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Andrew Snell

Director at

Member Since June 2013

Canberra, ACT, 2601

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314 FOLLOWERS

Andrew brings a range of skills and experience not often found together. Working simultaneously across different industries and disciplines he has a unique view of the business landscape.

He has high level experience in marketing and public relations strategy and delivery, live production and technical management and design and has worked in and with many high profile SMEs. Andrew founded and runs Coaster Group and is a keen, serial entrepreneur - making ideas real is his passion.

Andrew Snell answered this question

When should a business focus on growth over profits?

I have to respectfully disagree with Roland. Firstly, not turning a profit when the business reinvests to allow growth is the way many businesses secure their future. And, suggesting that Amazon (or Google, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Tesla etc) was a hobby, or in any way wasn't a business until it turned a profit is incredibly naive. Any market changer, innovator, research company or business developing hardware will have a long period before turning a profit, while operating very much as a business.To answer the question though, it depends on the type of business, its present financial position and the state of the market. I agree with Roland that the key is margin, but there is rather more to it. Revenue, and cashflow, is king - it is what allows a business the means to keep running. At the end of the day, there isn't much point making huge margin on each sale, if you have to lay off all your staff between projects.If you are in a product business then marketshare is vital. Your revenue streams may be from customers other than those who are actually the end user of your product. This means you need marketshare, to be growing, and to be keeping your product current. It's actually the same for service businesses.If you want your business to do more than sustain itself at its current level, you need to grow. The right time to do so will be when you have cashflow and resources within your team to invest in it - or if your business is just starting out, for as long as you can sustain the growth phase.Businesses come in many shapes, sizes and make ups. If you want your business to grow and are able to invest your "margin" to do that in lieu of turning a profit then do so - you know your business, your customers, and what your team can do!Customers, or users, are the new profit to many modern businesses. Strong market position means your business can face the future, and when it comes time to turn a profit it will likely be much bigger than focussing on taking whatever you can at the start.

Business Management

From $1000 a Week to a $500K Season in Less Than 2 Years

Industry: Tourism Location: ACT Duration: December 2013 - Current (ongoing retainer) Challenge: A mountain-based tourist attraction just outside Canberra was taken under new management in mid December 2013, and re-opened on Boxing Day. The facility had been closed to visitors for around 8 months, and had years of maintenance to catch up on. What had been a gem in the ACT all year round in ...

Andrew Snell answered this question

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

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.

Andrew Snell answered this question

What is the main difference between successful SMEs and franchises?

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.

Startup Branding and PR

The Importance of the Title

Let's be clear - It's been a while since I've ranted and this is going to be a good one, but bear with me, I promise there is a point to it all. SO: PR isn't dead, and content marketing isn't new. While we're at it, PR isn't promotion or (personal) management either. And good business development is so much more than sales. I'm sick of all the talk and labeling to the contrary. Call things wh...

Leadership

You have to follow through.. seriously.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again because I keep seeing it. Build your profile, be an expert and a thought leader. But follow through on what you say. Please. Being in business is hard, building a profile as a professional in any capacity is competitive and time consuming. The best way to stand out is to be really good at something different, and to tell everyone who will listen. Th...

Public Relations (PR)

If you don't engage, it doesn't count

Everyone does media. In some way, every business now has some form of a media presence, whether bought, owned or earned. It may be advertising, social media or editorial, whatever the case, it is nearly impossible to do business without it in the current environment. Here's the thing though -  if you aren't engaging, it doesn't count. No matter what you are doing, if you aren't interacting wit...

Research and Innovation

Sometimes it has to be a person

There are a lot of things we are able to do today without needing to interact with another person. From banking, to ordering food, booking travel (or just about anything) and managing a raft of other different services. In the life of a small business, the more that can be done online the better, it saves time and money and get the same result. Most of the time. There is a growing problem sta...

Business Management

Be better for yourself than your customer

  Just about every business falls in to one trap at some point in its life - delivering its own service for the business in a substandard way. The business doing for itself what it provides its customers or clients presents a range of benefits, it offers cost savings, opportunities to train and develop staff and the chance to showcase specialties and expertise. The risk that the business then...

