Do you have any ideas or thoughts on how to better run a business? This is the place for these blogs.

Part 5 - How To Get New Customers

Part 5 - How To Get New Customers

Many readers are aware that I recently launched a new business and that I was having trouble enticing customers to the service. It just so happens the business is a new bird bath outside my study window and the customers are birds (the flying ones).

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Although there’s been a lot of funny anecdotes there has also been a serious thread of discussion about how to attract customers to a new business. Every new business has a vision of their ideal customer and a “full proof” plan on how to attract them. The problem is that years of experience has proved plans look great on paper and reality is something else entirely.

For example, I had a great vision of birds flocking to my wonderful bird bath and I would enjoy them singing away outside as they happily splashed away. My reality was a bird bath that was entirely ignored.

The one thing that a start-up has to their advantage is their ability to quickly change direction. If the plan isn’t working, then change the plan. Don’t burn more cash…..move!

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Part 4 – Building a Business – Extending the Runway

Part 4 – Building a Business – Extending the Runway

In this article, I plan to pick up where I’d left off in the series on Building a Business. As you may have guessed from the title we will be exploring the importance of generating revenue and why it should be the fundamental goal for the vast majority of businesses. This may seem obvious, but so many entrepreneurs lose sight of the revenue in the quest for building a better widget.

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Revenue is the first part of the profit equation:

Profit = Revenue less Expenses

Many people look on this equation as being obvious without really understanding it in the context of a startup business. For a startup, the equation is all about runway. The less negative the profit is (ie. small the losses) the longer it will take a new business to run out of cash.

You can achieve this by hamstringing the business on the development side by reducing the expenses. This strategy often defeats the purpose of raising capital or being the first to market in a land grab. If you’re initially committed to your expense line, then the only other option is to generate revenue.

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Part 3 – Building a Business – The Pitch

Part 3 – Building a Business – The Pitch

In Part 2 of this series you’ve expressed your passion to me about your new business idea. I’ve seen a prototype built out of bits of cardboard stuck together with glue and although it doesn’t do anything you’ve sold the vision. So what’s next?

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I love passion but passion combined with a plan leads to action. At this stage, I’m after a one page summary document. I want to see whether you have the wherewithal to be able to synthesize your entire business onto a single page.

Before you tell me that’s impossible, Rupert Murdoch, founder of billion-dollar global international company News Limited, receives a one page summary every day that summarises his businesses across the world. If Rupert can do it then I’m sure you can.

So what’s on this page?

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Part 2 - Building a Business - Getting Buy-in

Part 2 - Building a Business - Getting Buy-in

At the end of Part 1 I indicated that this article would be focusing on how to land a business partner/investor for your great idea. I’m going to use myself as a case study but understand that every investor will have different motivations for wanting to spend their time in a new venture.

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Like any good business, it usually begins with something drawn on the back of an envelope. That spark of an idea that seems to ignite the very ether with potential and every time you think about it your heart skips a beat.

What am I looking for? In one word, passion. I’m sitting at the bar at NamesCon and you’ve come to me with your idea (I’m not going to steal it) and during your story telling about how you came up with the idea I’m looking for how much you want it. Are you going to crawl across broken glass, traverse a desert or swing across a chasm to see your idea flourish?

So many potential entrepreneurs pitch their ideas in such a boring manner that causes me to look for someone else to share a drink with. If your unexcited when your baby is about to be born, then what are you going to be like in six months when you’ve been up all night because it’s been crying? Get animated and make the story interesting!

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Part 1 - Building a Business - Moving From the Idea

Part 1 - Building a Business - Moving From the Idea

So you’re having a shower (where all truly great ideas come from) and it suddenly hits you like a blinding light from heaven…..the most incredibly brilliant business idea to build out a domain you’ve ever had! There’s just one problem, what’s next?

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So many great ideas remain just that, a great idea and nothing more. Just today I was approached by a domainer to purchase a domain name and as a part of their pitch they told me that it would be fantastic as a particularly type of business. Based upon this “idea” they believed the price of the domain was justifiably inflated.

My immediate thought was to ponder, if it was such a great idea why didn’t they build the domain into a business themselves? Let’s face it, they were trying to price the domain based upon all the work that I would do to create a profitable business. That just doesn’t work for me….

