Business

Here’s What It Really Looks Like In First Class

‘Luxurious’ doesn’t even begin to describe it.

May 25, 2016

8 Ways To Score The Job Using Body Language Hacks

What you say is only the half of it.

November 25, 2015

Why Are Assertive Women Labeled ‘Bossy’?

I’m not bossy, I’m the boss.

November 19, 2015

Four Ways To Create A Successful Business

There’s a lot of information available on creating and sustaining business. There are a lot of points of view too! Some points of view may be true for you. Many may be limitations that you can go beyond.

Whether you are considering starting a business, in the beginning phases of a business or have been doing business for many years, what matters is what works for you. We often attempt to duplicate what others have done rather than functioning from what we know.

If you are interested in creating a successful business, there are 4 things I recommend. I am not offering steps or formulas so that you can do what I do. Rather, I am offering tools that you can use to bring what works for you into existence. After all, you are the most valuable product of your business!

1. What’s Your Target?

What does success mean to you? What’s the real target of your business? What’s the real target of your life?

For me, business is about changing the world and creating more awareness and consciousness on the planet.  That’s my target.  If one person reads The Joy of Business or walks out of a class I have facilitated and has changed even slightly because of something I’ve said, then I’m a success.

What is it for you? What makes you come alive? What energy do you wish to have more of in your life and in the world?

Hint: Usually whatever you find really easy and think has not value is what you can make money from.

2. Ask Questions

Everything has consciousness, including your business. A business has a way it wishes to develop, and when you are in allowance of that, it can be much more successful.

Questions you can ask your business:

What can I contribute to the business today?

What does this business require of me today?

What would be fun for us to create today?

What information do we require to increase the business?

You can awaken your business and your life when you ask questions, trust your knowing and develop your awareness of what else is possible.

3.Empowerment Not Micromanagement

When you micromanage, you go into your thoughts and expectations and you leave the possibilities behind. Micromanagement shuts down the energy of the business.

Empower your staff and colleagues instead!

Ask them:

What could you contribute to this project?

What ideas do you have?

Where do you see this business in 2 years?  5 years?  10 years?

What would we have to institute today to increase our business today and in the future?

What is vital to you?

When you empower people in this way, you open the door for them to ask, “What can I contribute?” This is a huge factor in the success of a business.  It invites people to a possibility of contribution.

4.Be Willing to Receive

Your ability to receive is essential to the success of your business. What are you willing to receive? Success? Money? Gratitude?

If your business is not as successful as you would like, look at your willingness to receive and ask:

What energy have I been unwilling to receive that would create success beyond what I have ever imagined?

To create a successful business with ease: Know your target. Ask questions. Empower. Receive!

Simone Milasas is a business mentor and the author of Joy of Business, $38.50.  She has been involved in a multitude of companies, and is presently the world wide coordinator of Access Consciousness® as well as the founder and creator of Joy of Business.  For more information visit www.accessjoyofbusiness.com

September 6, 2015

Inspirational Women: Jillian Broadbent

Each week, SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Meredith Cranmer

Name and role:

Jillian Broadbent and Chair of Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Chair of Swiss Re Life & Health Australia Limited, director of Woolworths Ltd and Chancellor of Wollongong University.

Tell us about your role?  What is it?  What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

After 25 years working in banking and finance I moved from an executive role to take up a number of non-executive directorships. I have served in this capacity on publically listed company boards, government corporations and in the not for profit sector. As a non-executive director I participate on the boards of organisations overseeing the strategy, governance and management of them.

Your professional career has been quite diverse, how has it developed and evolved over the years?

I have been lucky to have opportunities to work in a wide range of fields. After graduating my first professional job was as an economist at the Reserve Bank of Australia. Most of my banking career was with Bankers Trust/BT Australia, which grew from 60 to 4000 employees over my 22 years there. At BT, I built a number of different departments, which was both satisfying and rewarding. Through the wide-ranging contacts I had with industry clients in building this banking business, many opportunities arose. These involved requests to apply my financial skills in the not for profit sector in particular, at the Art Gallery of NSW, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. Through my participation in these diverse activities my career developed and evolved to span positions in the public and the private sector.

When did you know this is what you wanted to do as a career?

I never really knew what I wanted to do as a career, I just responded to the opportunities with diligence, enthusiasm and capacity.

What where the stumbling blocks when you first started on your career path and how did you overcome these?

There were always stumbling blocks starting with self-doubt, exacerbated by a male dominated sector and culture. The first step to overcoming stumbling blocks is to deal with the internally generated ones, building your confidence, observing success and the learnings it carries and not wasting any of your precious energy on blame and ill will.

Did/do you have a mentor?

I did not have a mentor but I did observe successful people whom I liked and admired their approach and effectiveness. This helped me develop my own sense of self and confidence.

You have been honoured for your hard work with many accolades to your name – what to you feel has been your biggest achievement?

