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Small Fish - Small Business Tips and the Latest News

Is It Time To Start A New Aussie Xmas Tradition!?

We got some feedback from one of our readers who had saved this blog from last year in her inbox, so we thought we would share it again! We hope you enjoy it again, just as much as our other readers have! We would love to hear if you come up with different traditions this year! 

Have a safe and happy holiday from all of us at Small Fish Business Coaching!

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One of my oldest friends now lives in America. I noticed this post on her Facebook page. I thought it was really interesting and considering that most of the people reading this are small business owners, I hope you will find it interesting too.

After you have read it, think about what pledge you will make to yourself this year? I have started the dreaded Christmas shopping – already I have handmade soaps and lotions from a local market where I got to ask how the product was made, what got the owners started and what they enjoyed about their business. I have also purchased hand made dresses for the little ladies in my life and am now looking for some wooden boys toys. Friends will get homemade biscuits (not made from my home…I have not yet mastered the oven) and a nice bottle of Aussie wine!

What will you do differently this year?

Christmas 2012 -- Birth of a New Tradition



As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high
gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods --
merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor.

This 
year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine
 concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift
giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes
 there is! 

It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in 
a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?


Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates
 from your local American hair salon or barber?



Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some
 health improvement. 

Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned 
detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a
 book of gift certificates.

 Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down
 the Benjamines on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift
 receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or
 driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.



There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift 
certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about
a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this 
isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town
 Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.
How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or 
motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?

 Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a 
local cleaning lady for a day. 

My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is 
struggling to get his repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin
 their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery 
and beautiful wooden boxes.

 Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave 
your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at 
your hometown theatre.



Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.



Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese 
lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about 
fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to 
burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.



You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that
 China can build another glittering city.

Christmas is now about caring about 
US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow 
their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our 
communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.


THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.

Melanie Miller
Small Fish Business Coaching Gold Coast
www.smallfish.com.au


Is it time to start a new Aussie Christmas Tradition?

Is It Time For A New Aussie Christmas Tradition?One of my oldest friends now lives in America. I noticed this post on her Facebook page. I thought it was really interesting and considering that most of the people reading this are small business owners, I hope you will find it interesting too.

After you have read it, think about what pledge you will make to yourself this year? I have started the dreaded Christmas shopping – already I have handmade soaps and lotions from a local market where I got to ask how the product was made, what got the owners started and what they enjoyed about their business. I have also purchased hand made dresses for the little ladies in my life and am now looking for some wooden boys toys. Friends will get homemade biscuits (not made from my home…I have not yet mastered the oven) and a nice bottle of Aussie wine!

What will you do differently this year?

Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition



As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high
gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods --
merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor.

This 
year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine
 concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift
giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes
 there is! 

It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in 
a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?


Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates
 from your local American hair salon or barber?



Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some
 health improvement. 

Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned 
detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a
 book of gift certificates.

 Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down
 the Benjamines on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift
 receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or
 driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.



There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift 
certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about
a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this 
isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town
 Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.
How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or 
motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?

 Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a 
local cleaning lady for a day. 

My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is 
struggling to get his repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin
 their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery 
and beautiful wooden boxes.

 Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave 
your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at 
your hometown theatre.



Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.



Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese 
lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about 
fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to 
burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.



You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that
 China can build another glittering city.

Christmas is now about caring about 
US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow 
their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our 
communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.


THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.

Melanie Miller
Small Fish Business Coaching Gold Coast
www.smallfish.com.au



Starting A Business in Byron Bay

I was noodling around (as Mr Jon Dale calls it!) on Dynamic Business Builders the other day when I came across this interesting blog on business in Byron Bay. Byron Bay is of course the hometown of Small Fish Business Coaching and it is where the Fish meet to talk all things business (but mostly we just go to the pub).

The article talks about why Byron is a great place to start a business. I know I feel “inspired” after a trip to Byron to recharge the batteries. What do you think?

Melanie Miller
Small Fish Business Coaching Gold Coast
www.smallfish.com.au



Business Tips From Your Mum

Remember all those annoying sayings your mother dished out when you were a kid? Well I am going to dish them out to you again with a business twist (of course!).

