The Australian Small Business Blog

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Working Smarter, Not Harder



The idea of working smarter not harder is a mantra most businesses owners understand even if they don’t actually follow it. Small Business owners often believe that big organisations have this nailed. However, after an interesting time in politics this week, you can see that our prime minister has not got this nailed.

I don’t care what your politics are, no-one would disagree our prime minister works extremely hard. He also has a hard earned reputation as a micro-manager and a control freak. He appears very busy, but is he affective?

When you run a business as big as the country, you can’t do it on your own. However, the way it is currently run, all decisions are being made by Mr Rudd and his office. His ministers are being over-ruled and the advice of their departments ignored. Now the peasants are revolting!

How long can he expect them to work the way he does if he doesn’t value their input and expertise. Where this will end is the staff (the public servants) will go through the motions, doing just enough to keep their jobs, knowing that he will in the end change whatever they suggest and do it his way. Why would you put in extra effort if it is not valued and recognised. Note, in small business ‘staff’ also applies to your contractors and suppliers.

When a business owner, or even Mr Rudd, have a bad week like this, their response is usually to resolve to work harder. This ultimately ends up driving away their staff and destroying themselves. Do you really believe becoming more productive at being ineffective will improve your business? Does any of this resonate for your business?

So what should Mr Rudd do? Well he could learn how to work smarter by attending my

Get Your Business Into Gear This Financial Year – Business Owners Retreat

although I don’t think there will be enough seating for his retinue. Alternatively, here are a few steps he should take:

1. Step Back! Review where you are going so you can prioritise. Otherwise you will spend your time reacting to every event that could be handled by others. You will become a firefighter, rather than leaving your staff to fight the fires so you have more time to look at ways to stop them starting in the first place. By fighting them yourself, you will have implicitly told your staff that you don’t trust them, and think they are incompetent. If you really believe that is true, replace them, although most times, the fault lies with you.

2. Share your vision with your staff and align their personal goals with your business objectives. Remember, they will not be as driven as you because you get most of the recognition and rewards. Wherever possible share these with your staff. Don’t hog the limelight.

3. Clearly define their roles, responsibilities and authority and let them do their jobs. You can’t control everything. If you continually intervene, your staff will believe that this is not their role, no matter what you say and you will always have to do their jobs for them.

4. Manage your business by reports. This gives you time to work on strategy. You can use the reports to monitor performance.

5. Regularly review your progress and when the facts change, don’t be afraid to review your objectives. (Unfortunately this rarely happens in politics as they tend to lock themselves into ideological, as opposed rational positions. Don’t let this happen to you as a business owner.)

It is often easier to see what others are doing wrong and the impact that it has on them. Learn from them and if you want help working smarter, please find our more about my Business Owners Retreat, and how 2 business owners Doubled their business in a year!

May Your Business Be As You Plan It!

Dr Greg Chapman

Over to You. What do You Think? Post Your Comments Below.

Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and The Australian Business Coaching Club and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success.



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The Australian Small Business Blog

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Small Business Achiever 105



Each month in the Small Business Achiever - Business Owner Brief, we reveal strategies and tactics that will enable you to massively transform your business and achieve your goals. Unlike articles you will see in business magazines that are just teasers to get you to call the author and pay them thousands of dollars for their wisdom, in the Business Owner Brief, we spell out step-by-step, what you need to do to achieve your goals. Nothing is left out.

In this next month's Achiever, learn how to:

-Use a Sales Pipeline to Double or Triple Your Sales

-Expose Cross Subsidies that Destroy Your Profit

-Conquered Google in 2 Weeks with New Keywords.

Each month not only do you receive top quality briefs on how you can achieve your business goals and hundreds of dollars of bonuses, you can also participate in Group Coaching with Dr Greg Chapman, the author of
"The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success" where your personal business questions will be answered.

What value do you place on achieving your business goals if you could get a shortcut to success?

The Small Business Achiever - Business Owner Brief is your Unfair Business Advantage!

May Your Business be as You Plan It!

