The Australian Small Business Blog

Thursday, December 09, 2010

A Small Business Christmas Gift You WILL Read


How many gifts will you receive this year that end up in your garage? That hideous vase from a well meaning aunt. Perhaps it will be DVD of a movie you have already seen. Or it might be a book that you will never read.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Business Start-up Story Part - 4

The First Year Milestone
by Dr Greg Chapman, MBA

This is a further update of client Alan’s story about his start-up business. Here is the summary Alan sent to me of his first year’s progress (adapted to ensure his anonymity – after all, we don’t want his clients to know he is a start-up!)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Are there Parasites eating your Profit?


Many hard working business owners find that in spite of an apparently healthy turnover, at the end of the month, there is little left over to pay themselves. The sales have been ok, their costs have not risen appreciably. What is eating their profits?

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Using Life Goals to Design Your Business


How do you set your business goals? Do you, for example, take your current sales figure and say I want to double it in 5 years? Do you say I want it to be in 3 states or 3 countries in 5 years? There is nothing inherently wrong with such goals, but it is really putting the cart before the horse.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Why Businesses Must Increase Their Prices


For the last 2-3 years businesses have been squeezed. Government controlled fees and charges have continued to increase. Most spectacularly electricity prices have skyrocketed at a whopping five times the CPI. Interest rates are on the move upwards again, and there have also been above inflation increases in rents.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

MARKETING AWARDS CAN ADD VALUE TO YOUR BUSINESS

I am pleased to promote the Marketing and Comminications Executives Awards to be held in Melbourne on October 26th.

If networking is an important part of your marketing strategy, then attending the MCEI Marketing Awards Presentation will provide the ultimate in networking opportunities.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Small Business Advisory Boards


The great thing about being your own boss is that no-one can tell you what to do (apart from your customers, suppliers, staff, government, your spouse etc), because you are the boss!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Fit for Your Business Purpose


Businesses will always be tempted to strive for excellence and perfection, but at what cost?

Excellence and perfection are both worthy objectives, but in seeking such achievements, something else inevitably must make way. You can’t be excellent at everything. And what is excellence anyway? How would you define it?

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Marketers vs Accountants


At a course on devising strategy last year, whilst reviewing a case study of a business which was facing a number of strategic choices, the facilitator asked whether there were any accountants in the room. A few put up their hands. He pointed to one of them and asked: “How do you think they should increase their profit”

The accountant answered: “They should reduce their costs”.

Then the facilitator asked if there were any marketers in the room. I was among a few who raised their hands. He pointed at me and asked how the business should increase profit.

I answered: “They should increase their prices”, knowing the point he was about to make.

Everyone laughed at the different approach for the accountant and marketer. The facilitators point was the importance of different viewpoints, something with which I strongly agree. There is also a right and wrong time for either approach.

However, I do believe that increasing sales is a more direct route to profit in any reasonably run business where the costs have not blown out of control. You can only squeeze prices so far without compromising the product quality or service which will then have a negative impact on sales.
Increasing sales, on the other hand, is a potentially unlimited strategy. Sales can be doubled or tripled or more, but halving costs can be extremely difficult.

There are basically 5 ways to increase sales, represented by the 5 Turnover Drivers

1. Increasing Enquiries
2. Increasing Conversions to Sales
3. Increasing the Average Value per Sale
4. Increasing the number of times a customer buys from you
5. Increasing your Prices.

The last turnover driver is probably the most powerful, but also the most difficult to implement.

The most powerful, because even a 10% increase in your prices could double your profit.

The most difficult to implement as the risk in losing customers may well result in an overall revenue loss, unless strategies are adopted that allow your higher prices to be defended.

In Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales,



there are 57 strategies that are revealed. Strategies for every kind of business: B2B, retail, manufacturing and professional services (including accounting!)

Learn the professional marketing secrets of the big brands in your sector and stop being a Price Taker.

May Your Business Be - As You Plan It.

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 and Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales.

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The Australian Small Business Blog

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Business For Beginners



I regularly present to final year architects at Melbourne University on how they should set up their business. This time some one caught me in the act:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Australian Government Business Grants


I regularly get asked for advice on government grants for businesses. Most enquires are for free money. Many are enquiries from start-ups with a great idea which will transform life as we know it, if only some one would give them some money to commercialise the concept.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Pricing Strategy - Charging More Without Losing Sales


Listen to an interview with Dr Greg Chapman on the Michael Schildberger's Business Essentials program on Charging More Without Losing Sales (8 min)



For information on the new book "Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales" visit www.increaseyourprices.com.au

May Your Business Be - As You Plan It.

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 and Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales.

