Tag Archives: Business

Why Articles and Books on How to be Successful, Suck


Most business articles on how to be successful are crap. You do what works for you, we are individuals. Yes some basic humanity and empathy is required but articles that begin with “The 5 steps to…” are complete time wasters.

Of course this is just my opinion, but the way they make it sound as though it will work for everyone shows a complete lack of objectivity and, basically, reality.

If you’re looking for a magic formula you’d have better luck chasing the next rainbow.

Adelaide more expensive to live in than Melbourne!


Adelaide is now more expensive to live in than Melbourne?? Thank you politicians and greedy utility companies, way to go!! We are so over-taxed in SA it’s a disgrace.

Desalination plants that never get turned on, expensive non-functional hospitals, mounds of money spent on reviews that have gone nowhere…thanks Labor!!

Visit the printed story here.

Why is Common Sense so Uncommon?


Committees, Studies, Senate Reports and PhD’s all have one thing in common…90 percent of them are never read and produce nothing we did not already know.
Politicians and business ‘leaders’ speak in clichés, and when a real answer is demanded escape to ‘as I understand it’ or defer the question entirely to ‘after a Committee has reported on the issue’.
One of the reasons Common Sense is so Uncommon is the need to appease every minor voice, dissenting or otherwise. Unless of course it is the vast majority of PhD’s whose sole purpose are to meet quotas and lift University rankings.

Everyone knows Nokia failed because they stopped watching the mobile phone market (now the smartphone market, but they missed the name change) and yet their top executives believe they did nothing wrong, and cry themselves into stupidity at press conferences.

Everyone knows that government departments, on the whole, are top heavy and waste millions of dollars on salaries not required to meet their core functions. Arrium knew it needed to significantly upgrade its equipment years ago but did nothing. Holden knew people were buying smaller fuel efficient cars yet did not build one (until it was too late).

Yes, stupidity is a factor, yet those pesky minority folks (which include, in addition to car manufacturer executives, the senior people who presided over Polaroid, BP safety, multiple -speed limits in Adelaide city streets and the Frome Street super-hyper bike-way built for an Airbus) who sternly and stubbornly believe they are right and have the right to be heard.

Unfortunately they are heard way too often and, also way too often, are completely wrong.

Please, I understand the need for diversity of views and am the first to listen and consider seriously all new ideas, but the squeaky wheel now receives a million barrels of oil instead of just the needed drop.

The excess energy spent on debating, studying, researching and reporting on aspects of our lives that can be solved by the time-old equation of Common Sense is worth more than our total GDP, yet we spend it willingly in the name of ‘consultation’.

Consultation be damned, give me common sense any day.

Sales – The secret of a successful Lean Startup


The secret to a successful startup..? Sales. Without them no validation, no feedback, no customers, no business!

Follow the Lean Startup approach and do a controlled release of your product or service to some people (or businesses) you think would be interested.

By recording their feedback you will eliminate expensive future mistakes, discover that you were wrong and there is no market or receive a couple of orders which will allow you to beta test.

Another option is to contact one of the largest businesses you believe should be interested and offer to build your product/service especially for them. This gives you a real world test site, honest feedback (you can tell if they have been using it or not) and, if they stay with you until the product/service is finished, a testimonial and reference site for future prospects.

Much more efficient than spending a year building a business only to find there is no market for it!

Office Of Business Within Government


The common statement “the business of governing” is detrimental, as the focus should be upon providing government with the best efficiencies private business experience, and expertise, has to offer. The statement should read “implementing business within government”.
This involves implementing within government the best efficiencies of business by identifying process improvements, removing duplication of effort, improving inter-departmental coordination, reviewing and assessing key personnel (always with the goal of ‘best fit’) with positions allocated by merit, and producing budget savings through operational efficiencies, all with a focus on customer (public) outcomes and improved service.
Quantifiable achievements would include

1. Designate and decide on all areas of Departmental and Ministerial responsibility so no-one can “pass the buck”.

2. Allocate responsibilities and targets to ensure the desired and clearly stated outcomes are achieved within set time-frames.

3. Ensure all cost savings achieved are ongoing, no one-off savings included in targets, by implementing guidelines, overseeing their implementation and educating management.

4. Allocation of necessary resources (from those existing within government), setting applicable Key Performance Levels (KPL) and managing staff to complete set objectives and achieve all desired outcomes.

5. All reports produced to be concise and written in plain English, with detailed analysis provided only when requested.

6. The emphasis will be on outcomes, results, savings, improved service and efficiency not on unnecessary documentation, sub-committees or meetings.