I feel satisfied by a number of achievements:

–  Building a successful business at BT and a positive culture, where people were enthusiastic to come to work each day, the business was profitable and the clients we serviced were appreciative and supportive;

–  Serving on the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia for three terms which was beyond the term of most RBA Board members and acting to improve the wellbeing of all Australians, was a great honour; and

–  Chairing the Clean Energy Finance Corporation through a change of government and keeping the corporation on track and enthusiastic despite the current government’s policy to abolish the CEFC.

Your success has paved the way for many women in business.  How have things changed for women since you began?

Many things have changed over the nearly 50 years of my career. There are more women in business, though still not enough.  Childcare choices have expanded, and the attitude from partners and fellow workers is more supportive or at least benign.

What are you goals for the future?

After 50 years in a working career, I am not focused on goals for the future but I would like to continue to use my private sector skills to facilitate public policy outcomes as I have done at the CEFC and the RBA.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?

Advice: Work on your inner stability, develop a bit of teflon coating, not being super sensitive to criticism or insensitive comments from male colleagues.  Do your homework and be prepared as it will improve your effectiveness and help your confidence and sense of belonging.

August 7, 2015

Inspirational Women: Melissa Browne

Each week, SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Sharon Williams

Name and role

Melissa Browne and I am the CEO of A+TA (formerly Accounting & Taxation Advantage); Co-Founder & Director of Business at Thinkers.inq as well as a writer and author.

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

That all depends on the particular hat I’m wearing at the time! At A+TA my role is that of a business strategist and tax expert and I work with business owners and my team to help business owners escape the cycle of fear and chaos they often find themselves in and to grow up as business owners. That means I spend a lot of time with clients, with my team but also thinking and working out where next for us as a business. At Thinkers.inq I’m able to put my strategy hat on and work closely with my co-founder Rod Soper to provide financial direction but also finding and financing the next preschool spaces (our aim is to have ten long day preschools within Sydney within five years). Finally I spend at least one day a week writing articles, creating content for websites, writing columns, working on my next books and preparing for keynotes. Every day is different and every week is different for me and this variety is something I really relish and thrive on.

When did you realise that accounting is what you wanted to do as a career?

To be honest, not until around seven years ago. At school all I wanted to be was a lawyer and I only studied accounting when I dropped out of law after three and a half years of study. I only studied accounting because my dad was an accountant and I just didn’t know what to do next. If you’d told me at age eighteen that I would one day own an accounting firm I think I would have burst into tears! The reason I ended up falling in love with my particular business is because it’s not a typical accounting business. I realized about eight years ago that I loved strategy, business advice and working closely with clients to grow their businesses and money mindsets but I wasn’t doing any of that. So I pulled apart my business, started studying an MBA, read everything on business I could put my hands on, enrolled in coaching and began to build a business that I wanted to work in.

You are much more than just an accountant, with multiple layers to your business, what caused to you create and grow?

Firstly, thank you for saying that! I believe that what sparked my business growth and evolution was a decision I made at about age 33 to try to care less what people thought of me. That might seem like a strange place to start but I think as business owners it’s often through personal growth that we can find the courage to create real business growth. As I grew personally I grew as a business owner through studying an MBA through MGSM, devouring business books, discovering business greats like Jim Collins & Verne Harnish and through implementing and taking chances and not being afraid to try things – even if they didn’t always quite work out how I planned. I believe now it’s the determination to see out our big ‘why’ which is to create transformational change in ourselves and our clients, that drives myself and my team to not accept the status quo and to always be looking for new opportunities and ways to create and grow.

Your first book, More Money for Shoes, was written for women in business and created clarity surrounding the subject via coupling business essentials with relatable fashion analogies. What do you have in store with your recent sequel, Fabulous But Broke?

Fabulous but Broke is just as pretty as More Money for Shoes in that it’s another full-colour, illustrated book. This time however the subject is money and in particular it’s about the money messages we’re often unconsciously carrying around with us that are sabotaging us financially. Of course, like most things I do it’s not done in a typical way. So Fabulous but Broke contains 13 financial fairytales that set the scene, describe the typical ending if you continue to allow your unconscious money messages to guide you and then suggests an alternative ending if you were to become a conscious consumer and become the author of your own financial fairytale. They’re all designed to challenge your thinking, start conversations about money and hopefully change your behavior so you can create the life you want. So for example, Sleeping Beauty is the Passive Princesses who are just waiting for Mr Right while Peter Pan is the boy who won’t grow up particularly when it comes to joint finances.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere! For Fabulous but Broke it was a conversation with a neighbour who was talking about how his daughter had just moved home after splitting up with her boyfriend and how she wouldn’t be able to buy a house now until she met her husband. With More Money for Shoes it was about a decision to try and fuse my love of business with my love of fashion when it came to writing. Often it’s an article, a quote, a picture on Instagram or simply a random conversation. I believe inspiration is everywhere if you’re open to it.

Did you have a mentor? Who/what helped you to get your career of the ground?

I didn’t have a mentor so I have always consciously surrounded myself with others that are like-minded business owners. When I first started it was through a networking group called Women with Altitude and today it’s with groups that include Little Black Dress Group, Business Chicks and Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO). I’ve also just engaged a Coach to help me grow and take my business to the next level and I think this is something that will be a lifelong quest of learning and development – at least I hope so.

