Posts Tagged ‘small business’

Do I Need To Know Everything Before I Start A Small Business?

Friday, June 21st, 2013

I get this question asked all the time. The answer is a resounding NO. You will learn allot as your business life evolves. I didn’t even know how to use a computer when I first had the idea of starting an on-line business.  Computers were only starting to become the norm around the time I was at University and the internet only came onto the scene after I graduated.

In addition to this, I was a one-finger typist.  I was so slow that my sister used to get so frustrated watching me and ended up typing most of my essays/assignments.  Since then, I never used a computer again.  The point of my telling you this is that being computer illiterate could have potentially been the obstacle from turning an idea that I had, into a business.  It’s the same as any industry, really.  For a lot of people, their dream or ambition would have stopped right there. Maybe that’s where I’m different, because for me, that was just one of the stepping stones to getting closer to where I wanted to be. I wanted to have a successful small business.

I’ve got a brain, but the most important quality I had at the time was drive or as I like to call it “fire in the belly”.  For the first time in my working life, I actually knew what I wanted to do and I was passionate and hungry enough to want to work hard for it. I wasn’t doing this for anybody else, but for myself.

Although I wanted to prove my parents and the other skeptics around me wrong about what I could achieve, I really needed to prove it to myself. The goal is to just start. Your website, your sales pitch, your marketing, can all be improved. Nothing is set in stone. I changed my website 10 times over the years. The idea is to sell. Block out all the minor things and step forward. Each day you will find out new things. Some things work and some don’t. There is only one way to find out. Just do it. Start ASAP.

My Small Business Journey (Part 9)

Friday, June 21st, 2013

My Small Business Journey (Part 9)

This is the future my friends. Embrace it, love it, breathe it, eat it. I said it 10 years ago and I’ll say it again, I cannot think of another business model on the planet that will take you to places you never dreamed off. When you wake up in the morning and you have loads of inquiries that came in while you were sleeping, it is the most exhilarating feeling on the planet. You feel proud, powerful, strong and  confident. I don’t know about you but that gets me out of bed each day. While everyone is on the freeway to work this is what goes on in their head, “Gee, can’t wait for Friday to finish work and get my paycheck” I think the following,” I cannot wait for next week because the potential in my business knows no boundaries. I don’t want the same paycheck every week. I want to rise, rise and rise again”

Hope you’re pumped. I’m getting goose bumps as I’m typing this. I have no template or guide, this all comes straight from the heart. Whatever I’m thinking I just write it down. I love small business and I thank my father for this. At 12 years old, he showed me how to do a profit and loss statement. He told me “Son, the only way you are going to make it in this world is to get your own small business” He was right. My professor at University drove the worst car and dressed like a vagrant but that’s cool, his choice. My point is, he is the smartest guy I know intellectually but it doesn’t produce results.

You don’t need to be smart to succeed in business. There is no mystique about being a millionaire. Its hard, gut wrenching, earth shattering but if you apply the steps I show you then you will make it. It has all been done before 1,000 times. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

It is your time to shine. I read the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napolean Hill  before I started my first business. There was a story about an army going to war. They had to cross this bridge to get over to the other side. On the other side an opposing army outnumbered them 20 to 1. Once they crossed the bridge, the commander chopped off the rope of the bridge so they could not go back. The soldiers cried, “General, how do we go back if we start losing?”

The general said ”You are not going back. You either win or you die” What do you think happened? They won, there was no other option. This is my attitude to business and marketing. Go all out every day, don’t take prisoners, don’t be weak, stay focused and glory will be yours. I hope you are inspired because I am.

Let us  begin……….


Small Business: Being An Online Entrepreneur

Friday, June 21st, 2013

In order to become an online entrepreneur you have to have a certain mindset. Your resolve has to be enormous. Each day brings new challenges and opportunities. You must be ready to tackle each day with venom.

The first trait of an entrepreneur is that they must have a vision. You need to know before you start where your venture will go. Do you want to sell your product state wide, nation wide, do you want to open up several locations; do you want to franchise your brand? Although businesses do change, an entrepreneur will have a clear vision of what direction the business will take or what the end result will be.

An entrepreneur must be confident. You must believe in your self and what you can achieve. An entrepreneur understands that they will make mistakes, overspend on budgets, and take time to grow and so on but that underlying confidence must always be there. This cannot be shaken by anyone or anything. They see the vision every day.

This is all part of running a small business.

While I was alone doing night shift, I would always picture myself relaxing while I had staff doing everything for me. No matter what happened, my confidence would not waiver. I always knew I had a great business model. Confidence will invigorate you.

An entrepreneur will always have an exit strategy. They know what to do all in all situations. What if I run out of cash? What if I need to sell? What if I need more partners? They will have this planned before hand. I strongly advocate never giving up. It is the cornerstone of every aspect of your life. However, an entrepreneur knows when to quit. A smarter person will know when to quit while the not so smart business person will hang on.

My Small Business Journey (Part 7)

Friday, June 21st, 2013

The biggest lesson I have learned this year is that when you are running a business you are always looking at gaining that edge. Little things that you can refine and do better. Answer the phone after 3 things and smiling when you answer, being pleasant and listening to customers instead of selling to them in a forceful way, cleaning up your store, doing a makeover of your website, writing a blog, sending out a press release to let the world know about you. This will be the case for as long as you have your business whether it is a start up or has been around for 50 years.

Before you do these things however you need a cornerstone and the fact is plain and simple, you cannot do all of this by yourself. Let me give you an example. I went through my website the other day and broke it down piece by piece to see who helped me put it together. Here is what I came up with.

Each item below was created by a separate company. I wanted the best and as I mentioned before not many companies do lots of things well so I had a combination as I wanted the best in each field. When my site goes live, I want it to look like an authority site, not some rubbish done by an amateur.

Each item was done by a different company

  1. Website
  2. Logo
  3. E-mail marketing
  4. Sales funnel
  5. Copy writing
  6. Social Media set up
  7. Content writing
  8. Video
  9. Landing page
  10. Google AdWords set up
  11. 11. Article submission

I could go on and on. I know what I am doing, NOW that is. Painfully I had to guess and call and pray and make mistakes. You don’t need to endure this pain. You will be shown once and for all what the blueprint is for running a successful business online and offline.

Small Businesses: Keyword Research

Friday, June 21st, 2013

One of the biggest mistakes that small businesses make when trying to optimize their website for search engine rankings is choosing the right keyword to target. This is an experience I will never forget. I had used the keyword sticker and stickers for nearly a year until one day I decided to spend some time analyzing the keywords. I realized that people typing in sticker, only wanted one sticker only. This was no good for me as we sold them in quantities of 250 or more.

I then looked at my competitors under this search term and they were selling them as individual stickers. Why didn’t I research this before? I didn’t know any better. I wasted thousands of dollars on a keyword that did nothing for my business. Now, I don’t make that mistake anymore. The following is what I do when researching a keyword.

I look for keywords that I can target so that I can get ranked on the first page of Google, FAST. Preferably, in the first 3 positions. Did you know that 65% of all search engine traffic comes from the first 3 spots on Google? An example I will use is the keyword Flowers. If you tried to get to page one for the keyword flowers it could take years so you don’t want to use this strategy. This term is too competitive and too broad. You would rather go for a term such as Melbourne Flowers or San Diego Flowers. Although these are competitive, they are nowhere near as competitive as flowers on its own.

The advantage of this strategy is that it will take less time to get to page one of Google. Furthermore, your conversion rate will be higher as your competition will be less. I would rather be on page one of Google for Melbourne flowers instead of page 5 for flowers on its own. How many times have you gone to page 2 of Google to buy something? Not often I bet. Page one is where you want to be. Small businesses everywhere need to follow this keyword research strategy.

What Are Your Favorite Small Business Books?

Friday, June 21st, 2013

No matter how much you know, there is always someone who out there who knows something that you don’t know. The best way to learn besides networking is reading. The following is a book that I have read again and again over the years. Each time I read a book I highlight the important pages and write the number of these pages on the index page of the book so that when I go back I can quickly brush up on what I read instead of reading the whole book again. Time is scarce so you need to be efficient in all aspects of your life.

I try to read books on different topics. There is no point reading 10 books on negotiating or motivation. One or two will suffice.

My all time favorite book on small business: the E Myth by Michael Gerber

Without a doubt a must read for all business owners. One of the biggest problems that business owners face is not letting go and let other people do the work for them. The E-Myth will open up your mind to a whole new world. The book details systemizing your business from A to Z so that if you are unable to go to work, the business will run smoothly without you.

Most business owners work extremely hard and are not rewarded for their hard work. This book explains that the reason you go into a business is to have a life and not to be totally consumed by your work. If you want to work 80 hours a week, get a job. The E-Myth will change all the myths you had about having a small business.

Small Business Commandments Part 4

Friday, June 21st, 2013
  1. Business is a game: As tough as you need to be, please enjoy business. I sold my business after I lost passion for it. Once the passion is gone it is time to go. If not, let someone else run it completely and live off the income. I enjoy building a business. I am not an operation person. I love to create something from nothing, build a site, build traffic, make money, create a passive income and then move to my next project. Other people wouldn’t dream of moving from their industry because they love it. That is fantastic. If you enjoy your business, enjoy the game. The game of sales, negotiating, growing, improving, building your wealth. I love it all. At the end of the day, business is a game; you just have to play it better than your competitors.
  2. Patience: My worst virtue. I want to be a million dollar company overnight but it doesn’t work that way. You need to be patient and wise. Test all parts of your marketing; learn what works and what doesn’t. When you find what works, smash it as much as you can. Just go for it. Eventually you will know what advertising works for you, who your ideal customer is, how to crush your competition. Most businesses grow slowly. I don’t like this personally. I believe you start of slowly but once you get that giant wheel moving, you should be grow at breakneck speed. Grab your opportunity as much as you can.
  3. Be the best: I really mean this. When you wake up in the morning, go in a with the attitude that you are the best. You are the alpha male or female. You have an aura about you. People want to do business with you. You ooze success. Don’t go to work and relax, be the best to your customers, your staff, your marketing efforts, your workout after work. Don’t stop. The rewards are there if you want them. Most people say they are ambitious but I strongly disagree.Just because you want a Ferrari doesn’t mean that you are ambitious. It’s the person who is willing to sacrifice more than anyone else that will succeed. The person who can put it all on the line each and every day. The person who gets up early every morning and stays disciplined all your round, not when he feels like it. The person who can see opportunities and take them. No one remembers second so be the best in your industry, no matter what it is.

How Business Coaching Will Help You With Network Marketing

Friday, June 21st, 2013

By playing your cards right, network marketing could be both exciting and rewarding. When you choose to make use of business coaching, you could potentially make yourself a handsome income. In the past you may have approached your best mates and even family to get them to join your venture. You were attracted to the promise of making it big in the online world.

Who knows, you may have sent out countless of emails, made a couple of phone calls to try and convince people you know, to join in, only to find that they were not really interested. You got to a point where you got tired of being rejected, and were ready to throw in the towel. Then, one day out of the blue you saw an email that was forwarded by a good friend of yours.

When you first read the email about making use of business coaching by someone living in Australia, you were a bit skeptical. You have been burned in the past, and viewed the content with caution. Then, all of a sudden, something struck a cord with you, and got the old spark coming back inside of you.

The Power of Attraction Marketing

The body of the email got your attention as it stated that you do not have to engage in hard selling or bugging your friends just to make a sale. You also liked the fact that business coaching was mentioned more than once as the way forward if you ever hope to be successful online. Besides, you should not let pride stand in your way. The Small Business Mentor based in Australia told you to stop wasting your time on friends and family who might never see your point. It is high time that you move on into another direction.

