What do you bring to the table? 

In my work as a business mentor, I am lucky to meet a lot of people who are desperate to be their own boss  – but don’t know where to start.  They are usually very hard-working, have some good ideas, but don’t know if they have what it takes to be successful.

That’s cool – it’s pretty scary to start a business. Many, many factors go into creating a successful business.  They can seem endless.  

First, you have tangible items.  Finance, products, goods, premises, website.  Then, there are the intangible items.  Persistence, dedication, education, wisdom.  The list goes on.

Both are important.  It’s also true that many people measure their success  – especially in running a small business – in non-financial ways.  Many business owners tell me that it was things such as lifestyle, the freedom to be their own boss and flexibility that led them to start their own business.

The bottom line: unless the income is more than the outgo, you won’t be in business very long.  Therefore, we need to boil all this down and secure the 3 critical success factors for business that you need.

I know, because I have learned the hard way.


3 Critical Success Factors for Business

It was back in 1999 right at the height of the dot-com boom. Even in Australia people got a little carried away. 

I was working hard at my job as a financial planner – at this stage, I had zero equity in the business.  One of our clients, Will, had come up with a great idea. He had a background in insurance and had listed an online insurance sales website business on the Australian Stock Exchange. 

He’d issued a prospectus, raised some capital, come up with a fancy ‘dot.com’ in the title (this was virtually compulsory for a tech company in the early 2000s) and was sitting back watching the shares skyrocket. And skyrocket they did, along with everything else that had the word ‘tech’ in it and didn’t earn any revenue.

There was a huge buzz around their project and because Will was a client he made sure even little old me got into the initial public offering. I managed to scrape together the minimum amount of $2,000 and held my breath for when they went public.


Deal me in!

All of this was tremendously exciting to observe – the innovation, the hype, the possibility of changing the face of Australian insurance distribution. It wasn’t just this project either; every day new ideas were being put forward and new businesses launched. It seemed as long as you put the letter ‘e’ in front of the name, or it ended with ‘.com’, you were on a winner. 

How could I get involved in a project like this? I loved my job but it seemed staid and boring: there was ‘gold in them thar hills’!

I got some time to talk to Will so I asked him what he thought. I will never forget his question to me: ‘Patrick, you are a nice guy.  But, what do you bring to the table?’ 

In other words, why should anyone want to get involved in business with me? Sure, I was a nice guy but so what? 

3 critical success factors for business

It was time to face reality and realise that actually, I brought very little to the table in terms of adding value to a business enterprise.


Business is also all about who you know, and how you can connect those relatinship networks to create economic value.

Critical Success Factor 1: Money

Yep.  You can’t escape the fact that money is the lifeblood of business

Back then, I had to face the facts. I didn’t have any money and, while I wasn’t broke, it was only a few years back that I’d been cleaned out in my divorce. All in all, I was in a rebuilding phase. I’d just bought another house so I was loaded up with debt, not equity. 

I was struggling with this critical success factor. Short of an unknown inheritance or winning the lottery (spoiler alert: neither happened), it was going to be a long haul to get enough money to create a business. 

Importantly, I was taking all the small steps that would add up over time:  

  • I was spending less than I earned.  
  • Every pay, I was saving extra into super, 
  • My home loan repayments were ahead of schedule and
  • I had a small amount invested in the stock market. 

Yes, this was going to be way slower than I would have liked, but all I could do was simply persist in that area, and let compound interest take care of the rest. 

The counter-intuitive realization is that there is more money available than ever before.  For the right business idea, there will never be a shortage of dollars.  

Your challenge with this critical success factor is to find the smartest place to get the money you need, at the lowest price.


Critical Success Factor 2: Networks

People do business with people they know and like.  Yes. Even in the internet age.  

For example, an overarching strategy in this business mentor blog is to give you the reader, an insight into who I am as a person, to accelerate the development of trust in me.  How’s that working so far?

Business is also all about who you know, and how you can connect those relationship networks to create economic value.  

If money is the blood, relationships are the veins and arteries that make it flow. When you can connect people and introduce others, that can add value to an enterprise and in turn, you also become valuable to that business.

Again, back then in my situation, the reality was I also was lacking in this critical success factor.  I had no network.  However, I could build relationships, starting today. I was always hearing about networking groups and clubs so it was simply a matter of getting off my butt and doing something about it.  This plan is still yielding results today in my work as a business mentor.

