Are You a Fox or a Hedgehog?

I started this blog with the intention of focusing on ways in which a business can improve its competitive advantage. To keep on this track this post is about one of the fundamental strategies that provides the cornerstone of developing a sustainable competitive advantage over your competitors. That strategy is, FOCUS. Jim Collins in his…

Details

Building Companies Busy, but Still Going Bust

The Christchurch Press reported yesterday that despite construction being very busy, small to mid sized businesses in the industry are still going bust. See the article here: http://tinyurl.com/my2y4oc Should you be worried?  Probably. If not worried, you should at least be aware that things are not all glittering out there and you should look at…

Details

What Is Working Capital and How Much Do I Need?

The working capital in your business is the net amount of liquid assets you have in the business, ie. those that can be converted into cash soon; certainly within the next quarter or so.  To calculate your working capital, find your most recent balance sheet showing your assets, liabilities and net worth. Next, subtract your…

Details

Do Sweat the Small Stuff!

Details matter. Maybe they don’t matter to you, but chances are they matter to your clients, or your prospective clients. And frankly, that’s more important than what your opinion is. Will they notice that typo on page 3 of your proposal? Will they notice you turn up 10 minutes late for the appointment without calling…

Details

Educate Your Customers rather than Hard Selling Them

The use of an “education based” marketing and sales process can be way more effective than the traditional quotation/negotiation process.  This is especially true when your customer is in the residential market and so more emotionally involved with the outcome.  By “education based” marketing I mean giving away useful information and advice in the earliest…

Details

Why Change Fails and What To Do About It

To move from where you are in business now to a better place requires change.  Change in mindset, change in the way you do things and maybe even change in the mix of people you have working for you. Change is a necessary (and good) thing and something I deal with as part of what…

Details

Business Lessons from a Politician

I don’t usually go out of my way to hear politicians speak, but I attended a recent North Harbour Business Association luncheon to hear the Economic Development Minister, Steven Joyce, give an address on making NZ a Pacific Economic Tiger. With his successful background in business, I was interested to hear what he had to…

Details

Computers and Software. Necessary Evils?

In a recent survey I conducted with Auckland Certified Builders, I asked them to list their 3 main frustrations in business.  Answers were a bit varied, as one might expect, but common complaints were: cash flow, running multiple projects, budget blowouts on projects and too longer hours. Although there is no magic bullet for these…

Details

WIP Your Profits Into Shape!

When you run your monthly Profit & Loss (P&L) report (you do run one, right?) do you find that both the dollar value and the profit percentage varies wildly and you start to doubt the accuracy of the report?  If so, maybe it’s because you are not adjusting the figures to take account of Work…

Details

Dig The Well Before You Are Thirsty

I read with alarm the headline in the NZ Herald business section on February 8: “Slump in orders hits building industry”. Surely not, I thought.  We are supposed to be on the up, not the down! Reading a bit further I soon discovered that the article was referring to Australia, not NZ. Phew!  But it…

Details