You were super excited when being told that you should rather make use of attraction marketing when presenting your offer to people. This is how powerful business coaching is. With someone who cares by your side, you will be able to tackle anything and make a success of it. Your Small Business Mentor went on to advise that you should learn to view network marketing as a numbers game, with well structured systems and powerful sales letters where you recommend a specific opportunity as the way to do it.

By reaching say 60 prospects with your opportunity, you could say that at least 1% of these people will join your network if you have positioned yourself correctly, that’s to say. In turn that 1% will get others to join, and so it will spiral a few levels deep. This is why they call it a numbers game. Whatever you do, never sweat the small stuff when engaging in any marketing. Do what you need to do, and the rest will take care of itself.

Through business coaching you will soon come to realize from the Small Business Mentor that you should simply point out the benefits of joining your particular network, and never come across too eager. Instead, you should make it look like your are showing them how they will benefit themselves by joining.

Productivity Is The key For Your Small Business Success

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Growing up I used to put everything off until the next day. In high school (strict Catholic school) our teachers gave us a diary which we used to put in what we had to do the next day. I would always put a line through it and put it on next week’s agenda. When I had an assignment, I would leave it to the last day. My productivity was a shambles. The only thing I was good at in high school and University was hanging around the cafeteria.

I would have received a Masters of Cafeteria studies if it was available as I missed most of my lectures and just wasted time. It got that bad that a lecturer asked me what I would like on my headstone when I died as a form of what symbolized who I was. I said “Procrastinator”, he couldn’t stop laughing. This is from a man who I never saw laugh in 4 years so it made an impact. Scary part was that it was true.

As you get into business, you need to be super productive, that is if you want your business and life for that matter to run smoothly and not in chaos. I can tell instantly with most people how productive they are. I see people whose cars look like they haven’t been washed in years, their desks at work are a shambles, their bedroom looked like a war torn country and so on. This is generally how their life is, in total chaos and disarray. The point is, if you are lazy or unorganized, your whole life will be like this. Without being OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) it is good to get super organized.

If there is one skill that I have improved considerably over the years is my organizational skills. Every day and I mean every day I know exactly what I will be doing. I hate surprises and I never like to forget anything. I have a daily to do list. This will include tasks such as online banking, checking all my accounts, checking e-mails, marketing, returning phone calls, new projects and so on.

I make sure these are all out the way as soon as possible. The rest of the day I basically can work on my business which is what I want your ultimate goal to be.


Become Successful Through Using a Business Coach

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Become Successful Through Using a Business Coach. Anyone who is looking to make money soon, will be blown away when they get to realize how easy it can be with a business coach by their side. You can be sure that newbies and existing marketers who do not have much success, would love the opportunity of working with a coach who is a real person like them. Someone who also struggled to make a living at one time, but managed to turn their life around.


Online and offline marketers will sit up and take note of such a person who knows what is needed to be successful. After all, the internet is part and parcel of everyone’s lives these days.


More people are looking for ways to earn residual income from the comfort of their lounge or bedroom, if this is where they choose to set up their home office. The online world is so technologically advanced right now which makes it the opportune time to make money using the net.


Just think how easy it is to access the net from various portable media like iPhones, smartphones, iPads, and laptops, to name a few. Access to business coaching is therefore so much easier thanks to advances made. Your business coach can show you how it is all done no matter where you find yourself.


Getting The Right Tools from Your Business Coach


Going with a business coach is so much easier as they can help you make money with affiliate marketing programs that are showcased at places like Clickbank and JV Zoo. It does not matter if you are a electrician, plumber, or Internet marketer, you are going to need business tools.


Having the tools is one thing, but knowing how to use them can be mind boggling. Your coach will know what is needed when it comes to using business tools, and will give you definite guidelines on how to use it correctly,


Should you have your own site, but do not use a marketing campaign that makes use of a reputable Auto Responder, you are sure to lose targeted visitors that landed on your squeeze page. Your coach is the best person to show you what needs to be done to ensure you do not lose any visitors.


To Be Successful Requires Having An Action Plan


If you want to be successful with your online business, you would need to have a solid online action routine that will ensure you get results fast. Your business coach will give you all the advice you would need to make a success of your venture. While you cannot expect to be a millionaire overnight, the prospects of earning a good living is definitely on the cards.


Millions of people are looking for a solution or cure to their problem on a daily basis. You could provide them with the cure they need to solve their problems. Get in touch with your coach as he or she would be experienced in the many facets of running a successful Internet business.

Let Your Business Coach Guide You

Friday, June 21st, 2013

It it imperative in our modern world to know how to use videos in order to deliver powerful marketing messages. You might be surprised to learn that there are businesses making huge profits. All, without even meeting their customers. How do they do it? One way is through making use of video footage to help them promote their brand as well as inform customers of theirs of the latest developments. This could be you if you let your business coach guide you.


What Your Business Coach Will Tell You About Delivering A Powerful, Effective Marketing Message Using Video


Your coach might be in a position to approach video hosting site owners to source guidelines for you that will help you to effectively market your business. It sure is a very clever way to get the kind of exposure needed that will give you maximum benefit.


The secret when making use of video hosting sites would be to make use of subtle tactics and casually draw attention to your service or product without coming across too desperate in closing the sale. Your business coach will gladly assist you in getting this right.


In most cases, companies just want to show people how their service or product works. For this they will need to use video demos hosted by a particular hosting site.


Drawing Attention To Your Product Through Video Marketing


While it might be a good idea to have demo videos up, it is another story getting people to view your site to see what you are offering them.


Having a business coach proves to be useful as they will help to ensure your videos are of a good quality so you can grab and hold the attention of your viewers. Displaying inferior videos can be such a put off, and give viewers the wrong idea about your business.


As per your coach, it might be useful to see what other businesses are doing with their videos. The content of the videos must captivate as well as engage your audience. It is crucial that you make the effort needed to keep your visitors focused on what you are offering them.


Directing More Visitors To Your Videos


As a business, you need to ensure your demo videos are informative and interesting enough to direct your target audience to your site. They may be excited to know that so many others are viewing your videos too. It is one of the better ways to market your products. Your business coach will show you that it will not mean much if your target audience are not directed to your landing page so they can go on to purchase your products or services.


It really is about getting your marketing mix right by being careful in not giving too much info away through your videos. Your visitors need to be fired up in wanting to know more about what you have to offer them. Your coach is your ticket to sure success as they will show you how to use video marketing as a powerful tool in order not to get left behind.

Small Businesses: Myth # 2

Friday, June 21st, 2013

You don’t have to work 9 to 5pm hours

 Although this might seem to be the case to an outsider, the reality is vastly different, especially when you are starting out.  When you start on your own, you are doing absolutely everything.  So instead of working 9 to 5, you are probably working from 7 until midnight and thereafter.  And this will go on for some time until you reach a point when you know you need to employ somebody else.  But your hours don’t stop there.  Although you may have offloaded some of the duties to your employee, your free time then needs to be spent on other areas of your business that perhaps you had been neglecting because you were stretched so thin and did not have the time to do it. If you think that once you employ staff you can sit back and watch the money roll in, you are sadly mistaken.  The truly successful businessperson is the one that is constantly working on their business.  When you are very passionate about your product or idea, you virtually live, breath and eat it. Small businesses are filled with people who truly love their business. I can definitely say that my business became my life.  Sure, on some days you may decide to leave the office at 4 PM to do some personal things, but by the evening, you’ll find yourself back on your laptop whether it be at the office or at home, writing new e-mail blasts, thinking of other ways of increasing traffic to your website, etc.  And this is not just for the first few months of starting your business; it could be for the first few years.

I’m not telling you this to turn off any budding entrepreneurs out there; on the contrary.  I want people to remove those rose colored glasses and see what it really takes to start up a business and successfully maintain it.

Starting A Small Business: What Lifestyle Do You Really Want?

Friday, June 21st, 2013

I was happier creating businesses’ than simply making cash in a business that I hated. I could have made money in the pizza shop bit it gave me no freedom, I hated it. Do something you love if you can. Online is great because of the leverage it gives me and I don’t need to see people face to face. I love that. I can answer e-mails later, I don’t get overwhelmed.

This lifestyle I now have I cannot change for me. I’m used to it and I love it… I cannot work for anyone because I will lose my creativity, my freedom, my being, the spring in my step, the way I live, the people I meet, the rewards it gives me.

My lecturer never told me that I would love business this much. He taught me to be an employee, not a dreamer, not a visionary, not attention deficit disorder, not a creator. You don’t want to be held down. You want to be free, to go after the impossible, to stay away from negative people, to not be told when to go on a holiday, I crave this and that is why no matter how hard business gets, I will not change the lifestyle I have created for myself.

Going to work each day, I enjoy it but when I talk about business to other business owners my passion explodes. My voice rises. That’s why I wrote a book. I love business. I love the game. I cannot get enough and I love teaching people. It comes so naturally. I don’t need to think, it just happens.

I cannot write a handbook; I want to tell my experiences to the whole world because this is what actually happened. I have read so many books and took a few things from there but I wanted a book that you can take lots of things from there because you know all the hopes and fears that a business owner or start-ups have.

Being positive all day is tiring, you don’t need to be. Be disciplined. Stay on track. I almost fall asleep sometimes, it’s normal. Don’t think you need to be superman, this is a myth. You just need to be focused, know where you are heading and what needs to be done each day.

Millionaire? Not what you think. No slicked back hair and Armani suits. They invest and learn, create businesses. You don’t need 20 houses, you need freedom. The best thing I ever heard in a seminar was “what is wealth?” The speaker asked,” How many weeks can you stop working and pay for your lifestyle.” Most people said 1 week to 6 months because they were living pay check to pay check.  This is no way to live.

Why have all this debt just to have this lifestyle? Live within your means. I would rather have less houses and Ferrari’s and not have to work instead of working like a madmen and having the big house and luxury cars and a massive debt. Wealth is your ability to create income when you are not there, not being a billionaire.

Favourite Small Business Books

Friday, June 21st, 2013

The Purple Cow by Seth Goddin

Many businesses unfortunately are the same. Everything they do is the same as everyone in their industry. Standing out from your competitors is difficult. The purple cow is all about standing out from everybody else, hence the title, the purple cow. The key to this is for your customer to have an extraordinary experience. And your product or service to be truly remarkable.

Prospects are bombarded each day by marketing messages and it is only getting worse with social media taking off.  You need to get their attention. No matter what it is that you do whether it is you’re pricing, the way you answer the phone, your advertising, the colors that you sue, it must be unforgettable.

Why Now it is time to CRUSH IT cash in on your passion by Gary Vaynerchuk

This book will be enjoyed by anybody no matter what their background is. It is about people who are working but deep down their passion is doing something else. An example is a school teacher who in her spare time likes to renovate homes. When you do something you’re passionate about it is so much easier because it doesn’t seem like a job.

There is no better time in history now to have an online business and develop content for the masses. There are millions of prospects out there who value what you have to say. Building your personal brand is a great business model. Examples are Oprah.  You must be a great story teller.

You will be developing content for the masses. Most of your time will be spent following your passion, responding to other blogs and leaving a link back to your website. Social Media can take your personal brand allot cheaper than the old mass media formula.

You can make money by having affiliates, selling other people products, doing live speaking or writing a book.  This will not happen overnight so you need to be patient.  Chase your passion and not the money; you will be richer for it.

The 4 hour work week by Tim Ferris

This book will change the way you think about long hours and hard work. It demonstrates that most people spend allot of time being unproductive and being distracted. They don’t outsource enough. By outsourcing and being less distracted by e-mails and answering the phone, you can spend your time focusing on your goals. This will result in you not having to work full time. You can literally work a few hours a week with the same result.

Although this idea is hard to fathom for most people, it will demonstrate how you can plan your week in a whole new way. This is a must read for anyone who wants to spend more of their time doing the things they love outside of work.

