy 🙂

5 Things School Did Not Prepare Me For | Project Eve.

Yes! It is so true. School didn’t prepare me for those things either.

Looking forward, I wonder if today’s schools will be able to prepare our children for these key issues and what other issues our kids could face in the future that we haven’t thought of yet that they will not be necessarily equipped to deal with.

As a small business owner what do you feel less prepared to deal with?


Contextual Intelligence – why we need to use it and work on it

intelligenceIn Business, the era of ‘do it this one way and you will be right’ has long since past. For many years now, people involved in business have known that there is no standard one best way. (Sorry, Taylor – Father of Scientific Management and Ford – who ran with SM principles and in-turn, created Fordism, we have moved on). Instead, modern business practice needs to focus on customising and adapting existent solutions for their people and processes to fit their purpose in order to make a profit.

With the advent of globalisation and increased trade between countries came interactions with people of different cultures having different ways of completing tasks at work.  Resultant misunderstandings and even offence and conflict gave rise to much research on intercultural communication, and international business.

The article below from the Harvard Busines Review is on contextual intelligence. While it focuses primarily on moving business practice between cultures and making adaptations so we can successfully move business across borders and  through the barriers that brings, I think we should enlarge our thinking on how contextual intelligence can benefit our businesses and lives as a whole.

A more holistic view of contextual intelligence is taking the sum of your experiences, knowledge, and education and then before making any decisions, deliberately factoring in the situation you currently face.

The best solution in the world simply will not work unless it is appropriate for your circumstances. For example: There might be a brilliant customer management system that has every bell and whistle you could think of and that can cater for an unending amount of clients. “Wow, you think, That’s great!”  However, if the software costs thousands to implement and maintain annually then it most probably is out of the average small business owner’s reach. Therefore, it is not a good solution for your business at the present time.

Instead, if we use the basis of our contextual intelligence to seek and evaluate information before making decisions, the emergent solutions will have a much better fit for our needs.  When our solutions are well thought out before implementation they cost us less in the long term.  Below is another couple of links of how we can apply contextual intelligence to our marketing environment and to our leadership.

Contextual Intelligence – Harvard Business Review.

Contextual Intelligence  for leadership – Leadership Review 

Contextual Intelligence and Flexibility -understanding today’s marketing environment -Journal of Marketing Practice

I would love to hear your thoughts about transferring experience into new situations 🙂

18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently

creativityThis is a follow up to a previous article on creativity and innovation in entrepreneurship.  The article linked below is a fascinating read. Keep moving past the scientific stuff at the front… it is interesting, but actually does little to reassure that creativity is a skill that can be accessed through practice and a willingness to change, take risks, and make mistakes.

Instead focus on how you can implement some of the habits and choices that creative people have been found to commonly make.

Creativity not only can help us in the here and now, but recent research also suggests that creativity is not just the domain of the young, rather it helps us retain our faculties and enjoyment of life  in our later years.

18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently.

Four ways to calculate your prices

magic hatThis is a follow up on a previous article that explored how small businesses should think about their pricing. I have been hunting around for a simple yet sound costing sheet that will make sense for the emerging entrepreneur that is trying to work out where they should pitch their prices. At the end of the day, and after running the maths by the methods shown below, you will be able to make a well-informed decision about where you would like your products to sit in the market place. 

The nuts and bolts of how to use different methods are explained below. Not only are these useful tools helpful to set pricing, they are also an useful tool to determine costs for start-up business plans.  Your business backers will expect to know your figures inside out so it pays to know where and how the projected income is likely to come from.

The full fact sheet is accessible from the Auckland Chamber of Commerce. They have an excellent online resources library that includes a big majority of business issues you may be grappling with. Please click through to see worked examples with real costings of the methods described below.

Pricing methods

There are four basic methods that you can use to determine the selling price of your product or service:

Cost plus pricing

After calculating the actual cost of your product or service you add the desired amount of profit to reach the selling price.

Demand pricing

Prices using this method are determined by a combination of sales volume (ie. units or a dollar amount of what you actually sell) and desired profit (ie. profit left after subtracting the cost of the goods and doing business). You need the ability to calculate in advance the price that generates the optimum ratio of profit to volume.

Competitive pricing

There are times when the market establishes the price for your product or service. At times like this you are best to follow along with this price. It is important under this pricing structure to track what your competitors are charging, and find out how price aware your customers are.