Startup Branding and PR

Your customer doesn't care about your brand

Controversy Time. Branding is dead. As a concept and as a moniker it has had its day - looking at branding in the traditional, advertising derived sense is holding businesses back.  The value of a company's brand has always been in what it represents to the customer - being recognisable and trusted were products of good branding. Good brands were deeply embedded through their organisations, b...

Business Management

Competition - the three sided coin

There are different camps when it comes to how business owners think of competition. I’m very firmly in one - competition is good for business, in fact, it’s great. Most people see competition as one side of a coin or another. The first view is that any competition is bad, you need to be different in some way, and that it isn’t possible to be equal terms with someone else and work to come...

Product Development

Step, pivot, repeat

There are many, many cliche terms thrown around start-up businesses. Some of them are obvious in their meaning, others not so. At the same time, while some are simply rhetoric, others should form a vital part of the start-up business mindset. One of those key elements is one of the most often maligned - the pivot. At its core, pivoting is what start-ups are all about. The ability to quickly cha...

Public Relations (PR)

Bring your point home

Every business has a point to make to each and every one of its audiences. Whether internal or external, customers or communities, your business needs to be making its message clear. The first stage of this, and where many businesses fall down, is understanding what the message or point actually is. Before shouting from the treetops it is a good idea to know what you're shouting about, and an e...

Andrew Snell answered this question

Liz edgecombe
Liz edgecombe, owner at sheoak trading pty ltd

Branding

How should I rebrand my business?

Hi Liz,

Your heading for this questions poses an interesting dilemma - with different product lines how do you break down and make it clear for your customers what they are buying (and hopefully enjoying) while leveraging the rest of your business and your brand.

As Phil said above, concisely identifying and setting parameters around your niche is vital. Whether you have one niche market you are targeting or several with different product lines (curry, garden, etc), each should have rules around it and what it does.

My initial opinion for you would be to go for a by fourleaves type strategy. It will allow you to leverage your overal brand wherever you choose to head, or if you choose to add or change the niches you sell to. It is important though that whatever your product, it fits under your overall umbrella. While the branding and marketing side is important, ultimately it is the experience your customers have of your products and "fourleaves" which will guide them back to you.

Great product and a name to pin it to will win over customers more than a catchy sub-brand.

Startup Branding and PR

Stop Being Anonymous

There is one thing every Australian business and business owner will face, especially as they start to do well. Tall poppy syndrome. For some reason we have been brought up for generations to cut the people who stand out from the crowd back down to size. The romantic notion of it for society is great, a "we are one" mentality helps bring us together. But in business, it's killing us. Part of the...

Sales and Marketing

Missing your targets? It might not be what you're selling.

If there is something the Digital revolution of the last decade or so has taught us, it's that there are very few things people won't pay for. From apps to gadgets, if someone thinks of it, there are probably people who will want to buy it.  What is it that makes a product become massive, though, and what holds one back from doing the same?? We often see a handful of similar products emerge at s...

Startup

Making more when you only have less

Whatever your start-up is there is almost certainly one thing you have in common with every other one - you have very little. Little money, little time, little resources and in some cases and areas, little skill and experience. To take your business into the market where you can take on the big players you need to be working at a level well beyond where you should be able to. We hear a lot about...

Sales and Marketing

Where does your business belong (a marketing dilemma)?

A great business and a great marketing strategy still need to fit together to reach the people who are going to pay for the product service. If they don't, neither really works. You can have the greatest product in the world, if you aren't putting it in front of the right people you won't sell. The right market(ing) strategy is about more than product though, it should be built from your busi...

First 100 Days

Don't be afraid to make the call

Running a business is really just a whole series of decisions you didn’t think you’d have to make, along with a few you would rather not have to at all. No matter what you’re doing you will have tough calls to make which affect people, product and profit. The first big call you’ll make is starting the business in the first place. It’s your first make or break decision, and if you don’...

Research and Innovation

Hobby, business, or somewhere in between?

There has always been a place for hobby businesses, especially in the arts and for boutique producers. The world of online retail and e-selling tools has opened that up to a whole range of new micro-businesses and even hobby entrepreneurs. Starting a hobby business can be a great way to pay for what you love doing in your “non-work” time. If you can make a clear profit on what you’re doing ...

