We often hear of people in 9 - 5 jobs talking about how they would love to be in a position to give that life up to pursue entrepreneurship and start their own business. The most common reason appears to be this desire for freedom. Freedom from answering to someone else, namely a boss, freedom from the daily commutes, freedom from working 9-5 each day with only weekends off and 4 weeks annual leave each year.
I find this perspective quite interesting because from a business owners perspective this is not always the case, in fact it can be far from reality for many small business owners. But why is this the case?
I feel it's because many inexperienced entrepreneurs either start-up or purchase businesses without exploring the different models of businesses available in the market and the pros and cons of each.
When purchasing a business we really need to look at the growth potential of the business. Much like purchasing an investment property. If there is little chance of that investment property either growing in capital value or cash flow, then why purchase it? The same applies when purchasing a business. This is where potential purchasers of businesses and property make the mistake of getting emotionally involved in their purchase.
When purchasing or starting a business, it's important to look at your business model as this will ultimately determine where you can take the business and whether the business may one day offer you the freedom that you dreamt of.
In recent years business models have changed dramatically, due mainly to the internet and constant changes in technology. These changes are hugely impacting older business models that have been slow to adjust. Examples include brick and mortar retail businesses. Online sales are growing exponentially from one year to the next having a huge impact on their brick and mortar counterparts. Think of brands such as Whitcoulls, Borders and Paper Plus. Some of these brands have disappeared completely from the retail scene over the last 5-7 years. With the global expansion of mega online businesses like Amazon, we are going to witness many more retail brands disappear from the landscape unless they quickly adjust their business models.
Businesses need to constantly re-assess their model, their customer base and what competitors are doing. One example of a well known brand who does this well is fashion store Country Road who built it's brand on classic styles and quality goods aimed for a customer base of middle aged men and women, however, as their customer base aged, they didn't want to lose these customers so set up a separate brand called Trenery which is aimed at the 50-70 year old market. By doing this they retained many of their older customers and were able to focus on attracting a younger age group of customers to their Country Road brand.
Another example includes the hospitality sector which has been shaken up considerably since the inception of Airbnb as has the taxi industry since Uber and Lyft found a customer base who were quick to see the benefits of share riding.
I believe that smaller businesses hold one major advantage over their larger counterparts as they are generally not bound by having to consult boards of directors and key stakeholders such as shareholders and investors before making decisions which could change a businesses direction and ultimately avoid unsustainable losses. When I think of a large corporation such as Kodak which for many years held the major market share for film processing, but were too comfortable in their position as market leaders to even acknowledge the technological advances that were being made in the area of digital cameras and the impact this would have on their profitability as a company. Their demise is probably one of the most enlightening examples of a large company which was too slow to adjust to a changing market.
If there is one piece of advice I can share with business owners today, it would be that you avoid complacency at all costs and carry out an audit of your business plan on a six monthly basis. Check that your business model is still the best for your business. What are your customers doing? What are your competitors doing? What other key partnerships or alliances can you form to further strengthen your business and what changes have occurred in your cost structure since you last checked your plan?
If you want a good resume/cv writing resource or guide then please take advantage of my offer. I'm making my e-book "The Winning Resume" free to everyone on my networks this weekend. Please feel free to share this offer with your friends and family. It will be available free through Amazon from the 5th till the 7th November.
For quick access, go to my Resources page on this website and click on the image of my book. That should take you directly to the book on Amazon. Just make sure it is showing as FREE before you click to purchase. If you like the book and have a few spare minutes to write a quick review, then that would really make my day.
Thanks from Barry
It wasn't too long ago when building a website was an expensive process. You needed to know web design or even worse one of the many programing languages such as HTML, CSS or a range of others just to be able to create your own website. Times have changed and DIY website building platforms are now a common commodity within the internet space.
For those who have worked with me or know me well, I know you will all agree that technology has always been my nemesis. I often resisted the need for using technology such as smart phones and even VCR devices, but eventually realised that I couldn't afford to remain tech illiterate.
Roughly two years ago, I decided I needed a website, but actually wanted to build it myself. I researched several DIY website building platforms and after reading several reviews decided to use Weebly's platform for the main reason being that it was deemed by many to be the easiest to use.
If you have ever dreamt of writing a book, now is the time to make your dream a reality. Times have changed and with self publishing readily available to anyone, many of the obstacles facing would be writers have disappeared.
