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

Business 101 - The Inspiration

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I’m a firm believer that everyone is born with a spark of creativity inside of them. It’s the energy that spins the dynamo and as children causes them to dream big wonderful dreams. As we age we often start getting “sensible”, stop dreaming and life backs us into a corner of mediocrity when we were meant to soar like eagles!

Escrow.com

How many times have you shared an idea with a work colleague to find you’ve become the butt of everyone’s jokes? Or maybe it’s been your parents that tell you to just knuckle down and get a job as that’s going to be your future…..when deep down inside you want to do something else. I’ve met so many people that have had their dreams smashed before their eyes and they end up crawling back to the weekly grind they despise.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a job, especially if the other option is to not have one at all. The question each of us needs to ask is whether we have a secret desire to do something else? Yes, it may be a business but like Richard Gere’s character in the movie “Shall We Dance” it could be to dance. It could also be to do something quite different.

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Getting Focused on Your Vision

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Those businesses that have a vision for their future tend to create it. A vision isn’t just a plaque you put up on a wall but a rallying call that gets people excited. It’s inspires them to go “above and beyond” for not just the monetary rewards but because they are building something great!

Escrow.com

I remember back in the early nineties I had a web development company. It was the early days of the Internet and people were only just getting online. There was one thing that I clearly understood and that the Internet was a global phenomenon.

Even though we were a tiny little startup I decided to inspire the team with a big and very audacious vision! It was, “We change the world!” Every time we published a website we could see people from all over the world going to it…..therefore, in our small way, we changed parts of the world.

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Global Online Trends

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I’m a self-confessed data junky. I love my numbers and if they can be plotted on a graph so I can see a trend then so much the better! Domain investors live and die by their numbers. If you ignore looking at the stats then you can miss out on some significant opportunities and take bullets rather than dodging them.

Escrow.com

Beyond the numbers and charts is understanding how to interpret them and how they may impact your business decisions. From a very high level there are a number of charts that I like to pay attention to and in this article, I’ll step you through them.

World-wide Growth in Internet Users

Ultimately underpinning every e-commerce transaction is a person wanting to buy, watch, click or doing anything. If the number of Internet users suddenly began decreasing then I can guarantee that it’s going to have a big impact on your business.

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Optus - An Incompetent Internet Provider

Optus - An Incompetent Internet Provider

It’s not often that I experience the level of incompetence that I have from Optus, my Internet Service provider. For those of you that don’t know, Optus is the second biggest ISP in Australia…so there one of the big boys on the block. My experience has sparked me to write this article and circulate it to as many people as possible as an example of bad customer service and hopefully warn other away. So what’s the story?

Escrow.com

I’ve been a good loyal Optus customer for about 15 years and I pay for the highest level of Internet possible. About five weeks ago I noticed that the speeds were getting slower and slower…..which is never good as I regularly do video conference calls etc.

After checking the speed with both the external and Optus Internet speed checks I found that I was getting about 20% of the rate that I expected. This clearly explained why many of my skype calls end up in either me or the other party speaking like a robot!

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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).

Escrow.com

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!

In my case, I tried to entice the birds with bread. They loved the bread on the ground and completely ignored the bird bath. I then moved the bird bath. That still didn’t work so I moved it again. I constantly tweaked my “business” with the end goal of attracting my customers (ie. birds).

If a start-up is to succeed, then it must get customer feedback as fast as possible. There is no point in building the ultimate product that no one wants. For those people who tell you they love what you’re doing then ask them the same question with a charge attached.

I’ve seen so many businesses give their products/services away in the name of “market share” only to find that once they try to charge no one wants what they’ve built. A sale isn’t a sale unless ultimately there is a financial transaction attached. Anyone can give a service away…..it’s much harder to sell it.

So where am I at? As can be seen by the pictures I now have multiple different species of birds enjoying the bread and the bird bath. This is important as the different species indicate that I’ve now tapped into not just a single market but multiple different market segments.

Magpie

A start-up needs to quickly classify what customer segments are buying their products/services. This means really paying attention to what customers are buying versus the time wasters and then focusing your efforts to exploit the revenue opportunities.

I should say that my feathered customers are also paying customers. The other day, Roselyn and I woke up to a magpie warbling beautifully outside our bedroom window. That was payment enough for us both. For me, it was wonderful to know that I’d managed to successfully launch another little start-up business.

Battleframe

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