Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Leave Your Competitors Behind - Be The Leader!

source : http://www.flickr.com/photos/dalager/

I remember at the time when I was still connected with a very big ice cream company. My boss scolded me because I wasn't prudent enough to monitor what my competitor was doing. Hence, I did what I was told and made a competitive analysis on the promotional activities of the top two (2) competitors that we had.

Management really liked my presentation but at the end, the company could not compete in terms of spending for that kind of cost. Apparently, instead of pursuing the vision that started our company in the first place,`management diluted it by focusing on what the competitors were doing and ended up being a mediocre in the ice cream industry.

In any business, whether how small or large, it is of the utmost importance that you start with a vision for the future. This will be your guiding path to a successful business. Hence, this vision will give you the right focus and will allow you to play the game wherein you are the best.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

6 Effective Ways To Improve Your Cash Flow

Picture Source : http://www.flickr.com/photos/dexxus/3017515135/

Based on my last post, we talked about cash flow and how important it is in our business start up. (click here to read my previous post)
This time we will talk of the simple strategies and business ideas to increase your cash inflow.

Actually, I've combined the personal lessons that I have learned in my business as well as from the books that I have read.

1. Pay your bills on time

Often when we start a business we use leverage to our advantage like OPM (other peoples money) and OPT (other peoples time). The problem with leverage is that it is a double edge sword. It can either drown or keep your business afloat.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Cash Flow Is The Life Blood Of Your Business Start Up

picture source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joeshlabotnik/

As like many business start ups, we are most satisfied when our accountant shows our income statement having a healthy profit, yet it doesn't really show the entire picture. This in fact is misleading specially if you are not good at reading financial statements. 

One of the biggest mistakes made by most business start up owners is allowing clients and customers to buy now and pay later. In other words, extending credit in exchange for your services or product.

I believe there should be a big line between you as a business start up owner and credit. The business idea is, since you are still at the start up level, cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. Without cash flow, your business will slowly wither and very soon, it will cause the closure of the business. Irregardless of how many sales you made or how much money is owed to you, without cash flow, your business start up will be short lived.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Nurture Your Customer Relationships

Just yesterday, I went to check on a new style of badminton shoes for myself in a small sports store across the highway of my hometown city (how I wish I was in a city like London). The name of the store is Racket Plus and I had bought most of my badminton equipments there.

As I was trying on their new stock of badminton shoes like the ones from Mizumo, I was expecting that I will be entertained by one of the sales agents but surprisingly, I was approached by the owner himself and he greeted me using my first name.

Our conversation centered mostly about shoes; where they got their supplies, how they handled their inventory, and marketing. Of course, he asked me what I did for a living and how I got to know their store. Through out the conversation, I noticed from him a very important trait that any business start up should have and that is nurturing his relationships with his customers.

As a sales and marketing person myself, I am a bit keen and very particular to customer relations. Although in essence, I do not fully agree with the belief that the "customer is always right", yet I have a bias on the importance of the customers' right to know. For me, there is no business if there are no customers. We business people exist because we are there to provide and serve our customers.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Improve Your Merchandising To Increase Sales in the Business Start Up

I remember when I was seven (7) years old, there was this small retail store in our city. This small retail store had a really small shelf space, that you would have to inform the sales clerks of your orders and wait for it since they will need to get the stocks from their backyard.

The only thing that I noticed was that, they had this attractive posters that announce brand names and certain promos like "buy 3 soap of brand x and get one for free" or "2% off on all sandwich spreads of brand z".


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

5 Important Tips to Overcome Business Start Up Fears

Just a week ago, I met two of my college friends. It's been four (4) years since we've last seen each other, so we decided to have a cup of coffee to do some catching-up.

We mostly talked about our life back in college, how the school culture has evolved, the people we were with, the education system that our school had, and our careers. Apparently, when we got to talk about our careers, they were so shocked to know that I already had two businesses. They even got more shocked to learn that I have been investing in the stock market, and still kept my day job. (If you knew me during my college days, I bet you'd also be shocked)


Saturday, April 3, 2010

4 General Ideas For The Business Start Up Stage

In thinking of ideas for business start up companies, it would usually differ from the nature of business you are in. So in this example I will just tackle on the most common business strategies that is crucial on the business start up stage.

1. Equip your employees for their job positions

I've seen many new good business concepts that has a lot of potential and would have done pretty well but have employees that are "half baked" which causes the business to fail in the start up stage.