Dr Greg Chapman


The Australian Small Business Blog

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Forgotten Majority of Business Owners

An Occasional Editorial by Dr Greg Chapman, MBA

In Victoria’s state budget last week, the government claimed to be providing assistance to business owners. Leaving aside for the moment, the fact that they returned in taxes only a portion of the tax increase since the last ‘handout’, even this was received by a minority of businesses. That is businesses large enough to pay land and payroll tax.

What about smaller businesses, the micro-businesses representing 61% of all businesses, and employing 26% of the private sector workforce? The government, as always treats the micro-business owner (those with less that 5 employees) as though they don’t really exist – as if they are not proper businesses.

Now the state government doesn’t really take much from them, so it can’t pretend to give anything back. Short of giving micro-businesses wads of free cash- dream on, what could it do? They could reduce red tape and regulation- but that also appears to be an impossible dream.

The most important asset a micro-business owner has is his or her time. How much time do you spend stuck in traffic? Along with most other Victorians, they suffer due to the lack of investment in road infrastructure. They suffer disproportionately more than larger business owners who have a lot more support so they can focus more of their time working on the business.

The cost of delays due to traffic congestion increases every year. A 2005 study showed that congestion in Melbourne cost business $1.4 billion in that year alone, with the figure expected to double in the next decade.

For the small business owner and their staff who rely on road transport, public transport being a non-option, spending several non-productive hours a day in traffic congestion is a major cost to their business. When business owners spend time in a car, rather than providing a service to their customers or finding new customers, this is a huge loss to their business.

While public transport funding is admirable, small business owners, like all road users, see funds raised through road taxes and charges largely diverted to other government programs. Most small business owners support the user pays principle and are not looking for subsidies. They do expect, however, a higher proportion of funds raised by road users to be spent in improving infrastructure.

The current budget, like all recent budgets before, refers to ever more studies and plans but no actual commitment to invest. There are 270,000 businesses with less than 5 employees in Victoria. The rate of growth in the number of these businesses is 11% per year. Small businesses are also responsible for 70% of the employment growth. Why then are the needs of this group always ignored?

Dr Greg Chapman

Over to You. What do You Think? Post Your Comments Below.

Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and The Australian Business Coaching Club and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success.


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The Australian Small Business Blog

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Segmenting Your Market’s Mind



One very well known marketing strategy is to segment your market and provide different offers to each segment specially targeted to that segment. If you were Ticketmaster, you might send information on the new opera season to the older segment of your database, and information on touring pop groups to the under 30’s. (Of course there are people under 30 who like opera, but when you want to get the most for your advertising buck, you go where the numbers are.)

Segmenting your market by age, gender, geography, income etc is done all the time by good marketers, but what if you could segment your market by the way they think? How powerful would that be? Saab have done just that. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a link to this novel online ad which is currently showing in the Faifax media, as they rotate their ads, but I will describe it so you will recognise it.

Have you seen the spinning ballerina test? See an example here. It is a rotating image which can be used to tell if your left brain or right brain dominates your thinking. Psychologists tell us that the person who is left brained tends to be more logical, methodical and organised. The right brainers, on the other hand, tend to be driven more by instinct and emotion and are more creative. They also say if you see the lady rotate anticlockwise, you are left brained, clockwise, you are right brained.

So back to the ad, which starts off with this rotating lady. It asks you to see which way the lady rotates for you and then asks you to select the appropriate button. You then get taken to a Saab ad in which the copy is tailored to whether you are left or right brained. If you are left brained, it tells you how many horsepower the car has and how fast it will accelerate and gives you details on the dimensions. If you are right brained, it explains the experience of power and the thrill you get with the acceleration, and the luxurious feel and comfort that the car gives you.

So Saab has created an ad which has been crafted for the way you think and you select the ad that is most likely to be a selling success for you!

For the record, I have seen the lady spin both ways.

Dr Greg Chapman

Over to You. What do You Think? Post Your Comments Below.

Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and The Australian Business Coaching Club and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success.


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Dr. Greg Chapman is also the author of
The 5 Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success

The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success

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