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Showing posts with label Business Strategy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Business Strategy. Show all posts

Tuesday 19 January 2016

The bottleneck is always at the top of the bottle

If you are a leader of your business how self-aware are you of how you impact others and are performing?

I have seen many business leaders, myself included, quite by accident become out of touch with their clients and staff although they do not mean to be.

The fact is the larger your company becomes you end up dealing with different sets of issues and have department heads reporting to you. There simply is not enough time and bandwidth to get into the nitty gritty of most issues so you gradually end up less exposed and your historical reference points change. You don't even realise it is happening. Your own self-assessment becomes skewed and you are not leading the best way you can.

One way I have fund effective to minimise this happening to me is by using daily huddles. At Depth Industries we roll at 8.38am with the whole team for about 5 minutes every single day. For team members outside of the office when the huddle is on we use Google Hangouts so we can all be in. This way I am connecting with all team members even briefly and get a good barometer for the business and our teamwork.

We also do a client and sales focused huddle every morning at 9.05am so all team members can be aware of our service objectives or any issues arising we can hopefully swiftly deal with.

The other crucial thing is to create an atmosphere where you stay approachable and conflict amongst yourself and team is welcomed. Now I don't mean you go around picking fights and deliberately causing drama. What I mean is that everyone has no fear or hesitation to call each other out on their performance and where necessary, engage in "productive" conflict and robust debates on issues that gain a better outcome for the business. 

Keep it really real and the client and therefore the company will be the winner.

The bottleneck will always be at the top of the bottle but things will flow more easily.

All for now
+Brad Skelton 

Saturday 2 January 2016

Competing in a crowded market?

Competing in a crowded market isn't all bad. A crowded market shows that demand for your product or service exists and it is a viable market to be in.

So how do you not only compete but lead?

Differentiation is the key. What is greatest form of differentiation? Simple... BE THE BEST! Be so good the market can't ignore you.

Relentlessly generate fresh ideas and urgently pursue excellence in every aspect of your business. I tell my team "We get the clients we deserve". Like attracts like so if we want the best clients we have to be the best to compete.

How do you know when you are in the lead?

Having the biggest revenue, profit or market share doesn't always denote industry leadership. As companies get bigger they usually get worse.

One way you know you are leading is when competitors start copying you. I have had competitors blatantly duplicate our service offering, use unique titles we developed for roles of our team and rip off wording from our website and brochures. Our buy lines...slightly adapted... appear in their promotional material.

While on one level it frustrates my exec team and I, on another we smile as that is when we know we are leading. When competitors start reacting to us and less to their clients needs in an attempt to stay relevant and say to the market "Us too!" we know we are winning. 

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but imagine the competitive benefits to clients if they developed some original ideas and instead of playing catch up, actually took their business and industry to the next level.

In one instance, company "F", has even used my name personally, my company's name and our buy line in the meta tags and URL's of pages in their website in an effort to attract internet traffic away from us. I guess desperate people do desperate things and I was pleased our lawyers swiftly dealt with that one.

Companies exist to do one thing. Serve their clients. Be the best and your market will not seem that crowded at all.

All for now,
+Brad Skelton 

Sunday 3 August 2014

New economy rule: You are only as good as your last job

In a commoditised, internet enabled, global economy where competition abounds, loyalty is evaporating fast and brands matter less.

The consumers mindset has changed as they know the power in any transaction rests primarily with them, the buyer, and no longer the seller. Via a smartphone it is easier than ever before for them to go somewhere else, price check and short list another supplier to ultimately satisfy their needs.

This reality is causing business loyalty to fast become "old school" and buyers are typically unforgiving because now they can afford to be. Therefore the value a modern buyer attaches to a long business relationship with years of good service they may have received is diminishing.

The test now is their last experience with buying from your company so you better make it good for them. If you don't your buyer will not only be gone but worse still their experience in dealing with you can end up in online reviews and damage your business reputation further.

That it is why these days, you are only as good as your last job.

All for now,

+Brad Skelton

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Why investment in commercial office space is risky...

More companies are allowing their team members to work from home or remotely and adopting a "results" based approach rather than a "presence" based approach thus leading to less of a need of office space. 

With video conferencing, VOIP, smartphones and internet paperless tech these days, what is "presence" anyway? The young members of my team at Depth would argue they are just as "present" if not more via the net as they are in the office and our tech makes this possible. 

