Category Archives: Business Growth

The employment of the best managerial practices coupled by the new vantage points provided by the holistic-systems approach in business assessment lead to business growth. Furthermore, add the good leadership style of the entrepreneur as the bulwark of the firm in to the mix, will also never fail to, of course, bring about development.

Business growth is the manifestation of the success that the entrepreneur reaps after the employment of all that was mentioned above. This may then directly translate to different expansions like market expansion, physical base expansion, expansion of ventures, and the classic venturing out to the unknown. In this case, we can be sure that the prospects of profitable frontiers will be opening up to business owners like us.

cost cutting

Cut What You Can, Without Compromising Your Business

To be a good entrepreneur, it is basic knowledge that we must know the maintaining cost of our business. Knowing the exact amount will not suffice here; but rather, we are talking about knowing the purpose and functions of each cent that we spend as overhead cost. Likewise, in order for us to become really successful entrepreneurs, we must also know how to cut on our overhead costs without sacrificing the operations and production performance of our business. How can we do this?

It is simple. It is just matter of knowing the marginal utility of each dollar we spend in our business. Knowing each marginal value each dollar gives will give us the insight into which is the best invested to profit ratio for our firm.

To further illustrate the point, let us take into consideration a business  that operates with a maximum number of employees. Most of the time, because of the diminishing value of labor, there is always a surplus of labor value that you pay without getting the optimal marginal value for it. In this case, you might want to shift into a pay per action system. Whereas, for example, a professional will be paid not in the salary system but based on the type and frequency of the services that he renders. This will cut the overhead cost for you by eliminating the unwanted labor salary costs.

Another strategy that you can employ is to cut the interest on your loaned capital. This can be done by using bank loans as capital source instead of credit cards whenever it is possible. This will cut the interest charge for credit cards because their interest rates are generally higher than bank loans, albeit readily available for short purchases.

Trying to ride with the marketing tide can also be one the things that could effectively cut your costs. This can be in the form of volunteer work for a church-based organization so that your company will have good publicity without actually paying for it. Another strategy is to ride with the popularity of the bigger players by affiliating your company with them. In doing so, just make sure that this will not compromise the identity of your company. A good publicity shot can give you the word-of-mouth boost that effectively cuts down your costs and even increases your income.

Planning ahead is also a good form of cost cutting. Buying in bulk and placing your purchase orders earlier can effectively cut your material costs. Furthermore, the other form of materials cost-cutting is by establishing a bidding system to the suppliers in the locality. In this way, these contractors will try to win your contract by deliberately lowering the price of their goods and services.

There are a lot of ways to survive in the business just by trying and playing every card that you can play; and cost cutting is definitely one of them. As a business owner, you just need to make sure that cutting your costs will not affect your quality of work. Thus, you still can deliver quality products and services to your customers.


Fortunes Can Ever Change So Quickly

As far as business is concerned, there are two prerequisites for survival in the market: strategy and hard work. There is no such thing as constant and unchallenged supremacy. The case of the Forbes 400 proves that fortunes can change quickly and unpredictably in numerous circumstances. What made the difference for these remarkably rich people are the skills and the determination to stay in the game.

Drawing lessons from the Forbes 400, we can note the fact that very few or none of the companies in the list began as huge businesses. Steve Forbes, editor of the Forbes magazine, Chief Executive Officer of Forbes Inc., and himself an established business tycoon, stressed that these businesses started as small ventures. The owners did not inherit the businesses – they created them. They crafted the design, the working schemes, the internal dynamics, the products, and the services; among others. Forbes made it clear that in the market battleground, there is no unshaken aristocracy; there are no invulnerable competitors. The business owner has to be skilful in calling the shots of ‘making something happen.’

Next, to ‘stay in the game,’ one has to understand the true meaning of wealth. If we are in the context of businesses and the market, wealth is not simply the iconic piles of gold, jewels and money all around you. The business owner, more often than not, dismisses this ‘fairytale-ish’ or the ‘commercial ad-ish’ representation of wealth. For him or her, the focus is on the primary determinants of wealth.