Mark-up pricing

This method generally involves adding a mark up to the ‘into store’ costs of products. It is not usual for this to result in a recommended retail price determined by the market. Different products can have different mark ups depending on supply and demand or market position.


How are you going with your pricing? Are you confident going to market? Please leave me a comment.

Managing Housework When You Work From Home

workfromhomekidsA business mum just asked for tips on how to best manage your housework when working from home.

Now I don’t profess to be a super-duper clean freak by any stretch of the imagination (in fact when some of my oldest friends come to visit they get the spray and wipe out and look for places to spray) but I have found that for the most part, my house is generally tidy and presentable if you overlook that the floor needs a mop – sweeping and vacuuming is normally as far as I get. (Mental note to self: I must buy that steam mop someday).  I’m glad to say that the house is clean enough to not embarrass me if someone drops by but liveable enough that arts and crafts and little boys messy activities don’t faze me too much.

For me, the trick to creating and maintaining order at home are routines. I know, boring and so last century, but for me and my kids they work beautifully.

While I am not a clock watcher, I have found that having a natural order of when we do things means the kids have consistency and security in how to get through their days. They can now anticipate when and how we are going to do things.  On most days, we will do go about our day the same way.

Here is a breakdown of a typical morning.

6.30 – 6.45 am. – At least one, if not both boys wake up. They are allowed to turn on their lights and play in their bedrooms until their Dad or I come get them. If it gets too loud, or they have a fight because they have gone into each other’s rooms, then they get put back into their own rooms.  The upside of banning the kids from morning cuddles in our bed is that we start the day without everyone getting grumpy from the kids fighting about who lies where and getting in trouble for jumping or other misdemeanours.

7.00 am – I get out of bed and tidy the kid’s rooms with their help. Curtains need to be opened, books need to be returned to their bookshelves, beds need to be made, the floor needs to be cleared of any treasure, and hot-water bottles are searched for, then unearthed to get ready to take to the kitchen. Wahoo, some major chores are already done and it’s not even breakfast time yet.

7.10 am – The kids and I go out to the family area. Our lounge, kitchen, dining and playroom are one big space. Straight off this space is the laundry, storage and our home office.  They kids both play  while I make lunches and husband prepare their breakfast and a coffee for me. If it is a laid-back morning and we are time-rich I sneak take a brief peek at the news sites on my phone while the kids sit on my lap.

7.30- 7.45 am – While the kids eat their breakfast, Hubby and I discuss our plans for the day and take care of anything that needs to be done before he leaves for work. I usually get the kids clothes ready for their showers and pack their school bags while refereeing the ‘he smacked me with his spoon, he stole my … ‘ kind of conversations. Hubby  also referees breakfast and asks what he can do to help.

7.55 am – Hubby is off to work. We have a family tradition where we all go to the front window to wave goodbye and blow kisses while he reverses down the drive. Some mornings I also give him a wee discreet flash so he has something to smile about on the drive in to work . As we wives are prone to do on occasion 😉

8.00 am – The dishes go into the dishwasher and it gets turned on. I also get the washing machine ready to go so we only need to pop in the kids pj’s after their showers. I ask the boys to see to their responsibilities and feed and water the cats. I don’t know how, but Mumma (me) got the task of cleaning the litter tray poop. I normally do that early and then put the tray outside while opening curtains and opening windows.

8.05 – 8.15am – The kids and I tidy up the family areas; toys and books go away, cushions go back on the couch; blankets are stowed away or taken back to respective bedrooms. Any news that is going to ‘show and tell’ at school is selected and put into bags. The kids aren’t allowed a shower until this is done. The longer it takes the shorter their shower will be so this helps motivate them to move it 😉

8.15 – 8.25am – Shower time commences. The boys and I used to shower together (we have a double shower and it saved time, water, and supervision, but these days they are bigger and it is easier and more peaceful when we shower separately). I get out first and dress and dry my hair etc. while they continue to play.  Before they get out and after the water is turned off, they have to tidy up the toys in the shower (bottles, funnels, squirty- sprays all go into the plastic basket). They then get out, dry themselves off, and have to get dressed. They are getting better and better at this and only really still need reminding to get on with it and to put socks on.  If there is too much posturing ( I know, who knew that little boys love prancing around in their naked pulling poses so much) and rough housing in front of the mirrors on our wardrobe doors, I tell them I will set the timer. I then say, ‘In 10 minutes I will be getting in the car to go to school, you too will also be getting in, even if you have to go naked’.  Or I just remind them if they are too late they won’t be able to ride their bikes from a drop-off point on the way to school. This normally generates a frenetic energy and moments later, like magic, the kids are dressed. Viola!