Business Coach: Affiliates

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Affiliates are people who promote and sell products for a percentage of a sale. When I coach my clients, I strongly recommend having as a part of their business model.

Affiliate programs are successful because both the person who created the product along with the affiliate can make money. The leverage is enormous.

Let’s say you have a product to sell like an eBook. You have an affiliate named Joe who has 500 people on his Facebook fan page. All Joe needs to do is send out an e-mail to his list with the product being sold. When someone from Joe’s list buys the product, Joe receives 50% of the sale price. Boom. Too easy.

Joe is happy and so are you. When you run an affiliate programme there are some essential tips that you should follow. Get someone to handle your affiliates for you when it makes sense financially.

For example, if you have 50 affiliates, you do not want to spend all day e-mailing them and make payments. You are better off outsourcing this.

Another tip is to offer a higher commission than your competitors, even if you make a loss initially.

With affiliate marketing, always have a low end information product no matter what business you’re in. This serves as the front end, with your higher priced product or service as the back end.

Use your knowledge, top 10 things on a certain subject. This is just for lead generation.

You know you will make a profit on the back end with other content that you have like coaching, DVD series Audios etc. You must think of the big picture. The more you give to affiliates, the hungrier they will be with selling your product. The more sales your affiliates make, the more leads you receive to get the bigger sales and the recurring sales afterwards. Too many people are short sighted unfortunately when it comes to dealing with affiliates.

Automation to your affiliate business is the secret. You need to make sure that your affiliates have all the tools they need to sell. Landing pages, FAQs, sales letters, copy, squeeze pages and everything else needed to ensure they succeed.

The number of affiliates you have can be huge but at the end of the day you will have 10 or so affiliates who drive 90% of the new business. Focus on them heavily and join them into Joint Ventures. We will talk about Joint Ventures later on this chapter.

Good software to use to help you manage affiliates include 1 Shopping cart, Infusion soft or Omni start.

Discover List Building Secrets With Your Business Coach

Friday, June 21st, 2013

What is the best way to start your list?

Most people are delusional to the fact that your product has to provide value. As per your business coach, the Small Business Mentor, You need to think about which are the most common questions people ask about your Niche..

Lets say you are interested in fishing, You need to be more specific, and target keywords like Trout Fishing in Tolano in order to get to a specific group of people interested in the topic.

People need to find you as an authority when reading your FREE offer. You need to provide real value. The product that you offer for sale could be a video giving specific details on how to be successful at Trout Fishing in Tolano.

Once you get an interested person on your mailing list, and they do not buy your product, you still need to provide value in mailing them top of the range advice and information related to your Niche. This is something your business coach would recommend you do as it will encourage people on your list to buy from you down the line.

You could email the people on your list for years to come. They may even share your valued information with their friends and family. An example of an obscure Niches would be “How to make a Sailboat in a Bottle?”

This is how you Get Things Going

Amazingly, your business coach, the Small Business Mentor will advise you to try the following when looking to build yourself a list of followers:

  • You go to Forum Market Place and find top 10 questions people ask, then create an information product around that. Give this away for free. Then go to your Forum and comment that you have this fantastic Free eBook that will answer all their questions.
  • From here on you would need affiliates, and actually get something to sell that will make them money. If you have a video course on the back end, then give away an eBook on the front end. One Guru got 6,000 people on his mailing list this way. He went on to make $78,000 doing this.

Best Way to Email Your List

Once you set up your Squeeze page, and people join your mailing list, you should have an Auto Responder sequence in place to send them valuable information with links to other products or information in the body of your email or newsletter.

Your subscribers will be happy with the free value they are getting from you. What is more they will get to trust you, and once you offer them an even more valuable product that is for sale, they will go for it.

You could even refer them to your blog to answer some of their questions. On the other hand you could just send them to your Sales Page where they can buy a great product that covers what they are after.

Take this tip from your business coach – Do not be lazy in setting up an Auto Responder as you will be leaving money on the table if you do. In addition, your list will keep on growing due to having an Auto Responder.

Another good idea – Put a video on your blog post where you can tell them what you plan to do for your readers, and ask them what they would like to hear you cover with a future video or eBook. This way you get to nail it, and provide real value in giving people what they want.

Send a mail to your list, tell them your story to show them you are a real person, and ask them what they would like to get from you with regards to the particular Niche you are in. Ask them for their help for which you can offer them something of value as a Thank You.

When you create a product around what your prospects want, you get to drill down to the nitty gritty and provide real value. Your subscribers will love you for it.

You may have to send out 20 or more emails to your prospects before you get results. The thing you need to remember is to be persistent and ensure you provide value every single time. Once you get your first sale, you will find that it really builds your confidence, and get you super excited to carry on doing some of the same.

In other words, you want to replicate what you are doing right so you can eventually double if not triple your income.

Websites For Small Business

Friday, June 21st, 2013

A website is undoubtedly one of the best investments you will ever make with your business. No matter what industry you are in, you MUST have a website. The beauty about a website is the many benefits that it offers. People can view your site 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You are able to add all your products and services on there and show your prospects what your business is all about. It saves you time speaking to each prospect while leveraging your time as well. 1000 people can be on your website all at the same time without you having to do anything.

Websites create awareness about your company, expands your brand on the worldwide web and most importantly generates leads and sales.

Building a website can be daunting but there are ways you can go about building one. You can go to,, and many other sites where contractors can bid for your business. Make sure you look at what work they have done in the past and preferably speak to clients that they have worked with to ensure their experience was satisfactory.

Building a website is one thing but building a brilliant website is another. There are a few things you need to know when having your website built. I have had lots of websites built and each time many challenges have been presented. When I find a contractor I use the following check list.

I generally e-mail the contractor 5 websites that I like the look of. Then I decide on which colors I want to use. Generally I stick to blue. This color leans towards the business and corporate look. The website must be easy to navigate and easy on the eyes. I suggest having tabs on the top of the page going from left to right.  The website must load fast. There is nothing more frustrating than a website that takes forever to load. This is bad for you SEO (Search Engine Optimization) rankings and prospects will leave your website immediately.

Don’t be concerned about the initial investment you make on your website. It is without a doubt the best investment you will ever make considering the potential returns you will receive.

Marketing Lesson From The Small Business Mentor

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Today, the Small Business Mentor want to tell you a story that will help you understand the power of marketing done the right way. The thing is this, the lesson learned can be applied by both offline and online business owners all over the world. Although the story being told happened in the U.S, the key marketing principle being demonstrated apply to anyone involved in marketing.

It all happened in good old Portland on a beautiful hot summer day. On driving around motorists would often pass children who are trying to make some extra pocket money selling lemonade. The problem was that most would use the same old white board duct taped to their table with the wording “Fresh Lemonade at only 50 Cents”.

Many would simply pass these stands as they would have their own soft drinks. But, this particular day was different. It wasn’t long before this one gentleman cruising around came to an intersection only to see a youngish girl of around 10 or 12 waving a sturdy board that had flashing neon lights around the outer edge of it. Now, this was different to the same old boring white boards that were commonly used by most kids.

That was not all. The way the ad read intrigued motorists as well. The sign she held up read “Cool Off with Lemonade Freshly Squeezed Right in Front of You.” Unlike other boards, the wording was done in red. That was true advertising brilliance, and got many a motorist to pull off and stand in line for a cup of lemonade. Once you got to the table, you got service with a smile and were given the option to make your choice with the wording “Would you like your lemonade sweet or sour?”

Once you made your choice, you would have the privilege of seeing some magic unfold in front of you. The young girl would take 2 ripe lemons and lay it on her cutting board, quickly slice through it using a steak knife, and swiftly twisted 4 halves, added spoons of sugar, stir it and then drop ice cubes in it. Once she accomplished this feat, she would simply say “That will be $1.00 please”

When asked what prompted her to create the colorful sign and using the catchy headline, she commented that the previous white board did not achieve the desired results in getting people to stop, so she thought of using the strip of old Christmas lights back home and wrote the action she was performing anyway on a pink board instead of a white one. In addition, she managed to create some energy around her stand as passers by were buzzing around her Lemonade Stand. The enjoyed her friendliness, and the prompt way they were being served.

What Do We Learn From This Experience?

First, this young girl took it upon herself to change her marketing message and the way it was presented to attract people to her lemonade stand. Her message and the colourful way it was presented spurred people into action. You must remember that people were feeling hot and had a need to “Cool Off”. This young girl provided the solution by placing the action word “Cool Off” right up front on her advertising board. Then, she personalized her advertising message by putting in the word “You” in it.

The marketing lesson that we can take away from this would be that you need to test your sales message if you find the one you have is not working. Then you would need to rend excellent customer service that is fast and efficient so they will come back for more of the same. You can bet that the motorists, who experienced this, will tell their friends to stop by at this girl’s Lemonade Stand. Have you noticed what she does when her line dies down? She would grab the board and wave it around to attract attention to her stand.

True marketing genius indeed. She would make use of a headline that has a CTA (Call to action), coupled with a sales message that has an enticing benefit attached to it, “freshly squeezed right in front of you.” She would have a close by asking if you would like your lemonade to be sweet or sour, and let you witness the quality of her produce by squeezing fresh lemons. The girl would end it of with a call to action by saying, “That will be $1.00 please”

Let the Small Business Mentor help you to focus every effort that you put into your business toward your customers thereby satisfying their needs by showing you how you to test your market, tweak your messages, and build a solid relationship with your customers both offline and online.

My Small Business Journey (Part 3)

Friday, June 21st, 2013

My friend Matthew promised to guide me so I was ready to rock. He said, “Anthony, I can show you the tools and give you some direction but you have to work this all out yourself. There is no magic bullet, you need to test and try everything yourself.”  Work began at 12 am because Australia was 14 hours ahead of the US. It was a very difficult time as I entered a business with no experience in printing and had to do night shift and for anyone who has tried it they will tell you, it is painful. Your body never adjusts. So here I was ready to start my first business on my own. I didn’t know what a PDF was, didn’t know what CMYK was, didn’t even know what excel was, didn’t know what web hosting was, a webmaster, website template, a server, copy writing  autoresponders? Too bad, I am motivated. Lets just run with it I thought. No more 80 hours a week, this was my destiny. So, to say that I had a steep learning curve in front of me was the understatement of the year.

What I liked about online marketing was the following. This is the criteria I wanted to follow, not what my professor at University taught me.

  1. Can the business run without me one day? Yes
  2. Can it be systemized? Yes
  3. Are the start up costs low? Yes
  4. Is there massive potential? Yes

These are the questions I ask everyone when they have an idea. There is no right or wrong answer to those questions but if you want to have a lifestyle, you really do need other people to manage it for you while you are away from your business.

After 3 years the business was in auto pilot and I never answered an e-mail or phone call ever again. I truly was the boss and had brilliant staff working for me. I was living the dream. Great income, solid growth, unbelievable lifestyle and I was WORKING less than 10 hours a week. I would go to work, check my banking and e-mails, then leave. That was it. I had it all worked out. The term entrepreneur was now ingrained in my head and I wanted to have as many businesses as I could.

I started two more businesses after this from the scratch and used the same principles. I sold the sticker business in 2010 as the Australian dollar got too strong so exporting was useless now. My next challenge was now ahead of me.

My Small Business Journey (Part 2)

Friday, June 21st, 2013

I was now working 80 hours a week and after 2 years I was starting to get really depressed. No more gym, no more holidays, no more partying, no more life. I was in a prison but getting paid for it. One day I was getting a pizza at a girlfriends place and noticed a fridge magnet. On the back of the fridge magnet I noticed a phone number and thought it would be a cool idea for my pizza shop. First thing Monday I called the number in excitement and the guy who answered said “Hello, Mister Magnets, Matthew Bridges speaking.” I went to school with his brother and we spoke at length about fridge magnets. He came over to the restaurant and I ended up ordering these fridge magnets from him. Over a period of a year or so we became good friends and each time I would see him he was pumped.

