Sharing thoughts, ideas and tips from my own experiences managing at a small business.

Tag Archives: entrepreneur

Recently I started reading Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hasson and if first impressions are anything to go by, this book is going to be great.  Amazon describes it as “a different kind of business book – one that explores a new reality”.  One of the first (short, sharp) chapters is called “Planning is guessing” and I couldn’t agree more.  It starts off with “Unless you’re a fortune-teller, long-term business planning is a fantasy”.  The last couple of months have taught me the truth behind this statement and the danger of ignoring it.

Making business decisions based on a guess is an extremely dangerous strategy.  This is doubly pertinent in a small business where cash is your life blood.  Our company has been guilty of this on a number of occasions and by not reviewing these decisions on a consistent basis, we have found ourselves in a compromised position more than once.

We set a sales forecast in February of 2012 based on our best estimation (guess!) of sales grow in all of our markets.  At the same time a budget was created based around this sales forecast, including some fairly aggressive spending on sales and marketing.  As the story goes; the year started well with the sales forecast exceeded for the first 8 months, but there was no plan in place if things didn’t go according to script and they didn’t.  November hit and so did the handbrake on sales.  We were well below forecast and cashflow started becoming tight.

January has been an interesting month so far but on the positive side, this situation has forced us to take a hard look at our business and make some changes that will improve our company moving forward.  The lesson we have taken from this situation is to continue guessing in the future, but to constantly reassess those guesses and adapt as things change.  The main advantage we (small businesses) have over our behemoth competitors is our ability to be agile.  Use this advantage to your benefit not only from a product development perspective, but also to improve your company.


Do you have a Facebook page dedicated to promoting your business?  Have you ever taken a step back and evaluated whether it includes key content and links to get the most out of each visitor?  Here is a really simple infographic I have just used to reference against our business Facebook page.  We performed well in the design and ‘talking’ aspects but our content does need some more ‘TLC’!

How does your business Facebook page stand up to the evaluation?


I came across this cool infographic with tips on promoting your blog posts and found it really interesting so thought it was well worth sharing!  Once you press ‘publish’ on a blog post, it often feels like it disappears into a black hole so it’s great to have different ideas on how to get your word out to people.  Enjoy…


Source: Flickr

Source: Flickr

Is there anything worse than sitting in a long meeting when there is a beautiful day slipping by outside?  Next time you are in that situation, why not suggest a walking meeting to change things up.I first read about the idea of walking meetings in Steve Jobs’ book but it initially slipped by as part of the story. But with summer currently gracing New Zealand with its wonderful presence, I was reminded of the concept not long ago when I saw a group of business people walk past our offices in deep discussion on a beautiful day. I must admit that I was envious of them out enjoying the good weather while still taking care of business. So I decided to give it a go and last week when the need for a one on one meeting arose with a team member, I suggested a walking meeting. What a fantastic idea that turned out to be!

We wandered out the front gate, turned left and just went for it. 20 minutes, plenty of discussion and some fresh air later we arrived back at the office feel great, meeting adjourned. It’s also surprising how much a small amount of exercise during the day helps you refocus once you get back to your desk. I understand that it’s not always a practical option, but for a casual meeting or a chat with your team, a walking meeting makes for a refreshing change.


How Long Does it Take to Build an App?

 I’ve always been curious as to what is involved in building a smart phone app, how long it takes and (most importantly) how much it costs. I found this infographic while surfing Twitter which breaks down what is involved in taking an app from conception through to release. Sure, you have to take the time frames with a grain of salt as it’s without context, but for an app building virgin such as myself it is interesting if only to get an understanding of the steps involved.

I’d be interested to hear from anybody who has been through the process of building an app for marketing their business and the lessons you learnt from your experience.

Note: If you want a larger view of the infographic, click the link below it.


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The Drink Selection

This evening, my meal menu provided an outstanding argument why you should always double check your marketing material before it makes its way into your customers’ hands.

I’d already decided on a garlic naan to go with Chicken Tikka Masala, I just had to decide what to wash it down with.  A picture of the drinks menu has been included so you can understand why I decided to grab something from the fridge when I got home!

While we got plenty of amusement out of this one while waiting on our meal, it really does go to show why a second set of eyes is essential when you are putting together new marketing material. No matter how many times you check something, there is always a mistake that seems to goes unnoticed. So save yourself the embarrassment of your customers having a laugh at your expense and have someone you can rely on to look over your work before it hits the market.


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Source: Forbes.com

When it comes to ticking hard jobs off the ‘to-do list’, I must admit I’m shocking. I’m not the only one though, there are plenty of you out there who are just as bad! I mean come on, who likes doing the crappy jobs when there are some easy ticks sitting there in front of you.

A week or so back I came across a blog that gave a simple (but evidently effective) suggestion on how to get those painful jobs out of the way. Quite simply, make the first job you do when you get into work each morning, the thing on your hit list you are dreading the most. Before you leave the office each night, go through your list of work for the following day and pick out that job. Make sure you set yourself a clear reminder so that when you waltz in bright and breezy the following morning, that job is staring you in the face.

Over the last week I have been giving this a go and it has been surprisingly satisfying. This morning I had a moment around 10am where I felt quietly pleased with myself about what had been accomplished in my first couple of hours at work. Sure, when you think about how you want to start your day it isn’t doing something you aren’t looking forward to. But on the bright side, once it is out of the way the rest of the day seems like a breeze!