Where is the Money?

There are two questions that most of us earth bound beings would give anything to know the answers too.

  1. What is the meaning of life?
  2. Where is the money?

The Money Quest

The answer for the first question will need to be discovered on your own. The answer to the second question, well that is another quest entirely but as with the first question has the potential to open up a treasure chest of possibilities. The best way for me to explain to you, where is the money?  would be via a story I heard quite some time ago. Now over the years this story has changed a bit as it has been passed from one person to another, but its secret holds an unspeakable value that will inspire you to search among its content to find the answer to, where is the money?

Treasure Maps and Tall ShipsKeep your Search Close

The beginning of this story goes back a few hundred years to a time of treasure maps and tall ships.

In an ocean far far away a storm brewed. Sailing directly towards the storm was Captain Blake and his crew. Now Captain Blake was on a mission to find a treasure that was left on an island twenty nautical miles on his bow. He was so close that he could smell the contents of the chest. Blake’s problem was that if he goes around the storm he may miss his opportunity of finding the cluster of islands and the treasure may fall into the hands of another. So it was onward for glory. The storm raged around the tall ship eating away at the timber hull. All was lost, the ship was donated to Davey Jones locker. Blake and his crew were washed upon the largest island of the cluster.

After 20 years of treasure hunting Captain Blake was an old hand at survival. What was left of his crew followed his every order and new that there was a good chance of rescue. A plan was put in place to recover the treasure and live off the island till help arrived. A portion of the treasure would be used to by their safety. Quite some time went by, years, decades nobody seems to know exactly. The treasure still eluded Captain Blake.

Blake and his dwindling crew had searched all of the outlying islands and were starting to believe that the treasure was a myth. Running out of food Blake had giving his youngest  crew member the task of scavenging for the root of a plant that had helped them survive, But the fire had almost burnt out in the belly of young John, so in shear laziness young John started digging the grass around Captain Blake’s hut. With the blade of a broken sword John dug slowly with no real purpose.

At a depth of one hand John hit a solid object. The sound on the blade was different then rock. John called Captain Blake for his advice. On the realization of what this could be the two men dug frantically, the more they dug the more they saw of a jeweled chest. John had discovered the treasure that had been alluding them located on the spot they had taken shelter many years before.

As a footnote to this story the castaways were rescued on the next full moon by a merchant vessel blown off course into their path.

Five Small Business Treasures.

  1. A plan is just that, a plan, have an alternative rout to your goal.
  2. Where is the money? Closer then you think.
  3. Exhaust all avenues close to home before wandering abroad.
  4.  Believe in yourself and your capability.
  5. Believe in others, outsource your weaknesses.

The Small Business entrepreneur may often wander, where is the money? which leads to the question, Are you really looking? As the money may well be in your own back yard. Dig deep it is there.

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The Number One Asset for Small Business.

When you talk about the number one asset for Small Business, it usually refers to material things such as equipment, stock or the building that houses the business. As much as these items are assets, they are not the backbone of the business. Look at it this way, would your Small Business survive without the building? There are thousands of businesses running from home or online. Could you run your business without stock? Well there is drop shipping, where the manufacturer holds the stock and delivers to your customers door. What about equipment, fixtures and fittings? Maybe required, depending on the business but useless without your number one asset.A Treasure Chest of Assets?

What is The Number One Asset for Small Business ?

We would all like to believe that the number one asset for Small Business was us, the owner, the brains behind the conception of the business. That thought, that belief would have to be in the top five misconceptions of Small Business. Yes you were there at the birth, but growth can not happen without the influences of others. So the number one asset for Small Business is other people or more to the point your employees.

Consider the day to day activities that have to happen for your Small Business to achieve growth, the list seems endless, yet we spend more time and money nurturing an image of our business that can be destroyed in minutes than we do growing the strengths of our employees.

Your Employees Deserve More

Not only are employees the number one asset for Small Business, they are also the cheapest asset to maintain. Treat them right and respect their worth and your Small Business will grow in any marketplace. Put them offside and you will be one step from the black hole that sucks so many Small Businesses into oblivion. There are countless stories out in the business world about owners and managers strangling their number one asset, from cutting working hours to denying training opportunities etc, etc.

