Monthly Archives: September, 2017

How to create a $10,000 marketing campaign for $0

September 27th, 2017 Posted by Bartercard, Marketing, Smart business tips No Comment yet

Most business owners are forever crunching return on investment figures and sizing up the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Thinking outside the box, Lisa McGuigan, with the support of Bartercard, increased her cash sales by 30% as a result of a marketing campaign that cost her business $0 cash.

After identifying a gap in the marketplace for unusually packaged wines with an edge, this innovativewine maker launched Lisa McGuigan Wines in 2010. Basing her split-based venture out of the Hunter Valley and Sydney, and sourcing grapes from Mudgee (NSW), Victoria, South Australia, New Zealand and Hungary, she focused on landing her label with stockists, today selling at retailers around Australia and the UK. Lisa said before launching the business, she was a seller for a vintage wine brand and already had the contacts, experience and insight into what worked and what didn’t. “My parents have a vineyard in the Hunter Valley and I love the whole process from growing to bottling, which gave me the confidence and knowledge to launch my own label,” she said.

“I’ve built my brand up to three collections – including an entry level range of wines that are clean and fresh and two more collections that show greater complexity. I source a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and a Gruner Blanc from Hungary, which I then customize and stabilize with a Semillon in Australia. This lets me put my own slant on a traditional variety. My collection includes international wines because for me, the world is a grape canvas.”

She said Bartercard started out as a test to sell older vintages. “When Bartercard approached me I decided to try it out with a couple of wines that weren’t selling as fast as I wanted – because you can’t sell everything to everyone. I sold the excess stock quickly and soon built up a considerable sum of trade dollars.”

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The campaign

“I decided to run a three month promotion in 10 retail stores that stocked my brand. I sourced everything for the campaign on Bartercard and boosted sales by over 30% over those three months.  The campaign would have cost me around $10,000 if I had paid cash.  It was called ‘On Ya Bike’ where customers who purchased three bottles of Lisa McGuigan Wine went into the draw to win a bicycle. I bought the bikes with my trade dollars. The Moscato we were selling at the time had a silver label so I found mannequins and spray painted them in the same color to tie my brand in. I covered posters, design and everything else in the campaign with my trade dollars. Bartercard essentially gave me a marketing spend off the back of excess stock.

It takes something different to really get seen!

After this initial success Lisa said she used Bartercard to run another marketing campaign at a wine outlet in the Hunter Valley that stocked her label.  I used Bartercard to create 1.5m tall bottle-shaped signs leading all the way along the road to the retail store,” she said. “I was able to offset $5,000 of the cash expenses on Bartercard. People loved them so much they were taking photos in front of them, which created user-generated content on Facebook. Bartercard allowed me to run this large scale, harder hitting campaign to really get cut-through in the market.”

Expanding local reach

“Bartercard can really help you break out of the local market to expand your reach and really get seen,” said Lisa. “I approached restaurants on Bartercard who quickly picked up my label to offset cash costs. It was as simple as curating and designing a wine list then blasting it out to bars and restaurants on Bartercard which helped me get on a lot of wine lists. It takes a lot of avenues to get business pumping but Bartercard is a direct line to businesses.”

Lessons learned

Lisa runs a successful wine company that’s pushing industry limits. Through edgy branding, larger-than-life advertising and campaigns which really step outside the box, these are the lessons she’s picked up along the way.

Deconstruct the market

“You have to really think outside the box, pull the market apart and look at it differently to everyone else. I leveraged off the fact that women purchase over 70% of wine in Australia and took the approach of looking at my brand like fashion. Consequently I put a lot of time and effort into the aesthetics.  Each range has unusual packaging, including matte black wraps, silver painting and metal labels. The result is gothically minimal bottles which really stand out on shelves!”

Lead don’t follow

“I love leading the market and I hate following. That’s why I took the initiative to launch marketing campaigns that are a little different. This has included life-size displays and signage attracting user-generated content – people share them on social media and consequently my brand is put in front of their followers.”

Look around you

“Rather than pouring all your effort into going global, look around your business and see what else is in front of you.Take a look at the opportunities available on Bartercard, like I did. I found there was business right outside my front door.”

Visit lisamcguiganwines.com

 

Article written by Klara Vida, Bartercard Australia.

Trouble Staying Positive?

