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Growing and scaling

4 Tips To Kick Your Inbox Into Shape

Think back to those dim and distant days of the early 2000s -- a time when the email inbox was a... read more

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Enjoyed this thoroughly Tracey, especially point 4!
Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
Very solid advice. Also, please refrain from assigning "High Priority" to every single email (it negates the importance if over used). Ensure you are only "Replying All" when absolutely necessary, otherwise only "Reply" to the necessary recipient or recipients, others will appreciate you not flooding their inbox. Only add "read receipts" when sending Important Timely documents, no one wants to feel like you are hand-holding or babysitting them to ensure they've read your message.
Growing and scaling

It's Not About Service - It's About Honesty and Integrity

Oh dear. Unless you have been living under a rock lately, you will know that Volkswagen has been... read more

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Hitesh Mohanlal Director at WOW! Advisors & Business Accountants
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Lina BarfootEditor at SavvySME
This is a scary read! hate the thought that it's so easy to circumvent regulations... Interesting article.
Growing and scaling

Is Your Team Costing You Tens of Thousand Dollars?

There is a lot of material on the internet about team building and getting a team together. Yet I... read more

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Hitesh Mohanlal Director at WOW! Advisors & Business Accountants
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Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
Great read with some very honest truths.
Yee TrinhCo-founder at SavvySME
Agree. A happy, passionate team is a productive team. Company culture is much more powerful than leadership or talent. Great leadership fosters great culture, through hiring and otherwise.
Growing and scaling

You think you're having a hard time this Christmas? Spare a thought for Santa

If everyone is to be believed Christmas this year is already becoming a disaster. Mothers and... read more

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Hitesh Mohanlal Director at WOW! Advisors & Business Accountants
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Yes, I laughed Thank you, and Merry Christmas too :-)
Lina BarfootEditor at SavvySME
Very funny article :) I will certainly spare a thought for Santa. Having said that, if anyone wants to get me that Millennium Falcon, feel free!
Growing and scaling

It's A Wonderful Life - Your Riches Are Closer to Home than You Think.

There are some films that have meaning and are timeless. "It's a Wonderful Life" is such a film.... read more

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Hitesh Mohanlal Director at WOW! Advisors & Business Accountants
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Lina BarfootEditor at SavvySME
I love It's a Wonderful Life! Didn't really expect to take away any lessons regarding business from it but I guess I have to rethink that now!
Growing and scaling

New Year Resolutions Are Crap! Detox Your Business Instead and Save Thousands of Dollars

I am not really into New Year's Resolutions - they have never really worked for me. I once made a... read more

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Growing and scaling

It's Stars Wars Madness -But You Could Make Thousands by Following It's Wisdom

According to the best financials brains in the stratosphere of our world, Disney will generate... read more

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Growing and scaling

10 Growth Hacks That Will Disrupt Your Industry

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Growing and scaling

Beyond Franchising: 6 Ways to Expand Your Business

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Questions

What is the most common headache of fast growing SME's?

I have my top 3. "I cant do everything anymore" "Managers don't know what they are doing... read more

Yee TrinhCo-founder at SavvySME
I would have to agree with the two of you. maintaining company culturemaintaining quality hiring practicesmaintaining clear communication across the larger organisation with procedures and processes
Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
I think the top 3 things aremaintaining quality hiring practicesmaintaining company culturemaintaining great customer service
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Questions

What drives customers and users to spread the word about particular products and brands?