As a business owner, what were the initially stumbling blocks and since then?

Initially I think the main stumbling block was me. I was in my late twenties, tall, blonde and I used to think that I had to look and act like an accountant to be accepted. So I would wear a lot of grey and black, put my hair in a bun, wear sensible shoes and try to fit in as much as I could. I remember trying to buy work shoes and describing them as ‘boring, ugly shoes.’ Now I think, ‘why?!’. I ended up with a business that was very conservative, very traditional and that I really disliked working in. And a Monday-Friday wardrobe that was hideous! Once I decided to create the business that I wanted to work in, the biggest stumbling blocks have again been me and finding both the courage and the discipline to continue to create, grow and innovate. I’ve also struggled with managing teams – running a business is often the easy part but managing people can be incredibly tough!

How did you overcome these?

Through a lot of courage and deciding every day to put on my big girl pants and create the business and the life that I want. Of course, courage is only part of the story, I also studied, read voraciously, took part in group coaching, put in place great systems and processes and made some strategic decisions to be authentic both as a business owner and as a business.

What are your goals for the future?

If history is anything to go by my goals will grow over time. Currently for A+TA it is to continue to innovate and to extend our reach which currently means creating an online world called the Numbers Lounge which we’re incredibly excited about. At Thinkers.inq it’s to change how preschool is done in Australia – an ambitious goal but my business partner Rod Soper and I believe the entire industry needs a really good shake-up. There are also more books in the pipeline of course. Personally my goal is to continue to create the life that I want – that is a life by design not by default.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?

I would encourage them to think about what makes them unique and to be courageous and authentic in having that shine through in their business. I would let them know that success is often a series of small wins and that it takes more courage to get up and keep going, adapting, failing and getting back up and trying something else than it does to give up or to simply go back to the status quo. Finally I would encourage them to find their tribe or what Seth Godin calls the ‘weird ones’ who will support you, buy from you, work for you, encourage you and cheer you on when you need cheering. As Seth says, making art which is what many of us are doing with our businesses, can be incredibly tough and confronting but the final product, if you are willing to persevere, can be incredibly rewarding.

To find out more about Melissa’s latest book, Fabulous but Broke head here.

July 17, 2015

Little Flowers: The Online Florist That’s Changing The Industry

Who doesn’t love to be spoiled with a bouquet of flowers at work? Little Flowers is a local Sydney start-up offering a unique bunch of flowers for $30 each day – this includes free delivery to almost anywhere in Sydney.

RELATED: How To Choose Your Wedding Flowers

Australia’s fastest growing online florist operates from a garage in Marrickville and offers some of the most amazing floral combinations you’ve ever seen. Simply log onto the website, choose the flowers of the day and send a sweet note to a loved one! SHESAID chatted with Sarah and Chris about leaving their jobs and starting their own successful business.

How did the idea of Little Flowers come about?

Co-founders Ben Sampson, John Kane, Chris Berents and myself realised there was a huge gap in the market. From our own experiences we knew that while it was really awesome to get flowers, we didn’t send them as often as we’d like to because they were really quite expensive. They were also big. And awkward – and sometimes a huge bouquet wasn’t right for the occasion. My partner, Chris, would often send me “just because” flowers and while I felt incredibly lucky to get them, a part of me also felt quite guilty because I knew they would have cost him an arm and a leg and unfortunately, they were going to die in a few days.

The four of us met in advertising and were very good friends. So when we unearthed the idea of taking the ‘bigness’ out of the flower industry, we all got very excited about the possibilities and potential, and quickly began developing the concept.

We loved the thought of making flower delivery more accessible and something that people could do for any reason, big or small, serious or ridiculous, and knew we could have a lot of fun with it. For me personally, the whole concept was also really exciting because it appealed to my emotional side. I loved that I would be helping to spread smiles across the city by delivering these messages and beautiful little bunches of flowers.

Interview with Little Flowers Sydney

What was it like quitting your job and starting in another industry?

It was nerve-wracking, on one hand. I’d been in advertising for over ten years and I felt I was really going against the grain to throw it all in. In retrospect, I’m sure my friends and family must have been quietly questioning my decision to jump ship, as it was quite out of character. But it was time. I felt ready to try something new and to explore other possibilities.

I told myself I could always go back to it later and that I could just think of this as a ‘sabbatical year.’ Not that I intended to, but the idea of turning my back on the familiar and going into the complete unknown was, in some ways, quite terrifying! But I was so utterly passionate about this idea and really, really excited about the possibility of running my own business. It felt audacious, but the possibility of making it a reality was exceptionally enticing. I couldn’t die wondering. None of us could.

What is the most rewarding part about starting your own business?

Well, I find this hard to describe, but I think overall the best thing is this sense of ‘wow.’ It’s a combined feeling of satisfaction, relief, excitement and possibility. I think it’s human nature to sometimes doubt what we are capable of, so to see your dreams come to fruition is immensely rewarding – and what’s more, it makes you excited about what else you could be capable of in the future.

