Small Business Tips

The Single Most Important Question In Business

As business owners, we hear all the time that word-of-mouth is the best form of marketing. As a result, we focus on building our referral network - the group of people that know what we do, and can act as advocates for our business into the broader community. This is what word-of-mouth marketing is all about. (And if you don't believe me, go and visit your local BNI.
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Creative Problem Solving

“Thank you for calling the Creative Business Seminars.... If you would like to become more creative ............Press 1 without touching your handset!”

A cartoon by Randy Glasbergen caught my eye this weekend and it got me thinking – just what makes one person more creative in solving problems than another? Are there techniques that can be used by normally non-creative people (such as myself) to make them more creative?

After all, businesses are always talking about being more creative: 10 new Creative marketing strategies, 7 Creative selling techniques to name a few that do the rounds. (By the way- just for the record - Small Fish does not endorse creative tax minimising strategies in case you were thinking that).

Anyway, it seems being creative isn’t just about finding creative solutions to problems. It seems there’s more to it than that, like for instance starting off by understanding the problem in different ways.

I heard it once said...pretend the problem is a jigsaw puzzle. Now break it up and turn over the pieces in your hands. Look at them again and again...what do you see? Straight edges, corners, middle pieces?? Reds together, greens and blues...I’m sure you get the idea. By looking at the problem from different angles you discover unique solutions from a different perspective.

Another writer suggested using creative “jamming”, like a jazz group. Jamming entails giving the problem to a group of people and getting them to give it a good “working over”. Pass it around, tear it apart, put it back together, and turn it over again and so on. The group often sees more than the individual.

Another way is to “tell a stranger” ... This entails describing the facts and situation to someone not related to the problem. Get them to explore the problem with you and get them to ask you questions. By verbalising the problem, putting it in your own words, you are more likely to view the problem differently, and this opens up creative solutions.

So there you have it – if you have a business problem you’ve been struggling with, GET CREATIVE with it....and of course you could always get your business coach to help you.

Steve Eastwood
Small Fish Business Coaching Melbourne
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Decision Fatigue

My friend Patrick Halliday showed me this article on decision fatigue. I hope I'm not being too much of a geek showing it to you but it's really interesting if you can get through it.

For the attention-poor, here's a summary:

Making decisions is tiring. We get sick of it and less good at it the more of it we do. By the end of a long day of decision-making, we are making poor decisions - reckless and short term focused or deciding not to do anything. Our brains get depleted of the ability to make decisions. There's hope, though - food helps - if we take a break and we eat, we pick up (and it explains why we get cravings, too).

People with the best self control which is related to decision-making) structure their lives so as to conserve willpower. They don't schedule endless back-to-back meetings (oops), they avoid temptations like all you can eat buffets and they establish habits that eliminate the mental effort of making decisions all the time.

Here's the learn for business owners:

Plan your days and your weeks ahead, using your diary or a tool like Groundhog Week (Conserve your decision-making energy).

Eat properly, feed your brain.

Make important decisions early in the day, before you are tired.

Jon Dale
Small Fish Business Coaching Northern Rivers
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Who Is Your Target Market?

One of the biggest challenges in business can be identifying your target market. Who are they? Why do you need to know who they are? What benefit is it to you and your business? Read More »

Why Kindness Is Good For You

From a young age, you are being encouraged to ‘be nice’, ‘play fair’ and ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. It all makes perfect sense.

But it can be difficult. Especially in business. It’s easy to forget these basic rules when you are bombarded with messages of negativity - like the 6PM News, and often it feels like everyone is out for a piece of you. Internet scams, telemarketers and an avalanche of marketing urging you to buy, buy, buy! Is there a place for kindness in this materialistic, self-absorbed world?
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Business Travel - Friend or Foe?

Like a lot of people out there, I have had my share of corporate travel. In a previous life (one I left to join the world of small business to avoid) I was based in the Middle East for nearly 6 years and travelled internationally nearly every week. This takes its toll on lots of things such as- missed family time and outcomes associated with this, time wasted at airports and lounges, eating bad food, another city, another hotel room etc. etc. Not quite the glamour I initially thought. I have early visions as a child thinking that friends who had parents who travelled had the best job, from my experience it isn’t all it is cracked up to be! Read More »

A Worthless Business Guru

Being a person who began writing with blue ink and a nib, I wish to know, if you have a blog that is 106 words long, is it technically a Twitter?

Well now it is up to 145 words, so it must be a blog. Below is the juice.

I was recently asked how to spot a worthless business guru.

Nationality is a good start; they are likely to be Americans (there goes my visa application and creditability as a Post Modernist).

Also they will:
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Are You "Great" Or Just Doing OK?

In a recent article I posted to our Small Fish Blog ‘What makes a great business owner?’ the behaviours of great owners were discussed. To continue with this theme and to look at some more specific behavioural data, I have conducted some analysis of businesses I have had contact with recently as a coach.

These results come from the mini audits of 87 business owners, who took the opportunity to try the Free Coaching Session Small Fish provides. (I have to plug this and say it is a great way to seek some feedback, ideas or thoughts on how you can improve your business if this is what you want to do!). Just click here or email me if you have an interest in having one for your business!

So, what did I discover?

From the 87 business mini audits, the following was discovered:
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