Businesses don’t compete, customers do!


Whether people realise it or not, everyone competes!  It is just part of life.

As children we compete with siblings for toys and often for the affection of parents.  As adults we compete in sport; we compete in school and we compete at work.

In third world countries people compete for food shelter and basic medical attention.  Tragically, it is all too often the case that people compete for survival itself – the chance to stay alive!

In more fortunate societies where the basics of survival are taken for granted, we compete to be as good as the next person.  We compete to keep up with the Jones’s.  We compete for approval, promotion, and recognition.

Money is merely the lubricant that oils the social gears!

In our endless quest to rise to top of the social heap, or at least to get off the bottom of it, we compete in the social hierarchy.   Often we are not competing with anyone in particular.  We are mostly jockeying for position.

When we leave the parent’s nest, we compete because there is expectation to do well.  Parents and spouse expect it.  They expect that the basics of a reasonable Western lifestyle will be taken care of.  That means competing for a good job to earn money to buy lifestyle assets.

At the minimum, people want to look the same, be the same, have the same, and provide the same chance to their offspring as everyone else.  If one is to stand out from the crowd, it’s the norm that it should be for being smart, rich or successful.  It shouldn’t be for embracing abject poverty and failure!

Nevertheless, if it comes down to a ‘them or us’ choice, most will take the opportunity to climb upwards at the expense of someone else slipping down – every time!

It is this human competition in everyday life that generates business sales!  As I have said before, when it comes to competition in business, it’s the customers who compete to buy.  It’s the smart traders who allow them to do so.

Smart traders who understand business building also understand the human buying process and the underlying emotions that drive it.  They simply signpost the path to buying and remove every obstacle and roadblock along the way.

For more reading on business building check out the Paradox of Money on my Aikido Secrets site.

Until next time!


Business building – drill deeper into the buying decision


If you are thinking about business building, try thinking about your business as a club and think ways to increase its membership.  Consider the attributes that a club might have, other than its main activity.  For example:

  1. An identifying style of dress
  2. A jargon of its own
  3. A unique set of rituals
  4. Similar morals and values
  5. It’s own internal means of communication
  6. Similar ideas outside the 4 walls of the club
  7. A social aspect

It is essential to realise that the reasons for membership of a club are wide and varied, and the reason is not always the long held love of the specific activity in common.

For example, people do not always join a martial arts club because they are hankering to learn the specific art on offer.  They may join because they have been bullied; they want to be able to defend themselves; they want to lose their fear and feel confident; they seek to meet fit and healthy people; they seek a lifestyle regime of self discipline and self respect, or perhaps they seek a non-religious spiritual path.

People don’t always join a tennis club because they have a burning desire to play tennis.  The reasons include learning or improving a skill, getting out of the house, socialising, meeting new people, health and fitness.  The game itself might be quite a secondary issue.

The same applies to your particular products and services.  You can bet people are satisfying a much deeper need when they come to you.  It is not as superficial as having a burning desire for your particular product offering.

For example, what people are really buying when they sign up for a life insurance policy is peace of mind!   Always aware that the premiums ultimately buy nothing if there is no premature death and no claim, it is therefore a tradeoff against ongoing financial protection of loved ones.  The emotion involved in the buying decision is fear … that is, fear of loss.

More on business building next time!


Business building – add a club to your business


Business building is no different to starting a club.  After all, a club is nothing a group of people who come together to enjoy a common interest.  It is not very different from a group of customers who like all like your product or service.

Increasing membership is the name of the game.  However, members don’t necessarily have to be customers in the first instance.  Although a sale is the desired outcome, people still like to poke around a bit before becoming customers.

The noticeable difference between a business and a club is that members don’t all turn up to your clubhouse every Tuesday night to enjoy the common interest.  But they could!  If you let them do so.

Think about these seven (7) business combinations:

  • A financial planner who holds a free educational seminar (or uploads an online podcast) for existing clients each month or each quarter
  • A home interior decorator or renovator who provides customer online access to a 360-virtual tour of an exclusive ‘house of the month
  • A restaurant that provides customers with a weekly online ‘sneak peak in the kitchen’ and simple home recipes
  • A real estate agent who sends his or her investor customers the details of the latest property listings that fall inside each investor’s stated criteria
  • A nursery that uploads seasonal instructional videos about how, when and where to position and maintain the plants that they sell
  • A business coach who writes an original and instructional blog and uploads it as a free educational resource for both existing and potential business owners
  • A natural therapist who provides history and benefits about their products and services as well as education about the natural treatment of other health conditions

If you run your business like a club, people will go where they are invited if they are made to feel special.  So no longer will your customers simply try your offering and leave, they can now stick around as a member of your club, so long as you continue to deliver and hold their interest.