Showering and getting dry and dressed is the time of the morning that has the most potential for stress in our family (although fighting at the breakfast bar runs a close second these days too). I have combated this by getting the boys to work for a cotton ball reward.

Long story short – we have a huge jar on our kitchen bench where we collect cotton balls. When the jar is full, we get to take a special family outing to the hot pools or to an indoor playground etc. The jar was originally an old-fashioned glass fish-bowl so it takes a while to fill. The boys love their cotton balls so work really hard to get them while planning the next family outing.

Where we face stressors in our daily routine, like getting into their car seats and putting on their seatbelts, no fighting in the shower, getting out the shower when asked, drying off and getting dressed, a cotton ball is offered as a reward if they complete their tasks well. As well as the positive reinforcement approach we also use negative reinforcement.  Our children get a warning that their behaviour is not acceptable and are told what the appropriate action is instead. If there is no moderation of their behaviour after that, then they get a countdown from five. If I get to one, then a consequence will be given.  This can be getting taken out of the shower before the normal time to sit on the mat. It can also include a timeout on their naughty seat (in full view of the family room) for how many minutes their age is. I have also improvised and got them to sit on their bottoms if we are out in public. If they don’t engage with the time out process we use while at home, then it is to the bedroom to think for a while before coming back to the timeout chair to complete their consequence (this happens very rarely and has only been added in the last few months as school hormones having started surging). Normally though, the countdown is enough time for them to change tack and get on with what they are meant to do.

8.30 – 8.35 – The boys like do their hair if they have enough time. Yup, they get their brushes out and style their Barnett; I then spray a gel on their creation so it stays that way throughout the day. This really helps their hand-eye coordination, helps to develop confidence and creativity while contributing to their own sense of individuality. Gosh they look cute!

8.30 onwards  – Shoes on, line up, line up, we do a quick sweep to ensure family areas have passed inspection ;-),  I  make sure that the kids have put their pjs in the washing machine (it’s on the way from the bathroom to the front door) so I can turn it on,  then off we go to school. I normally trust them to pick up their school bags and hockey sticks etc., but did get caught out the other day when we got to school and  number two son had forgotten to bring his bag. I did go back and get it… he’s only six.

9.30 ish – Phew, I’m back home, yay for that second and most important cup of coffee for the day.  I then head into my home office to start my work day. Obviously this can change. I often have meetings after doing the morning kids run or am out on jobs. Regardless of when I get in though, that coffee gets made. Small quiet moments of reflection help to create and sustain positivity and happiness as we go forward in our lives 😉

Morning smoko – while waiting for the jug to boil, I hang out my washing or if the weather is the pits or I am feeling lazy I put it in the dryer. Although with power prices these days, I curse at myself at the end of month if I chose this option too often. If I’m doing a crockpot meal, I will stick it on now. It is at this time, I will also run the broom over our wooden floors. Because the boys love their sandpit, sweeping the floor is something I sometimes need to do up to five times a day.  Mental note to self – in future, choose a lighter colour floorboard, it hides the dust way better.

I normally choose to ignore the carpet and give it a quick vacuum every couple of days and then it is only the high traffic volume areas.  The kids love to vacuum so this is something we often do as part of our afternoon activities.  I can’t take the credit for this, their Nana loves vacuuming and had them taking part as soon as they could toddle. Our home gets it main vacuum in its entirety once a week. The kids’ toilet floor gets cleaned most days as pee regularly escapes the receptacle (on an as needed capacity). The joys of boys! That’s as easy as using a bottle of spray and wipe or some such equivalent with some old cloth nappies which are ideal for mopping up liquid.

The kids are also part of the washing folding away operations after telling me it was ‘women’s work’ and they shouldn’t have to do it. Um… no! Masters six and seven now have to help fold as well as put away their clothes. Each person has their own basket which the clothes are folded into and then easily carried off to the bedroom.

