Tag Archives: Success

Brisbane Lord Mayors Economic Development Business Forum- Rapid Business Growth

The night was one of two excellent speakers. Both young at age 36. I also invited along with me a young entrepreneur in the making. Dean is 25 and wanting to learn about business. I am glad I invited him to attend this particular forum.

Ian Davies, Managing Director and CEO of Senex Energy gave an excellent presentation of how he took a public company with $20m turnover in 2010 to become a $200m turnover business in 2014. All of this from a man who is only 36 years old. Ian noted the struggles his company faced as an energy explorer, from a flood wiping out roads and bridges and having to build new ones. To then be hit by another flood that wiped out that road and having to build another one higher. Some of the key points I took away from Ian’s presentation

  • Systems and Procedures– Ian noted that once you start to grow a business, the importance of systems and procedures becomes even greater to ensure the business is running course. Growth means more people, increasing the need to manage them more efficiently and keep them on course with a given framework of how the business is to operate.
  • Mentors– Ian as a young MD and CEO was targeted early by his now mentor to take on his current position. He quickly had to learn about all facets of the business. Ian stated that he is not a geologist, but he can talk with the best of them from his having to understand the core business of exploration. He did this by finding mentors whose knowledge and experience he could draw upon.

Anthony Yap, Managing Director of Good Price Pharmacy gave an inspiring presentation. From the time he left university aged 21 Anthony had one ambition, to own his own pharmacy. He started as a manager at a pharmacy working tirelessly to learn about how they ran their business. In one year he had purchased his first pharmacy. That quickly began to grow in numbers where the second pharmacy he bought for $270k he sold one year later for $1.2m. Anthony also told of his fight against a major competitor who setup a discount pharmacy only doors down from his own. At a meeting with his competitor, they told him they had the budget to drive him out of business. Anthony stood his ground to now run 44 stores. Some of the key points I took away from Anthony’s presentation

  • Systems and Procedures– This was the first thing Anthony learnt about while managing a pharmacy. He wanted to know every process that was involved in running a pharmacy so he could implement them into his own. This is how he could buy a business for $270k and sell it one year later for $1.2m.
  • Passion and Persistence– You need to be hungry for business to drive you to work at it. Anthony was asked “How do you know if you have a passion for business?” his response was “If you have to ask yourself that question then you don’t have the passion”. Persistence is what got him his first store and allowed him to endure the ordeals of his competitors.
  • Directors and Shareholders Agreements– As one of 4 partners initially, Anthony went through the ordeal of buying out his partners where there was no partnership agreement in place setting out the agreed buy out/exit procedure for a partner. This cost both time and money, taking a toll on the business.

 

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Unique Selling Proposition (USP)- Why Am I Going To Use You Instead Of Your Competitor?

USP POD WIIFM
How your POD will influence your USP for your customers WIIFM- http://www.damienfoley.wordpress.com

So you have a great business selling widgets. Now you are about to go and market your business to bring in clients. But why are people going to buy your widgets over your other competitors widgets?

This is where you need to be clear on what your unique selling proposition/point (USP) is. A USP is what makes you different from your competitors. This consists of your point of difference (POD). To do this you really need to know the product you are selling and how it meets your customers need, want or desire. This may mean you need to reassess what your actual product is. It could mean you need to refine your product. For example, you may be an accountant. But you may need to specialise in tax advice to Doctors. Or you may need to expand your product. For example, you may need to not only provide a web design business, but also provide graphic design, copy writing, SEO, Database design etc.

WIIFM

WIIFM- Whats In It For Me. This is what you are trying to answer in your USP to your customer. How are you going to solve their problem? Do they even know they have a problem? As part of your marketing, such as your elevator pitch, you may actually need to identify the problem your customers might have and how you solve it. For business, typically the WIIFM is “how are you going to add value to their business?” For customers, it is generally “how are you going to make them feel?”

Price

Now you might say “Well my widgets are cheaper”.

Well, if I buy a widget once a year and your widget is $1 and your competitor is $1.20, do I really care, for the sake of twenty cents, that you are cheaper? No.

