Small Business Ru!e of the Month

Small Business Ru!e of the Month

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 ..

01.5.2019 The Finish Line Is In Front Of You

When kids compete in their first running race, every parent gives their children advice. One nugget that is inevitably handed out is “Don’t look behind you—just keep running.” It is with good reason that this advice is often given. The key in a running event, and indeed in life, is to focus on your finish line. Focus on what you want to achieve. Concentrate on achieving your goals. You can only do this if you look ahead and run your own race. You want ev ..

01.4.2019 Everything You Do Is Marketing

Marketing is not A thing you do in business. Marketing is not a job for the wacky, zany people in marketing who spell their name with a double i. Most companies think that marketing is their advertising, Web site, and, with a bit of a stretch, maybe their logo. The reality is that it is so much more than that. Every little thing you do in business is marketing: the way you wear your uniform (you do, of course, have a uniform—if you don’t, that is a wasted marketing oppor ..

01.3.2019 Opportunity Is Nowhere

Most people read this as “Opportunity is Nowhere.” Look again and you see that it also says “Opportunity is Now Here.” With no letters changed, you have two opposite meanings. It is perfect that the true message is disguised because opportunity itself is usually not obvious. Opportunities may be buried in complexities that seem too hard to overcome. Seeing these opportunities is a great skill in business. In my computer business, the first 11 years were opera ..

01.2.2019 All The World's Problems Can Be Solved By Talking

There was a time very early in my business career that I asked a debt collector to follow up an amount that a woman had outstanding with us. The reaction I received was interesting, to say the least. I was not aware of it at the time, but this woman was married to a recently retired representative sportsperson—one that I was a huge fan of. I found this information out because no sooner had the debt collector sent his first letter than this particular gentleman was in m ..

01.1.2019 Gather A Great Team

We know more and more about less and less. That is fine. The trick here is not to try to know everything and do everything yourself. This applies to the external experts you use to help run your business as much as it applies to staff. The greatest thing to find is a team member who is better than you. In gathering that great team, make sure the team is full of people you like. Don’t engage your accountant just on his accounting background—make sure you are also happy t ..

01.12.2018 Drink Your Own Lemonade

One day I was visiting my brother in Boston, and we were strolling through the Boston Common. Just like in the Peanuts cartoon, we came across a young girl at a classic lemonade stand making lemonade with lemons, sugar, and ice. This isn’t something you see in Australia, so I walked over to purchase a glass of “real” lemonade. As I approached, I noticed the girl had a can of 7UP sitting on the bench. I asked why she had the can of soft drink when she was maki ..

01.11.2018 Open to Open Close to Close

Every human is pre-programmed with certain things from birth. Our heart starts beating, we know how to blink our eyes, and we yawn when someone else yawns. Right up there is our conditioned response to the standard question you often receive when you walk into a shop. “Are you right?” will elicit a response of “Yep.” If a bloodied victim of a car crash stumbled into an emergency department with one arm dangling by his side and the doctor on duty asked, &ldquo ..

01.10.2018 Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Security is for cadavers. In our comfort zone, we tend to be conservative and security conscious. We can sink into a rut. If you want perfect security, then buy a coffin. If you want to do more than grow incrementally, then you need to practise some radical thinking. Set yourself a radical target. A radical target will often involve a BHAG—a Big Hairy Audacious Goal. To achieve a BHAG, you need to alter the way you currently operate but this ongoing search for innovation is ..