Your challenge with this critical success factor is to have a process in place that allows you to build relationships with others so that you can add value to them and your business.  


Critical Success Factor 3: Skills

Also known as Intellectual Property (IP). If you have rare talents or you are acknowledged as a maestro in your field, you will be welcome in any enterprise that requires those talents.

What about my skills back in 2001? Well, I knew how a small financial planning practice worked practically but I had no formal qualifications in management. I had a Diploma in Financial Planning and was a Certified Financial Planner.  

To be honest, although I was a Certified Financial Planner, I hadn’t achieved anywhere near my potential academically.  I was about a 3/10 for this critical success factor.

There was no way I had come close to achieving what, I knew deep down, I was capable of achieving. But deciding what and how to study, as well as paying for it, was going to take some time to plan. 

It was time to stop procrastinating on this and start shaping the development of my future skills. I started to plan for going back to study and this eventually manifested in (among other things) my master’s degree.  

Academic qualifications don’t necessarily guarantee success, but my experience as a business mentor tells me they don’t hurt, either. 

Your challenge is to identify the specific skills and talents that your business will need to thrive and grow to the next level.  


So how do I improve these 3 Critical Success Factors?

It’s simple, but it’s not easy.  

Whether you are already in business or wanting to start, you need to be honest in assessing where you are right now with each of these 3 critical success factors.  Then, you need to plan to bridge the gap.

How you do this will vary for each of the 3 critical success factors.

If it is money you need, this can be raised through savings, or debt (borrowing) or equity (bring in partners).  The starting point is to ask two questions:

  1. What money do I need to buy assets right now?
  2. How much will I need to pay running costs over the next 12 months?

Building networks starts with meeting and then helping others.  The best question to ask yourself is ‘who can I send a referral to today’?

There are now so many places where you can learn the knowledge and skills you might need. As well as the universities, there are amazing sites like Skillshare and Brilliant.  

The good news is though, with a plan and with accountability that you can design with your business mentor, you can overcome. 

Some people do this on their own or with their team. 

Others prefer to work with a business mentor like me, to inspire, encourage and hold them accountable to their actions.

Like to know more about how I work with my business mentor clients to achieve their goals?  Contact me and tell me your story!


“Winning has a price.  And Leadership has a price.”  Michael Jordan, The Last Dance

Like most of the Western world in lockdown, I’ve been watching ‘The Last Dance’ over the past few weeks.  It’s been a great trip down memory lane.  Who didn’t love the Chicago Bulls in the 90s?  Who didn’t love Michael Jordan, who didn’t want to be like Mike?

I remember taking my kids to Space Jam and enjoying it even more than they did.  Still in my 20s, nevertheless I would still try and do double-pump lay-ups (I’d already learned that I had a white-man’d jumping ability so forget the dunks), imitating MJ and Scottie Pippen in the weekly neighbourhood scratch matches.

But watching Michael Jordan – both then and now – reminds you of the utter focus and dedication it takes to be successful, a real winner, in this world.

The thing is, back in the day I only saw the highlights, the last-second-nothing-but-net game winning shots.  Now, I understand that all that glory doesn’t come for free.  Winning and succeeding has a big, big price, regardless of your field of endeavour.



Planning is key. Whether you’re managing your finances or writing a book, it is the most significant building block that will help you reach your goal.

Just recently I sat myself down and decided to write a book. I’d always wanted to be an author, but of what?

In the past, I had given fiction a few attempts, but it was clear to everyone (including me) that I was lacking in talent when it came to imaginative storytelling.

Over the years, I’ve met a lot of people who were settling for less than what they really desired out of life, simply because they didn’t have a blueprint for their financial future, and so More Than Money was born.

I did what I knew best to kick myself off – and that was piles and piles of practical planning. I even found myself looking through books similar in length to what I thought was ‘right’ and counted the words.

I had to start writing eventually, though, and in the beginning this was somewhat overwhelming. How could I make it different to other ‘money’ books and reflect my own experiences?

Ideas began to take shape and evolve in my mind before finally spilling out, page after page, onto my computer.

My top 5 self-help books

1. How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling  by Frank Bettger

My sales manager at National Mutual gave me this book to read as a young man in 1987.  I remember thinking: “How can a book about a life insurance salesman in New York in the 1940s help me?”

Well it did, and still can help you too.