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The Australian Small Business Blog

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Business Start-up Story Part - 3


This is a further update of the story of client Alan’s story about his start-up business. He recently wrote to me the following summary of his progress to date (adapted to ensure his anonymity – after all, we don’t want his clients be aware of his thoughts on these matters!)

Hi Greg,

I have reached the half way point of my First Year !

And they said it wouldn't last.

Reflecting on the half way point, the signs are quite encouraging.
I have learnt a great deal about marketing, fee proposals and delivering projects.

I think the most encouraging aspect has been that I have had 4 good jobs to price and won one, with the others waiting to be notified.

I feel like the first 6 months I have been running on 2 cylinders due to 'feeling my way through' and getting to understand what it is I need to do and learning about marketing my services.

Learning and reading about it and people telling you what you need to do is one thing, doing it yourself is something different. It's a bit like someone telling you how to ride a bike, without getting on the damn thing and taking some tumbles you'd never learn.

Still early days but I am enthused about what I have learnt and more importantly on the opportunities to quote for work.

I am getting clear glimpses of the potential and opportunities available and the current leads.

Hopefully I can build on the second half of the year and greatly increase my results !

Regards

‘Alan’

Although my role was to provide Alan business education, a just as important role was to provide him the encouragement to continue in spite of setbacks. I believe Alan has reached a confidence tipping point. This is an important stage in any start-up business. As we started working together, it was a leap of faith as he launched his business. Alan is no longer running just on faith – he is now seeing evidence that his hard work will pay off.

Of course there will be future tests for Alan, but he now has started to build the capital in his confidence bank which he will be able to draw on as he meets future challenges.

Stay tuned for further updates.

May Your Business Be - As You Plan It.

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 and Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales.

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The Australian Small Business Blog

Monday, August 16, 2010

Extreme Customer Care




As the man of the house, of course I am expected to know everything about anything mechanical – and specifically everything about cars. How they work – what has to be done if they don’t – even though I am a mechanical klutz.

So naturally when my wife complained about how bad the wipers were on her car I was expected to fix it. So I went, with some trepidation to the nearest Autobarn store. It’s OK for women to go to these stores, because they aren’t expected to know anything about cars – some young guy is always willing to help and show of their knowledge – particularly if the woman is young. Guys, on the other hand – should be experts– and if you aren’t, the usual response in a car store is to treat you with contempt.

However, that was not my experience at Autobarn. As I walked in, someone asked what I was looking for. I said – wiper blades. You would think this is a simple purchase, but it is not. There is a huge range to choose from, and then I realised they had to be properly fitted. Clearly seen as being clueless in this environment, a young guy came up and asked if he could help? He didn’t wait to be asked. Within a minute or two, he found the correct blades.

When I started to ask about how I was to install them, how the length was to be adjusted, he could sense I was quite uncomfortable with the whole process. So he asked where my car was parked, and while I was paying, he went out, brought my blades back to the shop, and within a few minutes, had replaced the old blades, and using equipment ready to hand in the store, fitted the length properly and had the blades re-installed in my wife’s car. The Autobarn guy made it look easy because he knew what he was doing and he had the right equipment.

I am reasonably sure that given enough time, I would have worked out how to do it myself, but I have also had bad experiences in struggling with poorly translated instructions with diagrams that look like they have been drawn by a 5 year old – and messing around with the wrong equipment.

Autobarn just charged me for the blades – about $24. If I got the mechanic to do it at the next service, he would probably have hit me for double that.

The level of service from Autobarn was way above what I expected. It never occurred to me that they would fit the blades for me. Sure the store was not very busy at the time, but how many places do you visit where you can’t get anyone’s attention because they are too busy to serve the customer.

When you get such service, what do you do? You tell everyone about it – as I am doing now.

Going that bit further than your competitors with extreme customer care creates fantastic word of mouth. I won’t hesitate in going back to Autobarn and to tell others to use visit their stores.

Of course, having manfully fixed that mechanical problem, my wife has now found other mechanical repairs for me to do. I wonder if the guys at Autobarn will come around to fix our pool gate?


May Your Business Be - As You Plan It.

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 and Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales.


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The Australian Small Business Blog

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Pricing Strategy - Creating Massive Price Increases


Every business would like to be able to increase their prices. How much would you like to increase yours – perhaps by 15% or 25%? How about increasing them by 100% or even 1000%? To achieve massive increases, you need to think differently.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pricing Strategy - How to Increase Yours


Why can some of your competitors increase their prices while you have to struggle even with your current ones? Do you find that when you lift your prices, you lose sales? Are most of your customers are only interested in price? Are you a Price Taker?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Business Start-up Story Part - 2


In Part 1, of this Business Start-up Story, Alan made the decision to start his business, with circumstances creating the ‘opportunity’. Some might have panicked about this ‘opportunity’, but Alan’s passion meant this was exciting.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Small Business Summit 2010


As a regular attendee of the Small Business Summit, I can always tell when there is an election in the air. While each politician started by saying that they did not want to be partisan, they could not help themselves. Here is a summary of the impressions I received from the summit.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Don't be a Price Taker



Possibly the biggest opportunity I see with small business clients I have helped over the years is to increase their prices. It is also the one with which most struggle so they become price takers.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

When to hire a new employee?


