John Meyers is a candidate director at the upcoming Annual General Meeting of the Holiday Coast Credit Union in October. John’s vision for local communities is underpinned by a wide variety of marketing and business strategy work in his career.
For nearly 3 years John has been closely involved in StartUp Business Development Program Inc – a project to assist those people who want to start up a new business. This free to client program is based on trained volunteer mentors working with clients for up to a year.
The program has been presented to a range of organisations in Taree, Great Lakes and the Manning Valley in general for consideration. What could it mean to our area? Based on the last 3 years’ achievements, the Manning-Great Lakes could see more than 150 new businesses start up as a result of implementing the program. This minimises risk and maximises the ability of the trained mentors to ensure that skills such as marketing and selling, accounting and administration and products and services are all highly leveraged, to overcome the normal pitfalls of new business start ups.
John’s history includes starting the Meyers Strategy Group in1986. The brand new business started day one with 3 clients: Goodman Fielder, Cottees Foods, and All States Food Services, who were pioneers in prepared fresh foods for the foodservice market. John worked for State and Federal Governments, providing a range of consulting services, including an international benchmarking study for the Australian wine industry. Other projects included strategic business studies looking from the consumer back to the farm gate. The wine study and others that followed opened John’s eyes to the wider tourism and related hospitality industries. John has been judging Coffs Coast tourism businesses as part of his regional judging, as well as in the NSW judging, which is coming to a conclusion at the time this article appears.
So can you help us define what strategy planning is about and why it is essential in business?
Some strategists when asked that question will quote you Tsun Tzu, The Art of War – especially the concept of loving your enemy and keeping them close. The issues are very clear: you really have to know all about your competition and you have to know all about the market place that you want to compete in, as well as your own capabilities and shortfalls. It’s like planning a battle; you need to know which components you can afford to lose, so that you can win the war. Then there’s the adage to that “never let your enemy recover so that if they are on the offensive, you can take advantage of this”. All this planning and review has implications for your marketing branding and distribution. So, strategy requires effective implementation tactics to ensure you have feedback and data coming back to you all the time, to check that what you’re doing reflects the market situation and your place in it.
If the success of strategy is understanding the market place and its dynamics, why is it that so many smaller businesses fail?
This might be a generalisation, but only a limited number of small and medium businesses can afford research (in time and money). They need to fully understand key indicators and how to respond. Many intending small startup business people come to us [StartUp, of which John is President] with a range of incredible ideas. Too many want to fire the starting gun without a real understanding of the rules that apply in their intended market.
Does this suggest they are time poor as well as cash poor?
So how does a brand new business find out about their markets?
Bureau of Statistics and generally available public domain data and material is usually too old. This requires an innovative approach to research to find out about your potential competitors or existing players and find out from them what you can. Using your nous to get that information might make the difference between 6 and 12 months, or being in business forever.
What’s your motivation for helping others and standing as a candidate for director of the Holiday Coast Credit Union?
My motivation comes from a 36-year association with Rotary, in that I believe that if I can help others in business, then we’ll both be better off.