Mike O’Hagan – founder and owner of Mini Movers – is an innovative entrepreneur, speaker, has personally mentored many people within circles close to me and has won many awards for his work and achievements in business – his undoubted field of expertise. I recently had the great pleasure of speaking with Mike – a man who of course began as a small business owner like myself and Jak, facing the challenges and struggles that many small businesses face day to day. As we spoke, I found my every mental sensor sharp and intent on catching every guiding word that this man had to say.

One of the first things that really interested me of Mike’s story was the idea that what has been momentum for him in achieving his dreams – and subsequently helping many others achieve theirs -was his desire to lead a particular and well thought-out lifestyle. He informed me that during one of his early ventures as the owner of a second-hand store, his lifestyle was far from ideal, working 80-90 hours a week and having very little to show in monetary terms for all of his hard work. Mike soon enough turned this around, and inspired by his dream lifestyle, began to think more in tune with his newly recognised goals and subsequently, created the company ‘Mini Movers’, which many of us are familiar with today. Leading his dream lifestyle, he has gone on to do the things he has dreamed of and has inspired many small businesses on a global scale along the way. One thought I’ve entertained since speaking with Mike is that a shift in mindset and the definition of a strong goal are foundational to succeeding in business and also creating the life you want for yourself.

On the subject of global scale, it is clear that Mike is a global citizen. He spoke about the great value in being rooted in no one particular place, but rather spread across numerous places throughout the world, finding advantage in diversification of his operations; whether it be outsourcing human resources to Manilla, building specialised products in Hong Kong or running his home grown company here in Australia. One topic that was introduced during our conversation was that of globalisation, which Mike says is not an imposition as some might suggest, but can be utilised positively for many small businesses, providing them more accessibility to quality resources that exist throughout the world, which can improve business processes, and at a better premium. Mike suggests that by embracing globalisation, small businesses will be moving with the current, and that this is a direction which will help small businesses better succeed in the future by spreading the advantage of globalising business operations, which big businesses have been aware of and harnessed for decades.

Another interesting topic Mike introduced to me, which I wasn’t previously aware of, is the idea that it is good for small businesses to consider their ability to connect, relate and understand other cultures when considering/defining target markets. Because here in Australia, we live in a culture heavily influenced by British and American media, we’ve actually become accustomed to terms such as for example, ‘sidewalk’, ‘pavement’ and ‘footpath’, which effectively all describe the same thing. However, unlike ourselves, other cultures may not understand all instances of the terms here, and although this is an advantage for Australian business owners in relation to connecting other English-speaking cultures, in the terms of outsourcing administrative and sales roles, can inhibit a clear communication channel between our business and the customer, and thus may be somewhat beneficial to consider when establishing a businesses communication plan.

After my conversation Mike, I reflected on some of the great points that he had made, specifically on running a business while leading a balanced life-style, which some may believe the very idea quite mythical. However, I couldn’t help but feel liberated by seeing the proof that is Mike’s life today, that owning a business (or multiple businesses) and achieving a great lifestyle can and is being done and that we all have the ability to create what this balance ideally looks like to us. The final question I asked Mike, was for a stand-out book recommendation on the subject of business that has helped him along the way. In response, he stated that I was not to go past “Start Small, Finish Big” – by Fred Deluca – the inspiring story of the man behind the Subway sandwich chain – which I’m happy to say is now on my Amazon wishlist.

Today Mike teaches Offshoring with plenty of entrepreneurial ideas and for more on this, check out his business learning tours – http://www.mikesmanilatours.com/. And for those of you who would like to read more on Mike, have the opportunity to see Mike speak or have him speak at an event of your own, make sure you check out his website: http://www.ohagan.com.au/.

Mike O’Hagan, thank you so much for your time.