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Yee Trinh Co-founder at SavvySME
Andrew SnellOwner at Coaster Group
There are always different triggers based on the audience you're talking to. At its core though, there is one top-level notion that, if you focus on, lets you "plan for word of mouth"Be authentic, Have a conversationThere is so much choice in just about every market now that you need to distinguish on more than product and service. Your customers want to feel valued and respected. They want everything to be perfect, but moreover they want to know that if anything does go wrong that it will be resolved, and your business will do anything it can to rectify or remedy the situation.As soon as you make your business approachable, your customers, potential customers, and the people they talk to, will see you as more than a drain on their bank account.
Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
In my opinion there are 3 things that drive customers and users to spread the word to others.Product / Service Value - The perceived value (intangible) of the product or service into their daily life has improved some aspect of their day (saves time, reduces stress or gives them more freedom in accomplishing something). The actual value of the product or service is seen as a "good buy" based on the price and the mix of features, design and experience with the product or service.Product / Service Quality - The perceived quality (intangible) speaks to the increased quality of life the customer believes has happened because of using the product or service. The actual quality of the product or service is based more on how well the product or service holds up (longevity) the materials used (weight, texture, design) and included guarantees (warranties, included extended service plans, etc). Customer Service / Experience - This includes every interaction that the customer has when interacting with your venture / brand. This starts in research, includes online / in store shopping experience, purchase experience, return policy / experience and troubleshooting the product or service.Keep in mind that each of the 3 points mentioned above include both their positive and negative states. A satisfied customer may tell (on average) 1 - 10 people (friends, family, coworkers, etc). However, a dissatisfied customer will tell potentially 10 times as many people about their bad experience (bad product, low quality product). Keep in mind that the internet and social media have greatly increased an individual customer's reach and has reduced the time it takes for opinions and thoughts to travel from person to person and multiple locations.
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Questions

How do you change a culture of chaos to one that adopts systematic processes?

If a growth company is dependent on systems and processes, where does one start in turning a... read more

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Yee Trinh Co-founder at SavvySME
Shannon YoungOwner at The Care Factor
I agree with Jeff regarding leadership as key to culture change. I specialised in culture change for 8 years and that was the key.Additions to realise are that people people need to let go of the old way of doing things. I agree with Jeff that this is where understanding WHY the change is happening is key. People need a reason to change. Overall connect the change to a purpose that means something to everyone - communicate this in a way everyone understands and gets WIIFM (whats in it for me)Remember that you can change all the systems you want but unless you get the people to transition (that internal change within themselves), they will always find a way to do things the way they have always been done. People tend to run in "transition deficit" and so are on or two steps behind the actual change that you are implementing.A way to get them to buy in to the change is involvement (agree with Jeff again) as people want some control during this uncertain chaos of change itself and gaining input is a way to do so. A large insurance company took a huge gamble in a change program a few years ago and opened up their entire organisational structure for feedback from ALL of their staff. That is a huge show of trust and belief in their people and this brought them on the journey.and communicate, communicate, communicate. I tell you, you cannot over communicate in times of change. Once you stop communicating people will fill in the blanks themselves and that can be really scary.SoSHARE WHY, INVOLVE ALL AND COMMUNICATE OFTEN
Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
You must set an example from the top down. You must also be persistent, the longer it has been the way it is, the longer it may take to change directions (people are mostly adverse to change).Also, the shift in culture cannot be just grand speech/language, it must be visible action (even if in small steps).What is a good catalyst for accelerating the process? Give your employees/teammates the "Why" behind the change and the goal for the changed outcomes. How will it improve the company? How will it benefit each employee?Each change should have deep meaning to your specific business (do not try to steal a great company culture from another venture). What works at one business will not necessarily work at all businesses. Another great way to get higher acceptance is to ask your team members and employees what they would like to see change about their roles and the company and why. If you let everyone (in large or small ways) have some ownership into impacting the culture they will feel less adverse to adapting to something new.Ensure that all new employees are vetted against your new culture values, but use them as guidelines. There are unfortunately too many ventures that go wild with their own hype to the point where it seems like they have been drinking their own kool-aid (for far too long). If that metaphor doesn't translate well, basically they've bought into their own hype too much and have started ignoring reality. You need to balance between turning the rudder toward the new and improved culture but keeping a keen eye on the realities of day to day change.
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Questions

What is the biggest difference between successful small businesses and successful chains/franchises?