The fact is that research actually supports that people are more productive(between 9-20%), they are generally happier and far more attracted to work for companies that allow them this freedom even if only sometimes. This stands to reason with no time wasting, vibe sucking traffic or public transport for them to contend with for starters. Client satisfaction is the winner from happier team members.

Attracting and retaining great people is one of the cornerstones of success of any business. These days one of the biggest attractions to working for a company is the culture of "Freedom" they have particularly for Gen Y and Millennials. 

I am not saying you can abandon a traditional office totally but I am certain it at least doesn't need to be as big as it used to be if you embrace modern management philosophy, outsourcing and technology. A good meeting space and a hot desk environment for most companies is all you need now...and...if you really want to go one step further, you can rent space like that by the hour or for the cost of a latte at your local cafe that probably has free WiFi to boot.

Working remotely has never been easier and it will get easier still as companies learn how to train their team and foster their corporate culture and teamwork in this environment. It is possible!

So...if you are looking at investing in office space, think again. The landscape is changing fast and it isn't the investment it once was. Companies with a results based management approach won't need much office space that's if they need an office at all.

All for now,

+Brad Skelton 

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Leadership From A Dancing Guy

Check out this 3 minute YouTube clip for a great example of Leadership.

All for now,

Saturday 17 May 2014

How does global business flow now? A MUST READ if you are in business.

In this blog I have been regularly talking about global business changing rapidly and how the internet and modern transportation methods have impacted the landscape of competition for numerous industries. Distance does not matter anymore!

If your overhead structure and prices are not GLOBALLY competitive you better get your skates on and make them so before the freight train runs you over.

To say it again, regardless of international borders, overseas competitors are now able to take you and your company on at home and are doing so. 

I follow the McKinsey Global Institute and this month they released a research report with some stats that you cannot afford to ignore. 

Here they are:
-There was a $26 trillion flow of goods, services and finance in 2012 which is equivalent to 36% of global GDP.
-By 2025 it is estimated that cross border business flow will reach $85 trillion.
-Global GDP will grow by an estimated $450 billion each year.
-18x increase in internet traffic from 2005 to 2012.
-90% of commercial sellers on eBay export their goods to other countries vs 25% of traditional businesses.
-500% increase in Skype call minutes since 2008
-In 2012 China accounted for 12% of global trade in goods which was up from 2% in 1990.
-In 2012 emerging economies accounted for 38% of the total cross-border flow of goods, services and finance which was up from 14% in 1990.

These confirm the trend I have been writing about in this blog for quite some time now about how global competition is developing.

All of the businesses I am growing in Depth Industries are geared to help companies stay globally competitive by accessing the goods and services that will help them not only survive, but prosper in this landscape of truly international competition.

Time to face the brutal fact. International competition is commoditising goods and services more than ever before in history and whether you like it or not price is increasingly the driver in the decision making process.

Are you globally competitive and chasing down international markets? If not, why not?! There are some great opportunities if you are rigged the right way.

I'd like to help you develop a strategy for your business and would welcome you contacting me.

All for now,

+Brad Skelton 

Thursday 27 March 2014

Have you tuned out to advertising as well?

In this blog I have written about changes and restructuring of the way business is being done globally. Nearly every industry is being challenged in some way.

I believe advertising is no different and think that people are tuning out to traditional forms of advertising no matter what channel is delivering it. It is literally overwhelming how much our senses get assaulted by advertising these days as corporations try to be heard more loudly than their competitors.

The internet has changed the landscape. Once the power in any sales transaction rested mainly with the seller. Now the pendulum has swung and with the help of the internet and smartphones the buyer now has the power to immediately price check globally and verify facts to see which companies are telling them the truth. 

This YouTube clip illustrates perfectly why we are tuning out to traditional advertising.

Authenticity, transparency and a fair price is what earns a buyers trust, attention and spend. By the way, you don't sell anything unless there is a transfer of trust!

I also believe there is a change in consciousness of buyers and what corporate messaging and advertising they choose to listen too. And YES...this is increasingly a CHOICE and therefore further undermines the power of advertisers and big corporate. Social media is impacting this massively where customers CHOOSE to follow certain companies and brands online. Word of mouth is everything and today word of mouth is mostly online.

