The Australian Small Business Blog

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Pricing Strategy Secrets





                     by Dr Greg Chapman

Are you confused about Pricing Strategies?

Are you struggling to make ends meet in your business or practice?

If you’re just scraping by, then perhaps you’re not charging enough for all the hard work you put, day-in, day-out, into your business.

If your business runs on tight margins you’ll struggle to have a successful business, as so much energy has to be focused on you just ‘staying’ in business.

In the video below I reveal some important secrets of pricing.

Monday, September 06, 2021

Ad of the Month – Unbelievable


by Dr Greg Chapman


This month I cover two ads, both of which use an unbelievable narrative in quite different ways and for quite different purposes. I think one works and one doesn’t. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Covid’s Impact on Small Business





                     by Dr Greg Chapman

The following is an interview with journalist, Steven Nguyen, on the impact of the Covid restrictions have had on small business.

 
How do you think the recent snap lockdowns have affected businesses and their workers?

Monday, August 23, 2021

At What Price?



by Dr Greg Chapman


When marketing a product or service, businesses find it difficult to set their prices. Too high, and no-one will buy, too low, everyone will buy, but you go broke. So how do you set your prices?

The basic principle of pricing is that you should set your prices as high as the market will allow. But what does that mean?

This means understanding the value you offer compared with your competitors.

 More...
 

Monday, August 16, 2021

Should you take Business Advice from a Rock Star?





                     by Dr Greg Chapman

The music industry (pre-Covid) is very big business and in staging a major tour, there are many moving parts and even small lapses can end in disaster. One of the biggest and most ground breaking bands of their era was Van Halen with their frontman David Lee Roth, who encapsulated the stereotypical rock and roller. Hard working, hard living and a brand designed to outrage their elders and delight their fans.

That’s not orange juice they’re drinking.

Monday, August 09, 2021

A Great COVID Guarantee





                     by Dr Greg Chapman

Due to the high uncertainties in this time of COVID, people are extremely risk adverse about booking anything requiring in person attendance more than a few days in advance, let alone an interstate conference in November. The risk of lockdowns, lockouts, enforced quarantines is just too great.

However, I received this invitation from the Family Business Association that almost eliminates the risk for attendees.

Monday, August 02, 2021

Ad of the Month – The Story


by Dr Greg Chapman


Suppose you want to convey a lot of information in your ad. Just listing all the features of your product would make a boring ad which most would turn off before they got even halfway through. But if you create an interesting story, and better yet, set it in the old wild west with shades of Blazing Saddles, you get an ad that everyone will watch to the end.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Will you be there when the planets of your customers' universe align?



by Dr Greg Chapman


Some people believe when the planets align, that the world will end. (While planet alignment is rare, it happens fairly regularly, so I think we can ignore that.) Others believe that the extra gravitation pull can result in earthquakes and other violent phenomena, but there is little evidence of that either, although you may see some unusually high tides.

Still others believe that the alignment of the planets can cause craziness amongst humans, although I wonder how you could tell the difference. Whatever you believe, I like to think of the alignment of the planets as a special event when a series of coincidences occur that change people's behaviours.

Compare this with the factors in the life of your customers.

 More...
 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Married to the Business - For Richer or Poorer





                     by Dr Greg Chapman

Luke and Anna have their own business building homes. Luke is a registered builder, and has a high level of technical skill, but Anna is the person who manages the finances. She also knows the business is not as great as her husband tells everyone it is.

While she tries to explain to Luke the cashflow problems, he is not that interested as they always seem to be able to scrape by. Nothing gets Luke quite as excited as seeing his projects transform from the drawing board into bricks and mortar reality. He is the technician and a perfectionist. The clients love him.

Anna is always worried about the cash on hand to pay their suppliers, their employees and sub-contractors, and if there is anything left over, themselves!. She is the Manager.

Monday, July 05, 2021

Ad of the Month - Buying a Customer


by Dr Greg Chapman


Lots of businesses give a free trial of some description as an introduction to new customers, but this is usually for a non-physical product or service. It’s somewhat harder for the seller of physical products where there could be some loss involved.

This clothing retailer found a way of doing this for their target market, while at the same time getting great publicity for supporting those who really need it even before they can become a customer.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

How to Stop the Firefighting in Your Business



                     by Dr Greg Chapman

A key reason that most business owners don’t ever find the time to work ON their business is that that 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 you had put aside to review your monthly sales performance is lost. The urgent takes priority over the important.

What if you could get out of the firefighting business? That you didn’t get continual surprises from your staff or contractors. That things worked the way you expected 95% of the time. (100% would be nice, but as long as human beings are involved, that can’t happen!) What I am about to recommend will appear to some as just extra time that takes them away from the fires they know should be dousing. There is only one way of getting out of the firefighting business. Unfortunately most business owners believe the answer is to get better at firefighting. All this will do is over time wear you down and exhaust you and your staff. The correct answer is below:

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

When is a Sale not a Sale?


            
 
                       by Dr Greg Chapman

 
The upmarket department store, David Jones used to say, rather snootily:

 
As you know, David Jones don’t have sales, but we do have Clearances.”