Matthew would walk in the shop and basically it was like a bright light. Happy, confident, content, he had it all. He was a man on a mission. Every week he would come in and order pizzas and have a new story. I’m going to America to export magnets, I’m setting up a marketing team, I’m doing this, I’m doing that. I was in awe of this man.

I had so much respect for him. Every week I would look forward to him coming in to work. After a while he said to me, “Anthony, no offence to your business but you don’t belong here. Its not about being smarter than everyone at your work but you have so much to offer. You have a job, not a business. You are always working. You need to change your lifestyle”

He handed me a copy of the E myth and I read the book back to front in less than 2 days. I felt like I had been converted. It was the most intoxicating, exhilarating feeling I’d ever had. There was a better way to do things and now this was my once in a lifetime chance to do it.

After a few months of research I decided to start selling promotional stickers to the United States. Matthew was doing Fridge Magnets so basically I was replicating what he did but with a different product. When I told my father I was leaving he said that I was being brainwashed and that you cannot have a lifestyle in business. To prove your manhood you had to endure 80 hours of work a week. That was the sign of a real man according to him. Well DAD, maybe in 1970 but not in the year 2000. Talk about a false sense of reality. My mother was very positive as well, “Anthony, you will never get an opportunity like the pizza shop, you will be begging for your job back. You will amount to nothing, you lazy ——-“, well you get the picture.

My Small Business Journey (Part 1)

Friday, June 21st, 2013

My name is Anthony Khoury and I was born in Melbourne Australia. My father had a small business from the time he migrated to Australia back in the 1960s. He was a hard worker and extremely ambitious. He learned at a young age that you have 2 choices in life. You work with your hands or you work with your brain. It is that plain and simple. From a young age he instilled in me a work ethic and a tough as nails approach to life. Tony (my father) was the most charismatic, easygoing, charming person you over met but if he looked at you the wrong way, then you better start running. He was as tough as nails.

I was forced, yes really, forced to go to University after high school and ordered to do a Bachelor of Economics with a major in marketing. In the late 1980′s Marketing was the big thing and everyone wanted to take this up as a degree. Unfortunately, somewhere across this time period, people got this confused with sales so when you went for a marketing job, you ended up doing telemarketing (God forbid) and door to door sales. Not exactly glamorous.

I got through University, just and then went working in hospitality for 8 years. Running a pizza restaurant with my father was tough but a great experience. At 25 I was at the cross roads in my life. No money, a degree that I didn’t want to use and a very very bad attitude to hard work. Finishing 4 years of University and then going to work? What was my father thinking? What I did know though, was that I wanted my own small business.

Content For Small Business

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Small business used to have a simple formula in the old days. You sell a product or service that someone wants and you earn a profit. These days, it is not that simple. There are so many extra things you can do for your business to improve your brand and your sales. The buzz word these days is “Content.” No matter who I speak to, marketers, SEO companies, entrepreneurs, they always tell me to create content.

Content is basically information that you provide which can be distributed on the web. Examples of content are Blogs, Videos, Press releases, Audio and Articles to name just a few. When you create content you want to give value to your clients. What you say must make a difference to someone’s life. For example, someone may write a blog titled “7 easy ways to lose weight.”

By producing this content (blog) not only is you helping people who are interested in losing weight, you also are establishing yourself as an authority in your industry. Human beings gravitate to experts. If I read a good blog, I will look forward to the next one from that person. At the same time, I will gain interest in what that person is trying to sell. Like it or not, the name of the game is to sell you something. That is what most people who blog try to do and there is nothing wrong with that. By supplying content, you are able to form a relationship with your audience.

This doesn’t happen overnight but at the same time it is not difficult. Content once a week for a small business is enough. Go to other people’s blogs and make comments. When you make a comment, have a link going back to your website. By posting blogs yourself and making comments on other people’s blogs, you are leaving foot prints online. The more foot prints you leave, the more your profile rises and more importantly, brings traffic to your website.

Small Business: The Entrepreneur

Friday, June 21st, 2013

In small business, the term “Entrepreneur” to me has always had a mystique about it. I visualize someone on a yacht sailing the seas without a care in the world, having income without having to work and having a life only the rich and famous dream off. Some describe them as go getters or people who have a vision.

I believe that anyone can become an entrepreneur. You don’t have to start Facebook or Google to be classified as an entrepreneur. If you have a desire to conquer and an energy level that knows no boundaries, you will become a successful entrepreneur. While I was making pizzas years ago, not in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would begin so many different businesses in industries that I had no idea about and eventually write a book on my experiences. You see this is the thing that is so great about small business. You really don’t have any idea how far you can go. As you move along, you bring out qualities that you thought you never had. You improve on these qualities. You become a better negotiator, speaker, listener, salesman and so on.

Sure, you can say that you want to be a millionaire and most people can achieve that goal. What you don’t realize is that becoming a millionaire isn’t the greatest part; it’s the person you become. Take away the bank balance and physically you are pretty much the same person but deep down you are confident, driven and successful. All that fear, those sleepless nights, those lingering doubts have been eroded. You are now a person of stature. You have responsibility, people look up to you, you put food on people’s tables and help employees pay off their mortgages, and you are a distinguished member of the community. Before you were just another start up but now you made it.

I often get asked by people at what stage did I make decisions to start another business or what qualities did I have that helped me spot opportunities. The honest answer is, I don’t know. It just happened. You really just pick it up as you go. You see an opportunity, you look at the worst case scenario,you see if you can add value, then you just go for it because you know nothing is guaranteed. Even after all the experience that you have gained, all the great network of people around you, there is no guaranteed success for your idea.

Even when growing your business, you just figure it out. I may ask my accountant for advice on things but if I want to spend $30,000 on a large direct mail campaign, I can’t speak to him or my bank manager or my neighbor  I just do it. I test it a little, say spend $1,000 and if there is a little response, then I go for it. There is no magic handbook. You need to figure things out and that is why entrepreneurs are so respected because they venture out into the unknown.

On my wall I had a picture frame with the quote, “if you don’t spread your wings, how do you know how far you can fly?” This is my exact point. You just have to go through the motions. That is why business is so exhilarating yet nerve racking at the same time. Your learning curve is enormous. If you were to lose everything one day, you know deep down that you could do it again because you have that knowledge that no one can take away from you. Your spirit, your hunger, drive, ambition, it stays with you forever.

When you see people in their 70′s loving their work, I bet most of them don’t even need to work but they love it. The sense of accomplishment, having a routine, interacting with other humans, business is more than money; it is a lifestyle that people choose instead of having the security of a pay check each week. After what has happened since the GFC, a guaranteed check is not so guaranteed anymore.

An entrepreneur is someone who can see things that others cannot or chooses to see a glass half full. I have been told so many times that my idea wouldn’t work but that just gets me more motivated. You see, my theory is that any idea can work. How much it will work? That’s a different story altogether. So, instead of looking at things negatively, an entrepreneur has the mindset of how can he/she can sell their product or service to the masses while the average person will think of 50 ways on how it will fail. Furthermore, all their supposed friends will encourage their negativity and destroy any chance that person had of bringing their idea to life.

Allot of small business owners really get stuck in the detail of the business especially when they have experience in that industry. An entrepreneur will however, have the end game in mind. For example, when I got into the printing industry, my printer would tell me again and again about how many pixels were in the art work, why sometimes the colors never turned out the same as the proof, where the printer was made in Germany and discussions of that nature. My printer Paul was brilliant at what he did and much of my early success was attributed to his company as he gave me a chance that other printers would not give me.

While I appreciated his technical feedback and analysis, I was more focused on the end result, selling stickers to thousands and thousands of clients. Without being rude, I don’t care about the machine, or who made it or how many pixels there are or who worked on the press, it doesn’t interest me. I want SALES, SALES AND MORE SALES. That is it. Let your staff have these conversations, not you and that is why my designer Joe handled this. My ADD would kick in after 20 seconds because I am not going to increase sales talking about pixelations.

My point is, you don’t have to be a guru on every aspect of the business. A true entrepreneur sees the future and where the business is going. He can see his product all over the world. He doesn’t worry about obstacles because if he does, he will lose focus at the end game. Know your business, know what happens at each stage of the production process but don’t dwell on it. Just sell. Be a leader and show your team where you want them to go and you will truly be a successful entrepreneur.

Business Coaching: Systems Systems Systems!

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Apparently the definition of a system is “an organized and coordinated method; a procedure.”  Well I can tell you that in the beginning, there were no systems in my business.  As I have said from the beginning, I started out with an idea to sell a product on-line.  What followed was a series of ad hock decisions, a lot of trial and error, lot’s of errors, which would eventually form the systems of my business.  There was no “guide” or somebody next to me telling me what to do next.  My gauge for when it was time to change things and develop better operations or “systems, was the business itself.

For example, as I said in the beginning of my business I was running around like a headless chicken, meeting the designer, driving to the printers; I was doing everything.  And that was fine in the beginning because it was all new and I was just so excited that my idea was beginning to flourish.  But after a while, I realized that there had to be a better, quicker way to do things.  And as the number of my customers increased, I realized that I could not continue operating the business this way, because I was being stretched too far and just not keeping up.  It was time to move to the next level and to find a better way to do things, so I could be more productive and meet the needs of my growing customer base.

An example of one of these systems was our ordering system.  The way we received orders was via e-mail, fax and phone.  When I started out on my own, I devised order forms with order numbers.  And over time, as orders became more detailed, and required more information, the layout and content of the order forms became more sophisticated as a result.  When an order was placed, the paperwork would go to the artwork designers so they could put together a proof and e-mail this to the customer.

Without going into too much detail, the ordering system involved a step by step process from when an order form is first filled in, to when the customer finalizes their payment and their order is sent to print, to orders being closed (that is, after the customer receives their product), and these orders are then filed away in folders in alphabetical order of the company or person’s name (this system eventually changed over time as well).  Over time this process was constantly fine tuned and I have to say that I was quite proud of where we ended up with it, because it eventually ran like clockwork.  This was important because it allowed us to implement another process of following up orders, i.e., orders that had received proofs, orders that were waiting for payments to be finalized, etc. When I do business coaching, I tell my clients to systemize their business from A to Z.

We operated with this ordering system for a while, but then we found that as a lot of customers were placing re-orders, it was such an arduous task locating their original order to find out what they had ordered previously.  The reason I say it was a time consuming process is because by this stage we had accumulated a lot of archive folders (where we stored all orders that had been closed off), and therefore had to be stored in a different room in our building.

It just wasted a lot of time.  It was around this time that I came across a software package called “ Sales force”.  It was a database system that we could customize to suit our business and products.  After some initial training, we implemented the system into our business, which meant that whenever we received an order, the order would be entered into Sales force straightaway and therefore no paperwork was required.

This was a much more efficient way of doing things because it eliminated the use of paper and everything about an order or the company/person that placed the order could be accessed with the click of a mouse. And when customers placed a re-order, we could access this order either by their name or previous order number. In addition to this, we could run reports and do analyses on our sales.  For example, if we wanted to find out which customers placed the most orders, or which products were being ordered the most, etc.  When we implemented this database system it became a turning point in our company because I remember we were all so happy and relieved to have a system that was easy to use and allowed us to work more efficiently.

Looking back, I found that we changed and developed different areas of the business as their need arose.  An example of this is in the beginning when I would receive endless phone calls from customers all asking the same question “where are my stickers?” This actually used to annoy me because even though I had tracking numbers, I just did not have the time to track every customers’ package.  Remember, I was doing everything on my own in the beginning, and if I had to respond to every customer that called and track their individual packages I would get nothing else done.

