Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Build Your Business with Uncommon Thinking...


At least, that's the mantra spoken by "message creation expert" Wazza Bray, founder and Managing Director of LMG Digital Media.


"What is uncommon thinking" you ask? In a nutshell, it's letting the market know that your business stands out from your competitors by thinking creatively, and not limiting our creativity just because it sounds too unrealistic or "dangerous".


In his presentation at the Wynnum & Districts Chamber of Commerce Business Luncheon on Wednesday 21st July 2010, Wazza imparted three principles when it comes to Uncommon Thinking;


First, Wazza suggested that we start thinking like a child again (What! You say...). He used the example of thinking like a six year old boy. In the world of a six year old boy anything is possible. His thinking and ideas are not constrained by physical limitations or rules or what is generally accepted by society. He can do anything!


Wazza recommended that we should start thinking like that when it comes to planning, or marketing or business. After all...it worked for Albert Einstein when he discovered the theory of relativity!


The second point Wazza made was to be aware of "Reticular Activating System" (RAS)...sounds fancy doesn't it! So what is it? Basically it describes a type of brain activity where once you become interested in something, all of a sudden you start noticing it all around you, whereas prior to your interest, you didn't notice it. For example, when you buy a new car, as you drive it home you notice that model of car everywhere on the road. Did hundreds of people buy the same car as you today? Of course not; you simply hadn't noticed them before because you had no reason to.


What this means for business is basically your product or service will be invisible until someone needs it! With this in mind, it is clear why our business must stand out from our competitors. We need to make sure that when someone is in the market for our product or service that we get noticed and remembered. And again, Wazza suggested the most effective way to do this is by using uncommon thinking...


The third point Wazza discussed was market research. It is important to note here that Wazza made it clear that due to the RAS phenomenon mentioned above, the question "How did you hear about us" will not give you a truly accurate answer when it comes to market research. The purchase process undertaken by consumers happens over time...they talk about it with others, they "window shop", they become familiar with a certain brand, and then, once they have finally made the purchase decision they look up the brand they are familiar with, often in the yellow pages, and contact you (we hope). So if you ask, "how did you find us?", what is their likely answer? "The yellow pages"! Clearly their purchase decision was not due to your ad in the yellow pages...it was part of a whole thought process together with effective branding.


Instead Wazza recommended that we ask direct questions...for example ask "what motivated you to choose us over our competitors" (i.e. what, according to the consumer, is your point of difference).


I think there is a valuable lesson learnt from understanding the human thought process when it comes to marketing your product/service. Just having a better understanding of the consumer purchase decision making process will help any business market themselves more effectively.


What do you think? We would love to hear about your marketing successes....

Thursday, July 1, 2010


As a simple guide and reminder of some of the things you will need to do at the end of the financial year, if using MYOB, please read the following tips for the end of the financial year (provided by MYOB).
However, these are a general guide only. If you want any further information or clarification on any of these please give us a call.
Remember to backup before you do anything!
(Note: Payroll details are at the bottom of this note)
Step 1 Enter all transactions for the financial year
Step 2 Backup the company file
Step 3 Do a stocktake
Step 4 Reconcile your bank accounts
Step 5 Reconcile your accounts receivable
Step 6 Reconcile your accounts payable
Step 7 Reconcile your inventory
Step 8 Reconcile GST control accounts
Step 9 Review accounts and reports
Step 10 Provide information to your accountant
Step 11 Enter end-of-year adjustments provided by your accountant, and only then
Step 12 Start a new financial year
Step 1 Process the last paycheques for the year.
Step 2 Make sure all employees have a Tax File Number entered on their card.
Step 3 Make sure workers under labour hire arrangements have been identified.
Step 4 Print Payroll Reports
Step 5 Balance PAYG (Pay As You Go) Tax.
Step 6 Print PAYG Payment Summaries (Individual Non-business). (we recommend printing/saving them to Microsoft Office Document Image Writer or a similar package so that future copies can be printed if required).
Step 7 Make two backups.
Step 8 Start a New Payroll Year.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Marketing with little or no marketing budget...

That was the topic of the morning at The Kitchen Table Network (Cleveland) this morning.

Our presenter, Leah Squire from byokids.com.au, shared some very important tips on Marketing, based on her book "Marketing With No Money".

Like most of us, when we start our business, our Marketing budget is very small, if not non-existent right? But how else do we get our name out "there". How do we tell people how great our business/product is?

In short...we need to market it. And we can do it, even with a very small marketing budget.

Leah suggested her following top three free/low cost marketing strategies:

  1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – this is crucial for those with a website...it is how Google "finds" you...so check with your web designer..."Google" yourself and see where you rank...you need to be on the first page, preferably in the top 3-5 (non-paid) listings.
  2. E-Marketing – keep in touch with your clients, and potential clients...Leah suggests at least every 21 days. It doesn't have to be specifically about your product...but something new in your industry for example. Try the following link for free E-Marketing www.mailchimp.com
  3. Article Writing – try and build a good relationship with a journalist from your local paper; send an article about your business to the local paper close to print date...there's a fair chance it will go to print; you can also try the following link www.sourcebottle.com.au – it's a website where journalists and blogger look for sources, while helping businesses get publicity.

Leah also mentioned:

  • Getting your clients talking about your business...ask them to tell others about you, or if they would mind giving you a written testimonial.
  • Get your logo out there! On uniforms, or the car...it's great for branding.

I found Leah's chat with the group today particularly relevant because Leah started the same way most of us did...so we could relate to her situation, and then see how it can be done!