Regular sales can cheapen a brand. People will hang out for sales to get bargains.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Don't Charge at Elephants



by Dr Greg Chapman


In every sector there are 2 or 3 big guys, the elephants. Everyone knows them. They have marketing power. They have buying power. And yet, elephants are afraid of mice.

But don’t try to beat an elephant by playing an elephant’s game. You can’t beat them on price. You can’t out-advertise them. You can’t offer the same range. Your distribution network will never be as extensive.

So how can you be like the mouse? The mouse scares the elephant because the elephant feels something happening between its feet, and it can’t see it or stop it.

 More...
 

Monday, June 14, 2021

The Five Pillars of Business Success: Pillar 5: Taking Action





                     by Dr Greg Chapman

Last month I covered the fourth of the Five Pillars of Business Success: People Systems.

In this post I discuss the fifth of the Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success: Taking Action.

So you have just had this fantastic business idea, or learned of a great new strategy. What is the most critical barrier to success?

Back in the early eighties I had this fantastic business idea. At that time I was working 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 there was no way I wanted to go out. It was then I first heard the Domino’s pizza slogan – delivered in 30 minutes, or its free!

Monday, June 07, 2021

Small Business Solutions in the COVID Era





                     by Dr Greg Chapman

The following is an interview with Liam Webster of Channel 31 on the impact of COVID on small business and some strategies that they may able to use to recover as we move out of lockdown mania.

How badly were small businesses affected by COVID?

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Ad of the Month – Comparisons with the Competition


by Dr Greg Chapman


I love this ad. Made me laugh out loud.

Imagine you have a low cost competitor whose products don’t last. But they’re cheap. How can you get customers to value your superior products? By showing them what happens to the cheap ones.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Do You Really Sell a Quality Product?



by Dr Greg Chapman


I often ask business owners, do you sell a quality product, and most tell me they do. I then ask do they think that is a reason that people should buy from you, again most say "Yes".

How did you answer these questions? If you said yes to both, I hate to disillusion you, but everyone says they have a quality product. Have you every heard anyone say:

"Buy from me, my products are lousy?"

 More...
 

Monday, May 17, 2021

How Steve Jobs Prices Products






                     by Dr Greg Chapman

When Steve Jobs launched the iPad some years ago, before the launch, the big question was how much to charge for it. The major existing brand digital reader, Kindle was priced at $259. Apple believed the iPad was superior technology and so should have a higher price. But how high? The answer was as high as their marketing can push it!

They decided to charge $499 for the basic model – almost twice the cost of a Kindle. The only question was how to justify it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Five Pillars of Business Success: Pillar 4: People Systems





                     by Dr Greg Chapman

Last month I covered the third of the Five Pillars of Business Success: Marketing Strategy.

In this post I discuss the fourth of the Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success: People Systems.

One of the biggest impediments to growth in most small businesses is lack of people systems. When there is poor alignment between your staff’s and your business’ objectives, this becomes a major obstacle to your success.

Monday, May 03, 2021

Ad of Month – You are the product


by Dr Greg Chapman


It’s always interesting to know how others see us, especially if we are the product. How are we sold to others? How is the pitch made? What is the conversation that takes place behind your back to interest potential buyers? Possibly not what you would think.

In this ad, the product is Australia and the buyers are all Kiwis.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

One Size does not fit All



by Dr Greg Chapman


Henry Ford once said about the colour range of his cars “They can have any colour they want, as long as it is black”. His strategy was built around price. Choice was a cost to his business and he wanted to mass produce so he could get economies of scale.

If you have a low price strategy, you may also offer a one size fits all solution as introducing choice also increases cost.

If, however you wish to increase your margins, having a wider range creates value for your customer.

 More...
 

Monday, April 19, 2021

The Economics of a Sales Pipeline


                     by Dr Greg Chapman

 
It is not enough to understand the numbers in your sales pipeline (see “Mathematics of a Sales Pipeline”) you also need to understand the costs.

Let’s start with the example in the earlier article:

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The Five Pillars of Business Success: Pillar 3: Business Systems





                     by Dr Greg Chapman

Last month I covered the second of the Five Pillars of Business Success: Marketing Strategy.

In this post I discuss the third of the Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success: Business Systems.

Answer the following questions honestly:

• How many hours do you work a week?
• When was the last time you took an uninterrupted holiday?
• Do your staff have a better job than you?

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Ad of the Month – Breaking up is hard to do


by Dr Greg Chapman


You have a deep relationship with your existing partner and to leave is actually complicated because of your long standing arrangements, but you’re attracted by another partner who is much more modern and in tune with your lifestyle.

Wouldn’t is be great if you could keep the security of your old relationship but get all the benefits of the much more fun and exciting one? And just to make things clear, I’m talking about banking.

Monday, March 29, 2021

How I lost a Sale



by Dr Greg Chapman




A short while back I lost a potential client. Now its not the first time it happened. And I am sure it won't be the last.

Sometimes I am very happy to lose a client- you know the type, the time wasters, the freebie seekers, or people who are just totally unqualified to buy.

