Capitalise on your Concept

Are there opportunities you could be taking advantage of that would give your business a massive lift?

Capitalise has several meanings; to secure funding or inject money into your business; realise an investment; authorise or issue stock (shareholdings)… and several other accounting terms.

Let’s explore this one: Capitalise: to take advantage of; turn something to one’s advantage.

Right now, if you know where to look, there is hidden money in your business.

Let’s go exploring…

Use your strengths

Your personality will determine your strategies:

If investing in your business was like buying property, what would you be focusing on?

A Trump Tower?
(It’ll need deep foundations and buckets of money – preferably not your own money!)

A nice little starter that you can sell to someone else?
(Great for creative types who get bored easily and have a wealth of ideas).

A renovator for a quick makeover and flip for profit?

A long-term “home” you can add value to?

Something with development potential?
Renovate or knock it down and turn it into units – think franchising, multiple business or launch your business on the stock market.

What next?

Once you’ve decided on the best strategy for YOU as a business owner then move on to these considerations…

If your concept is “unique” – ask yourself “Am I being realistic about this? How long would it take for someone to copy this? What would that do to my business?” AND the most important question to ask is “Can I get a good return on investment with this, relevant to the effort I need to put in?”

Does your business have depth? i.e. does it appeal to a good chunk of the market and does it have long-lasting capability (i.e. not a fad that will go out of date)

Is what you sell something that has future potential to grow? i.e. it has complimentary products or services that can be added to your range OR has the ability to do one thing really well so it can be duplicated and scaled through franchising or licensing.

Are there more opportunities to sell all you can to your current customers? i.e. how’s your up-sell and cross-sell – are customers getting all they came for and more (without employing creepy icky sales techniques)?

Are you converting enough leads and prospects into actual customers who buy from you? Regularly and predictably – and are they sending you good referrals?

Can you attract investment partners? Think “Shark Tank”. If you had to pitch your business to investors, how would you do it? What are your weak points? (For a LOT of business owners two weak points stand out: 1) the money side of their business and 2) Marketing to get more customers.

What chunk of the market do you have? How much more do you really want? Be realistic with this – one or two percent might make the world of difference. Don’t set impossible targets, just break down a big goal into manageable chunks and chip away at it.

Ultimately you need to know why any prospective customer would walk over hot coals to get to you. You’ll need to describe the uniqueness of what you offer – it MUST be significantly different to anything else that competes for your customers’ dollars.

Ultimately the questions you ask now will determine your future.

How long will your business last?

Have you ever had a brainstorming session for your business – a really deep and meaningful exploration into the outer reaches of what’s possible?

I was speaking with a woman a few nights ago who was telling me about her new business and the product she offers; what goes into it and how she packages it. She says she is the only person in Australian doing it. Now, I don’t know how much research she’d done but someone else who joined the conversation said “Oh yes, I’ve seen that in America and other countries.”

How long do you think it would take before someone else looks at it and says “We can do that, let’s copy it.”?

Given that the product was not unique and the packaging, while unusual, was not unique – not very long I’d say… And there’s another fledgling business left with nowhere to go because they hadn’t worked out how to stay ahead of the curve, and because they didn’t know how to do that.

Harsh Reality: business is tough, it’s not for everyone. Will you be a survivor?

I love to encourage new business owners, and I don’t like to burst the entrepreneurial bubble – but the reality is, if you want a sustainable business that makes consistent money and gives you plenty of satisfaction you’ll need to delve deeper into your concept.

Most new entrepreneurs can easily identify their first wave of customers – friends, family, some first degree relationships – but the second, third and subsequent waves of customers starts to get a little fuzzy. They realise this is going to take some thinking and some marketing and “gasp!” selling. And they’ll need to get to grips with money and finance.

At this point some people give up. But SOME people roll their sleeves up and get to work.

Until you have a Proven Concept with a hungry crowd already consuming products like yours (and are looking for more or better) you may just have the seed of an idea, but not an actual business.

