What's A QR Code?
At a recent networking luncheon, aptly named the GAF Luncheon (Grog and Food), I was introduced to a new bit of IT or marketing technology (well at least new to me, I’m sure they have been around for a while, but I may just be a bit slow to catch up with this techno stuff). So I decided to go and use my best friend, Google, and see what they are all about, and obviously decided to share what I have found.
QR codes, or Quick Response codes were initially designed for the tracking of parts in the automotive industry. They are now used to allow a user, who can scan such codes, quick links to website, email links, SMS link, phone numbers etc. They have become a key target in the Mobile technology whereby an App can be downloaded for both IPhone and Android phones to scan and then therefore, make these little black and white boxes usable to us. I found an App for my phone easily on the App Store and for an option of a FREE one or a $1.19 HD version, I am now a man with a scanner, and they are pretty cool!
I have also discovered (again thanks to a quick search of Google and the word "QR code creator") several sites that allow you to make your own QR codes for free, again, how cool? Since finding, creating and playing with this in the last few days, I am amazed at how many QR codes I have come across each day, from magazine advertising, bus advertising etc. They are popping up everywhere, and hey, now I can scan them!
While I don’t know if this is the next big thing, I’m sure the marketing aspect of these will grow by the day but, they are certainly quite impressive, and unless you can scan, you don’t know what you are missing. Finally, when you find and scan one, it is a mystery as to what is going to open up on your phone!
So what are you waiting for? Go and have a play like I have…
Small Fish Business Coaching Canberra
In all the marketing and business improvement lierature we are constantly reminded to sell on value and not fall into the price discounting trap. So what does that mean, what is value in the consumers mind?
Well it could be any of the following components, or a combination of them:
Service – This includes providing a service that people may not want to do themselves (cleaning, car washing) or providing excellent customer service while selling your goods and services.
Response – How we respond to a customers requests or needs.
Variety – Especially in retail do we sell a varirty of goods that service a range of customers.
Knowledge – What experience do we have and how does this apply to the business or service we supply.
Quality – How do your products measure up to the competitors?
Guarantee – What guarantees do you provide? Do you have a refund policy?
Convenience – How easy is it to do business with you? Trading hours, phone or email access, parking?
Price – Do you have a pricing proposition that you stick to and can market?
If you are looking to sell on value and want to define your value proposition. Consider the following questions:
How do I differ from your competitors?
What need do I fill for my customers that no one else does?
If I ceased to exist, would my customers miss me?
What do my customers want that I do not have?
Who are my best customers and why?
If you consider these things carefully you will be able to determine your value position and market your business accordingly.
Small Fish Business Coaching Sydney
What Makes A Great Business Owner?
Jim Collins in his book ‘From Good to Great’ discusses what differentiates a good company from a great one, and how few companies end up being great. It’s a great read and I recommend it for anyone in business or in a management role. When we look at these questions in the context of the business owner, what is it that makes him a ‘great’ owner versus just a ‘good’ one?
Whilst there are numerous lists out there I thought I would throw a few of my own thoughts out there based on insights drawn from conversations and observations with business owners who fit the mould of being ‘great’. They are the ones whom not only have the successful and desirable business operation, but in most cases, have the balanced lifestyle to go with it.
Characteristics of a great business owner are:
They have a vision for the business
The vision is developed into a working plan and being actioned
They are passionate in all they do
They’re not afraid to take risks
They have access to funds
They surround themselves with experts to complement their skill set
They are willing and able to change (at short notice)
They seek out new opportunities
They have strong decision making abilities
They solve problems (but sees them as opportunities)
They have a sense of humbleness
They are strong communicators
They can let go of the reigns and allow others to control their business
Whilst I’m sure there are many more characteristics for a great business owner, this is a good starting point. From the list of 13 points above, how do you score in honestly ticking off those that apply to your approach to your business? I think I can confidently tick about 8 to 9, so I guess I still need to get some more focus in various areas…or maybe my humbleness needs some work?
I would love to hear of any additional pointers that great business owners have, or to see how you rate in a score out of 13?
Best of luck in the journey to ‘greatness’!
Small Fish Business Coaching Canberra
First Impressions Count - Is Your Business A 70's Throwback?
We often hear the saying that people will decide what they think of you in the first 30 seconds of meeting you. First impressions count and this extends to your business as well.
Within 30 seconds a potential customer will have formed an opinion of the quality of your services before you have even had the chance to butter them up with your wit and charming smile!
How does you business present itself?
The Pushy Used Car Salesman
Is your business “in your face” with large colourful posters pitching every service or product you offer? Are those posters hand written suggesting you are a budget business? Does your staff almost jump the counter to grab a customer?