A Small Business owner or Manager needs to look at the big picture, as it is more black and white than you think.  Take this scenario, an employee’s hours are constantly cut so the budget can be met. Fifteen minutes here and fifteen minutes there, a small amount of time that the Small Business owner/manager thinks as being insignificant for the employee. But is it? Now the employee may not have the extra cash to say, take the family to the football on the weekend. This is a big thing for the employee, actually it is huge, as it effects their whole family. Has it made a great difference to your business? Yes it has, the employees are now complaining about the family outing that did not happen, their whole demure has changed, safety is now compromised as things need to happen in a shorter time period or with less people. All this is going to cost the Small Business owner money, maybe a lot more than that fifteen minutes was worth. Is this a positive step for your Small Business? Not at all.

An Opportunity to Grow

Hidden in all negative thought processes are positive gems, start digging and when you find one, do not stop there, as you will find another. Struggling? Have a sit down with your number one assets, many minds will dig deeper. There are always better ways to solve a problem like meeting the budget. Jeopardizing the relationship of employer and employee is not the answer. Engaging your team in the workings of your business might be the answer to move you from your grey image to pure black and white.

Five Small Business Treasures

  1. The number one asset for Small Business is your employees.
  2. Look after your number one asset and they will look after your Small Business.
  3. Involve your number one asset in the decision making process.
  4. Stop with all the secrets, share the ups and downs of owning a Small Business.
  5. Educate your number one asset to benefit your big picture.

It is said that a Small Business is only as good as the people running it. I put this to you. Small Business is only as good as its employees are treated by the people running it.

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Blogging About Your Small Business

When you think about blogging, what comes to mind? Is it a way to communicate to family, friends or groups about everything you have experienced, everything you are experiencing and lessons learn’t. A way to share travel stories, interests and connect with others or just an outlet to express some thoughts.What are you storing inside?

Be a Small Business Blogger

Hold on, lets take a step back. If blogging has become so important to the way we communicate personally why are you not blogging about your Small Business? Isn’t Small Business all about engaging with your customer, learning their needs and want’s so that the benefits of using your products and services will align with those needs and wants.

The majority of small businesses already have some sort of web presence whether it is a  web site or an attachment via social media. The old way of communicating with our customers geographically niche d our small business. If you had a shop front in your towns main street the traffic into your business was based on your location. Now with blogging available, your small business has the capability to compete globally and the best shop front location is the first page on Google. But do not make the mistake of thinking that everything is a given.

Successfully Blogging About Your Small Business

To be successful at blogging about your Small Business and achieving a first page listing on Google will take a bit of effort, a lot of planning and a willingness to build a community of followers (customers).

Blogging about your Small Business does have its challenges and you need to question yourself on your content. For example;

  • What do you want your blog to do for your small business?
  • Do you want to sell your products or services by informing your customers of the benefits of using your small business?
  • Do you have a brand you want to grow?
  • Do you want to build your customer base?

Blogging about your Small Business will require a commitment as you would do for any other part of your business. A constant nurturing of your readers (customers/clients), supplying information that will help them solve a problem or improve the position that they are now in. As always it is usually the newest activity that the small business entrepreneur cuts when they get busy. This is the time when you stop and consider. Why all of a sudden are you busy? Maybe you need to organise your activities better. Anything but cutting your blog from the picture.

Five Small Business Treasures

  1. Share stories about your business. What happens behind the scenes?
  2. Converse the information about your product/service, do not present the information. Tell a story.
  3. Be seen as a resource, a guru on your subject.
  4. It is not what you say that matters it is what your readers hear.
  5. Master the basics of blogging about your small business. make your blog read well and look good.

A Bonus from the Treasure Chest:-

A lot of us do not like the thought of writing our own content or just feel that it is in the to hard basket. Well there is another way. Consider what your time is worth, now what if you could pay somebody a fraction of that amount to write your blog posts for you. You can outsource everything. (more later on this)

For those entrepreneurs that want to bask in the glory of creating something themselves I would recommend you take a look at Year of The Blogger. This is a comprehensive online course that teaches you the correct methods of Blogging about your Small Business.