This proposal would require minimal personnel for it would

allocate additional resources from other Departments (not exceeding an agreed limit), and investigate and set goals, priorities and outcomes in simple terms.
Initial targets would be;

1. Documented ongoing budgetary savings through reduced red tape via improved coordination, demarcation and processes.

2. Improved accountability within government departments creating efficiencies and gains in timelines and processes.

3.Improved ‘connection’ between wants and needs of the public and what government provides.

4. Improved public service in all areas, with all agreed objectives (including time-frames) being met.

5. Overall improved perception of government efficiency, thereby attracting a higher class of personnel and additional budget savings through their specialist knowledge and experience.

6. Improved performance measurement and ongoing guidance to ensure operational efficiencies are maintained.

Is the above business-like approach really outside the capabilities of our elected officials? When every vote counts decisions can be compromised. This is an unfortunate fact since Democracy (or what we now know as Democracy) began.

It would therefore be prudent to appoint a successful business person to head such a Department with powers level with that of a Minister, to ensure success.

The saving of hundreds of thousands of dollars would result, if expedited correctly, an amount equal to hundreds of people not having to pay tax for a year. As the appointee would be on a contract they would have no fear of losing votes, leading to decisive and correct decisions being made.

Surely a winner for everyone, especially as the above savings figure is extremely conservative. In fact savings of millions of dollars would be the set target, anything less being regarded as a failure, over the term of implementation (years).

But would politicians have the courage to give someone the power and authority to achieve this? Unfortunately I fear not, for once again they would wonder if introducing such a system might anger some minority groups and lose them votes. Or potentially cause disgruntled public servants to voice discontent. The right person for this role would take note of any such discontent and target them for removal.

Change is far easier to implement when you have new employees who are unaware of ‘old’ procedures, and are more willing to accept new ways of thinking.

Three in four businesses have cashflow concerns: Report


By Michelle Hammond

Businesses are attempting to curb their expenses by delaying investments and the hiring of new staff, according to the latest Dun & Bradstreet survey, which shows 75% of businesses see cashflow as an issue during the months ahead.

D&B’s latest National Business Expectations Survey shows the cost of doing business is taking its toll, with businesses delaying plans to hire new staff and putting off investments.

The survey’s index has continued a downward trend through to the June 2013 quarter, falling below its 10-year average level, to a score of zero.

The research also shows no new jobs have been added since the March quarter of 2012, with the actual employment index remaining in negative territory for three consecutive quarters.

In December last year, the index dropped to -7. This was its lowest point in more than three years.

The survey shows 75% of businesses see cashflow as an issue during the months ahead, with 44% of businesses identifying operational costs as their biggest barrier.

Danielle Woods, Dun & Bradstreet director of corporate affairs, told StartupSmart she’s not surprised by the findings.

“To be fair, we’ve seen this real downward trend in sentiment in recent months. The six indices we look at are trending down, so the cashflow issue is not a surprise to me,” Woods says.

“Trade credit is a huge thing for businesses in Australia… Our analysis is showing [trade payment times are] still sitting at 52 days.

“When businesses are taking 52 days, that can be a real strain on another firm’s cashflow.

“With these conditions prevailing, it’s unsurprising to see the outlook for both employment and investment falling away.”

Investment expectations for the June 2013 quarter dropped sharply to an index of five, compared to 14 in the previous quarter.

The outlook for capital spending is now at its lowest level since the September 2011 quarter, while the actual index for the December 2012 quarter is -3.

The outlook for sales has declined for the second consecutive quarter, while expectations for selling prices continues to move lower – the index decreased to two for the June 2013 quarter, well under its 10-year average of 29 points.

The broad fall in expectations suggests operating conditions will remain difficult at least until the middle of this year, with businesses also finding little relief in their cashflow position.

“The current and future challenges for businesses continue to come from a sluggish economy, Woods said.

“Sales growth is weak, businesses face challenging operating conditions and consumer spending is soft.

“We can expect businesses to keep a tight check on their expenses and continue to delay larger investments such as new jobs.”

D&B’s findings are in stark contrast to the latest MYOB research, which shows economic confidence and the overall business outlook of SMEs is on the rise.

According to the March 2013 MYOB Business Monitor, 26% of SMEs expect the domestic economy to improve within 12 months, compared to 19% in the July 2012 report.

The report, which is based on a study of 1,005 business owners and managers, shows 30% of respondents anticipate a revenue rise this year while 42% expect revenue to be stable.

Post GFC


Well, it looks like we survived (sort of). The unemployment rate did not leap up as predicted, although personally I believe this is because many people went from full-time to part-time work or at least had their hours reduced.

So, while we wait for the inevitable bleating from world governments regarding how they need to massively increase taxes to pay for their amazing stimulus packages, we watch as millions are wasted in Copenhagen.

The merry-go-round continues!