Sure, it was a different world, but every principle he displays from personal organisation, to setting goals, to helping people buy something they want rather than selling them something they need, still rings true today.

His personal story of overcoming adversity is worth it alone.


2. The Little Prince  by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This is a childhood classic for grown-ups. It’s one of the most inspirational and beautiful stories I have ever read.

It reminds me that, as the Prince says: “What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

It’s easy in life to get wrapped up in work or striving, and this book gives balance in showing the essence of who we are is indestructible and loved.


3. True Grit  by Charles Portis

What? A book about a John Wayne movie? Yes, indeed.

Success often comes down not to talent, not to luck, not to networking – but to True Grit.

And the heroine of the story, Mattie Ross, shows such grit in a manner that reminds you that you can succeed in adversity, against the odds – if you refuse to accept what the world tells you that you should accept.

Read this book – and then watch the 1969 movie for which the Duke won his only Oscar!


4. Conversations with God  by Neale Donald Walsch

In a low place in your life? Blaming everyone else but don’t know how to take the first step to recover? This is the book for you.

A friend gave it to me when I was lonely and depressed after my first marriage failed.

I gave up on it as spiritual quackery after the first chapter. Then another friend gave me this same book, and I took it as a sign that I better read it.

Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, this is a challenging and motivating book for change – as God says, if everything you believed got you to this point, isn’t it insanity to not want to change things?


5. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson

Reading essays that are well-researched, cogently argued and gracefully constructed is, for me, bliss for my brain.

These 12 essays are simply magnificent in examining the human condition and showing that yes, we possess the ability to live the life we want, if only we have the courage to be honest with ourselves.


My top 5 rock albums

1. Alive! by KISS

This is the album that really started them on their road to fame, and the album that introduced me to KISS.

What a brilliant piece of marketing and packaging, as well as of course the amazing live energy that they previously had failed to capture on vinyl.

The archetypal characters that they played, and the accompanying ‘notes’ on the inside of this double album, completely captured the imagination of this 11 year-old – and made me certain that the bass was the coolest instrument in the history of the universe!


2. Bad for Good by Jim Steinman

I think the story goes that this was supposed to be Bat out of Hell 2, but Steinman, who wrote all of Meatloaf’s songs, got tired of waiting for him.

Whatever. It has all the bombast, wailing guitars and long songs with storylines of love, rebellion, heartbreak and glory – all delivered with Kasim Sulton’s bass and Todd Rundgren’s guitar solos. I still know almost every word of each song.


3. Grace by Jeff Buckley

If you put me on a desert island for the rest of my life and said I could only take one album, this would be it.

Buckley created a modern masterpiece with his soaring vocals and huge dynamics.

Songs of love, death, surrender… it just doesn’t date and I’ll bet that this album is just as popular in 100 years.


4. Desperate by Divinyls

This second album announced the quintessential Aussie 80s rock band to the world, and what a band, what an album this is.

A rhythm section with the genius and seriously cool Rick Grossman on his Steinberger bass provided an unstoppable backdrop to Chrissy Amphlett’s unreal vocals.

I was lucky enough to see the Divinyls a couple of times in pubs. Chrissy was almost frightening to be close to, she was so in character – yes, I was a little scared just watching her!

If there is any justice in the world, this band will be the next INXS.


5. Ghost Mile by Voyager

If you like your music hard, intelligent and with great melody, then Voyager are for you.

Amazing musicianship doesn’t hide their sense of joy as they deconstruct accepted wisdom on what a song should be, and then put it all back together in a way that makes you think: “Why hasn’t anyone done that before?”



“From the get-go, KISS understood that we were a business”

-Gene Simmons-

It used to be that someone with passion and talent would write some songs, try and get played on radio and, if they were lucky, sell enough records to make a living. Nowadays, you need to get the business model and marketing right if you want to have any chance of your tunes cutting through the noise.

When KISS started, they toured incessantly to get fans to buy their records. This is where they first made all their money…Records nowadays? Well they’ve only released two new albums in 17 years, and in concert they may play one song from those records.

In other words, KISS has turned a band into a brand. Their music is just an excuse to create the concert event, an experience that you as the customer can choose to taste in many different ways. From the budget seats in the nosebleed stands to the platinum rock star ‘meet and greet’ (with tickets around $1500 each!). And KISS charge you EXTRA just to have the right to buy those meet and greet tickets, such is the demand!