Even a tiny one person start company can be heard above big corporate advertising campaigns these days and frequently smaller businesses are immediately trusted more. Particularly by the Millennials who live on social media and forums for nearly all their needs.

So how can big corporate keep our attention? 

I think they need to get fair dinkum about embracing social entrepreneurial-ism and work out how they can make a difference to our community and planet. +Pepsi  is one big corporate who has done a great job of this with their Pepsi Refresh Project. In essence they diverted $20m in marketing spend toward ideas that could have a positive impact on the community. 

This not only did a lot of good, but the publicity, trust and advocacy this earned them far outstripped the return on investment they would have otherwise received through spending this money directly on more advertising noise.

All for now,

+Brad Skelton 

Tuesday 11 February 2014

How far off is the Circular Economy?

So what is a circular economy I hear you ask?

The best way to explain a circular economy is to look at our current linear economy. Our economy today is mainly driven through taking in material from the ground, manufacturing something, and ultimately that material or product, gets thrown away.While the world is progressively recycling more, with a circular economy you go further in that you design products to be regenerative. Therefore you design a car for re-manufacture, dis-assembly and de-componentisation. A circular economy allows for the materials that sit within the global economy that currently get thrown away to go back in. 
Economically this will involve everything from different financing of those products and materials to different business models. Do we sell the product...or...do people pay per use of the product or those materials for the period of time they have possession of it?
This short YouTube clip illustrates the concept nicely.

Commodity prices have been trending up for a long time and most are becoming increasingly scarce. Adopting circular economy principles radically changes the rules of production and manufacturing costs. Environmental impact would also be reduced. The gains for us all are potentially be enormous.
There are so many exciting changes happening as global competition gains more momentum. We are seeing new industries spring up and many old economy businesses fall by the wayside. For any company to have a long term future it's senior management must be scanning the horizon to ensure that they are not only competitive at home but globally competitive. 
Adoption of modern thinking such as circular economy principles will certainly be another contributor to long term viability of businesses and sustainability.
What can you do in your business to move toward this and what opportunities do you see?
All for now,

Monday 30 December 2013

Offshore outsourcing can and should be a source of innovation.

I think some people have an ill-informed view of what offshore outsourcing can do to help any business and perhaps are jaded by a poorly executed call centre experience. 

The days of only outsourcing the menial tasks are gone. The fact is that increasingly high end activities are being successfully offshored. Apart from helping you stay globally competitive it can be source of fresh thinking to gain an edge.

Offshoring R&D and innovation can have some amazing upside and some big companies such as Apple and Procter and Gamble are embracing it. Not only is it more cost effective but frequently there is greater opportunity to create and innovate from outside your company than from within it. The people on the outside are not necessarily bound by the thinking of long held ideas and dogmas of products, services, clients and markets. Furthermore different education systems and cultures create different approaches to problem solving which can lead to some major breakthroughs. The perspectives from offshore are very different and therein lies the ability to differentiate yourself from competitors.

From an internal management perspective any offshore team must be respected and treated 100% as equals to the team you have at home. They must have the same latitude to create, experiment, fail and develop ideas in a collaborative manner with the rest of the team no matter where they may be in the world. This little thing called the "Internet" makes this entirely possible.

The other aspect is that a failure of a concept developed offshore will cost you way less than the cost of a similar failure at home meaning you can afford to experiment and fail more and therefore learn more than your competitors can too!

At Depth Offshore we have some clients executing this aspect of their strategy well with a hybrid approach of team members both offshore and at home focusing and collaborating on new ideas. Currently most still keep their head of R&D at home and support this person with great people offshore but I can really see this changing as companies take a more global view of how they need to compete. For most industries you simply MUST MUST be thinking globally or pretty soon you will not be in the race.

I firmly believe that being open to external innovation is one of the keys to building a high performance business in this ever more competitive "us too" global economy.

Innovate, differentiate, get noticed or die!

All the best for a healthy, happy and prosperous 2014 and thanks for following, sharing and commenting on my blog.

+Brad Skelton 

Monday 30 September 2013

Robotics & the "OK Principle" - Two of the keys to future competitiveness.

Last Friday I attended a luncheon in Brisbane at PWC's office to meet with other mining service providers to discuss the current state of the market and best practices to grow your business in this climate.