A domain has value but don’t fall into the mistake of pricing in, not just the value of your domain but also the value of a mythical business that the buyer would have to create on it. Many domain owners make this mistake and wonder why they don’t sell any of their inventory.

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Being Focused

Being Focused

One of the biggest challenges many businesses face is deciding which opportunities they should focus on and which they should leave for another day. It’s so easy to become seduced by one opportunity after another, only to find that none of them are concluded and their value isn’t realised.

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Over the years, I’ve watched a number of businesses go bankrupt by mismanaging opportunities and becoming confused over what they should be working on. The owners didn’t make the difficult decisions to shelve a great idea, not do some development or say no to a fantastic potential partnership.

If you find yourself surrounded by opportunities and wondering which one you should pursue then there are a number of questions that you may wish to ask yourself. By addressing these questions then you’re very likely to gain a clarity to your thinking that will help you make wiser decisions.

Why am I in business?

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Maximising Domain Revenue

Maximising Domain Revenue

After publishing the article, “Getting Dirty in the Domain Data”, earlier this week I ended up having an interesting discussion with a domain investor. I thought that it would be worthwhile continuing to pull apart the data from the previous post to help many domain investors understand why optimising traffic across multiple monetisation solution is so beneficial.

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I will be referring to the data from the previous article so you may wish to read it if you haven’t done so already.

Sampling by Changing the DNS

Many domain investors sample different parking providers by changing the DNS. This method is fraught with many problems that largely stem from comparing results from single sources across different periods of time. Some of the challenges are:

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What is My Daughter Doing Now?

What is My Daughter Doing Now?

As many of you are aware, Sarah, my daughter, has over the years helped me on and off with Whizzbangsblog. In my recent travels I had a number of people ask me what she is doing now…so here it goes!

Over the last five months Sarah has been working as a specialist make-up artist for “The Body Shop” in their flagship store here in Australia. It’s really allowed her to hone her craft as a make-up artist and more recently showcase some of her work on social media (Instagram).

She’s been reading everything there is about how to grow a following on Instagram and then posting a new photo each day. It hasn’t taken her that long to gain close to one thousand followers….which from a standing start is pretty good going.

She now has her sights clearly set on her next target of ten thousand followers. Apparently at around this number you can begin to get some sponsorship onboard.

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Is the Global Economy About To Crash?

Is the Global Economy About To Crash?

I watched the recent debate between presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Since I live Australia, you may ask why? I wanted to see whether either of the two candidates really seemed to understand the economic knife edge the world is currently balanced upon. Sadly, I was disappointed in what both of them had to say.

Other than a number of sound-bites there was nothing on issues such as China’s burgeoning debt Crisis and the impact this will have on the global economy.

Back on the 11th May 2016 the Financial times reported the Chinese Communist party’s flagship newspaper, the People’s Daily, published a front-page interview with an “authoritative figure” who warned that the country’s soaring debt levels could lead to “systemic financial risks”. This doesn't sound good....

On the 29th August the Australian Financial Review reported that prominent investor, George Soros, as seeing an “Eerie resemblance between conditions in China now and those in the US leading up to the financial crisis in 2008.” Remember, Mr Soros was the man that broke the bank of England in one of his currency trades.

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Focus on Consistency

Focus on Consistency

I find that many people complicate running their businesses enormously. When you really think about it, it’s actually pretty easy to run a successful business. The revenue needs to be consistently more than the expenses…..seems obvious but given the fact that around eighty percent of businesses fail in the first two years it’s clear that the majority of people get on the wrong side of this equation.

The key word in the equation is “consistently”. Bringing consistency to your business revenue line provides you with an ability to plan versus one that is of a boom bust nature. One of the difficulties that many domain investors have is they have the elusive carrot of selling a $20K domain name tomorrow always in front of them while they starve now. There is no consistency to their revenue.

How can you get consistency to your revenue? One of the things that many customers like is consistency in product they are about to purchase. In fact, the whole essence of branding is all about consistency.

Whether you like them or not McDonald’s restaurants have done an incredible job to bring consistency to their product line the world over. I can go to a McDonald’s in Tokyo or New York or London, order a Big Mac and they’ll all be the same. It’s to the extent that financial analysts often quote the “Big Mac” index as a way of measuring the true buying power of a currency.

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