Share the best Small Business blog post you have read below in the comments section.

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How to: Get Paid What You’re Worth.

One of the hardest things we face as entrepreneurs is the value we place on our time.  The age old saying is time is money, but is this the real truth or are we just using the saying to prop up our egos when confronted with our real worth? To get paid what you’re worth must you sacrifice your time, your life or maybe it is all about your comfort zone, where you feel comfortable about the amount of  money you earn.Profit

What You’re Worth at Small Business Start-Up

Your Small Business start-up period will be the time when as the owner a few sacrifices need to be made. We find that most of our profit will be required to be moved back to the small business to allow it to grow at a steady rate. So in the small business start-up period it can be the survival of the fittest. This is the time to really take note of what is in your business plan. Your business plan will show you:

  • The capital required to move your business forward over the start-up year.
  • Expected overheads, this will give you an incite to where savings can be made.
  • Your expected profit or loss.
  • Areas of expenditure that will result in a change to the profit or loss over a period of time.

At this point the small business entrepreneur must realize that for the business to survive its growing years you get paid what you’re worth in satisfaction, that’s right, just the satisfaction that you have built a business out of your passion. This is not a time to drain all profits and purchase the top of the range dream toy, this is the time to get by and build your small business. Remember small sacrifices.

The Customer and The Entrepreneur

How much should be enough? There is a fine line between the value of a product or service as viewed from the customer and the small business owners point of view. Though in the end we are looking for the same thing, a result that satisfies our emotional needs. The trick here is the point at which the race is won.

Lets take the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare (Customer and the Entrepreneur). The starting gun has fired, the customer has decided on a product or service they require and the entrepreneur has that same product or service for sale. The customer is slowly researching price, quality, after sales service. The entrepreneur is racing around with one thing on their mind, winning the race, getting the sale. We all know the entrepreneur has lost the race before the starting gun fired. Where they failed was in not knowing what the customer really wanted.

Get Paid What You’re Worth

Winning the race was the last thing on the customers mind. For you to make the sale and get paid what you’re worth you need to understand the emotions behind the purchase. Start the race on an even par by talking to your customers and listening to what they have to say. Add value to your product/service by giving your customer a reason to return and purchase again. By taking notice the small business owner has given themselves the best chance to win.

Five Small Business Treasures

  1. Understand why your customer will purchase off you at a higher price. Guarantee your product/service.
  2. By increasing your prices you can decrease your sales and your outgoings giving you a larger profit margin.
  3. Overcome your emotions and get paid what you’re worth.
  4. Know your break even point.
  5. Pay yourself first in line with your personal financial statement.

You will get paid what you’re worth by growing your small business and investing back into your passion. Remember this is not the race of the tortoise and the hare, this is about the emotions of your customer, the reasons why they keep coming back to do business with you.

Share your thoughts and experiences with other small business entrepreneurs by commenting below. By helping each other we grow.


Small Business Work/Life Balance.

The beginning of any year is a time to reflect on your life experiences and examine the spaces of time where your path changed and the reasoning behind that change. From these defining moments a new direction may form and a plan built to attend your needs. Before we manage others we must be able to manage ourselves. With this plan, action can be taken and growth will be achieved allowing you to manage a small business work/life balance.

Balance is Important

Small Business Work/Life Balance = $

The Four Factors of Work/Life Balance.

  1. Live from the inside out.  Focus on yourself as all external demands create negative energy.
  2. Discover your gift, what you are good at.  What is it that makes you unique?
  3. Discover what moves you. Where does your joy come from? Success relates to emotion.
  4. Discover Solitude. Take time out, find peace of mind.

Our parents influence us from a very early age but we tend to not take this into consideration until we look upon the source of our goals. If you read my earlier post on goal setting, now would be a good time to go back to your notes and consider where the influences for your goals came from.

