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Advice from Outside the Square

The Square Orange Blog

How To Do Things You Don’t Enjoy In Your Business

Like me, there are things you have to do that you don’t enjoy. You know – go on a diet, exercise, that sort of thing! But you know you have to do it, and the consequences are clear, so you do them! I’m sure you have your ways to discipline yourself and to turn the mind from “have to” to “get to do!” But what about in your business? Sometimes in your business, you have to do things that, not only do you not enjoy but that you might actually hate to do! These are situations where you have to cold-call a new customer (I know I hate that), or you have to discipline staff for some inappropriate behaviour; or perhaps even having to learn new skills that you just know you can't do. In these situations it’s not about not having the time, or feeling uncomfortable – it’s about actually hating to have to do it! That negativity causes procrastination and delay, you put it off, plans stall, your to-do list piles up, and perhaps your business even suffers. These are not things that would be nice to do and which you don’t enjoy – these are things you hate doing but you absolutely must do because if you don’t your business really suffers! How do you...
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The Why And How Of Business Planning

OK, you’ve heard me talk about business plans before. Well, this week I’m going to talk about what the business planning process involves, and how you have to include the “why” of your business, why does it exist? You see, people forget that business plans are written to be read. Yes, that’s a revolutionary thought, isn’t it? People think that business plans are boring internal documents that you write so that you can follow them step by step to grow your business. No. That’s called a to-do checklist. Business plans are written to be read – by you, by your team, by outside investors, by supporters, by people close to you. Yes, they do form the basis of what you have to do in order to grow your business – but more than that, a business plan is a story of what you have to do in order to grow your business to become the business that you want. This takes much more than a list of things that are your goals and a list of actions to achieve those goals. This means that your business plan has to be a reminder, an inspiration, it must attract people, it must make them want to be part...
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Small Business Owner or Employee of Your Business?

Most of my clients are small business owners and they might be surprised by the challenge in the title of this week’s article. Are you a small business owner – or are you actually a hard-working employee – for yourself? A lot of my readers won’t want to hear this, but you must hear it if it is the truth. What is the difference? What makes you a small business owner, and what makes you an employee of your business? Successful small business owners are driven. But then so are successful hard-working employees. But what drives them are two different things. A hard-working employee is driven to be good at their job. They take pride in a job well done. They work hard to make sure it is done well. They take pride in working on the details and working in the business. If you are working hard in your business, are you sure you are not merely investing in a job? As a mere employee, you may deeply and rightly believe that you are doing your best and working hard. You certainly are but you are working hard in your job, within your job description, within the parameters, working hard at the procedure or in the...
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Design Your Organisation Chart Now!

All small businesses start in a very similar way, and I’ll bet you can relate to this story: Jack and Jill started their small business just by themselves. They did most things together– they did the sales together, they discussed stock levels as they ordered stock, they worked side by side as they stacked the shelves, they took turns to write different pages of their website, they kept the books together, together they opened every morning and closed every evening. Then they got busy as the business grew and they hired a store helper, Sue. Sue was really keen and helpful, she mucked in and helped to do everything as well. In some things, all three of them were interchangeable as they looked after all the tasks in the business. But things were starting to get missed because they got confused about who was going to do what. This didn't really matter because one of them would see the confusion and between the three of them they sorted it out. Then the business became more successful and they hired Tom. Between the 4 of them, they did all the activities of the business as people could. If one was busy another picked up the slack. But more...
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