The Australian Small Business Blog

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Vision for Success

Many small business owners go into business by accident. They saw an opportunity and grabbed it. The original excitement of the opportunity and even some early success may have sustained them for a while, but sooner or later, the need for hard slog becomes necessary. What happens next can make a huge difference to your business.

When the hard slog starts, most business owners just keep slogging a way in the direction they started, using brute force to build their business. Long hours, lots of money spent on advertising, and sheer persistence. Then after a number of years, they find out what they have is not what they want. Only then do they step back and do what their smart colleagues do right from the start.

The smart business owner creates a vision for their business. This will be in alignment with their own personal objectives. It could be to retire in 10 years with a million dollars. It could that it will generate enough income so they need only work 3 days a week and can take 3 months off overseas each year. To achieve these personal goals, the business must meet certain goals – to produce the income required and to operate in a way that allows the lifestyle desired.

This vision for the business then must become more specific and describe what the business does, who it does it for and how it does it. The business must be built upon the strengths of the owners and the opportunities they see. At this stage, the vision may still be cloudy, but you must start somewhere. Only once this vision for the business has been created, can goals and plans be developed.

Creating such a vision can be difficult for many people, but there is a simple free tool that owners can use to develop their vision. The Mission Statements Made Easy Tool steps you through a process to create your own vision, and then enables you to produce a certificate that you print, frame, and place where you can see it everyday, so you will have a constant reminder of why you started your business, and where you are going with it.

With a vision clearly defined, when the slogging gets tough, the owner can step back, re-affirm their vision: that they are on the right track, or whether there is a better path to take to achieve their objective. With a vision, you have a compass for the business, so that the owner does not spend years building something that they don’t want.

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, August 26, 2008

Small Business Achiever Issue 108



Each month in the Small Business Achiever - Business Owner Brief, we reveal strategies and tactics that will enable you to multiply your profits and make your business run without you. 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 next month's Achiever, learn how to:

-Make a Splash in the Media

-Decide whether an Investment in Your Business is Worth It

-Use Google Adwords to Get Business without Losing Your Shirt

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

The Importance of Presentation Skills in Small Business

Did you know that other than technical skills, that is, being great at computers, selling, art, music, or what ever you do, the most important skill you can have in life is the ability to communicate confidently. Promotion depends on it; relationships depend on it; most important of all, personal self esteem and confidence depend on the ability to communicate confidence.

The good news is that it can be learned. Research shows that 80% of speaking ability is knowing what to do, how to do it and when to do it.

Most of speaking is in the body language. Where you stand, how you look at the audience, what you do with your hands and feet, all count more, than what you say.

Then voice variety: tone, volume, pitch, pace, and timbre of your voice, all covey more than the words. Most people don’t know this. They don’t know how to vary their voice or even where to project from.

Finally, the content or material you say, is the least remembered and least important. So, simple, clear easy to relate words are the ones to say and the ones that are most memorable.

Now, it usually takes a while to learn these skills and most people think it is hard to learn. However, when you have a presenter who makes it fun, interesting and hands on, it can be learned quite quickly and can be life changing.

Judith Field is the director of Direct Speech. Check out her website at and learn how you can change your business and life through public speaking.

The Australian Small Business Blog

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Buying and Selling on Price



All businesses should endeavour to create points of differences for their product or service, but what about if you are selling an undifferentiated product, something that is truly a commodity, such as petrol or even bottles of Coca Cola (which of itself is not a commodity, but you will get exactly the same product whether it’s from a milk bar or supermarket, here or across the country). Businesses that sell commodity products tend to sell with price as a point of difference.

There are two things that influence this:

  • geographical location (convenience and cost of supply), and
  • buyer knowledge of the market place.

Taking the first point, geography, this is about how far you are prepared to chase a bargain. You might drive across town to save $100 on a refrigerator, but would you do the same for a $1 saving on a six pack of Coke? Probably not. Economists call this the cost of shoe leather- this distance and effort you would give in time and money to achieve that saving.

What does this mean for your business? When setting commodity pricing, you only need to survey your competitors in your ‘economic’ neighbourhood.

The second factor influencing this is the buyer knowledge of your price difference. If they don’t know about it, they will not find you and may pay more than they should. This is why petrol stations have massive signs proclaiming their prices. Which brings me to the latest government efforts to increase consumer knowledge of prices. Will this really help small business and give lower prices to consumers?