It was unanimous that mining company expenditure in Australia is radically down and impacting most companies represented. Furthermore everyone agreed that price was the main driver of these companies in this climate and most people said their profit margins are really suffering.

What struck me was that some of the companies represented there seem to be living in hope that the market will soon improve and they will ride it out and return to pre-global financial crisis sales and profitability. I personally believe those days are gone for good and that Australian mining, like many other industries, is undergoing a transformation in a bid to be globally competitive.

So what is the transformation? There are numerous things changing rapidly however the two big ones in my view is labor and equipment costs. 

Aussie miners cannot compete globally while paying equipment operators $140k++ per annum. The reality is that equipment operators in African mines are lucky to get $1000 per month. Rio Tinto is tackling this with unmanned(robotic) Komatsu mining trucks now operating in Western Australia. The truck fleet can be operated from a control room not even situated in Australia if they wish. Rio have also moved to unmanned trains to deliver the ore to port. 

Unmanned Komatsu mining trucks
The other trend is miners are offshore outsourcing business tasks to remain competitive and importing equipment from suppliers in China, India and other countries at lower costs. At lunch I must have heard it at least 4 times where an exec complained about margin pressure due to cheaper imports and how they were trying to convince their clients about quality. Admirable and it would be nice to keep Aussies employed but WAKE UP! The quality of Chinese imports is rapidly improving so the argument about quality is just about null and void. Many of the worlds biggest equipment manufacturers now have factories in China and the quality is excellent. You know the market is currently driven by price so that is what you need to give your customers. The best price. Period! The reality is that unless Aussie suppliers either go offshore for their manufacturing or transform their factory productions lines to be completely robotic they will cease to exist. You can't swim against the tide.

It is fair to say that mining in Australia has had an incredible run of growth for a long time. A "BOOM" is what has been proclaimed. At the height of it one of my major mining equipment supplier clients told me "It's like drinking water from a fire hose and swallowing as fast we can!". The boom is over now though and my belief is that while undergoing change the market is also normalising. 

So what is normal? Pre-boom volumes and conditions. It's not their fault but many of the execs at the luncheon and their employees(many of which are still on astronomical and nonsensical salaries...which are coming back to earth) have never seen anything but boom times so they are floundering.

A sense of urgency is required for these companies to fully accept the dynamics and state of the current market and re-engineer their businesses to be able to play in it in the long term as if the current climate is the new norm. They also need to be ready for volatility as the global economy is still very sick. 

To grow and survive they will have to adopt the "OK Principle". What is that? My team are probably sick of me saying it......

"Overheads Kill!"

All for now,

+Brad Skelton 

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Offshoring - A business growth strategy.

A good offshoring strategy has become a key enabler of high growth and performance in companies that recognise that their competition is increasingly coming from overseas where cost structures are lower than at home.

We truly do have a global economy now and it is not only here to stay, but developing rapidly. The internet and modern transportation methods have largely neutralised the competitive advantage that distance and geographical reach once gave companies. Free trade agreements between countries are also changing the competitive landscape with import duties and taxes less of a concern. Now people can easily and quickly source goods and services from anywhere in the world. Therefore it's not optional anymore for your company's own prices and overheads not to be internationally competitive.
In operating Depth Offshore my team and I are helping clients relieve cost pressures by up to 75% in salaries and other expenses associated with employing people locally. In some cases it has meant that our clients business has maintained its viability and then be able to go after foreign markets themselves.
Smart operators are keeping their IP development team and top minds at home and then supporting these people with a talented offshore team to enable them to cost effectively accomplish more important and dollar productive work.

Here is a short list of some more reasons to offshore:

