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Saturday, April 23, 2011

International Data Roaming costs are sending you broke!

Telstra sign on an Telstra Telephone ExchangeImage via WikipediaWe continue to hear stories of travellers with smartphones (particularly iPhone users) incurring huge data-roaming bills, particularly Telstra customers.

One (big) reason for this is the charging mechanism used by Telstra (Optus also has its problems). Telstra charges 1.5 cents per kilobyte, PLUS a 50c per-data-session flagfall. A data session is a connection from your handset.

There can be (and often are) many simultaneous data sessions running on an iPhone, for instance the default e-mail setting is to check e-mails every minute - that means that even if you don't send or receive e-mails but don't change the settings you will incur a charge of more than 50c each minute.
Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase 
If you leave your phone on whilst roaming for a 16-hour day, that is more than $720 per day, just for (no) e-mail! It makes a mockery of the per-kilobyte charge, as the effective rate jumps up to perhaps as high as 2.5 or more cents per KB when the flagfall is included

People are constantly confused by the topic..  is it a call cost or a data pack cost?
You can actually use one for the other and vice versa - but be warned doing so will either save you a bucket of money or bury you in debt.  They accumulate cost diferently .. see this forum article about the data rate for either and how it is effected by which application you use (ie., talking or surfing the web)
Good News
  For the Aussie Business Exec's travelling to Bangkok
The "Asoke PA" service has set up a bargain deal on Thai Sim cards with Phone and Data Packs!
They can hook you up to include unlimited Internet use for about 15% of the rate you would pay in Australia.   The idea is to switch sim cards on arrival and use the local service.  
Lovebettie at RockFest Stage I 
Apart from the massive savings on net use you will also save huge costs on phone calls
Make sure you have made sure you phone is unlocked so you can switch sim cards.
Asoke PA service is a new concept to provide "Personal Assistants" for busy travellers or those on short term stay. The PA's fastrack everything for you  to ensure a seamless experiencfe; Orientate, Translate and Negotiate.
see more at Asoke PA.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Small Business get with smart Marketing

 You can’t be serious ….

 click image to expand

do I have to be in all this social media to have a successful future
We don’t know….we just want to make business fully aware of where the modern consumer is heading.  Here are tales of retail businesses - small, medium large and public.

All realised they need to use new techmarketing to reach new customers, to keep established customers, to react to changing buying behaviour and to broaden their reach from local, to national and even global.

A photo of a cup of coffee.Case Study one- Fix Espresso using   offered a $2.50 coffee special on the specials website sold 150  extra coffee vouchers in one day!   Followers of deal2day get daily specials emailed to them across a wide band of retail and service offerings.  Fix proprietor, Jonathan Myerson comments “why hope for a customer to pass your door when you can attract them from around the neighbourhood with a great offer?    “Once they come in on our special, I know they will enjoy the experience and be back again.”

Case study two
Kuzzunman Leather a family owned Australian business which sells leather goods and clothing related to the motor cycle sector and also for the work wear sector. The business has enjoyed tremendous growth in the past two years by developing online sales activity across Australia and has gone from 0% of sales  online to 30% in just a few years!

The business is located on the outer edges of Perth which restricts its door sales but the owners are selling online Australia wide. They have changed the business from a local business to a national business with the use of new technology marketing!

A exposure blended photo of the Sydney Opera H...Image via WikipediaCase Study three - PutersFrom a humble beginning with a single East Sydney store, they developed a virtual department store on the web.  Every conceivable home wares product from glassware, to cutlery, linen, jewellery, house fashions, electrical goods etc is available online and many of the world’s best brands are featured. 

Prices are below those of conventional department stores and the site is highly visual and easy to buy from. A massively successful site.


Case Study four - Myer Ltd -
Interior of a typical department store. This i...