First of all there is FuelWatch currently only operating in WA. Most motorists when they are low on fuel, like to fill up while they are already in their car on some other errand, rather than make a special trip. Generally this means they may pass half a dozen petrol stations (depending on the length of the trip) and will be able to see variations in price on station signage, and would be able to determine a good price for that part of their city at the time they are wishing to fill.

Service stations are highly competitive changing their prices several times a day. Can you think of any other product where that happens? The station owner will opportunistically drop their prices if their sales are low, and increase them when it is high. This is exactly how a good market should operate. By enforcing the price changes once per day, the motorist will be the loser. I would also expect that the independents will lose, as they are the most nimble. This will ultimately see a loss of competition- the opposite of what the government is trying to achieve.

The other scheme introduced by the government is GroceryChoice. In this scheme, the results that are reported are a month old, while grocery prices change at least weekly. (At least FuelWatch reported daily.) Also the baskets used are not transparent, so you have no idea whether this represents what you would buy. So consumers will ignore this, and still look to newspapers to see where the best prices are every week.

At one level, you might argue that this is a largely harmless waste of taxpayer funds, but there is a more ominous side. While people will not use this site much, when they do it will re-enforce the supermarket duopoly between Coles and Woolworths (Safeway). These two chains monitor their competition’s prices very closely. The website results prove this with only cents different between the two.

Where there is a significant difference is between the big chains and the independents whose prices are higher. Now there will be independents that are cheaper for some things than the big two, but because there are so many of them, the government has lumped them all together. However, from the consumer perspective, it ‘proves’ that they are cheaper than the independents. No wonder Coles and Woolworths love this! Once again, by interfering in the market, the government will drive the independents out and lessen competition, resulting in higher prices.

If businesses are selling commodities, and selling on price, advertising that fact is important, but when governments involve themselves in the marketplace to fix something that is not broken, casualties are inevitable and ultimately consumers and small business owners are the losers.

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

Monday, August 04, 2008

Turning Bad Publicity into Good



Imagine you have a business which is constantly criticised by the politically correct who seem to be able to get airtime effortlessly. How do you compete? You can advertise, but this is just dismissed as self promotion, and of course the largest outlet for the politically correct, the ABC doesn’t allow advertising (unless you are flogging a book or a play on a politically correct subject).

Well there is a way. You can get someone that the critics admire, and have even used in their own campaigns to endorse you. Let me present a case study.

Recently McDonalds put out a press release that they had developed a range of meals that have the Heart Foundation Tick of Approval. The critics went ballistic. They criticised McDonalds, they criticised the Heart Foundation. They were on every airwave denouncing the big bad US fast food company. They had always hated McDonalds. It's an American company. It is a multinational. It promotes fast food regarded as unhealthy – there is apparently no safe level of consumption for this food. This last argument being the one they push hardest as the others are obviously political.

Then that most trusted judge of what is good and bad to eat, the Heart Foundation, endorsed a range of McDonalds meals. How could they? How dare they? They could not argue that the Heart Foundation assessment of the meals was wrong. Their argument was that maybe someone might order a big Mac with their Heart Foundation approved salad!

How would all this help McDonalds? Firstly, the reporting that they had earned the Heart Foundation tick was received well in many quarters, if not the ABC. Secondly, the ABC and other disapproving media when reporting on this news, did, to their credit, interview people from the Heart Foundation and McDonalds who were able to put their case. In much of the coverage, their critics just sounded shrill. For McDonalds, it created the opportunity to access media channels that would normally be closed to them unless it was a bad news story.

The final picture that was left with media consumers, is that you can get healthy meals at McDonalds. In the reporting, McDonalds had the news, and the critics were just replaying the same old arguments that had been heard time and again. The critics had been wedged, and thus their arguments were diluted. McDonalds had taken them on directly, and all they had left was their politics.

Was McDonalds devious enough to plan this reaction from their critics to massively leverage their media exposure from a single day to weeks? I don’t know, but the reaction of the politically correct critics on border patrol was entirely predictable. They just couldn’t help themselves.

You can use controversy to promote your business, but make sure you have someone in authority’s tick of approval to back you up!

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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