No, the client I lost wasn't anyone of those. In the initial stages of my discussion with him, he seemed pretty qualified. In fact, highly qualified.

 More...
 

Monday, March 22, 2021

The Mathematics of a Sales Pipeline


                     by Dr Greg Chapman

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.

“Using the Five Profit Drivers to Double Your Business’ Profit” referred to the second Profit Driver as “Increasing your conversions to sales”. That is, we took the number of sales and divided it by the number of enquiries to calculate the conversion factor. This is a very blunt instrument to analyze your sales effectiveness.

The simple sales conversion factor measure assumes a single sales step. Someone calls you and after a conversation, they buy, or they don’t. Most sales processes are far more complex. Consider an example of a typical sales pipeline:

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

The Five Pillars of Business Success: Pillar 2: Marketing Strategy





                     by Dr Greg Chapman

Last month I covered the first of the Five Pillars of Business Success: Your Plan.

In this post I discuss the second of the Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success: Marketing Strategy.

What is Marketing? There are hundreds of definitions of marketing, but I like to keep it really simple.

Definition: Marketing (noun): Finding and Attracting people who want to buy what you want to sell for the price you want to charge.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Ad of the Month - Joy


by Dr Greg Chapman


Suppose you run an investment fund and you want to appeal to the average person who might only have small amounts that they can contribute regularly? The typical approach might be to explain how small amounts over time will add up to a large amount in the distant future (boring) or you could make saving fun. This is what this fund did.

Monday, March 01, 2021

Do You Market Like a Lion or a Spider?



by Dr Greg Chapman




The lion of course, is the king of the beasts. Standing there on an outcrop surveying the plains with a gentle breeze blowing in his mane. He spots a heard of antelope and climbs down and starts to make his way towards the herd.

He approaches from downwind and starts to stalk his prey. Once the herd comes within sprinting distance, he begins his chase. The herd dashes to the left and then to the right to avoid the lion. Finally the lion spots an antelope that is lagging behind and he marks his target. It is as magnificent to watch as it is brutal.

The lion has his meal. Tomorrow he will do it all again.

 More...
 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

How Leaky is Your Sales Pipeline?


                     by Dr Greg Chapman

Does your Sales Pipeline leak? Hopefully your answer to that question is “Yes, but just in the places it’s supposed to.” Every business’ Sales Pipeline leaks to some extent. The question is: Have you done everything you can to ensure that it does not leak excessively? Do you even know what your Sales Pipeline looks like?

Very simply, a Sales Pipeline starts with an initial enquiry and ends with a sale. While the Sales Pipeline looks different in each business, there are still some similarities between them. In all businesses, there is a need to generate enquiries. This can be done through advertising, cold calling, public relations or word of mouth. This enquiry may be a phone call in response to an ad. Or, in retail, a customer may walk in your front door attracted by your shopfront marketing. This is the first step of the Sales Pipeline for any business. However, there are usually a number of steps from receiving an enquiry to generating a sale.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The Five Pillars of Business Success: Pillar 1: The Plan





                     by Dr Greg Chapman

Last month I revealed the 5 reasons businesses stay small.

In this post I will discuss the first of the Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success: The Plan.

When I speak about plans what I see are generally business plans created when the business was first started, that read like novels, and if they were in libraries, they would be classified as science fiction. They are filled with the optimism of the inexperienced, but once exposed to the reality of the market place, these plans regularly get forgotten on the shelf gathering dust.

General Truman once said “Planning is essential but plans are useless”. Perhaps this thought was prompted by a 19th century German Field Marshall von Moltke who said “No plan survives contact with the enemy.”

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Monday, February 08, 2021

Ad of the Month - Changing old traditions


by Dr Greg Chapman


Old traditions die hard. We do things at certain times because everyone else does it and we get used to it and even like it.

I admit I love an ice cold beer on a hot summers day. Doesn’t everyone? Well apparently not.

Monday, February 01, 2021

How much are You worth?



by Dr Greg Chapman




The past year has been difficult for everyone, except perhaps Zoom shareholders. As we start to come out the other side of this, the confidence of many has been shaken causing them question their value. If you are a business owner selling products and services, do you get what you are worth? Most people will answer no to this question. They believe that their clients do not value their services and won’t pay what they are truly worth.

Here is a calculation you can make.

  More...
 

Monday, January 25, 2021

Five Reasons Businesses Stay Small





                     by Dr Greg Chapman

This is an edited extract from the best selling award winning book “The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success

The biggest risk for most businesses, if they survive the first year, is not whether they will fail. Most won’t. The biggest risk is that they will stay small. Whether by design or not. Recent ABS data show that 98% of micro-businesses stay that way. That is, they are Micro-Stayers.

There are a number of reasons that businesses may stay in the Micro-Stayer group. It could be a lifestyle choice. Work-Life balance is becoming more and more important to many people. It may be because they don’t have the knowledge to take their business to the next level, and become frustrated Micro-Stayers. Or they may have progressed from frustrated to resigned Micro-Stayers and have adjusted lifestyle and ambition in recognition of this.

Businesses that involuntarily stay small, the Micro-Stayers, do so for five key reasons.

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The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success

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