Myer knows it needs to have an online offering, but doesn’t want to cannibalise its conventional department store sales by having its website discount the same goods.  The solution?
Myer has launched….which is a specials related site carrying selected department store lines. But you will not find ANY MYER LOGO anywhere on the myfind site!
In a way, it is a similar strategy to the Qantas -Jetstar double prong approach

Case study five
Central Insurance Brokers

Perth, Western Australia (suburb)A medium size suburban Insurance Broker in South Perth West Australian. They engaged enthusiasm to embrace social media networks, they provided "gifts" through social networks to the Community, by gifts we mean free access to intellectual property.  Their transparency characterises their culture of trust and builds essential rapport for new and existing clients.

Central Insurance Brokers of South Perth WA were quick to embrace the social media market using the span of mediums such as google Maps, google docs, buzz me, Linked in, twitter, blogs. Consequently their popularity is search engines achieves highest ranking.  Try searching Insurance Broker Perth, South Perth or WA or West Australia you will find them fast. But that's not all, when you get there you'll see they identified customer values

a bold phone number - just call, but for those that need more they display a list of transarent options: Product knowledge, Direct contact details, Photos and more

The wisdom of their marketing think tank is extensive.
  • They were fast and passionate about connecting with the customer in the virtual world but it does not end there.
  • They offer free virtual gifts - Community service Information
  • They offer free real gifts - documentation to clients is supported with value added intel
  • They invest substantially in wellness values
  • Clients receive token gifts during regular dealings
  • Staff are hosted to team building bootcamps local and overseas 
  • They focusing, like most on customer service values, but more they constantly re assess with intent to deliver value.
  • Their service is models are based on customer feedback not organisational regime
The company was founded in 1978 and it continues with their founding Director Phillip Smith and strong leadership from the Board of Directors Simon Wardman and Noel Carter.  

Wait, there’s more!  An exceptional group of Associate partners - Team Managers or Account Executives (another aspect of their success is equity participation). 

It is inarguable they are the leading suburban based General Insurance Broker in Perth West Australia. Try them at

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Friday, April 15, 2011

LinkedIn is now megga stream for business links

With more than 90 million registered users...  LinkedIn is the number one social media platform for  white-collared professionals today. Are you using it effectively?

LinkedIn is like an online resume, but scratch a bit deeper and it’s a platform for demonstrating your expertise and connecting with an online network. It’s nothing short of a source of raw possibilities.y
Whether you are a business owner or an employee, LinkedIn needs to be a part of your digital real estate and your online social presence.

What should you have on your profile?

There are numerous opportunities to highlight expertise and focus on interests within LinkedIn. The LinkedIn profile has a standard framework around which information can be added. There is an extensive field for a summary of your career profile, and a more limited field to provide details of your current position, past positions, education, recommendations, connections, and websites.
You’re in full control of what is displayed on the profile.

Improve your SEO with LinkedIn

“ LinkedIn needs to be a part of your digital real estate and your online social presence. ”
Spend as much time as you need to developing your LinkedIn profile, and remember that because it’s online, it needs to be SEO-savvy. In fact, you can use LinkedIn to help your search engine optimisation (SEO), since when your name is searched on Google, your LinkedIn profile will appear high in the search results.
You might even want to engage an SEO copywriter and get them to work their magic and create an engaging business profile specifically for LinkedIn that outlines your achievements and successes

Receive weekly updates on your network

The single business email that I receive and most importantly I take the time to read every week is the LinkedIn Network Updates email. If you’re not receiving this email, you need to change your LinkedIn email settings. (Select Settings / Receiving Messages, and at the Network Updates line, choose Weekly Digest Email).
This email summarises the major activities of your network over the past week: profile updates, new connections, new posts, new LinkedIn groups they’ve joined, new photos, new recommendations, polls, and applications (like Reading List by Amazon and TripIt).
Likewise using the ‘Share an update’ feature enables you to stay in front of your network on a weekly basis.