Defining Moments

Can you identify the defining moments of when a choice of direction was made and taken in your life? Was this in desperation to fulfill a single need at that particular time? Or was your chosen direction governed by what others expected of you? At the time it may of seemed like the easy way out, maybe it pulled on some heart strings or family pride. By creating a small business work/life balance, your defining moment is right now, today, this minute of this hour of this year. Your priorities are revealed, your commitment is tested and your character is shaped.

Revealing Your Work/Life Balance

Try saying this “Today I am at a fork in the road, a defining moment, a time that may have lead me down a path well trodden if I had not set my goals in place.” An opportunity has now presented itself, an opportunity to start with a blank sheet. This will allow planning which will give you direction, a starting point, a growth period and a time frame to complete the actions required.

The environment of all small businesses constantly change and you must be aware of these changes before or as they happen to keep ahead of the needs of your customers. The difference between one small business and another is how you act on these changes or where we direct our energy. We need to understand who we are, our strengths and our weaknesses. We need to take some self analysis and learn more about our ultimate management tool, ourselves. An improved understanding of ourselves and the factors contributing to our current situation will help guide us on the path to a Small Business Work/Life Balance.

Five Small Business Treasures

  1. Start with a blank page. All great ideas were born on the blank page.
  2. Believe in your decisions and others will believe your decision.
  3. Define your path. Be clear and precise.
  4. Your values are your strengths.
  5. Follow the four factors of small business work/life balance.

If we are not doing what we love we are fulfilling someone else s dream.


Small Business Marketing

What does Marketing mean to the small business entrepreneur? Many of us consider marketing to be exposing your product to the public or business arena via some sort of media outlet. Small Business marketing is much more then that, it involves a much deeper targeted proposal.

Marketing, Money, do the first you get the second

Outstanding Value

What is Small Business Marketing

Simply it is the process of which a business owner decides what they will sell, to whom they will sell to, when they will sell and how they will sell. Having the ability to identify and satisfy your customers needs will always start you on the road to the treasure chest of profit.

Small Business Marketing is also about educating your customer and daring to be different then the competition. Communication is the key, if your prospective customer does not understand your product or service, why should they give you their hard earned cash. The customer needs to be informed about what you have available, the products benefits, what is it going to do for them, how is it going to make their life richer, how do they buy this product or service from you.

Target Marketing

In our treasure chest today we have a wide demographic of customers. Small Business Marketing allows us to find out who, what, why, when, where and how we will find and service a core group of profitable customers. Ask your self these questions. Your bonus gift, is the answers will be valuable information for your small business marketing plan.

  • Who  –  is your target market? Be specific about who your prospective customer is.
  • What  –  does your customer really want? Is this what you are providing or do they need persuading? Will they still feel happy about their purchase when they arrive home?
  • Why  –  would your customers want your product? What are the benefits to them? What is their motive to purchase?
  • When  –  will they buy? Is your product reactive to seasonal change?
  • Where  –  are your customers now? Do they tend to group up, because they have the same problems? Network.
  • How  –  do you reach your small business target market? What avenues are available to you to get your message across?

Now this is a Tip Straight from the Chest

To be successful at Small Business Marketing you need to recognize that you are not in business to sell products or services, you are in business to create outstanding value. Value that contributes to solving a problem or fulfilling a desire. That my fellow entrepreneurs is the money shot. Tap into your customers desires or problems, satisfy their needs by communicating what is possible.

Five Small Business Treasures

  1. Dare to be different. Always take a step forward.
  2. Adjust your product or service to suit your customers desires.
  3. Small Business Marketing is all about them, not you.
  4. Be clear and specific about what you are trying to achieve.
  5. Create outstanding value.

Small Business Marketing is a vital skill for any entrepreneur and the one piece of gold to take away from this blog post is, create outstanding value and be famous for it.




The Small Business Opportunity

We all have grand ideas at some stage of every year, but are these grand ideas viable to pursue as a Small Business opportunity? If you are considering to take the plunge into a business venture it is important to realize there is a difference between an idea and an opportunity. Every time you make a decision to take action it is based on your idea. The opportunity is the commercialization of your idea IE: turning that idea into a small business.

Get out the magnifying glass.

Research now that's an idea.