This now brings us to the question, “What generates wealth?”  Forbes said that it is the “value that people put on the asset.” One of the classic principles in economics tackles the factors behind every demand curve; two of which are the preferences and the price and accessibility of alternative goods. The business owner, therefore, has to possess sheer knowledge about the prevailing preferences in the market and has to learn how to manipulate variables to increase profit. “If the people suddenly don’t like what you offer or if somebody does it better, then the value disappears,” Forbes said.

Indeed, the business owner must know how to answer the crucial question. Will the product or service be preferred over other competitors? More importantly, what will give the product the edge over the other?

Now, the hardest part is the fact that the tastes or preferences of the consumers are always changing. In fact, conditions in the market are characterized by vicissitudes. Thus, there are changes in the factors that determine supply and demand. The cost of manufacturing a product or offering a service can increase dramatically; or some other powerfully decisive exogenous change can take place in the market. There can be an unexpected depreciation of machines, or even political turmoil that creates an atmosphere hostile to vibrant economic activity, among others. In the smaller scale, changes happen more quickly than they do at the macro level. Hence, the owners of small businesses are most familiar with the speed in which conditions can change, Forbes said.

The competent business owner, therefore, must know how to respond to such changes. He or she is never lax; and never assumes that favourable business conditions are eternal. Forbes shared his father’s favourite quote, “if you think you’ve arrived, you’re already shown to the door.” True enough, the businessman, if anything, knows that the market is also characterized by the survival of the fittest, and adaptation is a necessary feat.


How “Cutting-to-Grow” can Help you Expand your Business

Cutting to grow can be quite a helpful strategy to some business owners; but we’re also all quite sure that a good number of entrepreneurs would also disagree. However, as a personal experience, I would say that the cut-to-grow strategy has greatly helped me out.
I’ve spent the last few months re-evaluating my business. Given the current situation, I was now almost four hundred thousand dollars short of what I initially had. Like with many starting entrepreneurs, I thought I could do everything all at once and I expected to do all of them very well. However, this was not the case. I was entirely wrong.
Realizing the mistake, I strategized on how to proceed with my business to make up for the lost time and money. This is when I decided to employ a cut-to-grow strategy. But contrary to the common definition of the term, I mean cut-to-grow in a different manner.
Decide on What to Cut
I started my business with the thought of launching four products. To begin with, I didn’t even have one product launched yet. During that time, I had no idea why I thought that launching four products all at the same time would be a great idea. For me, it just seemed reasonable. So, I started out with four products when it would’ve been better to just launch with one. Lesson learned: learning to cut right from the start is an important consideration for your business.

Decide on What to Cut Online

Social media marketing has been the craze these days. With the advent of free marketing tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and blog sites, reaching out to more people has never been easier. Though these tools have their benefits, always assess if these tools actually helping you out. Is spending two hours a day writing blog posts or tweets getting you your expected responses compared to only writing once per week? In my case, I found out that posting weekly is generating the same results as posting daily; therefore, I used that two hours daily doing something else more productive for my business.

Decide on other things that you can Cut

Is your participation in a lot of volunteer committees eating up some time? Are these committees also helping you out? Another question is, “How many hours do you spend watching TV daily?” It is great to have these activities to unwind; but you must also ask yourself if the time spent on these can be better spent on your personal fitness and health or your company’s growth. Look for other things, especially the ones that are non-productive, that are taking up your time and try cutting down on them.

Another change that I had was that I gave up my office and went back to working in coffee shops until I get things back to their usual way. I was looking for other ways on how to still continue supporting my business in the short-term, with very minimal impact on the long-run. Giving up the office was a big decision.
People usually relate cutting-to-grow as a way of cutting down on valuable resources. As a personal belief, this is not right. You can find other things that you can cut down on. Cutting down on unnecessary things will ultimately help you in expanding, instead of downsizing, your business.


Agreements with Subcontractors

These days it is easier to engage with subcontractors rather than hire employees for various practical reasons. One is that, in subcontracting there is less time spent with training since even before entering into such contract one already knows what he wants to accomplish and that it entails a lesser responsibility regarding the issues of employment. In subcontracting, you only pay for the specific manpower or labor that you need and that it is within a given time frame where delay may be prevented and that one only engages directly to one person or one company which is the contractor. Yet, there are as well issues that should be tackled before signing the contract so that future problems may be averted.