It wasn’t until I employed my admin/salesperson and warned her about these calls that she suggested, “why don’t you e-mail the tracking numbers to the customers so they can track their own packages and therefore leave you alone?”  I remember thinking “what a great idea!” Although it might seem so simple, it was something that I probably didn’t even think of because I was so involved in every minute detail of the business.  So from then on, after every package was shipped out, every customer automatically received an e-mail with their tracking numbers.  And this process became formed another part of the daily running of the business.

If there is only one rule you need to take from business coaching, systemize everything and you will be on the right track to small business success.

Small Business: Entrepreneur Myths

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

“You don’t have to work 9 to 5″

Although this might seem to be the case to an outsider, the reality is vastly different, especially when you are starting out in small business.  When you start a small business on your own, you are doing absolutely everything.  So instead of working 9 to 5, you are probably working from 7 until midnight and thereafter.  And this will go on for some time until you reach a point when you know you need to employ somebody else.  But your hours don’t stop there.  Although you may have offloaded some of the duties to your employee, your free time then needs to be spent on other areas of your business that perhaps you had been neglecting because you were stretched so thin and did not have the time to do it.

If you think that once you employ staff you can sit back and watch the money roll in, you are sadly mistaken.  The truly successful businessperson is the one that is constantly working on their business.  When you are very passionate about your product or idea, you virtually live, breath and eat it.  I can definitely say that the business became my life.  Sure, on some days you may decide to leave the office at 4 pm to do some personal things, but by the evening, you’ll find yourself back on your laptop whether it be at the office or at home, writing new e-mail blasts, thinking of other ways of increasing traffic to your website, etc.  And this is not just for the first few months of starting your business; it could be for the first few years.

I’m not telling you this to turn off any budding entrepreneurs out there; on the contrary.  I want people to remove those rose colored glasses and see what it really takes to start up a business and successfully maintain it.

Small Business Marketing To Grow Your Business

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

When you begin your guerrilla marketing campaign the best place to start is to start with a seven sentence marketing plan. This will make your focus razor sharp. I find that when you write a marketing plan you get to know your product or service from a different angle. You actually stop and work out what you have many more advantages over your competition than you previously thought. Sometimes, you even realize that your plan is not strong enough and needs further work. Either way, this is where you start.

The seven questions are:

  1. What is the specific purpose of my marketing plan?
  2. What is your niche market?
  3. What is your target audience?
  4. What is your identity?
  5. What marketing weapons will you use?
  6. What is my competitive advantage?
  7. What will be your marketing spend as a percentage of your sales?

Once again, what does it cost you? Nothing. You see there are 2 kinds of business people in the world. The business owner who just complains all the time and when they are busy they are happy, telling the whole world how busy they are and when they are quiet they blame the economy, their staff, the landlord, the customers, everyone is to blame but the business owner. This person WAITS for things to happen. The other business owner plans, thinks, dreams, ponders and always looks for a better way, even the smallest thing that can improve their business. They MAKE things happen. A marketing plan will help your small business grow and give it direction versus just running with it.

Business Coach – Don’t Be A Salesperson; Be A Problem Solver

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

I tell all my coaching clients that sales is the one skill you have to master and it is not very hard to do.

Before I started my business, I knew nothing about sales.  Sure, if you asked me about pizzas, I could tell you why they’re fantastic, but let’s face it, if a person walks into a restaurant; they are usually guaranteed to buy something without your sales skills. So once again, I was entering into a whole new world.

What I did know was that I had a product that I believed was superior in the printing industry and I was ready to tell anybody who would listen. I was never formally trained to be a salesperson.  Everything I learnt was self-taught, and through my own experience, I gathered the relevant tools and skills which I think are most useful and effective when you are selling any product. Although I sold online, I would do door to door sales after work was finished. Picture this, I sell online to the US from 12 am to 8 am, get 3 hours sleep, then do door to door sales in Australia. It was exhausting and stressful but I didn’t care.

Failure was an option. I learnt pretty quickly that when I stopped trying really hard, sales would just flow. Whenever I tried to remember a script or tried to SELL, it rarely worked. It got to the point where I would turn up to a business owners door and simply say, “Hi, I know you’re busy and I don’t want to waste your time but I have something that that I think will really benefit your business” That was it, very simple.

This did 2 things. One, it made the prospect comfortable and he could relax and more importantly you have set up the scene for a potential sale. The biggest challenge for any kind of sale is the “I’m not interested” response. I have said it 1000 times myself and smile when I actually say it because I look forward to see what the salesperson says next. If it is bad, I will hang up, if it is good, I will listen. You literally have a short period of time to make a good impression and set the scene so there are a few things that I have learned over the years. Sales are without a doubt the lifeblood of your business, your oxygen.

If this runs out… well you know what happens, it’s over, real fast. This is business coach rule 101, sales cures all evils.

Small Business Commandments Part 2

Thursday, June 20th, 2013


  1. I will treat my staff with the utmost respect. When you truly understand that every human being has feelings no matter how much you may dislike them, you eventually realize that we are all the same. When you treat your staff well, they will be good to you in my experience. They will stay back, come in early, work harder, be punctual and rarely leave. In 8 years I had one person leave because my staff loved my easygoing approach. Be approachable not militant. You will reap the rewards, trust me on this one.
  2. Network as much as you can: I cannot emphasis how important this is. I know you are all busy but please try and speak to one person a month who has a business and you will be surprised what you can learn. I recommend successful people as you have plenty to learn from them. Go there with a list of questions. Ask them what they are up to, what projects they are currently involved in, what marketing are they doing? People love talking about themselves. Its human nature. You will walk away with so many ideas that you will not know what to do with yourself.
  3. Opportunities are everywhere: Unfortunately there are many people out here who do not see opportunities. Everything is negative and all the good opportunities are taken already. This is complete rubbish. Everywhere I go I look for opportunities. When I’m on the plane travelling, I always find great things in magazines, new gadgets, investment opportunities, entrepreneurs telling their stories and so on. When I’m overseas I look at each ad on TV and wonder if I could bring that idea back to Australia.

My point is, ideas do not show up on your door step. Even if your best friend has one, he’s not going to tell you. You need to have your eyes and ears wide open. Talk to your accountant, solicitors and ask them if they know anyone who may need to sell something because they are in financial hardship. Be pro active.

Business Coach: Small Business Commandments

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

There are so many ideas when it comes to small business. Some are good and some are not so good.

I have a couple of commandments that I like to follow when I coach small business owners.

  1. Never ever ever ever ever ever ever give up” Winston Churchill. You will be tested again and again to test your resolve. There will be days where you want to go back to the security of your job. This is the time where you need to be strong, emotionally strong that is. If business was easy everyone would be doing it. Franchises are successful because everything is done for you, you have systems in place. Even with a franchise, there is no guarantee of success. I remember one morning (1 am) when I started my shift, the Internet was done, the phone line wasn’t working and I did not get one sale for the next 3 days. How did you think that felt? I was destroyed. I looked around my study with my motivational hand written pieces of paper stuck to the wall with blue tac. One of them said, “There is a silver lining in every cloud” I saw no silver lining. All I saw was misery and a feeling of helplessness. However, I dusted myself off and got up again. The roller coaster ride of business is something that cannot be explained until you experience it. You can give me all the motivation and tutorials you want but when that phone stops ringing, all your fears come to the surface and that little voice in your head creates havoc. This will happen for the rest of your business life. Get on with it, be positive and do your best but never give up.
  2. When you succeed, do not change as a person, show empathy. Time and time again I have seen successful people bragging about how busy they are and that they cannot keep up with customers. This trait is embarrassing and not recommended. The majority of people lie anyway in my experience. You don’t need to advertise that you are busy. People are smarter than you think; they can work it out for themselves. You see, here lies the problem. If you are arrogant, then one day your business closes down, what do you do then? Do you hide in shame? Do you crawl under a rock? No. Do not get in this position. People will resent you. When people ask hows business, you say business is ok, we are seeing improvements. That is empathy. You should tell people you are successful without big noting yourself. Nothing makes my father prouder than when people tell him how humble his son is. I take after dad. He is the same guy who arrived on a boat in Australia, nothing has changed. Sure, he has a better house and car but deep down he is still the same guy who grew up in a strict household.

Business Coach: The Small Business Dreamer

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

I truly believe everyone on this planet has dreams for a better life. Whether it is financial or spiritual, most of us aspire to be in a better place. Personally, I have always wanted the easy road. I found out quickly that this road doesn’t exist. Studying was never my thing and I couldn’t work with my hands. The only thing I enjoyed was sport and TV. Both gave me freedom and escape. Doing the same thing each day is without a doubt the worst possible scenario for some people while others enjoy it. I am unable to do this and that is the reason I got out of the food industry because it was repetitive and boring. There had to be another way and there is in small business.

Many people I associate with work 9 to 5. They enjoy their work but 2 things stand out to me when they talk about their work. Firstly, they get in a rut and start questioning whether they are in the right job, could they earn more, and their boss doesn’t appreciate them and so on. Secondly, they have no freedom. They have to ask their boss if and when they can take time off.

I often get asked, “I have an idea but I’m scared to start a business, it is risky”. This is a common theme and I understand how you completely. What if it fails? How do I pay the mortgage? I don’t have much in savings and don’t want to risk it. These are completely valid fears and we all go through this at one time or another. My view on this is that you do not have to leave your job. I left mine because I was single and living at home still. The conservative way to handle this is to keep your job and do something you love on the side.

Start slow. There is no rush. Keep your expenses low. Mentor someone, sell products on weekends, and write an eBook. There are plenty of ways to create an extra income. If this takes off, then you can leave your day job and work on your business full time.

I often start with my coaching clients, what is your dream? What do you really want to achieve in small business? Write it down and you will achieve it …………

Family & Small Business: Do They Mix?

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

I think this topic can be a controversial one, because it usually conjures up images of either positive or negative experiences for people.  Fortunately and I guess unfortunately for me, I have had a mixture of both experiences.  The only good thing coming out of the negative side is I can now share this with you.

Every family dynamic is different, and I know there are a lot of families whose relationships with one another are quite dysfunctional, vitriolic, full of jealousy, etc.  So if you have this, you can probably guarantee they won’t be the best person/people with whom to mix business with. And let’s face it, there are a lot of people who probably consider their friends as family more than their own family.

Looking back at my experiences, I can now clearly see the reasons why having family involved were an integral part of running any of my businesses.  The first thing to point out is that I was and still am lucky enough to have a good relationship with a particular family member and for that reason, I trust them explicitly.  This is probably one of the prerequisites of having your family involved in anything in your life, whether it is business or personal issues.  Because I trust this person completely, this was a huge advantage for me.

For example, when it came to the financial side of things, it was a huge relief to have someone on “my side” that I could trust not to steal from me (e.g., the cash register in our restaurant).  When money was going missing from the cash register in many of our restaurants/cafes, unfortunately it ended up being the manager, every time. With a trusted family member you don’t have this worry.  I could give them access to all of my bank accounts online so they could do my banking, including transferring funds between accounts, paying wages, including their own wages, and so on.  And I could still sleep soundly at night.  Now I don’t know about anybody else, but you do not give this kind of access to just anybody.  As I’m writing this, I realize that I’ve probably taken this for granted because I cannot imagine what everybody else does.  Maybe they have a trustworthy accountant, bookkeeper, partner/spouse?  This is just one advantage, but as you can imagine, a significantly important one.

On the flip side  I had the opposite experience with an untrustworthy family member, and it cost me a fortune. They would sometimes not turn up to work, or come to work and then disappear for hours without telling anybody.  And I would find this out from my other employees or by going onto the computer and seeing that for a block of 3 or 4 hours, no e-mail inquiries were answered.  Or the next day I would wonder why we had very few orders come through.  It went on for years, even after their first, second and fiftieth chance.  Now you’re probably wondering “you idiot, why didn’t you get rid of them immediately?”  And my answer is, it’s just not that simple.  If it was just an employee or business partner, with no family ties, you would fire them on the spot and could cut them out of your life and write off the loss as a bad debt.