I wrote my first book " The Winning Resume" over a period of 6-9 months from memory, however, it could have been completed in a much shorter time span as I lost focus part way during the project.
The secret to getting a book written is to treat it as a project then assign so much time each week to working on the book until you have your end product.
I want to talk today about feeling lost. I feel that a lot of young people today get so wound up about not knowing where they are heading or feeling that their lives are passing by and they haven't yet made progress towards developing a career.
During my recent trip to Thailand, I often got lost and it was the best experience. I found that by getting lost, I stumbled across things that I would not have found if I had planned each day. This is the same in life. Opportunities come along to those who are prepared to get out of their comfort zone, to explore new territories, to try new things, to learn new skills, to read new books, to meet new people.
If you have never used Airbnb as an accommodation provider, you really are missing out on some great experiences. I recently enjoyed a one month backpacking trip to Thailand. I booked 27 of my 29 nights of accommodation through Airbnb before I set off for my trip, leaving two nights free so that I could enjoy a bit of flexibility with regards to my travel plans.
This photo was taken on my last day in Thailand where I spent three nights at an apartment which I booked through Airbnb. The lady next to me is Natty. She was one of a small team of locals employed to help run this block of apartments which are hired out to travellers and foreigners, some of whom were long stay guests working locally.
I have just returned from a backpacking adventure through Thailand. My first time ever travelling by myself.
I really struggled during my first week away as I found it so strange being on my own. Eating out at a restaurant, arriving back at my room in the evenings and having no one to discuss your day with. It was hard when I have always had people around me, whether they were my kids or my partner.
1. Feeling constantly unhappy with our life, nothing seems to fulfil us. This points to a life totally out of sync with our values. It seems obvious but so many people live this type of existence either because they cannot see a way out, or they are living a life of habit and have forgotten what it feels like to live a life of purpose. This is a common situation for people who have gotten into a rut either through their work life , relationships or living situation.
There are a lot of statistics floating around that suggest up to 80 percent of the workforce are unhappy in their work, but if you look at society as a whole, especially in westernised countries, I'm sure that you will find high numbers of populations unhappy with their lives in general. Why is this?
I believe that for many, it's because our lives are not in sync with our true values. We live in a time when consumerism is rife. Many of us are stuck in jobs that we don't like just so that we can pay the bills and keep on buying stuff that we really don't need. We often learn this style of living from our parents or just fall into it after graduating from college or university and soon it becomes a habit.
What if we were taught how to live an intentional life as an alternative to cruising along on auto pilot? Living an intentional or purposeful life means living by our values and not everyone else's.
It's been over two weeks since writing my last blog post, I've been aware that I needed to write something, but nothing really come to mind, however, I have had discussions with people over the last two weeks which have left me pondering about life, career choices and how important it is to know our values so that we can design our lives around them.
A year ago I was lucky enough to be introduced to a woman who has spent the last 22 years travelling the world, often on private yachts working as a personal chef for royalty and billionaires. She has been lucky enough to lead a life which encompassed her passion for travel, adventure, food and people.
I found her story to be very inspirational and I feel many others will too. I think many of us dream to live a life that encompasses our passions but what happens to most of us is we get sucked in by mainstream ideas.
This has happened to me throughout my life. I remember I went and bought a tape player and radio with my first pay packet with the New Zealand Post Office, purchased my first car at 16 years of age, a better car at 17 years of age, my first house at 23 years of age, got married at 24 years of age, had six kids by the time I was 30. I joined the Police Force as a 19 year old thinking that that would be my career probably till I retired at 65 years of age.
I have learnt a lot since then. I wouldn't swap my nine kids for anything, but I so wish I had sat down before receiving that first pay packet, or taking out my first mortgage and taken the time to consider what I really wanted to do with my life.
Rather than living a life of habit, a life that mirrored mainstream thinking and consumerism, I wish I had worked out what my values were. I see many others doing the same things, spending their hard earned money on more clothes, a nicer lounge suite, a better car, a nice house.
I have found through experience that none of this makes us any happier. What will make us happier though is living an intentional or purposeful life based on our values. Values such as health, relationships with people important to us, connecting with nature, doing satisfying work, having a sense of purpose, having an abundance of personal time and opportunity to express our creativity. Matters of the heart, rather than possesions of wealth.
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