Photo left 
Phillip Smith.
founder and Chairman of Central Insurance Brokers, Perth WA (est 1980)  and
Founder of Aussie Exec Tours Bangkok 
"I've tripled my business network within 9 months with Linked in", without doubt the modern new age business tool
In today's dynamic market there is no 9 to 5 for the serious business guru. We have the tools to network and benchmark 24/7.   "Linked in" lets me see core BUSINESS characteristics about people.  The network provides an array of options to email, blog, share news, share invitations to events and merges brilliantly with tripit.  Did I mention it merges with Twitter and lets you show your website/s and Blog.  
Anyone who is serious about presenting in business should be in "linked in", further they should have a link to their profile page in their email signature.    Clients can see your connections which act as great reference to the support of you inn your business world.. 
90% of Business is people business right!
At the end of the day we spend so much time and money to shape the image of our Business website or business shop front to impress, yet 90% of business is about people so why present yourself, that you are in business and linked in.  
There learning modules are very easy (videos).  I've posted a webpage of some tips .. here

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Warren Buffett suggestions for 2011

Warren Buffett speaking to a group of students...Image via WikipediaIn his 2011 annual letter to shareholders [pdf download], Warren Buffett offered a variety of insights for business owners. Here are five of my favorite pearls of wisdom from the Oracle of Omaha:
1. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water
Berkshire Hathaway has a significant exposure to the U.S. housing market, yet instead of selling assets or de-prioritizing the industry, Buffett made some additional investments in his housing-related businesses, including purchases of the largest brick manufacturer in Alabama, a new $55-million plant for roofer Johns Manville and five “bolt-on” acquisitions for MiTek.
Takeaway for business owners: Don’t mistake an industry in a cyclical downturn for a business in trouble.

2. Keep your “elephant gun” loaded
“Our elephant gun has been reloaded, and my trigger finger is itchy,” writes Buffett.
Berkshire Hathaway is sitting on $38 billion in cash, which means it has the resources to buy when others are keen to sell.  For example, Buffett deployed $15.6 billion in the 25 days of chaos that followed the Lehman bankruptcy of 2008. Although markets have stabilized, he is still on the hunt for opportunities.
Takeaway for business owners: Build up a war chest of cash — maybe one or two months’ revenue — to pounce on opportunities when others are playing defense.

3. Be cautious with leverage
The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business ...Image via WikipediaBuffett is fiscally conservative, and in this year’s shareholder letter, he outlines his attitudes toward using debt to improve returns:
Unquestionably, some people have become very rich through the use of borrowed money. However, that’s also been a way to get very poor. When leverage works, it magnifies your gains. Your spouse thinks you’re clever, and your neighbors get envious. But leverage is addictive. Once having profited from its wonders, very few people retreat to more conservative practices. And as we all learned in third grade — and some relearned in 2008 — any series of positive numbers, however impressive the numbers may be, evaporates when multiplied by a single zero. History tells us that leverage all too often produces zeroes, even when it is employed by very smart people.
Leverage, of course, can be lethal to businesses as well. Companies with large debts often assume that these obligations can be refinanced as they mature. That assumption is usually valid. Occasionally, though, either because of company-specific problems or a worldwide shortage of credit, maturities must actually be met by payment. For that, only cash will do the job.
Borrowers then learn that credit is like oxygen. When either is abundant, its presence goes unnoticed. When either is missing, that’s all that is noticed. Even a short absence of credit can bring a company to its knees. In September 2008, in fact, its overnight disappearance in many sectors of the economy came dangerously close to bringing our entire country to its knees.
Takeaway for business owners: You probably got into business for yourself — at least in part — for the freedom of running your own company. Don’t undermine your independence by becoming beholden to a lender who can control your fate.

