The Australian Small Business Blog

Sunday, December 16, 2018

2018 Small Business Articles of the Year

by Dr Greg Chapman

With 136 posts this year on the Australian Small Business Blog, it is now time to reveal the top post as ranked by Google for page views.

3. Business Owners – It’s always your fault
When it all goes pear shape, even if it’s not your fault, it is.

2. Steve Job’s Top 10 Tips for Business
If you are going to listen to anyone, listen to the master.

But the number one business article, rated by views, is:

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Attention Small Business Owners – You can check out any time you want – but Can You Ever Leave?

by Dr Greg Chapman

Owning a business is a 24/7 job. Even when you are away from the office or store, it is hard to switch off. Almost everything you see somehow reminds you of something you need to do in your business.

You might be reading a book, and the hero enters a store that is selling in a way that gives you an idea for your business. The author may not own a store, but is likely to be very creative and wants to make their hero’s time in the store memorable in some way. Of course you would like that for your customers.

It is like the science fiction writer who dreams up all sorts of new devices to create a wonderland for avid science fiction fans. The funny thing is many scientists and inventors like science fiction, and are often inspired by the creativity of the science fiction writer who may have little or no science training. The scientist who reads about the idea then becomes intrigued by it, then obsessed, until they actually work out how to make it happen. There are numerous documentaries on inventions inspired by programs such as Star Trek.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

How One Business Spends 50 cents to Make $100

by Dr Greg Chapman

The best earning marketing dollars are spent on your customers rather on advertising where the money goes to some media mogul. Consider this example:

Coles is currently offering to pay the GST on feminine hygiene products under the banner “Why should you be taxed for being a Woman”. Why are they doing this and will it work?

This is a fairly emotional appeal, but as a male I can be objective on this (he says quickly ducking to avoid sharp objects being propelled at him by the females in his life).

Clearly many women feel this is an unjust tax. It was very controversial when first introduced, although the then opposition and now government has done nothing to remove it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

2018 Ad of the Year

by Dr Greg Chapman

Each month over the past year, the Australian Small Business Blog has presented ads or items about advertising which illustrated specific strategies that are critical for success. Now, as voted by the number of views as recorded by Google, here are the top three ads of 2018.

3. Local Ads When you have a local business, and there are far fewer people you are likely to offend if you mock well known people.

2. Innovation If you have a product which is basically the same as your competitors, perhaps you can change the packaging to create a point of difference.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Do Your Customers Fight Like Cats and Dogs?

by Dr Greg Chapman

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!)

If your segmentation is poor, you find that your customers are looking over the fences and seeing that the grass appears greener on the other side. Perhaps your budget offer might appeal to the customers you previously thought to be premium.

In market segmentation, I often like to compare Qantas and Jetstar. Both, of course are owned by the same company, but one is cheap and cheerful, and the other is focused to the business traveller. While the business traveller is still cost conscious, they want reliability and flexibility. Jetstar does not offer this, with delays far more frequent.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Ad of the Month – Deceit?

by Dr Greg Chapman

This month rather than an ad, I am going to lift the veil on how they are made. Obviously you want to show off your product in the best way possible, so here are some tricks people use in food advertising to enhance the appearance of their products.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

The Value of Your Big New Business Idea

by Dr Greg Chapman

I am often approached by people with a big business idea who want someone to pay them for it. How much is your big business idea worth?

Back in the early eighties, I worked for a year in the US for another company. Whilst there, I noticed that they had home delivered pizza. This was especially great in the winter when there was snow on the ground and I did not want to go out. It was when I first heard the Domino’s pizza slogan – delivered in 30 minutes, or its free!

This service was so taken for granted, that they talked of those dreaded areas in town which were pizza delivery no-man’s lands- outside the delivery area for any pizza shop. You wouldn’t want to buy a house there!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Forecasting Your Business

by Dr Greg Chapman

Making predictions is difficult, especially about the future! But if you can’t predict the future, how can you make decisions about your business? Should you expand your business? Should you hire a new employee? Should you invest in new software or equipment? Everyone of these decisions is a risk, but only if you don’t know what the future holds for your business.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Attention Small Business Owners – You can check out any time you want – but Can You Ever Leave?

by Dr Greg Chapman

Owning a business is a 24/7 job. Even when you are away from the office or store, it is hard to switch off. Almost everything you see somehow reminds you of something you need to do in your business.

You might be reading a book, and the hero enters a store that is selling in a way that gives you an idea for your business. The author may not own a store, but is likely to be very creative and wants to make their hero’s time in the store memorable in some way. Of course you would like that for your customers.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Blog Spam Rant

by Dr Greg Chapman

As this blog is highly ranked by Google (try searching on "Australian Small Business") I get a lot of blog spam.

What do I mean by blog spam?

