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…. And here are another seven (7) operational threats to think about!

If you are already in business or seriously thinking of starting up a business, I would like to further highlight and emphasise the need for business planning.

If you thought the previous seven (7) threats to your business (read my previous post) were the only ones you need to consider, well here’s another seven (7) for you to think about.

  1. Management incompetence (lack of knowledge, experience or financial skills)
  2. Rogue staff member (with intent to damage reputation, sets up in competition)
  3. Breach of security (deliberate / accidental leaking, online hacking, viruses)
  4. Over-gearing (too much borrowed money, worsened by rising interest rates)
  5. Litigation (by customer, competitor, supplier, bank, Tax office)
  6. Market downturn (e.g. economic, monopolistic activity, lack of demand shift)
  7. Product obsolescence (failure to follow demand and/or keep up with technology)

And it doesn’t stop there!

Yes there are many more operational threats to think about, so if you haven’t done any planning lately, it’s never too late to start.

Business planning is not only for those starting up a business.  It is also for those who are already in business and who so far have led a charmed life.

The typical Aussie retort, “She’ll be right mate!” doesn’t cut it these days. Business is far too knowledge based and technology based.  ‘Not keeping up’ is a big risk.

Whilst the customer is still King (or Queen), there is so much to know and do these days away from the cash register, that one could be forgiven for thinking that the customer is a mere hindrance.

It only takes one of these threats to obliterate or seriously damage your business – not all of them!    So take my advice and get professional advice!

Check my other blog site http://www.aikido-secrets-to-calm-success.com and learn how the secrets of Aikido can be applied to your business.

If you want to learn the secrets of Aikido for yourself visit http://www.griffithaikido.com.au

Until next time!

Gary

Start up your own business

Is 2011 going to be your year to start up your own business?  Have you got something a little different to offer?  Have you got what it takes to survive and grow?  Here are the top 7 traits that I am looking for in my business coaching Brisbane – online class of 2011:

1. Is your motive true?

If you are frustrated with your job or have visions of easy money then you are doing this for the wrong reason.  You need to be passionate about the value of a product, a service or a cause.  You business will reflect who you are; it will become your life – so make it count!

2. Do you have an ethic of hard work?

Most people in business work hard until they learn to work not so hard, but a lot smarter.  However, if you think that business means easy money and that all business people are rich, then you are clearly not cut out for this.

3. Do have persistence?

You are more likely to succeed if you have the determination to keep going especially when things get a little tough.  Business is a journey and success, regardless of how you measure it, is not an overnight achievement.

4. Do know your own strengths and weaknesses?

It is important to have an honest appreciation of what is lacking.  If you know what you are not good at then you can outsource to someone with the desired expertise.  Similarly if you know what you’re good at then you’ll be doing what you do best.

5. Are you a planner or an impulsive leaper?

In business it pays to be a planner.  That is not to say that you shouldn’t take risks.  Planning simply takes the needless risk out of a venture.  Good people, good advice and a thorough understanding of your market will remove a lot of risk.

6. Are you optimistic and opportunistic?

If you can see opportunity where other people see problems, business is probably for you.  You will encounter plenty of problems along the way so having a ‘cup half full’ attitude is desirable.

7. Can you enlist others to your cause?

This is where shallow motives will bring you undone.  If you are living your truth then you will have passion and belief.  They will radiate from you in all directions.  Passion and belief are infectious and people will follow.  Without it, you will be just another struggling merchant.

Until next time!

Gary

For 100 ideas to start up your own business and valuable knowledge that every entrepreneur should have, read my latest book at:

http://garyweigh.com/recession-riches-and-wealth

Starting up your own business – Entrepreneurial ego

Science World, Vancouver B.C.

It takes a lot of self-belief and courage to blaze your own business trail.  It takes considerable self confidence to start up your own business in spite of skepticism; and to convince partners, financiers and other stakeholders that you are pursuing a valuable opportunity and that you have the know how and resources to make it happen.

To then market your own products and services and to constantly talk about yourself and your business usually requires more front than a bus.

These characteristics define many startup entrepreneurs.  They also define the attributes of a healthy ego if arrogance and an exaggerated sense of superiority are not present.

The shy retiring types generally don’t do as well in the start up stage unless they have a strategy to circumvent their shyness.  They just don’t have the pushing power required.  However, they often make good implementers, managers and technicians once the business is up and running.

One trait that defines a healthy entrepreneurial ego is attracting people smarter than themselves and people who have expertise that they don’t.   The unhealthy ego either tries to go it alone or hire substandard talent who pose no threat.  The problem is that substandard talent is still a significant expense but doesn’t contribute much to the bottom line.

Similarly the smart entrepreneurs know how to get the best out of other people by not feeling the need to micro-manage everything, but by making others accountable and by leveraging income and profit off their skill and hard work.