The cotton balls then come in handy again as the kids are keen to partake in skirting cleaning, dusting, and window washing. Basically anything where they can use a spray bottle is a goer in their eyes. It does mean we go through a lot more glass and surface spray than most households would, but hey, a small price to pay for getting help with the pesky maintenance chores :-).

At night, after after-school activities, the kids do their homework activities, and play while I cook. They like to help wherever possible so they get their stools to stand at the bench or sit at the breakfast bar and participate and watch and chat while I whip something up. It is while things are cooking, I unpack the dishwasher, clean out lunchboxes, direct kids to make sure cat bowls are clean and fill.

I make no pretenses of being a domestic goddess, but all-in-all; I can say I am house-conscious. By making the kids partly responsible for the environment we share, we manage to get most chores done and the kids are happy. When the kids are happy, I’m happy, and so, hubby is happy too.

Below are some links to Business Mums that have wonderful tips on how to manage the housework while working at home. I hope you find something useful.

 Managing Housework When You Work From Home.

manage work and housework

Why you must have a Business Blog

Here is an important reminder that business blogs are helping to shape your place in the market.

Setting up a site with blogging functionality is surprisingly do-able. I am happy to be part of your project if you would like some advice or if you wish to outsource the job altogether.

27 Powerful Reasons for a Business Blog.

blogs will change your business

Five reasons why mothers are an asset in the workplace | Lola Okolosie |

new mom

A nice commentary on why working mothers rock at work.

There is so much I could add here… having children still remains the game changer in today’s equity and equality movement. Even though children are greatly needed by every society to ensure the next generation of tax payers, employers sometimes think that female employees that have children are at the employer’s detriment. After children, all of a sudden, employment promotions and opportunities decrease for women when before this most modern women feel (rightly or wrongly) they have been competing on a level playing field.

Women also are somewhat reticent about speaking out on this as they worry it will make them seem less satisfied with parenting.  Every article that I have read from the perspective of a mother returning to work or a mother who works outside the home always has a disclaimer of some sort that states, that mothering it is the best thing ever (naturally… see even I can’t help myself).

I think much more needs to be said about the cognitive dissonance the modern woman faces when her hard fought for career changes because of parenting. Just like men’s identities used to be formed primarily by work as it was a fundamental part of their lives, so now do women’s identities increasingly also revolve around work. Because today’s economy demands highly educated employees, women are now increasingly gaining both under-grad and post-grad qualifications to equip herself for her career. In fact research shows more females are gaining post-graduate degrees than males. After landing her graduate role, women are then fighting to prove their selves capable in their roles and worthy of promotion. It might be a long bow, but perhaps this is why we are seeing such high rates of post-natal depression in the developed world. Life for the modern women has all of a sudden has experienced a major tilt on it’s axis. That little nuisance thing of  fulfilling our biological imperative.

Staying at home is hard, you have a little baby, that despite all your wonderful knowledge, won’t necessarily do as you tell them too. That is quite a turn around from being considered proficient and capable at work. On the other hand, going to work is really difficult too. Leaving your baby in-care to return to the workplace is heart-wrenching and distressing. It is all too easy to second guess that decision and yourself most days as you head out the door.

Employing Mums’ is a must! It is a wonderful resource, often under-utilised and devalued, that many companies can benefit from. Educated and experienced woman increasingly are left to scramble to find work below their capabilities and under their prior-to-baby pay scales so they can get the flexibility they need to partake in their mostly primary care-giver responsibilities. The businesses that are employing these women then can leverage off  the knowledge and experience these women bring to their roles and the organisation through workplace culture and job satisfaction initiatives such as empowerment and intrinsic motivation. Let’s not go into the ethical discussions we could have about that at this point.

I think one way forward to keep pushing for true macro-participation for women who are parents at work is to keep it personal. Men have mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters who they want to be treated fairly and with respect. After all they would be upset if someone close to them was ‘done out of a job’ because she had children. By gently reminding men that every woman is someone’s mother, wife, sister, or daughter hopefully we can work through this workplace barrier. Men can be and remain our greatest allies if we remember to work to change the system with them.

The article below has five great points for women to share with their managers and employers to show them why they are needed at work and add great value.