If you had to do it over again, what are some dos and don’ts you would suggest to others in your position?

Do:

  • Dare to dream.
  • Back yourself.
  • Surround yourself with people who believe in you and your idea.
  • Hire people who can do what you can’t.
  • Look after yourself and look after the people who work with you.
  • Stop to celebrate all the victories of your business, big and small.
  • Be true to yourself and your brand.

Don’t

  • Be scared to ask for help. Starting your own business is a steep learning curve and a huge workload. You can’t do everything yourself.
  • Be too hard on yourself. Most small business owners at some point get overwhelmed with the enormity of what they are trying to achieve. Break the big tasks down and just keep chipping away.
  • Be scared of making mistakes. You learn more through your mistakes than anything else.

LF_Bunch1 Interview with Little Flowers Sydney

How important is social media in spreading the word about your business?

Really important. We don’t have a shop front, so it’s our way of meeting, connecting and conversing with our customers and our beloved Little Flowers community. Ever since we launched, we have posted the day’s flowers to social media channels to announce what’s available and it’s a lovely way to keep our customers up-to-date with the fun things that are happening behind the scenes.

What’s next for Little Flowers – spill!

We’ve just opened our delivery zone to Chatswood and we’re planning to keep extending to new suburbs in Sydney over the course of 2015 – and then, hopefully a little further afield in 2016… Watch this space!

www.littleflowers.com.au

July 12, 2015

Throwback Thursday: 5 Tips For Career Success

Sadly, women are still underrepresented in top positions in the workplace but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to snag the job of your dreams. Here a few lessons and strategies to guide you on your journey to success:

Be bold

Seize opportunities, take risks and don’t take no for an answer. If you see a job you can do – do it. You might be paid to do a certain job but if there’s something in your workplace that you’re capable of doing, talk to your boss and make it happen. Have confidence and speak up.

Leadership is ageless

Don’t let your age stop you from portraying the qualities of a leader. Be mature, responsible, creative and assertive. Prove to your colleagues that you have talent and potential. However, it is important not to forget that making it to the top often means being a team player and being grateful to your co-workers and those who help you.

Stay connected
…and we’re not talking about wifi. Take every opportunity to meet people. Memorize their names, shake their hands and keep their business cards. Follow up your meeting with a friendly email and build relationships whenever possible. Remember: It’s not what you know, but who you know.

Keep current
Stay on top of trends relevant to your industry. If you’re fresh out of college, you will have an advantage of having the most recent training in your field. As we get older, it’s easy to fall out of touch with relevant technologies and tactics. Read news articles, blogs, basically anything you can get your hands on, to ensure you remain in-the-know and on top.

Take financial responsibility
Don’t rely on your partner or family to support you. You need to take care of yourself and have a financial plan, independent of your spouse. You owe it to yourself to own your life – this includes making a serious, long-term commitment to your career.

June 11, 2015

Inspirational Women: Fleur Madden

Each week, SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Lauren Silvers 

Tell us about your role? What is it? What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

I am the CEO of Lulu and Lipstick, an online beauty company that sells exclusive and hard to find beauty brands from the US and the UK. As well as this, I am also the CEO of The Red Republic, a consumer PR agency in Sydney and Brisbane and Design by Republic a boutique graphic design studio.

How/when did you know this what you wanted to do as a career?

I have spent the last 14 years of my career building brands for my clients through The Red Republic. I love building communities; brand experiences and seeing brands evolve. I have always had a passion for beauty and indeed over the years we have launched many beauty brands into market. I was living in NYC in 2012 and when I returned to Australia, many of my new favourite brands were no longer available to me or anyone else in Australia, which is when Lulu and Lipstick was born. I believe in the power of online and I am excited to see where Lulu goes. I have a passion for beauty and building brands, so hopefully this is just the start of a wonderful journey. 

Where do you find your inspiration? 

I definitely look at international trends in business and other brands that set the benchmark, I always have. I make sure my circle of influence is not just Australia and my competitors. Competition is good and it is healthy, but I absolutely do not spend my time watching my competitors. If you have a good product and you continue to evolve, you will continue to grow, so I don’t look over my shoulder. I also love watching different entrepreneurial businesses in niche industries doing some super creative campaigns that push the boundaries, while staying true to their values. That inspires me for my businesses to do the same. DryBar in the US, a chain of highend blow dry bars, is my current favourite brand and I love everything they do. It is authentic and their branding is always impeccable, clever and it is rolled out through every aspect of the customer experience! There’s the line and they live above it. I definitely want Lulu to be known for that in time.

Did you have a mentor? Who/what helped you to get your career off the ground?

My Father has always been my mentor for any of my businesses. He is a very successful entrepreneur with a global business and he is my sounding board. He bought me my first computer and printer when I started The Red Republic and he recently helped enormously on the IT side of launching Lulu and Lipstick.

I also do look up to other women in business and follow their journeys from a distance, such as Sara Blakely from Spanx.

What were the stumbling blocks, initially getting started on your career path, and since then?