If your business is more established, don’t get complacent. You always need to be on the front foot, testing what works, what doesn’t and be ready to make changes. Swiftly. Decisively. Intelligently.

One of the best things you can do right now is imagine how your business and your industry will be in 2 years, 5 years and 10 years’ time. If your business is based on a “fad” – and there are plenty of them – make a plan to get in quick, have some fun, make some money and exit before the fad becomes extinct.

If your business has a longer lifespan because it is in an essential market segment or it is able to grow with new technology then make some long term plans – but make sure you are flexible, agile and at least listening to the market if not predicting the future.

The trick in business is to look further that the next few months – get real about what’s possible for your business beyond where you are now.

And if you need some help with that. It could be time to “Reinvent Your Business”. Ask me how.

Connect with me on Facebook at Bright Business
https://www.facebook.com/pauline.bright.thecoach/

Ask me great questions and I’ll answer them.

If you’re an ideas person, or you need some ideas to grow your business, you’ll love next week’s blog “Capitalise on your Concept”.

Personality types and planning; what makes you do what you do?

Which best describes you?

  • “Here’s exactly what’s going to happen” planner
  • “This might work” planner
  • “I’m not sure about this bit” planner
  • “Let’s all get together to make a plan” planner
  • “I’ll plan a bit and leave the rest to the universe” planner
  • “Let’s just see what happens” planner
  • “Can someone else do this, I’m too busy” planner
  • “Just tell me what you want and I’ll do it” planner
  • “I’ll get around to it later” planner
  • “I’ve never had a plan in my life, I’m not about to start now” non-planner
  • Something I haven’t even described here or a combination of others

We’re all different – and we seem to attract people into our lives who are our opposites – thank goodness! Imagine if we were all the same… Chaos would reign; there’d be no leaders and no followers OR there’d be fights breaking out amongst people who insist on doing it their way.

If you’ve ever been frustrated by the planning or non-planning processes of your boss or partner or work colleagues, it doesn’t mean they’re wrong it just means they do things differently to you.

And if you know a little bit about DISC profiling you’ll understand that there are 4 basic personalities:

The High “D” people are dominant and driving and want to be at the front of everything, but aren’t good when it comes to details.

They make a plan where they can change, fix or control things. They need the High “C” people to handle the details and High “I” people to explain it to the team.

The High “I” people are Influential and Inspiring.

They like to be at the centre of things with lots of people around them. These people will make plans to be “popular” and are also not particularly interested in details. They need High “D” people to dive parts of the project where it gets bogged down. And they need “S” people to steadily work away at all the tasks that need doing.

The High “S” people are steady and supportive.

These are the people who like to be given a plan rather than write one. They are very good at being cooperative supportive and agreeable. Plus, they can carry the plan forward and get things done. They need High “C” people to help with the details and the “I” people to keep them connected to the larger team and the “D” to the purpose.

The High “C” people are conscientious careful and compliant.

With rules to follow, their plan will be very detailed and precise. These people need High “S” individual to help them relax a little and go with the flow – and the “D” people to drive the plan forward. “I” people can help deliver the plan to the team without them getting overwhelmed.

Of course, we are not all of one thing, we are combinations of these personality profiles but we do have a dominant personality.

Ultimately your plan needs to be your plan if you’re in a solo business. If you are planning for others consider their personality profile. Ask them what they need in a plan to fully engage with it; how much detail; who does what; who leads what and what is the benefit of the plan to the whole team.

To find out more about DISC profiling and how it can be used in your team book a 15-minute call here.

Growing your business your business vs scaling your business – what’s your plan?

If you owned a corner grocery store before the invention of supermarkets you would probably have had a nice little business supporting you and your family.

Everyone would be working really hard in the store. You might pay yourself a minimum wage and the rest of the family might be working for “love”. You’d be open all hours including weekends. The ways to grow your business were limited to time, space and labour.

Everything was about personal service and growth was limited to what you could afford to stock, the space to stock it and the labour involved to serve the customers. There were tangible limits.

You would have been blown out of the water when the first supermarket opened up down the road!