However, with family, and this is one of the tricky and frustrating parts of involving them in business, you cannot just dispel them from your life, and not talk to them again.  Well, not my family anyway. I know a lot of families have broken down because of similar incidents, but the way I was raised was to always love and support my family, no matter what.  Call it emotional blackmail, call it what you will, but that kind of sentiment is so hard to live by, especially if your family member has been partly responsible for the demise of your business.  But a lot of other people don’t operate this way, and will inevitably cut ties with their family member.  The point is, mixing business with the wrong or untrustworthy family member, has devastating repercussions.  For three reasons,

(1) the financial and psychological damage that this causes you,

(2) the extraordinary difficulty overcoming this experience psychologically because you are forever linked with family and therefore they will be a constant reminder of the carnage they caused you, and

(3) this type of experience can cause the break down of an entire family, especially when people begin taking sides. And that is the main point I want to make here.  That is, when you have this negative experience in a normal situation, you may lose a business partner or an employee and you can usually move on.  But when it is family, the big risk is that you will lose your bother, sister, cousin, brother or sister in law, parent, etc.  The latter is definitely a lot riskier and therefore a decision not to be made lightly.

Small Business: Customer Feedback

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013
  • One thing I’ve learnt is to always get feedback from your customers.  For example, if you send out a product you should always ring them or email them a week later and ask how they found it.  You would be very surprised.  I’ve found that when I did this I got all kinds of responses; even some people saying they didn’t receive my product so don’t ever underestimate the power of what your clients think.  Always ask them what did you find good in the product, can I make it better? The thing is, you may have a customer who after receiving your product wanted nothing to do with your company ever again, but because you rang them and showed them that you cared, and appreciated what they did for you, well then, they definitely want to do business with you again.  So not only are you making them happy you’re also trying to figure out ways to improve your business.  Examples are: your packaging may have broken while they got your product, or the product wasn’t what they expected, you were going to give them 1000 printed labels and instead they got, say, 900; and believe me some people do count.  The amount of reasons why people will not come to your business ever again is mind boggling so don’t ever assume that just because people received your product they’re happy.  Always do that so that in the future so you can make your future prospects and clients much happier.
  • Customer feedback for your small business is essential in improving your product or service in the future.

Businesses, Hold Them Or Sell Them?

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

At some stage in your business life you will encounter the situation of whether to keep your business or sell it. This can be quite daunting for so many reasons. However, there are some rules you can go by before you make that all important decision.

In my situation it was just before the GFC that I decided that I had had enough of my business. My passion was gone, I wasn’t willing to move to the US to take it to the next level, the dollar was getting stronger which was detrimental to me and I wanted a new challenge. Basically I was done. I thought I had a buyer but at the last minute they pulled out so I decided to hang on. The GFC hit and then the business wasn’t as profitable as it once was. In hindsight I should have made more of an effort to sell it before the GFC but we can’t turn back the clock. A few valuable lessons were learned during this time.

In my opinion, it is good to sell your business in the following circumstances.

  1. Your passion is gone. When you wake up in the morning and don’t want to go to work day in, day out, it’s time to go.
  2. Your business has reached its peak (in your eyes that is) and you cannot do anymore to grow the business. If all you see is dark clouds and sales are in a downward trend, it’s time to leave.
  3. If you receive an incredible offer that is hard to resist, take it. You can use this money to have a well earned break and then use this money to start another business venture.

If you can help it, do not run things into the ground. Most people when they sell, neglect their business. Their stock is low, their attitude is bad, and the work area is untidy and so on. You do not want this. A potential buyer will smell fear and desperation and you will receive much less than your business is worth. If you decide to sell, you want the new owner to walk into a successful and upbeat environment. They will have their own ideas on what they can do to improve the business. Just make sure that they are excited about the prospect of buying your business. Keep marketing and stay focused, I cannot overemphasize this enough. A sale can take months to even years, so you need to carry on your business as normal as you can.

If you are unsure about selling, believe me I still was even though I didn’t want it anymore, there are some other options out there.

  1. If the business is still making a good profit, let someone else manage it. Tell them you will be coming in once a month and that they are responsible for everything. Give them a bonus in their salary. They will love the opportunity to step up and earn more cash.
  2. Bring in a business partner. They can pay you half of what the business is worth and run the place for you. This way, you get a nice cash injection as well as keeping future profits. If after a while you just don’t want to be there at all, ask your partner to buy you out completely. This is a brilliant strategy for people who just cannot let go but still want to have some share in a business.
  3. If your business can be improved, please hold onto it. It is much easier to improve a business that is running than to start from scratch all over again.

I have seen many business owners sell for the wrong reason. They get bored and lose enthusiasm. Take a vacation. Sometimes that’s all you need. Selling something you have created is a massive decision so you want to be sure that you are making the right one. I looked at my business as a baby as I was there from day one. It is an emotional decision so try to be as less emotional as possible if you can.

Don’t ever take for granted what you have. Only sell if you really must. If I stayed open I would have eventually shut down due to the strong currency at the time. I was better selling it and getting something versus nothing.

If the dollar was weaker there is no way I would have sold it even if my passion was lagging. The weak dollar along with no passion was the last straw for me. Think carefully when you sell.

When people ask me what they should do I usually tell them the following ”If you sell, be happy, you made the right decision. If you stay, be happy, you made the right decision. Don’t have any regrets. Be comfortable with your decision and move on.”

My Small Business Beginning

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

I could tell you in detail about every single step that I took, every problem that I encountered, but I’m not here to bore you with logistics.  The point I want to illustrate is just how much I needed to know and learn, beyond switching on a computer.  And you don’t realize how much is involved until you progress through each stage.  If somebody had told me what lay ahead for me in my “business venture” after the fact, I’m not sure if I would have put myself through all the pain.  But was it worth it?  Absolutely.

No pain, no gain, or no risk, no reward.  Whichever motto you align yourself with, the underlying message is, if you don’t put in the work, you won’t achieve your desired outcome.  The problem is, when we look at rich and successful people, we have this perception that these individuals are special, untouchable, have a special gift or knack for business.   Because they make it look glamorous and easy.  I can tell you right now, it is neither of those things.  You know what it is? It’s going through the motions, every day, no matter how trivial, boring, frustrating it might be, to get to that end point.  It is hard work.  And the sooner you accept it, the less painful and enduring it becomes.

There was a guy at my gym who played table tennis professionally. He looked as though he was born with a racket in his hand. I asked him what made him so special? He told me he wasn’t special. He just hit the ball every day from as long a she could remember and it got easier and easier each day. He couldn’t stand doing some exercises each day but his coach made him do it. This was called discipline. Brilliance doesn’t happen when you perform some days and don’t bother training other days. You must be your best each and every day. When you’re going through hell, you keep going (Winston Churchill) If business was easy and being the best was easy, everyone on the planet would be a superstar but that is not how it works. When you see successful people with all the trappings of success you make excused like they were born with money or their parents are rich. This may be true sometimes but more likely they worked like crazy. That is why the rewards are so high because not everyone gets there.

I always tell people when they have a business that God is testing them. He is making you go through all kinds of pain before you succeed. You know why? He wants to see how bad you want it. Do you expect to be a millionaire in a few weeks? Does the Wimbledon champion win the tournament after training a few years? No. They hit the ball for 5 plus hours a day from when they are practically babies. You must work hard, harder than anyone you now.

While you’re reading this you’re probably thinking, “gosh when does it get easier?”  The answer to this is, yes.  But not for long.  The journey of starting and developing your business does not move in a linear fashion.  There are peaks and troughs, and this is why it can be such a roller coaster ride.  After I eventually employed a great designer, who also became my “ all rounder” for the business, I eventually moved out of my parents’ study and into a small townhouse.  This was a pivotal moment for not only my business, but also for myself,  because I was physically moving from the security of my parents’ place and out on my own with my “baby” which was both exciting and daunting at the same time.  As I said earlier, with each stage that you progress into, lay new challenges.  When I hired my first employee, I had to learn about salaries, wages, superannuation, and Work Cover  again, all foreign and all of which did not interest me but unfortunately was a necessary part of running the business.

When I look back, everything that I did and each step that I took for this business was a first for me.  I learnt everything as I went along.  The further I got into developing my business, the more irrelevant that degree on my wall began to appear.  Anything I already knew or thought I knew, could not and did not prepared me for this ride.  And I say this in a positive and inspiring note, because this reinforces my views earlier on the rich and successful.  That is, anybody with an idea and enough tenacity and drive, is capable of achieving their desired outcome.

Small Businesses: Myths # 1

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

“You need to be smart and educated to succeed in business”

I  look back at high school and see all the guys I used to go to school with that were A grade students. We caught up at a reunion not long ago and I chatted extensively to them. Only one of them was doing well in a large stock broking firm. The rest were just getting along and complaining about having large mortgages and not living the life they thought they would have. When I told them that I ran several successful businesses they were dumb struck. They could not imagine that I would be successful based on my high school performance.

They figured that because they mastered high school that they would master the rest of their lives. Unfortunately society has ingrained us to think that once you graduate from school, you will have the white picket fences and an endless income stream. The problem is, people stop learning when they leave school. I’ll be honest, I hated school. I was okay at it but hated studying because I knew even back then that I would not use this knowledge in real life. I used to come first in multiplication races and I know now that we use multiplication all the time, this is a tool that works in the real world. Learning algebra, geometry or just having a degree doesn’t help that much I believe.

I had 8 choices on what University I wanted to go to and the only one that accepted me was my last choice, the one that I did not want to go near.  I was embarrassed when I got accepted in the marketing course. After University, I educated myself on selling, marketing, leadership, negotiating. I use this everyday and see the fruits of my labor today.

If you are prepared to develop yourself and have an incredible desire to succeed, then forget having hang-ups on high school. The most successful people on the planet today never went to University. If I had my time again, I would not have gone either.

How To Hire A Great Assistant

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Many people look at resumes and think they have found the perfect assistant but I never found this to be the case. Although it states their qualities and experience, you never really know how qualified a person is until you interview them.

A resume only tells you so much.

I always have a list of 10 questions to ask them and write down what their response is during the interview. Some questions relate to what they know about the job and what they know about the company. I’m always impressed by someone who takes the time to go through my website and learn about the company. It’s a small thing but it shows that they are keen on working for me.

Other questions I ask relate to how they handle certain situations, whether they want to stay in the company long term and what salary they are after. If their salary is way above what I’m prepared to pay then I omit them from my list. There is no point wasting their time or mine.

Finally, I get them to type for me and demonstrate to that they can do research on the Internet. This shows whether or not the potential employee is cool under pressure. It’s a simple task yet some employees get very nervous and start making mistakes. I want someone who is confident. This simple task can weed out those employees who will crack under pressure.

In my experience and those of many other entrepreneurs I’ve come in contact with, a great assistant is somebody that we can trust, both personally and professionally.  An assistant will often be asked to undertake tasks that are personal, for example, organizing dinners, holidays, etc., so they are privy to a lot of personal information.

No boss wants their personal details being aired for the whole company to review.   I cannot tolerate office gossipers, and if a potential assistant is one of them, believe me they won’t last because everything always gets back to the boss.  So although people would love to share some juicy gossip about their boss and their personal lives, if an assistant wants to keep their boss happy and therefore keep their job, they will practice restraint and discretion.

A personal assistant’s personality is extremely important.  Some people want a no-nonsense, serious type of person they know will get the job done.  Personally, I want someone who not only can get the job done, but someone who also has a bit of a sense of humor, is gregarious and has a good energy about them, but can still carry themselves professionally in any situation.