What if your widget is $1,000 and your competitor is  $1,200? Yes, for $200 I might want to buy your widget. But what if it takes you one week to deliver my widget and your competitor delivers overnight? If I need the widget for my business that costs me $1,000 every day I don’t have the widget, is being $200 cheaper important? No.

Price alone isn’t always a unique selling proposition.

Technical Jargon

A big problem many business owners have when they explain their USP, is they use technical jargon. Remember- WIIFM above and KISS- Keep It Simple Stupid. I don’t care if your widget is made of high tensile polycarbonate. I don’t know what that is. But if you tell me it will last 5 times as long as an ordinary widget which will save my business money in down time for maintenance, or saves me time by only having to replace it once a year instead of every 2 months, now I know what you are saying!

Examples of POD’s for your USP’s

Remember, you need to provide a strong enough reason for someone to purchase your product over a competitors. List your POD’s from strongest to weakest.

  • Value- Reduce costs, increases revenue; adds value.
  • Emotions- Sell the emotion. Makes them feel good/happy; reduces stress; removes fears or concerns; people we love/care for such as family; creates attention/importance; feeling of acceptance/part of a group/ smart/  etc.
  • Time- delivery time; down time; response time; productivity; impulse buy; availability etc.
  • Quality- improved performance; reduced repeat maintenance; reduced down time; warranty or guarantee; assurance etc.
  • Legislation- meets or exceeds compliance standards; improves safety; enhances compliance or reduces legal risk; etc.
  • Social Responsibility- Community benefits; worthy cause; gives to others- school children; homeless; less fortunate; third world people; those affected by natural disasters; etc.
  • Environmental- environmentally friendly; green energy; carbon neutral; recycled/recyclable; reduces or eliminates environmental problem; etc
  • Status- Latest model; exclusivity; price etc. This is a part of emotions.
  • Add Ons- secondary features as a cars digital radio with blue tooth connectivity; Smart Phone with built in camera; bonus or discounted products as free delivery or a second one half price.

USP Examples

Different customers are going to have different needs- WIIFM, meaning you will need to identify the USP that applies to them.

IT Consultant- “We back up your files every 2 hours on local cloud servers offsite. Meaning if your computer files become corrupt, we can restore all your files within 4 hours, reducing your down time which makes you money.”

Green Grocer- “We support local farmers by buying local organic produce. This also reduces our carbon footprint from paddock to plate. Meaning you’re supporting local farmers and your family are eating healthy fresh fruit and vegetables.”

Accountant- “We specialise in medical professionals, meaning we provide you the best tax advice as a Doctor. This assures you pay only as much tax as you have to and minimises the risk of an audit.”

Cafe- “By using our app, you can order your coffee even before reaching our shop, saving time queing in line. By using our Coffee On The Go app, you also earn reward points towards your free coffee. You will also feel good knowing the coffee you’re drinking is made from coffee beans certified by the World Amnesty Against Child Labour.”

~ Damien Foley

10 Things You Need To Do Before You Network

namebadge
Name Badge

Networking is a lot of fun, but it does involve some preparation. Here is a general run through of my routine

1. Identify where you are going to network- We have already covered How to Find The Right Networking Event For You in my previous post.

2. Business Cards- always have business cards with you when attending. There are exceptions to this rule. I will go into more detail about what your business card should have in a future post.

3. Elevator Pitch– An elevator pitch is a quick spiel that in a few seconds tells people what you do. I will go into more detail about what types of elevator pitches there are and how you can create one for yourself.

4. Name Tag- I personally have my own name tag I take to events- I have several in fact for the different organisations I may represent! These are incredibly important as they allow people you have never met to automatically know who you are and who you represent. It helps to break the ice of meeting someone new if they already know who you are before they meet you.

5. Dress to Impress- You only get one chance at a first impression! How you present yourself is the first impression people will have of you. Dress to suit the event. Again, I will go into more detail about how to dress and present yourself for your event in a later post.