“If all of your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?”

Just because your competitors are advertising on radio or discounting prices doesn’t mean you should do it. You need to do what is right for YOUR business and stop assuming everything your competitors are doing works for their business.

“Birds of a feather flock together”

Surround yourself with cheap suppliers, cheap marketing and cheap staff and your customers will assume you are ….cheap! (not in a “what a bargain” kind of way, in a “cheap equals nasty” kind of way).

“You made your bed, now you have to lie in it”

So you made a mistake? Admit it and move on. Don’t blame your customers, don’t blame your staff; it’s your business! Take the blame like a big kid and get over it!

Melanie Miller
Small Fish Business Coaching Gold Coast
www.smallfish.com.au



5 Tips Of Productivity

  1. If you are achieving nothing stop working! Get outside, head to a café, take a nap – do something to clear your mind. Sitting at your desk berating yourself for not achieving is a complete waste of (nap) time. 

  2. Be realistic about the amount of time tasks take to complete. If a task is more than two hours consider breaking it down into smaller chunks so you don’t feel bogged down by one massive job. 

  3. Take a lunch break. Working through lunch because you are too busy to stop is a crock! I guarantee that even a 15-minute lunch break will increase your productivity in the afternoon.

  4. Stop micromanaging – if you are constantly watching and questioning what everyone else is doing, stop! It is a waste of your time and does nothing for the productivity of the people around you. Plus it is just plain irritating… 

  5. Outsource the jobs you are crap at. Why waste hours trying to balance the accounts if a bookkeeper can do the job for you faster and more accurately. 


Melanie Miller
Small Fish Business Coaching Gold Coast
www.smallfish.com.au



Facebook Scheduling Tool

There is no doubt that social media is a valuable tool for growing most businesses. I personally will admit to being a bit of an addict. I like sharing my witty (or so I think) business snippets and musings. I also encourage my clients to use Facebook to communicate with their target market. Occasionally I do need to reel a couple of clients in from spending so much time that they forget why they are actually in business (to sell stuff!).

How are you at Facebook marketing? How much time do you spend? Do you find that you sign in to post a quick daily status update only to get sucked in to the deep dark depths? I don’t know how many times I have logged into update my status only to find myself reading some random blog on “African mutant bees” or “circus tricks you can perform at your desk” hours later. A five-minute job becomes a three-hour crap-read-a-thon that steals your day.

I was excited to see some good news from Facebook this week that will seriously limit my crap-a-thon time! You can now schedule your status updates. This means logging in a couple of times per week to schedule in your witty updates and to answer any questions, no need to log in every single day! It is also great for those who already know they don’t have enough time to update – now you can!

Natalie Alaimo’s video explaining how to use the new schedule function is right here!

Melanie Miller
Small Fish Business Coaching Gold Coast
www.smallfish.com.au



How Mobile Is Your Marketing?

Have you noticed that some websites now have a cool layout just for use on smart phones and tablets? Do you have the type of business that could benefit from a mobile friendly website? Have a think about it! Restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs, doctors, vets, mechanics, real estate agents…. I could go on all day. All of these types of businesses (and hundreds more) are services that should be search friendly on a mobile device. Here are some interesting facts on mobile websites:

  • One third of the world’s population use mobile devise to perform internet searches

  • It is expected that there will be 520 million location based searches performed on mobile devices around the worlds in 2012

  • One half of internet searches for local products and services are performed from mobile devices

  • Google Analytics has added mobile metrics so you can now see who is searching for your business on a mobile device

Not convinced? Check out these examples on www.GCWeb.com.au’s website. Take note of the bottom of the mobile websites where you literally click once to call or click once to see their location on a map – how easy is it for your potential customers to call you using a mobile device from your website? Would potential customers have the patience to click through to find your contact details or would they just move on to the next mobile website that does offer ease of use?

Leesa Kennedy from www.GCWeb.com.au says that a lot of businesses think the addition of a mobile website will change the layout of their current website or require a huge input of cash. It’s not true, your website will remain exactly the same when viewed from non-mobile devices and mobile websites start from a couple of hundred bucks!

