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Small Business Revitalization Blog

Small Business Coaching: Revive Your Profits, Revitalise Your Perspectives, Reinvigorate Your People

Is time off the best productivity tool in the universe?

Stefan Sagmeister offers an inspirational perspective on the creative benefits of sabbaticals...


Personally, anytime I'm too tired, stuck or can't think, the best thing I can do is go and do or be something completely different to what I've been doing.

Half an hour in the hammock, taking the dog for a walk or cooking something delicious will reboot my brain and allow what I require to flow with ease. A whole weekend of being creative in all sorts of ways ensures that I can work at lightspeed during the week.

Whenever we have too much to do the solution is often in doing nothing or doing something different! What are the infinite possibilities of seeing your challenge differently?

What do you think? Please share your comments then go enjoy yourself!!

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10 Reasons Why Expert Status Is Essential For Small Businesses

Peter Drucker stated that business has only two basic functions – marketing and innovation.  Successful small businesses create value.  Smart and successful small business owners create expertise that cannot be copied!

When you are known as the ‘go to’ person in your industry, it opens many doors effortlessly.  Yes, you need to genuinely know a lot - this is about 'celebrity with integrity' rather than 'splash then crash'!  You also need to keep learning and keep packaging your expertise and knowledge in ways that make you stand out.

Sounds like a lot of work...but really, what is the alternative?  Being average leads to average (or worse!) business performance.

If you aren’t the ‘go to’ person currently, but you’d like to be, here’s 10 good reasons to put time and energy into building your expert status:

  1. You can market yourself with authority and establish your business as an industry leader.
  2. You can make your business highly visible with ease.
  3. Your referral business will grow as you are seen as a trusted resource.
  4. It’s easier to gain media coverage  and this builds trust with potential clients.
  5. Speaking at your industry conference is much more powerful than just attending!
  6. You can help clients more productively and insightfully than competitors.
  7. You can gain access to rare resources and other respected authorities in your field.
  8. By sharing, you can attract respect while having fun and being creative!
  9. You can convert followers into raving fans.
  10. You can charge more!
If you'd like a detailed strategy for developing your expert status, the REVIVE Playshop will help turn you into a high profile expert faster than you can imagine! 16th November 2009 Bookings Essential!

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Ordinary or Extraordinary? Which Is Riskier?


Quirky brand inspiration via Giant Ideas

Think about the businesses you interact with.  Can you name more than five that offer you an outstanding experience every time?  Can you even name one?

Being ordinary in business is easy. You don’t have to think much. You don’t need to do anything different or unusual. You don’t need to be brave.  You don’t need to stand for something. You don’t need to get out of your comfort zone.

The outcome? You don’t stand out from your competitors. You don’t attract raving fans.  And you certainly don’t get extraordinary results!  Being ordinary doesn’t cost much…. Or does it?

Is your business joyful and fun or is it all pain, suffering and gory?  Your answer will depend on your brand and culture… If your brand is more beige than magenta, and your culture is more ‘slit your wrists’ than celebration, it may be time to rethink the risks of being ordinary! When you develop an extraordinary brand and a supportive culture you open up possibilities for magic to occur…  

Talented and amazing people will want to work for you because the way you do things is enticing and engaging.  Customers will become raving fans because you offer something rare and exciting.  Suppliers will want to partner with you because your business is growing.  

Three steps to generating a phenomenal brand:
  1. Identify the personal promises your brand makes publicly.
  2. Create extraordinary experiences around these promises.
  3. Weave the delivery of these experiences through your company culture.
Ready to take the risk of building a brilliant brand and a contagious culture?  Give yourself permission to BE unique… rather than just talking about it!  Create a phenomenal brand at the REVIVE Business Coaching October 2009 Playshop!

Do you have a brand vision that helps you outperform your competitors?  What have you done with your brand or culture that has created phenomenal results? Share your experiences in the comments below...

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Where do your brilliant business ideas come from?


(Creative Commons Image:  www.flickr.com)

As a small business owner, once you ‘shut up shop’ for the day do you also shut off thinking about your business?  I find my best ideas come when I’m not doing anything connected with work… I went to Riverfire and the Brisbane Writers Festival on the weekend – a few hours chilling out and five new and amazing business ideas landed in my ideas notebook!  

So, how exactly does that happen?  Most essentially, I am a keen observer, always looking for creative opportunities in unexpected places.  When I see a possible opportunity, I start asking questions… lots of them… until I find an idea that gives me tingles.  Here’s a few questions you can ask when you are out and about…

  • Is anyone here in my target audience?  If so, what would it take for my business to get access to them at an event like this?
  • What would make this audience want to know more about my business?
  • Are there any unmet needs here that my business could fulfil?
  • Are there any existing but underutilized resources here that I could leverage?
  • What business ideas are beyond what I can imagine is possible? What would it take to make these ideas possible?
What other questions do you use to discover creative and  profitable ideas for your business?

