Archive for category Starting out in business

Does Your Business Kick?

Perhaps it doesn’t kick in the way you want it to. Perhaps it kicks you, hard, in ways that hurt. When what you really want is a business that kicks goals and provides enough interest so you want to keep turning up and making the whole enterprise work better.

With lots of causes for it to kick badly let’s look at some ways for it to work better.  I could discuss having an inspiring vision, using brilliant innovation, outstanding leadership the creation of a stunning work environment and finish off with building a solid foundation of values, all good points but do they make your business kick?

What If I then said work on the management side of the business to develop policies and procedures to make the business more effective, or the marketing or the procedures… all of which are good things. Yet your business does not run right.

You then turn to what you have on offer, are you trying to sell things which people don’t want, or perhaps, your service causes customers to kick you!

Maybe it’s a new business you are trying to kick start and you find getting investors or any form of interest in the project from prospective partners is difficult.

Then you start to consider what could be left on the list and figure that possibly the only thing left is you. Could it be that your personality, communication style, or attitude could be having an effect on your business? Yes.

Out of all of the options provided clearly your business has a number of ways it might not be kicking in the way you want it to. Your challenge then becomes finding which one/s are to blame and then ensuring you take action to cause good results, rather than bad results kicking you.

Business Failure 101…

It’s been a while since I looked at what makes a business fail but today I felt really inspired to explore the issue, some research gave me a few clues as to what I should focus on.

I hate seeing things fail, especially businesses, it’s a waste of time and money (except for the learning for the business person to be…)

Here are some key points to explore, especially if you have an idea and are looking at starting up, here are some fail points.

  • Business idea and research – You had an idea, but how much research did or didn’t you do before making a start? FAIL, not enough research into, who wants what you have to offer, what are their buying habits, demographics etc and can I supply to them in a way that suits them? Did you factor in a decent profit margin? Is the idea sustainable? Have other business of this type tried and failed before? You get the idea…
  • Marketing, yes you need it! – Do you have the time and expertise to do it? Do you have the cash to be able to pay someone to do it if you don’t have the time etc? Marketing can cover everything from signs to promotions to sales and LOTS of things in between. It needs to be looked into early and carefully to make sure you do enough of the right things to make your business idea a raging success.
  • What are you worth? – Strange question, especially in the start up phase… But what you pay  you to do what you do is vital to you being able to carry on with confidence in the business, knowing you are being paid what you are worth.
  • Start up $$ – Do you have enough? Do you have investors? Do you have support from others willing to put in to your idea if things need propping up in the short term? Many start ups fail dismally because of a lack of capital to get the ball rolling. How will you pitch your idea to a prospective investor, what’s in it for them?
  • How long? – How long before you succeed or fail? Many businesses fail by not sticking with a great business idea long enough, giving up JUST before seeing success. Some just keep on going by the ‘skin of their teeth’ hoping things will improve. Set yourself some goals, perhaps starting with a time frame to meet your various other goals.
  • Who can help you? – Marketing advice and ideas, management ideas and advice, operational procedures, advice and ideas… the list goes on. Surround yourself with people you can trust to assist you with all this and more.
  • Look at the gap/s – What you know and what you want to do is different. Will you be able to minimise this or not? E.g. marketing, you might be great at technician in the business and be able to ‘fix things’ for example, but if people don’t know you exist then you have a gap that needs to be filled. Look solidly at all these things and make sure you are really confident you can fill these gaps.

Starting to wonder about the whole business start up phase? Thinking that business should not be this hard? Well at least you are thinking. Now get to work and make these thing happen so you can minimse the chances of failure. Otherwise you could just stand on a street corner and throw a few thousand $$ away, because that’s how it might feel if you fail with your business idea in a few months or so.

Your Brilliant Business

Your brilliant business is caused by people doing more of the right things – Thinking – Adding value – Loving what they do – Taking initiative – Exploring options and providing great service to name a few.

Well that’s my view.

Image courtesy of Stock Images

Image courtesy of Stock Images

We could spend ages debating the issue, what a brilliant business is, how it’s measured and the results it provides. But I want to focus on the ethereal things which caused it to be a brilliant business. The initial points I put up are a big part of that.

