Thursday, October 1, 2020

Who’s calling?

Park time aside for productivity. You will be interrupted because you are a decision maker. It took us a few years to learn this. Often, we would feel we need to be with the team, say yes to the client’s request for a meet, answer that email immediately all in the name of service.

Your eight-hour day gets torn into 15 minutes here and 45 minutes there. Soon eight hours becomes 15 hours of work. Before you know it even after 15 hours of work you have nothing to show.

We learned that parking time aside is important. Uninterrupted time where I get to write my opinions and papers. Even this book, time was parked aside for it. Time to be parked aside for Wan Hoon to complete checking the invoices and cost estimates before they go out. These are our important and productive work. Work that impacts the business very directly.

Friday mornings are generally parked aside for us to discuss operational and financial issues and plans. Uninterrupted. 

You need productive time.

What did you produce?

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

What are you into?

You are into business. Not busyness. 

Don’t get side tracked by seemingly important things. No matter how tough and how anxious you are in terms of the real work. The real work that makes an impact, get to it. We have a funny way of avoiding the real impactful work by creating all sorts of busyness. It’s that manufactured excuse to take us away from the uncomfortable decisions and actions.

The discomfort of more work, long unending work that brings in the sales. The discomfort of rejection that hurts more than the ego. These are all the discomforts that make you grow as a businessperson. You need it.

You don’t need that additional like on your company Facebook. You don’t need to discuss at length which brand of A4 paper you need for your photocopier.

No matter what you do, the only lengthy discussion you need to have is the one that brings in the sales. Nothing moves until your company sells something, bills for it and gets paid.

Whatever else shouldn’t be your busyness. Get busy getting in the sales.

How long should we talk?

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Why don’t you have it?

It takes time. 

Most entrepreneur types are impatient. Yet, running a business takes time.

Building our business has taught me, no, trained me to be patient in many ways. I often look back and say “Why didn’t we create this service 5 years ago? So many people are asking for it.” “Why didn’t we have this answer for the client when she asked what, at that time, was the most challenging question?”

Sometimes things just aren’t ready. You may not be ready. Bare minimum, you may not even have the experience to see the answer when it was there all along. Things take time to happen. Everything takes time and in its time. Causes and conditions have to be right. For the right causes and conditions to be right takes time.

So long as you make decisions, have deliberate plans even though your path may be side tracked eventually things will happen for you. Do what you need and commit to it. The world has a funny way of sending people and arranging things in such a way that it works for you. So long as you act upon your plan.

When will you be ready?

Monday, September 28, 2020

Can you deliver?

Substance over matter. 

Far too often people try to take the shortcut. Everywhere we turn there is a “strategist”. Seems like most people want the word “strategist” behind their name whether they earned it or not. That’s a “stragedy”.

Wan Hoon and I have never had the word “strategist” behind our names. We have never carried any title that has the word “strategy” or “strategist” in it. But the plans we write, when executed correctly get the results the clients want and pay for.

We aren’t sure if we are great strategists. It’s not important. But only maturity can reveal that to you. Some people tend to focus on the sexy and the romantic.

If you are young now, work the hours, take the longer path or alternatively mature quickly. Learn that certain things like skills and knowledge take time. Building a solid product and service to sell is important.

You can be the most articulate guy in the world, but eventually you will be evaluated on what you delivered.

What is in you?

Friday, September 25, 2020

What’s new?

Be a classic, not a fad. 

We are very down-to-earth in our approach to business. This is perhaps because we were older; at a tender-ish age of 41 when we started our business. The younger ones will probably say we are old fashioned – not open to new ideas, unfamiliar with what is new.

That is, of course, not true. In our line, we cannot afford not to be open to new ideas and technology. We need it. It’s mandatory for us. But we aren’t seduced by it.

Blame it on age. We have seen it. We have done it. We have been there and back. Thrice. It takes a lot for us to get excited.

It should be the same for your business. Don’t be too swayed by the changing winds. Focus on the unchanging. Focus on the demands that will always be a classic. My six years at DDB exposed me to one of my favourite Bernbach quotes, “It took millions of years for man’s instincts to develop. It will take millions more for them to even vary. It is fashionable to talk about changing man. A communicator must be concerned with unchanging man, with his obsessive drive to survive, to be admired, to succeed, to love, to take care of his own.” 

What is old fashioned?

Thursday, September 24, 2020

How much can you carry?

Do less. Make more.

Think about doing less by reviewing your product portfolio offering. What do you offer to whom? List them all down. Now ask yourself, which one do you sell best. Which ones you will never part with. Which ones just drag you down. Most business people need a time like this put aside to do spring cleaning. Free up some space within your operations.

Behind most business peoples’ minds is a secret fantasy to be all things to everyone. Business growth necessitates that option to be on the table. It’s probably the easiest option to be put on the table anyway. Just add. We are expanding. We are getting into new markets. We are leveraging on our strengths. There are synergies to be optimized within the group. We have all heard those mantras before.

My paternal grandfather probably had those in mind too. Except, he didn’t articulate it that way. He ran a sundry shop that sold everything to everyone in the neighbourhood. Years after he wound down his business and many years after he passed on, we still found things in the attic that he used to sell. Nothing wrong in trying to emulate the wise business man that my granddad was. But there are other ways. You know that already. We are just giving you a friendly nudge.

There is only so much a consumer or a consumer group will buy from you. Think through this carefully. What do you sell them? Why would they buy it? Why would they buy more from you? 

It’s counter intuitive for most business people. It’s ok to let some other people make the money. Focus on what you are good at. You can be the upgrade or downgrade. Do your best in not being an all grade. You may end up with a no grade.

Who are you selling it to?

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Why are you selling it?

We meet many prospects that we turn down even during the first meeting. Not because they cannot afford us, not because they aren’t on the same wavelength with us. We turned them down because we do not believe in their products or service. 

We believe we should not help sell it if we do not believe in the product or service. If we will not use it ourselves or allow our family and friends to consume it, then we should not promote it. It's just good ethics.

Every service and product you sell, you should proudly sell it. Never let what you do eat you up inside because you know deep down, it isn’t right.

We dare proudly say every service that we have from our consultancy suites to our masterclass, we will proudly sell, use ourselves and recommend to our loved ones.

Would you buy it?