George changed his life
One day, George decided he'd had enough. He walked into the office of the small business he had owned and slaved in for 10 years and made a phone call that would change his life.
For the past decade, he and his business partner had eked out a living, taking home less than $40,000 each a year, in a business that took their heart and soul as they worked virtually every waking hour to keep it afloat.
There were small profits, yes. However, they were just enough for them to get by on. In fact, if you'd plotted their profits on a graph they would have resembled one of those flatlines on a hospital EKG machine... no upward movement. Just more of the same, year after year, and it wasn't getting any easier.
All the old issues still applied. Recruiting and training staff, generating leads and sales, dealing with issues in production, struggling with ineffective marketing, juggling finances. He was frustrated and over-worked. And, quite frankly, desperate for a change.
That's when it hit him. He'd been working IN his business and not working ON his business, for too long. He was so stuck in the "busy-ness" of his business. He didn't have the time or headspace to focus on what was really important. And he decided he needed help from someone with the tools, strategies and experience to create massive change.
So, he picked up the phone and called a guy he'd seen doing amazing things with a range of businesses, large and small.
Within 1 year of implementing what this Business Coach taught him about working ON his business and not getting caught up IN his business, George became a successful businessman.That's the power of working with a Coach.
Have you ever wanted to find your own business coach? Someone who could give you the inside track on the secret to profitability and success?
If you answered YES to that question, then you have come to the right place. Each of these coaches are great at what they do. Each of them can help you create the success you deserve. Let them share their success with you.
Small Fish Business Coaching
Loss Leaders - The Musical
Hello from sunny southern NSW.
I come from an industry (restaurants, hotels and tourism-related enterprises) that has the annoying practice of picking your pocket as you eat or stay and I was a guilty as anyone else.
I thought if I had a perceived low entry price, say the main course comes in under $20.00 then once I get them (the punters) through the door I can up sell on potatoes, vegetables, salads, breads, sauces, sorbets, oil and 20 year old Balsamic vinegar.
I thought this will make me rich.
It didn’t, not for me, nor has it for anyone who tried it.
The punters became rightfully suspicious of exactly what a real meal would end up costing and found “up selling at the table” annoying. It ruined the relaxed, exclusive atmosphere I was aiming to create in the establishment. I was only getting away with it because everyone did it.
My staff also hated the whole interaction and resisted joining in with my plan to become mega rich from my little loss leader scam.
As Master of the House of a very upmarket boutique hotel my rude awakening happened in an unusual training experience.
Click here and see what I mean!
OK, stop singing and read on.
It was a revelation to me that night after night everyone found our pricing strategy so see-through. Even those who had not seen the musical of my/our business plan knew what I was up to.
The board of our company met and we stopped it. We started inclusive packaging with lots of inclusions that had high value in the minds of our customers and this time we made a mint.
In a very short time everyone else in the area also changed their “tricky” pricing strategies as well. Our way became the industry standard. Bit of a pity really as this reduced the competitive advantage our frank and inclusive prices had given us, though it was really good news for you and me as restaurant customers
Action: review your offerings and prices, checking for self delusion and tricks.
That done, commence singing again and have a great weekend.
Small Fish Business Coach
Skills of Leaders
A business will do as well as the people who lead it. This means that you can’t just open a business and hope that the customers will come and the product will move off the shelf. The business owner must lead the business to the vision they have for it.
The skills of leaders are many but Michael E Gerber in his book “The E-myth Enterprise” has summarised them into five skills which are:
Concentration – Without concentration, a business will be ordinary in every respect, because it will have no presence, no inner force, no way to attract the people upon whom it depends for its life, energy, and force – employees, customers, suppliers and lenders. Without concentration, there is no ability to listen, to respond, to be available to the four primary influences.
Discrimination – The ability to choose upon what, where and whom our attention, our ability to concentrate, is directed. Business owners who do not have the skill of discrimination tend to believe that everything is of equal importance. They overlook the significant in favour of the urgent. That which is happening around them captures their attention. Bob Jones, Sr once advised “Never sacrifice the permanent on the alter of the immediate.”
Organisation – The ability to turn chaos into order. There are three things that can be organised: time, space and work.
- The organisation of time prevents the overutilization of energy to achieve one’s objectives; just enough time – and no more – within which the right action can be efficiently performed.
- The organisation of space produces the right tools in the right place in the right quantity to support the right action with an economy of effort.
- The organisation of work identifies the natural way to take action, the relationships between functions and the coordination between the two.
