Start-ups in tough times can be achieved 27 Mar 2013

They had to be lean, adaptable and prepared to seize opportunities when they arose. They didn’t have the luxury of boom times, when mistakes could be covered up.

The current tough times are full of opportunities. The following is a true story about Murray, who returned to New Zealand to look after his ailing mother, who had recently become a widow.

Murray had been working in a bank in Australia. He’s single and in his late forties.

One day he was building a boulder retaining wall at home when a neighbour stopped to chat. This led to him being asked if he would like another job. Soon another neighbour, also a widow, needed some help and the owner of a house across the road wanted his garden maintained while he went to Europe for two years.

A retired friend designed a flier and 150 of these were put in letterboxes. Murray said the flier didn’t work very well because he got only two permanent jobs from it. He then added “but I did actually get a couple of one-off jobs as well”.

A 2% strike rate from a flier would be pretty good, I told him.

Murray has also picked up a couple of cleaning jobs. Within nine months he has built up an income of about $800 a week.

To get started, he offered a below-market rate, but this was at least better than he would have got working for wages, if he could have found a job. Gradually, he’s improving his charge-out rate as his business expands.

He was lucky not to have a family to support and to be living among an aging population in a reasonably affluent area, which is precisely where his target customers could be found.

What Murray did not have was a network, but he was able to take advantage of his mother’s. A network supplies you with contacts and hence referrals. He also had no special skills to offer the market, but he took advantage of the opportunities as they arose.

Why do we tell you this story? Because many people are being made redundant. One may be your friend. Why not suggest they start out on their own? This way, like Murray, they’ll have lots of bosses and if one makes them redundant, it may not matter too much.


Subscribe to e-news

Proud supporters of:


If you'd like to know more about these accounting service packages please contact us or click on the relevant logo.

Contact info

Level 11
AIA Tower
34-42 Manners Street

T: 04 499 3903
F: 04 499 3913