Five reasons why mothers are an asset in the workplace | Lola Okolosie | Comment is free |

When all is said and done though, it still remains an imperfect system where fairness does not reign… yet!  The decisions that disadvantage women because of their parenting status or potential to be parents certainly highlights why Mothers are turning to self-employment to showcase their hard-won skills and experience while still managing their home responsibilities.

Mompreneurship is a phenomenon that even 10 years ago was emergent research. In the past short decade, women with children have been showing big business what they are missing out on when they choose to take non-work related factors into their decision making. If you would like to find out more about Mompreneurship then this site makes an excellent resource and starting point. 


Fixing a Work Relationship Gone Sour – Amy Gallo – HBR

sour taste

When it all comes down to it, the reason why people stay or leave organisations is hardly ever about the work. Rather, it is about how the people who work there make them feel.

Work is hard, not because of the tasks that we are given, but how we perceive ourself to fit in, be supported, and how we get on with those that work with and around us.

I had my professional heart broken when a much valued mentor who was very dissatisfied with his work circumstances was made to provide cover for me while I went on leave. His discontent and malcontent caused much damage while I was away and created havoc and swirling tensions to step back into.

It took me much to partially understand why he did what he did.  It took much more for me to still work with him after finding out about it. When I addressed the situation head-on with him, he stonewalled me and so after a while, I involved upstream to help mediate the issues and to clear the air.

Unfortunately, such was the strength of our teamwork before our workplace relationship soured, that the workplace was never quite the same for me after that. Not only did I lose a strong base of support and belongingness, after the difficulty I had with my mentor, I found myself re-evaluating every person involved in the organisation, as I had trusted the assessments he told me about our co-workers when I started.  It was like starting all over again but instead of being the fresh new guard, I now had history that had firmly aligned me with factions in the department. To my delight many of the people who I got to know again are inspirational, passionate, and caring people.

The institution was and probably still remains a political pit of manoeuvrings that tends to happen when brilliant people are put together who are not united by an overreaching goal. I consider it a great shame that those same brilliant minds and people impassioned by their own tasks could not find a way forward to join together and agree on how things needed to be done for the betterment of greater goals. Score-keeping seemed to be very common and debate was often to disagree rather than to generate more robust solutions.

The relationship with my mentor did get partly mended, at least in my mind anyways, I can’t vouch for him. We still made a coherent and productive team on the occasions we had to work together and when I needed support, he often stepped up and provided it again and often only with a look from me as a prompt.

I have moved on from the upset that I faced during those trying days. I am glad that I was able to thank that past mentor for what he did for me and that relationship ended on a positive if somewhat limp note. Some of the lessons were tough… really tough, but I learnt much from that person, in fact he still makes my top 10 most influential people in my life so far list today. I am in part grateful for the tests because they made me more resilient and measured than before as this was also the first workplace conflict, that despite my best effort, I could not ‘fix’.   Now-a-days I feel really sad that his frustration with his own journey slowly poisoned the brilliance and flair that flowed through his work and alienated him from the wonderful human being I once knew him to be. I’m still grateful that I got to see him at his best and that his best was inspiring.

And for those of you who are smirking and wondering… no there was never any romantic chemistry or intentions! Tut, tut!

The following is a great read from the Harvard Business Review. You need to read it because work relationships can be hard work and they will require crisis management and maintenance on occasions. Amy Gallo offers up some ways to achieve this.

 Fixing a Work Relationship Gone Sour – Amy Gallo – Harvard Business Review.


Bone up your business knowledge for free – WSJ

free educationYou need to see this article as it offers links to institutions that offer free courses to people wanting to learn more about business. They also offer links to people wishing to continue to grow and develop.

The advent of technology has increased our opportunities and the generosity of those involved in education that believe knowledge should be shared has smashed barriers.

Sign up,  the resources are here for the taking 🙂

And no I am not getting any gain, financial or otherwise for telling you about free education. I too believe that knowledge is there for us to explore and adopt.

Don’t Let Your Education End at Graduation – WSJ.

The Value of Creativity and innovation in entrepreneurship

permissionI am often left saddened by how many adults who are hesitant about trying new things or who are afraid to make mistakes. This is then shadowed by them telling me that they aren’t creative.

Back in the day there must have been a failing in many of our schooling systems where children were turned off doing art or creative activities because a Teacher inadvertently implied or directly told the children that their efforts were not up to scratch. From there it was a short walk to people feeling inadequate when faced with the task of solution generation to problem solve.