I mean short comments, often with bad English, usually off topic, and perhaps flattering, all with the purpose of getting a free backlink from a highly ranked website. Some examples (with the link deleted are below).

Thanks for sharing your post and it was superb. I would like to hear more from you in future too.

This blog was absolutely fantastic. lots of great information and inspiration, both which we all need it.

Recently, most of the business owner published their product through internet, sometimes from social media and some of them are through blogging or commenting.

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 ( 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 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.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

When to hire a new employee?

by Dr Greg Chapman

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

There is a temptation for the owner to do things they could pay someone else to do for as long as possible as they are trying to save money. So how do you know when to bring additional staff into the business, even on a part time basis?

One reason owners hesitate to increase their staff numbers is that they are unsure if it will be sustainable. That is, they may not be able to continue to afford to pay the additional person due to variations in their sales. What if the current busy period ends?

If the owner fears that their current sales may not last, or they just don’t feel in control, they must make the building of marketing systems and the development of their sales pipeline a priority.

With a well performing marketing system and an effective sales pipeline, the owner will know where their next sales will come from and will be able to hire with confidence. For owners in this situation, they can hire with confidence.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Are there Parasites eating your Profit?

by Dr Greg Chapman

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?

Even though sales may have been healthy, there are a number of factors that can be holes under the water line of your Profit Statement – invisible to the naked eye.

Firstly, are there hidden cross subsidies in your business?

This happens where you have a marginal or even unprofitable product or service being propped up by more profitable services. Every sale of the marginally profitable products suck gross profit from the healthy ones. These products are like parasites hidden inside your business’ body feeding off your body’s nutrients. As you increase the sales of these products, the more damage they do to your business.

The solution is to undertake a proper analysis of your profit structure so that the parasitic products are revealed, and appropriate treatment can be provided.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Ad of the Month – A Reminder

by Dr Greg Chapman

Every once in a while it’s worth while to go back to the basics for an advertiser. They have established a brand, and everyone is used to and expects ads for the products they know and like, but it’s also a good thing to go behind the product.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Your Marketing’s Weakest Link

by Dr Greg Chapman

Definition: Marketing (noun): Finding and Attracting people who want to buy what you have to sell for the price you want to charge. Marketing is not a single event, it’s a sequence. The first step is the Finding and Attracting, but there is a qualifier. The right kind of people.

So firstly, do you have lots of enquiries? No? Then getting more might be your priority. Yes? But are they difficult to convert to sales? If so, this could be either due to them not being the right kind of enquiries, or it could be that you aren’t handling them well. If they are the wrong kind of enquiries, it means that you are wasting a lot of your marketing time and money on attracting unqualified people. More...

May You Business Be - As You Plan It!

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Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions 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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Thursday, October 18, 2018

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

by Dr Greg Chapman

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?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

When Branding Backfires

by Dr Greg Chapman

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 a few years back.

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:

"It has clearly positioned itself as a purveyor of very aspirational product amongst the UK's youth. Curry’s and Comet [both electrical/computer goods stores] got raided because they sell high-value products. But JD was very clearly in their minds as [the place] where they'd get the stuff they aspired to. JD has almost been a victim of its own success. It worked hard to appeal to the youth market and, when the country tipped into lawlessness, it still appealed to that market."

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Whining Australian Retailers – Thank Goodness for Amazon

by Dr Greg Chapman

I wanted to buy a gift for a client, a book I thought he would find of value. I could have ordered via Amazon, but it was not a US book, and I knew it was readily available here, as I had purchased it locally myself.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

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!)

Everyone is looking for a success formula— a ‘Silver Bullet’. Maybe a recipe that you can follow, like the ones you see in books by TV chefs. Isn’t it funny that when you follow the recipe, the result never looks quite like the picture in the book?

Why don’t these recipe books work for most people? The problem is usually not with the recipe. It is that each step in the recipe is actually several steps which assume a certain level of skill. It’s like giving someone who has never driven a car, a map on how to get from one side of the country to the other. There is nothing wrong with the directions, but they do assume you know how to drive a car.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Selling a Business

by Dr Greg Chapman

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.

Two quick facts :

1) Up to 80% of the Private businesses advertised NEVER SELL

2) Of the small number that do sell, 1% actually sell for the asking price

This is not a good way to finish up after many years of hard work put into the business.
Below I cover some points on how you can drastically increase your chance of a sale if you want to have a try at selling the business yourself.