Let’s go back to the start, your business started with an idea, you could see what you wanted, probably saw yourself running it, and could proabaly see how things would turn out. In your minds eye you saw a plan of action coming to reality and all the key pointers I started this article with are what bought the dream to reality.

It was you in the beginning who put in the effort, you did the thinking, the planning, took initiative, explored options and provided great service to ensure prospects and customers would come back for more.

The next step in your business was a big one, you took on staff, partners and or associates who could see what you saw, felt what you felt and heard the positive accolades for the products and service you provided for customers. You managed to  encourage your ‘team’, they got motivated, excited and became driven to follow in your footsteps.

The results spoke for themselves, happy customers, great products and services and the bottom line reflects the top level positive work everyone puts in.

There it is, your brilliant business, brilliantly utilising your ‘soft resources’ to ensure the ‘hard resources’, products and services, are in the right place at the right time for your ideal prospects and customers.

Sadly all of this is not a common occurrence, in fact it’s a rare situation, in a world where hope, excitement and the ‘thrill of the chase’ has been eclipsed by businesses which start up and fade, some fast, some slow.

All of the main points mentioned and so much more information is available to those who want to ensure their ‘business idea’ is given the best chance of survival in the ‘formative part of the business process’ and thriving in the maturing part of the process, yet too many fail fast.

All that was required was the right sort of research, a solid plan of action and the ability to cause people to follow your brilliant lead. Alas too many businesses do not have that and what could be a great start soon becomes millstone.

Let’s ask then, what sort of business do you want to have? One with brilliant prospects and outcomes or one doomed to failing fast? Now ask what will you do to make sure it’s not the latter!


Steve Gray

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Three Persuasive Business Points

Here are three points I think you will find make a persuasive business argument, take one of these factors out and you will be out of business fast. Let me know what you think in the comments…

1. Have something to sell.

2. Sell it.

3. Make a profit.

To do so you need to market the offerings, have a process to sell with, manage the money.

To do that you need to have a handle on the HR, finances, marketing, overheads and it then starts to get more in depth from there. However  you probably should be thinking in the terms of the basic 3 things to do, then see what’s happening from there.

May I suggest, you make a BIG poster or three with those key points on it.

Then consider breaking things down from there, so at any given moment you can know how each area is going, which one to tweak next and set a plan for the next one.

On your breakdown you will probably have a list of finer points relating to each area, then you can ask yourself, “which smaller area works well and which needs adjusting?”

Lets face it, business is not easy, in fact very challenging at times! But if these simple steps can make it easier for you then that’s got to be a good thing.

Oh wait I forgot! there’s a fourth point, oh silly me… Notice how you are looking at the business as the owner (from the perspective I have written it), note also how you are looking at the business, as a whole. Therefore you are taking a leaders view, a coaches view if you like.

Therefore you can be the coach and suggest strategies, work with your people to develop tactics, involve them in the game, many of them will know their parts in the process and know you have a chance to direct things that bit further. Go on be the leader, check out the strategies and concepts you need to put in place, then bring it all together like a great symphony, all orchestrated and conducted by you the business leader.

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5 Reasons to purchase a comprehensive car insurance policy

It can be a confusing and daunting task to select the right car insurance policy for your personal or business vehicle, however this article will outline the top 5 reasons why you should invest in a comprehensive car insurance policy.
Reason #1: Insurance providers who offer comprehensive car insurance policies often include Roadside Assist as part of the insurance policy. Roadside assistance is an often overlooked feature of insurance policies as many customers do not see the value of this benefit as they have not previously had the misfortune of finding themselves stranded after their vehicle has stopped running. The quality and coverage area of the roadside assistance included in the insurance policy will vary from provider to provider, so it is vital to check that you are covered in areas which you frequently travel, and if there are any additional costs incurred under certain circumstances – such as if a tow or on-site repairs are required.
Reason #2: Another unique feature of comprehensive car insurance policies are the inclusion of a loan car for when your car has been stolen or taken in for repairs. Having access to a loan car from your insurance provider is a valuable addition to your policy as it minimises the impact of car trouble to your lifestyle and work commitments, allowing you to continue on with your planned activities without disruption or the inconvenience of arranging alternative transport.
Reason #3: Car contents cover is a new benefit included in more modern comprehensive car insurance policies. This benefit allows you to claim for personal belongings lost when you car has been stolen, or damaged in a car accident. No longer will you also need to replace your iPod and other valuables that were inside your car when it was stolen.
Reason #4: Caravans and Trailers are additionally covered under many comprehensive car insurance policies. These are especially valuable when undertaking long family vacations or business trips where you are also taking along your caravan or trailer filled with your valuable possessions.
Reason #5: A hidden and expensive extra cost of budget insurance policies is the lack of cover for lost or stolen car keys. A re-keying or re-coding of your car keys can cost as much as $250 as keys often have electronic signatures which need to be replicated by an authorised dealer. Comprehensive car insurance policies will often allow you to include key replacements in your monthly policy, therefore in the event of lost keys you won’t be required to pay an excess fee.
When considering the added value that comprehensive car insurance includes, depending on how you use your personal or business vehicle, it may be the smart and economic decision to invest in comprehensive cover. Always be sure to thoroughly read the product disclosure statement (PDS) provides by your provider, and ask your insurance agency to clarify any points that you are unsure about.