Building a club around your business also gives you ample opportunity to up-sell other products.  There is nothing like a little free education and a few more reasons for customers to buy some of your other products and services.

Until next time!


Want to read more? Check out my article Online business building at

Business building by telling stories


According to Howard Bloom, author of The Lucifer Principle, the success of memes and those who propagate them is due in part to their clever use of the invisible world.  This is the world of story, legend and belief.   He refers to the invisible world that plays on our desires and fears.  Business building is no different!

Broadly speaking, the aim of marketing is to satisfy a need, allay a fear, or create a desire.  Here is an example of each:

  • Buying food to have a full stomach is satisfying the basic human need of hunger
  • Installing a home security system is allaying the fear of loss of safety and / or possessions
  • Joining a weight loss service is the result of creating the desire to look and feel good

Marketers know that all of these products and services are all best sold by use of stories.  People love stories.  Most of us have been ‘message conditioned’ by stories ever since we were small children.  People remember stories.  People repeat stories.  The take-home marketing message is in the story.

Three (3) everyday examples found recently on Australian TV are:

  1. A large supermarket chain tells the story of the ‘fruit & vegie’ manager visiting the farms to hand pick the freshest food for their stores.  By doing so, they enhance the value part of the ‘value for money’ proposition and avoid having to reduce the price.
  2. A home security supplier tells a story of thieves breaking into houses by kicking in the security screen door.  It creates fear and then proceeds with the story to allay that fear by offering their particular security door solution.
  3. A weight loss service provider tells story of an overweight celebrity who has used their products to achieve his or her dream of looking good and feeling good, with all the accompanying health and lifestyle benefits.  It is an autobiographical testimonial style story with ‘before’ and ‘after’ images as supporting evidence.

In all cases, it is very clever story telling.  Stories convey messages so much better than simply listing benefits.  Why?  Because no one is interested in what is logical!  Logic alone sells very little.  Marketers know that they have to drill down further than that and tap into feelings and emotions

For instance, the weight loss service provider knows that presenting the logical health benefits alone would sway no one.  However, if they appeal to vanity and desire first and then justify it later with the obvious health benefits, customers will come in droves. 

So logic does have a place.  It is second place!  Logic is used by a customer after the fact to justify and support emotional buying decisions.  But logic alone just doesn’t cut it.  For the initial grab, emotion outsells logic every time.

for more on business building read Dream Income Stream at

Until next time!


Lucifer’s Business building strategy


Looking for business building ideas?  If you want to take a leaf out of Howard Bloom’s book ‘The Lucifer Principle, a Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History”, imagine that building a business is like propagating an appropriate meme, drawing together an ever increasing interest / buying group who, in turn attract others by word of mouth. 

As the leader of this group you are then able to start climbing to the top of the business pecking order.  With popularity come riches, fame and power; until such time as you lose popularity and slide right back down again.

So what is a meme?  It begins with an idea that leaps from mind to mind.  It is the social glue that is communicated by the founder and binds the believers.  Eventually, a meme turns into a set of beliefs and behaviours that distinguishes one social group from another.  According to Bloom “It drives us to coagulate in cooperative masses of family, culture, tribe and nation.”

Bloom points out that ”the memes that count the most are the ones that assemble vast arrays of resources in startling new forms.  They are the memes that construct social superorganisms.”  Historical examples are the ideologies of Karl Marx, Adolf Hitler and the world’s major religions. 

I would cite Facebook as a recent business example – millions of people interacting with each other via a startling new form of social media.

So building business is not so different.  It relies on the same survival and competitive pecking order needs of human beings.  You see, competition in business is not restricted to rival businesses.  Much more competitive activity takes place between the collective billions of customers.

Some of the more obvious every day examples include:

  • People fight and trample each other in the annual department store sales;
  • People fight over the last item on a supermarket shelf;
  • Fads start because people want what others have; and
  • People camp out overnight in a queue to be the first to get the latest IPad or IPhone.