Many people also mistakenly think that creation and innovation is about making something up from conception to implementation. This entirely contradicts Edward DeBono’s ideas around creativity and fusion

Creativity is not an airy-fairy concept just based on fun and brainstorming, in fact it works best when applied to solution generation.

In Entrepreneurship and business, it is often cheaper and faster to adapt and customise and fuse already existent solutions. This too is a creative process and just as a valid way of finding solutions for your business and your clients. Remembering to be conversant of legal and ethical guidelines around patents and espionage of course!

After all, why spend the time and money on re-inventing the wheel when it is not needed! Modern businesses who prosper are ones who can anticipate and position themselves for change. Customisation and adaptation should be standard business practice.

Creative expression feeds the soul and is a cornerstone of modern business endeavours. The key is giving yourself permission to fail and to be tolerant of mistakes from your staff provided that the learning from that mistake is then put back into your business processes.  Everything from there on in is an expression of your way to solve problems and make life easier and more enjoyable for you, your employees, and your clients.

The following link is supposedly to an academic journal article. To me, it seems something that a first year undergrad would put together as the sources are not rigorous. Why I have chosen to share it, is this essay unpacks many of the ideas of creativity and innovation and is an easy read for someone who is looking to understand and then embed these principles’ into their work without getting bogged down by the density of academic writing. 

Never forget the lesson and the knowledge gained from it is more important than who delivers it or how they choose to do it 😉

BBC News – Self-employed make up two-thirds of new jobs, ONS says

self employedInteresting research suggests that self-employment has become a very popular option since the financial crisis.

BBC News – Self-employed make up two-thirds of new jobs, ONS says.

While financial downturns can create a stampede to self-employment and the rise of micro businesses as those retrenched still seek to eke a living and to support their families, other more popular reasons that people start their own business include:

  •  To create something new
  •  To control my own life
  • To make money
  •  To be my own boss
  • To prove I could do it
  • Frustration in  employment experiences
  • Other

Other academic research has indicated that self-employment that transitions into entrepreneurial enterprises can have significant impact on the health and wealth of an economy  and contribute significantly to job creation.

  • Entrepreneurs and small business are driving the economy.
  • About 50 per cent of private workforce employed in small business.
  •  This 50 per cent generates more than 50 per cent of the nation’s GDP.
  • Also generates about 55 per cent of the innovations.

Job creation

o   Large firms downsize, small firms grow

  •  Organisational innovation

o   -New product or service, including the way the product is delivered or the way it is made

  • Diversity

o   Women not blocked (as in traditional large enterprise) in smaller, entrepreneurial firms

o   Ethnic Minorities that often face barriers in gaining mainstream employment are choosing self-employment as their vehicle to wealth creation.



Struggling with Marketing? Free Education from Wharton with their online courses

If you are struggling with your marketing then this is a great opportunity for you 🙂

Wharton Business Schools run free online business courses so you can bone up on business fundamentals.

What you need to know: These courses run for 9 weeks

You will need to commit: Around 5 hours a week

Their marketing course starts soon. Follow the link for further information and to sign up.

An Introduction to Marketing | Coursera.

Why the buck has to stop with you

the buck stopsNew managers and new bosses often make some vital mistakes which undermines their ability to get the job done.

This can be simple as wanting to be seen to be one of the team and needing to be liked.

While there is much merit in being able to deliver tough messages in an empathetic way, your employees will look to you for guidance and signals as to what is really going on at work.

If you are wishy-washy then that can be interpreted as a lack of confidence in yourself, in them, and in the way forward. You will create anxiety where there doesn’t need to be any.

You the founder, or the manager has much influence over the workplace culture that develops in your firm. Make that influence deliberate and with purpose rather than creating an atmosphere that is counter to what you are trying to achieve.

You are paid the big dollars (in your staff’s eyes anyway) to make the hard calls. So put on your big boss pants and get on with the job. Rather than pandering to the people around you, use your abilities to to get the job done in the manner that works with your purpose, your people, and your processes

Below is a link to an article that highlights why being a boss can be uncomfortable and why it is best to move past this. Remember that top managers and great leaders aren’t born that way, keep working on your skill basket to ensure you get to the top of your game.

