The Australian Small Business Blog

Monday, April 30, 2007

Wanna-be's vs Entrepreneurs

Twelve differences between those who dream and those who act:

1-Wanna-be's obsess about ideas. Entrepreneurs obsess about implementation.

2-Wanna-be's want more web traffic. Entrepreneurs focus on sales conversion.

3-Wanna-be's focus on positive thinking. Entrepreneurs plan for multiple contingencies.

4-Wanna-be's want to get on TV and get "famous." Entrepreneurs build their list.

5-Wanna-be's seek a perfect plan. Entrepreneurs execute and adjust the plan later.

6-Wanna-be's wait for their lucky break. Entrepreneurs engineer four, five, six plans and execute them in tandem, wagering that at least one plan will get traction.

7-Wanna-be's fear looking stupid in front of their friends. Entrepreneurs willingly risk making fools of themselves, knowing that long-term success is a good trade for short-term loss of dignity.

8-Wanna-be's shield their precious ideas from harsh reality, postponing the verdict of success or failure until 'someday.' Entrepreneurs expose their ideas to cold reality as soon as reasonably possible.

9-Wanna-be's put off practicing basketball until they've got Air Jordan’s. Entrepreneurs practice barefoot behind the garage.

10-Wanna-be's believe what they're told, believe their own assumptions. Entrepreneurs do original research and determine what paths have been already trod.

11-Wanna-be's believe they can do anything. Entrepreneurs do what they're gifted for and delegate the rest.

12-Wanna-be's think about the world in terms of COULD and SHOULD. Entrepreneurs think in terms of IS and CAN BE.

How do you score?

This article was written by Perry Marshall- apart from last question. No link available.

The Australian Small Business Blog

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Two Key Differences Between a Business & a Job

Many people work for themselves. They could be professionals, trades, consultants or a contractor providing a service. They could be one person organisations, or have 3 or 4 staff. But are these organisations really a business?

There are two key criteria to determine whether they own a business or a job.

1. Can their Business Survive without them?

Take the solo consultant as an extreme case. They are paid by the hour to perform work for others. Often they work for just a small group of clients. At times they can be very busy. But what happens when they are sick? Or when they want to take time off? The income stops.

Or the business could have half a dozen staff. But when the owner is away, sales fall off, or dry up completely. The business is still dependent on the owner.

In both cases, the owner owns a job. Not a business. No-one would pay anything for this business. The clients the owner has would be his personal clients, and probably would leave when the owner leaves.

When the company continues to make money even when the owner is away, and operates as if they were still there, then it becomes a valuable asset.

To make your business survive without you, it is necessary to bring systems into the business so that you can give away anything that is not Brain Surgery to someone else. You have to learn to leverage yourself.

2. Who does the Marketing?

I have heard owners say to me: “We provide a really good service, and I am not interested in the marketing. I just want to find someone to do the marketing for us, and we will provide the service.” That is, they are seeking to outsource marketing.

If someone else is doing the marketing for you, they could equally direct the business they generate to someone else. And those you work for are not your clients, they belong to the people who found them for you. You are effectively just a subcontractor. The marketer takes their cut, and you get the rest.

If you join a franchise that provides all the leads to you, when you leave, they keep the customer. This is not a business, it is a job. Someone will replace you when you go.

And if you rely on 1 or 2 sources of work for your business, you are depending on a relationship that may not survive a personnel change in the customer organisation. Like a job that has finished.

The second big difference between a job and a business, is the marketing. It is the marketing that creates the business. If someone else does the marketing, they have the business and you are working for them. In a job.

So take charge of your marketing, don’t leave it to chance, or worse, give it to someone else to do. It is part of your Brain Surgery. Which is why some businesses are purely Marketers outsourcing their whole service delivery. And who do you think makes the money?

So leverage yourself as much as possible, but never give away your marketing.

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

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Diary of a New Business- 9. The Implementation Plan

Up to this point there had been considerable thought about the concept of the new business and selecting who I was going to get involved to develop it. The plan up to now had been focused around these issues, with the detail of how it was to be done still only described at high level. The implementation of the business strategy was little more than a series of milestones.

In order to make the business happen, I started to list out all the key tasks that had to be completed prior to launch. Against each task, I listed a person responsible for delivering on the task, and its completion date.

For many of the external tasks, the specification was still incomplete. This was more work for me! Part of the process was understanding the dependencies of the tasks. While it was obvious in many cases that the horse goes before the cart, in many others, particularly when I was co-ordinating the inputs of 2-3 others, this became more complex. In some of the more technical areas, I placed the responsibility on experts to do the co-ordination, but I still wanted to retain overall control of the project.

Co-ordinating the marketing strategy and the technical elements of the website was the biggest challenge. A certain look and feel was essential, but there were costs associated with what was required.

While the business requirements of the website had been well defined, there were technical details that needed further specification. Often what seemed like a simple request, required a large amount of coding, or had major implications on maintenance. So some hard decisions had to be made on the level of automation and functionality, while still keeping the original vision in place.

The equation was- more automation- higher upfront cost, less automation- more maintenance and higher running costs. Add into this mix, a high investment in automation at the beginning of a new business where the processes had yet to be tested might incur later costs as these processes were re-written in light of operational experience. It would always be possible to automate manual tasks later if they became burdensome. The economic benefit would be obvious at the time. But it was still clear that there would be a need for a significant amount of automation to make the business easier to run.

Part of the original vision was that the service being offered was to be priced at a low enough level as to create a new market, but it was not to be subsidised by my existing business. Therefore running costs had to be kept low.

There were also some pleasant surprises as well. Often, what I thought might be technically difficult was quite straight forward due to the technical platform used by my web designer.

All through this detailed specification process, the original definition and clarity of vision was absolutely crucial. It was always clear to me what compromises I could make and which ones were non-negotiable. If I had not completed that work initially, the business would have become badly flawed – held together by digital band aids and elastic bands- and looking like that to my potential clients.

Before you plan your business, a clear vision of what the business will look like is absolutely critical.

Once the key specifications had been completed, there remained an additional specification step- tp fully specify the business processes- which required the defining the offline and online interfaces.

The next article in Diary of a Business will be: Detailing Workflow Processes

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


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