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John North – Know Your Customers, Know Your Suppliers
11th December 2020 • My Worst Investment Ever Podcast • Andrew Stotz
00:00:00 00:24:58

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John North is a Seven-Time #1 International Selling Author about business strategy and internet marketing and his passion for squash. John is CEO of Evolve Systems Group and has created many products and services designed to empower business owners, including,, and Evolve Global Publishing.

John’s passion is to help business owners become more strategic and smarter about their marketing efforts. He continually pushes the envelope of what’s possible in this modern era and is widely regarded among his peers as very innovative and highly creative in his approach.


“Own your brand, own your customers.”

John North


Worst investment ever

John had a software distribution company on one side of Australia, and his competitor had a similar company on the other side. The two had healthy competition, each with their customers.

The merger

John and his competitor decided that it was a good idea for the two businesses to merge and distribute their products together. So they did a 50/50 partner split. The merger seemed good and legit to John.

Jumping the gun

The two soon-to-be partners set a date to sign the merger documents in Sydney. Even before the ink could dry on the signed papers, his former competitor had announced the merger to everyone without John’s consent. This move severed relationships with some of their customers. John had to do a lot of damage control.

The competition within

Within six months, John found out that his new business partner had set up another business inside their business. He was trading with this other company. He also put all the good employees and programs in his side of the business, instead of the partnership.

Parting ways

The partnership was quickly going south. John decided to buy out his business partner. He offered him $500,000, which he promptly accepted.

The supplier from hell

John’s supplier decided to bring someone else into the country to distribute the same stuff and steal all his customers. John and his supplier had a war over customers for a whole year. John’s business was losing money due to this trade war.

John’s last option was to sell the company and start something different. He found a buyer, but he never recovered the money he lost in the merger.

Lessons learned

Never trust your supplier

Suppliers are smarter than you think. So be careful not to let them outsmart you.

Own your stuff

Be careful about being the distributor because it is easy to get screwed when you are the middleman.

Andrew’s takeaways

Businesses are about trust and personalities

Your product is a secondary item. The people that you work with and the trust that you have are what make your business. A lot of young people overlook the trust element.

Don’t let fear blind you

Take a step back from the deals you’re doing right now and assess whether you are doing them because of fear. Sometimes fear is very healthy, but other times it drives us to consider doing something that may not make sense. It drives us to do things too quickly and not pay attention to the details.

Actionable advice

Don’t make business decisions out of fear. Step back and think things through.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

John’s number one goal is to get his software off the ground, particularly in the area of podcasting.

Parting words


“Own your stuff. And always be looking at the big picture.”

John North

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