The Source of an Idea

Ideas for a business can come to you from anywhere at anytime. A few of my own ideas have come from:

  • Reading Blogs, books and magazines.
  • Attending seminars.
  • Learning new skills and past experiences.

Something that is also helpful is looking at existing products that sell, maybe in a new location. We can even develop our own products by researching the needs of future customers.

From Idea to Small Business Opportunity

One thing that a lot of people tend to do when they come up with their million dollar idea is keep it to themselves. Now this is the worst thing you can do, as how will you know if your idea would make a profitable small business opportunity? To develop the idea further we need to test. Place your idea through this checklist before moving it to an opportunity

  1. Will you have competitors and who are they?
  2. Why will somebody buy your product or service over your competitors?
  3. If your product or service is not already available, why not?
  4. What is the size of the market for your idea?
  5. Who else is on your team or do you have all the skills necessary to run a successful small business.
  6. Location, location, yes location.

Pass all the above? If so it may be worth your while to investigate your idea as a small business opportunity and investigate your opportunities financial feasibility.

Research or Perish

Reports of small business failures are heard every day and you tend to wonder if the small business operator has any chance at all in today’s marketplace. Hey, don’t let this put you off from entering into the marketplace, just hold it in a deep place of your mind and use it to motivate you while conducting thorough research, this will ensure that your small business opportunity is not the one that got away.

I ask you to be aware that prior to starting a small business make sure you have all the facts on your product or service, location of the business, who is your target market, your competition and your suppliers. Take notes and lots of them as this information will become part of the all important business plan. Further information can be found through a number of resources on the Small Business Treasures Resource Page.

Five Small Business Treasures

  1. Listen to what is being said around you. Hearing is just noise, listening is where the ideas come from.
  2. Test your ideas on family, friends, and the general public, spread the word.
  3. Look at your competition, a glance is not good enough, use a magnifying glass.
  4. When choosing a location, online is no longer just a consideration, it is a necessity. Shopfront + online or online only.
  5. Research, research, yes research.

Once you have collaborated the information above for your small business opportunity you will find all the research you have done will fit nicely into your small business plan. The small business plan will be covered in future posts, but in the mean time if you have anything you would like to share with Small Business Treasures, drop us a comment below. Till next time, seek and you shall find.


How to Set Goals for the New Year

With the New Year upon us it is time to plan our Small Business Goals. Time to look at the big picture, the picture that has us at the end of the year looking back at where it all began. Yes you do need to start somewhere and start sometime so why not now? Forget all the excuses that are now swimming around in your head, lets just take one step at a time and you will be an expert at how to set goals for the new year.Goal Setting Action Taker

The Process of Setting Goals

To set goals for your small business you need a plan. A method of determining and developing a process that will assist you in achieving the end result. This process formalizes your ideas, giving your thoughts some structure and means to quantify the reason you are in small business. By drawing up a framework you establish a direction for your small business. Start by asking yourself;

  1. Where is my small business now?
  2. Where do I want my small business to be in twelve months time?
  3. How do I get my small business there.

The Small Business Audit

Lets tackle “where is my business now. This is your small business audit, be truthful and trust in yourself. Write down the answers to these questions.

  • How do my customers view my small business? If you do not know start asking. eg: Thank you for coming in today, I am hoping you can help me out as I would like to improve the services we provide, how do you view my small business?
  • What is my competitive advantage? My niche, what do I do differently then anyone else?
  • Who is my support team?
  • What are my biggest obstacles?
  • Who will be my customer? (customer demographics)

Now what do you want to achieve, where do you want your small business to be in twelve months? Take a step back, some quiet time and visualize your small business in twelve months time. Have a set date. eg: On the 1st January 2013 my small business (insert name here) will have an established blog post enabling my customers to stay in touch with current industry trends. This part is your Vision Statement (On the 1st January 2013 my small business (insert name here) will have an established blog post) and this part is your Goal (enabling my customers to stay in touch with current industry trends). Congratulations you now have your first goal and date for the goal to be achieved.

