How to Go Out of Business

Posted by Andrew Baird on March 31, 2010
General / No Comments

A fantastic new Mexican place I had been frequenting has gone out of business. They were presenting authentic Mexican food, tasty sauces and exquisite presentation. The problem? Wrong market.

They were in a food court – admittedly in an up market area – but you’re still competing with other businesses that can serve food faster and at much lower prices. It was a restaurant experience through and through but in the wrong location.

Make sure you serve the right market – give them what they want and keep your tills ringing!

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Ugly Pink Thai Restaurants

Posted by Andrew Baird on February 10, 2010
Business / 2 Comments

Back in 1999 an Ugly Pink Thai Restaurant appeared on a street corner in Newmarket, opposite where I was working. A work colleague commented to me “That eye-sore won’t last!” Fast forward to 2010 and let’s have a look at the reality – the business that we worked at then no longer exists, and the company that purchased it shut down the operation not even two years after that comment was made. Conversely the Ugly Pink Thai Restaurant is still operating on that same corner.

Now I have never been to that Thai restaurant, I don’t know if it has good food, I don’t know if it has the same owners it had over 10 years ago. But what I do know is that they got one marketing aspect of their business dead right – get people to notice you. Ironically it was exactly the thing that my work colleague disliked about the business that I suspect is one of the keys in that business and the building still being in existence and identical today.

Having features of your business that are Unique, Memorable and Eye-Catching is key in getting your customers to Notice and Remember you. Of course there are other ways of doing this than a pink building – but it’s a great example that just because people don’t like something doesn’t mean it doesn’t work as a promotional tool.

What do you do in your business to make it Unique, Memorable and Eye-Catching?

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Relax and Chill Out

Posted by Andrew Baird on January 12, 2010
Business, Family, Personal / No Comments

Welcome to 2010 – Here’s to another fantastic year :D .  My first post for this year is based around what we spent our New Years break doing – relaxing and chilling out.  And it’s something that is vital for us to do – life can be so hectic these days (whether you own a business or not) and it’s crucial that we create some space to step away from everything and rejuvenate.

We spent ours at Oreti which is a blissfully quiet resort beside Lake Taupo.  I had discussed with my Coach what we would do at the end of the year to know that we had made it and achieved so much during the year.   I got a clear mental picture of relaxing on a deck with both the kids asleep and us looking out over Taupo – fortunately Kim was able to find the resort that fitted my mental picture.

We intentionally set it up so that we did relax and renew ourselves – no TV, no games, just books and quality time together as a family.  I read Andre Agassi’s new book “Open: An Autobiography” – which is an amazing read and I know I’ll read it again – plus I’ll probably do a post on what I got out of the book.

We also spent some time working more on the Vision for Amazing Business and this has really helped us hit the ground running this year – and to know what to focus on and what to delete.  I realised last year that Vision was the big thing that was missing and holding us back, and given how inspired I have felt for the start of this year I know it’s building powerfully on the work on Vision we did last year.

So far it has also confirmed for me a theory that one of our clients (who has taken a new business from $0 to worth over a million dollars in less than a year) has – he believes that the way you start your year sets the tone and the energy for the year ahead.  Here’s to more of this energy because I’m loving it – how did you spend your New Years?

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The Right Tools for The Job

Posted by Andrew Baird on November 18, 2009
Business, Family, General / No Comments

So I was making our breakfast shake this morning – our usual breakfast unless I’m making pikelets – and I noticed that a rubber foot had come off the blender.  No worries I think, I’ll just pop it back in the slot.

Hmmmm, wait on…this doesn’t seem right.

In my hurry to get it back in I had stuck it in the wrong hole – okay no worries I can just grab that out like…

No, it seems I can’t.  It’s stuck.

After drinking the shake I came back and had another go with chopsticks – no dice.  Ahh ha, pocket knife I’m thinking and I get it out and whip out the tweezers.  I’m certain I’m going to get it out now.  Much poking and grabbing and holding the blender over my head and…

Hmmm I seem to have wedged it further in.