I have been in business 11 years and every stage of your career as a business owner has different challenges. When I first started The Red Republic it was learning how to run a business when I was previously a journalist. Now at Lulu and Lipstick it is learning to work with IT people and becoming an expert at importing in a week. All of my businesses have been self funded, which has its’ own set of challenges. It is always my backside on the line and there is always a lot of pressure on myself to achieve success, quickly!

How did you overcome these?

Knowledge, experience, time and employing talented people that helped me to grow. Make sure you take yourself out of your comfort zone, so you can take things to the next level. As they say, life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

What are your goals for the future?

Lulu and Lipstick only launched in September of last year, so we have big goals for our growth and where we want to be. We certainly hope we become known for being an exclusive online destination for unique beauty brands. Our Lulu and Lipstick signature 12 piece makeup brush set is divine and also a best seller and we are looking to expand our own range in the next 6 months also. We are also looking to launch internationally. Watch this space.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?

Don’t take it personally. Don’t expect success to happen overnight, the journey of a business owner is a long one. Employ the best people you can. People who share your vision and have passion – you can’t teach passion. Back yourself every day, because if you don’t no one else will.

April 10, 2015

Top 5 Rules To Success In Business

For many women creating and running their own business provides greater flexibility, independence and fulfilment than a traditional 9-5 job. The great thing is that anyone with an idea and the determination to pursue it can become a successful entrepreneur if they take the right steps. Finance entrepreneur Michael Kodari, founder of stockbroking experts KOSEC-Kodari, shares his top 5 rules to success in business.

RELATED: How Self-Belief Can Help You Achieve Your Career Goals

  1. Integrity – Do as you say

If you ever commit to doing anything make sure you act on it, whether it is big or small. We have to act upon the promises we make, otherwise we become powerless.

  1. Trust Yourself – Believe in your vision

Be certain and confident, trust is the first thing that has to be established within yourself and others to move forward.

  1. Who do you want to be?

Your presence is shaped by your inner thoughts. Have a winning mindset.

  1. Don’t be afraid to fail – To become successful you might fail many times

Success will bring challenges and will continue to test you, be ready for it!

  1. Do not listen to others that are negative or may put you down

Do not ever listen to people that say you can’t, prove them wrong! Do not allow others to suck the energy and life out of you, surround yourself with positive individuals that add value to your life and get the best out of you.

  1. Work extremely hard

Be intense! Focus your energy on one task at a time! Have complete focus and confidence in what you do and I will guarantee you will succeed.

  1. Help others get to where they want to be!

Do not be selfish, give as much as you can to family, friends and society. By doing so, you will receive more than you could ever imagine. Have good intentions and treat everyone with respect!

By Michael Kodari, founder of KOSEC-Kodari Securities, and one of Australia’s prominent experts in the stock market.

March 30, 2015

5 Tips For Starting Your Own Business

Are you sick of slaving from 9-5 with little to show for it? So many men and women are looking towards other methods to kickstart their career and most importantly, become their own boss.

Whether you’re thinking about quitting your job and starting your own personal venture, there’s a little bit more you should know before taking this huge leap of faith.

RELATED: Bare Blossom’s Booming Business

Tip #1: Don’t quit your day job

Anyone will know that starting a new project requires two key things: time and money. And while quitting your full-time job leaves you with an unlimited amount of time, where is the money coming from? Work on weekends, weeknights, and every other second you have to make this dream come true. As for your full-time job – don’t give in your two weeks notice just yet.

Tip #2: Make connections

Attend any type of function and meet people who can make your dream a reality. This is the best way to get your foot in the door, and will leave you with a number of options before you go. Start off slow, and join a few forums which are of interest to your project. Pretty soon you will find yourself attending functions and regular get-togethers which can help you land a deal someday.

Tip #3: Create a voice

Online! Nothing is more important than being seen online, so create a number of different social media profiles and don’t forget to invite your friends. Once you are happy with the tone of voice, it is then much easier to create a niche market where people can access your services.

Tip #4: Take all the help you can get

Whether this is from family, friends, or even some helpful volunteers, nothing is more important than a helping hand. Also, be willing to give back some of your services in return. You might know a friend who is an avid graphic designer or SEO specialist, and can help you with the initial stages of your website.

Tip #5: Collaborate

There’s a quote somewhere which states ‘A mind which is open, never shuts.’ This applies perfectly to being open to the ideas (and sometimes unwelcome criticism from others). Although it might sometimes feel out of line, try to keep an unbiased outlook criticisms, since they can ultimately help your business thrive.

Do you have any beginners tips for starting your own business?

Image via Expecting Change

February 2, 2015

Top Tips For Women In Franchising

Thinking about owning your own business? Consider buying a franchise – you’re in business for yourself, but not alone which can offer peace of mind and a bit of extra confidence when taking the leap and becoming a business owner.

RELATED: All Work And No Play… Creating Balance In Success

In a nutshell, this is the essence of franchising; being a part of something bigger and more experienced. You’re working with a known brand and a sound business model with access to support networks and a strong marketing strategy. It’s the perfect solution for those who want the opportunity to own their own business, but may not have the confidence, capital and know-how to start something from the bottom up.