Of course, if you have any other marketing tips to add to this we would love to know what they are...so please leave a comment J



Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Liquidity - What is it and how to manage it

Who knows what liquidity risk is? I'm sure everyone has heard the term but it's important to understand it and manage it. Liquidity risk is the risk that a business will be unable to meet its financial commitments in a timely manner - either as short term cashflow or in the long term when loans are required.

Here are a couple of the financial ratios which can be used to identify and measure liquidity and risk.

Current Ratio is Current Assets/Current Liabilities

Depending on your industry, a good ratio would be close to 2:1 and if it is lower and closer to 1:1 then maybe you should look at either increasing your current assets, reducing current liabilities or trying not to finance non-current assets with current liabilities.

Working Capital is Current Assets - Current Liabilties

It is said that a good target for working capital should be one half of operating budget. This can be improved by reducing current liabilitites such as short term debt, or increasing current assets such as the collection rate/time of accounts receivable.

Consider how you can change some fairly minor things in your business such as:

- comparing the timing of when or how often you pay your bills with how often and how soon you are paid,

- how many days your stock sits in your store or wharehouse,

- how long you have to wait for a stock order to be filled once you place it (ie how long might you be without any of that stock).

Also be aware of outside influences which may have an effect on your cashflow such as seasonal fluctuations.

Are there any things that you have done in your business that you think might help other businesses manage their cashflow and their liquidity risk? We'd love to hear about them...


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Importance of being Market Savvy with Megan Walker

Today I was lucky enough to attend a Business Luncheon held by the Wynnum and Districts Chamber of Commerce. It was during this luncheon that I listened to Megan Walker, from Market Savvy, wrap up in just 30 minutes, the ten very important steps one must consider when starting a new business.

Now, call me biased, but Megan was very quick to point out the importance of consulting qualified accountants during the Business Planning phase (step 1)(thanks for the plug Megan!). She expressed how crucial it is for a new business to get the right professional help about various aspects of finance, and to have it all set up correctly right from the START.

Now this wasn't the only thing I picked up from Megans speech. Megan ran through nine other steps, viz;

  1. Business Planning (mentioned above)
  2. Research - is your product desired by a market?
  3. Goals - who is your target market...not everyone, we are not MacDonalds!
  4. Strategies - how do we attract our market
  5. Skills - do we have the skills to get the market? If not, get them (eg outsource).
  6. Branding - what you want to be known for
  7. Key Messages - words of value for your customers (not what you think is valuable)
  8. Marketing Materials - what type? what is relevant to your business?
  9. Promotional Activities
  10. Sales - this is last!!

She also said to "Resinate" (the desire for your product), "Differentiate" (what's unique about your product/service, what makes it the best), and "Substantiate" (generate a trust in your product).

I found today's luncheon particularly worthwhile, and with the tools Megan provided us with today, I am sure we can all become more "Market Savvy!".

Thanks Megan!

~Me (Samantha Monahan) pictured with Megan Walker from Market Savvy~

Are you sabotaging yourself?

This was the question raised to the group last week at The Kitchen Table Network by Mark Edmonstone, former professional Rugby League Player, and motivational business speaker from Edmonstone Dynamics.

Mark's Mantra "Feel the fear, but do it anyway" is what made him a both a highly successful rugby league player (he represented Britan), and businessman, and it lead into him discussing with the group "Real Fear vs Imaginary Fear".

Real fear being something that you know could actually happen (he used his example of the very real possibility of being seriously hurt while playing rugby); and we have two basic choices when it comes to Real Fear: Fight or Flight. That is, either prepare yourself; become stronger, fitter, or smarter and fight; or high-tail it out of there!

On other hand, Imaginary Fear are those fears we "think could happen", often due to past experience. It is not a real fear...it is something that might happen...a classic example is a fear of rejection (in business or in personal relationships). It is these fears that will, it we let them, lead us to "sabotaging ourselves". A classic example is ones fear of providing a quote to a potential client; "what if they think it's too high?".

So how do these fears even evolve? Mark suggests that it is a learned behaviour which stems from the Schooling system and the home (yes, us parents might just be teaching our children to "fear the imaginary"). So he is determined to help us "unlearn the biological behavior".

Mark urged us to challenge these "imaginary fears"...."feel the fear and do it anyway".

Mark Edmonstone is living proof that by facing our fears, both real and imaginary, we can be successful in both life and business; because after a while these fears fade away. This is not to say we will never be fearful again....fears are a natural part of life! But rather than sabotaging ourselves in the first instance, how about we challenge them, or even better, turn them around and make them work for us!

~Mark Edomonstone pictured with Jackie Price and Kerry Stewart-Haynes from the Kitchen Table Network~

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesdayitis...Easter Breakfast....

As I usually do every second Tuesday, this morning I attended the Tuesdayitis Breakfast Group, which is run by the Wynnum and Districts Chamber of Commerce. I've always found this group very supportive, and often informative...and sometimes, a whole lot of fun!

So this morning, in keeping with the Easter theme one of our members, Annie Thompson, from Employment Services Queensland, brought along her Easter Basket, filled with Easter goodies, as well as some Easter Head Dresses for us all to wear! Thankfully I was one of the first there so I got pick of the ears!

It was a lovley morning, especially with the added Easter Treats provided by Les and Heather from Michele's Patisserie....mmmm gotta love those Easter Biscuits!

Below are some pic's taken with my phone from this morning's meeting (please excuse the poor picture quality...but you'll get the idea).

~Johnathan from Wynnum Plaza~

~Paul from Top Show Music~

~Tuesdayitis Group with our "ears" on~

~Darren from Refund Home Loans and Annie Thompson from ESQ~

~Lorraine & Dennis from Ink Jet & Laser, and Paul from Top Show Music~

~Lorriane & Dennis~