Friday, December 29, 2023

How strong are your beliefs?

Strategy is not just what you do but what you do not do. It’s crucial to know what your brand stands for and who your market is. Don't be seduced by going after a different segment if it doesn't fit your brand. Just because you see competitors doing well there or that is a growing fad. Losing your core and trying to win them back would be costly.

What should you not do?

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Thursday, December 28, 2023

How deep is your expertise?

Some companies expand vertically. There are many successful cases. But if you see these examples and decide to expand vertically, make sure that it is for the right reasons.

For example, if you produce coffee beans and have problems marketing them and still have unsorted operation issues; ensure you become competent in these first.

Don’t open a café hoping that your café uses your own coffee beans. Firstly, you haven’t overcome your own marketing weaknesses. Secondly, you haven’t solved your farm operation issues.

Without foundational competence, you will drown both businesses.

What do you need to fix?

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Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Is it going to be easier?

Some companies want to move from B2B to B2C. Yet others think about moving from B2C to B2B. Each has its own sets of challenges and each has its merits. Both require good strategies and a set of excellent execution in order to win. One is not easier than the other to gain more revenue and profit.

Focus, and then scale. Be damn good at one thing before moving to another.

How tough will it get? 

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Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Is that all you are going to do?

Low prices don't guarantee you will sell better.
You will be surprised that not every entrepreneur knows that. You still need to market your product. Your distribution needs to be right. Your product needs to be right. The customer experience is another aspect to consider. Even then, you need to know which segment of consumers will resonate with what you have decided to integrate to extract value from the market.

What do you think marketing involves?

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Friday, December 22, 2023

How complex do you think it is?

Simple calculations
can reap big results.

If revenue is good, make sure you know which items sell well and which are more profitable. You want to be able to leverage on this information. If you know this, then it’s a gentle reminder. If you don’t, or have never done anything, it’s time to get to know these figures.

You need to make informed decisions. This analysis helps you make your decision sharper - what to do more, what to cull, what new product/service to introduce.

Have you broken them down?

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Thursday, December 21, 2023

Are they right?

It's good to listen to your customers. But they are not always right, no matter what you have been taught or have heard.

You are not obliged to implement everything that your customer tells you. Do what is best for your business to thrive. Listen but analyze. Listen but use wisdom when implementing. Good intentions does not always reap good results. Good decisions do.

What’s your call? 

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Wednesday, December 20, 2023

How heavy will it be?

As long as you are the founder of the company; you own the business and its challenges. You may have mentors, coaches, trainers, sifus, and gurus. They can guide you. Teach you. Train you. Show you. But they won't be able to hand hold you. You will have to learn and do what's right for your business. You will have to carry the weight. The burden is yours, and so are its fruits.

Who’s gonna carry it?

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Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Who is your client?

We often hear from entrepreneurs that they created another company because the current company needed a client. As an example, a coffee powder manufacturer opens a coffee shop. I know it sounds funny to some of you but we have met more than 10 cases like these over the years. Mind you, there are successful manufacturers who eventually decided to expand downstream. These are businesses struggling to establish a foothold in their core industry and finding it challenging, but decided to “expand” by “creating” a “client” for their main business.

Focus on the basics. Learn to segment your market and then choose a target. Once you have chosen the target learn how to get your products and services into their hands.

Will your left and right pockets become bigger?

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Monday, December 18, 2023

Are you a bank?

We met a prospect last week. He told us he would start on a project as soon as he got the verbal agreement that the contract would be signed and that the PO will come. He said the lead time to close an account is long, hence when it shows absolute signs of being closed he starts the project. Needless to say, he has a huge cashflow issue.

You should not finance the client. You need the cashflow. Get the PO & payment before you start work. Doing work before all these crucial paperwork signals to the client you are desperate. The next time you will get a lower value contract. Don’t assume your client has no money and the process for payment is long. If they need it, they will get it done.

What are you in business to do?

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Friday, December 15, 2023

What’s the difference?

Some business people see others doing well and starts analyzing what makes them do well. They probably isolated five to ten factors, and then decide that they will replicate it and hope that they will do better. Chances are, they won’t.

You can isolate as much as possible what others do but you will still be imitating. You can learn what are the success factors but you will still miss out on how these factors are combined and in what dosage. You can have Gordon Ramsay’s beef Wellington recipe and you can watch him do it on YouTube a hundred times, but you will still not be him.

Get inspired by others’ success. See what they do. There is nothing wrong in it. Learn it. Then add your own spin. Do your own homework. Make your business different. Eventually, you will still need to stand out and not be a me-too. With you and your ideas as the key differentiator, your business now has an even bigger and better chance of succeeding.

Do you stand out? 

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Thursday, December 14, 2023

Are you easily distracted?

The best advice I can give you if you are just starting out on your business, or in your first 3 years if so, is to focus.

