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What does professional mean to you in the context of the new business paradigm that we are committed to bringing forth?

What is the distinction between professional and amateur? Where do you see your business on the... read more

Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
Great question Nicole. I think these labels speak to the trust and execution of their skill set.Professional is:completing agreed upon work within the timelinebeing transparent and honest in information exchangesowning up to shortcomings and working to improve themthinking about improving the business / client not just the paychecktaking your ego out of the situation to let the best idea move forward (even if not yours)acknowledging that there is always more to learnProfessional is not:a suit and tiesome arbitrary number of years of experience (10, 20, etc.)an office full of cubiclesputting the paycheck before client needsagreeing with everyoneAmateur is:not being preparednot knowing your personal limitsunderestimating time and effortnot being timely with responses to clients / customersbeing passive / aggressivenot delivering quality workmissing deadlines (with no explanation and being defensive)over-promising work (especially if you don't understand it or have skills to complete it)Amateur is not:a lack of experience (they have only been doing this for a year or less)a person of a certain age (usually seen as anyone under 25 or 30)a small office / home officeThese are my thoughts. What do you think about the above?
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What are the best podcasts for entrepreneurs?

Melanie GrayOwner at MyCL (My Computer Lab)
I like http://smallbusinessbigmarketing.com/ too
Monika NewmanVirtual Secretary/Personal Assistant at Absolutely Virtual
http://markbouris.com.au/http://businessaddicts.com/https://herbusiness.comhttp://smallbusinessbigmarketing.com/http://www.marketo.com/podcasts/http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/Plus many, many more :-)
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Does anyone have experience with setting up licensing of a service based business?

I'm looking to register my IP read more

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How do I do business in the Philippines?

I sell jewelry in the US, and would like to find cheaper labor abroad in the Philippines. I'm... read more

Philip BrookesOwner at Aktiv Tactics
Hi Harry, I live the majority of the year in Philippines (my partner is Filipino and my son is half-Filipino), and we conduct business with Australian clients from offices in both Australia and Philippines. Given the way that we work and what we expect of our staff/contractors/team members, it's not an easy transition to start outsourcing to Philippines. However, it's certainly possible and, with the right management and perseverance, you can be on a winner. I don't have experience in contracting craftsmen, but I have explored the possibility before, and my view is that you need to spend some time in the Philippines visiting as many people as you can and seeing the quality of their work, getting to know them, and describing what you would expect from them. You need to emphasise repeatedly your expectations re: quality and timeliness, and you need to structure any deal with them that it is to their advantage to deliver the quality and timeliness you expect. If you pay on the basis of time, often they'll just stretch out the time and work slower. If you pay on a per piece basis, they could rush it and do a bad job. But if you can have a trusted partner in Philippines who inspects goods and accepts or rejects before full payment is made, you could potentially build up a great team.
Hitesh MohanlalDirector at WOW! Advisors & Business Accountants
HarryGood question. There is an abundant supply of labour in the Philippines but the issue will always be quality control and culture. I had a couple of people there and all my admin work is still done there. Once they know what you are after they generally deliver - it is a time consuming exercise and it can be very frustrating.You really need to understand how the people and culture work. I recommend you contact Mike O'Hagan. He runs tours there for people like yourself and is a good introduction. He can be contacted via his assistant - assistant@minimovers.com.au
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How does an entrepreneur develop a great concept, and further, then develop a great production team to take forward?

Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
Each entrepreneur has their own process at developing concepts, however there are (or should be) repeatable steps in each and perhaps overlap in some areas with the processes of others.My Steps Process 1:Identify a gap in the marketplace (any product or industry is ripe for discoveries)How large of a market is the gap I've identified (customer size or monetary value)Develop Initial concept (paper, digital or physical)Collect feedback from potential customer (survey, watch them use it, etc.)Evaluate results, if positive continue and refine, if negative review and determine if worth refiningMy Steps Process 2:I have a great idea (I think)Explore the idea to expand opportunity / use casesLook at the market to see if it fits into a gapIf there isn't a gap, what is the competition doing right and wrongIf opportunity seems viable create initial concept (step 3 in Process 1)Collect feedback from potential users (step 4 in Process 1)Evaluate results (step 5 in Process 1)To development team you need the following, people you trust and vendors you trust.You should tap your existing networks (professional and social) to secure talent or leads. You can use past experience or your network to point you in the right direction for trustworthy vendors.After that you essentially repeat the process (not necessarily mine) but whatever process you used personally and expand it to your entire team.
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What are some marketing tactics that have proven effective for marriage and family therapists?

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Is there any benefit to having your own personal website, or has social media removed the need for this?

Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
Noreen,I think this is a great question. I would say that the answer comes down to 1 simple question.Will a personal website provide something unique or necessary that your social media accounts don't cover?The question is important because if the website isn't providing unique value or capturing leads, what is the point? For example, if you are using the website to showcase some of your social media in a way that it keeps it front and center, perhaps.Social media is more of a time point (it happens and fades rapidly). However, the content on a website can be used to preserve those moments in a more discoverable format. Or perhaps you want to sell things you make to your contacts. A personal website is great for that (if you sell digital creations, ebooks, coaching, etc.). However, if you already have a business website, you may not need a personal one.Really think through the value before creating one. Consider, how frequently can you or will you want to update yet another platform?
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What other ways of getting in front of my perfect customer do you think would work?

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What is your number one frustration in your business on a day to day basis?

Melanie GrayOwner at MyCL (My Computer Lab)
Answering calls.It's hard for me to work in the business and take business phone calls. I am working on delegating this task.
Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
Currently, it would be doing everything myself (out of necessity).I believe in the coming months I'll start rounding the corner so I can offload some less important tasks to other software and people or vendors.The second largest would be having enough time to get everything done (this is mostly because I'm spinning up a second venture while working the first).
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What is the key to successful innovation in small business?

Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
Making it a habit.Document the process and/or tools you useMake the process repeatable.
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Do you innovate in your business?

If so, how? read more

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Are Internal Processes or External Brand Perception in the Driver's Seat?

What do I mean? Simply what is currently a larger driver of your business (for better or... read more

Asked by:
Jef Lippiatt Owner at Startup Chucktown
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Which plays a bigger role in your decision making, positive feedback or negative feedback?

What type of business organization are you? Do you funnel your feedback to only include the good... read more

Asked by:
Jef Lippiatt Owner at Startup Chucktown
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Business planning

5 tips to keep your office efficient, focused and collaborative in 2016

It is the time of the year where we stop and think about the year that was and start planning the... read more

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Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
I think it is important to let everyone cast vision, granted their scope may be different than your own. Vision needs to be set from the top and exemplified all the way down. Vision must also be allowed and encouraged from the bottom up to let team members have a feeling of autonomy. Let them cast vision for what they see their role doing in the new year, what they would like to accomplish professionally and personally. Help others see how they fit into the vision and help them pull that vision into their roles. Create informal (and formal if necessary) touch points to ensure no one is going off the rails.
Gavin KeaneOwner at Cloud Made Simple
Thanks Lina! I love to make a to-do list everyday, helps to keep me on track.
Business planning

10 Important Lessons for Businesses Old and New

Small Business Trends EventsInfluencer AwardsBook AwardsMarketplace RSS Pinterest Linked...read more

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Business planning

8 Steps to Achieving Your Loftiest Goals in 2016

Home Latest Top 50 How To Lists X Switch back to...read more

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What is your biggest business goal for 2016?

Each answer should be as unique as the individual businesses that we run. I'm planning on... read more

Asked by:
Jef Lippiatt Owner at Startup Chucktown
Great question Jef. Like the others I have a bunch of new ideas to translate into packages and services for my current and potential clients.The big, practical challenge and goal for me in 2016 is to ask for the work - because if I don't ask, the answer will always be 'No'.
Great question Jeff. I've spent the past few weeks mind mapping, asking myself loaded questions and doing a lot of thinking. I've come to an impasse with the services I've been offering and feel a sense that it's time to shift gears.With that said, my goal is simple: be intentional. In whatever I chose to do as a service provider, I want it to be done with intention. Whatever I write, as a writer, I want it to be written with intention.On a practical note:Finish my first draft for my first novel (eeeek!) I'm up to 26K and want to write about 60K. Still slogging throughCompile my poetry into an eBook to sellWrite for at least 3 major publications this year.The last one is a big one for me, well and truly out of my comfort zone. It's the fear of rejection in the way, so the real goal is to overcome that fear and just keep pitching, submitting and offering my writing to the world. Cheers!
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Are business plans a thing of the past?

With the introduction of lean canvases, do we still see value in creating business plans? read more

Asked by:
Yee Trinh Co-founder at SavvySME
Steven FreemanOwner at Evolved Sound
For small businesses 100 page plan documents full of fluff and not a lot of real accountable substance are few and far between. From what I have seen even a 1 page plan which is actively followed, monitored and updated every 3 - 6 months is very now and worth its weight in gold.A practical approach I have more recently incorporated is best summarised as follows:Plan quarterlyPrepare weeklyAct daily.
Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
Yee,I think it really depends on the type of venture you are trying to launch. I think funding, is probably the single biggest factor determining if you need a business plan or not. If you are looking for traditional funding (bank loans, angel investors or venture capitalists) they most likely will still expect some type of business plan that has a bit more depth than a Lean Canvas. Banks, specifically will probably be the pickiest about having a professional and polished business plan.If you are planning on using crowdfunding (either from average people or accredited investors) you will still need to present your story clearly to get people excited enough to contribute to your venture/product.If you are funding the business entirely on your own or bootstrapping, a Lean Canvas may be enough. But whatever method you use, it should have enough clarity for your own consumption and benefit. The more people involved (co-founders, investors, etc.) the more detailed the plan should be so it is clear to all involved.The worst thing to do is nothing. Documenting your goals, ideas and strategy is the best way to keep it from getting away from you.
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Business planning

How to Reduce Your End of Financial Year Stress

As the end of financial year draws nearer, it’s no surprise that many SMEs are feeling the... read more

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James Scollay General Manager, SME Solutions at MYOB
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Which do you consider the most important in building a sustainable business?

In terms of building a sustainable business which do you consider most important revenues or... read more

Asked by:
Neil Steggall Partner at Wardour Capital Partners
Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
I would say margins, but specifically their reinvestment. Revenue is great to show traction, but that won't keep a business afloat long term. Your profit margins show a healthy business that has demand and larger margins help show your business is growing.However, it is important to think about the constant pace of change in the business world. You can't expect to make those margins continuously. You must plan for the margins to taper off as your customer, market or product change.Your margins should be split among several categories such as generating additional new business, supporting the existing business and investment. I want to focus on last point, "investment", for a minute. I don't necessarily mean an investment account for the business (although that isn't a terrible idea). I mean investing in the future of your company. Think of efforts like Research and Development, improving your current product, adapting your product into a line of products, or creating an entirely new product.Yes, you fund those activities through your margins. Those activities when managed correctly will need to new margins (not always more or better, but possibly) for your company. Diversifying your offering will create multiple streams of business income. These will help even other products as their demand goes up and down in the marketplace.Margins can be a safety net, but they should also be the coffers to the future of your business. You don't want to focus so much on the margins today that you have no margins down the road. Look at ways to keep your margins consistent regardless of the market.
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