  • Offshoring is a business growth strategy.
  • Fend off global competition and therefore remain viable with globally competitive labour rates.
  • You can save up to 75% on salary costs and liberate working capital for business development and growth.
  • If your prices are globally competitive then you can grow your company's market internationally from home.
  • You do not have to be a huge corporation to offshore! SME’s are successfully doing this with Depth Offshore's assistance.
  • Distance doesn’t matter any more. Free and nearly free internet technology like corporate Gmail, Skype, VOIP and video conferencing makes communicating with your offshore team like they are in the same building but on different floor. Depth Offshore will help you with this.
  • Offshore to a single person or build a team.
  • Be able to afford a higher performance team at home with the savings made on support roles locally.
  • Increase productivity of your local staff by supporting them with an offshore team.
  • Handle simple, repetitive tasks through to complex technical tasks offshore. Or handle a single project offshore.
  • Flexible workforce. Scale your team size up or down rapidly and easily.
  • No long term commitments.
  • Great, well educated talent that will work your preferred business hours.
  • Hard working intelligent people with excellent English.
  • People are dedicated solely to your business so they become part of your team. +Depth Offshore does not believe in accomplishing tasks by allocating work to a pool of people.
  • Free up your office space locally and lower your capex on office furniture and equipment.
  • Far less administration required (no super to monitor, no workcover, insurance, payroll tax, FBT, vacation and sick leave administration, record keeping related to payroll, etc)
  • Access to skills and resources that might not be currently available internally. Nearly any task can be outsourced.
  • Outsource more menial/repetitive tasks to allow you to focus on the more important aspects of your business.
  • Assign tasks to be completed overnight and ready for you to keep going the next day.
  • Don’t have to worry about onerous employment laws and regulations. If a resource is no longer needed, or required for less time, the service is flexible.
  • Faster turnaround time on some tasks as hours and days worked offshore are generally longer than most western countries.
  • Good confidentiality and IP protection.
  • One monthly fee that covers everything including office equipment. No additional charges or costs for superannuation, insurance or other benefits to pay and administer.

All types of work can be successfully offshored from menial tasks through to highly technical work where special skills, experience and qualifications are needed. We have helped our clients get offshore support from clerks through to mechanical engineers, CPA accountants, graphic designers and top notch computer programmers. There are so many tasks that can be offshored these days with phone and internet technology coming so far.

In my own country, Australia, politicians seem to think they can keep placing more and more responsibility and cost on employers and magically businesses can absorb this. Well they can't and many SME's are groaning under the strain! What our governments are actually doing is making it harder and more expensive to employ people locally and thus making Aussie companies unable to compete internationally.

A classic example of this is payroll tax. In Australia, if you manage to grow your business and employ more people then you get hit with a tax for doing this. Companies actually have to pay a tax calculated on the annual salary expense.

What incentive does this give companies to employ more people locally?

All for now,

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Competing with Bustin Jieber

The rules of business as we have known them until now are being changed rapidly. The old models of a post industrialised world in numerous industries are being tipped on their head and rendered virtually useless by digitisation.

New economy businesses are leveraging digital and virtual platforms, different employment models to strip out overheads, infrastructure and the need for large capital investment. With digital platforms even a one person enterprise can competitively take on huge corporations and destroy their business model. It is no longer about how many offices and locations you have, how many people you employ or the size of your capital reserves. The internet is spawning a new breed of customers who have virtually no loyalty in "old school" terms because they can go to another competitor with one "click" and get what they need.

The new emerging generation of young entrepreneurs have a completely different mindset. They have grown up in an environment where, via the internet, they can access all types of services, groups and information for free or nearly free. Downloading apps/games, solving problems and accomplishing things for FREE in so many aspects of their life is their expectation. They also expect to get what they want NOW because more than ever before in human history they can. FREE and NOW is their default mindset and not only are they the entrepreneurs of the future they are also the customers of the future so we better be pleasing them.

They don't believe in intellectual property rights, confidentiality, corporate structures, boards of directors, business rules and regulations or even borders between countries. They don't need them. Nor do they believe in personal privacy. Their view of the world is put it all out there and grow the collective intelligence of their generation through sharing and collaboration. This is a massive contradiction to traditional business thinking.

Such a young entrepreneur on the rise is Thomas Suarez who is now about 14 years old. Check out the presentation he gave to +TEDx when he was 12.

He is a perfect example of the type of competitive force that I am talking about. If you are old school you will probably be thinking..."So what?! He writes games apps about Justin Bieber. I don't need to worry about him". Well you do!! The lessons and breakthroughs he and others like him are inexpensively gaining building fun apps helps them refine their approach to be able to attack traditional business models. If an app he writes fails then it doesn't matter as it has only cost him his time and his parents 99 bucks. A cheap education in my book!

Thomas is selling his Bustin Jieber app for 99 cents a download and it has gone completely viral. As he said he taught himself how to build the app and used a FREE software development kit to do it. Then for just $99 he is in the game competing against other huge multimedia companies putting enormous investment into finding the next killer app. Can you imagine the rate of return on that investment? Astronomical and enough to make the directors of an old school company weep.

