As a new business, every birthday counts – but none so much as that fifth birthday. The first few years of business can be hard but the rubber really meets the road at about the third year. That’s about when you’ve tapped all your contacts to be your early customers, your initial cash fund has dried up so your business needs to be paying for itself, and – to be honest – the grind of business means it’s about then that your initial enthusiasm can wane. It’s no surprise that more than 50% of businesses fail in the first five years.
Nurture Change turned five this year and I couldn’t be more proud. My enthusiasm for this business has never waned, mainly because I’ve always been motivated by the why: to form an authentic community of smart business people and offer services and experiences to help them be better, professionally and personally.
Our fifth year in business was quite different to the previous four – my wife and business partner Sip stepped up as GM to run the company. She has been incredible, using her business nous and experience in hospitality to take the business and Nurture experience to the next level. This year, more than 500 people will attend a retreat – that’s huge!
Here are some lessons I came away from 2019’s Nurture Change Business Retreat with:
- David Downs is an epic MC. My wife will tell you that I was reluctant to hand over the MC duties but I will admit that David was amazing – he used his wit and business smarts to set the tone and now I can’t imagine a future retreat without him at the helm! Lesson for me? Outsource to people who know what they’re doing and stick to your knitting!
- Kubb rules! I was taught the game by the 6-year-old son of our Business Changing team member, Zeb (Deb) last Christmas and immediately loved it. When Sip suggested having it as our team-building exercise, I was all for it. Lesson learnt: team activities are excellent for breaking the ice, especially for those not as extroverted as others – you just have to look for the non-cringe activities…
- Jon Bridges shared so many great insights on how to deliver a great speech, including “name it to tame it” (identify the feeling to control it), do the mahi to get the treats (ie prep is the most important factor), and take your audience on a journey and tell the story.
- Libby Babet spoke about creating a better life culture, which is something Sip and I have been working on over the past two years. She told us to search for your why? (ie how is the World Helped by You?) Ask yourself what you truly value, and then make sure those values lead your life. How do you spend your time, and your money – and how could you improve that? And, if nothing else, start exploration Sundays – get out and about so you can start your week off the right way.
- Paul Roos shared the leadership tips he used to coach footy teams to become award winners – so many of them pertinent to business owners. The most memorable quick-fire tips for me were: your attitude will rub off on your staff and clients so be careful what you project; set strategies with rules, plans, boundaries and goals – and communicate them; remember that no one goes out to lose so look at their intentions before you react; ask your newest person what they think of your culture once they’ve been there a week; and look for the real leaders in your organisation (even if their position doesn’t have them pegged as one, officially). Powerful stuff.
- Rachel Taulelei had so many pertinent points in her talk but the soundbites that stood out for me was “Story is the new black – set out to find your pack through telling the right stories” and “At the end of the day, your soft stuff is what’s hard”. Of course, it goes without saying that Rachel also inspired all of us to get our own superhero character!
- Dion Nash’s tale about the towel incident and having a poster of Martin Crowe on his wall as a brand new cricketer had me laughing, but what also stood out for me was his analogy of his business being like a V6. He said each piston’s either generating income and efficiency – at any one time, 3 are going well and 3 need working on. This must be true for all of us. What three pistons should you be focusing on right now?
- I loved Dame Trelise Cooper’s attitude: “I go to the University of Trelise and every day is a personal growth day.” She shared that failure, sorrow, tragedies, disappointments break you open – but when things are really bad, your very best is happening. It just might take some time to realise that.
- Ted (Sir Graham Henry) always brings the goods. The three things I enjoyed from his talk this year: concentrate on your big rocks, don’t get involved in side shows and don’t have too many balls in the air at once.
I don’t have room to share all the lessons I’ve jotted down in my journal but it goes without saying that the 2019 Nurture Change Business Retreat went up another level this year and I got so much from all the speakers. We had 205 attendees this year – our best yet! And our next retreats, Nurture Her and Nurture 360, are filling up for October. If you missed Nurture Change, check out these two retreats – they could be just what you need. Or maybe you just want another five days in Fiji, and that’s ok too! No judgment here!