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Michael Hill’s Book – Toughen Up (what I’ve learned about surviving tough times)

October 26th, 2009

I love learning new things and consider myself a pretty good thief (in a nice sense). I’m always on the lookout for new ideas and new ways of doing things where I can ‘steal’ the idea and apply to my own or a client’s situation.

How can we expect to get better results for our business, our property investing, or even our life unless we get better ourselves all the time?

I recently read Michael Hill’s book – ‘Toughen Up – What I’ve learned about surviving tough times’. It’s a great read with some great ideas in it. Because it’s a New Zealand success story that makes the read even more interesting.

So I thought I’d share some of the things that I took out of it (I always read with a pen in my hand and underline the points that appeal).

In the book Michael talks about not to panic in a tough environment – keep your head and focus on what is going well rather than the small issues that are bogging you down. Always be on the lookout for ways to perfect your business and have your operation as lean as you can.

One of the quotes I love is:

One of the big problems in business life is staying fresh, particularly if you are lucky enough to be a leader in your field, or if you don’t have a direct competitor breathing down your neck. In those circumstances, an external prod is often what is necessary.

That’s so true and that’s why it’s important to surround yourself with a champion team, both inside and outside your business. Build a fabulous team and then become the coach of that team.

It’s interesting that Michael attributes a lot of his success to having a vision for the future and visualizing the results you want well in advance of them occurring. I believe thinking is so underrated and if people took more time to think, they’d be amazed at the results they got.

He goes on to say Some people go through life constantly calculating an Emergency Plan B in case Plan A fails. I prefer to stick to Plan A.

Thinking about what you want however is not enough and you need to make sure that you know what’s going on in your business and have data that gives you a snapshot of where you are at. Always remember what your core business is and don’t become distracted from that.

In delivering your core business Michael says it’s okay, in fact essential, to make mistakes. Learn from them and this will make you stronger. An error free business shows that you are not pushing hard enough and one way to keep on top of things is to keep in touch with the ‘factory floor’ the essential ‘doing’ part of your business.

Make sure that the workplace environment (and you if your’re in front of clients) is immaculately presented, because poor presentation is distracting and any distraction just takes away from your business, which in turn has a direct impact on profitability.

The very last sentence in his book is …

it is never too late to find your dream. And you – only you – can make it a reality. Have a wonderful adventure.

It’s a fantastic read and gives an insight into a great New Zealand business that started in provincial New Zealand and now has global presence.

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