The Australian Small Business Blog

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Top Small Business Articles

by Dr Greg Chapman

Thank you to all the visitors to this blog in 2011. Below are the top 3 posts (as ranked by Google) for the Australian Small Business Blog:

3. Incentives for Small Business Employees- The Qantas Model

2. Pricing Strategy – Public Accountant Magazine Interview

But number 1 with 35% more page views was:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

December Newsletter - Who's been Naughty and Who's been Nice?

by Dr Greg Chapman, MBA

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It is only natural that at this time of year we look back and think about what worked well, and what could be improved. It is also a good time to think about your customers. Who were your Best Buyers, and why were they your Best Buyers?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Social Media - Christmas Treat

by Dr Greg Chapman, MBA

This has been very much the year of social media. We don't seem to be able to get enough of it. So to finish the year off, a little Christmas Treat - a Social Media spoof. Are you maximising your use of social media?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Selling a Business

                        By Nicholas Lowther

Selling a business is much different to selling a property, a car, real estate or anything for that matter. The process can be relatively simple and seem easy though this is where most people go wrong.

Business Brokers charge fees upwards of 5% and have been known to charge 5k plus in initial marketing. This is where most small business owners decide to take on the role of selling a business by themselves.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ad of the Year - Schadenfreude

I think it is always a good thing to end the year on a positive note. So here is your feel good ad of the year with a bit of schadenfreude thrown in. For those unfamiliar with this term, it is a German word meaning joy at the misfortunes of others you don’t like. In this case, the departure of unloved dictators.

The ‘hero’ of our ad of the year is

Thursday, December 08, 2011

A Small Business Owner Christmas Gift

by Dr Greg Chapman

So you have worked hard all year for everyone else. Isn't it time someone looked after you? As one of the unthanked heroes of the Australian economy, we here at the Australian Small Business Blog want to thank you. Small businesses contribute 30% to the Australian GDP, punching way above their weight.

Great work in 2011. This is a little Christmas Gift that I hope will help you to achieve even more in 2012. You deserve it!

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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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Secret of Business Success

by Dr Greg Chapman

As business owners, we are continually bombarded with unbelievable promises of get rich quick schemes. It seems, every day someone has discovered some amazing secret formula that they are willing to share with you, which will make you millions, for just $99.95…plus tax, of course.

You know, if I had a secret formula on how to make millions, I wouldn’t be selling it for $99.95 (many of these schemes just show you how to sell to others what you just bought!)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

November Newsletter - What People Say is Not What They Do

by Dr Greg Chapman, MBA

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People say they love the Vegemite brand, and were upset when it was sold to an international food producer. In fact Vegemite is consistently rated as one of the top brands in Australia. Only one problem, people don’t buy it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Building Commission Registration – Who needs it?


In Victoria, only Registered Building Practitioners are legally allowed to carry out domestic building work of value over $5,000.  

So who needs to be a Registered Building Practitioner?

If a person is in the "business of building" then more than likely they must be registered with the Building Practitioner’s Board (BPB). Here is a partial list of building components that require Building Commission Registration:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ad of the Month - Case Study

In advertising, a case study is is one of the most powerful techniques. It is a form of social proof that what you are saying is true. Buyers can put themselves in the shoes of the Case Study 'star' and see how what worked for someone else could work for them. For author Aaron Shapiro, events transpired that created the perfect demonstration of the truth of the message of his book.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Economics of a Sales Pipeline

by Dr Greg Chapman, MBA

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Last month we examined how to understand the numbers (the Mathemetics) in your Sales Pipeline In this article the intent is to understand the economic efficiency of your Sales Pipeline.

More at Hotfrog Small Business Hub....

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Incentives for Small Business Employees – The Qantas Model

by Dr Greg Chapman

While there were many cries of “Shame – Shame” at Qantas’s CEO Alan Joyce receiving a 71% pay increase while shutting down the airline, Joyce’s biggest mistake was not greed, but rather poor PR. In fact, his remuneration model may be something that small businesses might want to consider for their staff. Of course I am not talking about million dollar bonuses, but understanding the principles of the deal without the hype.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pricing Strategy – Public Accountant Magazine Interview

This is a transcript of an interview for the cover story for the October 2011 edition of the Public Accountant Magazine with Dr Greg Chapman.