September 25th, 2017 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

Take a look at these five ways to help

For many years I worked as a banker in real estate. My clients were hugely successful commercial developers and/or residential mortgage groups. To make a good banking loan, you have to be focused on the property that is being financed. The property becomes the primary collateral for the loan. The borrower must work to maintain the value of that property as long as the loan is in force.

In real estate there are ever-present forces, almost gravity-like, that work to decay the property and erode its value as soon as it opens. Here are just a few of the chief concerns:

  • The weather beats down; sun, wind, cold, heat, rain, storms
  • Tenants/occupants can tear up the place
  • Natural wear and tear, so upkeep is required
  • Vandalism; people stealing equipment, fixtures, and trim

Harrison Barnes (noted career coach) writes: “It is like that with people too. There is a constant gravitational-like force challenging you as well. There is an incredible amount of negativity and other forces out there that will destroy you and your dreams if you let them in. These forces are unavoidable, and the number one characteristic of the most successful people is the ability to avoid these negative forces. They succeed despite negativity coming at them from every single direction every minute of every day.”

If you let any of the negative forces around you influence your view of who and what you are, you are destined to a less than fulfilling life. The choices you begin to make only serve to compound the downward spirals that may already be underway.

You need to avoid the negative forces out there – the negative gravity and information that will seek to keep you down. You need to watch your mind: You need to put more positive things in your mind than negative things.

No one who ever achieves any form of greatness is realistic. Instead, they are able to ignore the negative forces and messages coming at them – guard their bodies and minds. Then, they create conditions in their minds and bodies that promote success, happiness and possibility. This is what you need to do as well.

The actions that make good real estate people successful at managing great properties can work in your life too.

  • You do not let anything bad inside (forces that destroy from the inside)
  • You keep everything up-to-date (reduce the effects of forces that cause decay)
  • You make the best of what you are (avoid forces that drag you down)
  • You put nice things inside (prevent bad habits from forcing you down)

Barnes goes on to write: “Most people, however, do not maintain themselves as well as they can. Instead, the elements around them have taken hold and reduced them to something less than they are capable of being. They have long ago given up on their dreams and what is possible for them.

Why do people give up on their dreams? Many people are negative because they are afraid. They have been disappointed so many times that they are now afraid of getting excited about anything. If someone is negative, then the chances are they are fearful. The problem, however, is that we typically get what we look for: If we look for negativity, then that is what we end up finding.

There are all sorts of forces around us that create doubt and hold us back:

  • Things people have said about us in the past
  • Things we have said about ourselves in the past
  • Poor results we have gotten in the past
  • Our current situation and fear of change
  • People around us that give us negative messages
  • People who used to be around us that gave us negative messages
  • Our overall environments and how positive and negative these are
  • Good results others around us have gotten
  • Goals we have not accomplished in the past
  • Information in our environment that frightens us

Scripture says we should renew our minds daily, but that can be so hard. If you watch the news, read the paper, or join the average conversation of most groups (co-workers, friends and others) you are likely to discover that a significant portion of this information is likely to be negative and uninspiring. Why this is the case, I do not know. What I do know is that this sort of information can act like a gravitational force on your life and keep you down.

Since negative information cannot necessarily be avoided, the best solution is often to counteract this with more positive than negative information. You need to pump your mind with positive thoughts daily — or else you will end up being unhappy.

 

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1. Decide That You Do Not Need to Be Perfect

Most people become very negative because they feel they need to be perfect. They do not participate because they are afraid of losing or of not being the best. They are afraid of what people will say if they screw up or otherwise fail.

Everyone is going to screw up, and you will too. The worst thing you can do is to let the fact that you might screw up stop you from acting or doing anything at all. Far too many people allow the prospect of failure to shut them down or prevent them from acting. They also allow the fact that they are not perfect to make them feel bad about themselves. No one is perfect, and you are not either.

2. Keep Improving

Many people hit a plateau of sorts in their lives and stop there. Or, they fall down to a certain level and stop there. The rare person keeps improving and keeps setting goals for themselves. One of the most important things you can do in your career and life is to constantly set goals for the person you want to become and never stop improving.

Improvement is powerful because when you are always improving and do not stop improving you are sending a message to your mind that tomorrow can be better than it is today. Tomorrow should always be better than today, and when you are constantly setting goals for yourself and improving, you are sending yourself that message.

Whether your idea of improvement is about fitness, mental acuteness, or growing wisdom, there are plenty of opportunities to add these kinds of activities in your life to allow constant improvement.