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How Creativity Can Generate BIG Profits


Creative spaces can help you think differently!
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/osterwalder/


Many business owners spend exactly zero minutes per year on creativity and innovation.  Richard Branson spends, oh, probably around half of every week!  How many multi-zillion dollar businesses do you run? Do you think creativity and innovation could be worth just a little of your precious time?

So what can you do to make your business more creative and more profitable?  One technique I love for its simple but highly effective profit-generating capacity is to expand your product or service offering.

When I was 14 my parents bought a business in a beachside tourist village.  The bloke who previously owned it quietly said to my Dad… “I reckon you could add another 10 – 15 product lines, but that would be about the limit.”  The shop had around 50 product lines at the time.  My parents added another 500!!  Profits skyrocketed...It allowed us all to live very comfortably for many years…and it enabled my parents to sell the business for substantially more than they bought it for.

Are you limiting your thinking on how many product lines your business can offer?  Are you too tired to think of more?  Here’s three ways you can find new product lines with ease:

  1. Research your (international) competitors online.  Often the US market is 1 – 2 years ahead of Australia, and developing nations are much more creative than we are because they have to be!  There are profitable ideas everywhere… you just have to look!
  2. Research business trends and apply them to your industry.  Start with www.springwise.com and www.trendwatching.com and your ideas will flow.
  3. Get out!  Listen to your clients – what other problems can you solve for them?  Go to trade shows – what’s new? Make networking events fun – do your research with people who are potential customers – what other products or services could solve their challenges?
Today's business coaching challenge:  Invest 20 minutes researching and find at least one new product or service idea that has the potential to add at least 10% to your turnover this year.

Want to know more about using creativity to generate profits?  Enjoy our FREE Teleseminar on Tuesday 15 September at 7pm (Brisbane) time.  Bookings Essential!

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What Easton Pearson Knows About Building A Brilliant Brand (That You Don’t!!)



Internationally renowned local fashion brand Easton Pearson are celebrating their 20 year anniversary with a stunning exhibition at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art.  The exhibition was amazing, but being the business coach that I am, what struck me most was the immense marketing value to the Easton Pearson brand.  

As well as the talks, tours and events for the exhibition, there were foyer and gallery displays, a children’s art activity centre (joyfully frequented by lots of ‘big’ kids who love playing dress-ups too!), extensive advertising of the exhibition by the Gallery, merchandising in the Gallery Shop and additional promotion everywhere you looked (even in the Gallery Café!).

Unless you pay big bucks, it is almost impossible to buy promotion, credibility and visibility like that!  Mediocre ‘me too’ brands never attract these types of showcase opportunities. The good news is that whilst you can't buy that type of exposure, you sure can build a brand that will attract it! 

So what needs to happen in your business for your brand to attract such opportunities?  Here’s my top 5 business coaching tips on building a phenomenal brand:

  1. Your vision must be bold.
  2. Your brand must be remarkable, original and desirable.
  3. Your brand influence must impact your industry in unexpected ways.
  4. Your brand must be sustainable and successful.
  5. You must know the value of your brand and protect it – whatever it takes!
What will you do differently to build your brand from now on?  Share your inspiration in the comments below…

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Start a creative revolution in your business!

Now, at this point, many hard-nosed business owners will be thinking, "What do you mean creativity? Have you forgotten we're in a recession? Got better things to do with my time and resources!"  So, this is the moment when I’m going to ask you to forget your tunnel vision, and focus with total laser vision instead! I promise you won’t be sorry!

Marketing Guru Seth Godin says that “Ideas That Spread, Win”.  Now I bet you are thinking, yes, but my product isn’t interesting enough, isn’t innovative, isn’t new, isn’t….. whatever!

Just because what you are selling may be “boring”, does not mean you or your company should be! So, if your business was offering something boring, say a blender, what could you do to make people take notice of your offer? Take a look at this...



Is it cheesy?  Sure!   Is it cheap advertising? Well how would you like to spend $50 on props, make 5 ‘homegrown’ videos and get over six million views on YouTube within one week? BlendTec make the world’s best blenders, but until they thought creatively about their marketing, no-one knew! 

Is it worth starting a creative revolution in your business? Well, as business owners and managers, you know that results are where the rubber meets the road.  Since the introduction of the videos:
  • Overall sales increased 43% in the first six months;
  • Blendtec's consumer sales increased 500% in 2007;
  • Website traffic increased 650%;
  • The extended ‘Will It Blend’ campaign has received over 100 million views on YouTube;
  • The campaign provided a breakthrough in market segmentation – previously the company was primarily a commercial blender manufacturer;
  • Marketing department is now a profit centre for BlendTec!
So, what can we learn about combining creativity and marketing?
  1. Be compelling, be quirky, be different.
  2. Be entertaining, be surprising.
  3. Be willing to experiment.
  4. Solve a problem or provide proof your product works.
  5. Create a personality for your business.
  6. Be prepared to leverage your success.
  7. Use social media to your advantage!
Creativity is about culture.  What can you do to encourage creativity in your organization?

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