One thing is the issue of termination. It should be clear to both parties that they are entering into a subcontracting agreement because it is only for a given time, which is temporary, depending on the work situation. The work must be specific and the end product definite. The contractor and the subcontractor should make sure that they are on the same page, otherwise, this may bring about legal battles concerning welfare and security. Second is the term of payment. It should be remembered that in this kind of agreement, that is subcontracting, there is no employer – employee relationship. This may be the main reason why most contractors get subcontractors to work for them. The manner of payment is not determined by how they do their jobs nor exercise their profession but rather the end result of this execution. Hence, it need be noted that both parties, the contractor and subcontractor, must have the same picture regarding the positive consequences that the contractor himself wants to achieve. Third is the sense of business confidentiality. On this third issue, the qualifications of the subcontractor are necessary. There must be a sense of privacy with regard information that needs to be kept classified and away from the open in order to maintain a healthy competition in both trade and commerce. The fourth issue that needs to be clarified in the subcontracting agreement is the contractor’s policies and procedures. As a contractor, he should make sure that the people he is about to connect with as subcontractors have the ability to attain the very purpose for which they were engaged with. These people must have the ability to replicate the services or things that make the contractor’s trade exceptional so that customer satisfaction and profitability is feasible. Another is the issue of their limits. Again, it should be made clear in the agreement that they are being paid because of their contribution in the business. In subcontracting, the specified end result and the extent of their input is what is paid for, therefore, their responsibilities must be distinct, clear and specific. Finally, their attitude and personality needs to be checked. The possible subcontractors must not be too confident to act as if they are the bosses of the contractor’s trade and must not be carried away by the small successes they achieve nor too humble to admit them. The reason is that, there is a manner or mode of operation that needs to be maintained in order to gain advantage and not lose them, for such is the very core of a certain business, the customer satisfaction. In any kind of industry, it is seldom that there are positive expectations on both parties, thus, the issues pointed herein require to be tackled long before placing one’s signature on the agreement.

To end this, the relationship built by them is one that of a contractor-subcontractor relationship. They are binded by a contract wherein the first engages with the second for a specific job, business or purpose within a definite period of time. Thus, it is supposed to die a natural death and it makes the business operate faster and the job description more precise. The notes given are only to make sure that the principle for which they were acquired is attained without any other responsibilities on both parties. Remember, it pays to be candid and frank early on rather than face the dilemma later on.

Pretty woman with open sign

Strategies of growing your solo business

In business, there will always be a time when you feel like you are already up against a stone wall. When you feel like you have already drained all your resources and that you have already used up everything you knew and yet you still have the burning desire to bring your business to a higher level. Try these strategies of growing your business.

1. Make connections

You can never grow your business to a certain level of growth that you want if you do not have the right connections. It is therefore imperative that you have a network of relevant people that could be instrumental to your growth. No relevant growth can be achieved by doing things all by yourself, you do it rather with a network of like-minded associates.

2. Learn, learn, learn

Never stop learning. Learn while you work, Learn while you build your business up. Learn while you fail. Learn in every way you could. You could learn through experience or you could go back to taking up classes. If there is a particular skill that you think is relevant for you to implement growth, and then by all means go enrol in a class, study and learn it with passion. By learning, you learn to grow your business, and while you grow, you’re learning to grow all the bigger

3. Have a business consultant

You need guidance while you grow your business. You need someone to steer you in the direction you want your business to tread. A business consultant will do just that. He can make your goals clearer and make it practically achievable. They know how to fill the gaps. By tapping their services, you are taping as well their rich reserve of vast experience that they have acquired through the years, thus, ensuring you that there is wisdom in their words.

4. Make yourself accountable to a higher office

Even if you own the business, you must have your own mini advisory board of which you make yourself accountable to. This way, you can put a restrictive rein to your impulses and make you think twice before making major and risky business decisions. They could become your boss, to whom you are answerable to your actions. In my case my mini advisory board is composed of my father who happens to be a retired executive, my accountant brother and a businessman friend. This is my group, my advisory group who have the heart to help me tread the ladder to success. The board becomes my boss. I report to it, discuss my plans, justify my actions and lay out my financial activities without reservations. These are people who think like me and have the capacities that could exactly complement me as I run my business efficiently. The advisory board helped me achieve bold new heights for my business, it helped me grow my business at a rate that I envision it to. It made me feel and think like I am running a huge company which altogether helped me gain confidence in my bearing.