3. Stop Being Judgmental

Most people are quite judgmental of others. They look at people who are different than them and find all sorts of fault. They find all sorts of fault with others, whether it is how they dress, talk, live, or conduct themselves. In fact, many social groups seem to exist and thrive based on judging others.

The problem with judging others is that as soon as you start judging others, you also start judging yourself. Any person who takes joy in judging others or watching others in pain will also eventually experience a great deal of pain. You need to free yourself from the disease of judging others and making them wrong.

4. Find Things to Appreciate

Everyone needs to find things in their lives that they can appreciate, and every life has things in it that can be appreciated. You can even appreciate things that seem to be negative to you. You need to focus on the things that you have and not things you do not have.

The reason you need to appreciate things is because you will attract into your life what you focus on. If you focus on the negative, then you will attract the negative. If you focus on the good, you will attract more of the good. You need to find the good and what you can appreciate.

The world and the people in it are full of negative thoughts that will eat you up and take hold of you if you let them. The smartest thing you can do to be happy and not negative is to find aspects of your life that you love and focus on these. Be grateful for who you are and what you are.

5. Have Faith in Yourself

The most important power you have in the world is faith. Faith makes everything possible. Being positive is about having faith in yourself and that things will get better than they are today. You have been through a lot and whatever negativity you see in your life today will pass as well.

Your life is controlled by your thoughts and through faith you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. You need to believe in yourself first and do everything within your power to believe in yourself even when that does not always seem like the smartest thing to do. Everyone who has achieved anything worthwhile generally only was able to do this by having faith in themselves.

Barnes concludes:

“There is a tremendous amount of negativity, harm and hurt in the world. These forces are all around us and conspiring to bring us down and reduce us to less than we are capable of being. In order to reach our potential and be the people we are capable of becoming, we need to do everything we can to be positive in the face of overwhelming negativity. This will save us, make us strong and give us the lives we are entitled to and deserve.”

All I can add is AMEN!!! You can be a force in this world. You might not be the next headliner in the Wall Street Journal for a breakthrough invention, but the difference you can make at home, at work, and in your community can have a lasting effect on so many around you.

 

Article written by Doug Thorpe, shared with permission. Original article posted here.
Footnote: This piece is a collaborative effort inspired by an article Harrison Barnes first posted on December 16, 2015.

Small business tips to boost brand exposure and sales

September 20th, 2017 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

1. Fine-tuned customer targeting

The first step to boosting brand exposure is a clear-cut picture of who your customer is, so you can select the most effective channels to reach them. Do you sell custom-embossed tech accessories to females 25-40, working in corporate? You can do a targeted Facebook campaign to specifically reach these demographics. Trying to appeal to everyone will water down your brand, so have a clear picture of what your customers like and do, what their pain points are and what solutions you have.
Click here to read more about finding your online audience.


2. Do things differently 

Part of getting seen is doing things that stand out from the throngs. What pain points are you tackling, in what creative way, and what led you to launch? Brands like Dollar Shave Club mail out competitively-priced grooming supplies straight to customers while Coca-Cola appeals through clever emotive story telling. Think what you can do differently to impact the market – like Uber delivering ice cream – #ubericecream. As part of your brand story, everything in your business should be conducive. Are healthy deserts your specialty? Serve them in environmentally-friendly packaging to stay consistent. 

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3. Build your brand

There’s over one billion websites world-wide and this number is growing daily. So how can you set yourself apart from a sea of competitors? The key is making your brand speak loud and clear. Branding not only comes down to your logo, design, fonts and colors but your businesses personality, the way you communicate, the approach you take, and the way you are seen and perceived in the marketplace. It’s a lot to take into consideration but it all shapes the direction of your business. Whatever industry you are in, building a solid and unique identity is vital to stand out and get seen.

 

4. Nail all branch touch points – website, social media, blog, shopfront (or e-commerce store) and advertising

Ensure your information and branding is consistent across the board – so that if a customer, influencer or journalist does check you out further, you’ve done everything you can to shape and leverage the message. If you work in a service-based industry like accounting or law, see what current issues you can lend your expertise to through blogs and case studies. On top of a quality website, other essential customer touch points and channels to align include social media, e-newsletters, e-commerce and a physical store.

Check out these valuable insights into touch points from Survey Monkey.


