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Helping start-ups succeed print Print

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Mike Clinch, ANZ Business Specialist, shares his top tips for start-up success and explains why he loves his job.

53 year old Mike Clinch loves his life in Tauranga. When the dad of 2 is not spending time with his family or hunting deer in the Southern Alps, he’s nurturing young businesses in his busy role as an ANZ Business Specialist.

Here he shares his insights on how small businesses can succeed.

ANZ Business Banking Manager Mike Clinch

Q: What are the common traits of businesses which succeed?

A: I’ve seen many start-ups flourish into successful businesses, and they usually have one thing in common: a solid business plan.

They know exactly what they own, what their competitive advantage is, and what risks they’re going to manage over the next year.

When I meet a new business owner, one of the first things I do is conduct an A-Z Review with them, making sure they’ve thought of their business plan from a number of angles - from their cash flow forecasting, to their profit and loss, to how they can find good staff. I always say, don’t be daunted – your business plan doesn’t have to be a horribly long document, it’s a meaningful summary and map of the steps you need to take to achieve your business goals.

Q: And of those who don’t make it, why?

A: One in four start-ups won’t last more than three years – it’s shown clear as day in the government’s 2014 Small Business Sector Report1. Of course it’s a fallacy that all businesses should make money from day one. Yet if a business owner doesn’t take an active interest in monitoring the finances closely, by the time they come to the bank to ask for money or other support, it might be too late – the business might have been running at a loss for six months, and there’s too big a gap to finance.

Q: How do you get a bank manager to be tuned in to your quest for funds?

A: This is what people always want to know!  A solid business plan is what I’m looking for. I’d also say to business owners, make sure you know how to prioritise. Running a business is often full-on, it’s not a neat 9-5 job. I can suss a disorganised person quickly, because they look like they’ve got 1,000 things on their mind. So to help yourself focus on the things that are most important, write things down and prioritise those tasks.

Q: What’s the best part of your job?

A: Helping small businesses succeed. I’ve helped more than my fair share, but one sticks in my mind. It was a guy selling auto parts. With his hard work and my support, the business just grew and grew, and he reached his goal of franchising and selling it. He was over the moon about it. And I’m now helping him grow his next business.

That makes me proud.



Talk to an ANZ Business Specialist today.


1 Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s 2014 Small Business Sector Report.


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