Check out GCWeb’s cool mobile emulator to see what your website looks like on a mobile device - 

                



Melanie Miller
Small Fish Business Coaching Gold Coast
www.smallfish.com.au



The Smell of Desperation Around Small Business Marketing

Phwooaaarr what is that smell? Oh, I know! It is the stench of desperation around a lot of Small Business marketing.

Businesses that don’t have a stable, consistent and well thought out marketing strategy often fall into the trap of desperation marketing. It is highly reactive and often based on a lack of “kerching” at the cash register. We have all experienced it; your inbox fills up with special offers and enticements to spend our cash and to spend it today. I personally love businesses throwing me sweet deals on a regular basis but my business brain says… “This is bad, very bad."

Want to avoid being stinky? Plan ahead! Understand your marketing goals, plan timelines (based around seasonal shifts) and know your conversion rates in regards to your advertising. Invest time in planning to avoid having to throw out quick tricks or lures to win business. If you keep throwing them out there it will only be a matter of time until your customer base no longer wants to purchase anything you offer without some type of enticement. This is not good for your business and is definitely not good for your bottom line.

Want to read my thoughts on why you shouldn’t discount? Click here

Small Fish Business Coaching Gold Coast


The Difference Between Being "Reactive" and "Proactive"

There is a big difference between being proactive and reactive in your business. Successful business owners focus on proactive. Being reactive is not only stressful and potentially expensive, it can kill your business.

Proactive business owners;

  • Plan ahead – they know what the next 1, 6 and 12 months should look like.
  • Have budgets – they know what their goals are in terms of sales, customer retention, average sale etc. They also plan their marketing spend and set goals for return on investment. 
  • Understand the financials – they don’t wait until their accountant tells them business is ok to know business is ok. They check their sales, profit & loss and balance sheet regularly. 
  • Focus on the business and customers they want to attract – they know who is profitable and who is not. They don’t waste valuable time and money attracting the wrong customer to their business. 
Reactive business owners;
  • Never plan – they are scrapping by day to day hoping they will still be in business in 6 months.
  • Never set budgets – they are unsure how or why budgets are valuable or simply don’t see any benefit in having them, some are far too scared to set goals.
  • Hide from the financials – they don’t understand or want to know about the financials of the business. They hope that someone else has this under control for them. They are not sure who they owe money to and worse who owes money to them! 
  • Take any business from anyone anytime – they are so desperate for cash they take any customer they can regardless of how profitable the work might be. They continue to work for customers that fail to pay on time. They discount prices and under quote just to get work in the door.

Do you identify with the proactive or reactive business owner? Maybe you identify with a bit of both. There is no shame in seeing your self reflected in the reactive business owner. Business can be scary; the financials alone frighten the heck out of most people. The important thing is that you do something to change. It is almost a new financial year, time for new challenges, new ideas and a fresh approach!


Melanie Miller
Small Fish Business Coaching Gold Coast
www.smallfish.com.au



Are You "Road Blocking" Your Success in Business?

How many roadblocks do you have in your business? A roadblock is something that you use as an excuse as to why you are not getting the important stuff done. The important stuff is the money making stuff! That means getting on the phone to drum up sales or book appointments, or starting that big project that could help grow your business.

Roadblocks are dangerous and using them allows you to continually sabotage your own success by creating diversions that are not going to lead you anywhere but to exactly where you are today.

Still confused? Here is a list that I have come up with, tick off the ones you allow to block your success;

  • My office is messy – I need time to sort it before I do anything else
  • I don’t have my database set up properly so there is no point in calling anyone
  • My staff are constantly interrupting me so I never get anything done
  • Our sales material is out of date so I won’t call anyone
  • I have too many small jobs such as data entry or filing to move on to larger projects
  • I spend all day checking and answer emails, there is no time for anything else
  • I have to get through my never ending “to do” list first
  • The phone is always ringing with people needing my attention
  • I don’t have enough hours to get to the big stuff
There are thousands of road blocks that small business owners use as daily self sabotage on their own business. There is rarely one that I have heard that does not have a logical and relatively easy answer.

Be honest! How many are you guilty of? How many “urgent” tasks do you allow yourself to get sucked into to avoid doing the “important” stuff?

Melanie Miller
Small Fish Business Coaching Gold Coast
www.smallfish.com.au

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