Innovation – turns order into action. Innovation is sometimes called the “Best Way” skill; it is always in search of perfection. While organisation is interested in efficiency, innovation is concerned with effectiveness – faster, cheaper, smoother, softer.
Communication – it is the skill through which results are produced in the world. Communication touches and is touched, reaches out and is reached for, moves and is moved upon, acts and is acted upon.”
Small Fish Business Coaching is all about these concepts, of helping business owners drive their businesses to achieve their vision, of getting the right things done and done in the right way. If you want to know how we can help you please contact us.
Small Fish Business Coaching
My friend Tibor is a day trader. Interesting how his strategy guideline is so similiar to ours. Maybe we’ve both got something...
"Define a target, a strategy consistent with the target, a set of disciplines to follow and risk management guidelines. Then trade, track and evaluate your performance.”
It’s Official – Size does matter!
The Australian Taxation Office has just compiled a snapshot of Small Business (turnovers between $75,000 -$2,000,000) by industry type and it is very revealing. Have a look at the ATO website and click through to your business type. What band is your business in? You will be most interested to see where your business lies in terms of its size and relative efficiency verses your competitors.
I have crunched the numbers the ATO has provided and a number of conclusions stand out:
* With a few exceptions, a big Small Business is best.
* Micro businesses usually run at a loss and are uncompetitive
* Medium sized businesses are the least efficient
* If you want to compete and run successful enterprise, get big.
Big Small Businesses have less costs and better profits per dollar revenue. In other words big small business is more efficient than medium small business or micro business. The implication is that growing and growing quickly from a micro business to a substantial size is the way to go.
If there is a way of avoiding being a medium sized business or a way of moving through this stage quickly, you should consider it.
When the cost of the owner/operator's wages are added back most micro businesses don’t even break even until they approach the medium size for their industry. As they break even and enter the medium size these enterprises are at the stage of maximum inefficiency and least competitiveness. Their costs per dollar revenue are the highest.
If profit is the objective and competition a concern, then growth to being a big operation is the key to winning the game called competitive business.
Obviously, exceptions occur and if you are a “tradie” or run a hair dressing/beauty/road freight business then micro is the way to go, but for the rest, Big is Best...or that’s what we told the tax man (woman).
Small Fish Business Coaching
Three Feet From Gold
Like many authors of non-fiction, Napoleon Hill used real life experiences to illustrate the philosophy of success that was finally to be laid down, and become known as "Think & Grow Rich". During the 20 years or more of research that went into this great masterwork, he interviewed, and counselled with, more than five hundred of the most successful men in America. From these priceless interviews, he was able to reduce the mysteries of that elusive reality called 'success' to a set of known, workable principles that we can all take advantage of. Although the short story I am going to retell here occupies a single page of the book, you should not underestimate the importance of the principle contained within it. In fact, every one of its pages contains principles and their explanations, which are equally important to YOUR success in any field.
For the purpose of accuracy and to avoid any possible misinterpretations, I have lifted this passage, bodily and verbatim, with full acknowledgements to the author, Napoleon Hill. Here's how he tells it.
"One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by TEMPORARY DEFEAT. Every person is guilty of this at one time or another. An uncle of R.U. Darby was caught by the "gold fever" in the gold-rush days, and went west to dig and grow rich. He had never heard that 'more gold has been mined from the thoughts of men than has ever been taken from the earth'. He staked his claim and went to work with pick and shovel.
After weeks of labour, he was rewarded by the discovery of the shining ore. He needed machinery to bring the ore to the surface. Quietly, he covered up the mine, retraced his footsteps to his home in Williamsburg, Maryland, and told his relatives and a few neighbours of the 'strike'. They got together the money for the needed machinery, and had it shipped. The uncle and Darby went back to work the mine.
The first car of ore was mined and shipped to a smelter. The returns proved they had one of the richest mines in Colorado! A few more cars of that ore would clear the debts. Then would come the big killing in profits. Down went the drills! Up went the hopes of Darby and Uncle! Then something happened. The vein of gold ore disappeared! They had come to end of the rainbow and the pot of gold was no longer there. They drilled on, desperately trying to pick up the vein again - all to no avail.
Finally, they decided to QUIT.
They sold the machinery to a junk man for a few hundred dollars, and took the train back home. The junk man called in a mining engineer to look at the mine and do a little calculating. The engineer advised that the project had failed because the owners were not familiar with "fault lines". His calculations showed that the vein would be found 'just three feet from where the Darby’s had stopped drilling!' That is exactly where it was found! The junk man took millions of dollars in ore from the mine because he knew enough to seek expert counsel before giving up."
