Jon Dale is the Business writer for the Our Manly website

As the new business writer for Our Manly, I’ve been charged with writing articles that are interesting and informative, not too long (or boring) and that don’t promote my business too obviously.

So here goes……………

I thought I’d start with an introduction, to me, to my business (sorry, Our Manly) and with an overview of how I see things shaping up for this year and what I think I’ll write about.

I’m pretty keen to make these articles meaningful to you, dear reader, so I’m happy to take requests – you can follow the links at the bottom and contact me with your subject requests or questions, though I don’t promise that I’ll know everything.

Who is Small Fish?

We’re a small business, providing business coaching and related business information and training products to small businesses on the northern beaches. Mostly. We’ve been known to venture into the city and we’ve had a client in the UK, who we coached by phone and webinar. We like to call ourselves an international business coaching company! (We’ve also been called a few names when we say this)

Even so, we’re not completely useless and we like to think we can add value to our clients – either through our excellent systems and knowledge or through the change process that our clients hire us to facilitate.

We’re a rapidly growing business – we doubled in size last year (we’re two people now!) and we’re planning to continue this growth.

In the series of articles I’ll write this year, I’ll try to share some of the things I know or have learnt through my work with small businesses. I’ll structure the articles loosely around the washing machine analogy of business that I’m about to describe and I’ll also include real life examples and case studies from my clients (with their permission) or from some of the people I’ve met along the way.

I hope you like it!

The Washing Machine

Imagine your business as a square box, drawn on screen with curved arrows inside it, forming most of a circle. Looks like a washing machine, doesn’t it?

That represents your business “doing something” – whatever it is that your business does. That part is unique to your business (well, at least, not exactly the same as what your competition does).

For the rest of the discussion, what I’m about to describe is common to all businesses – they all have customers bringing money in to the business (Turnover); they all “do something” and consume resources to do so (Productivity); and they all have costs taking money out again (Costs).

The combination of these three drives the profitability of the business. I like to call them drivers of profitability (sorry).

If you increase turnover, improve productivity and reduce costs you will be a happy business owner, won’t you?

So, I’m going to share my understanding and some strategies that I’ve seen work (or that I’m told have worked before – by the literature, by other business coaches or by my training).

In turn, each of these three drivers is affected my more specific activities. I’m going to list some of them below, in the rough order in which I plan to write about them over the coming 12 months. Again, I reserve the right to change my mind or include something that I learn this year or drop something that bores me. Likewise, if you request something interesting, I’ll fit it in.

Here’s the list (in rough order):

1. Planning, setting Goals and why are you doing it anyway?

2. The Importance of Focus

3. System and Process – every business coach’s favourite

4. People Management – often neglected by small business owners

5. Your personal effectiveness – are you the bottleneck in your business? Some ideas about time management, prioritisation and delegation

6. Sales – a 7 step process that you can learn and improve on, not a mystery and you don’t need a shiny suit to do it well

7. Sales – How not to be a closer!

8. Marketing – even business coaches think it’s important – a complementary comment to the articles by Mark Barrett

9. Costs, Inventory and Work in Progress

10. Collecting your money – it’s quite important!

I know it’s only 10, I’m leaving room for some inspiration – it sometimes strikes.

OK, thought for the day.

How’s your work-life balance? Do you work too hard? (More than 40-45 hours per week)

Remember, it’s not all about work, you know. Did you start your own business so you could work really hard, get completely obsessed and driven and neglect the rest of your life?

Didn’t think so.

If you feel that you are out of balance, do something about it…..

Work a bit less!

I’m serious. We mostly work extra hard doing things that don’t really need to be done or don’t really need to be done right now – it’s a habit and it’s a destructive one. Personally, even though I’m working in my own business (and I’m working pretty hard, if truth be told) I get fed up and resentful if I put in too long a day.

How’s this for a little rule? Only work later than 6 if the things you are thinking of doing actually have to be done by tomorrow. If not, go home and have some real life!

Remember, you’re not going to die wishing you’d spent a bit more time at the office!

There are four ways you can engage with me:

1. Subscribe to these emails and get them once a week in your inbox so you never miss a video from me.

2. Join the Trades Business Toolshed Facebook Group where you can watch these videos, ask me questions or talk to your peers.

3. Attend my next Tradie Profit Webinar.

4. Book yourself a 10-minute chat with me. We’ll talk about whether coaching is right for you now and if it is, we’ll go further into the process before you have to make your mind up.

See you later.

Click here to book a money maker call with Jon.