Archive for category Starting out in business

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…

Business Basics

I love chatting about business, and love to see people put an idea or three into action and get results, but unfortunately far too many people go to get started and so blindly follow the idea their heart runs off with the head and they fail. I don’t want them to fail but they do, the business owner does not want it to fail but it does… Fail, fail , fail… its not a good look!

Therefore, any chance I get I like to mention the basics of business in the hope to make a difference, I like to harp on about the basics and let people know…

  • Idea – Research – Action – Spend $$ – Make $$ – Have some left over – Invest – Repeat. (or close to that.)

Still people get it wrong, some end up with an image like this…

  • Idea – Action – Spend $$ – Make SOME $$ – Spend more $$ – End up broke. (Or some similar pattern to that.)

What’s the point of having a great idea and seeing it crash and burn? None, it hurts and can easily hurt others, so stop doing it. The challenge is however people don’t see the “crash and burn phase” they see a rose coloured world of $$ and happy customers.

Consider this, you want to learn to fly, you have the idea, you have the cash to buy a plane, you know full well you can’t fly the sucker until you have been trained and pass the test.

So why the heck do people jump into business (of any size) without the right training… Because they can, and you know what, you can sign up to get business registration on line, get a bank account and so forth and be in business in no time flat. Problem is no training, probably some skills, possibly and few helping hands to get started. and the rest seems to be “fly by the seat of your pants” and hope for the best.

Do some basic research BEFORE getting started and make sure you KNOW what you are in for PLEASE. too many failures in business seems such a waste of resources folks.

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Does your business have a heart problem?

I live and work in Geelong. I have for 15 years or so. In that time, we have pretty much been in drought conditions, and under water restrictions.

This year, month, week, that’s pretty much changed. The word is, we are fast moving towards breaking the drought. With just “average” rainfall mind you. Fantastic! However, it’s caused a bit of chaos this week. You see, Geelong is a city divided by the Moorabool River. It runs roughly West to East, and dissects the North from South.

Of course, there are multiple points at which to cross the river, but one (apparently) vital one. It’s called the Breakwater Rd & Breakwater bridge. As the name suggests, it’s a breakwater, and it floods every time the Moorabool River reaches a certain level. It a pressure release valve so that the river doesn’t flood as badly as it might.

It’s a two way, one lane intersection. It’s tiny. It’s insignificant. It doesn’t appear to be that busy in the scheme of things. I take it everyday in my 5 minute trip to the office.

When it floods, it throws the City of Geelong into Traffic chaos! This week has seen a lot of Geelong employees late for work. My daily 5 minute drive has turned into 45-60 minutes!

My City has a heart problem. Like our Hearts, the city depends on all it’s arteries to follow un-hindered – block one, and you have a heart problem.

It made me think about my business (while i was stuck in traffic 🙂 ) Sometimes, we have arterial blockages in our businesses. It might be that the phone messages stall at reception and don’t quickly get sent to the sales guy, it might be the order release message from the accounts dept stalls and doesn’t get communicated to the despatch area, so an order sits on the back dock two days longer than it should.

An arterial blockage in our business is simply a part of the system that gets blocked up, slows the rest down, and sometimes even stops the system dead – grid lock!

The first step to clearing such a blockage is to identify it. Sit back, take a breath, and objectively look at your business and how an order goes through your system, even place an anonymous order and see how your system looks to an outsider. Once identified, you can take steps to alleviate the pressure and work out ways to prevent future issues.

In my business for example, the artwork process can be one of those areas that can bog down and block the system. It might be the client is slow to send us appropriate files, or our email breaks down, or a contract artist does not do the job fast enough – there are any number of ways that part of my business can (and has) block and stop orders from proceeding. I don’t like it, but knowing it is an area for a higher potential for screw ups, I pay more attention to it to avoid said screw ups.

Another area with potential for blockages is delivery. I rely on third parties often for delivery. I have clients all around Australia and even a few Internationals. Therefore, I am often reliant on third parties like manufacturers and couriers. If the guy on the back dock at the pens factory is having a bad day, my urgent delivery might not go out, just as the courier driver might have a flat tyre or only pick up 2 of 3 boxes. Even a foggy night made us miss one deadline when the plane holding one box was grounded.

I can’t completely avoid potential blockages, but if i know exactly what they are, I can put safe guards and pressure valves in place to reduce the risk.

So, does your business have a heart problem? It’s one of those questions just like your own health – it might not be comfortable to self analyse if you are at risk, but well worth the effort.

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