6. Cleanliness and odour- you might think this is a no brainer, but everyone is different. What is acceptable to one person is not necessarily acceptable to another. We will discuss this in a future post. But remember you are trying to connect with others and how others perceive you from how you present yourself could damage your personal brand (we will discuss personal brand later also).

7. Eating- I generally try to eat before I go to a networking event. Many networking events serve finger foods such as dim sims, small sandwiches, mini spring rolls, mini quiches etc with dipping sauces. This is eaten standing up while networking. Your only source of cleaning is a napkin! Eat before you go so you’re not talking with a mouth full of food; shaking hands and handling business cards with oily fingers; and spilling sweet chilli sauce over yourself and others; hunger pains from lack of food- all while holding a drink and other documents.

8. Drinking-I have a general rule that I don’t drink alcohol at work events. One is to do with the smell of beer on your breathe. The other is at some events, you may have one too many and be the person that does something stupid everyone will remember (personal brand!). Also, avoid glasses filled with ice unless sipping through a straw. A glass with ice can be embarrassing if it makes the drink spill on you when you’re about to take a sip.

9. Logistics- Work out how you are getting there and how long it will take. Will you be paying for parking? What time does public transport run? How far do you have to walk and is it up hill? Knowing in advance could save you problems later. Don’t forget your return trip also!

10. Public Speaking and Practice- I say public speaking as you are likely to be meeting people on a ‘cold call’ basis. Some people dread talking to people they don’t know. Don’t give up if you don’t feel you did well your first time or you got butterflies in your stomach when talking to people. Learning how to network comes with practice. Your spiel, your approach, timing, when to be serious or to be funny, how to read people. We will go over this more in a later post.

I hope this helps you prepare for your next networking event. We will discuss the above items in another post.

~ Damien Foley

Having The Right Mindset For Success And Business

(2013.07.22) Having The Right Mindset For Success And BusinessToday I had two things happen to me that gave me two different feelings.

The first was attending a meeting as the President of the Indigenous Construction Group Australia (ICGA) to discuss some future opportunities. The meeting went well and I came out of it feeling very positive.

The second event was after attending the meeting I returned to my car to find it had been towed. Someone had removed the bollards to prevent people parking there to undertake some construction. Though I found it strange the manager had parked his car in the same area before I arrived. But I had parked where I wasn’t meant to even though I didn’t know and there was nothing to tell me otherwise. Naturally I wasn’t very happy at having to pay $350 to have my car taken out of the impound when I wasn’t at any fault!

So on the bus ride to the impound I thought about these two events. I thought about how I should be feeling. My feelings were mixed. On one hand I had a great meeting which had me feeling good. But on the other hand I had my car towed because someone had not properly secured the area to prevent me parking there or put up signs telling me not to park there, which cost me $350.

So I thought back to last night. Last night I attended a meeting with some friends of mine. We all share a common interest of investment and wealth creation. We started meeting about 5 years ago but we slowly became less involved as the global financial crisis took a greater hold and was beginning to bite into our pockets. As our first meeting, we agreed for the next two weeks we would not start looking at investment strategies. Instead we would first get our mindset right by listening to audio books on the subject.

I personally listen to people like Anthony Robbins “Awakening The Giant Within” and other business books that include creating a positive mindset. When I first listened to Robbins I thought it was just a ‘touchy feely’ approach to setting goals. I was raised that goals are achieved by hard work, not thinking about your emotions. But the more I replayed and listened to the audio book the more I took on what he was getting at.

One of the story’s Robbins tells is of Honda, the maker of Honda cars and motorcycles. Honda had a number of setbacks but he persevered until he achieved his goal. He could have given up due to any one these major setbacks. But he didn’t, he continued forward focusing on his goal. As a result he created the Honda motorcycle and car manufacturing companies we know today. Honda overcame these negative events to become a household name.

So today I had a positive and negative influence on how I would feel about the day. You know, having my car towed cost me $350. but it’s just money and I can make it back if I set my mind to it. So I am not going to let that affect how I feel. But the meeting for ICGA today will have a positive affect for not just myself, but also other people. And for that reason I can feel good about my day today!

~ Damien Foley