PA: How has the GFC impacted businesses and their pricing strategies?
Dr Chapman: Businesses have become risk adverse. They have been hesitant to expand and to hire new employees. During the GFC businesses had their employees working fewer hours, rather than letting people go. Due to this workplace flexibility, unlike previous recessions, Australia was able to avoid high levels of unemployment seen elsewhere in the world, but now people are working longer hours as businesses recover.

Monday, October 24, 2011

October Newsletter - Customer Service - Two Stories

by Dr Greg Chapman, MBA

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Whether your customer service is good or bad, people will talk about you. Here are two very different experiences of customer service. Neither is about bad customer service, but both are about how the service was delivered.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ad of the Month - A Retrospective

This month rather than look at a recent ad, I want to go back to an ad that was made in 1984. This is a classic ad by Apple and the late Steve Jobs. I had just written another post on Steve Jobs, and a masterclass by him on branding, a few days before he passed away, but when it came to choosing an ad for this month, I thought a retrospective was appropriate.

The Apple 1984 ad, was one of the most important ads for the computer industry. Before this time, the elephant in the industry was IBM. Home computers were just in their earliest stages of development. The IBM brand was ubiquitous. There was even a saying that “No-one ever got fired for buying an IBM”. It was the safe choice of the corporate world.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Mathematics of a Sales Pipeline

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There are two key components to a sale: the technique and the numbers. In this article, we will discuss the second of these components, the numbers.

More at Hotfrog Small Business Hub....

Friday, October 07, 2011

An Upsell too far? Do you want vitamins with that?

A joint venture between Blackmores and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia to recommend ‘companion range’ dietary supplements to patients who were purchasing common prescription medicines has been axed. The idea was the pharmacist should recommend relevant supplements that might be useful for patients with particular conditions suggested by the prescribed medicine.

Clearly if a pharmacist suggests a particular supplement with the medication, this would be considered compelling to many purchasers due to the trust people place in the professionalism of the pharmacist. Is it an abuse of their position of trust?

Thursday, October 06, 2011

When Illness Strikes a Business Owner - Thank God I Had a Stroke

When we have a serious illness we seldom think that we are lucky. But in my case I had two serious health issues occur at the same time and I could honestly say ‘thank God I had a stroke’ because when I did, the Doctors also discovered that I had a brain tumour pushing against the brain stem. The seriousness of this tumour (as it was not malignant) was in getting it out, as it was 7 centimeters deep within the brain. The stroke was relatively mild; the tumour was life threatening.

Start-up Businesses - Stop Advertising that You are a Start-up

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When you start your business, there are two imperatives: Getting your first customers and Spending as little as you need to in order to attract them. You also very quickly discover that, although you are very excited about your new business, no one wants to be one of your first customers. They don’t want to be your guinea pig.

More at Hotfrog Small Business Hub....

Friday, September 30, 2011

Understanding Brands – A Masterclass

Another masterclass from Steve Jobs. This was recorded quite a few years ago, and really explains how a brand should be defined. I’ve never seen anyone explain it so simply and so well.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

September Newsletter - How to Choose a Can of Tomatoes

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When looking to buy, it is easy to be overwhelmed for choice. This particularly struck me when we went to live in the US in the 90’s, and did our first shopping trip at the local supermarket – which was huge. The brands meant nothing to us. We had not been exposed to the years of marketing to build the brand awareness of the locals.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A simple business strategy that stops the fire fighting in your business

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A key reason that most business owners don’t ever find the time to work ON their business is that they spend far too much of their time fighting fires. They lurch from crisis to crisis. No sooner than a band-aid fix has been found for one problem, than their biggest customer rings up to say they haven’t received their urgent order. This means that the time they had put aside to review their monthly sales performance is lost. The urgent takes priority over the important. What if you could get out of the fire fighting business?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ad of the Month - Timing

Some advertisers take advantage of events to promote their services. An example of which is this ad by State Farm Insurance which aired on high rotation after hurricane Irene hit the US. (Note they did not run it before!)