5. Get seen – take out advertising and get exposure through PR

Marketing and PR are both essentials in business, and work in tandem to achieve business goals. If you don’t have a cash budget for marketing or PR, use Bartercard trade dollars to land exposure without the cash bill. Bartercard has hundreds of media companies, including magazines and industry publications, where you can advertise your business and showcase your brand.
For extra tips, read how to get the word out when you don’t have a marketing or PR budget.

6. Copywriting

Effective copywriting inspires consumers to take action like subscribing to a newsletter, downloading an e-book or purchasing products.  Ensure your digital content is unique, high quality and optimized. Low-quality will cause your site to rate poorly in search engines. Incorporating SEO basics like keywords, links and mobile optimization will boost your site’s ranking. Read about SEO basics at Smack Bang Designs.

7. Make the most of SEO tech and tools

Various free online tools are available for measuring how your website is performing, which is critical in tracking and testing what works and what doesn’t.  Google Analytics allows you to analyze your website traffic – what parts of your campaigns are converting the most and at what points visitors leave your site – visit Google Analytics.  Google Search Console checks your site for search results, click-through rates and any errors like broken links, plus tests if Google can make sense of your content, which is essential for SEO. Click here to get started.

8. Mobile optimize your website

With the ever-increasing use of smart phones and other portable devices, it’s vital to ensure your website is mobile-friendly. If your website doesn’t render to mobile, it automatically loses credibility. Check your site here.

 

Plus, keep your established business thriving

Looking for inspiration to stay on track or take your business to the next level? Consider these tips to always keep your brand and business fresh.

  • Quality over quantity
    It’s a bit ironic that in this day of mass communication, people are showing a preference for personalized service and marketing. So focus on creating more customized experiences instead of a one-size-fits all approach. This may involve narrowing down your target audience and working on building rapport and stronger client relationships.
    4 ways you can make your business stand out.
  • Establishing partnerships
    Some businesses partner with others to deliver enhanced services and boost their brand – think Apple + IBM, McDonalds + Lego, and Uber + Spotify. To partner successfully, both parties should have similar target audiences and the arrangement should be mutually advantageous.
  • Focus on always evolving
    It’s a fast-paced world and no business can afford to rest on its laurels. Even large and established corporations have gone by the wayside from not adapting and remaining relevant. So stay on track in your business and strive to continuously learn and evolve.

Article adapted from Bartercard Australia Blogpost. Click here to read the original post.

Leadership: You need to be YOU

September 18th, 2017 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

Any other job is taken

Trying to become a better leader? Don’t be someone else. You need to be YOU. If you are trying to be like someone else, forget it. That job is taken. The world needs YOU, not the other guy.

I see too many young professionals trying to be like someone else. They identify a role model and take off copying that person’s style, trappings, mannerisms, and even vocabulary. It comes across phony. To be an effective leader, you must develop your own unique style and approach.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with trying to learn great things from people who have “been there, done that.” That is mentoring and coaching. Yes, let someone show you the ropes, but YOU need to decide how that new knowledge will fit into who and what you are.

My Crazy Little Story

If you follow my writings at all, you know I am the only child of a hard working single Mom. Mom couldn’t provide a lot in a material sense, but she brought me the moon in terms of key and important influences in my life. When I was still at home, she arranged a huge cadre of male role models from which I could learn. I didn’t turn out like any one particular mentor of mine. No, better yet, I became a patchwork quilt of qualities and attributes I gleaned from various others who were offering support and encouragement.

Am I perfect? Absolutely not, but I guarantee I have been able to do more than a lot of my peers because I had this amazing exposure to men who had a heart for mentoring and helping a young boy grow up. Many of my friends grew up in the shadow of their Dad. Sometimes that worked out well, other times not so much. They had to wait years to realize there were other choices for values and behaviors from which they could have chosen. I had the good fortune of know that before I left for college.

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You Can Make a Change Now

It’s never too late to grow. As a leader you should already have a habit of seeking growth and experiencing growth. If you have been slow to do that, there is no better time than now.

  1. Start with feedback from your stakeholders; the people who have the most vested interest in having you grow. Ask your company to perform a 360 assessment for you. Use that feedback as a baseline. If you’re an solopreneur, ask your closest colleagues and clients to rate you. Yes, that might be scary, but it is a good exercise. Plus it shows them you are serious about becoming a better YOU.
  2. Be ready to leverage your strengths (as described in the first step). Make a list of the shortcomings; the areas where you can improve the most.
  3. Surround yourself with quality advisers who can come alongside to share with you their experiences and offer alternative solutions. Build a small, trusted team of experienced professionals who are willing to share their wisdom with you. Join a mastermind group.
  4. Grab some good books on Leadership. I suggest a few here.
  5. Take some courses. There are great ones available online or through some of the business schools. You don’t have to sign up for a full degree program.

