The Australian Small Business Blog

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Start-Ups: Are You Serious?


by Dr Greg Chapman


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.

So the start-up tries to save money by printing business cards on their home inkjet printer using pre-perforated cards from Office-works. They have a hotmail email account, or maybe their home Bigpond account- only marginally better. Their only phone number is either a mobile, or a home phone number that goes to an answering machine when they are not there. The address is a home address or a PO Box.

All these cost saving attempts scream AMATEUR!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Don't be a Price Taker


by Dr Greg Chapman


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. Increasing your prices is a great strategy as in most cases, the extra revenue goes straight through to the bottom line. A 10% increase in prices can double your net profit…. as long as you don’t lose customers. That’s the challenge and fear. For this reason, my second book, to be released in July will be on how to increase your prices. It is called:

Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales

Friday, November 16, 2018

Mastering the Strategy of Failure


by Dr Greg Chapman



There is a saying: “If you owe the bank $100,000, you are in trouble but if you owe the bank $100,000,000, the bank is in trouble”

In this time of economic turmoil, the same goes in business. If you are a small business that employs, say five people, and you lay off one, ie 20% of your workforce, apart for the unfortunate person involved, no one takes notice. If you however employ 5000 people and you need to lay off 20% of your workforce to stay viable, and they belong to a union who funds the government’s re-election campaign, one of two things will happen. If you play the game, you get a bailout. If not, you are vilified in the media.

So the obvious choice, particularly for the largest businesses is to take the money. That works for a while. However, taking the money means that you don’t have to take the hard decisions necessary to have a sustainable business. Almost certainly, one bailout leads to another, where each time the stakes are higher. The management soon realises, they can afford to take risks because they know the government can’t afford to let them fail.

Just look at the auto-manufacturers. Each job is subsidised to the tune of $300,000. Apart from the sheer volume of jobs, why would the government subsidise so many unprofitable jobs? Well if your electoral fund providers would lose their ability to fund your next campaign if the businesses failed, you have to keep paying subsidies, albeit with other people’s money.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Best Salesperson in Your Business


by Dr Greg Chapman



A common myth in which many small business owners believe is that all they need to do is find a great salesperson to be successful. They already know how to make great widgets, and they are really good at providing their service to their clients, but if they just had someone who is good at door-to-door to bring in new customers, their business would be brilliant!

The problem is to find great salespeople. On average, most sales people are average. By definition, half are below average! You can, of course train a new sales person, but if you are not great at sales, it will be the blind leading the blind.

You may find a great salesperson – they certainly exist. A great salesperson may be good at selling lots of things, but the thing they are best at selling is themselves. They know their value. They know the value of the business they generate.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

How to Get the Best Marketing Advice for Free


by Dr Greg Chapman



Is there an elephant in your industry? There is usually at least one. They spend $100,000’s on branding, customer surveys, demographic analysis and focus groups. They spend even more on campaign analysis, testing and measuring to work out what works and what doesn’t. If you are a small guy, how can you compete with that?

Well you can. Just become a flea on the elephants back. That is what “Crazy John” Ilhan did. In retail, probably the most costly decision is your location. Go for a low cost location, and you get no traffic. If you go for a high cost location, and it is the wrong sort of traffic, you go out of business. Rather than spending a lot of money on geo-demographic surveys to identify customer shifts, he waited for Telstra or Optus to open a store in a new expanding area, and then open a store opposite and offered every passer-by lower prices.

By being a flea on the elephant’s back, he let the elephant take him to the fertile feeding locations they had spent large sums identifying.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Sales for People who hate Selling


by Dr Greg Chapman



Are you someone who could sell ice to Eskimos? Not everyone is a natural salesperson, but in business, nothing happens until a sale is made. So what do you do if you hate selling, or you can’t find staff to sell for you?


You can create a marketing strategy that does not rely on strong sales skills. Imagine someone just comes into your business and when you ask: “How can I help you?”, they say: “I want to buy that and here is my money.”Does that sound too good to be true? Well it happens all the time. Look what happens when you go into McDonalds. The person just says: “May I take your order please?” They don’t spend time explaining why their burgers are superior to everyone else’s or that their prices are the best. They don’t have to, because this is all done by the marketing that the buyer is exposed to prior to entering the store- and when they enter, they will buy.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Growing Your Business by Accident


by Dr Greg Chapman



All businesses go through predictable changes throughout their lifecycle. From being a solo-preneur to having 20 or more people in the business. At each stage there is a step change in the way the business needs to be managed, and until these changes are made, growth will be difficult. Many businesses have stopped growing and have deliberately shrunk because the owners did not know how to make these changes and how to handle the resulting stress. Unable to cope, they have retreated to the comfort zone that existed in the time when their business was smaller and easier to manage.

Often growth is accidental, not planned, and the owner starts employing many others to get the work done without having in place the structure to manage them. They continue to manage their business in the same way they always have, but find that the old ways don’t work in the larger organisation, and may even be counterproductive. It is like driving from your home to participate in Formula 1 racing, but continuing to drive your old sedan on the racing track, rather than changing the vehicle for the new conditions.

When considering the Lifecycle of a business the following milestone stages can be identified.


Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Are you a victim of identity spam?

by Dr Greg Chapman


I have noticed on a couple of my older, personal email addresses that I was getting “Mail Delivery Failure” emails for mail I did not send to people I did not know. I was concerned that my computer was being hijacked and asked my computer guru Andrew what was happening.

Here I share his response as others may also be affected:

When I run some tests (http://www.dnsstuff.com) on the domains you mentioned I see the following:

Your domain does not have an SPF record. This means that spammers can easily send out E-mail that looks like it came from your domain, which can make your domain look bad (if the recipient thinks you really sent it), and can cost you money (when people complain to you, rather than the spammer). You may want to add an SPF record ASAP, as 01 Oct 2004 was the target date for domains to have SPF records in place (Hotmail, for example, started checking SPF records on 01 Oct 2004).

Friday, November 02, 2018

How Average are Your Salespeople?

by Dr Greg Chapman

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.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Competing with Your Business Owner Customers

by Dr Greg Chapman


Let’s say your business was to supply landscaping materials to landscapers and then you decided to get in the landscaping business yourself as a side business. What would your landscaper customers think?

For materials may be as much as a third of the cost of a job. So when they see their supplier competing with them, they will believe that they will have a significant cost advantage over them. They would also ask: “Why should I be giving money to a competitor to take business away from me?”

Which is why, most businesses in this situation go out of their way not to compete with their customers, even accidentally, as can happen sometimes. For example, distributors will in most cases refer retail sales to their retail resellers, but sometimes they may end up supplying a retail customer who has had a poor retail experience.

However recently, Google decided to compete with some of its customers, and they are not happy! Fairfax and News, owners of Domain and Realestate.com pay Google millions of dollars for keywords to send searchers to their websites. Now Google wants to provide listings of real estate directly on google maps for free. This will directly undercut the businesses of two of its largest advertisers. Another issue will be poor quality control from this free service on the accuracy of these free listings with out of date information appearing as well as allowing scammers.

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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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