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What Zac de Silva learnt in America

They say the best business learning happens outside of the office. I recently attended a business conference in Denver and learnt heaps!

1 – There are so many people outside of NZ. Whilst it is easier said than done, we often set our sights too low as Kiwis. I believe it is usually the right thing to do in becoming a local success first (in NZ) but it was amazing being reminded of how big the global marketplace can be if you can crack it. Are you at the top of your game in NZ? If you are, how hard have you tried to be successful overseas? Often it is just connecting with the right people in an overseas market and then who knows what will happen.

 2 – You can learn from so many people. At this particular conference, I learnt from 20-something years olds with little business experience and I learnt from people advanced in their years with lots of experience. It reminded me of the power of combining both youthful vigour and enthusiasm with wisdom. To learn new ideas or to have your own ideas and approach challenges differently you need to grow your network. Do you know enough people who can add to your intellectual business capabilities? Do you know enough people who will push you to think beyond where you are at currently?

 3 – Overseas is a massive hive of ideas waiting to be learnt from. As an example, My Food Bag was an idea that had been well proven in Sweden. Whilst having a greater population overseas can make some ideas not relevant or economically possible in NZ, you are bound to come across something that will either make your business better or identify something that could be a profitable adjunct to your current business.

 4 – Yes I have said it before (and it was the reason for setting up Nurture Change), but when you get out of the office and your day to day normal routine, your mind will work way better than usual. Do you get out of your day-to-day business enough? How could you get away from your normal routine for a week say every 3 months to spend time just ‘thinking’ about how to be more successful in your business?  Put such time in the calendar and you will have something to look forward to, knowing you have upcoming valuable “think and focus” time.

 5 – And perhaps most importantly, what were the real nuggets I either learnt or got reminded of?

·       Make sure you know what you are really (really) great at and do more of that.

·       Think more about how to 10x your business and performance – while growing at 20% or 50% is fine, how could you grow exponentially?

·       Know what truly resonates with your customers and do it to an A+ level.

·       Do you truly know why your business is successful (or not) and what can you do with this knowledge to be more successful?

·       Most companies do a poor job of getting potential customers excited about doing business with them.

·       I loved a question I learnt from Evernote CEO, Chris O’Neil. He asks staff, “How proud are you of the work you are doing?”

·       We need to be sharing more regularly how a business is truly going compared to its stated goals. All staff should be in the know here.

·       Everybody needs someone who will say it like it is. Who is telling you the truth about how average your performance really is? You are not as good as you think you are.

·       To win in business it is usually not the one, bright shiny thing that will make a difference – it is doing many small incremental things well that add up to being successful.


Moral of the story: get away, learn and talk to others!

Zac is a Co-Founder of Nurture Change. This was written for  http://www.businesschanging.co... 

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