Let us also hear what strategies you employ with your business.

Asian chinese business man

Learn how to do business in Asia

Australia has an entirely different structure of doing business with Asia. Some pointers below might just help you exactly how to do business in Asia the right way.

Lend your ears and don’t talk too much

Most Australians convey their passion in their works through words. We tend to make our conversations verbose and lively. This is our way of establishing connections. For us this is the way to do business. By talking, we could get our messages across better. But in Asia, this is not necessarily so, people deal business through focusing in details by listening attentively.  For Asian, talking too much might come off negatively than intended. So to deal better with Asians it is better to lend your ears fully and convey your interest by giving your earnest attention.

Make your presentations excellent

I once had been one of the Australian business delegates sent to China, and I was clearly impressed by the business literatures they hand around. It says there all the needed details about China with all the enticing pointers laying out the reasons for the investors to invest in China. It was such an impeccable material with the context prepared with much thoughtfulness by having it in both languages, English and Chinese.  I believe it cost them a lot to produce such document, but it was more than enough to convince any prospective investor that indeed China is serious to accommodate investors. So if you wish to establish an impression of good reputation and capability, then learn the lesson from the Chinese. Learn the way how excellent their presentations are and how impeccable they make their materials to promote their credentials.

Diversify your approach

Penetrating the Asian market will require diverse and different approaches. Asia is a continent of many nations, all with an entirely different culture and tendencies. A generic approach to all the Asian countries are bound to fail since the diverse needs and lifestyle. You will have to customize your strategy to each of the countries you wish to penetrate and then from there start to modify some of the details to be used for yet another country. Do not take it as a single market; rather, view it as a group of diverse markets with diverse marketing strategies and techniques.

Build solid relationships

The success of your business venture in Asia heavily depends on your capacity to build solid relationships with your potential business partners. You should not consider talking about business dealings unless you have already made an effort to discuss any personal topics first; otherwise, you risk having your actions interpreted as an affront.  This may not be your way of doing business because this is not the way you were oriented, but you will have to adapt to the Asian culture if your wish your business to flourish in their market. You have to take time to build connections, show genuine concern, talk about some relevant personal matters. You must earn their trust way before you make business deals.

Have your company represented by your best delegates

Asians are bright people, and they do not like the idea of dealing with people who do not consider them an equal. Needless to say, they expect to deal with the best minds. To have them deal with your second class business teams will get you nowhere. Either you personally close the deal with these Asian people or at least send in the best of your best. You only need to remember that you have so much to gain from Asia considering its huge emerging market. Therefore, as much as possible, concentrate your resources where the potential is great.



Sell your way to the top with up-selling

Up-selling and cross-selling is one of the best ways to sky rocket your revenue. It is practical and enhances the other key parts of your business structure. Take time to learn its ways make god use of its advantages.

It was in Mc Donald’s that I had my first lesson about up-selling; only that I learned the lesson the hard way, I got suspended for ceasing to practise it. I thought it was such a bad idea. The fact of always asking people to have to add anything more to what they have already ordered might just be the reason of some of their irritation. I definitely do not want to be the subject of their irritation so I stopped, and that’s how I got suspended. Many years later, I realized that Mc Donald’s had been doing the thing the right way after all. Now I know that it makes perfect sense to ask people the “would you like additional fries to go with that?” question. People coming to Mc Donald’s are customers who have decided long before to spend some amount of money, sure there could be a chance that somehow they will respond favourably to your up-selling, and that would have made a huge difference already.