Buying into a brand with an existing presence and loyal following means a large part of the foundation work is done. But that’s not to say the rest is easy… success does only come if you work for it!! And there’s much planning, budgeting, forecasting and decision-making involved in ensuring your slice of the franchising pie is a fruitful business.

For many women who are also aspiring business owners, franchising is an attractive ‘tried and tested’ option, and many women often see success in the franchising game!

Why?

  • Women are often great organisers! They know how to plan and prioritise and have an eye for detail.
  • Multi-tasking comes naturally to females. Women are quick thinking, improvise and are comfortable with adapting to make things work.
  • Believe it or not, women in business tend to be more financially conservative than their male counterparts! This means starting small and taking baby steps in growing their entity – a pretty sound approach for purchasing, owning and operating a franchise business.
  • Women are generally pretty open to building business relationships and aren’t afraid to tap into the wider community, including other franchisees.

You might be on track to look at franchise business options, but there are some considerations from those already in the thick of the franchising game, suggest to women who are considering going down this path:

Research

Look at options and business offerings that match your passions and your personality. If you enjoy fitness, maybe a gym franchise is a fit for you. But don’t go into motor spares, if fashion is your interest.

Remember, franchising is a long-term business prospect. Make sure what you choose is something you’re happy about so that you’re energised to make it work, especially during the down times.

Be a facilitator

Help create and maintain a positive business culture. Look to fellow franchisees as part of a wider team, rather than competitors. It will help you (and the overall franchise system) grow! And you know those organisation skill sets – use them!

Ask for help

You have the networks and resources available to you for guidance, so utilise them! You’re not expected to be able to do everything, so focus on your strengths and hire a team for their expertise (and perhaps any of your own weaknesses). Don’t be afraid to bounce off other experienced franchisees for their guidance.

Think outside the box

The beauty of franchising is that you do have support and formal planned activities, but you also have the freedom and I suppose responsibilities to implement your own ideas that really make your part of the business your own. Do this, but do it within the framework of your brand… Anything that’s worthwhile will garner support from your franchisor.

And as history has it, some of the most successful franchise brands have women working with them… so we say what are you waiting for?

Visit ffco.com.au for some great franchising tips and business opportunities with Franchised Food Company including brands like Cold Rock, Trampoline Gelato, Pretzel World, Nutshack, Mr Whippy and Europa Coffee.

Image via imgkid.com

October 20, 2014

All Work And No Play… Creating Balance In Success

With all the convenience and flexibility that a mobile office provides, this time of ultra-connectivity and a global business place can also mean that it’s almost impossible to create a clear separation between work and home.

Long gone are the days that people clocked off at 5pm and left their work at the office. Instead, we respond to emails as they arrive on our smart phones, catch up on work reading on the laptop or Skype with colleagues in other time zones – often late into the night. Stan Gordon, CEO of Franchised Food Company and international businessman offers his tips on how to find the all-important balance between work and home:

Prioritise

Spend just five minutes at the start of each day prioritising your tasks and save yourself valuable time throughout the day. It doesn’t have to be complicated, a simple ‘to do’ list is sufficient. Lists are great way to determine what needs to be achieved for the day, and will enable you to work more proactively rather than reactively, highlight the things that are urgent, and reassess the not-so-important tasks. Mark off tasks as you complete them… There’s something extremely satisfying about ticking off the boxes!

In any working day, there’ll be minor interruptions – that’s just life – but you can put methods into place to ensure you stay on top of your workload. Just like any business, sometimes there are bumps in the road, but it’s learning how to overcome these roadblocks that is key. Work out how you can handle these situations whilst keeping on track.

Don’t be afraid to delegate

Once you’re in the routine of prioritising your work, delegate certain tasks to others. Be realistic – you can’t do it all – believe me I’ve tried! By delegating tasks, your immediate workload will be reduced. And whilst your input may be required to oversee some tasks, your focus can be turned to the important projects that need your full attention – the real nitty gritty stuff.

Done well, delegation is a win-win. Your team will feel valued at the opportunity to take on new challenges, while you can move beyond the smaller details of your business, allowing it to grow. Step back from the smaller things and find balance within your projects. Take note of people’s strengths and weaknesses and assign tasks accordingly. Be aware of your own abilities (and sometimes inabilities) – don’t waste time on something you’re not good at, especially if there’s someone else who can do a better job! Remember you surround yourself with people for a reason. Give them the tools and freedom to excel; it’ll benefit you and your business in the long run.

Play by the rules

Set yourself some hard and fast rules about what time you’ll leave the office, and how you will use your portable devices when you are at home. Depending on your commitments and values, these rules will vary from person to person. The reality is that sometimes you might have to work late… Just don’t make it a habit. All work and no play isn’t good for anyone. Running a business can be stressful, and everyone needs down time to ensure you’re more productive when you’re actually at work.

