Evolutionary Business Design

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

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.

Your Step by Step Business Plan Checklist

People think business plans are only for new businesses – and yes, they are a brilliant way to encapsulate all you want to achieve in your fledgling business, BUT even if you’ve been in business for 5, 10, 15, 20 years or more – a really good well thought-out strategic business plan is going to make the world of difference.


Because things change!

The market changes, the economy changes, fads come and go and your competitors are always nipping at your heels… just waiting for you to lose enthusiasm, drop the ball or put the blinkers on and pretend that it’s okay to do business in the same old way!

A really good business plan is a living document that you refer to regularly and update annually. It must light your entrepreneurial fire – otherwise you’ve got the wrong plan.

What goes into a basic business plan checklist?

  • MONEY: Start with the end in mind. How much revenue, how much profit, and how much do you want to pay yourself?
  • PRODUCTS, SERVICES: Are they staying the same or do you need to change course, cull or reinvent?
  • CUSTOMERS: Still the same target markets or do you need to drop some and entice others?
  • TEAM: Who are your best players? Do you need more like them and less of the ones who are dragging the business down? What training do they need this year?
  • MARKETING: When you know who your customers are you’ll find it much easier to design marketing strategies to attract and keep them. DON’T start your business plan with marketing – don’t even go there until you know what the money goals are and who your ideal customers would be.
  • SALES: Set some projections to achieve your financial goals. Do you need training to get better at sales? The answer is usually yes!
  • BUSINESS GROWTH: Premises, location, online, offline, new markets, new strategies or consolidation
  • WORKFLOW, POLICIES, PROCEDURES: What would make your business run more smoothly?
  • SPECIAL PROJECTS: The ones you’re itching to get to but never seem to find the time. Put it in the plan to get it done.
  • YOU: Are you working in your ideal Core Genius role? If not, what needs to change?
  • YOUR VISION: Why this, why now, why YOU!

Now you could sit and nut this out on your own – it may take you some time and your brain might go into overload and start arguing with you…

OR you could get it done in just one day at The Perfectly Simple Business Plan workshop

Your call.

I’m here when you need me.

Ignoring these financial indicators could cause serious risk to your business!

There are tell-tale signs in your business that will give you an indication of how you’re tracking. Is business up or down? Are we making money or not?

You’re profit and loss statement is a good place to gather this vital information. Here are some things to watch out for:

  • The obvious one is – tracking your sales. Are they going up or down? Have they flat-lined?
    • Compared to what? Last month? Last quarter or last year? How similar were the conditions in that period? Are you comparing apples with apples?
  • It costs you more each month to deliver your products or service: Track your Cost of Sales. Up down or sideways? Do you know why? Buying too much product or your team not being productive enough could be the cause.
  • Your Gross Profit and Net Profit go down and your fixed expenses go up! Track them using the same method and fix this fast!
  • You only look at the “bottom line” of your P&L report. The numbers look OK but you don’t know how the business is trending. Don’t just track the NUMBER, track the PERCENTAGE of turnover.
    • E.g if you made $500k in Sales (turnover) and a 10% net profit you would have made $50,000.
    • If you made $50,000 Profit on $600k turnover you would have made 8.3% profit. If you watch that % month by month you can see what’s happening to your profitability. Track the % to see if it is going up down or sideways.
  • You take the profit as your unofficial “salary”. If you haven’t formally paid yourself a wage or salary it won’t appear on your P & L, so if your pay comes out of the profit and you take it all, you won’t have anything left for tax or growth or emergencies. Talk to your accountant about this and do a budget.

Learn to love the numbers! They are your friends. They can help you grow your business and they can prevent you from getting into trouble.

5 Practical Tweaks That Make Your Sales Go Through The Roof

It would be nice if sales automatically popped into your business without you having to think about it wouldn’t it? Imagine, money just pouring into your bank account.

Some people will tell you that you can have “passive income” effortlessly and easily without having to do too much at all.