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Buying a Customer

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Can small business operators simply buy their customers? Dr Greg Chapman shows you the logic behind this bold marketing strategy and how you can include it in your advertising budget to ensure customers’ loyalty.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Victorian Building Commission Registration Assessment Process

While many building practitioners are concerned about the Victorian building commission registration process, rest assured, the Practitioner's Board are there not only to interview you to assess your knowledge level but also to support you throughout your interview.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Brand vs Image Credibility

For years Apple was considered to be the underdog fighting against Big Brother Microsoft. They even had an ad which was titled 1984 based on this meme. (No prizes for guess who big brother was.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

August Newsletter - Are Your Customers Ripe?

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In a perfect world, everyone who calls your business or walks into your store would become a customer, but that is never going to happen. If the buyer is genuinely not ready, plucking them like fruit from the tree before they are ripe- that is pushing them to make a decision on the day will probably drive them away from you, even when they become ready at a later time. A lot of fruit can be lost in this way.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

When Branding Backfires

Businesses work hard to create a brand and connect to their target market, but this can sometimes backfire on the business. A perfect example of this was the riots in Britain last week.

A number of stores, chose as their branding, Gangster Chic. One group particularly hit hard during the riots was the JD Sports Chain. One retail expert said:

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Fifth Profit Driver - Increasing the Gross Profit per Sale

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In an earlier article I described The Five Profit Drivers Marketing System. The easiest way to increase your gross profit per sale is to increase your prices. The beauty about this strategy is that the increase in price goes straight to the bottom line. A mere ten percent increase in prices will double the net profit of most businesses.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Ad of the Month - Straight Talking

In this ad, a well understood truth is stated about much of the advertising we see, but it is very clear what is advertised, and the nature of the person this might appeal to: Straight talking, self assured, successful and sophisticated. It is one of a series for the same product. (Google the product name to see more.)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

National Small Business Summit 2011

Once again I attended the National Small Business Summit, held in Sydney last week.
The general mood was sombre. Retail is clearly doing it tough, which flows through to other industries. This is due to a variety of factors such as:
  • The high Australian Dollar
  • International uncertainty
  • A weak Australian Government
  • Large increases in government controlled and influenced charges (Electricity prices have increased by 16% in a year.)
  • Unlike our government, consumers are preferring to pay off debt and increase savings rather than spend on non-essentials
  • Natural disasters (regionally)

All this results in squeezed margins, wide scale discounting and, unsurprisingly a big dip in small business confidence.

Here are some of what some of the speakers said at the conference.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The fourth profit driver: Increasing the number of times a customer buys

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In an earlier article I described The Five Profit Drivers Marketing System. Although it’s easier to sell to existing customers than to sell to new ones, most small business owners spend more time and effort trying to find new customers than returning to existing ones. Dr Chapman’s Fourth Profit Driver shows you how to stay in touch with your customers until they need your services again.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The third profit driver - Increase Average Value per Sale

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In an earlier article I described The Five Profit Drivers Marketing System. The third of the Five Profit Drivers is Increasing the average value per sale. This article provides strategies that small businesses can use to cross sell, upsell and package their products and services to increase their value.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Second Profit Driver - Increasing Conversions to Sales

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In an earlier article I described The Five Profit Drivers Marketing System. The second of the Five Profit Drivers is Increasing Conversions to Sales. The second of Dr Chapman’s Five Profit Drivers, increasing conversions to sales. This article offers the tools you need to close the deal with the leads resulting from the first profit driver.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July Newsletter - Multiplying Your Margins - A Controversial Article

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How would you like to make more money from one sale than your competitors make from seven? That is what Apple does with their Mac’s.

For each Mac sold, Apple makes $370. Hewlett Packard makes just $52 from each PC it sells. HP’s selling costs for the 7 sales reduce this profit even further. Apple’s selling costs for the same margin are for just 1 sale.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

A Director’s Risks on a Small Business Board

An interesting article has been published on the liability of directors based on the recent court decision on Centro.