Because you have so much contact with your assistant, exchanging ideas, going to meetings together, lunches, conferences, etc., you need to be able to “click” with that person. Just like any relationship you might have in your life.  If I’m going to spend a lot of time with somebody, I don’t want someone sullen who is just going to bring my mood down.  I cannot afford to have somebody like that around me.  It sucks the life out of me and everyone else around you.

A reference check is always important. An assistant who has worked for allot of companies id beneficial yet if they don’t last long, this sets off red flags for me. I want an assistant who is stable and makes my job easier, not one who jumps from job to job every few months.

Why Now Is The Best Time To Be A Small Business

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

In no other time in history do entrepreneurs have the ability to reach so many people around the world with what is available to them.

Through social media platforms such as twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube  and Google plus, you can connect to thousands and thousands of people for free. Friends in turn tell their friends and the word can be spread about your business like never before.

In the old days you would spend money on advertising through direct mail, radio and newspaper advertisement to name just a few. You would just send out your message and hope that people would respond. Believe me, I know. I remember sending out 3,000 letters which cost me a fortune in printing costs plus postage. One person called me. I was shattered.

These days, it is different.

There has been a huge shift to business going online versus having a shop on the street. It is much cheaper. Why?

  1. No big lease hanging over your head
  2. Your costs are extremely low when all you need is a computer connection, a website, a telephone and a great attitude
  3. Wages: outsource overseas for as little as $2 an hour.
  4. You can automate your business once you put systems in place
  5. Depending on your business, you can work anywhere in the world and not be a part of the rat race from 9 to 5

The world is getting more connected through computers and smart phones. The growth has been phenomenal. More and more people are buying online. You can profit from this as well.

No more local business. You can sell your product worldwide without moving an inch.

You can advertise with videos by using your laptop or smart phone instead of a sophisticated studio set up. In minutes your message can be spread whereas before you needed to go on TV in order to do this. What’s better is that people give you permission to send them your message. People are sharing this info with their friends. You can have access to an online community.

Other ways to spread your message is via blogs, podcasts, apps, mobile phone. Your leverage is incredible. Combine this with off page marketing; you can have a serious business like no other time in history.

Don’t want to leave your job? No problem. Go on your computer after work. Check your business e-mails during your lunch break. You can have the best of both worlds. You don’t need to be anywhere else. As long as you can access your e-mail, you can be in business.

No customers? You can use affiliates to get your message across. They already have a list of people they have a connection with. You can promote your product through them.

You can build your own database from scratch. Offer people value and they will gladly give your permission to speak to them.

Experience? You don’t need it. There are thousands of people who can help you no matter what it is. Everything you need to know is at the click of a button. The resources we have today thanks to our good friends at Google make it easy to learn anything you need to know.

How To Put A Business On Autopilot

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

The best way to put a business in auto pilot is to put systems in place.

This will not only help you put an end to the cycle of putting out spot fires but also let you work ON your business and not in it. Once your business runs like a well oiled machine, you don’t need to worry about the menial tasks. You will now have time to look at the bigger picture which is what business is all about.

You need to set up an operations manual and keep it simple. It does not need to be fancy and you do not need to pay some consulting firm to do it for you.

The following is what I did to make my life so much easier.

Start with a table of contents. The first chapter is opening duties and closing duties. What exactly does your business do when they open the doors? This can include turning off the alarm, checking your website is working, checking your phone lines work especially if you have a toll free number, check your message bank, open the mail, resume your Google ad words campaign and anything else that needs to be done that gets the day started.

Next, I had a marketing section which includes how to follow up clients, how to up sell, how to answer objections, e-mail templates etc. This section basically reminds the staff of what they need to do every single day with the marketing of the business as well as templates in case they lose them. This ensures consistency every day of the year. DO NOT expect your employees to remember everything. You need to lead them. This system makes it dummy proof.

Next, we have FAQs. I cannot overemphasize how important this is. Have you ever had an employee ask you the same question again and again? We all have. A FAQs section will get rid of this problem forever. Each time someone asks me a question, I tell them to go to FAQs. If that question is not in the FAQS, I then ask the employee to add it to this section. After a while, your employees will never ask you a question again.

Not only does an operations manual put your business in auto pilot, it also makes training easier. As soon as a new employee comes on, you can show them, what your opening and closing duties are, what your marketing is structured around and most important the FAQs section which puts out all the spot fires.

Defining Your Competitive Edge

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

In my opinion, the most important a thing you will ever learn about business is Competitive Edge. What is your competitive edge? Why should I as a customer do business with you?

If you can answer this question, then you are already a winner. I have asked this question to many business owners and the majority of the time all I get is, “Well, I give good service”. That is not a competitive edge. Good service is expected. When people buy from you, they expect good service. Good service is paramount and is important but what is really important is the step before they order. What makes you different?

If I want to do roofing at my home and say I get 5 roofing guys to come over. What are they going to do to make me choose them over their competitors? Is it price? Is it the speed of their quote? I hate waiting forever for quotes. The faster I receive the quote the more chance I have with going with that company.

Is it the company who brings over a glossy brochure? Is it the way they present themselves? Do they have a showroom? Do they have superior products? Did they even bother to follow up their quote? Were they helpful?

All these factors influence the way a prospect thinks. Do not just answer the phone; give a quote and then hope. So many people do this.

Why not help the client? I mean really help them. Spend time with them; show them that you care, that you can save them money, that you really want the job, that you will solve their problem.

After you quote them, call them back a few days later. It is so simple yet many business owners do not do this. These are simple competitive advantages that you can have with a bit more effort.

I would rather give 10 quotes and get 3 jobs instead of quoting 100 and only getting 10 jobs.

Think about what you can do better than your competitors and your sales will skyrocket.

Learn From My Mistakes

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

When I got into small business I had no idea how much work was involved. I was confronted by employing staff, marketing, building a website from scratch, no experience, no pricing model and running the business from the other side of the world.

Along the way, I have learned many many lessons.

  • How to automate a business
  • How to grow a business
  • How to employ great staff
  • How to deal with suppliers
  • How to negotiate
  • How to spot opportunities
  • How to sell
  • How to do marketing
  • How to listen to my customers
  • Search engine optimization
  • E-mail marketing to name just a few

You did not need to spend years developing these skills. You do not need to make mistakes like I did. You are able to learn all this quickly and easily and transform your business to a whole new level.

I can show you the right way to grow your business and sustain that growth.

How To Grow A Business And What To Look Out For

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Everybody’s dream is to grow their business enough so that they can be financially independent. However, you need to be aware of a few things while your business is growing.

  1. While your sales are growing, is your bottom line growing as well? Your expenses get higher every year through suppliers putting up their prices as well as landlords. You need to make sure that your profit stays the same. You may need to raise your prices.
  2. Business owners expend by increasing their advertising or leasing a bigger office. However, is their bottom line the same? I have heard many business owners say they made more money when they had 3 staff versus the 10 they have now. If you have 10 staff that are very busy that’s great, your sales will follow. However, when you employ more staff, you need to make sure that you keep them busy. There is no point GROWING and look busy yet at the end of the day you have less to show for it. More workers can mean more headaches so be very careful when employing your staff.
  3. You need to consolidate when your business grows. Stop, check all facets of your business, then expand again. Many businesses have lost everything when they expanded too quickly especially when they open several locations. Each location you open up exposes your risk. All of a sudden you are accountable to different landlords. If one location goes bad, it will spoil all the good work you have done with the other locations. Getting bigger does not always mean more profit.
  4. You need to reinvest in the business. I am a firm believer in putting back in the business to help you grow. It is great to take away all the profits but you also need to put money aside. Cash is king for any small business. There will come a time that you want to spend allot of money on renovating, advertising, developing new products. The extra funds you have can be used to pay for this and expand your business allot faster.
  5. Your competitors will try and copy everything you do. I have been through this many times. They will copy your website, your guarantee and your pricing. You have to stay ahead. You must always be building your database and have your marketing running like a well oiled machine. People can copy you but they are not you. The way you answer the phone, the way you sell, the quality of your products, the joint ventures that you have, your experience are all things that will differentiate you from your competitors. You must always be at the top of your game. Everybody wants to be number 1 in their industry. Once you get there you must make sure you stay there no matter what.

Do You Need Business Coaching?

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

There is a saying that says no matter what you achieve, there is always someone out there who is better. A better house, a better job, a better partner, you name it. We live in a competitive world with everyone trying to outdo each other.

Sometimes, you need peoples help. Whether it is a personal trainer for fitness or a financial planner for your finances. Business is the same. You need someone who has been there before and can hold your hand so that your business reaches its full potential.

Most business owners are extremely busy. Managing staff, paying bills, answering the phone, talking to clients, going to meetings, the list is endless. There is always something to do. The problem with this is that you do not always get the chance to sit down and actually look at where your business is going.

Is it growing?

Is my marketing effective?

Can I implement more marketing strategies?

What is my market share?

What are my competitors doing?

Are my prices too cheap or expensive?

How do I expand?


Most of us get into a business not knowing everything and that is normal. However, a business coach will help you with all your problems and more importantly, keep you accountable. Having someone there each week watching over you makes a he difference. Otherwise, you end up procrastinating and make every excuse to put things off.

“I’m too busy; I will do some marketing next month. I’m too busy to call up clients to give me testimonials. I’m too busy to start my social media campaign”. We are all busy but having someone push you will make a massive difference to your business growth.

A business coach will see things that you won’t through their experience and the fact that they can stop, pause, assess your business without running around all day. The absolute key to your business success is to work on your business and not in it. This term is used allot these days. I don’t mean sitting at home doing nothing. Going to work is great and we all get allot of satisfaction from it. What I mean is when you are at work, you can sit down, look at where your business can improve and implement those strategies accordingly.

Running around, answering the phones, cleaning, making deliveries is all part and parcel but if you cannot have a profitable and growing business, you will face many hurdles later on.

A business coach will help you so that this does not happen.

How To Prepare A Simple Business Plan

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013
  • When you start a business you do not need a fully blown business plan as there are too many unknowns. You never really know how many sales you are going to get, how many leads, what your expense will be exactly as they usually go over budget. What you can do is factor in the expenses that you can control. That’s what I do. For r example, when anyone asks me about the initial stages I always ask for exact figures on the following.
  • Firstly, what will your rent be? Will you run the biz from home? Will you be working at your current job and try and set up your new business after hours? Will you be operating on a main road or in a shopping complex?
  • Next I want to work out incorporation costs and accounting. Computer expenses, office furniture, building the website and internet expenses. Setting up businesses have been under 5K for me generally so worst case scenario I will end up with a computer and some office furniture if it doesn’t work out. As I have said previously, it is a small risk in the scheme of things. Think of it as a vacation you never had. Vacations are memories, success is forever.
  • My purchases are next. What stock do I need to purchase to get the business running? I then work out how many sales I need to break even. When I began the printing business I figured that I needed to make 10 sales a week to break-even. That was two sales a day. It was a no brainer. Rent was zero because the business was online and I was working from my mum’s study, little wages because I employed someone part time and no machinery as all the printing was outsourced. My only other investment was advertising to bring traffic to the website.
  • That is the formula I use each and every time I start a business. Now that I have more experience I move onto a second stage. The first stage only changes if you start factoring in putting on staff, having a large showroom, buying machinery. This involves a complex business plan. I want to specialize in low risk, big potential, don’t get my hands dirty kind of success. Sitting on a beach without the headache of large rental and lots of depreciating machinery. I would rather invest in marketing and people because at the end of the day that is what is going to make you successful.
  • In stage 2 I like to go into detail on the product or service I am offering. I research competitors, develop pricing, complete market research, interview potential clients, develop my unique selling proposition, laser in on my niche market, work out pricing and develop the overall process of how each sale is made. From the first point of contact to the delivery of the product.
  • Sales materials are developed, auto responders set up, submission forms are tested and packaging developed. The website will be built from top to bottom to make sure that all systems are working when we go live.
  • Marketing materials and strategies are next. What social media platforms will I use? What keywords will I use on Google ad words? Will I use affiliates? Advertise on radio? You need to work out the marketing weapons you will use for your particular industry.
  • When someone asks me about logos, I tell them what about your website, do you have an elevator pitch, what is your USP, why should I buy from you, who are you?, what is your niche, who is your customer exactly? They stare at me in disbelief. This is no joke. We are not playing with toys. This is business. A logo or business cards does nothing for you. I know some of you are probably laughing or cursing because I am sure you have been through this experience. It took me 4 years to get business cards. I don’t want them, don’t need them, and don’t care about them or my fancy logo. My first logo took 5 minutes, that’s it. Years later when I actually made money, I got one done professionally. Not the other way around.
  • Make money, SALES, SALES ,SALES, get the phone ringing, get me testimonials, get me in the media, that’s what I want to establish in my business plan, not petty rubbish.
  • The business plan is no experiment or scientific process. It is simply this. I want to set up the business with as little expense as I can without risking my families livelihood. I then want to sell to the customer in the fastest way possible and for him to tell his friends about it. THAT’S IT. If I see one more forecasting excel spreadsheet I’m going to have an anxiety attack. Please show me just one of these spreadsheets that actually work. I have not seen one yet. Show me your precious excel sheet after a month of going live, not 6 months before.

