Dean's 11 tips for starting a business in New Zealand

Making It Happen · 22 Aug 2017

I had an idea for a business, it wasn’t my first, second or third idea… but the reason the other ideas didn’t work, is because I didn’t do anything about…

I had an idea for a business, it wasn’t my first, second or third idea… but the reason the other ideas didn’t work, is because I didn’t do anything about it! This time, it was going to be different. And that's my first tip - it's not the idea, it's the action. If you want to make it happen you need to start today.

Within a couple of weeks of making the decision myself, I had a website, product, process and customers…  but did it all go swimmingly? Of course not. But surviving is succeeding and each day that goes past, the business and I get stronger.  I am making more money than I am spending, that’s not easy thing to achieve, so I consider that - success!

So what are my hot tips?

  1. Read – Before you do anything, read some business/marketing books about whatever it is you are thinking of doing, then read some more.  To start off I’d suggest reading  Pat Flynn's Will it Fly, and Seth Godin's What to do when it’s your turn – but there are hundreds and thousands to read – just read one and you’ve started on the path.
  2. Podcasts – If you don’t like reading, listen to audiobooks or podcasts (if you don’t know what they are – google it) or ask a friend or ask me.  This information is FREE!!!!
  3. Now – The best time to start your business was 5 years ago!  The next best time is now!  It’s never been easier to start a business and no one has to give you permission, want to produce a record? Write a book? Start a crochet revival? It’s never been easier to start (but be smart about it)
  4. Find your niche – Who will your customer be and how will you find them? No product is for everyone, not even Coke or McDonalds!  Find people on the fringes… for example, Rhayne sells Horopito pepper, have you ever heard of it, let alone buy it?  Most likely not, however, I sell to Gourmet restaurants, Bakers of Paleo breads, and health supplement companies which are big enough for us to be sustainable/profitable.
  5. Give the idea away – If you have a tangible product or service – give it away to 20 people – don’t worry about the money, the ego, the voices in your head…  your “guinea pigs” will tell you soon enough if it’s a good idea, better still they will tell others.  If the feedback is poor, no problem – change the product or change the idea!
  6. Share and Give – You need to share your time and give your assistance to others trying to do the same as you, maybe you can fix cars in exchange for some to fix your website, you’ll be surprised!
  7. Raising Money – I chose to use Harmoney, because I knew that whoever I borrowed money from – I would need to get rid of as fast as possible, it's tempting to ask mum, friends etc.. but they’ll all have an unjustified opinion or knowledge on how to run your business and when you are starting out, you’ll make mistakes, lots of them!
  8. Do not seek reassurance! – It is futile, you will never get enough and you will never start.
  9. Be Prepared – your family and friends will be concerned, worried and a little jealous – and they are right to be on all counts.  However, they will also be your first customers, so hold your tongue and await the first orders.
  10. Be Patient – You’ll be tempted to spend money left, right and centre. Don’t!  Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, local newspapers, radios etc… are all great and they work! However, nothing works as well as a recommendation from their friends and family.
  11. Marketing – if you have something to talk about, tell as many people as you can – succinctly.  Join forums on Facebook, start an Instagram account, look at competitors websites, set up your own website (usually about $30 a month approx)  - One last thing – consider your name your brand.  This is New Zealand, it’s a small world and your name is everything.

Final thought: Be Fearless! And remember the big fish die first, they need the most food to survive!  Small fish like us, can survive on the crumbs.

RhayneDean is founder and director of Rhayne - a New Zealand business tucked away in foot hills of Mount Ruapehu and selling 'the best herbs and seasoning' to Gourmet restaurants around the world. You can contact him at or at

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