The Obnoxious Wine Snob
Could someone walking into your business clearly identify exactly where to go and what to do. Sounds strange doesn’t it? I have visited businesses where the front door was not easily located and the reception was deserted. The reception may have been beautifully presented but immediately I feel a little unwelcome and slightly intimated. Chances are I came to your business to use a service, not to feel like I don’t deserve to be there.
The 70’s throwback
Could your business be mistaken for a 1970’s trip down memory lane? Old stinky carpet, brown and orange bench tops/desks and yellowing/peelings posters on the wall of products you no longer sell. It is the equivalent of a woman wearing blue eye shadow and Farrah Fawcett hair. For some unknown reason, hairdressers and doctors surgeries often fall into this category. Doctors I kind of understand (they are busy curing illness after all) but hairdressers have no excuse. Refits are costly and headache inducing but small changes can make a huge difference. P.S Don’t fool yourself into thinking you are “retro” cool, your not…
The Moody Teenager
One huge mistake I see often are staff leaning and slouching all over desks and counters. It drives me crazy! Stand up and look alive people! If you are in no rush to serve me when I walk in your front door you will be in less of a rush to help me when you already have my cash.
The Sloppy Guy with Soup On His Tie
What might be acceptable to you in terms of tidiness may not be acceptable to your customers. If I can see piles of unopened mail, over flowing rubbish bins and paperwork strewn across your desk I won’t be impressed. Be as feral as you like behind closed doors, but when it comes to business keep it neat! Do you want to see a mechanic or dentist in disarray? I would worry that your disorganisation would lead you to forget to put the bolt back that holds my car together (slight overkill, but I am trying to make a point) or rip the wrong tooth out.
Take an outsiders view of your business, or better yet get an outsider to actually view your business. Ask the following questions to see what people notice about your business first?
- Could you find the front door/see our signage?
- How long did it take for you to be acknowledged?
- What where the first three things you noticed?
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End of the Financial Year: Networking
So it’s the end of the Financial Year and the start of a new one. There are a million articles floating around about this particular event. So I have decided to write about something completely different.
Do you or does someone in your business participate in a regular weekly organised networking event? It just so happens that I do and I really love it. I am about to become the President of my chapter (no its not a cult as my wife likes to refer to it as) and I am really excited.
The benefits to my business through networking have been amazing. In fact 60% of my clients have come from networking. It is an extremely cost effective form of marketing and it allows me to build trust, expertise and relationships with people that become advocates for my business.
I meet with like-minded business owners on a weekly basis for breakfast. The meeting starts with 20 minutes of open relationship building and catching up with new members and visitors. We then move into a formalised sit down breakfast with an hour-long agenda driven meeting. Each participant has the opportunity to stand up for 60 seconds and give his or her elevator pitch. The specific intent of this pitch is to ask other members for referrals and to provide them with enough detail so that they become your external sales team.
The middle of the meeting provides a 10-minute timeslot whereby a member presents his or her business to the group. Every week sees a different member present and this is an awesome opportunity to be innovative, demonstrate value and deliver your sales pitch to the group. It is an excellent way to be interactive with 20 plus people in one room whilst they are intently figuring out ways to help you get more business.
The tail end of the meeting allows for every member to officially pass referrals, state how much closed business they have won from the group that week and record how many one to one sessions they have had with chapter members that week in order to get to know one another even more.
So what? Big deal. What on earth has this got to do with Business Coaching?
He is the exciting part. I am about to become the leader of approximately 25 people that will all be actively seeking business opportunities for ME! Not because I forced them to with threats of violence, but because I have become an active member of a group whereby giving is about gaining. I now have a team of sales people working to promote my business with true intent. They are a sales team with integrity, with substance and with care for me as a person. This is possible because I participate with energy, passion and drive to help my fellow chapter members.
How much does this cost? It costs me a nominal annual fee and it costs me time. But the return on my investment has been massive!
If you are not networking because you are scared of the prospect of putting yourself out there or because you don’t have the time to add another something to your list or because you don’t think it would work for your business then I suggest you rethink your options. Not only could this be good for your business but it too could possibly be good for you as a leader of a business! Members are constantly giving testimonials about their improved presentation skills, their confidence in growing their businesses with the support of chapter members and most importantly their ability to form lasting relationships that transcend business.
My aim is to have our chapter passing $1 million in business by the end of 2012. That is certainly an exciting proposition for a group of businesses that are passionate about new business, new clients and increased revenue.
If you would like to know more, drop me a line. Happy to discuss the opportunities related to networking in more detail and happy to help you make the transition to a networking event near you where I can.
Happy networking and go get some seriously warm leads!
Small Fish Business Coaching Belrose
Celebrating The Wins
I have had a fantastic week!
