5 Favourite Businesses — Liber8me

MGP Scooters rock the world! What a fantabadooly MADD business! @mgp_scooters

You know I love to find inspiring business models to share with you.  And this has to be one of them…. MADD, best known (if you have any children age 7 – 12 right now) as the makers of the MGP Scooters.  You know, those colourful things that have condemned all other, perfectly good working scooters to the back of the shed or onto TradeMe.   Yes, every child has to have an MGP scooter and no other scooter will do.  The wild phenomenon that is MGP only became clear to me when my 9 year old son George insisted that he use his Christmas money to buy a new scooter.  There was some resistence from me as he already had a perfectly good scooter which he hardly used.  He didn’t even seem interested in scooters, hadn’t used his for months. But he was adamant.  He HAD to have an MGP.  Life depended on it.  Only when he scootered proudly into school with it did I realise how many other MGPs were in the playground.  I counted 30 lined up in the new scooter stand (which only seemed to have appeared in order to house the rapidly multiplying number of MGPs hitting the school premises all of a sudden).  From then on everywhere I looked there were colourful MGP scooters.  15 outside the dairy, 9 counted with country kid riders when we went over to our holiday home in Martinborough.  MGP scooters taking over the world.

But it didn’t stop there.  Soon George was talking about wanting to customise his scooter with different handlebars and wheels.  He started learning tricks on his scooter and watching videos on You Tube.  It seems MGP are seriously cool.  I began to realise something very special was happening from a business perspective here so I did a little digging.  When I googled MGP Scooters, the full scope of this great business became apparent.  We are talking cool gear – shoes, t-shirts, hoodies the like.  We’re talking merchandising onto kids’ collectable toys… mini collectible scooters, ramps etc.

 MGP stands for Madd Gear Pro… so I went to the maddgear.com website to discover even more to marvel at.  MGP has teams competing in and are sponsoring major scooter events all over the globe .  The business was started ten years ago by a guy called Mike Horne who had a vision to “create an Aussie Brand for Aussie kids”.  It seems he’s done a lot more than that.  He’s created a brand phenomenon for kids all over.  A company that is living its brand, loving its sport, getting involved in the community, taking its Pro Team on tour to ensure regional fans get to be a part of it.

It’s example to me of a business doing everything right… and a business owner clearly truly on purpose, driving a sporting culture with his MADD enthusiasm.   Mr MADD, if this blog happens to find its way to you, I’d love to interview you to find out more about your journey and your vision for this rocking company.  Thanks for the inspiration!  And in the meantime, I guess I know what will be on a 9 year old’s Santa list this Christmas…


Check out www.maddgear.com

Sexy machine, sexy business, sexy model… it’s a winner!

I love great business models.  Here’s a simple one, yet technically so right on many different levels. 

It’s Nespresso, maker of coffee machines.  My mum in UK has one and I fell in love with the taste of the coffee and the simplicity of the making of said coffee every morning when staying with my mum for a month recently.  Believe me, the cafe culture we enjoy in good ol’ Wellington NZ has not yet reached Milton Keynes.  The coffee in all cafes is …. blah!  As I said to mother one morning after my run, “the best coffee on this trip so far is found every morning in your kitchen”.  God bless the Nespresso machine.

So I decided to buy one upon my return to NZ and found myself searching on the internet.  This is when I realised I love this business.  Here’s why:

1.  Great product – the machine range are simple, look great and meet a growing need for home made cafe style coffee.

2.  Once you buy the machine you are hooked for the life of the machine into buying the coffee capsules that go with the machine.  Unlike other coffee machines you can’t just use any coffee beans … you have to use the Nespresso capsules.  So this machine comes with a built in ‘back end’.  My favourite business strategy.  Much like buying a printer … you pay a bit for the machine itself, and then continue to pay for the ink that fits the machine.  Clever!

3. The company has built a capsule collection and recycling system into their business model.  Your used capsules are collected when the new ones are delivered (you order them online) and the aluminium re-used.  Environmentally friendly too.  I like this!

4. The company has a sustainablity program which works with small farmers in coffee growing countries to help them improve the sustainability and productivity of their farms, while maintaining the highest quality coffee.  A company with a caring, make a difference philosophy that sees it make a difference to the world.  Liking this.

5.  The company is global and provides the same experience in all countries it operates in via the internet… it’s systemised, well thought through and well implemented.

6.  The brand shows through when you visit their website – it’s slick and their commitment to caring about the customer, the planet and the production of their coffee is obvious. 

7. They’ve got George Clooney featuring in their ad campaign.  How could coffee ever look sexier???????? Brilliant.  Sold to the lady dreaming of a George Clooney moment over my gluten free muesli.

Take a look www.nespresso.com

You might not want to buy their machine and their coffee, but you can admire the business model.  It ticks my boxes anyway.  A great role model for businesses looking to grow with a sustainable and caring business.

Now which machine shall I order… what do you think George?

I’ve been away from my computer for 5 days so haven’t had the chance to share the sadness I’ve been feeling at the death of Steve Jobs.  Only a few weeks ago I listed Apple as one of my top 5 favourite businesses of all time.  I refer to Apple a lot in my mentoring programme and in the book I’m currently writing.  Steve Jobs represented the absolute best of the best when it comes to entrepreneurship.  A start up business in a garage to the leading company in the world.  The Apple journey ticks every box for ideal business planning and implementation.  Starting with a revolutionary approach with a clear vision and company values of leading the way and challenging boundaries all the way. 