It still takes great confidence and self belief to start up your own business, take the ownership reins firmly and manage it.  Managing by being the boss is always preferable to managing by consensus or by being popular.   In my experience, employees still respect a clear job description, clear rules and a strong, fair, decisive leader.

Being a firm and fair leader doesn’t require arrogance or an overwhelming need to be right all the time.  It means ensuring that people work to the plan and to the systems in place.  Being decisive means making timely decisions; not ignoring good advice.

Starting a business and making a profit requires a healthy positive ego, not an unhealthy negative ego.  After all, the successful entrepreneur must make him or herself attractive to many stakeholders before they can even get out of the blocks.

Until next time!

Gary

For more reading about an Aiki way of life visit my Aikido Secrets blog at

http://www.aikido-secrets-to-calm-success.com

I have just released a new guide for any entrepreneur who is starting up a business or even thinking about it.  It’s an investment and a time saver because it is brimming with business ideas and you don’t have to make the mistakes that others do.

Visit http://www.garyweigh.com/recession-riches-and-wealth

Starting up your own business – the good and bad of ego

Ego can be harmful to your business.   While healthy ego can drive self belief, set standards of quality and customer service, unhealthy ego can cause a business operator to become too self absorbed, with insufficient focus on the needs of customers.

Business should not be about you.  If it’s about you, then it isn’t about the customer, and all businesses must stay customer focused to thrive.  You are not in business to create a self legacy.  That might be an outcome but not your initial intention.

It is customer demand and their favourable buying decisions that form the foundations of our income and wealth.  Satisfying customer demand builds repeat business.  You reap the rewards when your business exists for the problem solving and betterment of others.

One of the symptoms of an unhealthy ego is the need to be right all the time.  Professional advice providers like doctors, accountants, lawyers and financial planners can be prone to this condition.  It is because they are in a position of being experts in a narrow field of knowledge and eventually start to believe that they are experts on everything.  Untreated, this condition may cause the business owner to become obstinate, opinionated, and close minded.  This combination is very unattractive to customers.

Another detrimental symptom arises out of the need to talk about ourselves incessantly during the never-ending process of marketing our business.  This can breed an over-inflated attitude of superiority and self importance.  It can also result in becoming attached to the outcomes of what we do.   If possible, let others do the speaking for you in the form of advocacy and testimonials.

Appropriate behaviour in business is paramount.  All behaviour is preceded by thought, so the way in which a business owner’s ego perceives him or her self in relation to the wider customer population is critical to business success.   This also applies to interaction with staff.

An attitude of arrogance with customers will result in a decline in sales, particularly repeat sales.  Also, there comes a time when being the boss and having your staff follow like drones will stifle future growth.

It is much more enlightened and profitable to delegate responsibility, accountability and decision making, and allow others to shine.  This will get you the human leverage you are already paying salaries for.

Customers like to do business with people who they find attractive.  In general, that means being attracted to someone who is friendly, knowledgeable, attentive and helpful.   In other words, treat customers as you would like to be treated.

A good start to attractiveness is to develop a healthy ego.  Being attentive and making customers feel valued means developing good listening skills.  Knowledge is always an advantage in business but more important is the ability to maintain an open-mind and an attitude of endless learning.

To represent quality and still be able to be humble enough to acknowledge your own frailties and imperfections means combining smart business with humanity.  Customers never tire of dealing with real people, flaws and all.   It makes all of us realize that we are human, and no better and no worse than anyone else.

Until next time!

Gary

If you enjoyed this article and would like to read more, visit my other blogsite at:

http://www.aikido-secrets-to-calm-success.com

Starting up your own business – identifying opportunity

Looking for business opportunities is fun.  It is an exciting and empowering process.  Opportunities, when converted, ultimately lead to business growth by adding new clients, new products and additional sales from existing clients.  There is nothing quite so self satisfying!

Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you – make them happen.  Opportunism is a business practice that doesn’t receive enough emphasis in business training.  It is the creation of everything.

So where is opportunity found?  The broad answer is ‘outside your business!’   There are far more revenue opportunities outside you business than inside it.  Opportunities inside your business are usually related to technology, cost reduction and productivity.

Opportunity seeking is a mindset, not a specific location.  Actively seeking opportunities for unfulfilled demand is central to the entrepreneurial spirit, but only a positive and optimistic mind will find them.

The opportunistic mindset is one of abundance, not of lack and scarcity.  If you think there is opportunity awaiting you, there is.  Alternatively, if you think there is no opportunity, there isn’t.

Your opportunity could be local, industry wide or global.  It all depends what you are looking for and how expansively you choose to think.  History is often a good teacher, so look to the past to find clues to future opportunity.  In looking for trends, consider the following questions in relation to the past 3-5 years.