There was a happy ending for Darby however, later in life. In his later career as a life insurance salesman, he learned 'stick-ability' from the 'quit-ability' he had displayed in his gold mining days. He went on to become one of a small handful of men who sold over a million dollars in life insurance annually, but that's another story. Every one of the five hundred or so successful men, that he had interviewed during his research, told him that their greatest success came just one step 'beyond' the point at which defeat had overtaken them. Napoleon Hill went on to say;
"FAILURE is a trickster with a keen sense of irony and cunning. It takes great delight in tripping one when success is almost within reach."
I've thought of that story so many times over the last decade, since I was first introduced to "Think & Grow Rich", when I too have tripped and been tempted to QUIT on something, or someone. The wisdom in that story floods back to me and I'm galvanized to push on, deeper and wider, until I get through, or around, the obstacle in my path. That's the magic of "Think & Grow Rich"; it stays with you like no other book I've ever known. The moral of the story is clear-cut and simple; it has no 'hidden' meaning. It is plain to see. Read it again and again and fix it in your mind so that when 'quit-ability' rears its ugly head in your life - be reminded of Mr. Darby, the gold mine, the fault lines and the junk man - and press on.
You may just be THREE FEET FROM GOLD!
Small Fish Business Coaching
Abundance vs. Scarcity
One of my basic beliefs is that there is more than enough knowledge, wealth or anything else that matters to go around. The fact of the matter is that for most people, getting more means that someone else has to go without. Nothing could be further from the truth.
There is literally more than enough to go around. Scarcity theory was first espoused by the English Preacher Thomas Malthus, who worked out in 1798 that “the population of mankind will eventually outstrip man's ability to supply himself with the necessities of life,” yet even to this day we still produce more than enough food to feed the entire planet. He said that "population increases in a geometric ratio, while the means of subsistence increases in an arithmetic ratio.” Yet because we believe in scarcity (this is more commonly known as supply and demand) much of it gets thrown away.
The same goes for oil; 30 years ago the major oil companies were predicting reserves would begin drying up around the turn of the century. The trouble with most leaders of business and industry these days is that they have what I call an ‘accountant’s mentality.’ When times get tough, the first thing they want to do is to cut back and save instead of increasing their investment in marketing. They instinctively want to think small instead of big.
In business, you’ve got to realise that there is always more than enough money to go around. The question is, when will you go out and get your share?
Abundance is a mindset, a mindset that understands how technology has removed scarcity. How the old thoughts in economics are exactly that – old.
And because this all has to do with mindset, you really need to create the right attitude so that you can have your share of all this abundance.
And here’s another thing that may surprise you; if you have a sharing attitude you will benefit handsomely. If you were to share your money and knowledge you will get it back ten-fold. That’s the approach great leaders in the world take and Richard Branson is a prime example.
Small Fish Business Coaching
The Benefits of Business Coaching
A recent study by the International Coach Federation (ICF) reported that among small business owners, the top six professional and business development areas identified in the study were:
- Productivity and effectiveness
- Sales and marketing
- Business management
- Positioning their firm for the future
The most valuable results of the business coaching experience reported in the ICF coaching study by small business owners were:
- 28% said brainstorming was the most valuable result of business coaching
- 28% said independent viewpoint was the most valuable result of business coaching
- 18% said encouragement was the most valuable result of business coaching
- 15% said being accountable to the coach was the most valuable result of business coaching
BOTTOMLINE: Business coaching is one of the four required elements for achieving lasting business excellence (...the others being a systematic business-building methodology, practical activity alignment technologies, and an organization that is ready and able to change.)
Small Fish Business Coaching
Why do we work so hard?
Nobody on their death bed said, “I wish I would have spent more time at the office”.
(Paraphrased from Heading Home by Paul Tsongas, 1941 to 1977)
Why is it you work so hard? Is it because you want to provide a good income and lifestyle for your family and yourself? Sure it is, but have you taken the steps needed to attain the income goals you deserve? If you have, or even if you haven’t, are you able to take the time to enjoy the benefits of your hard work?
If you are like many business owners, your employees probably have more time off than you do! In order to keep your employees happy, one of the many things you need to plan for is to make sure they have time off for vacations, personal needs, etc. But have you made the same plans to keep yourself happy? Probably not!
Whose fault is this? You’re right; it is that person looking back at you in the mirror!
Take a step back and look at yourself. You may feel you are working as hard as you can. You may be going as fast as you can. Still haven’t been able to get the time away that you and your family deserve. Now may the time to do something about it. Sometimes, all it takes is someone who can help you to take an objective look at your business and offer advice on ways to go and things to try. A good business coach can do just that.
