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Is Modern Business the Goal for Traditional Businesses?

Mar 08, 2020

Do you have a traditional business where you are tethered to your office, shop or workplace? A business that serves the local community but you dream of growing bigger and serving a larger market?

Marketing gurus spruik the benefits of having an online business where you can make money while you're sleeping. Whilst there's a degree of hype in their messages, the underlining model is where the future lies.

Example

A good friend of mine owned a retail shop for many years. She sold it some years ago to focus on manufacturing, importing and direct selling. Over time, as online product sales became the way her target market was buying, she moved her business online.
 
Imagine waking up in the morning to find sales processed overnight. Her business evolved from waiting for someone to walk into the physical shop to having her business open 24/7 online. Having an online shop doesn't guarantee sales. You've still got to do the marketing to get people to your online shop for them to...
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Modern Business rising from the ashes of Traditional Businesses

Mar 03, 2020

The types of businesses operating today have changed significantly from the traditional businesses we all know.

 
You know the ones; the ones with a bricks and mortar presence, whether it's a shop, a workshop, a factory unit or an office. Businesses traditionally were location specific and served the local community. Their incomes are directly linked to the size of the community around them and those who pass through or come for holidays.
 
In Australia, those traditional businesses in areas impacted by bushfires have been badly impacted. There are those whose businesses were engulfed in flames losing everything. There are others where the business premises were saved from the flames, but the community around them is in crisis. Holidaymakers were ordered to stay away or go home.
 
The livelihoods of these business owners has been damaged beyond belief.
 

Small Business

Small business is a term that has multiple definitions depending on the context in...
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Why People Don't Need to Avoid Looking at the Numbers

Jan 30, 2020

People avoid looking at the numbers for many reasons.

I explained my top list of reasons why people avoid looking at the numbers in a previous article. But I believe that you don’t need to avoid looking at the numbers, so let me dispel those reasons for you.

1. LACK OF UNDERSTANDING AND LACK OF KNOWLEDGE

This one makes sense. If you’ve not had some basic training on the core financial concepts then you don’t have the knowledge or understanding. The challenge is to understand the importance of seeking out that training. 

There are many skills required in business. The key is that you don’t have to be an expert in all areas. As the business owner and leader, what is important is to have an overview and general understanding of them all.

When you started in business, did you have all the skills you needed from the get-go? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. If no, did you learn about those areas as your business grew? You may have learnt through trial...

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Why do People Avoid Looking at the Numbers?

Jan 09, 2020

What is it that makes business owners avoid looking at the numbers? I’ve been pondering this question for some time, because, to me, it is a choice. It may be a choice by default, but it is still a choice you make.

There are some business owners who have made an effort to understand the core financial concepts. Yet there are others who shy away from any mention of the numbers.

Some time ago, I remember the head of a woman’s group putting up a post on social media, asking about why is it that women don’t talk about finances and money. 

The funny thing was, no one responded! Well, it’s not funny, really. But I did think it was interesting that even the question about why was met with stony silence.

So why is it?

My theories on why you may avoid looking at the numbers are:

1. MATHS WAS NOT YOUR FAVOURITE SUBJECT AT SCHOOL

Maths was not your strong subject at school, so you avoid anything that is number related. I believe this is fundamentally a...

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How do you Choose who you Learn from?

Jan 06, 2020

How Do You Choose Who You Learn From?

As business owners, we need to continue to learn to improve. We need to learn skills we weren’t taught earlier in life. We need to learn new skills based on changes in technology and the way businesses operate in today’s’ world.

There are three levels of learning when it comes to business skills. This includes both soft skills and hard technical skills that are industry specific.

LEVEL 1 – ENTRY LEVEL

When you’re looking to learn the basics of any skill, you need to find trainers that cater to your lack of knowledge in the area. They need to explain the concepts in simple, easy to understand language and allow you time to absorb the information.

LEVEL 2 – DECISION-MAKING LEARNING

Once you’ve got the entry level learning under your belt and feel reasonably proficient with it, it’s time to add another layer to that knowledge. This will provide you with the tools to apply it to different...

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How to Avoid The Christmas Cashflow Crisis

Jan 06, 2020

Christmas without cashflow can mean a crisis, but it doesn’t have to be.