  • Who has disappeared from your industry and why?
  • How has the internet changed your industry?
  • What new technology has been developed in your industry?
  • Do you see any product or service parallels between you industry and another industry?
  • Are your clients and their demands the same today as they were then?
  • Has government legislation banned, allowed or changed anything?

Expand your thinking outside of what you are currently doing.  Don’t allow your future to be determined only by your existing clients.  There is nothing more exciting than creating your own future by proactively identifying opportunities.  The future does not belong to procrastinators, but to brave business explorers.

When you find opportunity, don’t sit on it.  Most opportunities have a use-by date.  In other words, if you don’t act, someone else will sooner or later find it and act on it.  And where does that leave you? ….. Usually out in the cold thinking “Oh what could have been!”

If you are starting up your own business or want to boost your existing business read my latest book Recession Riches and Wealth at:

http://www.garyweigh.com/recession-riches-and-wealth

Until next time!

Gary

Starting up your own business – make money while you sleep

‘Making money while you sleep’ means earning income without your direct time input.  Most people stay poor because they merely sell their time and do nothing more to supplement their income.

Time-based income will always be limited because you only have 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and 52 weeks in a year to sell; and you have to sleep sometime, right?

To remove the limits on your income potential, you must disconnect your income from the amount of hours in a day or the time you have for sale.  The key to earning income while you sleep is leveraging.  This means having a quality product or service that is in demand, and then leveraging off other people’s time, other people’s money, other people’s products and resources.

There are many ways to make money while you sleep.  It is all about setting up a number of income-generating systems and then allowing each to do its work.  Recurring income streams can be generated online and offline.

The goal is to diversify!  So you should set up many different recurring income streams so that if a problem occurs with one, the others will still be working for you.  That removes a great deal of the risk of interruption from your overall future income earning ability.

Online income streams usually take some time and effort to set up but they are a lot easier to automate, thereby requiring minimal input from you.  Offline income streams generally require a higher level of ongoing input and maintenance because the offline world has fewer tools to automate the process.

In my latest e-book, Recession Riches and Wealth, I show you 10 ways to make money while you sleep.  I explain the many options that exist for removing the limits from your potential income capacity.

In the book I also explain over 100 easy and practical business ideas that have the potential to make money for you, particularly in times of recession.

In addition, I explain the 15 Golden Rules of Business that I have formulated.  These are the building blocks of a sound business, whether it is online or offline.  To ensure that you have everything you need, I give you plenty of useful business tips that lead to business successes, together with the many common traps and mistakes to avoid.

I am an Australian business trainer and financial planner with decades of experience and success to back it up.  I will tell you the secrets to income generation, business profitability and wealth building.

The irony is that the secrets aren’t really all that secret.  It’s just that few people are trained in these areas; they ignore the basics and fail to do the simple things well.  Instead, they turn to the promise of fast money online solutions.

So choose a different path!  If you are starting up your own business or want to boost your existing business read Recession Riches and Wealth at http://www.garyweigh.com/blog/recession-riches-and-wealth

Until next time!

Gary

Starting up your own business

Famous Failures of the Most Successful People In The World

I was browsing YouTube when I stumbled on this.  What more can I say except there is hope for us all!

Enjoy!

Starting up your own business – business basics

Electric Town - the Akihabara district of Tokyo by night

Dreaming up a good idea and using it as the basis for starting up your own business is a risky act of speculation that likely to end in tears and financial ruin unless you follow six (6) simple steps.

The basics of business are simple:

1.  Work to a plan

2.  Focus on customer demand

3.  Systematically convert shoppers into buyers

4.  Build relationships, trust and repeat buying

5.  Do whatever else is necessary to support growth and profitability

6.  Paint it all with enthusiasm and imagination

It really is a simple formula but it is astounding how many business owners focus on none of these.  Business is a connecting process, not an insular one.

The problem for most owners of small to medium businesses is that they try to do everything and, as a result, do nothing well.   It is rare that a good business planner is also a good sales person.  It is rare that a technician is also a good at admin.

It is also rare that people whose role it is to manage actually focus on steps 2, 3, 4 & 6 above.  It is more common that they focus on step 5 and if permitted, on what other people are doing.

That is why, in the execution of the six steps above, having a blueprint, working to a plan, delegating and outsourcing to people who have the appropriate expertise are so important.   After that, the owner-manager should be managing the profit process, not the admin process.

So many owner-managers default to the admin process and communication from a back room because it eliminates the obligation to talk to customers.  Somehow talking to numbers creates a more fulfilling life.

If you need good advice when starting up your own business contact me at gary@garyweigh.com

Until next time!

Gary

Starting up your own business – tips for business owner protection

Try to find a street corner in Vancouver CA without a Starbucks coffee shop

When you are starting up your own business, you commence a juggling act.  On the one hand you are trying to offer a quality product and great service but, on the other hand, you are trying to do it all on the cheap.