Up-selling and cross selling are really practical steps that require no additional capital but will provide additional revenue. It is such a brilliant technique but only a few are doing it, really. It dramatically increases earnings, which makes it really tempting to give it a serious try. See some of the examples below:

You are offering a service

                As a service provider, you may make sensible offers that could really entice your clients to opt for your services. You could craft your strategy in such a way as offering your clients practical discounts if they choose to avail of the services for a longer term. Or every time you quote a customer, you might also include a quotation of the other services of products that you provide with a brief explanation as to its importance to them. One of the loopholes we commit in providing services is we do not get to offer relevant information to our clients which in one way or another could help promote your product or services. Take the initiative to promote your other services even if you have not been asked. There is no harm in doing so. Most customers might even appreciate you for it.

You are an online vendor

                You can always take advantage of the technology we have how. You may readily walk your customers through with any of the products relevant to what they are about to purchase, of course this time with an enticing discount. Or if they plan on bulk purchases, then you could somehow provide a generous discount by slashing off a hefty amount. Make offers. Entice them to buy more thus increasing your revenue. This is up-selling at its best.

We know the certain advantages of up-selling and cross-selling. It is time now to discuss the first few steps we need to undertake to start things off:

  • When you sign off your email, do not forget to include special offers and a brief summary of your company to give them a concise idea of what you exactly do.
  • Read a very good article in Flying Solo about email newsletter. You will learn so much about the said topic that will help you along the way.
  • Take initiative to do things way above expectations. If you have something new, then make an effort to channel that to your clients. It will show how much you care about them.

Make no second thoughts about up- selling your services or products. It is a noble part of business strategy. It is proven to work even by large companies. You only need to make a choice, an educated choice to rev up your business.



Sell your services like products

For so long,  one question that stood out among the rest, it was: “How to sell my services just like the products”.

I have already tried running a business on services and products, and as time went on, I came  to realize that  it is more practical to deal with services if we talk about time and finances. The only thing with offering services is you have to earn it every single moment. There is no way you can leave it somewhere and on its own will generate revenues, just like selling products. I cannot even find time to do some important errands because I have to attend to my business of servicing for people. There is no way you can take some time off for something if you wish not to lose a relevant portion of your revenue. On the other hand, product based business is fine, only that it requires a considerable space and capital. The need for a huge space for the inventory could really be overwhelming plus the surmounting pressure of huge financial requirements as the operation runs.  The good thing about it is it is way simpler than service-based business. You can easily hire some people for different various tasks and sure it will generate revenue even if you are away.

The challenge here is to merge the two concepts by slashing the superfluous characteristics and retaining its positive traits. I wish to come up with a concept that sells my services the way products are sold. Below are 5 of the concepts I successfully employed:

 1. Apply the team concept

Meet your projects the same way a team will do its parts. You can tap a few of highly skilled workers to do the job for you when you are busy or you took some time away. If you are a writer, you can tap a few skilled writers to share the work for a fee. Or you can even offer to handle the project as a project manager. It is a win-win situation for everyone.

2. Become a trainer

Once you have established yourself as an authority in a certain field with a reputation as someone with incredible skills, you can utilize that knowledge to earn money for you. You conduct trainings for a fee and sell your training modules for yet another revenue generating income. With the advent of technology, your training materials could reach the farthest places thus increasing your potential to earn more.

3. Become a writer

You can earn from writing relevant materials. Ebooks now can fetch a good price depending on the content. It is a great way of selling your services just like a product. Your only capital here is your knowledge about the topic you are sharing.

4. Make it an artwork

By transforming your own work into a work of art it becomes a lot more marketable. It does not have to be complicated; you can make it simple but intricately beautiful.

5. Make it client-oriented

When you package your services, make sure it is client oriented; one that caters to the customers’ needs without any complications. For a web designer, you might just have to develop a simple and cost effective template that performs at a standard of their requirement. Just make things client friendly.

If you have any relevant opinions on transforming client based into product based businesses, and then please share it with us.


Joint ventures: Secret to growing a business

Joint venture is a mutual agreement between two businesses with a shared vision and goals. If it is executed well, it could dramatically contribute to your business’ growth.

Do you consider it essential that your business will keep growing at a steady rate? Does it matter that your business could readily keep up with the changes of economic landscape to ensure your business’s longevity and sustainability? Do you have what it take to answer the demands of the market?