Product Development

Why your product has to fit your business

A strange thing happens when a business adds to its products or services. Often by trying to expand and diversify they add a “complimentary” service they fall in to the trap of moving beyond what they’re known for. A great idea for a product (or service) isn’t enough reason to create it and sell it. There are some key areas a new product or service should satisfy before it is considered a...

Business Management

From $1000 a Week to a $500K Season in Less Than 2 Years

Industry: Tourism Location: ACT Duration: December 2013 - Current (ongoing retainer) Challenge: A mountain-based tourist attraction just outside Canberra was taken under new management in mid December 2013, and re-opened on Boxing Day. The facility had been closed to visitors for around 8 months, and had years of maintenance to catch up on. What had been a gem in the ACT all year round in ...

Startup Branding and PR

The Importance of the Title

Let's be clear - It's been a while since I've ranted and this is going to be a good one, but bear with me, I promise there is a point to it all. SO: PR isn't dead, and content marketing isn't new. While we're at it, PR isn't promotion or (personal) management either. And good business development is so much more than sales. I'm sick of all the talk and labeling to the contrary. Call things wh...

Leadership

You have to follow through.. seriously.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again because I keep seeing it. Build your profile, be an expert and a thought leader. But follow through on what you say. Please. Being in business is hard, building a profile as a professional in any capacity is competitive and time consuming. The best way to stand out is to be really good at something different, and to tell everyone who will listen. Th...

Public Relations (PR)

If you don't engage, it doesn't count

Everyone does media. In some way, every business now has some form of a media presence, whether bought, owned or earned. It may be advertising, social media or editorial, whatever the case, it is nearly impossible to do business without it in the current environment. Here's the thing though -  if you aren't engaging, it doesn't count. No matter what you are doing, if you aren't interacting wit...

Research and Innovation

Sometimes it has to be a person

There are a lot of things we are able to do today without needing to interact with another person. From banking, to ordering food, booking travel (or just about anything) and managing a raft of other different services. In the life of a small business, the more that can be done online the better, it saves time and money and get the same result. Most of the time. There is a growing problem sta...

Business Management

Be better for yourself than your customer

  Just about every business falls in to one trap at some point in its life - delivering its own service for the business in a substandard way. The business doing for itself what it provides its customers or clients presents a range of benefits, it offers cost savings, opportunities to train and develop staff and the chance to showcase specialties and expertise. The risk that the business then...

Startup Branding and PR

Your customer doesn't care about your brand

Controversy Time. Branding is dead. As a concept and as a moniker it has had its day - looking at branding in the traditional, advertising derived sense is holding businesses back.  The value of a company's brand has always been in what it represents to the customer - being recognisable and trusted were products of good branding. Good brands were deeply embedded through their organisations, b...

Business Management

Competition - the three sided coin

There are different camps when it comes to how business owners think of competition. I’m very firmly in one - competition is good for business, in fact, it’s great. Most people see competition as one side of a coin or another. The first view is that any competition is bad, you need to be different in some way, and that it isn’t possible to be equal terms with someone else and work to come...

Product Development

Step, pivot, repeat

There are many, many cliche terms thrown around start-up businesses. Some of them are obvious in their meaning, others not so. At the same time, while some are simply rhetoric, others should form a vital part of the start-up business mindset. One of those key elements is one of the most often maligned - the pivot. At its core, pivoting is what start-ups are all about. The ability to quickly cha...

Public Relations (PR)

Bring your point home

Every business has a point to make to each and every one of its audiences. Whether internal or external, customers or communities, your business needs to be making its message clear. The first stage of this, and where many businesses fall down, is understanding what the message or point actually is. Before shouting from the treetops it is a good idea to know what you're shouting about, and an e...

Startup Branding and PR

Stop Being Anonymous

There is one thing every Australian business and business owner will face, especially as they start to do well. Tall poppy syndrome. For some reason we have been brought up for generations to cut the people who stand out from the crowd back down to size. The romantic notion of it for society is great, a "we are one" mentality helps bring us together. But in business, it's killing us. Part of the...

Sales and Marketing

Missing your targets? It might not be what you're selling.

If there is something the Digital revolution of the last decade or so has taught us, it's that there are very few things people won't pay for. From apps to gadgets, if someone thinks of it, there are probably people who will want to buy it.  What is it that makes a product become massive, though, and what holds one back from doing the same?? We often see a handful of similar products emerge at s...