The first thing you will do after you have decided to sell your business is research similar businesses to try put a price on yours. Each business is different and really can't be valued the same way as property or a car by just looking online and guessing. I strongly recommend having a proper business valuation of your business. This will help you justify your asking price, give you a true value of your business and not just an opinion based on your own research.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Managing a Star Employee with an Attitude

by Dr Greg Chapman

In any business there are 4 types of employees. If you understand these types and their key attributes, how you manage them becomes much easier. The first attribute is the person’s Ability. How capable are they in doing their job? They may have low ability, or be highly capable, with their ability (good or bad) recognised by others in your business. The second attribute is their Attitude. This may vary from poor, just there for the pay cheque, to enthusiastic and willing to do whatever the job requires to make your business a success. When we combine these attributes, we get a clearer picture of the employee and the management strategy for them. For those with a poor attitude and low ability, the solution is simple. These individuals appear unwilling to improve and they constantly disrupt the business causing problems for others to fix. If they are not removed from the business, the people who do the fixing will leave. The second group are those who have great ability and a great attitude. These are your Superstars. They are ambassadors for your business and they should be honoured, nurtured and rewarded.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Married to the Business - Honey I Love You, but our Business Sucks!

by Dr Greg Chapman

"As I began 'browsing'. I became so engrossed; a couple of hours later I felt as though you knew me and my problems personally. The book is enlightening, informative and very easy to read. The style of the book is very clear and draws the honest reader in. The central characters are very engaging. They are anyone and everyone in business. I believe the true value to couples reading your book is how to keep the monster they have created growing and fed!

Your book has given me the understanding and motivation to keep going towards our dream and get help before the business swallows everything we have worked for. Thank you!

Every business should be given a copy of your book before they start up and it make mandatory that they re-read it periodically before reporting to their advisor." Yvonne Rutherford - RD Foundations

May You Business Be - As You Plan It!

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Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions 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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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Leveraged Marketing – How much are you missing?

by Dr Greg Chapman

Do you have several marketing campaigns running simultaneously? Perhaps you run an Adwords campaign, have a joint venture with another business and an ad in the local paper. All quite independent campaigns you might think, that bring in a regular supply of enquiries.

Adwords sends leads to your website- possibly your most important piece of marketing collateral. Your JV partner emails you whenever they want to refer you to someone, and you then give them a call. Your ad in the paper encourages readers to call you.

If you were to link these campaigns, this this would enable you to leverage your marketing investment by connecting all your marketing collateral, resulting in both increased enquiries and sales. How might that look?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

How Big are Small Businesses?

by Dr Greg Chapman

The official Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) definition of a small business is one with less than 20 employees which, according to their latest data, make up 96% of all businesses. Together they contribute 35% to industry GDP, so they are important.

Another way of looking at business size is by turnover. The ABS found that 94% of businesses turned over less than $2 million and 63% earned less than $200,000. While both turnover and the number of employees are an important way of defining business size, they really don’t give much insight into how they are run.

As a business grows in size, its sophistication must also increase if it is to survive. That means better management, better systems and better reporting because the owners are unable to be everywhere and watch everything. There will be organisational changes as well. At some point an operations supervisor will be appointed so the owners can focus on growing the business, but I would still regard such a business as being small.

The next stage is the appointment of managers for key business areas. This is the real point where a business moves from small to medium size. However, it is not just the organisation structure that makes the difference between a small and medium sized business, it is the way they operate. Not only is there more delegated responsibility, but the owners share the decision making with their management team, although the owners may still reserve the right to set the vision.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A Director’s Risks on a Small Business Board

by Dr Greg Chapman

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.

Even though you may argue that the non-executives did all that could reasonably be expected to ensure solvency, the courts disagreed.

While these complexities don’t exist for most small businesses, there can still be big risks where there are multiple partners, some of whom may not be as active as others, or who might be even silent partners. All directors are equally liable; in legal jargon, jointly and severally.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Couples in Business - Are You Arthur or Martha?

by Dr Greg Chapman

Small business owners are usually chief cooks and bottle washers. They have to be capable of doing everything while they are watching everything. It is a little easier if you have a partner in business to watch your back, but if you are in a personal relationship with your partner, roles can easily become blurred. The question is, if you are in business with your personal partner, are you Arthur or Martha?

If it is true opposites attract, couples in business have an advantage. Roles in any business are crucially important. Too often in business you see situations where the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing, or alternatively, there are two left hands and no right hands, and a lot of balls get dropped. However, for couples in business, despite the distractions, they tend to take on complementary roles, ones the partners prefer naturally.

These preferred roles have little to do with gender stereotypes. It may be that they are either extroverts or thinkers, risk takers or cautious, and big picture people or implementers. All roles are important and must exist in every business to a greater or lesser degree. While these differences occur in all partnerships, for couples in business, there is one other type of division that occurs far more often than in other partnerships – the technical vs the business focus.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Benchmarking Franchisee Performance: Comparing Apples and Oranges

by Dr Greg Chapman

Even though comparing the performance of your franchisees can be a minefield, it is still best practice to do so. How else do you know which franchisees are leading the way, and which need further support? What better way to discover the new ideas that have proved to work and should be spread across the whole franchise?