Many small business owners will consider that these types of rules do not apply to them, but in fact they do. In this case, the non-executive directors relied, at least in part, on the results of an external audit by a highly reputable external accounting firm, that their company was not insolvent. Clearly, for a large company which is likely to consist of multiple entities, this can be extremely complex to assess, and hence the need to resort to a top tier accounting firm to pick through the structures and accounts.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Ad of the Month - Educate Your Customers

What do you do if you have introduced a new product you want customers to start using that will also save you some money? This company decided to educate their customers with a spoon full of humour to make the message go down. This way they can keep all their increased margin for themselves.

Friday, June 17, 2011

June Newsletter - Does Your Secret Ingredient Make You Stand Out?

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In a crowded market place, it can be difficult to stand out. Some businesses do this with a unique way of delivering their service. It could be a patent, a process or a secret formula. Legend has it that the formula for Coca Cola is locked away somewhere in a safe. When Kentucky Fried Chicken was first marketed, it was their 7 secret herbs and spices. More.....

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Ad of the Month - Call to Action

The ad I selected this month has a fantastic call to action. This office supplies business is having a 15% off sale. Normally, when a store is having a sale, they just send a flyer, or perhaps even vouchers, and we know what happens to them!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The First Profit Driver – Increasing Enquiries

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In an earlier article I described The Five Profit Drivers Marketing System. The first of the Five Profit Drivers is Increasing Enquiries. What marketing strategy are you going to use to communicate with your customers and entice them to contact you? There are really only four types of enquiry generation marketing strategies.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Using the Five Profit Drivers to Double Your Business' Profit

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Have you ever seen a business that has doubled their sales apparently overnight? Have you wondered what is the one thing they did to achieve that result? Chances are they did a number of things which when multiplied together gave the end result. In all likelihood, they understood and used the Power of Leverage. More at Hotfrog Small Business Hub....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May Newsletter - Do You Own a Marketing Machine?

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At some time in the future, you may want to sell your business. What would a buyer value? Even if you don’t want to sell it, and want them to carry you out of your office in a pine box, you might still like to know where the value truly lies for yourself, if not for anyone else.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Addicted to Profitless Turnover

If you are a business owner, you are probably as busy as a one armed paperhanger. You probably are juggling many balls. You may have lots of business, but you feel at the end of the day, you have little to show for it. You may not even be paying yourself a proper wage, let alone have a decent profit to show.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ad of the Month - Association

It doesn’t matter how good your ad is, if it not seen by the right people at the right time it won’t be very effective. One opportunity to be in the right place at the right time is to associate your ads with a high interest news event that may put the reader in a frame of mind that makes them more likely to consider your products and services.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Creating a One Hour Business Plan - Part 1

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What if you could produce a business plan in an hour and it could fit on a single page? Does that sound like a plan you would be prepared to invest your time in and use? More at Hotfrog Small Business Hub....

Friday, April 22, 2011

April Newsletter - Niches, Nooks and Crannies

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Last month we bought a truly niche product. A refrigerator. So what was so special about it? Well firstly, it had to be a side-by-side refrigerator. That is the freezer alongside the fridge . If, you thought, there are lots of those around, you would be right. But we also wanted an icemaker. There are still a lot of side-by-side models with an icemaker. The icemaker also had to serve crushed ice. None of these requirements made a niche.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Creating a Profit Machine

Are you taking home the wage you deserve? At the end of the week, at the end of the month, at the end of the year, is there enough left to justify all your hard work?

Working harder is not an option for most business owners. They are already putting in the hours, but they probably suspect that these hours are not as productive as they could be, and that they should be Working Smarter, not harder. In fact working less hours may be a better approach, if those hours are spent doing the right things.

Monday, April 18, 2011

How Building Commission Trades Registration can Increase Your Income

The Victorian Building Commission is ramping up their rate of prosecutions for Building Trades who are not registered and who do jobs worth $5,000 or more. Registration has been required by LAW since 2008.

Fines of up to $10,000 apply, and they will shut down your job if you’re unregistered resulting in you having to lay off staff and leave your customers with unfinished jobs, until you become registered.

Aggrieved customers can use your lack of registration to challenge contracts and payments.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ad of the Month - Coolness

Making a product look cool increases its desirability. Particularly, if on its own it doesn’t look particularly cool. How often have you seen electronic devices made from wood? Aren’t they usually designed with high tech materials to emphasise the technology?


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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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