They had a scalable system. They were bigger, brighter, had more variety, and operated on self-service and minimum staff at minimum wages. Then, they could afford to stock what you couldn’t and had a marketing budget to lure your customers away. They had systems and procedures for smooth running.

When you think about the difference between growing your business and scaling your business, it works like this…

Growing your business means you are adding more resources when you make more sales – you need more stock, more people, and more space. The increase in revenue is swallowed up by the increase in costs. It might look like you’re growing but technically you haven’t “scaled”.

Scaling your business means you’re adding revenue at an exponential rate without increasing your costs at the same rate. If it takes as much time energy and money to make the next sale as it did to make the previous sale, you haven’t scaled.

Think about Amazon:

They blew bookstores out of the water. Yes, you have to wait for the book if you want a hard copy, but you could get the book instantly at a fraction of the cost if you are happy to have an electronic copy – and at a fraction of the price.

They also thought about what people do when they buy books: people like to browse, read a few pages, have books recommended by the store owner, see reviews on the book jacket, and they like to take their time. Amazon noted all of this “buyer behaviour” and built it into their offering.

What can you learn from this?

  1. Growing your business happens incrementally. It suits some people but not others.
  2. Scaling a business can happen with a change in how you think – again not for everyone.
  3. Be alert for opportunities inside your business to scale rather than grow.
  4. The best businesses to scale are those that provide essential services that have a proven concept (people already buy) and they can be operated by fewer people and fewer overheads.
  5. Don’t scale a business that is a “fad” – it won’t last long enough to give you a return on your investment.

What do you think? Could your growing business be scaled?

Plan your way out of a Business slump

Before it was quoted in “Best Marigold Hotel” John Lennon said…

“Everything will be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end”

If you’re in a slump right now here are some proven strategies to help you climb out and get back on top…

Get pens and paper – you’ll need to plan it out and write this down by hand, not on your computer. Let your imagination run wild, no limits. Write, doodle and draw your way out of the slump.

  1. Work out exactly what the slump is and what’s causing it
    • Have you lost your Mojo? Are you bored with your business and need a new direction?
    • Are you in financial stress – are you making more than you are spending or is there something else worrying you? Do you have enough customers?
    • Is it a market trend or industry trend? Is it affecting all businesses or just yours / your industry?
  2. Once you’ve identified the cause of the slump, you can start to find solutions. Never slip into the mindset of making “everything” to blame.
    • If you’ve lost your Mojo – what would need to happen for you to get it back? A new project, new direction, new products /services? Do you have someone to talk to – a coach or mentor or clued-up friend?
    • If money is the problem, sit down with your accountant or someone very money-savvy to get a true and accurate picture of what’s happening. Set a budget and set financial projections for income. Include the actual strategies you need to work through to fix the finances.
    • If it’s a “trend” in your industry – decide if it’s a fatal trend or just a blip on the radar. Do you have the strength to work through it? Again, brainstorm solutions with a trusted adviser. You won’t have all the answers locked up in your own head.
  3. The most important thing to do right now takes the emotion out of it. Things don’t stay the same… you haven’t reached the end yet. Stay in the present as much as you can… focus on what is in the “now” and what you can do in this moment to feel better and more positive about the slump.
  4. And if you feel you can’t do anything right now in this moment, accept that you can’t. That doesn’t mean that you won’t tomorrow. Be nice to yourself and take a breather even if for a short time. Your brain will thank you for the rest and will work on finding solutions instead of you forcing your way through. If it feels like walking through treacle, stop! Back out!
  5. After all your brainstorming, if you feel that this business is not right for you, you don’t have to stay it in you know. Tweak it and adjust it if you can, but if your heart’s not in it, it’s OK to move on. Find a way out and set a new direction.

On a personal note, I’ve had 11 businesses over 35 years – not all of them were spectacularly successful so I changed them, molded them into something more enjoyable or sold them or closed them. That’s how I learned to be a business coach, only I didn’t know it at the time!

There are no failures, only learning opportunities.

If you need a hand with this – Try my Perfectly Simple Business Plan