Allianz operates throughout Australia and New Zealand and through its subsidiaries offers a range of insurance and risk management products and services. The company provides some form of insurance cover for more than half of Australia’s top 50 BRW-listing companies, and employs approximately 3,300 staff. An avid supporter of environmental friendly initiatives, Allianz has a target to reduce emissions by 20% by 2012 and Is a member of the Australian Government’s Greenhouse Challenge Plus program.

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Choosing the right franchise for you

Franchise opportunities abound, but choosing the right franchise requires careful thought and considered research.

Combing through franchise businesses for sale notices should be less daunting if you implement a well thought-out research strategy. Using online research, industry publications, news clippings and other methods is a great starting point.

When identifying franchise opportunities, consider what will complement your lifestyle, business goals and your skill set. Some aspects to consider are outlined below.

Brand strength? Behind every successful business is a strong brand, bolstered by an enviable reputation. Read widely about how the franchise brand is perceived by the industry, customers and business partners. Part of what you’re buying is the company’s brand equity. What do you estimate the brand’s equity to be?

Finding out about financial health How open and transparent is the organisation about its financial health? A company’s balance sheet can provide valuable insights about how well placed the franchise business is to harness future growth.

Expenses today and in the future Before you buy a franchise, you’ll need to know what set-up costs are involved. There could also be ongoing costs, such as marketing or advertising levies.

Strategic marketing, PR and advertising expertise? Dig deeper into the company’s marketing strategy. What level of investment and support is offered nationally and locally? What marketing and branding expertise does the company offer? How well resourced is the organisation to fund public relations programs?

Systems for success? Systems are essential ingredients in any successful franchise network. How efficient are the franchise’s systems and processes – do they help or hinder your ability to operate the business?

Investigate the level of support on the ground Do they have a dedicated operational and field support team to assist you? Investigate the ratio of franchisees to field support infrastructure.

Consider the commercial environment Determine the competitive dynamics that are likely to impact the brand. Do they have a well-defined understanding of their competitors, future opportunities, trends and issues?

Create a shortlist of franchise business opportunities? Once you’ve created your wish list, shortlist your most suitable franchise opportunities. Map out what works for you and what doesn’t, including the business must-haves e.g. IT and marketing support, costs (one-off and ongoing) and other forms of critical infrastructure.

Talk to franchise owners at the coalface Franchise owners are valuable resources. They can often provide you with the ‘inside story’ about a potential franchise business opportunity.


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mumpreneurs australia

The title is the basis of a search I did this morning after watching a segment on Sunrise, a channel seven TV program here in Australia. From a small idea, to a fully blown empire they are popping up everywhere, and where better than on a computer near you. Here’s the link to the people who were chatting on the show.

The Australian Bureau of statistics indicates, women make up 33% of small business owners and steadily climbing. It’s being fuelled by the growth of mumpreneurs – women who launch their own business after having children, as if they didn’t have enough on their plate already!

Lets hope they do the right things to get the business up and running, find their points of difference, get the cash flow happening and are able to make it through the tough times and reap great rewards.

Lets also hope they are able to avoid the traps which can befall business and gobble up all the hard work and cash and take it away in a blink!

To all the people who start a business now and into the future I wish you all the best, remember the more information you can get on making your business flourish the better. So now take a look at our forum and the rest of the articles in our vast resources, and you will find the answers to the questions you seek…

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