4. Have a replacement
Buffett’s 2011 annual letter to shareholders includes a memo he sent to his top managers requesting they send him their suggestions for their replacements in the event they become incapacitated. Berkshire Hathaway employs some 260,000 people and would have thousands of internal candidates for any job opening; it could also hire the very best headhunter in the country to find a new manager, yet despite all of these resources, Buffett wants his managers to mentor their replacements.
Takeaway for business owners: Grooming a second-in-command provides a great insurance policy in case you get sick, gives you more time away from your business, and ultimately makes your business a lot more valuable if you ever want to sell it.

5. Never stop selling
Warren Buffett is one of the world’s richest, most successful people, yet he wants to sell shareholders a $3 Dairy Queen Blizzard. His letter is, in part, a sales pitch aimed at getting shareholders to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual general meeting in Omaha. Instead of hosting an annual meeting in a stuffy hotel for a sterilized group of institutional investors, he creates a circuslike atmosphere and invites individual shareholders to the Qwest Center, where they can buy products from the businesses Berkshire owns. A full two pages of Buffett’s annual letter is devoted to selling investors on going to the annual meeting, where they can get a deal on car insurance from Geico or buy a pair of Justin boots or a box of See’s candy or just a Chocolate Xtreme Blizzard to enjoy as they listen to his pitch.Warren Buffett - Bridge @ Borsheims 2007Image by Ethan Bloch via Flickr
Takeaway for business owners: No matter how big and successful your business becomes, always be willing to do some selling yourself. It will demonstrate to everyone — from your staff to your customers to your investors — that you’re proud of the products you sell.

What’s your favorite kernel of wisdom from the Oracle of Omaha?
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Monday, April 4, 2011

be sure your Second Startup Will Outshine Your First

What do the founders of Netflix , Zappos, Whole Foods, and have in common?Founder and CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, cla...Image via Wikipedia

They were all started by entrepreneurs in their second (or third) act:
  • Before Reed Hastings founded Netflix, he founded Pure Atria Software, which was eventually acquired by Rational Software. Soon after the acquisition, Hastings took a couple of years off to think about his next business, which would be Netflix.
  • Before Zappos, Tony Hsieh founded LinkExchange, which was acquired by Microsoft for $265 million in 1999.
  • John Mackey started a health food store called “Safer Way” in a garage years before he founded Whole Foods.
  • Jack Ma founded China Pages four years before he launched in 1999.
Jack Ma speaks during The Future of the Global...Image via WikipediaTake a look around and you’ll find that many entrepreneurs find their biggest success in their second act. In fact, I’d argue that having a chance at a second act is one of the best reasons to build your first business to sell it.
For starters, the second time around, you can bring all of your knowledge, contacts, and capital to a new idea, but I also think there are subtler factors that often make second acts more successful than the first:
1. You’ll feel less pressure.
When you are scraping tooth and nail to make something of your first business, every decision feels like do or die. Like a 16-year-old driving on the highway for the first time, new entrepreneurs tend to be a little heavy on the wheel, blowing every small problem into a life-threatening emergency (I know I did). In a second act, entrepreneurs mellow a bit and have a steadier hand at the wheel. Once a business owner has become financially independent, the pressure to succeed to feed your family is off.

2. You’ll be a better leader.
Being a bit mellower, entrepreneurs in their second acts often are better bosses. They tend to be a little more willing to give others credit and let juniors make mistakes — within reason — instead of micromanaging every detail. Like a parent who enjoys coaching his kids more than playing, the second-act business owner wants to succeed as part of a team, not just as an individual.

3. You’ll be motivated by a higher cause.
Once entrepreneurs are no longer motivated exclusively by making money, they are forced to find larger reasons for doing what they do — to start to think of how they can have a bigger impact on the world and make a difference. Being motivated by something other than money makes a founder much more likable as a leader and, therefore, better able to attract good people — loyal employees, partners and board members who want to contribute to a cause — to their mission.

So go ahead and build your first business — get the pressure, the mistakes, and a little bit of success out of the way. Then sell it and get to work on an even better second act.

John Warrillow is the author of Built To Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You, which will be released by Portfolio/Penguin on April 28, 2011.

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