You only have to strike a chord or hit a nerve with a small group of people to attract a following, and for life to be breathed into your idea.  Transmission of that idea from mind to mind can occur at a phenomenal speed.  Just think about how many people have become overnight sensations on YouTube?

More “Lucifer style’ business building next time!


For more on Howard Bloom and his brilliant books, including The Lucifer Principle visit

Building business relationships – conflict resolution

CALL GARY DIRECT ON 0408 756 531

Once upon a time there was a successful sports car designer who had a weekender in the mountains and a sleek Maserati for the ride. Whenever he could take a break from his business, he would recharge in his mountain retreat. He drove the twisting road, pot holed in patches and unguarded in sections. He never worried though. He relished the drive. After all he had a great car, he was an excellent driver, and he knew that road like the back of his hand.

One summery morning he was driving to his weekender, invigorated by the mountain air breezing into his face. He approached one of his favourite hairpin bends he slowed, shifted gears, and braked.  And then like a bolt from the blue, hurtling around that bend spun a car almost out of control! It lurched menacingly into his lane.

Grief, he thought, it’s going to hit me for sure! The oncoming car swerved again, but at the last moment swung back into its own lane.  As it passed by him a woman stuck her head out of her car window and screamed at him, “PIG!”

Incensed at her gall, he blasted the horn and bellowed back “YOU ….. SOW!”

“I was in my lane! She was driving like a lunatic. Should be put away” he muttered indignantly. And self-satisfied he mused “at least she didn’t get away without me putting her in her place!”

And with that, he put his foot down, accelerated around that bend   ………. and ran right into the pig! [1] 

 What does this story tell us about conflict in business building relationships? We often react, urged unthinkingly by that primitive and irrational part of the brain, known as the limbic system.  We can become emotionally charged,  one-eyed and closed minded, assuming the worst in others, blaming everyone but ourselves, wasting energy, distracting attention, souring  business building relationships, and costing us financially.

Until next time!


[1] Story adapted from Barker J. Paradigms. Understand the Future in Business and Life. The Business Library Melbourne 1992

Business building – so you don’t need a business plan?


There are many business building newbies who believe that they don’t need a business plan.  They believe it is only necessary when starting up a new business.  They see no reason for a business plan when buying an existing business which is all set up and running well.  They simply view themselves as the new operator.

The point they fail to grasp is that they are not only a new operator with no runs on the board but they are also the navigator of a directionless investment once the departing owner leaves.

In business, things rarely stay the same for too long!


If you don’t think you need a business plan then put together an action list of things you might need to address to run the business your way or continue building it.  For example:

Change of ownership – Never assume that the former owner’s way is the right way or the wrong way.  Keep an open mind and learn from everyone.  Start jotting down ways in which you can improve what has gone before.  Staff members are looking for direction, so if you do nothing, you may find your staff managing your business their way – the only way they know how!  If you want to change things you need to start leading from the front and ensure everyone starts singing from the same songbook.

Your customers – Firstly, you need to get to know them.  Unless you do this quickly, some will use it as the trigger to leave you.  If they are happy with your present products and services, what else might they want that you can provide?   Can you improve the service?  You need to start building your personal capital and goodwill.

Your products & services – is obsolescence likely to be a factor in the future?  Demand changes all the time.  What can you do bring to the mix?  How can you to stay up to date and keep it fresh?  Can technology add a new dimension to e.g. the product itself or its distribution?  What are your competitors doing?

Your sales system – if sales simply fall into your lap, what can you do to replicate and build sales even further?  Would customers who hardly know you refer you to friends and colleagues?  Are you building a useful sales / communication database?

Manage the process – you need to take the wheel and keep control of your business or it will run off the road.  That means staying on top of pricing, margins, income, expenses, cash flow, breakeven, hiring and firing, human performance, the cost and quality of the product / service creation process – just to name a few.  There is also some admin to do such as compliance, accounts, paying bills, collecting money, BAS, PAYG etc.

Your personal time – if the business needs nothing but a new driver how can you minimize your time behind the wheel, or even replace yourself?

For more reading on business building check out

Until next time!


Business building – Is a cafe-takeaway a dream or a nightmare?

Make no mistake!  Business building in a cafe-takeaway shop is hard work.  I’m not knocking hard work but it is often a 6-7 days a week commitment with early morning preparation; which means that you can have little or no life outside the business.  If you are not used to it, tiredness can turn you into a zombie.