How does one make the jump from being a successful business owner to being a successful... read more

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Yee Trinh Co-founder at SavvySME
Andrew SnellOwner at Coaster Group
Hi Yee,An interesting thought - and one entrepreneurs face a lot, in my experience. (If I had a dollar for every time I heard "Surely you just need to sell more"!)I think the first part of your question has been covered, the difference at it's core is control and freedom.One thing that hasn't been pointed out though is for an entrepreneur there is a big difference between running a SME to founding a business that becomes franchised. It isn't as simple as selling the model to a new person, there is a totally different emphasis needed.Just about any venture, in its early stages, will be focussed on being different, agile and creative. That's what makes small business great, having that flexibility. As soon as the business is going out to franchise (either under a wholly franchised or company owned/franchised model) the focus of the founder has to change.The boutique culture the business grew up with needs to be systemised and replicated. By its very nature, the individuality is lost. It is also a very different focus for the founder - one that is all about brand protection, product integrity and predictability in the market place.For the entrepreneur it is a huge shift in mindset, from being at the cutting edge in every way, to ensuring customers always know what they are going to receive. Of course the business can still aim to be ahead of the curve, but implementing it becomes a much bigger stakeholder management task than when the business is all owned by the entrepreneur themselves.There are plenty of examples of it happening successfully - to me the key is having a great culture and appetite for growth from the early days of the business.
Hitesh MohanlalDirector at WOW! Advisors & Business Accountants
I agree with Lisa above. The main difference between successful small businesses and successful franchises is control and freedom to do as you wish in your business.If I own a Subway and decided I wanted to stock Cola made by my brother in law the men in suits at Subway might have a few words to say about that. Not only do you have to use a Franchiser's systems and procedures you have to use their suppliers too. A Nando's store costs $400,000 to fit out. For that money you can build a four bedroom home but at Nando's you get a Kitchen a few ovens, tables and some chairs. Its the same if your till breaks down. On the upside, good Franchises will give a brand, great systems and procedures and this is where the real value is as it has the ability to save hours of time.I could never operate as a franchisee simply because If i want to change something i do it. Getting approval from a man in a suit would drive me insane. When I get into conversations with people considering buying a franchise i talk about the above and if they don't mind being restricted then buying a Franchise makes sense.Also those in small business tend to be more innovative and are looking for ways to improve and change their business. When your in a franchise you are hoping the big guys on top are doing it for you.It is also worth remembering that not all franchises are successful. At the end of the day, it is down to the owner and how well they operate the business.
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Growing and scaling

Are You An Uber or a Taxi? The Answer Could Predict Your Time In Business

How would you react if I tell you that if I asked just one question -- the answer could potentially... read more

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Hitesh Mohanlal Director at WOW! Advisors & Business Accountants
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Hitesh MohanlalDirector at WOW! Advisors & Business Accountants
Jeff Thanks for your response. Yes I agree with the grey area - they do need to be sorted out and i do actually have sympathy with the taxi drivers - it is not really their fault but top management. And yes massive expansion quickly does have its risks. Look forward to more discussions!
Jef LippiattOwner at Startup Chucktown
Hitesh, Thanks for your response. I'm not against progress, in fact divergent strategy is a huge part of my creative process. I fully expect markets to be disrupted and disputed. Sometimes I find the lack of innovation sad (think of the incandescent light bulb, sure others have come along but not a lot of change since its inception). I agree with you that a surcharge for using credit cards is ridiculous (just as a surcharge for trying to pay something online instead of mailing in a payment). I just find Uber particularly bristling because they actively are working in the 'grey' areas. This is not something that meshes with my own business philosophy (it doesn't mean they'll go out of business). By the same token, I'm not saying that Taxi companies have a right to stay in business indefinitely if they do not adapt to the market. I'm just saying they have been around much longer and weathered some large waves of change previously. I think Uber is trying to expand too quickly and offer too many things, and I see that creating an unsustainable bubble (for the company and investors).
Growing and scaling

5 Business Lessons From Billionaire Mentors

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Forecasting Is Hard, But It's Harder to Run a Business Without Doing It

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8 Team-Building Mistakes Richard Branson Would Never Make

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Growing and scaling

Top 10 Website Tips For Small Businesses. #3 Is Non-Negotiable.

As a business owner, pulling a website together probably isn’t in your primary skill set. Yet, the...read more

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Growing and scaling

How Entrepreneurs Can Leverage Local News

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Growing and scaling

Change: What’s in it for SME?

Every change is an opportunity – an opportunity to refresh and reinvent. Changes in (i) ownership... read more

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