Search Results

The Small Business Dilemma – A New Zealand Perspective

The owners of small businesses have to cover many roles across their business and often with little support. They need help to achieve the success they seek, but in many cases they either don’t look for it, or they have trouble finding the right help at the right price.

Many of the advisors, banks, funders, and all those servicing small business have difficulty helping them. These businesses are fragmented, costly to engage with and most service providers can’t offer even the most basic support and make it financially viable.

So why does this matter?

Consider these figures from Statistics NZ. (The percentages are not dissimilar in other countries)

1. Of the 480,000 businesses in New Zealand around 425,000 have five or fewer employees – micro businesses
2. Approximately 325,000 have no employees.
3. Unfortunately micro business are 10 times more likely to fail than larger organisations.
4. The service and support available for business in New Zealand tends to be focused on larger organisations, exporters or businesses with high growth potential. Very few of the micros in New Zealand fit into these categories and simply do the best they can.

Business owners need to find the best support they can afford. New Zealand’s DIY attitude may often mean micro business battle on alone, hoping to sort things out but often slipping further into difficulties.

Owners need to think about the unique challenges of owning and running a small or micro business.

Succeeding in a micro business must start with recognition that business, family and personal lives connect in ways that don’t apply to bigger businesses. The challenges of small businesses are often unique, so looking for solutions that ‘the big guys might do’ often won’t work. Most micros start for lifestyle reasons. They are owned or operated by families or people in relationships (e.g husband and wife). The owners are typically juggling not only every aspect of the business but also the needs of the family “.

So if you believe this describes you consider a few things:

1. Accept that you have many roles to fill in your small business.
2. Accept that you can’t be good at all of them nor will you enjoy all of them.
3. Seek out help. It is out there and you may have to spend some money to get the help you need.
4. You can’t do it all. You will have limited time and money so you have to prioritise.
5. Be kind to yourself. Small business can be tough and if you don’t care for yourself you won’t be able to care for your business.

4 Ways to Energize Yourself and Your Business

At the start of this decade no one was waiting around the office at midnight dreading to see if the electric grid crashed, if computer-based machinery stopped, or society fell into chaos due to Y2K as we did ten years ago. Yet, I still witnessed people dreading returning from their four day weekend to the daily grind that chewed up many businesses and their leaders last year.

To revitalize a company the leader must first be revitalized. How can you revitalize yourself when the economy is still down, people still seem to be in a negative mindset, and the future is quite unclear? With these four action items you can re-energize your vitality as a leader and once again set a positive tone for your staff to follow and vicariously become more energized themselves.

1. Get a reality check

I’ve heard it said many times; things are never as good as they seem and never as bad as they seem. 2009 seemed to be a pretty bad year for most organizations. Many executives just gave up in the fourth quarter and started focusing on 2010. In retrospect, 2009 was filled with lessons. Step back from the pain and frustration of 2009 and make a list of lessons learned that can help you in the future. We all learned last year, in some cases it could be what not to do. However, aren’t those some of the best lessons to have?

2. Make a plan

Free-wheeling is no longer an option for leadership; nor is sticking directly on a plan. Flexibility within a plan is different than free-wheeling in that you have a clear understanding of destination and the ability to make adjustments. Do you have a written plan for this year? Do you have a written plan for your personal life? I’m not being pollyanna here, I know you don’t suddenly wake up one day and life is all rosy. The business side of life is still going to be a climb up the mountain, but your personal life can be a great source of energy fueling that climb. Have a personal plan as well as a business plan.

3. Find inspiration in your personal life

People are still going to reject some of your sales efforts, companies are still tight with budgets, and the country still has a ways to go before we are into positive growth. In other words, business is still going to be a challenging environment. That is why I set 50 personal goals for the year (to go with my 50 professional goals for the year) because I know I get inspired in my personal life. Who inspires you? What inspirational friends do you need to spend more time with? What friends do you need to avoid/drop/move on from? If you aren’t being positively impacted by your friends, you are losing energy that is needed to fight the business battle. Find inspiration.

4. Try something completely different

How many times last year, did you ask people to give you more, hammer them for not doing their jobs correctly, and generally focused on the negative aspects of the business. Try something different this year. Become solution-focused instead of blame-focused. Be proactive instead of reactive. Look for innovative approaches instead of cutting budgets and doing less of the same that wasn’t working in the first place!!!

Pushing an elevator button repeatedly does not make the elevator arrive any quicker. I think we fall into this type of behavior frequently when times are tough. Get real about the positives, find solutions for the negatives and get energized to lead. Because it is the beginning of a new year, now is a great opportunity to refocus, reinvent, and reenergize yourself and your staff. Get pumped to make a difference this year.

6 Reasons Why Demand Forecasting Is Important In International and National Businesses

Demand forecasting is a well researched topic, and the most methods used in today’s businesses are relatively new. Setting out goals on sales promotion in international or national business without having relevant knowledge is like jumping from a mountain without having a parachute in your hands. I often find that the first thing people ask me at a conference is the importance of demand forecasting for their companies. In this article I will point out 10 reasons why you need to consider it for your business.

1) Many businesses nowadays provide services and products to their clients without having a clear figure of their demand. Sometimes what they know about their consignments is the deadline they should meet, but missing a proper demand forecasting plan can lead them to not appropriately react to the changes. When a customer is unable to get the product or they want more than once, it can make them to choose the competitor’s product.

2) Marketing gurus of your company may not perfectly promote your sales in case you do now know how much is necessary to produce. If you company overestimates demand, it has a risk of producing too much which can lead you to loss due to holding unsold items. But if it produces too little, there will be a loss of potential profits and your marketing team can not help you in this case too.

3) With the growing tends of globalization and wide range of items in the market coming with different shapes and sizes it is also important to track the demand for each product. The demand for small audio sets, touch-screen audio sets, Bluetooth-enabled audio sets should be considered separately keeping in mind all customers needs.

4) In business battles, especially in international businesses the future prices and costs are not always stable. Demand forecasting should be tied with all profit margins considering the prices and the costs of your production.

5) Changes in technology have contributed towards globalization. The improvements of technology make our lives much more convenient therefore the rules of the game are changing. There should be forecasting about technological change (TC) and its bear upon demand, costs and prices.

6) Besides these all, demand forecasting should be based upon changes in the external environment. As we know a business doesn’t operate in a vacuum. It has to act and react to what happens outside the factory and office walls, and sometimes outside from national borders. With this in mind I want to close up with the 6th reason why it is fundamental for your company.