Jo Williamson, Howler Hotdogs

We were lucky enough to have the lovely Jo Williamson join us for the inaugural Nurture Change Business Retreat last year. The busy owner joined us from her base in Christchurch, where she and her hubby create Howler Hotdogs (mini, gluten-free hot dogs) and GFTreets (gluten-free goodies including donuts, chicken strips and battered fish). You can read more about Jo's business in this recent NZ Business story but here we've asked her to share the business advice she'd give to other business owners:


1. Validate. Generally business people, inventors and entrepreneurs don’t have any problem coming up with ideas. The question you have to always ask yourself is what value consumers put on your service or product. How much are they prepared to pay for it and in what numbers? These numbers tell you whether you have a viable proposition or not.

2. Lift your head above the parapet. The day-to-day operational challenges in a business, particularly SMEs where you are wearing many hats, leads to a lot of time focused on the here and now. Be sure to schedule time to reflect, recharge and renew – and book for the next Nurture Change Business Retreat. Think about the escalating rate of digital change, what trends are influencing the market you are in, and how your customer expectations are changing and what influence this will have on your business over the next year, two years or five years and how you can respond to it.

3. The Triangle Of Trust. We all know that developing your people is the key to freeing yourself from many routine tasks in the business, as well as improving staff satisfaction and lowering staff turnover. But you should also ensure that you have 3 people who are competent enough to cover any task or role in the business to avoid any major holes developing in operations and service delivery, and any significant loss of business intellectual property with the sudden departure of an employee.

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