Small Business Ru!e of the Month

Small Business Ru!e of the Month

01.3.2020 Be Transparent Or People Will See Through You

Many businesses are currently facing their toughest ever challenge. Who ever filled in a SWOT chart for their business and placed COVID-19 in the Threats box? Similarly with planning for the future of your business, when considering internal and external influences, it would be hard to imagine anyone predicting such a huge negative external impact from a worldwide pandemic. There is a lot of specific advice I am giving to businesses at the moment in what to do to survive - and even thri ..

01.2.2020 Treat Every Date Like A First Date

The well-documented argument over many years about the Australian ODI cricket team’s rotation policy normally focuses on player welfare versus keeping a player in form. For some of the best cricketers in the Australian ODI team, they may play a dozen one-day matches in a summer in addition to six tests and a couple of Twenty20 Internationals. They don’t see any big deal in having a rest from the occasional one-day match as they can play in another match next week. I  ..

01.1.2020 Stick To The Knitting

One of the most common mistakes I see in successful businesses is diversification so far away from core competencies that the business then loses its competitive advantage. A common example is when a small business wants to buy their own building. Any business should be aiming for a return on their business investment of at least 20 percent. Once you buy your building, you have just become a landlord, and landlords are happy with 8 percent. Why settle for such a drop in income? You  ..

01.12.2019 You Get What You Pay For

John Ruskin (8 February 1819 to 20 January 1900) last set foot on this planet over 100 years ago and is best known as an art critic and social critic but is also remembered as an author, poet, and artist. His essays on art and architecture were extremely influential in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. I best remember John Ruskin for one simple series of 100 words. Despite the fact that he lived so long ago, his statement about value is the best value statement I have ever seen. I w ..

01.11.2019 Your Suppliers Are Not Your Bankers

Keeping money in your bank account to save overdraft costs is a good thing. I agree. Stretching out payments to your suppliers as long as possible keeps money in your account, so it must also be a good thing, so the argument goes. Here I disagree with almost every bean counter in the world. Fast supplier payment is a great indication of the health of a business. There are only two reasons that a business does not pay its bills on time. The first reason is that the business simply do ..

01.10.2019 Don't Discount—Especially If Not Asked

The Simpson Desert is 176,500 square kilometres of barren landscape. Many years ago I rode a mountain bike across this desert—not really a smart thing to do, I admit. Five days of riding from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The last thing I wanted to happen in this process was for my bike to fail me. There was enough risk of my body doing just that, so I figured I needed to minimise the possibility of mechanical failure. I visited a bike shop and ordered the best mountain bike I co ..

01.9.2019 Ignorant ≠ Stupid

Ask me to cook a meal for 50 people, and I would have either a lot of hungry people or enough food to feed an army. Ask me to design a training program for an Olympic athlete, and I hope that person doesn’t plan on winning a medal. Ask me to climb a communications tower and repair the antenna while hovering 100 metres above the earth, and I would be telling people to send more letters. All of these tasks are performed by people across the world every day. Does that make me stu ..

01.8.2019 Be Professional From The Get-Go

I was attending a conference at Hamilton Island several years ago, and a peer in the industry asked me if he and his wife could sit down with me and grill me on a few business concepts. Of course I obliged. They believed their business had plateaued. Their business had stopped growing. The crunch question, though, astounded me. “Should we have a staff uniform?” This, to me, was like the pope asking if he should attend Mass on a Sunday! I firmly believe that from the day  ..

01.7.2019 Accentuate The Positive

On 23 April 1991, Gerald Ratner delivered a speech to the Institute of Directors. Almost overnight, he lost his job (along with the £650,000 salary), £500 million was wiped off the valuation of the company, and a billion-pound turnover was slashed. What did he say? During his speech, he explained the ongoing success of the Ratners Group, despite the economic downturn of the late 80s, with this joke: “We also do cut-glass sherry decanters complete with six glasses o ..

01.6.2019 Be Proactive Not Reactive

I was delivering a seminar recently, and sitting in the front row was a well-dressed IT professional looking very smart—apart from the embroidery on his shirt—it said “Reactive Technology.” I personally thought this was a terrible name with a terrible message to send to your clients. It screams that you are going to take a very simplistic approach, and when something goes wrong, you are going to react. You should be telling clients how you will solve their ..