Make a Plan

Develop your own leadership development plan. Use the information you gather from my checklist here and work out a plan for growth. Take small steps each and every day to build your personal archive of knowledge, experience and information on leadership. When you get stumped (and you will), seek counsel. Get advice from trusted coaches or mentors.

Stop This One Thing

Stop trying to be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Or whoever your X-person is. You fill in the blank with the name of that persona you have been trying to become. Yes, you can adopt some of their principles, skills, and attributes, but own it. Make them yours. You need to be you. All the other jobs are taken.

You will never be as successful as you could be by trying to copy someone else. All you will have done is flatter them and pump them up. Sadly, very famous authorities usually never know about your effort to copy them. Just stop it.

 

Read the original post on Doug Thorpe’s Blog by clicking here.

How to get the word out when you don’t have a marketing or PR budget

September 13th, 2017 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

You’ve invested all your dollars into your business, now how do you tell everyone you exist?

In this week’s blog, we’ve listed 8 tips to build up a market presence and really get seen – even when you don’t have marketing or PR dollars to outlay.

  1. Use Bartercard

    We’re cutting straight to the chase – if you don’t have a cash budget for marketing, use Bartercard trade dollars to land exposure without the cash bill. Bartercard has hundreds of media companies, including magazines and industry publications, where you can advertise your business and showcase your brand.Don’t have any print or digital assets?  Use graphic designers on Bartercard to create all your artwork and collateral, including a killer brand!  But take a step back – what’s your market positioning? Bartercard has digital marketing and PR agencies available too, so you can put your brand in the hands of experts to position and maximize its market reach.
  2. Research

    Get to know the journalists, influencers and publications (including newspapers, supplement lift-outs and magazines) in your industry.  Write a list including the journalist’s/influencer’s area of expertise/focus and add their contact details. Follow them on social media and like and comment on their posts before contacting them. Consider what valuable information and expertise you can contribute instead of focusing on yourself. At this stage you should also start positioning your brand and how you will pitch it.
  3. Tell a story

    Part of getting seen is knowing how to tell a great story that stands out from the throngs. What pain points are you tackling, in what creative way, and what led you to launch? Most critical, what’s your solution?Brands like Dollar Shave Club mail out competitively-priced grooming supplies straight to customers while Coca-Cola and Commonwealth Bank appeal through clever, emotive story telling. Others like Doughnut Time just know how to do their specialty – and market it – well.

    As part of your brand story, everything in your business should be conducive.  Are healthy deserts your specialty?  Serve them in environmentally-friendly packaging to stay consistent.

  4. What can you do differently to tell your story?

    Some brands have quirky personalities while others tackle the market through a stand-out identity, consumer-generated content or jumping on a trend really well. Put a narrative around your brand and weigh up how you can tell your story differently to make an impact in the market.
  5. Perfect all brand touch points – including website, social media, blog, shop-front (or e-commerce store) and advertising

    Ensure your information and branding is consistent across the board – so that if a journalist or influencer does check you out further, you’ve done everything you can to maximize the leverage and control the message.  If you work in a service-based industry like accounting or law, see what current issues you can lend your expertise to through blogs and case studies.
  6. Nail your pitch

    Once you’ve positioned your angle and approach, write the press release you’ll send to the journalists.  Just keep in mind they read hundreds of press releases each day – so ensure your pitch is clean and cuts to the chase.If you’re a retailer, send them a sample too, thinking of creative and stand-out ways to present it – like a customized Donutella Versace doughnut for World Chocolate Day.
  7. Send out your press release Customize your press release to make it relevant to the journalist and call them up to pitch it first. When you speak to them, keep it short and succinct.Tip: instead of attaching, paste your press release in the body of the email so the journalist can just scroll down to see it on their phone.
  8. Assess, rinse and repeat   Try to line up your PR with advertising to maximize your market impact.  See what worked and what didn’t, adjust and retry.

For other business tips and insight, visit Bartercard’s blog.

 

Article Written by Klara Vida, Bartercard Australia
You can read the original post here.

How to Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way

September 11th, 2017 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

Written by Doug Thorpe, read the original post here.

