Business Tips for Success

Adopt a Forward-Thinking Attitude

Before you plan out your business, start with a vision. Write the vision down. Use it as a map to create your business plan.

Even if you’ve already started your business, you can still look ahead and evolve your plan. What outcomes do you want for your business? Where would you like the company to be in the coming months and years?

To help you decide, your vision could include:

• Your mission statement;
• The products or services you will offer;
• Your business niche;
• Ways to find prospects;
• Marketing strategies;
• Problems you will solve;
• Ways to position yourself against your competitors.

The Engine’s Business Advisors are experts at coaching you to deliver a robust business plan.

Brand Protection: Protecting Your Organisation’s Value

Intellectual property and brand image are an SME’s most valuable assets. But how do you go about protecting your brand and enforcing your rights to preserve and grow it? Given the importance of brand protection, it’s well worth seeking expert professional help in both planning and executing brand IP strategies and trade mark applications. Wording classifications and gauging whether or not a mark is viable can save a lot of time and money.

Fact or Myth? Should You use Your Credit Card to Fund Your Business?

If you can be disciplined to treat the card like a loan and pay in full before the interest is due or factor interest on the purchase then you may well have a very good credit line for your business. Be business savvy – avoid fees where possible, ensure business partners are in agreement, get the highest credit line you can BUT ensure you are self-disciplined to manage this debt. Always show the credit card in your accounting system as a creditor.

Last golden rule :- consider whether any line of credit or credit card is warranted & always seek financial & legal advice before any borrowings.

Read on to see if considering using your card as a credit line facility is for you.

How NOT to Stuff Up a Company Restructure

A great company restructure design can improve your chances of success. However, the process requires you to think about what constitutes a good structure.  It also requires expertise to get it right.  Can you afford to get it wrong? 

Climbing a Mountain – The Ultimate Metaphor for Business Success!

A fundamental part of overcoming business failure is rooted in the mindset you have. Nearly every mountain in the world has been conquered and so there is a clear path to the top. Only he who can see the invisible can do the impossible. Man can believe the impossible, but man can never believe the improbable. 99 hair-raising turns and 999 ferocious steps standing between the Range Rover Sport Plug-In Hybrid and Heaven’s Gate on Tianmen Mountain, China. Impossible or possible?

Product Life Cycle

Each product has its own life cycle. A product will be ‘born’, it will ‘grow’, it will ‘mature’, provide a period of ‘saturation’ and, eventually, it will ‘decline/die’. Some products, like Tip Top, have retained their market position for a long time. Others may have their success undermined by falling market share or by competitors.

The product life cycle shows how sales of a product change over time. There are typically 4-5 stages of the life cycle of a product. Not all products follow these stages precisely and time periods for each stage will vary widely. Growth, for example, may take place over a few months or, as in the case of Tip-Top, over decades.

Meeting Customer’s Buying Needs

In a modern world of retailing consumers can have their needs met in a variety of ways such as local shopping centres, out of town shopping centres, and by direct delivery from Internet orders. Competition among retailers is increasingly getting tough. Differentiation is therefore the key to developing a compelling competitive advantage and winning loyal customers. Differentiation is the process of making your business stand out from rivals – making it different and better.
Marketing departments are therefore continually concerned with addressing the questions:

• Who are our customers? (A company needs to find out as much as possible about its customers in order to meet their needs.)
• Are we offering the right combination of choice, value and convenience?
• How can we create a compelling competitor advantage? (How is the company different from the competition?)
• How can we defend what business we already have and how can we grow?
• How do we effectively communicate to our customer base?

Most established companies are very strong, with a trusted brand focused on value, choice and convenience. Cosco Wholesale is a trusted retailer for bulk buying grocery; it has a major presence in many other markets including gardening, consumer electronics and furniture and a significant market share in jewellery and sports equipment.

Consumers at Cosco Wholesale are offered a multi-channel approach to shopping. New Zealand supermarkets have also been adapting the way they service customers. They also offer a multi-channel approach to buying including customers ordering online and having their groceries packed for collection or delivery. Most retailers are now thinking about consumer spending with the likes of different methods to pay and allowing the consumer the goods now with payment options of 6, 8, 10 weeks or 12-60 months – all interest free. A business has to be open minded to how they do business and meet the needs of an ever-changing customer purchasing market. The Engine’s Growth membership provides businesses the option of a Customer Satisfaction Survey.

Cashflow Management

Each organisation has to manage and monitor its cash flows carefully. Cash does not just arrive; it must be chased, recorded and managed. At all times, there must be enough cash to pay bills. For a retail business like The Warehouse, the main cash inflows or receipts will be from sales; the main cash outflows or payments will be for supplies and overheads associated with its stores, such as rents, rates, wages, power or transport.

If there is too much cash in any organisation, it needs to be put to work for instance, in a deposit account or investments where it will earn interest. If there is too little, the business needs to know how much it will have to borrow to cover the shortfall and for how long. Borrowing money also has costs which need to be managed. Good cash flow management requires good information, professional training and good management decision making.