If your customers visit your premises they are sure to notice.  Even if they don’t visit, your poor resources will eventually show through in the quality of your product and service, particularly when demand increases and you are put under pressure.

‘Doing it on the cheap’ means cutting some corners.  This creates some common pitfalls which suddenly make business difficult when it doesn’t have to be.  From a business owner protection point of view, it very much increases your downside risk.

Common characteristics of doing it on the cheap include:

No plan

Having no plan means having no specific goals, no direction, no real action plan and no financial budget.  People often take a blind leap of faith into the deep end and struggle as a result.

No dedicated resources

Many business newcomers begin by working from home and often start in a back bedroom or shared bedroom.  Apart from a desk and a chair there is little space dedicated to the new business.  So apart from the venture being cash poor, technical resources are poor and computer hardware and software resources are inadequate.

Divided time

Time is divided between business and children or business and employment.  This usually results in a whole host of competing priorities, many distractions and scattered concentration.

Unrealistic expectations

It is common for newcomers to underestimate the amount of time and resources needed to achieve the desired customer outcomes.  It is also common to underestimate the amount of money required and the amount of non-productive work there is to do.  It results in the common trap of over promising and under delivering.

No help

Business can be a very lonely undertaking and loneliness is a big factor in destroying new ventures.  Having no help also means that you are stuck doing everything yourself, which eventually erodes enthusiasm.  Many give it up and go back to an employer for the regular and more secure income and the daily interaction with colleagues

No systems

Having no systems in place means that everything you do requires original thinking and much more effort than is necessary; or alternatively, it doesn’t get done.  It also means that there are no routines, which are a must if you are going to effectively manage your time.

Working on everything at once

This is the result of having no plan, unrealistic expectations, poor technical resources, no systems, no priorities and no order in your business.  It is a panic mode creates by self imposed and unnecessary pressure, which pumps up the stress levels.

So when you are starting up your own business, put yourself in your customers’ shoes!  If you walked into a business that had stumbled into the pitfalls above, would you take them seriously?  No is the likely answer, particularly if there is a warranty or ongoing professional service involved.

So if you start ‘on the cheap’, then plan to avoid or address the pitfalls for your own business owner protection.

For expert advice on business owner protection check out my personal risk insurance page at:

http://garyweigh.com/get-life-insurance

Until next time!

Gary

Starting up your own business – segment your market and focus on specific targets

A group with traits in common at Disney Sea, Tokyo Japan

When starting up your own business, you may think that the whole world is your stage but if you are smart, you will want to play to specific and well targeted audiences who share a one or more vital characteristics in common. 

There are at least six common ways to segment your market.  Which one (or more) might be appropriate for you will be a matter of your specific opportunity, your research and your identified demand:

Segment your market by:

  • Age
  • Income
  • Gender
  • Lifecycle
  • Geography
  • Specific pre-condition

Segment by age

As people age, their needs change.  Consider accommodation needs!  Young single people seek to rent accommodation, but a decade or so older with a spouse and children, they seek to buy a family home.   As the children leave home they may be in the market for an investment house and, when they reach old age, they seek long term aged care living.

Segment by income

Income segmentation is used by many retailers of lifestyle goods.  In general luxury products are aimed at the more affluent segments of the market, regardless of their age or gender.  Motor cars are an example of this.   Basic models are aimed at middle income earners, while the more prestigious and luxury models are aimed at higher income earners.   This is not to say that age, gender and lifecycle segmentation does not occur simultaneously.

Segment by gender

Gender segmentation is commonly used in the clothing, cosmetics, personal care and magazine industries.    Another example is the motor vehicle industry.  Just think of some of the ways that cars are presented in advertising – utilities and tray-backs for blokes and tradies, strong colours and powerful engines for young males, fuel efficient cars for families and small, easy to park town cars for females.

Segment by lifestyle

Lifestyle segmentation is used by retailers and wholesalers of holidays.  The adventure backpack holiday that might appeal to young single people probably won’t appeal to the majority of people in their 50’s and 60’s who are more likely to go for a comfortable and safe group tour or buy a caravan and tour the country.

Segment by location

For some products and services, it makes a big difference whether you live in the country or in the city.   Farm equipment for example is more likely to be sold in country areas where there are farms.  They are simply not required in the city although they might be displayed there on occasions, or the sale made through a city based corporate office.

Segment by a specific pre-condition

It might be the case that you are providing a service to a market group that requires a pre-condition.  In my case, as a business coach, it is a pre-condition that you own a small business or be considering starting up your own business to be a likely customer.  If you are in the car or boat accessories business, then only those people who own a car or boat (or are thinking of buying one) are of interest to you.

If you seek startup advice or a powerful online business presence when starting up your own business visit http://garyweigh.com/business-startup

Until next time!

Gary