 

It’s an old saying you’ve likely heard before. For anyone who owns a business, this phrase is counsel that may be hard to do. For all the owners out there, all three counts in this simple mantra may be nearly impossible.

First, to Lead

On one hand that seems obvious. You own the business, who else would be leading it? Well, it might not be you. Leadership is much different from management. You might be managing the dickens out of your business, but still not really leading it.

You might even be crazy busy, but not providing key leadership when it is needed. Entrepreneurs, by their very nature, are driven. They have vision. They are inspired to do something great. Yet having those wonderful ideas and inspirations won’t make you a leader. Yes, you will have the power of the position, but you will not be leading.

The drive that makes an entrepreneur want to do something can become your worst enemy. If you suffer from SOS (shiny object syndrome), you will never plot a course for success. The next big thing might be a distraction rather than benefit.

The cure is taking time to learn about leadership. Seek counsel. Unless you are one of the rare few who were exposed to leadership thought and theory along the way, you will need to grow before you become a true leader. Yes, there are an even more rare few who seem to have been with natural leadership talents. Congratulations if this is you. Sadly, for the vast majority, leadership is a refined and leaned skill that must be nurtured.

To Follow

Being a follower is not a bad thing. One of the best leadership principles I was ever taught centered on the idea that in order to be a good leader, you must first be a good follower.

Following is not just blind faith. Rather it is commitment to pay attention t the one who might be leading. Observe the good with the bad. Learn from the experience following others. If you are blessed with a good, perhaps even great leader, watch what they do. Study how they inspire and draw others in.

If, on the other hand, your leader is not so good, be diligent in the discipline of following anyway. The worst case scenario is that you might learn what never to do again.

Get Out of the Way

If either of the first two choices are not available, then door number three is needed; get out of the way. Never become a stumbling block for those around you who might be leading the charge forward with a faithful following. If you are not chosen to lead, and you don’t want to follow, then never be the bad egg who sits and pouts, making trouble for everyone else.

I’ve watched whole careers waste away as someone chooses to be disgruntled over the state of affairs. Others are getting promoted and the ideas that are happening are not acceptable either. Folks with this mindset are very frustrated human beings. You likely have know a few.

The simple answer may have been to merely get out of the way.

It’s your choice. GO for it!

SME and start-up business tips

September 6th, 2017 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

Does your brand lack direction or need a fresh start? Packed inside this week’s blog are the business staples, tips and insight to laying down the business groundwork and staying ahead of the curve. Whether you’re a start-up or established business that needs to hit reset, this week’s blog can help pack more punch into your brand. 


The concept
When it comes to thinking of a killer business concept, many people will tell you to ‘do what you love’ or ‘follow your passion’. These are definitely formulas for success, but in reality a business involves so much more – from strategy, finance, research, sourcing, paying your suppliers, ticking off mundane tasks like paying bills down to sheer stamina. So don’t just consider what you love doing, but also your personality type, how you work, what skills and abilities you already have, whether you buckle under pressure, what makes you tick and whether you can handle the many hurdles and setbacks just part of business. It’s also vital to consider whether your business idea is marketable and will convert to sales.

Research the market
Research is critical to test the feasibility of your business idea, and see where similar concepts thrived or fell over. Standing out takes a point of difference, so thoroughly research your competitors to see where you stand apart.

Stick to your core values and beliefs
Running a business and spinning a profit is a challenge at any given moment – it’s certainly not glitz and glamour which most start-ups will tell you. To keep sustainable you should stay authentic and true to your core values. Consistency and congruence across every aspect of your business is critical, or the stress, pressure and work will outpace you.


Three tips for getting research right

  • Define your market – who are your customers, what do they like, what hurdles and setbacks do they face and what solutions can you offer?

  • Research the competition – investigate who your competitors are, what they do, what their strengths and weaknesses are and how they price. Where are you different?

Map it out – pinpoint gaps in the market and do a SWOT analysis to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Determine your ‘why’ (the reason you’re in business) and fine-tune your market position or unique selling point (UPS).
You should be crystal clear of why you’re there, how you stand out and what you do differently.

 
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Write a business plan
A business plan is like a blueprint for your business, detailing your vision, strategy, budget, finances, marketing, competitors and contingency. Some people will tell you that a business plan isn’t essential – but apart from a tool to attract investors and talent, it makes you plan, review, breakdown and map out the way your business is put together which is really crucial to success.
A typical business plan should include:
»»  A cover page with contact details
»»  An executive summary – describing what your business does and what it solves;
»»  A company overview
»»  An industry analysis
»»  A customer analysis
»»  A competitive analysis
»»  A marketing plan
»»  An operations plan
»»  A management section, outlining the key company personnel (and who you need to hire)
»»  A financial plan and;
»»  An appendix including income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements.