It is usually very competitive!  Competition generally comes from similar independent businesses, coffee shops, franchise chains and mobile vans (particularly in industrial areas).  Competition keeps margins generally low which requires high volume of customers.

Customer flow is not evenly distributed.  There are chaotic rush hours which impact on staffing and preparation.  You may only need a casual for 2 hours at lunchtime but awards can stipulate minimum periods that can be longer.

Like most food service businesses a cafe-takeaway is labour intensive.  It can be difficult to find and retain good staff, particularly casuals.  Food costs, portions & wastage must to be closely controlled.  It can be the devil’s own job to train staff in correct portioning and minimal wastage.

It all gets worse when you are frantically busy.  It is extra frustrating when you run out of something and have to run to the nearest shop and pay retail price for it.

There are some heavy duty local authority food licensing conditions to meet, not the least of which is installing a grease trap.  Refrigeration, cooking and warming means some hefty power bills.

I am not meaning to be critical or pessimistic.  I’m just being realistic!  Know what you are getting into because I have seen passion for food repeatedly dampened in cafe-takeaway businesses.

Until next time


Want to learn more about business building?  Check out our business coaching and business planning services

Protect your business and your family’s future 

Team business building – can group decision-making work?

Fortunately the MD is asleep!!


Good teamwork applied to business building is about open communication and cooperation, not protecting territory and fragile egos.

Group decision making does have the potential for excellent business building outcomes.  And why shouldn’t it when such a diversity of knowledge and expertise is sitting around the same table.

However, this style of decision making should not be confused with management by meeting, often seen in Universities, where nothing can get done without a seemingly endless series of meetings.

Group decision making can work well provided that a few conditions are met:

  • Collaboration must be genuine in its intent
  • Divisional walls must be knocked down
  • Free exchange of ideas with no judgment or criticism
  • No hiding behind titles and egos
  • Recognition that the best ideas don’t always come from the highest paid
  • The group needs challengers and dissenters otherwise it’s a ‘yes’ group
  • Can’t be just a talk-fest group with no commitment to action
  • Someone must be responsible for prioritising ideas and implementing action

This is a big business concept that is not used very often as described above, because they can’t get past their door titles and egos.  Nevertheless, this concept can be easily adapted to small business decision making.

Participants can be friends, colleagues, mentor, coach or just about anyone who will do it for the price of a free lunch (or at least a coffee and a scone).  For $100-$200 you could walk away with a swag of great ideas and strategies for your business.

For more on business building check out

Learn how to build powerful business presence!

Until next time!


Business building – finding the leader and manager in you!

"Lead and Manage!"


Every business building owner needs someone to inspire and enlist support as well as someone to ensure strategies are implemented and processes followed.  In other words, a leader and a manager are both needed!

The problem is that the traits of leader and manager do not always reside in the same person.  When they do, it is often difficult to change hats easily.

It is argued that the two require different mindsets.  A leader who attracts people may be good at strategic planning, original thinking and innovation but may not be so good at focusing short term, attending to administration, controlling the business or resolving conflict.

Nevertheless, when you start up a business, you generally have to perform both roles, and the reality is that both roles can be integrated just fine; if you are prepared to try.  It all comes down to having a good understanding of people both inside and outside your four walls.

The big picture–small picture / right brain-left brain distinction between leader and manager can be morphed quite easily into the single character of ‘owner’! 

After all, when you left your job to start your own business, isn’t this the bureaucratic rubbish that you wanted to get away from?

Everyone has left and right brain hemispheres!  It is just that most have instinctive preferences one way or the other.  It’s not that we can’t do both; it is just that we don’t want to if we don’t have to.

(Oh, the luxuries of being employed!  There is always someone else to turn to.

However, the reality of owning a business is that there is plenty that you have to do yourself that you may not want to.

If you understand people and understand what motivates and drives individuals, then you can work out how to treat them in order to bring out their best, or to get the most favourable response.

At no time in the last several thousand years has business ever changed from being all about people.  If you put your mind to it, leadership and management can be regarded as two sides of the same coin

Coming to grips with it and gaining the technical ability and people skills you need are all part of the building of the new you – the successful business owner!

For more reading on business building, read Recession is a blessing in disguise   

Until next time!