I hate to burst your bubble but if you really want to see your sales go through the roof you’ll need to work at it!

While I do agree that you can set up “passive” systems and adjust your mindset to allow the flow of money into your life and business, there is a lot more you can do than just working on “closing the sale”.

Here are 5 practical things do implement to start getting better sales results:

1. Make sales a strong focus in your business

Making Sales is not incidental to a business – it’s the oil in the machine! Give it due care and consideration. Set sales targets and measure the results you’re getting.

Keep tabs on the number of leads you get, your conversation rate – from prospect to sale and the average amount of your sales on a daily weekly monthly basis.

Assign the responsibility for Sales to a specific person – the buck stops with them. If you have a team who need to also make sales, hold them more accountable to it. Train them if they’re not confident.

2. Have a specific sales process

Most businesses have haphazard sales processes. What’s yours? Do you have a flow chart with every step mapped out and who does what? More sales are lost from inefficient sales systems than possibly anything else.

Do you have a pre-sales system? What do you send a prospective client before they meet you?
(HINT: it should be something that addresses their fears, frustrations, and desires, NOT your company brochure or “all about me” info. Make it about THEM!

What do you do during the sale? What specific steps do you take to surprise and delight your customer? Elegant Selling is like dancing – you both take part.

What happens after the sale is made? Does the client know what to expect next? Do you have a process for happens next?

What happens when you lose the sale? What do you do? Walk away, blame the prospects and never talk to them again? Or do you hang in there and keep the relationship alive? If you really want this client to start a “nurture” sequence to keep them interested, informed and “learning” your way.

3. Stop being busy and go make a sale

It’s so easy NOT to make sales if it’s not your natural strength. You could look and feel very busy with marketing activities; newsletters, Facebook, blogging – there’s plenty to distract you and make you look busy without being effective.

Face to face time with prospective clients is the only sure way of getting an answer and the most effective way of influencing what that answer will be.

Don’t wait for customers to come to you. Look at your diary right now, allocate some time to make phone calls or set up meetings with people who could actually buy from you – no fudging this one: until your sales improve only invest time with people who can actually say “yes”.

4. Get other people to sell for you – affiliate marketing

You can double, triple even 10x your sales by having other people selling for you.

Have affiliate relationships with other business owners who sell a related product. Set it up so that they get a commission on every sale you make to someone they have referred.

This is a highly leveraged way of reaching out to prospective customers who are not in your network or not on your database. You get a nice warm recommendation from a business friend and the referee feels confident that you will look after them.

DON’T make it all about the money – make sure you are giving and getting the best referrals to ideal clients.

Think of the commission you give to the affiliate as marketing dollars well-spent

5. “Don’t change your act, change your audience.”

I first heard this from Lisa Sasevich, whose father was a world famous ventriloquist.

If you’re struggling to make sales in a crowded market place aim higher, not lower.

If you are confident that the product or service you offer could be of benefit to a different set of customers then adjust your prices and start marketing to a more affluent customer.

It might take a bit of courage to make the leap but start by making a list of all the people and organisations you could be doing business with.

Do your homework! Have some conversations with anyone you know in related industries to find out how to approach that market. Take some action, Google them, make some calls, send some letters and go to events to rub shoulders with these new prospective clients.

Selling didn’t come easily and naturally for me until I started to see it differently. It can be a learned skill and you can actually get to like it. I did! In fact, I like it so much I teach it to business owners, particularly in the Professional Services sector like accountants and lawyers.

Elegant Selling

[button_4 size=”large” color=”blue” align=”center” href=”https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/paulinebright.com/Elegant+Selling.pdf” new_window=”Y”]If you’d like a copy of my Free e-book     “Elegant Selling” CLICK HERE[/button_4]


You’ll learn

  1. How to Make More Sales effortlessly and easily
  2. How to write and use Simple Sales Scripts
  3. How to ask Great Questions and give Great Answers
  4. How to handle Objections and feelings of Rejection