Learning fast

The prevalence of start-up shows and “best business” awards should provide all the guidance, and warnings, that any small business needs to know. But there may still be a gap between the clarity of any start-up business model and what investors or partners need to know. For many the vision is so obvious it’s sometimes hard to translate into clear business language, and some high tech business is so “out there” that it can be hard to get a meaningful snapshot of the potential. Over here in the UK we have Dragons’ Den , a show where small businesses pitch for capital from would-be investors. Albeit that its entertainment, it can be an education as business people do their pitch, some convincing, some successful, some very poor presentation even though their idea or product may have been sound. Continue reading

Brand Building through Customer Loyalty

In business we often talk about branding and how to capture customer loyalty over the competitors and there is two major ways that this can be done; one is branding the product itself, the other is branding the company.  When it comes to branding a product you need to do something that makes a product that is similar to the competition stand out. For example, zip lock potato chips; the product is the same but the packing is unique;  you need something that differentiates your product from the competitors.  The other option is branding your company itself; companies that have various products often go this route in order to create customer loyalty to the company as a brand; they do this so that when they gain a customer’s loyalty it is not simply for one product but for the company overall.  When you are shopping if you are loyal to Johnson & Johnson, they make hundreds of products, so you may purchase a variety of products simply because you trust this brand. Continue reading

The Entrepreneur; A Life Misunderstood

I am an entrepreneur, through and through, I always have been and I always will be.  Many people, including those very close to me do not really understand what this means; what being an entrepreneur is.  If you were to ask someone what an entrepreneur was the answer you would most likely get is “Someone who is in business for themselves”, A small business owner, someone who takes financial risks in order to make a profit”.  All of these answers are correct… But far from being a full definition of what an entrepreneur is.   These answers are similar to the question, “what is a human being” with the answer “A mammal with two legs that stands upright, with two upper limbs, two hands, and ten fingers”.  While this answer is completely accurate a human being is much more than this, as is an entrepreneur much more than those answers above.  So what exactly is an Entrepreneur then? Continue reading

The Rules of Acquisition

Last year I wrote an article titled “The Rules of Acquisition”.. Below I have re-posted that article to refresh the memory of those who have read it, and to introduce it to those who have not because next week I will be adding additional rules.

The Rules of Acquisition

Anyone who is a Star Trek fan is probably aware that the race the Ferengi are ruled by business, they come from a world that has created an entire society completely wrapped around profit and business and to guide every Ferengi in their life-long pursuit of obtaining profit they created the “Rules of Acquisition” a book of 285 rules which cover just about every situation that you can think of.  Some examples of these rules are:

Once you have their money, you never give it back

Opportunity plus instinct equals profit

Nothing is more important than your health, except for your money

The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife

Free advice is seldom cheap

No good deed ever goes unpunished

You are probably asking yourself why I am telling you about a make believe extraterrestrial life and their make believe Rules of Acquisition.  Because I have decided that, while the Ferengi and their rules are make believe, all of us in business could use our own Rules of Acquisition; so I have decided to write my own.  Now I think 285 rules are a bit much so I will just start with a few and I may add on to them as time goes by. Continue reading