Queenstown entrepreneur: How to beat the big boys


Top Queenstown businessman Sam Hazledine is revealing secrets to his success in a new book launching today.
Hazledine, who owns New Zealand’s fastest-growing service business Medrecruit, has written Unfair Fight to help small firms take on the big boys. 

The 35-year-old isn’t just talking the talk – his medical recruitment agency has a $20 million annual turnover and he won the Ernst and Young ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ award in 2012. 

The former doctor and extreme skiing champion coined the title ‘unfair fight’ to convey his view small businesses will fail in the battle against big firms unless they adopt unconventional tactics. 

“Small businesses are the backbone of our country but 96 per cent fail within 10 years. 

“A big reason is because small businesses are competing with big businesses as if it’s a level playing field – but big businesses have got more money, more resources, more experienced teams. 

“Businesses are sticking with conventional tactics and they’re getting beaten – they need to utilise the unique strengths and resources they have that can really make them a success in the marketplace.” 

Hazledine believes his book has an advantage over countless others dispensing business advice. 

“Most business books focus on what you need to do, but they miss the key factor that determines success in business, which is ‘how do I need to think?’ 

“This is written by someone who’s been there and done it – most business books are written by academics and they’re all about big businesses.” 

After his ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ award, Hazledine says he contacted local-based jewellery mogul Sir Michael Hill to ask him for an introduction to Hill’s publisher, Random House. 

“I wrote a chapter, they said ‘you need a bit more of a hook to it’ so I created the ‘unfair fight’ concept with regard to small businesses.” 

Hazledine says Queenstown’s a great place to do business not only because it has mentors like Hill and investor Sir Eion Edgar, whom he both uses, but because people choose to live here. 

“No one’s here by default so you’ve got a quality person and that includes the top businesspeople. 

“It’s also a really great place to find great staff.” 

Hazledine is donating the proceeds of his book to work that his and his wife Claire’s foundation does supporting efforts to rescue children in East Africa from brutality.