Have you stopped using single use products and if so, how has it impacted your business? I'm interested to know how other food businesses are adopting more sustainable practices.
I'm curious how business owners that have seasonal peaks built into their business adapt to times between the peaks. What strategies have you been using? Have those strategies been working?
The skip tracing industry I have found to be pretty seasonal. My solution for this was to create another industry related product. I created an online skip tracing course and started promoting it. I have found that the industry tends to go through cycles. At times clients want to outsource then all of a sudden they want to try to do the work internally.
Either way I now have a solution, when they want to outsource they can come to me, if they want to do the work themselves they can come to me for training. And it doesn't stop there. Even if they do the work internally I have found they still want to outsource. Because I helped them with training and saved them money, it built trust and they come to me for advice and assistance with other areas of their business.
I have found the same with the data sales industry. There are peaks where a lot of companies want to buy data to help with marketing. To keep busy I worked out it was best to also offer the marketing services. So if they wanted to buy data they can however they could also hire our call center to make the calls or do the bulk mail runs.
As a result more clients and no peaks. Finding out why there are peaks and valleys can help you close the gap. In my case it was a matter of creating new products or offering more services.
As I have said a number of times in my posts, it came down to R&D. A little R&D can go a long way.
With the introduction of lean canvases, do we still see value in creating business plans?
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:
Each answer should be as unique as the individual businesses that we run. I'm planning on diversification. I'm launching a second venture into a completely different market and I'm very excited for...
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'.
In terms of building a sustainable business which do you consider most important revenues or margins?
@Hatty Bell Many successful companies start off with Me-too offerings. The same service as a competitor or the same product range.
Make your competitive advantage something that customers are needing or wanting but not getting from your competitors. Take The Iconic as an example. You could argue that this companies started out in a heavily saturated market. There were thousands of offline and online clothing retailers that would be considered competition with The Iconic. What the customers of these various online and offline clothing resellers disliked was the time they had to wait for delivery or having to travel to a store only to find no stock in the style and size you needed. The Iconic works on a rapid delivery methodology. Theyc started out with guaranteed same day delivery so you could order an outfit for a party tonight and be reasonably confident it would arrive in time. This made buying from them significantly more appealing than other oline retailers and even gave them some degree of preference over going to a store and choosing an outfit.
So on this one aspect of delivery reliability The Iconic was able to corner a significant market share in an already saturated market.
If you are in a "me-too" business, this doesn't mean you need to do everything the same and resort to continueal price wars to fight for a share of the market. There are often aspects of service or business operations that you can change that your customers will also be happy to pay a little extra to receive if this means they don't experience the same frustrations they are having with your competition.
Put you hands up if you can see the future! I have been amazed over the years how simply having a strong vision of the future I wanted, needed, would like, has resulted in arriving, at some point...
Always assume everything will change. Business is complex like solving an intricate algebra problem. Getting one variable figured out doesn’t necessarily give you the solution immediately. It is important to understand that you can have great resources, research and still produce things that don’t produce results.
Most importantly, never lose sight of providing value to your customers. Without customers, you don’t really have a business - you either have a hobby or a passion. So if you ever stop engaging with your customers, don’t be surprised if your business starts to experience a drop or steady decline.
I mention this because customers are always changing (their needs, desires, demographics, geography, life events, etc.). That is why it is important to constantly engage with them and gather feedback.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that business processes require some significant changes. Have the lessons of 2020 affected how you will run your business next year and how have you built this...
SMEs needed mental and monetary power to survive the last 6 months through the COVID-19 lockdown. As restrictions start to ease, what have you planned for the next 6 months in terms of financing,...
Rather than trying to predict what the future will look like, the smart money instead focuses on what won't change.
Double down on learning what your customers want, how you best solve their problem and think about the elements of that which will still be present in a post-COVID world.
In order to have a successful business, do I need to have a business plan?
There are times when they are essential, especially when dealing with finances. Banks and investors love them. Likewise if you are thinking of selling your business.
For small businesses, they are of limited use. It is worth going through the topics in a business plan to make sure you could answer them because they are asking if you understand your business, your market, the competitors and your direction.
But to actually spend the time to make one could take days.
Like all things in business, the magical question is "what's my ROI for the time I will spend on this?"
If it is something that you make and it changes nothing then it is a waste of time.
If it reveals something that you need to act upon, and you act upon it, then it may be worth its weight in gold.
Because to my mind, there is no profit unless someone happens to buy a book or something from me. I have brainstormed some other monetizing solutions as well; one of them is a membership offer for...
Continued - the cost of an employee is roughly three times their wage or salary - and this number should be used.
If you are talking about your profit, what are your costs in providing the services and subtract this from revenue. Again, use the real cost of employees, not the eage cost.
There seem to be many subscriptions for 'live' business plans, as we found out in my Entrepreneurship class. I was wondering if you still need the business coach to look at it.
We work with lots of startups, and as a starting point, I want to mention that it *is* important to have a business plan in some form or other.
But as some of the other responses have mentioned, the first step is to think about why you need and/ or want one. Begin with the end in mind, as they say, and you’re much more likely to create a business plan that will effectively serve its purpose.
Having said that, to answer your question, I do think it’s a combination of both.
That is, a template can provide a great starting point for a business plan. But it’s unlikely to cover everything you need - this is where you’ll need to customise it.
I’m a fan of efficiency wherever possible, so if you can (quickly) find a template that serves your needs, it will help you shortcut the process. Writing a business plan can be arduous, so anywhere you can get support and help is worthwhile, in my opinion!
If you’re writing a business plan that needs to appeal to investors, make sure it includes the relevant info in an easily digestible format. Investors want to know your business will have a good return for them - make that your focus.
The supporting document should be a financial model. A solid financial plan should capture as much information about the business plan as reasonably possible – the team, the value proposition and technology, the market, milestones and the competition – and translate these into measurable, financial values.