I’m shattered after two days at the Her Business Conference in Wellington over the past 2 days. Partly due to the extra wine or two consumed at the Awards night last night (well done to Cilla Heggarty who took out the big title of Business Woman of the Year) and partly because I found myself fully engaged and brimming with ideas. There were some very inspirational speakers, all high quality presenters as well as successful business people. I thought I’d share some gems I brought away with me. Most support my fundamental business philosophies and the lessons I teach in liber8yourbusiness, but so good to hear them from business people I really respect.
Avoid the in tray trap – there’s always something important to do to stop you doing what you really ought to be doing to acheive your dreams. In my case its writing my book on business planning… so I have now committed to getting a manuscript to 10 publishers by the end of September this year.
Attitudes are contagious, is yours worth catching? A favourite saying of Tim Alpe of Jucy Rentals. What a cool guy and what a cool business, completely brand driven committed to ‘next generation tourism’. Now employing 150 staff with rental cars/campervans/hotels and tourist attractions across NZ and Australia, this company is ‘jucyfying’ the world with an infections attitude you really do want to catch.
Celebrate entrepreneurship – its what’s going to take NZ to a respectible spot on the world business stage so we need to embrace it, love it, cherish it and dedicate our time to growing our sense of entrepreneurship.
Collaborate and co-operate. Business paradigms are different these days. Get together with others in complimentary industries and do deals that benefit you both.
Care about your environment and your community. Make your business make a difference.
In a nutshell… have an infections attitude, build an infectious brand, don’t let the intray get in your way of making the big steps, care about the world around you and make sure your business contributes to that world. Celebrate your entrepreneurial spirit and share your celebratory approach with all those who touch your business .
Oh and use Facebook. A lot.
Time for bed.
A buyer wants a great business and they will look at many different aspects of your business as part of their due diligence. The product you sell is only one of these things, but it is important. Here are four ways to develop your product to give it more value to your marketplace and by default to your eventual buyer.
1. Have a twist. You don’t have to have the most original product on the market. But whatever it is, make sure it has a twist. Whatever your product or service is you are likely to have competition. The trick is to package your product in such a way that it seems different to (and therefore better than) your competition.
2. Meet the need. A product or service that recognises a feature or need in the market and cleverly builds a solution has the potential to have mass appeal. You can do this whatever industry/niche you are in. One of my favourites at the moment is Xero (www.xero.com) – an online accounting packages that has made book keeping easy, affordable and even ‘sexy’! The founders of Xero knew that small businesses were frustrated with the options on the market and they met the need, using the latest technology to provide the best solution.
3. Be unique and cool. The internet enables people to browse and compare products and brands with more ease and efficiency than ever before. So a great looking brand… something different and appealing is even more important too. Say things in a different way, be the breath of fresh air you know you would like to find when you are browsing for something.
4. Be revolutionary. Changing the paradigm of the industry you operate in can add phenomenal value to your business if you get it right. Xero were in this territory, they broke the mould. Can you?
Exercise: Write down three things you could do to revolutionise the industry you are in. Don’t worry if you never implement it, just stretch your thinking to see what value there might be for a future buyer if you really broke the mould.
You can get the full version of my report on this subject at www.liber8yourbusiness.com. But here’s the first of my 7 tips for building a business a buyer will pay a premium for.
# 1. Build a powerful brand. I am a mad believer in the power of a brand. One thing that can make you seem bigger than you really are from your very early days is your brand. By ‘brand’ I mean the image your company projects to everyone who comes into contact with it. Your brand is not your logo or the design on your business card. It is everything you stand for. And the more willing you are to invest in your brand from the early days, the faster you will make yourself look bigger, more professional and ultimately more trustworthy. Notice I use the word ‘invest’ when I talk about branding. A strong brand is an investment in your future and its worth doing well.
Key brand elements
Your brand is made up of a number of key elements which need to be defined clearly beore a designer can turn them into a visual representation of them. These elements include:
Point of difference – what makes your business different from your competition?
Drivers – what motivates your company to success?
Values – on what foundation does your company operate?
Culture – how do you values determine the culture of your company, how people treat each other, how they treat clients?
Brand personality – what sort of personality does your company have?
These are critical questions to ask yourself about your company in order to understand your brand philosophy. We have an entire session on branding delivered by a leading brand expert in the liber8yourbusiness Seminar Room.
If you’d like a copy of the brand development exercise from this session, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org