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Advice from Outside the Square

Category Archives: Brand Leadership

10 Things Every Small Business Needs To Do To Succeed

As a business advisor and accountant, I am often asked what a small business needs to do in order to succeed. It's a simple enough question but there are so many things small business owners need to know, need to be, and need to do in their businesses. So I asked a number of my most successful clients what they thought about the question, and, using my own experience gained over the last 30-plus years, I have collated the top 10 things that a small business needs to do to succeed. 1. Make sure that you are marketing effectively. From experience, I cannot stress enough how important marketing is to the success of any small business. The problem is that most small business owners are subject matter experts - they are good mechanics, good lawyers, good accountants, good toy retailers, good garment manufacturers - and this means that they try to make their business succeed by being good at what they do. Unfortunately, that is not enough. A business succeeds only if it finds and continues to find customers. Some of these will come from word-of-mouth or reputation but the volume of these new customers will not be enough to grow your business. So, you...
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The Value Of An Ethical Business

So, this is going to be a controversial posting. I wonder what you think about the morality of your behaviour when you choose to change professional advisors? I don't mean the professional ethical rules, but the morals of how you do it. And how should the professional advisor react? Here is a story of how a client of mine decided they wanted to change accountants. Read through the circumstances, and then tell me what you would have done. (more…)...
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How To Create A “Brand” For Your Small Business

"Your brand" is talked a lot about these days, but what is your "brand"? Your brand is not your logo. Coca-Cola is not about the logo or even the shape of the bottle. It includes all you feel when you think about Coke - fun, young, outdoors. Apple is not about the backlit macintosh apple with a bite out of it, it is all that it entails - design quality, Steve Jobs, the whole ecosphere of physical and software design surrounding tech. Everything about your business must align with the brand - the way you and your team behave, how you appear to customers, the business' values, the business' model, the messages it gives out and even the look and feel of marketing and ads. And yes, at the end, your logo needs to reflect and represent all that. (more…)...
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Change your business model with great care!

Businesses who decide to change the way they do business need to be careful of unintended consequences. They need to think of the effects to the customer first, but also to the not so obvious stakeholder groups.
For example businesses that generate significant business through referral networks need to be careful how any changes affect their referral base and not just their customers.
In some imagined country, the leading provider of accounting software to SME's is a company called Record Your Amazing Business or Ryab. Knowing that SME's made purchasing decisions about accounting software based on their accountants' opinions, Ryab provided their software free to all public accounting firms. These firms could use multiple copies of the software on a single free license as long as they used it on their own entities - clients would have to buy their own licenses, and accountants even received commissions on these sales to clients.
This was an extremely successful referral strategy to get the product in front of the ultimate customer. In short time, accountants played with the software, found it easy to use, used it in their own companies and personal business affairs and in doing so got to understand how to use it...
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