However, comparisons between franchisees can be like comparing apples with oranges.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Does Your business suffer from Growing Pains?

by Dr Greg Chapman

Busier than a one armed wallpaper hanger? Don’t have time to scratch yourself? Have a waiting list for new clients? Has previous exponential growth rate has slowed to a crawl? If so, then it’s likely your business is experiencing growing pains.

Chances are you are working longer hours than any of your staff, and are the last to get paid. Your business is a victim of its own success.

If you do take any time off, when your return, you wish you had never left. It’s as if nothing happened at all when you were absent. Sure, work was done, but nothing progressed, and your inbox is full of unanswered enquiries. Your business has become its own version of groundhog’s day. While it feels like a trap, it’s also an opportunity.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Accountants Are You a Business Advisor or Bean Counter?

by Dr Greg Chapman

[This article was originally published in National Accountant Magazine]

Almost every small business owner has an accountant but how many actually use their accountant as the primary source of (non-tax) business advice? When an owner first starts their business, they are usually very dependent on their accountant for advice. They are seen as knowledgeable, independent – someone they can trust. They help them set-up the business, suggest the right structure and who can help them do the many things a new business owner must do.

However, this dependence does not last.

Their advice is often not sought as the business grows and becomes more complex. There is, of course, much more an accountant can do to advise their clients, but they seem unable to convince them that they are the right person to provide them the answers they seek. The owners baulk at the accountant’s hourly charges and the lack of clarity in their offer of advice. In the end, they decide to use their accountants just for tax, as it is clear that there is no other group that is as knowledgeable on tax, but they seek alternatives whose value proposition is clearer for other business advice.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Ad of the Month – Another Winner UPDATED

by Dr Greg Chapman

About a year ago I posted an Ad of the Month - Winner . It was about an advertiser associating itself with a winner with the implication that if you bought their product, you would be one too. The ad in question was with Roger Federer. This time, the ad is with Serena Williams. What a contrast.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Extra Dollar More

by Dr Greg Chapman

"Upselling", or the "add-on sale", is an opportunity open to every business, yet most business owners and their staff don't ask for the extra purchase.

Fact is, once the customer has made the decision to buy from you, they have entered into a relationship of trust. And once the initial buying decision, or trust in you, is made, then they will more readily say yes to an additional offer. So why not make it?

In this podcast I reveal how to get that extra dollar more for zero cost.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Price Comparison Websites

by Dr Greg Chapman

To list, or not to list, that is the question, as Hamlet probably never asked. There are numerous websites now offering customers the ability to get multiple quotes for a service. This is great for the customer because they are able to find the best service at the lowest cost in a side-by-side comparison- but is it the right thing for your business?

The attraction for businesses listing on such sites, if they have been properly promoted, is that it will be another channel for referrals of business that you may not have otherwise received. Unfortunately, this business will likely be won on price.

While such comparison websites offer a convenience to customers, there is limited capability to interact with the businesses. This is necessary as these websites don’t want to be cut out by either customer or the business with them dealing directly, and so losing their commission. This means that it’s difficult for businesses to demonstrate their point of difference and speak with the customer directly. Usually, they just have a text box to describe their offer with limited ability to link to their own website, if at all.

This restriction in communication encourages the customer to focus on price as asking questions, and waiting for responses takes time. From the customer’s perspective, if the job is straight forward, requiring little creativity, this may be quite acceptable, even efficient, but is this the sort of job you want to win?

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Are You Promoting the Right Products and Services?

by Dr Greg Chapman

Most businesses have a range of products and services they sell, and hopefully they all make a positive contribution to your bottomline, but this is not always the case. Too often marginal products and services are being promoted generating profitless turnover and therefore a loss when the cost of the sale is included.

It’s essential when deciding how to allocate your precious marketing resources, that they are focused on your most profitable products and services. The problem is that many business owners don’t understand the true cost of goods sold, and thus the profit for each of their products and services. While consumables are readily identifiable, the labor and other business resources are not properly allocated, resulting in a distorted picture of the profitability of each product and service. In addition, the true cost of the sale for each has not been calculated.

As a result of an inadequate understanding of the profitability of the individual products and services poor marketing decisions are made by the business. More...

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Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions 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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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Microsoft Scam Alert

by Dr Greg Chapman

Recently I was contacted by a business claiming to be ‘Microsoft Authorised’ regarding a malware notification they had received from my computer network. The sophistication of the approach was quite convincing, but there were warning signs that I will expose here to protect others who may be contacted by this group.

The person ‘Mark’ claimed to be a Microsoft certified technician tasked with contacting users whose systems had sent automatic notification of their vulnerabilities. The purpose of the call was to show me how I could remove this dangerous malware which would infect all other computers on the network.


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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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