The Christmas decorations are already out in the shops, and we’re starting to think about the holidays. It may be that you shut down your business for a week or two (or more), or it may be the impact of others shutting down business and/or taking holidays then to enjoy our Aussie summer.

Either way, as a business owner, Christmas may mean an impending cashflow crisis.

Here are my three tips to help you through this time:

TIP #1 – TALK TO YOUR CLIENTS OR CUSTOMERS.

Regular customers or clients can help with your cashflow if you have a conversation with them. Yes, a real conversation. You know the one. Pick up the phone and talk to them. Or if you’ve got a meeting, even better, talk to them face to face. Don’t be afraid to talk to them about cashflow.

Tell them that you’re looking into your cashflow over the upcoming couple of months and ask them to arrange to...

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Do What You Say You'll Do in Business - Show Your Reliability

Dec 19, 2019

How is your reliability? Do you do what you say you’ll do? Are your actions in alignment with your words?

We’ve all heard the saying “Actions speak louder than words” (Abraham Lincoln). 

While that is true, I recently came across another quote from Abigail Adams, wife of American President, John Adams, who said:

“We have too many high-sounding words and to0 few actions that correspond with them.”

While that was written 245 years ago, it got me thinking about what we do in business today. It’s more than about being reliable.

I believe there are three ways to look at and interpret Abigail Adams’ quote.

1. HIGH-SOUNDING WORDS.

High-sounding words could be complex multi-syllable words that the average person doesn’t use on an everyday basis.

Equally, it could be the use of jargon, terminology or abbreviations which aren’t well known or understood.

In “accountants-speak”, like many industries, we have lots of...

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Does your Lack of Concentration let you Down?

Dec 12, 2019

Lack of concentration will impact your business in many different ways.

One of the biggest culprits is, as we know, social media. But I believe that there are other times where a lack of concentration will impact also. 

1. THE NEED FOR QUIET.

I used to be of the firm belief that to concentrate, you needed to be in a quiet place. I need to concentrate, working as I do with numbers all day (except when I’m writing articles and books). 

One small mistake can lead to hours of work to find it and correct it. This particularly applied when accounting was more of a manual exercise than it is today. It still applies today, though, when working with spreadsheets. 

When I first started writing, I needed to be in a room by myself with no distractions. This ensured my concentration was at its best. 

I couldn’t comprehend how people could work in cafes; surrounded as they are with clinking, talking, laughter, and so on. How could you possibly concentrate...

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Important Business Lessons to Adopt from the Benedictine Order

Dec 05, 2019

Important business lessons can be found in the most unlikely places. I’ve recently been to Europe and visited two Benedictine Monasteries. 

The drawcard for both, in the first instance, was the opportunity to visit their libraries, but we found so much more. 

LESSON #1. 

The libraries were the second most important places in the monasteries after the church itself. In the Melk Monastery in Austria, the oldest book is 1200 years old and is on mathematics and astronomy. 

You see the monks didn’t just study the religious texts; they studied a wide range of topics. 

Many researched and wrote books on subjects completely unrelated to their religious beliefs.

From a business perspective, it is important to not only read books and become an expert in your area of expertise but also to read more widely. 

For me, this first of three important business lessons is a no-brainer. I guess the weekly trips to the library with my librarian mother instilled...

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5 Reasons Why Consistency is the Key to Success

Nov 28, 2019

The key to success is consistency.

It’s not always about being the best or having the best product or even being good at what you do. It’s about being consistent. Consistency in everything you do.

1. CONSISTENCY IN THE QUALITY OF THE PRODUCT YOU SELL OR THE QUALITY OF THE SERVICE YOU DELIVER.

While this may seem obvious, it’s easy for consistency to falter. I’ve just stayed for two days at a hotel in Vienna. The first day along with the selection of juices, there were champagne flutes and a bottle of bubbly. 

On the second day, the champagne flutes were there but no bottle of bubbly. The bottle arrived an hour after breakfast had started. Also, on the second day, the coffee pot was empty for a period of 15 minutes. While these are all minor issues, those small differences on the second day, meant our final impression was of lack of consistency.

2. CONSISTENCY IN CUSTOMER SERVICE, THE WAY YOU HANDLE OBJECTIONS AND ISSUES. 

Most times, as a...

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