A coaching process that includes the three steps of (1) conducting an audit of your present business systems and procedures, (2) supporting you in devising a plan to get more time away from the office, and (3) monitoring your and your staff’s actions to implement the changes you have determined to be important. When these three steps are implemented, many business owners have found they can have the time away from the office that they deserve and… enjoy increased profits and over-all improvement as a bonus!
Think about it. Business coaching may be just the thing you have been looking for!
Small Fish Business Coaching
How to deal with price increases
Like night follows day eventually we all have to put our asking price up ... the question when and by how much?
Go talk to your accountan and she/he will tell you the best way to get an instant increased in profitability is to put up your price.
Small to medium sized business operators know how hard it is to win a new customer and how easy it is for regulars to stop buying, so naturally they want to be very cautious with price rises.
But your costs steadily rise, little by little they eat away at your profitability and probably more importantly the implicit value you have built in your business.
I am a coffee snob (well I am a bit of an all round food, wine and other beverage snob if the truth be known), so I take an avid interest in Starbucks fortunes since its grand plans for coffee dominance came crashing down in 2008 with the closure of 61 of its 85 Australian stores and divorce of 685 partners (Starbuck euphemism for employees).
With 22 stores left in Oz when I checked this morning (2 stores must have been closed on top of those announced in 2008) Starbucks Australia still lost $4,580,000 last year selling coffee. That’s a whopping average loss of $208,118 per store.
To gloat, 15 years ago I managed to convince a very large conglomerate not to buy the right to own and operate Starbucks in Oz. My other blue-suited pals within the company said it was “very brave advice” (translated .. are you completely mad!.. must avoid being seen around this one too much!). The company MD then went to the USA, got on the turps, and ended up buying “Denney’s” instead. Go figure!
Now, I have set up quite a few coffee operations in my time and I tell you there is real big money in coffee. But not for Starbucks in Oz... this story will have to wait for another time, because I am here to babble about increasing prices.
Conventional micro economic thinking is, when hard times hit cut back on expenses and cut your prices to keep the customers.
Starbucks in the midst of US recession did this. It also increased prices. Both things worked.
For number lovers see junk in box below;
Starbucks Score Card
Fiscal First Quarter 2010
* Consolidated net revenues increased 4% to $2.7 billion.
* Comparable store sales increased 4% driven by 1% increase in traffic and a 4% increase in average ticket.
* U.S. operating margin significantly improved to 17.3% from 5.8% in Q1 FY09.
* International operating margin improved to 7.4% from 2.6% in Q1 FY09.
What did they do?
Howard Schultz, chairman, president and ceo said
“Continued innovation, the successful enhancement of the customer experience and a transformed, more-efficient cost structure have brought Starbucks to a significant milestone---a return to profitable growth,”
But he is just joshing us. He got away with increasing his prices in a terrible recession by lowering those for which he had direct aggressive competition and increasing signature items.
Worked for Starbucks: store sales up 4%, 1% more customers and 4% increase in average spend.
The biggest selling stuff which has direct competition from MacDougal’s got lowered prices.
Their signature items, you know the ones with funny names, went up by 8%.
Note for all restaurateurs, pub owners and club operators.
Your “specials” need to be more expensive than your normal big demand items; otherwise we customers think you are just trying to shift old stuff or to address purchasing mistakes.
Try regular high volume stuff cheap and specialty stuff expensive.
Loyal customers are price sensitive. Howard (hope he won’t mind if I call him by his first name) gave a present to his price conscious regular users by decreasing their prices. They thanked him by staying with his enterprise. Mental note; do not read the popular book ‘The Loyalty Effect”, do give the regulars “mates rates” and they will keep coming back.
An unnamed Australian company spokesman said at end 2009 Starbucks “now believes that it is well positioned for future growth and will support the remaining 23 (sic now 22) Australian stores.”
I doubt it. But I have been wrong before –see Bledisloe Cup 2002 in Christchurch, even paid for an airfare to see us (Wallabies) beat them (whatever) at their place for the first time. As I said I have been wrong before but gosh that was a fun trip. Again, a story for another time.
Give some thoughts to Starbucking your products prices.
Time for another coffee
Small Fish Business Coach
For your free e copy of “The loyalty effect: the hidden force behind growth, profits, and lasting value” by Frederick F. Reichheld and Thomas Teal, cut and paste this into your favourite search engine. http://books.google.com.au/books?id=JzkD_ooCNlYC&dq=the+loyalty+effect&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=MN2mS6GgK4rg7AOMlcGQCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CBcQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=&f=false