Uncomfortable Being the Boss? 5 Tips That Will Help |

Perfecting your Sales Pitch Pitter Patter – Salesforce Blog

The old adage of pushing product is long gone. These days you need to be customer-centric. Focus on your customer’s needs, and focus on how you can deliver on fixing their problems and make their lives easier.

Turn the  ‘push-push pitter patter’ into a two way conversation by asking questions about the customer, their business, and their issues/concerns. Good sales people are active listeners who can paraphrase and feedback what messages they have heard from their customers.

Remember genuine warmth and interest go a long way to building relationships. People will not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel. Never pressure for the instant sale or to close the deal but instead give your buyers information that they can follow up on and always follow up when you say you will. Many sales are lost simply because the rep never called back to see if the client needed further information. Good interactions are the foundation of loyal customers and proud referrals.

The following link breaks down the steps of sales into seven easy steps with some helpful following up tips too. It isn’t the only way to approach your sales, but it is a good place to start to help focus you and your employees efforts.

How to Make a Good Sales Pitch in 7 Steps – Salesforce Blog.

How addicted are you to your devices? Research suggests many of us never unplug! – WSJ

technology addictionAre you guilty of picking up your cell at dinner or lunch to check on social media or flick through your email? … even though you are sitting opposite someone who wants you to engage with you. Your unending connectivity may be a sore point with your family and friends.

I knew I was in trouble with my husband when I used to get woken up by emails at 3am in the morning and I would get out of bed to answer them. From that point on my cell was banned from the marital chamber. To this day it gets plugged in on our kitchen counter each night… I can still hear it ding 😉

This is an emergent topic. As technology progresses, expect more research to point out our vanishing ability to just be with ourselves and the ones we love.

Data Point: That’s a Lot of People to Say They ‘Never’ Unplug – Digits – WSJ.

If you think you could improve your amount of downtime then here is a quick read of why it will help:


Another great read is the blog of Darl Kolb, the World’s first Professor of Connectivity  He discusses many connectivity issues, it’s a fascinating read.



Small Business Advice: How to Price Your Service LinkedIn

price serviceA starter point for people wondering what to charge. While the articles are somewhat light  there are some gems to take away from the read.

Getting your price right is critical to your business success. Clients often see price as an indication of quality. If you don’t value your time sufficiently they could end up wondering if there is a lack.

That said you need to remain competitive. So do your research… Facebook has many online business networking groups to bounce queries off, ask around, visit websites, even phone a few key competitors for price checks, ask friends and family what they think is a fair rate.


Small Business Advice: How to Price Your Service | Rachel S. | LinkedIn.



Work + Home + Community + Self – Harvard Business Review

onionThis is an important article for all small business owners. Written in a rich narrative, it outlines principles to achieve and manage a holistic integrated life where people are not forced to make trade-offs that sacrifice the work, home, community, and self.

There are linked readings for a more in-depth understanding and linked tools that you can use to better understand priorities and yourself.

Work + Home + Community + Self – Harvard Business Review.

Manage your customer care

lifebloodYour customers are the business’ life blood. I am always somewhat bemused by businesses that spend much effort and monies to chase after the new client.

The reality is that if you take care of the customers you already have then your business will grow with them. The existent clients will ask you to do more for them and they will then tell their friends.

A good rule of thumb is that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. You can see the potential for growth right there!

Be the company that others recommend!

The link below is from It contains an honest starting point for small businesses to become customer-centric.

There is nothing flashy about what they have to say, just good old plain english to help small business owners make changes to their business that will add positive value to their bottom line.

Manage your customer care.

Supporting creative communities

The Auckland Council is dead keen to spend the rate payers money. This could be a worthy way to enjoy watching that debt burden grow. If nothing else it fosters talent in our community and helps to ensure there will be another generation of rate payers to fund the city.


Anyhow, I digress… If you are part of an artistic endevour or part of a creative community then apply. Those close 29 August.

Supporting creative communities.

7 Tips for Online Retail Store Start Ups –

A good starting place for people who want to sell online. There are many options where you can list your product but at some point, it will pay to build yourself a website/online shopping environment. The great news is that there are now many free platforms where you can do this. If you are tech phobic then there are many small businesses who can do this for you cheaply.


7 Tips for Online Retail Store Start Ups –