As a business grows, owners are always concerned about how they will know it is the right time to bring in a new employee.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Business Start-up Story - Part 1


To Be or Not to Be? That was the question a client of the Australian Business Coaching Club was asking me last year. Alan (not his real name), wanted to know should he leave his job to start his business, or continue working 40 hours, and try to start-up his business in his spare time.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Achieving Small Business Growth and How to Manage It

In interview with Michael Schildberger's Business Essentials, Dr Greg Chapman advises that to be successful you need to move out of your comfort zone. "You can't be complacent" he says, "and if you don't change your business will not prosper." He gives us five strong pieces of advice.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

How Average are Your Salespeople?


On average, most salespeople are average. How surprising is that?

I often hear business owners complaining that their sales staff aren’t paying their way. They can’t produce the same the results as the owner. On one level this is not surprising, as the owner has the greatest incentive, with the profits going to them.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Benchmarking Your Business Performance

Below is a recent interview of Dr Greg Chapman on BTalk on a new set of benchmarks for small business published by the ATO. In this interview Dr Chapman describes how to use them for your business.

The link to the page on the ATO website is here.





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

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Marketing Communications Executives International


Would you like to win $6,000 worth of prizes? These are not Mickey Mouse Prizes …these are prizes of real value for your business and for you personally. But you have to be in it to win it!

I would like to invite you to celebrate the Launch of the new Marketing Communications Executives International (MCEI) website with me and be a winner!

http://marketingandpromotion.org/

Members of this dynamic network of entrepreneurs have got together and are offering these great prizes. Some will require a draw to pick the lucky winner, but many of them will be available to everyone who takes part.

Barbara Gabogrecan (the President) and Peter O’Connor (the Treasurer) have put this site together to provide information, training and a portal from which members can promote their own product and services and network with each other via the Members Directory and the Forum. It is so pleasing to see the interest already being generated from this site – even before the Launch. Members are definitely the winners as the Members Directory pages are the most visited pages on the website.

The Launch runs from 26th April to 30th April so make sure you visit http://marketingandpromotion.org/ during this week.

DON”T MISS OUT ON THESE WONDERFUL PRIZES!


Barbara Gabogrecan is the Australian President of Marketing and Communications Executives International.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Another Way to Increase Your Prices




A couple of months ago, Steve Jobs launched the iPad. Before the launch, the big question was how much to charge for it. The major existing brand digital reader, Kindle was priced at $259. Apple believed the iPad was superior technology and so should have a higher price. But how high? The answer was as high as their marketing can push it!

They decided to charge $499 for the basic model – almost twice the cost of a Kindle. The only question was how to justify it.

At the launch, before touching on price, Jobs spent a lot of time discussing the benefits and the superior features of the iPad. Only after that did he start talking about price. Look at the video below. He starts talking about price at 1:35 in the video clip. (Note this is an edited version of the launch provided by a news service.)



Notice when he starts talking about price, the price on the screen behind him is $999? This is called “anchoring”. He then goes on to talk about how they have been able to contain the price, but for a full 20 seconds, $999 stays on the screen. Then at the appropriate moment, the true price appears with great fanfare as a massive price reduction. So now everyone feels if they buy the iPad, they have just saved themselves $500, not that it is $240 more expensive than the Kindle.

Jobs then goes on to explain what the extra features cost. So now you compare everything to the base price of $499, clearly reasonable compared with the $999 anchor, and you are just considering which features you want in your iPad. That is the discussion is about scope not price.

You have just witnessed a Master Class on pricing. Notice that the product price is completely detached from the production costs enabling Apple to achieve high margins.

Will these margins be sustainable? In the medium term yes, while demand remains, but it appears that Kindle is likely to reduce their product to $149 putting pressure on the iPad pricing. However, it would appear that the Kindle does not have all the technology that the iPad contains, so the margin will remain justifiable. In the longer term there will be clones with similar technology that will erode the price, but with its well established brand, Apple will always be able to maintain a higher margin than its competitors.

Are you able to create an anchor for your prices?


May Your Business Be - As You Plan It.

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

Sunday, April 04, 2010

How Bad can Government Small Business Regulation Get?




