business help

005 - Treat your customers well

005 - Mainbreak.jpeg

If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.

Several years ago I had dealings with a business that delivered a service to thousand’s of customers each day.

This was a highly transactional business involving a service that was necessary but not exciting, and there was little focus on building relationships.

This lack of engagement from the supplier should have been the first warning sign.

The other indicator of concern was the pricing adjustment mechanisms used.

Upon commencement, new customers would be given a very low rate, but over time, these rates would be driven up through a bulk price-increase mechanism; sometimes multiple times in a 12 month period; and always accompanied by an impersonal letter that delivered a series of vague reasons behind the increase.

The reality was that these blanket price increases were rolled out when the business thought they could get away with it – there was little-to-no link to real cost increases being incurred, or any other legitimate reason for the prices rises.

The price changes were a simple profit-grab and were delivered in such a way, that before the customers knew it, they were paying exorbitant, inflated rates.

Most customers simply accepted these increases - some pushed back - but the Terms and Conditions (T&C’s) in the service contract were watertight, so most customers stayed under duress. 

However, those that really pushed back had the increases waived regularly.

As a result, there were long-term loyal customers on hugely inflated rates; and clients with zero loyalty continued to enjoy low entry-level rates.

The vast majority of customers were small/medium sized, owner-operators, who were highly stressed and time poor.

This was not right.

Treat your customers well – enjoy the interactions and relationships with them - and I guarantee the long-term benefits will outweigh the short-term profits obtained through a structure where mutual respect or a fair exchange is lacking.

Cheers

Garrick

If you need help with your business or have a question, please check out www.mainbreak.co or reach me at garrick@mainbreak.co

002 - Funding my business - do I bootstrap, borrow, crowd-fund, sell equity - or is there another way?

IMG_1904.JPG

Questions (and challenges!) around funding are common, and are often the biggest obstacle someone with a great business idea will face. We can borrow money from friends or family; borrow from a formal lender; crowd-fund; bootstrap (ie. fund) the business ourselves; sell equity (ie. a part or % of our business) - or we can get creative.

A good friend of mine had a great business idea, but was cash poor.

He'd found a product; negotiated pricing; created a wonderful brand; and built a website, along with a 1000 other tasks required to get his idea up and running.

Supporting a young family with two children, paying a mortgage, and living of an average salary whilst staring up his new venture meant that the business struggled to grow and take full advantage of opportunities that were coming its way.

He funded it himself to start with, then sold some equity in order to buy stock, however still couldn't quite get the cashflow and inventory to a point that would allow the business to take off.

Borrowing wasn't an option (at least not from a traditional lender), as the business was required to have 2 years of full financials before it would be considered for an overdraft or loan, which is a very common, and very frustrating reality for many small businesses.

As a result, the business lived hand-to-mouth. There were generous and heart-felt offers of loans from family and friends - but as is so often the case, the Founder still had doubts (mainly self-doubts which are extremely common), even though from every angle the brand and business he was building looked solid and a sure-thing.

A funding option that would be both effective and acceptable to the business owner seemed to not exist.

Then came an opportunity out of left-field, and one the founder hadn't necessarily expected, as it wasn't the normal way a new, small business finds the cash it needs to grow.  

A business associate in a similar market was launching a new venture, however had some shortcomings in terms of skills and experience with online marketing, e-commerce and social media.  On the other hand, he had a depth of experience in retail, stock management, and had access to funds.

There was the ability for one business to make up what the other business lacked, and so a partnership was formed.

We cant be good at everything - and so whilst not the most obvious way to fund a business, by finding a business partner with the right needs, structure, culture, experience and fit, a great outcome is being enjoyed by both.

Funding a business can be achieved through a variety of mechanisms and structures - just make sure you are realistic about the pros and cons of each method - and stay open to ways to achieve your desired outcome that you may not have thought of.

If you need help with your business or have a question, please check out www.mainbreak.co or reach me at garrick@mainbreak.co

Cheers

Garrick

001 - Why start a business?

001 - Mainbreak.jpeg

Running a business is hard but rewarding work.  

There is a heap of challenges, victories, defeats, and indecision along the way.  

Creating something from scratch, or something from nothing is lonely, and often all you need is a bit of help in making a decision; suggesting the next step; or reinforcing what you've already done, in order for you to keep up the momentum and push on.

Mainbreak's purpose is to help businesses achieve their goals - however big or small they may be.

We want to see businesses become successful and profitable - but not at the expense of all else including, lifestyle, health, relationships or happiness.

Businesses take many forms - private; public; large; small; family-run; franchised; goods focused; services focused; start-up; or established.

Businesses face challenges including competition, succession planning, cash flow, economic changes, environmental changes, technological changes, supply issues, pricing decisions and cost increases.  

The list goes on - but inevitably someone somewhere has faced the same issue and overcome it through the application of knowledge, tools, experience, and a desire to keep their business moving forward.

We look forward to helping you with the challenges and sharing in your successes.

If you need help with your business or have a question, please check out www.mainbreak.co or reach me at garrick@mainbreak.co

Cheers

Garrick