Saturday Musings - Business Training...

Training for a hike is just like business.

The other day I was out training with my wife and a couple of friends as we hiked through the Silvan forest in the Dandenong ranges. It's all a part of the training for a 5-day hike of the Milford Track on the South Island of New Zealand at the end of February.

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Our friends had selected this day’s hike, and all was going well. Sure, we had some gentle ups and downs but even with a 5Kg pack on my back I thought it was more like a walk in the park. After about an hour of tramping through the wilderness we came to the base of a hill where the track effectively went straight up…..gulp!

When I say straight up, I mean at about a 50% angle. After about 100 meters I thought I was going to die. I couldn’t seem to get enough oxygen into my lungs and I would have been quite happy to sit down and “look at the view” for about ten minutes or so.

Up until this point I’d been going to the gym on a regular basis and Roselyn and I had been doing regular walks on relatively level ground. Being tested with the hill was quite a shock to the system as I realised that there was a new level of fitness that I needed to achieve. It was at this point that it started drizzling.

There was only one thing to it…..put up with the drizzle and just press on. But like they say, what goes up must come down. The other side of the hill was the equivalent downward stretch that tested my knees and proved to me that the tear in the meniscus in my left knee was either healed or about to rip again. I decided it was better to find out on this walk then on the one in New Zealand.

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The Roman Business Juggernaut

Heading back home after vacation.

It’s good to be back from ICANN and a couple of weeks’ vacation in the south of France. I must admit that there’s nothing quite like taking some time out to refresh yourself and get a new perspective on our incredible industry.

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As a co-founder of ParkLogic, while away,I found myself reflecting upon each of our service offerings and asking two questions:
1.    What problem does it solve?
2.    What business is it in?

These two questions force me to focus on what value are we adding to the target market. It’s really big picture stuff but during a time of vacation I find it’s a unique opportunity to work on the business rather than in the business.

So while I was looking an aqueduct built by the Romains in Pont Du Garde I began pondering about business structures that are built to last. In fact, I find that I can’t help but consider this when staring up at an amazing feat of engineering that was built over 2,000 years ago.

After visiting the musuem I found out that business was the main reason why the aqueduct was built. The Romans invested in serious architecture to move water fifty miles and then sold access to the water to make a massive profit. In fact, in Rome they had a ministry of water that was one of the more prestigious civil services because of the money it generated.

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Wolftalker
Who'd da thought, the Romans as Water Ripoff Merchants!
12 November 2018
mgilmour
It surprised the heck out of me as well....!
12 November 2018
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Saturday Musings - My Business Continues to Grow!

My new target market

It’s been a while since I’ve written about my new burgeoning business and I thought that it was about time I updated everyone with how it’s going. To say I’ve been busy is a bit of an understatement but first, let me provide you with a quick recap.

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Early this year I set myself the challenge of launching a new venture and it was an instant success with the target market. I had customers flocking in from all over the place wanting to get access to the services I was providing.

I then wrote about the fact that I planned on tackling a new target market. This is quite often a risky proposition for a new business as the expenditure of stretched resources could end up disrupting existing clients and sending the whole venture bankrupt.

I just knew in my gut that this new segment wasn’t being served adequately and with no market research whatsoever I decided to push into the unknown. After tweaking my services, a number of times I’m pleased to inform readers that it’s been a great success!

Of course, the business I’m talking about is about how to attract birds (the flying variety) to my yard and more importantly just out my study window. As can be seen from the above photo I’ve managed to get a flock of cockatoos as customers and one of them even allowed me to handfeed it.

I must admit it was a surreal moment as I slowly crept up to the beautiful bird and extended my hand with some seed in it. It felt like a complete endorsement of my whole business model….and that’s often what success is all about.

So what lessons did I learn along this perilous journey? For a start, when something wasn’t working I changed things up. For instance, the bird bath wasn’t in the right position and my fine feathered customers were ignoring it, so I moved it to a new location. Voila! Suddenly I had customers dive bombing the water in an effort to avail themselves of the service I was offering.

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Wolftalker
...are fab aren't they!
04 August 2018
mgilmour
It was a great experience feeding the cockatoos.
05 August 2018
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My Business is Failing….What Now?

Have you ever had a time when you feel like your helpless? No matter what you do nothing seems to work and yet, those around you seem to be doing incredibly well. This is what it’s like to be in the grip of a business failing.

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Running a failing business is a scary proposition. There isn’t enough cash to pay all the bills and creditors start hounding you for money. You never know whether you should answer the phone or not because you’re not sure if it’s someone about to bring some business in or someone chasing you for an outstanding debt.

The stress levels at work increase dramatically and this often impacts loved ones as the days disasters spill over into home life. Is running a business supposed to be like this? Isn’t the reason why you’re working so hard is to provide a better life for your family?

If the business completely fails, then what is the outcome? Many people (especially males) tie their self-worth to their businesses and they end up getting more and more depressed as they scramble to save what is often unsaveable.

The first thing a business owner needs to realise is their self-worth has NOTHING to do with their business but has a LOT to do with their personal integrity while going through the tough time. The measure of a person is how they behave during adversity not how they act when things are going well.

Over the years I’ve helped a lot of business owners out and without exception they believe either;
1. A big deal that’s just on the horizon will solve their problems OR
2. If that investor just put a lot of money in then all will be good.

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Wolftalker
Good advice.
14 July 2018
Rawgi
I will agree Good advice. Can't ever feel too good to eat some humble pie and roll back to square 1. It actually makes you stron... Read More
14 July 2018
mgilmour
Robin, great to hear from you. I hope your colleagues come through their troubles and that I was able to help out in some small wa... Read More
15 July 2018
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My Business Success!

As many readers already know I’ve been relating my efforts of attracting birds to my yard to starting a new business. In the last article in the series I wrote about trying to develop a new market vertical for my burgeoning bird business. So how’s it going?

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Like any good entrepreneur I tried a number of different techniques to attract clients to my offering. Applying the marketing principles of product, price, placement and promotion I began testing the market and then evaluating the results.

My wife had given me some bird seed (ie. the product) for Christmas as a present and I scattered these liberally across the lawn and in the feeder. The result, pigeons. I have nothing against pigeons but they weren’t the market I was trying to reach and to be frank with you….they are complete pigs and ate all of the seeds.

This is similar to a new business taking a scatter gun approach to marketing to see if there are any bites on their product or service. More often than not, you get a lot of tyre kickers that talk a lot, don’t buy and waste your time.

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Wolftalker
Analogy good. And Lorikeets and Cockatoos - fab!
11 February 2018
mgilmour
I must admit that I'm having a great time watching the birds out my window..... :-)
12 February 2018
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