Once your rules are set in place, commit to playing by them. If you can’t help yourself, put your phone in a drawer for an hour during dinner – or even better, turn it off. When you are at home, set a time to check your voicemail and reply to emails. Not only will you be more productive, you’ll also be able to focus on enjoying your family time. At the end of the day, they are the ones that count! Never forget, you need to have balance!

Just say no

In an ideal world, we would all love our business’ to grow quickly, our brands to get maximum exposure and our personal brands to be recognised in the right industry. It’s important to remember that sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself and your business’s longevity is to say no to that additional project, that extra piece of work or another networking event. Be smart, assess your workload and ask yourself the question: is this really important? What are the benefits in the long run to me and my business, and what sacrifices will I have to make? It’s simple; do the pros outweigh the cons? If you’re already at capacity and struggling to keep that elusive work/life balance, then taking on another task is probably not the best idea.

Remember that sometimes, it’s perfectly ok to say no. If it’s a project you really want to be a part of, ask for help, shuffle your schedule around and delegate some of your work. Keep in mind that too much on your plate can mean important things fall by the wayside. As the saying goes, many troubles in this life stem from saying yes too quickly, and not saying no soon enough!

Learn to switch off

It’s a hard lesson to learn, but you don’t need to be contactable all the time. It’s ok to switch off every now and then. For me, Friday nights is family time. So, on a Friday night, I leave my phone in my bag – on silent! Voicemail was created for a reason, and if it’s that important, they will call back! Remember most of the time, everything can wait a while (unless you’re a doctor or fireman on call).

Most people don’t expect a response to an email they sent at 10pm on a Friday night, nor should they!  Don’t fall into the trap of responding during out-of-office times, it only creates unrealistic expectations. I never answer calls after 9pm, as I said there’s not much that can’t wait for a while!  Answer emails during business hours and set a precedent for everyone with which you interact. Be firm with yourself – you have the power to make these decisions – and stick to them!

Get a hobby

It might sound simplistic, but find yourself a hobby – have fun in your own time! Whether it’s playing golf, cooking, joining a special interest club, wining and dining or just spending quality with your family, set aside some ‘me’ time.

I love crazy, cool and fun ‘gimmicks’ and enjoy spending time adding to my collection of toys… anything from a novelty USB to a jet ski. If it’s different and fun – I want it – and am known in my household for driving everyone a little crazy! It’s also really important to me to always allocate down time to spend with my family. After all, I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for their support.

The benefits of having a hobby means that instead of spending time answering emails, you’ll find yourself focusing on bettering your golf score or branching out to try new things… or even looking for the latest gimmick! Give yourself the time to achieve something non-work related. It’ll benefit your business interactions come Monday morning, and anything that helps you ease into the working week is a plus!

Stan Gordon is the CEO of Franchised Food Company, the umbrella company encompassing the brands Cold Rock, Mr Whippy, Trampoline Gelato, Pretzel World and Nutshack. Ever thought about owning your own business? For info about owning your very own franchise visit http://www.ffco.com.au/buy-a-franchise.html

August 17, 2014

Finding Inspiration For Innovative Business Ideas

Innovation is certainly at the forefront of priorities for nearly all businesses. Everyone is searching for that competitive advantage, the next big thing, so surely there are ways to assist us in finding it? Is there a roadmap? Can ingenuity, imagination, creativity and resourcefulness be taught? Or are there other means of coming up with innovative ideas in business?

Whether you are looking to solve a problem, needing to keep ahead of your competition or simply striving to think of innovative business ideas, this process is usually not mandated, policy driven or the result of schematic activity. The big mistake many people make is trying to systematise something that requires the opposite of a system. It requires creativity.

So where does one get great business ideas? The answer is there is no specific ‘place’, but it does require two essential ingredients. The first is having the right headspace, and the second is connecting otherwise unconnected areas, or exploring the unfamiliar.

Firstly let’s look at headspace. We often hear stories of people coming up with great ideas in the shower or on a plane, and there is nothing intrinsically creativity-generating in these spaces. Nor are artificially created workspaces with colored walls and beanbags going to generate the big ‘aha’ moments. If it was as easy as being in the shower, then every morning, everyone in the country would be coming up with new innovations; clearly this isn’t what happens. The point is to find the environment that works for you to get the headspace to allow creativity to occur.

Headspace to deliberate and reflect on certain ideas is essential. It is simply not possible to allow yourself to be creative while at your desk simultaneously on a conference call, texting on your mobile, while trying to read an email as  a colleague is asking you for a quick moment. You need to be in a clear frame of mind to allow ideas to manifest and grow into something tangible. Not a fleeting thought between calendar alerts.

Why is this the case? The truth is, is that nobody understands how this really works, but what we do know is that creativity is not about applied conscious effort, the way we could for example sit down and tackle a complex mathematical problem. On the contrary, a truly innovative ‘aha’ moment, no matter what anyone tells you, is a mystery. It pops into our head from somewhere unknown, a perfect collision of neurons that happen to reveal an insight. Once we have the conscious awareness, it seems so obvious, why didn’t I think of it earlier, but that real ingenuity needs the space to work its way to our conscious self.