To answer the above mentioned questions only mean that you have the lofty goal of seeing your business soar and grow on your watch, and one of the best things you could do is to enter into a profitable joint venture with a company who shares the same character as you do. This concept may be acceptable to others for all the potentials it entails, while for others it bespeaks of doom. To some, it is an opportunity to have so much to gain from, while to others it is a risk not worthy to try at all. Well, it’s a natural reaction, because indeed joint ventures are tricky, it can make or break your growth. But if only it is done accordingly, it could greatly contribute to your success in general.

On a personal note, I love the idea of joint ventures. Under its guise, I have formed the most fruitful business relationships which consequently impacted a positive growth both to my personal life and my business.  Michael Masterson and Mary Ellen Tribby have a few suggestions to help some of our entrepreneur friends in choosing their prospective partners in joint business ventures:

  • Strength – you have to find a strong partner, one with strong business components that complement to yours.
  • Mutual gain – you to find a business partner with a capacity that you consider equal. It is detrimental in the long run if your venture started on an unequal ground.
  • Limited scope – Make the extent of your venture proceed in a gradual process.
  • Trust – your venture must be founded in trust, first and foremost
  • Simplicity in agreement – the complex the agreement the more ground for misunderstanding
  • Amicable settlement – you should have an agreed way out if ever things will not work out in the near future.
  • Goodwill – Both of you must have the intention to help each other to achieve your common goal.
  • Timing – Timing is everything. Put things into order first before you take the initiative of forming a venture, this will help you avoid confusion and disarray.

Joint venture could literally help you achieve a successful and fulfilling business; at the same time you will have the opportunity to forge a gratifying relationship with your venture-partner. The above mentioned fundamentals will help you get the best out of this business idea.

If ever you have had any experience with business venture, please feel free to share your experience. We will be more than glad to hear anything from you.


Seven simple facts of China’s growing economy

I just came back from China, and would say that it has shown an overwhelming growth in every sense of the word over a short time span. Below are seven simple facts about their economic growth that I have come to witness during my recent visit.

1. Robust economic growth

Everywhere you turn your eyes it will be met by astonishing progress in every angle possible. Infrastructure projects are really overwhelming. Construction ventures are ever present. In almost all aspects of economy, China is really achieving rapid and consistent growth. China has recorded an 8.5% yearly growth which is by itself a feat.  Indeed its economy is making an unquestionable impact that resonates to every country in the world. It is a kind of impact that made them independent from the clutches of power of United States.

2. Noticeable achievements in different fields

The stimulus package of $586 billion has revved up economic activities back to its usual form. And the results are seen in so many varying ways that can be noticed in:

  • Major cities around China such as Shanghai and Beijing are given magnificent improvements. Most facilities in those cities are of International standards comparable to some of the best place around the globe.
  • Second class cities even went through an impressive make over at all sense, gaining impressive investments along the way.
  • English language are now used and spoken in particular by the youth
  • The services they offered now are of comparable quality already with some great places abroad.

3. Increased consumption volume

Its population are increasingly consuming so much during the past years. This truth can be best seen in the streets of major cities. This however could pose a challenge for China, they should think ahead of addressing the ever increasing need of its own population while maintaining its fast-paced growth.

4. Leading renewable energy producer and user

China has been utilizing renewable energy resources to meet its domestic energy demand. Among its widely used energy resources are Solar and Wind which are evident in its usage in many of its public places. In fact, China makes use of the solar energy way greater than all the other countries in the world combined.

5. Significant increase in opportunity for private business sector

China has been extending an impressive effort of increasing the opportunity for private business sector to flourish in its system.

6. Relevant improvement in manufacturing quality

My visit made me see the many changes the Chinese government undertook to improve its quality standards in manufacturing. The world market is demanding a high standard and China took on the call.

7. Australia is ignoring China’s growth is not taking China seriously enough

Many Australians do not seem to share the same opinion as businessmen from other countries do; that China is making its way to become a global influence. Australians are not giving the Chinese much attention as they deserve, the result of which is losing many key business opportunities for which we could competitively offer especially in areas that we really have a distinct edge over the others. We have the capacity to make opportunities over these changes, and I am hoping to see a more aggressive plan of our government to put things into action the soonest time possible.