3 of the businesses that I have worked with have been nominated (by clients) for the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards. What a great achievement.
These businesses knew that they had to change. They took on advice and did the hard yards to make the changes happen and now they can celebrate.
Although driving a business to success is a long and sometimes tedious process it is important to stop and enjoy the wins. Reward yourself and your staff along the way for reaching goals. In this way you can really enjoy hitting targets and the business success that comes with doing so.
If you want to drive change in your business then make an appointment with a Small Fish Business Coach today.
Small Fish Business Coaching Toowoomba
Why Are You In Business Anyway?
Jon wrote a story in the Byron Shire Echo last month entitled “Why are you in Business Anyway?”
Read the Article Below:
Who’s your business coach? Obviously, as a business coach and a coach and recruiter of business coaches, I think everybody should have one. Well… I would, wouldn’t I? It’s good to be writing here. I promise I’ll try to be interesting and maybe even useful. I’ll go for funny, sometimes, too. All in 250 words a month. Today I want to ask ‘Why are you in your business anyway?’ Think about it, it’s important. There are disadvantages to owning a business that you don’t get in a job– stress, cash flow (or not), staff problems. You know them, I’m sure. So you need to be clear on why you’d take all this on. When we’re coaching you, we use a very basic three-step process – Audit, Plan, Action. We work out (with you) what’s going on and what you want to achieve, then we make a plan and write it down. Then we start taking action.
I know it’s simple. What did you expect? Ten secrets to world domination? Sorry, there are no secrets. The closest thing to a secret in business is the observation that the biggest difference between those in business and those with a job is that those in business got off their arses and did something. The rest of it is the usual – what are you trying to achieve, what should you be doing about it? Get on with it then! This brings me back to my question. What do you want? Enough money for biscuits? Autonomy? World domination? (It’s up to you.)
It’s worth being clear and making sure you steer your business in that direction. It’s easy to let your business be in charge, instead of you. So think about it, write it down. Show your partner. Or your mum. Or your business coach.
Jon Dale is a business coach and a director of Small Fish Business Coaching in Marvell Street. If you want to talk to him about your business, he’ll give you a free coaching session, no strings. He says it’s good marketing. Phone 02 6680 8036 or 0402 259 209.
This video by Derek Sivers whose new book, Anything you Want, is out now, illustrates the point really nicely.
Stuff the MBA types – don’t let them ruin everything.
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In the world of coaching, we spend quite a bit of time discussing PRICE as it has a fundamental impact on profitability.
We are used to seeing ‘2 for 1’ offers, in fact Harvey Norman promises us MASSIVE DISCOUNTS almost daily. How do the words on this sign make you feel? What was the shop owner thinking when they wrote them? I, for one, am impressed, and I’m guessing these drinks are pretty good.
Let’s have a look at pricing theory.
“A very old puzzle in economics is the relation between price, value to the consumer, and cost of production. It is tempting to say that the price of a good is determined by its value to the user. Why, after all, would anyone buy a good for more or sell it for less? But if this is so, why are diamonds, which are relatively unimportant (most of us could get along quite well if they did not exist), worth so much more per pound than water, which is essential for life?
The answer is that price equals both cost of production and value to the user, both of which must therefore be equal to each other.” Price Theory: An Intermediate Text by David D. Fridman.
Our clients often wonder how to price their goods or services. I recommend consideration be given to several factors.
Cost of production. Calculate both the direct and indirect costs of production. Direct costs would be the materials or time directly associated with production – if prcing a steak meal in a restaurant, calculate the cost of the steak and accompaniments and the labour required to produce the meal. Indirect costs would include an appropriate contribution towards gas, electricity, rates, insurances and the myriad of other overhead expenses. Once these costs are known, add a profit margin to give you a selling price.
Competitor’s pricing. Go out to the market and see what your competitors are asking for a similar product or service. Take note of where you sit within the range – is your product at the higher end of the quality scale? If so, that’s where your price should also sit.
Preceived value. Think back to the diamonds. The price of a diamond is almost exclusively based on percieved value. What is your product or service worth to your customer? If your product is unique and has little or no competition, your asking price will be very much based on ‘what the market will bear’, in other words, how much a customer is willing to pay. Obviously, for your business model to be sustainable, your product must deliver or its value will quickly erode.
Test and measure. You will see these words a lot in business. The art of business lies in creativity. The science of business lies in the evaluation and refinement of your current practices. Fix a price. Test it in the market – you can do this by tracking your sales, obtaining feedback from your clients and surveying the market place. And then adjust your price based on the feedback your receive and test again…
The subject of pricing can be daunting for many business owners but careful and ongoing evaluation of your pricing policy can reap rich rewards.
Small Fish Business Coaching Canberra