Startup

Making more when you only have less

Whatever your start-up is there is almost certainly one thing you have in common with every other one - you have very little. Little money, little time, little resources and in some cases and areas, little skill and experience. To take your business into the market where you can take on the big players you need to be working at a level well beyond where you should be able to. We hear a lot about...

Sales and Marketing

Where does your business belong (a marketing dilemma)?

A great business and a great marketing strategy still need to fit together to reach the people who are going to pay for the product service. If they don't, neither really works. You can have the greatest product in the world, if you aren't putting it in front of the right people you won't sell. The right market(ing) strategy is about more than product though, it should be built from your busi...

First 100 Days

Don't be afraid to make the call

Running a business is really just a whole series of decisions you didn’t think you’d have to make, along with a few you would rather not have to at all. No matter what you’re doing you will have tough calls to make which affect people, product and profit. The first big call you’ll make is starting the business in the first place. It’s your first make or break decision, and if you don’...

Research and Innovation

Hobby, business, or somewhere in between?

There has always been a place for hobby businesses, especially in the arts and for boutique producers. The world of online retail and e-selling tools has opened that up to a whole range of new micro-businesses and even hobby entrepreneurs. Starting a hobby business can be a great way to pay for what you love doing in your “non-work” time. If you can make a clear profit on what you’re doing ...

Product Development

Why your product has to fit your business

A strange thing happens when a business adds to its products or services. Often by trying to expand and diversify they add a “complimentary” service they fall in to the trap of moving beyond what they’re known for. A great idea for a product (or service) isn’t enough reason to create it and sell it. There are some key areas a new product or service should satisfy before it is considered a...

Andrew Snell answered this question

When should a business focus on growth over profits?

I have to respectfully disagree with Roland. Firstly, not turning a profit when the business reinvests to allow growth is the way many businesses secure their future. And, suggesting that Amazon (or Google, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Tesla etc) was a hobby, or in any way wasn't a business until it turned a profit is incredibly naive. Any market changer, innovator, research company or business developing hardware will have a long period before turning a profit, while operating very much as a business.To answer the question though, it depends on the type of business, its present financial position and the state of the market. I agree with Roland that the key is margin, but there is rather more to it. Revenue, and cashflow, is king - it is what allows a business the means to keep running. At the end of the day, there isn't much point making huge margin on each sale, if you have to lay off all your staff between projects.If you are in a product business then marketshare is vital. Your revenue streams may be from customers other than those who are actually the end user of your product. This means you need marketshare, to be growing, and to be keeping your product current. It's actually the same for service businesses.If you want your business to do more than sustain itself at its current level, you need to grow. The right time to do so will be when you have cashflow and resources within your team to invest in it - or if your business is just starting out, for as long as you can sustain the growth phase.Businesses come in many shapes, sizes and make ups. If you want your business to grow and are able to invest your "margin" to do that in lieu of turning a profit then do so - you know your business, your customers, and what your team can do!Customers, or users, are the new profit to many modern businesses. Strong market position means your business can face the future, and when it comes time to turn a profit it will likely be much bigger than focussing on taking whatever you can at the start.

Andrew Snell answered this question

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

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.

Andrew Snell answered this question

What is the main difference between successful SMEs and franchises?

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.

Andrew Snell answered this question

Liz edgecombe
Liz edgecombe, owner at sheoak trading pty ltd

Branding

How should I rebrand my business?

Hi Liz,

Your heading for this questions poses an interesting dilemma - with different product lines how do you break down and make it clear for your customers what they are buying (and hopefully enjoying) while leveraging the rest of your business and your brand.

As Phil said above, concisely identifying and setting parameters around your niche is vital. Whether you have one niche market you are targeting or several with different product lines (curry, garden, etc), each should have rules around it and what it does.

My initial opinion for you would be to go for a by fourleaves type strategy. It will allow you to leverage your overal brand wherever you choose to head, or if you choose to add or change the niches you sell to. It is important though that whatever your product, it fits under your overall umbrella. While the branding and marketing side is important, ultimately it is the experience your customers have of your products and "fourleaves" which will guide them back to you.

Great product and a name to pin it to will win over customers more than a catchy sub-brand.

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