The Minister for Small Business Dr Craig Emerson has written a good article describing the economic basket case that is California, where their public service is paid with IOU’s. Yes seriously. Silicon Valley and Hollywood pay their public servants with IOU’s. How can they do this? They expect that the rest of the US will bail them out, just like Greece expects the EU to bail them out – a giant Ponzi scheme. (Greece expects Germany to increase their retirement age from the current level of 68, so they can continue retire at 58 and receive 14 months pay every year. What can possibly go wrong with that plan?)

Of course that’s Greece. But what about the Californians – don’t they own the internet? California has got to the point where increasing taxes just turns their most productive entrepreneurs into boat people. So the government instead increases regulation with a multitude of permits required to operate a business. Of course each permit requires a fee – a hidden tax that is ultimately passed onto the consumer. So why would you set up a business in California if you can provide a similar service over the internet, immune from the Californian regulation shakedown. California has reached a tipping point where they are all service without productive economy. (You can’t afford to produce anything there.) A service economy cannot exist without production somewhere in the chain. Which is why the public servants in California receive IOU’s.

Australian, on the other hand, is third OECD in the shortness of time it takes to start a business. Dr Cameron is right, for most businesses it is pretty easy. He also goes on to say that he wants to keep it this way. I believe Dr Emerson is passionate about small business, and I congratulate him for writing this article, and I want to be fair and show the other side after my earlier post on Does the Australian Government Hate Small Business?

Dr Cameron warns against “Californian Dreaming”. While I believe Dr Emerson means everything he says, it is some of his colleagues I am more concerned about!

If you have any comments on small business regulation in Australia, good bad or ugly, please share them in the comments section below.


May Your Business Be - As You Plan It.

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, March 29, 2010

Start-Ups: Are You Serious?


As a business coach I get approached by lots of people who are thinking of starting a business, or who have just started. There is one thing in common with all start-ups: they either don’t have much money, or don’t want to spend any. This is understandable. They don’t know whether the business will actually work, and how much time and resources they will devote to it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Google has evicted us

Google has changed its rules again, and now no longer allows you to host your own blog on your own website. We have, therefore, had to transfer this blog onto Google's servers. Google claims all links will be presevred, and so will our Page Rank. We will see.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Missing Your Marketing Bus


Ever have a marketing plan that seems a great idea at the time, only to see it fizzle and even backfire through circumstances beyond your control? A great example of that landed in my mailbox a day or two ago. (I have cut off the name of the business- which is a well known handy man franchise.)

Australian Landscape Photography

Some Autumn Scenery for your enjoyment. Another Australian Landscape Photograph kindly provided by Pele Leung Photography.


Alfred Nicholas Gardens - Victoria

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Benchmarking Your Business Performance


How do you know how your business compares with others? You can ask your competitors, and they always say business is great. Why wouldn’t they, after all, when they ask you, you tell them the same thing!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Does the Australian Government Hate Small Business?


The government is currently considering a change in tax regulations that will bind small business in red tape that will make the GST look like a picnic. It is certain to cause people to close their businesses, particularly older business owners.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Do Your Customers Fight Like Cats and Dogs?


One of the most popular articles I have ever written was Are Your Customers Cats or Dogs? In it I warned that businesses can have both Feline (High Value Customers) and Canine (Budget Customers) but you need to ensure that you keep them apart. After all, we know what happens when you put Cats and Dogs together. (I am talking about market segmentation!)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Breaking the Link between Cost and Price


Businesses often use simple formulas to calculate their prices. Usually based on some on some mark-up, so in a store all items might be priced with a 60% mark-up on cost with the 60% covering wages, overhead, and hopefully profit.

Monday, February 15, 2010

How Do You Charge Your Customers?


We had just finished a meal at a restaurant, which while quite reasonable, was not otherwise memorable. The bill came to a little over $100. I would have normally left a tip of around 10%.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Business Systems- When the Cat’s Away


What Happens When the Cat is Away in Your Business?

When the cat’s away, we all know what the mice do, but what do your staff do when you’re away? If yours is like most businesses, not a lot. Generally, they just go through the motions.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Home Based Business Australia


Would you like to have dozens of new potential clients to add to your list this month?

Would you like to access over $6,000 in prizes that are of real value to your business?

The fastest growing business sector in Australia is the home based business sector. If you are not one, then you should at least be targeting the sector to sell your product and services to. At the beginning of each year hundreds of people decide to start their own work from home business.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Australian Landscape Photography

Happy New Year to all business owners. Please enjoy another Australian Landscape Photograph kindly provided by Pele Leung Photography.




Hill Inlet Whitsundays, Queensland

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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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