You cannot underestimate that globally there are tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of developers and people out there right now doing exactly the same thing. There is bound to be at least a few of them thinking about your industry or business model and how they can change it, better it and ultimately defeat you.

James McQuivey and his thinking on this subject has been very influential in my own business approach. I credit him for some of the ideas in this blog and I strongly suggest you check out his work. 

All for now, 

+Brad Skelton 

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Gigonomics - The gig economy is here to stay

The global financial crisis has been the catalyst to more change in economies and the traditional way business has operated than any other single event I know of.

The reality is the market forces of globalised competition and margin pressure on companies has meant that a significant re-engineering is quietly going on. Volatility in business is now the new norm. To cope with this businesses must stay more flexible and agile than ever to manage to ride the waves successfully.

Sadly I think the days of a full time work force are numbered as this model just doesn't allow companies to compete effectively. Companies have been forced to evolve and keep costs tight by adopting "Gigonomics" and a part time/casual work force.

Gigonomics is a rapidly growing phenomenon whereby workers don't have jobs as much anymore but instead have a number of gigs with different companies to essentially derive an income equivalent to what would have once been a full time salary. Much like a rock band that relies upon stringing one gig after the other to get by. It is forecast that within ten years up to 50% of any company's team will be gigonomes.

Gigonomes are mostly contractors and consultants. They are currently mostly professionals or technical people but the trend is organically spreading into all types of roles. This group of people actually choose to work harder and frequently earn more than a traditional full time role would have typically once paid them.

Unlike their parents who are more used to the previously more secure corporate structures of 70's an 80's, Gen Y wants the freedom and are pretty comfortable with the gigonomics concept. For companies this helps them keep operating costs down and makes them more globally competitive. 

It will be a driver of innovation and the traditional foundations stones of big business weighed down with big overheads that prevent them from moving quickly will soon start to be shaken by the growing numbers gigonomes and freelancers out-maneuvering them.

Gigonomics is a win for companies and a win for the modern worker that is willing to back themselves and is here to stay.

All for now,

+Brad Skelton 

Sunday 12 May 2013

So you want to be a high performer?

The high achievers in business, the arts, sport, family life or any other pursuit realise the value of one important commodity ahead of all others.

This is a commodity that nobody gets more or less of than anybody else and it is free to us all.

I am talking about "Time".

We all get 168 hours per week so how is it that some people achieve more than others in any given week, month, year or lifetime? The person that gets the best results almost always is using time more effectively than anybody else. In other words they invest more in the time they have available and invest with greater intensity. 

So how do they do that?

Firstly...they know time is precious and finite for us all so they rarely waste it on trivial things. Once that time is gone or that moment passes it doesn't come back again so they make the most of it right there and then.

High achievers are nearly always very effective at delegation because they know by doing this they can invest more time into their top priorities. In other words...to be a high performer they must outsource the small stuff to open more time to focus on the big stuff. It's not optional.

The same goes for business. In any given week if your team has more time to focus on the companies biggest goals then it stands to reason you will beat your competitors and be more successful. Although it's become a bit of cliche I firmly believe that you shouldn't sweat the small stuff. Outsource it cost effectively so your team is focused on more important and dollar productive activity.

I am not advocating you become a complete workaholic. You still need to rest to rejuvenate yourself. It's just about finding the balance of rest (not laziness) versus work so you can perform at your best in the time you create. Top athletes and even race horses need to be rested so they can go harder when it counts. We are no different.

Pressure makes diamonds so I believe in creating this pressure by pushing yourself outside your comfort zone continually.

All for now,

+Brad Skelton 

Monday 18 April 2011

Check out JUMPSHIFT !

(You are getting this note because you subscribed to The Shipping Blokes Blog by Brad Skelton)

One of my friends and mentors, Alan Anderson, has just co-authored a book with Michael Sherlock who was one of the founders of Brumby's in Australia. The book is called "JUMPSHIFT" and it is packed with ideas, tools and resources to help any business owner or manager create alignment and direction for their business and team.

I particularly love their ideas about staff members who have what they call "the owners eye". By this they mean people that approach every aspect of their role with the company in the same manner as if they owned the business themselves. Alan and Michael contend that these are the people you really need to reward very well and promote and retain.