The Power of Social Media Engagement – How to Use it to Your Advantage

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

One thing is for sure, and that is Social Media has the power to change the landscape of marketing in ways we never imagined possible. It has a way of attracting people who are likeminded to one another. Social media is both appealing in terms of the personal content or impressions being shared by its users, and also powerful in that businesses get to showcase the best side of their products or services.

Take a photographer. If you happen to be an accomplished photographer wanting to showcase your profile with people, you can make use of your photographic expertise by simply displaying a few very interesting shoots through social media giants like Pinterest and Facebook to attract interest. This will give you an unfair advantage as your images will convey both powerful perspectives and something uniquely different when around everyday places and events. Should you want to achieve optimal appeal, all you need to do as photographer would be to add something personal yet insightful about the location or event you were at. We could use an environmental shot taken at someone’s wedding as an example of how you could simply add a few meaningful words to explain what moved you to take the specific shot at the location you were at. Now, just imagine the amount of likes, comments and even re-tweets you are gonna get from posting this on various social media networks.

There is of course a lot more to the power and magic of social media networks than just your own perspectives. In the past, you would simply judge whether someone actually liked your work or not, based on the number of hits you’ll get on your blog or website. Now with the power of social media, you actually get public feedback and get involved in various discussions the minute you exhibit your products or services. It is about acknowledging what many would refer to as the 3 C’s of social media effectiveness, namely, conversation, community, and collaboration. This would mean you need to be willing to interact with various individuals who may or may not be interested in what you have to offer.

In addition, you need to differentiate yourself from your competitors by offering your followers something that they don’t. You may have to dig a little to find out what your followers would like to know, and what their preferences are. By taking on a different angle and positioning yourself as an expert in a specific Niche, you fans will begin to trust you and actually share the useful info you provide with their friends. This is what we call free promotion, and showing just how powerful social networking platforms can be.

You may want to delve a bit deeper into the topic of social media and discover 5 surefire methods as to how you can socially engage with your customers by referring to the White Paper on Social Engagement where you will find some very interesting information that can be used to your advantage.

Membership Site Ideas – Reasons Why You Should Start One

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

One often come across internet marketers talking about membership sites, and how you could create a very good recurring income for yourself through creating a membership site. In most cases, you will see that there are all kinds of membership sites, and that most of them are thriving in terms of the amount of members who are onboard. You just have to think of SFI where thousands of people become members on a daily basis to know what we mean. That is all fair and well, but how will this help you? What is more, what kind of membership would be the best one to start? Another concern you may have, is the amount of money you need to take out for membership scripts, specialized hosting, etc.

Before we delve into some ideas as to what kind of membership sites you can start, you need to know that it is not as difficult as some would make it out to be. You just have to think of the ease of using WordPress blogs when dealing with membership sites to realize that it can be fairly easy to manage. In addition, membership businesses are not as vulnerable to changes within the marketplace as other sites. Its been said that health oriented and building an online business membership sites are among the more popular ones in the marketplace.

On further investigation it was found that a lot of people are keen to join some of the following membership sites; Camping memberships, Membership for gyms, Travel sites for members. fitness membership sites, health club sites, memberships site creator membership, and more…

You will see that you don’t need to be an expert to start a membership site, and it would be in your best interest in the long term should you decide to create a membership site as it translates into a very lucrative recurring income stream. Furthermore, it offers stability as members are eager to belong to a community, and would be quite willing to pay a fee for the privilege of getting what they need on an ongoing basis. The owners of the membership site has the satisfaction of being able to interact on a regular basis with his or her clients. If you have a specific idea in mind, then you might be able to turn it into a membership site. You could even coach or give training through using a membership site.

It has been said, but we would like to re-iterate it again, that internet marketing is not like most people believe it to be, no hard work. Anything requires work, even a membership site as you need to produce regular content, interact with your members, and so forth. You may have struggled to make money online through various affiliate programs, tried your hand at blogging, and created some sites, all in the hope of a breakthrough.

But have you tried membership sites? Did you know that membership sites fetch a high price from business people and even investors as they are conscious of the value in having a buying customer base. Know that information sells. That is what makes membership sites so powerful. It often serves to inform members of life saving information should you have it in you to run a health membership site. Is it really so that you need to utilize expensive membership scripts and have a lot of technical know how to start a membership site? It will make for a very interesting as well as informative read to see what the eBook “Worldwide Membership Cash” has to say on the topic of membership sites.

What Makes A Good Salesperson?

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

For most people selling is one of the most difficult things to do. But, given the proper outlook, it can be seen as very easy to do. Once you are given the right guidelines and get properly motivated, it is pretty easy to almost sell anything. In most cases you simply need to solve a problem, overcome objections and make an irresistible offer where your prospects cannot wait to get their hands on what you have to offer them. It may even reach the point where they literally take out their cash or credit card to conclude the deal.

Are you one of those people who break out in a cold sweat when someone just mention the word sales? There are many people who feel exactly the same way. They would much rather do a bit of admin and answer customer queries than having to convince people to buy a product from them. Did you know that being a good salesperson is often just a case of knowing your product inside out, and enthusiastically encouraging your prospects to buy the product.

There are a few basic guidelines in being a good salesperson that you would do well to follow:

➢ Be attentive so that you can pick up on the prospect’s buying signals during the early stages of your sales pitch

➢ You need to believe in the product or service that you are selling

➢ Become skilled in communicating effectively by being a good listener and having a positive attitude while being transparent. More often than not, salespeople are talkers. By taking the time to ask questions and really listening to your prospect’s answers will give you a better idea of what they want

➢ Be confident, friendly and approachable and convey to your customers that you are there to help them and not milk them

➢ Your body and voice tone says a lot about you

➢ When you explain the benefits and features of the product, keep it simple and make sure that the most important part of your sales pitch comes across the clearest. Take care to highlight benefits more so than features

➢ If a customer is rude do not retaliate, be polite and say what you need to say

➢ Most of all, you should have integrity in that you never lie to the customer about the value of the product you are selling

➢ Know how to close and close again should there be any objections you need to overcome. The ABC of sales – Always Be Closing

➢ Do extra research on the product you are selling so that you are well equipped to answer any questions your prospect might throw at you

One thing that should really motivate you as a salesperson is the fact that you will never be out of work in being the ultimate salesperson. You may feel a little downhearted at times due to being rejected more than once when cold calling, or knocking on doors, but at the end of the day, nothing beats the sweet rewards of making that sale, and viewing selling as a form of art. This is exactly what “The Ultimate Salesman” eBook goes on to show.

How to Make Your Video Blogging Profitable

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

While video attracts a lot of visitors to your blog, there are certain things you can do with regards to video blogging that will have your prospects view you as a profession blogger.

For this to happen, you would need to spend some money which will also make you money down the line. Ideally, you should invest in a very high quality camera and top of the range microphone. You might even look into getting your hands on some very effective lighting equipment. In addition, you need to come up with some highly optimized video material that truly captures the attention of your subscribers so that they will be back for more on a weekly basis.

At a minimum, you should strive to post at least one video blog a week, and gradually increase your video posts as it becomes more popular. Once you have mastered the art of video blogging, you should look at monetizing your blogs to get a return on your investment. One word that always come to mind is ‘marketing’. One of the best ways to monetize your blog is to open it up to advertisers who will be keen to place their adverts on your blog due to the kind of exposure you have.

As long as you remain true to yourself and your followers by not coming across as an advertising site, it can be fairly lucrative to provide a bit of advertising to prospective advertisers. Most internet marketers and small business owners would tell you that it is a good idea to make use of Google Adsense. At least your visitors won’t be scared away from coming to your blog as they have to face pop up windows and other intrusive advertisements that take up most of the screen. You have to be careful which advertisers you make use of and what you will allow on your video blog.

Google Adsense,if used correctly, can very quickly help you to pay your car installment or cover other household expenses. It works in that you get paid every time someone clicks on your Google Ads that are displayed on your blog post. Essentially, you need to place your ads in strategic places so your visitors would want to click on it.

You will find the eBook “Video Blogging Cash System – The Ultimate Video Blogging Profit Plan” to be the perfect tool in showing you how to make Adsense Ads work for you. This eBook will even show you where you should be getting your videos circulated besides YouTube. In addition, you will be shown how to optimize your video blog posts for maximum exposure so your visitors will be taking action immediately after watching your broadcast.

Highly Effective Video Blogging

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Video blogging is pretty much the in-thing these days, and are often referred to as vlogging (Video + Blogging). It seems to be the new holy grail in getting others to pay attention to what you are saying. To make the most out of vlogging, you need to follow a few essential tips, which will be discussed next.

Highly Effective Tips for Vlogging

Capture people’s attention with what you are saying and make the information you are sharing useful by presenting tips and tutorials that people can benefit from. For instance, if you were selling beauty products, you could feature some of the best selling ones, and give your viewers an indication where they will be able to find these. You may even want to review one or two of the more popular products by featuring the benefits

Knowing how to edit your video blog will keep the audience entertained and focused. The recommended length for any video blog would normally be between 2 minutes to 12 minutes. The saying goes that short and simple does it for you. The main thing to remember over here is to ensure that the key thought was brought across to your audience to get them to take action on what they have just experienced from your video blog. In order not to bore your viewers, you should make use of some cool editing techniques.

Invest in a very good digital camera to take pictures with. Nothing can be more off putting than poorly taken images should you wish to do a tutorial or DIY demo when posting your video blog. People will regard you as unprofessional if you don’t use a good quality camera.

Your message should come across clear and done in an attractive way without distracting your viewers with sloppy pronunciations or weird facial expressions.

In addition, you should be quick in responding to any comments made on your vlog posts, and doing so in a respectful and courteous manner. As with any form of media, you will find people who will bash your video blog. The key thing to remember here is to take it with a grain of salt and focus on the positive feedback you get from interacting with your viewers.

In order to make the most out of your video blogs, you should link it to you social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and more…

There are a few things that you’ll need to get started with your video blog. These would involve buying a domain name, getting hosting, making use of WordPress, get yourself a YouTube WordPress plugin, and invest in a good video player in time to come. Other things you would need is a fairly powerful computer.

Having said this, most entrepreneurs are not technically minded and will not necessarily know what programs to use, how to edit properly, or even create effective video scripts to promote their products or services thereby retaining their prospect’s attention all the way through to the point where they are ready to purchase the product. You can find some very useful advice from the eBook entitled “Video Blogging Cash System – The Ultimate Video Blogging Profit Plan”