What I love most about Apple is that this company has single handedly changed the way we exist.  Computers, music, phones.. our way of relating with each other and the world will never be the same.  Thanks to one man who led a company that changed the world.  He led it right to the end… his own end.  But not ours.  Steve Jobs built a company that will live on long after he is gone.  The culture, the brand and the vision is so strong you just know it will not stop transforming our world, even though its intrepid leader has moved on.

We are blessed to have Apple in our lives for a while to come.  And we should be thankful to a man who made it all possible.

Thank you Steve Jobs.  I never met you and so haven’t earned the right to call you Steve.  But had you been English, I like to think the Knighthood would have been granted to you by now for your service to humanity. For being a role model to entrepreneurs everywhere.

Rest in peace Sir Steve x

And my favourite businesses are…

I see many different businesses through my line of work, mostly are owner operators building businesses they hope one day to exit, either by selling it or creating leverage to enable the business to continue without them being there.  Moving past the owner operator stage can be tricky, especially if you have built a business based on your own particular experience and skill set.  My work with Liber8me is all about helping owner operators re-engineer their business so that it will ultimately thrive without the owner and feed them long term wealth at the same time. 

Naturally I think about business a lot.  I love business and I watch the truly elite business models out there with interest, always looking for the aspects of these businesses that make them so brilliant.  As I turned the light off last night I found myself asking myself which would be my favourite 5 businesses in the world and why.  Great questions for me to think about as I went to sleep.

The first three came fast and easily, I rattled them off in my head before my eyes closed… here they are:

1.  Xero.  I love this business model.  Take one of the most frustrating aspects of small business, make it easier, make it approachable, accessible and take it to market with a perfectly formed brand.  With its cloud based, super-user friendly accounting package, Xero exemplifies Marketing 101… start with a frustration then offer the best solution, get the pricing right and find the most leveraged (and cost effective) channel possible.  By partnering with as many accounting firms around the world as it can, Xero lets the accountants sell the product for them.  Add to all of this, Xero has in Rod Drury an experienced, proven, dynamic and credible leader.  A CEO who has built a number of businesses in the technology space before, all with successful exits created for him and his business partners. A CEO who understands all the complexities of business, is passionate about the offering and the company, has the right connections to make things happen and is also a down to earth good guy.  Fab!

2.  Apple.  Well, what can I say.  From famously humble beginnings with two geeks in a garage, to arguably the most successful business on the planet.   Unlike Facebook, which continues to defy all reason with its purported valuation in the billions, Apple is a classic business in every sense.  Until recently it had a passionate and inspirational leader in its founder Steve Jobs, it is a beautiful brand that has turned a piece of fruit into a symbol for paradigm breaking brilliance.  When you think Apple, what do you ask yourself?  If you are like me you are asking ‘what’s next?’.  What new world of communication will they catapault us into next?  It all started with a funny looking little computer that looked a bit like a small screen tv on a tardis.  Apple was about computers.   Then it was about music as the iPod and iTunes captured our imaginations.  Then phones as the iPhone transformed that gadget in our hand into the most handy thing you can carry with you next to a swiss army knife.  Surely even Bear Grills has swapped his compass for  a map app and is grateful for his torch app when the moon isn’t out.  Now there’s the iPad with the book and game industry also part of the Apple world.   All of this held together by the most consistent pioneering brand.  Just look at the original Apple logo… with Newton discovering new horizons.  The brand essence has never changed.  But the value of the company certainly has!

3.  The Body Shop.  My love for business really started when I read Anita Roddick’s book, Body and Soul.  I was captivated by the story of a woman who started a shop selling beauty products based on ethical production methods, just because she couldn’t find these products  in the market.  She was a child of the 60′s, fiercely anti animal testing, use of chemicals and abuse of the environment… all of which feature highly in the mainstream beauty industry.  Once again you hear the story from humble beginnings, as Anita got turned away from bank after bank and opened a shop with a small handful of hand made products struggling to fill the shelves, to a global company which made her one of the richest women in the world.  Along the way, Anita helped save native tribes in places such as the Amazon, tribes on the verge of distinction, by allowing them to build cottage industries producing the ingredients for her products.  She made a massive difference on this planet.  Sadly she passed away some years ago, but boy, what a legacy she left.  I love this business because it ticks all those classic good business 101 boxes – products designed to solve a frustration in the market, a passionate, determined leader who wouldn’t take no for an answer, brilliant marketing using planet friendly messages to drive a loyal following, a strong and clearly defined culture which enabled seamless global expansion, plus… and this is a big plus for me, a higher purpose that meant this business has changed the face of business, saved lives and allowed people everywhere to take a stand against animal testing.   The concept of ethical business really came about, I believe as a result of Anita’s legacy.

Phew!  So those are my top 3.  The no brainers for me.  I didn’t have to think about these.  I have since come up with another two to complete my top 5 favourite business list.  But I will save those for another blog.  In the meantime, what’s your favourite business and why?