I wholeheartedly agree and reading the book prompted me to think about who on my team has "the owners eye". Then I asked myself "Am I looking after them well enough?". To be blunt, those that don't have the owners eye, can go down the road to our competitors if they like and become their problem. They are usually the same team members that you constantly have to ride to comply our customer service standards and company procedures anyway thus taking up precious manangement time and energy. The team members that have it, I am making sure that they know they are sincerely appreciated and valued. Those people are like part of the family almost. JUMPSHIFT has reminded me that having and developing the right team and a high performance culture is EVERYTHING.

This is one example of the type of thinking and great experience that Alan and Michael share. All of their ideas can be easily and quickly applied by anyone.

JUMPSHIFT is a fun, light and informative read.  You can order JUMPSHIFT direct from their website HERE . Alan and Michael are also supporters of Care Australia so $2 from the sale of each book goes to this wonderful charity and serves as a testament to the good blokes that they both are.

If you would like to be personally connected to the authors then leave a comment on this blog and I am sure they will respond.

All for now,
Brad Skelton
The Shipping Bloke

Thursday 15 April 2010

The Generosity Gene.

(You are getting this note because you subscribed to The Shipping Blokes Blog by Brad Skelton)

I am fortunate to have some incredible friends in Naomi and Peter Simson who founded RedBalloon. Their company is easily the largest online supplier of experienced based gifts. More on RedBallon.

Naomi is a marketing genius, a former Telstra Businesswoman of the year, a Mum and one of the most innovative and out of the box business thinkers I have ever known.

She has recently had the great honour of being invited to speak at a TEDx event in Sydney. Tedx is invites some of the worlds greatest minds in their respective fields to do presentations which are recorded and then uploaded to the net. The thrust of Tedx is to capture amazing ideas and spread them.

So while Naomi's presentation, "The Generosity Gene", has nothing at all to do with shipping, I thought I'd share it with you. I hope you find it as thought provoking and enjoyable as I did.

Congratulations Naomi!

Click here to "The Generosity Gene".

All for now.

Brad Skelton

The Shipping Bloke

Sunday 22 November 2009

Reassuringly Expensive.

I caught up with a few good mates of mine for a few beers recently who all run their own businesses in diverse industries. I consider these blokes very business enlightened and I really enjoy drawing on their collective knowledge and experience.

We were talking about the large number of requests for tender we are getting across our desks lately, particularly since the GFC kicked it, and the pros and cons of tendering for new business versus the business that comes to you through marketing efforts or exisiting customer referrals.

While we agreed we all generally have won more tenders than we have probably lost, the time and effort invested in them is absolutely massive and sometimes makes you question the commercial sensibility of participating in the exhaustive processes that some companies want to run.

My experience suggests that decisions are driven nearly always by three factors. Namely: PRICE, PRICE and PRICE.

Sure the tender always says that quality of service, expertise, safety record blah blah blah will be prime considerations in the decision making process however when we win tenders and sit down with our new client we are usually told "Congratulations. You had the cheapest price".

It's the classic business paradox of price versus service. It is pysically impossible in most industry's to be the cheapest and also the best. The two are diametrically opposed to each other and to delivering your business it's imperative. A profit!

After about the fourth or maybe fifth beer, one of the guys said in his own business he always looks for the "Reassuringly Expensive" option ahead of the cheapest option and he would usually go with this as this is where the reliability and professionalism is usually found. I have to agree. You really do get what you pay for.

So for me even in tighter times, like my mate, I will usually go with the "Reassuringly Expensive" supplier who will be there for me in the long run with a consistently good quality product or service. Hence the reassurance I feel in making this decision.

Whether you are a builder, a lawyer or a candlestick maker....nearly all industries have become commoditised in someway so there will always be someone promising to do it cheaper and better and more willing to lose money than you to land the deal. Now with the internet and the plethora of companies trying to get noticed, "FREE" is the catch cry of the net. Where to from there? Well you don't go broke on the deals you miss out on so "Let them go" I say. These companies just won't be there at the finish line.

Do you remember the scene from the movie "Armageddon" with Bruce Willis and Steve Buscemi about the lowest bidder? If you are in the process of sending out a tender for new suppliers then I'll let the boys have the final word.
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All for now.
Brad Skelton
The Shipping Bloke