Focus. Get one product done very well before you decide to launch other products. You can have up to 3 variants in a product. But no more. Just make these 3 great.

Focus. Develop one brand and just use that brand. If you follow the advice above you will only need one brand.

Focus. On getting into as many distribution points a possible. Physical presence is key. If you are delivering a service, besides accessibility start getting known.

Focus. On your operations and logistical issues. Iron out everything and make them as smooth as possible. They can make or break you at this stage.

Focus. On service and delivering value. You want raving fans that will fan the word of mouth for you. “Viral” is built over years no one tells you about.

Do you aim small? 

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Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Can they find you?

My team and I had the honor and privilege to interview with a view to help 20 SME entrepreneurs last week.

One point that sticks out seems to be an almost obsessive focus on branding. Don’t get me wrong. Branding is important. But at a certain stage, some other aspects of marketing are more important than branding. In many of these cases, distribution is key. Without maximizing physical availability, your efforts in branding and awareness is just going to waste.

Build the physical presence. Get in the sales. With sales, you have cashflow. With cashflow, you can run stronger branding campaigns.

What should you focus now?

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Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Do they appreciate it?

Releasing content out there, regardless whether it is an FB post or a tweet; as long as it is not relevant, not original and not impactful to your audience, it is spam. You don’t need to score in all three. But do at least one well. Best is, of course, all three.

You are barging into someone’s life with your message. Make it matter to them.

Is it spam?

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Friday, December 8, 2023

Are you full?

There is this hotel that we frequent for workshops and seminars. Not because it is our choice, but because our client like to use it. It’s near their office. This hotel has not been refurbished for at least six to seven years. The signs of aging is too patent to ignore. The way they do their F&B has stagnated when compared to other hotels where standards have gone better.

We don’t know why it has not improved from both an ID and F&B stand point. Both important criteria for this sort of business. Our hypothesis is that it is not hungry enough. Business is easy as big companies are its neighbours making it convenient. Even though one big conglomerate has moved out of the neighbourhood. The business threats are obvious, but we think they are willfully blind because they are not starved. When you are not hungry why would you look for food?

Hunger is a blessing. Hunger makes you plan for the future so you don’t get caught being starved again. Hunger makes you improve because hunger is painful. Hunger teaches you to hunt because no one is going to feed you if you don’t hunt.

Can you stay hungry?

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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Are you obsessed with the wrong company?

Some entrepreneurs are just very obsessed with their competitors. They know everything their competitors do. I think sometimes they take “knowing your enemy” way too far. If you are one of them, perhaps it is time to focus on yourself. I would argue that the time spent on strengthening yourself and ironing out your weaknesses has far better ROI than your obsession with your competitors.

You can’t control what your competitors do. But you can control how strong you can be. When you are strong, enemies tend not to pick on you.

Have an eye on your competitor but you don’t be obsessed with them. Focusing on yourself will bring you better returns.

Do you know you? 

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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

What should they know?

exposes authenticity. Some people are afraid to show their vulnerable side. Some believe they should hide their “weaknesses”. Yet, others feel it’s not for others to know. Perhaps some think they will be exploited when they show their vulnerability. Truth is, by being vulnerable you are exposing your authenticity. People connect with others that are authentic. They want to know; you are like them too.

What’s there to hide

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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Can you see it?

Give it time and allow yourself to be better each day. Even when the progress is not clear to you, work on it diligently. Learn to get ahead systematically. Put in the discipline so you can make small wins that cumulates to big wins. Small wins build layers of confidence too. You want to be prepared when opportunities knock. Take the idea of time, patience, discipline and being prepared seriously.

What’s putting you ahead? 

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Monday, December 4, 2023

Is it balance?

Perhaps for those who struggle with work-life balance should not approach it from a “balance” angle. 

I think most of the time it is more of a focus issue. When you spend more time with your family, your thoughts tend to drift to work issues. And when you are spending longer hours at work you tend to feel guilty as you feel you should be spending more time at home.

It will always be a constant struggle. Sometimes you will find the equilibrium and sometimes the guilt is too much to handle. But you must always find a way to adjust. Do your best to be in the present whenever you can. Focus on who and what you are spending time on. 

When with your family, savour it and be fully focused. When with work be fully focused too. 

The bad news is the struggle is real and it never ends. The good news is you will get better at it and accept certain conditions more.

Is it focus?

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Friday, December 1, 2023

Are you willing to suffer?

If it's a skill, you can learn it. If you can learn it, you can practice it. If you can practice it, chances are you can be good at it.

Learning is the easiest part. It’s the practice that gets to people because it requires sacrifice. Sacrifice means pain. No one loves pain. So, getting to the last part of being good at it becomes elusive.

The good news is the world is filled with people unwilling to do the second part. If you are willing to do it, there is a lot of space in the third part for you.

Can you make time?

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