At this point I seriously consider giving up, it’s stuck in the narrowing pipe (why would that be on the bottom of the blender anyway???) but I go back to the pocket knife and think “Can I use this some other way?”  Well there’s a toothpick but – wait a minute what about the corkscrew.  Put it in gently and out it pops.

First time, no effort at all – the exact right tool for the job.

And how often is it like this in life and in Business where we try and solve a problem and NOTHING works.  And we start to go – well this problem just can’t be solved, this job just can’t be done – when actually we’re just not approaching it right – we’re not using The Right Tools for The Job.

And this is a critical distinction for us to make – and very important too – I know a lot of times in my business I’ve started down a path and met with failure and it’s very easy to go “well it can’t be done”.  Rather than asking “How can it be done?” and “Did I approach this in the right way?”  Let’s look at a specific example.

One year we did a promotion for an Event using a new website domain and a series of videos to engage an audience and help them understand what to look for in such an event.  Then we went on to recommend the event once they went through the course.  Now the strategy was not flawed and we also ended up with a new website asset at the end of the promotion.

However it was not the Right Tool for The job – and how did we end up in this situation?  Well I jumped in to the first big idea I had with my Entrepreneurial feet – rather than reflecting on the different tools I could use for promoting the Event.  It doesn’t mean that the promotion was a failure – but it was harder than it needed to be (and most likely we didn’t get as big a result as we could have).

Remember that whilst action is incredibly important to grow your business (and as a general rule better than in-action ;) having a plan and consciously reviewing and refining something before putting it into action is also important.  Often we sit on one side of the spectrum or the other – and it’s important to have a balance.  If you love to plan – make sure you put those plans into action AND if you love to take action make sure you have some kind of plan that you are taking action on.

So next time you find yourself struggling to get something to work ask yourself – am I approaching this in the right way and with the right tools?  Let me know if you’ve come across this in your business and how you handled it.

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Don’t Start if You’re a Non-Starter

Posted by Andrew Baird on October 26, 2009
Business, General / No Comments

In Business and in life it’s as important to know What Not to Do as well as What to Do – often people fall into one camp or the other so work out which one you sit in and see if the flip side is a blind spot for you…

This post is for entrepreneurs who expect success to come packaged exactly as they expect with no need to join the dots.  No need to think outside the box – or work to make things fit.  In my experience this is a big What Not to Do that people often fail to see.

I needed to catch a cab in the city the other day and I didn’t have any cash on me – so I was intending on paying using EFTPOS (a debit card).  Open the first cab door “Do you have EFTPOS?”, “No…”  Shut the first cab door.

Open the second cab door “Do you have EFTPOS?”, “No, but there’s a cash machine just across the road – I’ll drive you there.”  Well sure I’ll jump right in.  Now this is smart on a number of levels – number one he’s thinking on his feet.  When I ask him a question and he gives me a different answer to the one I want he’s ready with a quick solution.

Secondly it’s making him more money – twice!  First he got the sale (versus the first guy who let it walk off) and secondly he’s driving me across the road (like 10 metres away) and turning on his meter earlier and making more money, fantastic!

Now maybe the first guy didn’t know that there was a cash machine across the road – but there were other ways he could have solved the problem.  Fact is he didn’t really want to be making money – the second guy did.  He used his ingenuity to come up with a quick solution to his customers problem to doing business with him.

So now it’s time to ask yourself the question – where is a lack of ingenuity costing you money?  Where are you not solving problems for your customers that allows you to provide them more value and put more money in your wallet.

Andrew.

P.S. If you fall in the same camp as the first guy and you’re going “Ouch – I don’t really want to be making money???”  Don’t beat yourself up about this – learn the lesson and get focused on what you need to do to make the money.  The point of this post is to help you come on over to the money side if that’s where you want to be.

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