The second ingredient is experiencing connecting the unconnected or unfamiliar. Two examples I like to mention is Ikea’s great innovation of a structured journey all customers must take through their stores. This actually wasn’t invented by Ikea, it existed, only in a totally unconnected way. The founder saw this process while holidaying in New York and visiting the Guggenheim Museum. The genius was in questioning why a retail store couldn’t or shouldn’t work in the same way as this museum.

Nobody would have thought to say: “Go the Guggenheim and your new business idea will come to mind!” – which is my point, you never know where an unfamiliar encounter will generate that ‘aha!’ moment.

The second example is the suitcase. Imagine going back 30 years and watching travellers in an airport. What would you notice about everyone’s carry-on bag and suitcase? You would immediately notice passengers awkwardly struggling to lift and move all their bags, none of which would have been on wheels. When was the wheel invented? Likely somewhat sooner than luggage! Fast-forward to today and every suitcase is on wheels. Neither the bag nor the wheel was a new invention; the only innovation was in successfully combining the two together.

So, in putting these concepts together, the best approach to innovation is getting out of your comfort zone, and being mindful of your surroundings. You never know when something seemingly unconnected could be the inspiration for the next big thing. If I was a retailer looking for inspiration on innovation or trend forecasting, the last thing I would do is attend a retailer’s conference or read an article about retailing. I might do a case study on Google for example, a hot bed of creativity. Or maybe spend time inside a logistics company to work out how to drive greater distribution efficiencies.

On the other hand, if I were at Google, in many ways disconnected from direct contact with customers, I might spend time at one of the most successful customer service organisations in hospitality, the Four Seasons.

We can be inspired from every industry, every company and in fact, every person we come into contact with. All we really need is to have is an open mind.

By Mat Jacobson, founder of Ducere

June 21, 2014

The Pros and Cons of Starting Your Own Business

Formerly a publisher with a corporate lifestyle, Claire Preen went from being a self-confessed workaholic to following her dream of becoming a chocolatier.

Following the sudden loss of her father in 2003, Claire took stock and made the life-changing business decision.

“After the initial shock and grief, I had time to reflect and what slowly dawned on me that I was always working hard to be rewarded later, whenever later may be. It made me question every aspect of my life,” says Claire. “I realised that although life is a journey, the worst thing that you can do is focus on the destination and miss the trip.”

Claire’s father had always had a sweet tooth and had taught his daughter how to make chocolate from a very early age. She had always had a passion for blending chocolate and creating new recipes, so Claire decided to focus this creativity into a career as a full-time chocolatier.

“I put away my business suits, put on my chef’s whites and opened my first boutique chocolate cafe in Katoomba,” says Claire, of the award-winning Blue Mountains Chocolate Company. The business then expanded to include The Hunter Barn in the Hunter Valley, where Claire works as Head Recipe Developer creating gourmet handmade treats on a daily basis.

Claire shares the pros and cons of starting your own business with SheSaid:

1. Question your passion

If you are doing ‘it’ for 20-30 (to 40) hours per week, week in week out, will it still be a passion? Could it destroy a passion? Or will it remain a passion and possibly grow?

2. Be objective about your passion

Understand that not every passion is commercially viable. For instance, if you love to breed rats, ensure there is a large enough market that can sustain a business in rats. Don’t base it on ‘Well I love rats, so everyone will probably want to buy one’.

3. Look at other similar businesses

A bit of business espionage is not only informative but can also be extremely satisfying! Work out why they are successful (or not), look at the number of staff they have, the sales price, the size of premises. Talk to the staff or owners – glean as much information as possible.

4. Do your numbers

Keep your objectivity in mind when projecting sales and research as much as you can for all your costs. Don’t forget hidden costs such as credit card interest and bank costs.

5. Think longterm

If the numbers add up and you know your passion will stay strong but you are wavering between making that jump – ask yourself how you will feel when you are 60 (70? 80?) if you’ve not given yourself a go.

6. One of the biggest problems can be staff

They are unlikely to have your passion therefore driving and motivating them can be exhausting. Also understanding and staying on the right side of Australian employment laws can be tricky.

7. Understand a balance sheet and a profit and loss

Even if you don’t plan on being your own bookkeeper it is imperative you understand your own accounts to be able to make good business decisions. You will also need to understand cash flow. Therefore I would recommend an evening course in accounts before you start.

8. Financing the venture

Most small businesses are self financed so it’s your money you are risking. Some people put everything into a venture – but nothing ventured, nothing gained! And nothing guaranteed, so make sure you have done your research and numbers properly.

9. Staying motivated

It hurts when you’ve worked your butt off day in and day out only to find out you’ve lost money that month and it’s cost you money for the pleasure to go into work. Don’t let it dishearten you. Look at your numbers, look at your business and adjust accordingly.

10. Switching off

It’s easy to bring your work home with you (especially if you work from home!!) but if you have kids and/or a partner remember it’s probably not their passion as well!

Check out Claire’s new cookbookwww.50ShadesOfChocolate.com.au, RRP $14.95.

July 12, 2013