Your Second Set Of Goals

If you want a successful small business, and I know you do as you are still reading this post, you require two sets of Goals for the New Year. The second set are your personal goals. Your personal goals need to be in alignment with your small business goals. When this happens the motivation to achieve and stay on target for the end result will be unstoppable.

Achieving Small Business Goals

This is the fun part, the part where you get your hands dirty and are paid for doing something that you love . This is how you achieve your set goals for the New Year. Start with an action plan, follow the below steps.

  1. List your goals.
  2. Gather information. eg: Obstacles and how to overcome them.
  3. Analise this information.
  4. Prepare your first plan of attack. (Step by step)
  5. Review your plan of attack.
  6. Gather extra information required.
  7. Prepare final action plan.
  8. Seek assistance from your support team.
  9. Implement your small business action plan.
  10. Monitor progress throughout the year.
  11. Celebrate success.

Well this all seems achievable, we now know what we want, when we want to achieve it and how we will get it. We know How to Set Goals for the New Year.

Five Small Business Treasures

  • If you want something to happen take Action.
  • One of the most time effective ways to get something done is to take time out and plan your course of action (objectives).
  • Visualize the end result.
  • Follow your plan one step at a time.
  • Now you know how to set goals for the New Year , do point one. Action takers are success makers.







Speed Networking for Small Business

We have all heard of it, or have we, no that was speed dating, a concept for the time poor professional to meet similar people with the short term view of a date and just maybe in the long term a relationship. Well lets take a step back and look at Speed Networking for Small Business. The concept is not that much different then speed dating. The Small Business owner, operator, manager or staff member can be classed as time poor, looking for short term meeting opportunities and long term business relationships. Sound familiar.

Host your own Speed Networking event

Speed Networking

How Does Speed Networking Work

To understand just how Small Business can benefit from Speed Networking lets take a look at the end result. What is it that we all aim for in Small Business? Profit. And to obtain profit we need customers. And to grow our customer base we need to forge relationships and broaden our connections by increasing the exposure of our business.

Starting a Speed Networking Group

There would be many different ways you could start your Speed Networking for Small Business group. We suggest the following;

  1. Meeting random attendees in a designated area. (One on one).
  2. Meeting specific representatives of Small Businesses based on preassigned matching.
  3. Address a preselected group where individuals address all participants.

The secret to a successful Speed Networking meeting is time (speed). Place a time limit on the networking presentations, six minutes is a good starting point. This is broken down to two minutes for each presentation and one minute each for questions and the swapping of information (contact details). The speed of the networking meeting is monitored by a facilitator usually with the ringing of a bell. Time to move on to your next prospective customer.

Speed Networking for Small Business takes Time

You are right, nothing is easy in Small Business, but there are ways to make things just a little easier. Outsource. Outsource everything as you have enough to do in the running of your small business. Contact your local government small business department. Every country, every state, every city has one. (use Google). They will let you know of groups already running in your part of the world and place you in contact with the facilitators. Associations and clubs are another source of Speed Networking events.

The Host

Being the host gives you the expert status of Communication Leader. You will find the position will add value to your Small Business and stand you as a person to trust. It will be your job to keep the conversations interesting and varied. Try suggestions prior to the start of the speed networking session, place a seed in the minds of the participants by relating topics to your own experiences. Remember you are the one with the expert status.

The After Party

Well not quite a party as we are here for the purpose of forging new small business relationships. But this part will be loud, fun and more relaxed. The time period scheduled for this part of the event should be no longer then one hour. This allows all delegates the opportunity to fine tune  and add value to the new found relationships.

Five Small Business Treasures

  • Your business card is the gold in your treasure chest, only give them out to delegates you want to work with.
  • You have planned to be at this event so plan your message. Rehearse it, record it, listen to it, refine it.
  • Show an interest in your Speed Networking partner, ask questions.
  • Stand out with a story of success, you need to be remembered in a positive way.
  • The largest piece of gold in the treasure chest is communicate. research their business and follow up with some free, yes free advise.

Let us know at Small Business Treasures about your upcoming Speed Networking for Small Business events. The successes you have had and the suggestions for improving the events you have attended. Go ahead, comment below.