The Australian Small Business Blog

Monday, June 19, 2006

Will Microsoft Survive?

Bill Gates is about to retire. Will Microsoft survive? Of course it will. But if you retired, would your business survive?

Too many businesses depend on their owners, who can’t even be away for a month without cashflow drying up, let alone having an asset that they can pass onto others. So how can you make your business survive without you? Follow the steps below:

1. Create Systems for all areas of your business
Document each part of your business’s procedures and turn them into an operations manual. This makes sure that you have in one place where everyone can find it, the way you want things done in your business. So there is no re-inventing of the wheel, mistakes are eliminated, and the most efficient way of undertaking tasks is the way that things are done.

2. Look for opportunities to delegate what you do
When you document what it is that you as an owner do, you can delegate or outsource the non-core areas. I also call this the Brain Surgery of your business. Most business owners think that everything they do is brain surgery. But when you document what you do, only a small portion will be “brain surgery”. Everything else can be delegated or outsourced.

3. Create Reports for all the Key Result Areas
The way to make your business run without you is to manage it by reports. The reports can be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual. But the longer the report period, the more strategic the report should be.

4. Train your staff in your systems
When you train your staff in following your procedures, when staff leave, you have a simple way of training new staff, as well as finding them, as this will be documented as well. This goes for your suppliers as well.

When you have a business in which all systems are documented, and you have outsourced or delegated non-core areas, have trained your staff and suppliers in your systems, you can then run your business on reports. You will then also have a business you can sell or pass on to someone else, so you can retire like Bill Gates.

Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and is a Business Coach and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems.

The Australian Small Business Blog

Monday, June 12, 2006

Developing your Brand's Strategy- Part 3 Your Objectives

Critical to effective brand management is the clear definition of the brand's audience and the objectives that the brand needs to achieve. What are the objectives that you hope to achieve with your brand?

Your brand should be comprised of the organisation personality, image, core competencies and characteristics. The impressions that you make as well as the words people will use to describe your organisation to others, are the basic framework of your brand.

With a strong brand you build credibility, have more influence on your market, and motivate customers and clients to purchase from you. If done correctly your organisation will be seen vis your brand as a leader and not a me-too follower.

To determine your brand objectives ask yourself the following questions:

• What is it that you want your brand to do for your organisation?
• What do you want others to know and say about your products or services?

Sample objectives may include:

• Being recognised by receiving a specific award
• Picking up a certain number of choice projects
• Gaining a specific number of new clients in the next year
• Positioning your organisation as an industry leader in the next 3 to 6 months

You will find that by defining your objectives with specific timelines it is easier to develop a plan of action to achieve those objectives.

So how can you position your organisation as an industry leader? Well you could;

• Have members of your team speak at Trade Shows with Banners
• Schedule lectures at professional group gatherings within your industry and have a banner alongside you
• Write and publish articles in newspapers, magazines, or online media
• Link all activities to your slogan and brand

To determine your brand objectives list each objective and map out how you plan to accomplish and succeed in meeting those objectives. Once you've finished take time to list out what you can do this month and this quarter to meet that objective. Be specific and schedule those action items.

When you've determined your objectives the next step is to build and develop your brand strategy by listing out how, when, and what you are going to do to accomplish and meet your brand objectives.

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent". --Calvin Coolidge--

Richard Gill is the Director of The Banner Lady

The Australian Small Business Blog

Friday, June 09, 2006

Why choosing a professional copywriter is vital to your business

The internet is full of schemes that are guaranteed to make you rich, programs that cure even the hardest problem and copywriting packages that provide you with untold letters and solutions.

A good copywriter can help you both drive traffic to your website, and to keep traffic there once it arrives. Finding a good copywriter is hard, especially on the net.

So many options and so many opinions - what do you do and who do you believe?

The problem with copywriting is that it’s not your every day purchase, nor is it something you’d buy once a week, or even month.

If you’re not familiar with a product or service it can be difficult to know what to look for – or to even appreciate a good thing once you’ve finally found it.

But help is here. Finding a copywriter is painless, once you know how.

So what DO you look for in a copywriter?

If you’re like most time poor business people the first place you’ll turn is probably everyone’s beloved friend: Google. Good choice, unless you’ve met a few copywriters out and about on your networking adventures.

A quick jump on the net should provide you with a few comparisons as to what’s on offer and the services provided. Click on a copywriter’s website and look for the following clues:

1. Prior experience.

Where have they worked and for whom? A copywriter’s portfolio provides ample proof that they are up to the job of handling your task. Take time in looking at the clients they have worked for and the feedback obtained. How does their website read? Is the copy good? Is it easy to read? It should prompt you to take action, either by dropping them an e-mail or subscribing to their newsletter.

2. Testimonials.

Do they have any? What is the general opinion of the person? Most copywriters know that a good testimonial is one of the most powerful sales tools available. If there are no testimonials, ask yourself why.

3. Client list

Whilst there are no particular qualifications a copywriter needs to begin the art of copy practise and writing, some copy professionals will have degrees, diplomas or formal qualifications in English or journalism. Qualifications aren’t always as important as experience, so ask what experience they’ve had and how they go about getting the information from a client.

4. Payment

Money – a hindrance or a pleasure? Some copywriters state their fees up front; others prefer to give quotes or rate cards to enquiries only. Regardless of how much they charge, make sure you have seen some comparisons. Shop around. Ask others what you get for your money.

One final word of caution though – you get what you pay for. To borrow an old adage - If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

Stuart Evans is the Director of Vibe Communications

The Australian Small Business Blog

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Know Your Competition Online

One of the best ways to understand why someone should buy from you, and what are your points of difference, is to study the competition. What is it they are doing well, and what are they doing not so successfully?

The internet makes this very easy. You can see what the competition are telling the market place, although it is quite common that people have excellent offline marketing and have just thrown up a website as an afterthought. But if online marketing is an option for your business, and there are only a few for which this is not true, the very best in your sector will show you how its done.

Recently someone visited my website and downloaded my eBook- The Four Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success. Many do this every day, so I really don’t pay much attention on a day to day basis to who is signing up. But this person immediately unsubscribed after downloading the book. Which has never happened before. It was a minute after the download- not enough time to read a 30 page book. So I checked him out. It was one of my competition checking me out!

Now this happens fairly regularly to me, but this guy was special. He was the first business coach I ever met. I heard David speak in a public forum, and he inspired me to take up business coaching. I thought he was very impressive. And I studied what he did and learnt a lot. And now he was checking me out. (He probably does not remember me as one of his audience a few years ago- there were probably 25 other people in the room.)

I had not been to his website for some time, so I decided to go for another visit. And I discovered that almost nothing on his site had changed, and with my current knowledge, I recognised he had no online marketing strategy, and now he was intending to learn from me! His business was unchanged from the time I first met him. He did not seem to have grown.

I really don’t have a problem with my competition spying on me, because all they are seeing is the tip of the iceberg, although if you know what to look for, even the tip can be revealing. And I hope David learnt a little about online marketing, there is plenty of room for both of us, and I still respect him for the way he inspired me.

But one of the greatest accolades you can receive is when someone who inspired you, comes to you for advice! And the only way you can be the best is to watch what the best is doing.

Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and provides Business Coaching Services & Advice.


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




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