Business leaders need to get the fundamentals – such as culture and a competitive advantage – right and then “just go for it”.
This was the message from Geoff Ross who was speaking at the recent World Class New Zealand Inspire Auckland event.
The half-day seminar was organised by the Kea New Zealand global network, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development and NZTE.
Paraphrasing US General George S Patton, Ross said a good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.
“A perfect business plan doesn’t exist. As soon as you’ve written one, it’s almost obsolete.”
Ross founded and led the 42Below vodka company before its sale to Bacardi. He is now part of The Bakery, a company that invests in high-growth Kiwi businesses including beer maker Moa and the Ecoya body care and home fragrance company.
He described Kea as the “cheerleader for New Zealand business” and added that “we all need a cheerleader and a rark up from time to time”.
Ross emphasised that he was not advocating anyone should just blunder around in business.
“But trying to second guess every challenge is overrated…This may sound naïve and maverick but it’s important…. You need to adapt and take advantage of opportunities as they come along.”
He recommended business people identify an opportunity within a growth category.
“Business is tough enough. So look for a tail wind…. And ask yourself: do you have a connection to the business? Do you know it, love it, understand it and live it?”
He advised business people to use their personal connections “and make sure you have plenty of them”.
He said an ability to sell is the most valuable skill for any business person to have. “Successful business people, politicians, actors… all have an ability to sell.” He recommended asking open questions and described company culture as a very important asset in any business.
“The best cultures have freedom from fear, freedom to succeed and freedom from chaos.
"A lot of businesses suffer from a fear of failure.”
• For who’s who pics from the World Class New Zealand Inspire Auckland event, see NZ Management magazine’s July edition.
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