A business plan also makes you accountable and keeps you on course, so start writing. 


Seek finances resourcefully
Even low-cost start-ups require financing to get started. Finance options include business loans, overdrafts, lines of credit, fully-drawn cash advances and many start-ups take the route of crowdfunding or private investors like venture capitalists.

Source easy finance through Bartercard
Sourcing finance isn’t always easy, but Bartercard members have access to an interest-free line of credit when they join. This can cover start-up, renovations, expansion or other business costs – visit bartercardusa.com and get started!

Tips from the experts
Speak to, follow and read about the successes and failures of entrepreneurs. Learning from their mistakes can save you from slipping up, while leveraging off their lessons and successes.

 

Written by Klara Vida, Bartercard Australia.
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10 Rules for High-Performing Teams

September 4th, 2017 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

Written by Doug Thorpe, click here to read the original post

Being a successful leader implies success within the team you influence. While a leader’s impact on specific individuals is easier to measure, team dynamics create exponential challenges for leaders.

Success in today’s work world is more about team than individual performance. A team is more than just a group of workers, located together, doing their jobs. Real teams are interdependent. That means they must rely on one another to get the job done. So what are best practices for effective teams? Here are 10 rules from a chapter on “Best Practices in Team Leadership” by Kevin Stagl, Eduardo Salas, and C.Shawn Burke.

1. Define and Create Interdependencies. There is a need to define and structure team members’ roles. Think of sports teams, everyone has their position to play, and success happens when all of the players are playing their roles effectively. In baseball, a double-play is a beautiful example of team interdependency.

2. Establish Goals. Teams need to be focused on shared goals and outcomes. Commitment to that goal is essential for success. Ideally, team goals should allow both the team as a unit and the individual members to achieve both personal and group goals.

3. Determine How Teams Will Make Decisions. Whether the leader makes the decision, or it is a democratic or consensus process, the team needs to understand beforehand how decisions will be made. This reduces conflict within the team when a decision or choice has to be made.

4. Provide Clear and Constant Feedback. Teams need to know how they are doing in order to stay motivated and to correct performance problems or inefficiencies. Ideally, a system should be in place so that team members receive ongoing feedback while doing their jobs. A simple example from manufacturing is when the team members do both production and quality control testing. They find out immediately what their success/failure rate is and can take action to improve.

5. Keep Team Membership Stable. Particularly in complex tasks, it takes a lot of time for team members to learn to work together at an optimum level. In sports, there is a relationship between how long team members have played together and their winning record.

6. Allow Team Members to Challenge the Status Quo. If innovation is important, it is critical that team members feel secure in being able to challenge processes if they feel that there is a way to improve. In order to innovate, teams need to be open to considering and constructively criticizing existing practices when needed.

7. Learn How to Identify and Attract Talent. Just as processes sometimes need improvement, teams can get better by attracting new talent. Organizations that put a lot of resources into identifying and recruiting talent simply do better.

8. Use Team-Based Reward Systems. Too much emphasis on individual rewards can lead to in-fighting and resentment. A combination of individual and team-based rewards is often best.

9. Create a Learning Environment. Emphasize the development of the team, learning through successes, but particularly through mistakes. A team with a culture of continuous improvement and where members are motivated to develop their skills and knowledge are high-performing teams.

10. Focus on the Collective Mission. Mission-driven teams and organizations perform better because they see beyond their individual workload and tasks and feel as if they are working for a higher purpose. It is imperative that team members be committed to the shared mission, or they should be replaced.

These rules apply whether teams have a formal, appointed leader, or whether they are self-governing. The key is to put in the time and energy needed to adhere to these best practices.

Reference:

Stagl, K.C., Salas, E., & Burke, C.S. (2007). Best Practices in Team Leadership. In Jay Conger and Ronald Riggio (Eds.). The Practice of Leadership (pp. 172-197). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

This article is contributed by Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D.. Ron is the Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology and former Director of the Kravis Leadership Institute at Claremont McKenna College. Professor Riggio is the author of over 100 books, book chapters, and research articles in the areas of leadership, assessment centers, organizational psychology and social psychology.