Posts Tagged ‘Recession’

Tips and Tales from the Brads (Brad Sugars & Brad Rosser) PART 1

April 17, 2009

I’ve recently attended two business talks from Brad Sugars and Brad Rosser. They are both from Australia and run business coaching companies. Their talks were entertaining and contained some golden nuggets of advice:

Brad Sugars

Brad Sugars is a charismatic man and a wonderful story teller. He had the audience in stitches. To get his message over Brad told many amusing tales his farming origins, family life and helping small businesses to grow. His claim to fame is having retired at 24 and then again at 30 after achieving great  success.

crocodile_dundeePaul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee), Not Brad Sugars,
but there are some strong similarities

Brad’s secret ingredient to wealth is to “sell something many times”, “if someone else can do the work with your company get them to do it” and use then entire sales funnel to get results. Brad’s talk was on How to Succeed in a Recession! He sees the downturn as an opportunity as do I. Here’s what he had to said:

  1. Strategy (Have one!) – A very good point as many business don’t seem to have one.
  2. Know your numbers – Rachel Elnaugh also said this at her talk
  3. Cuts, make them but don’t cut the people – Simultaneously they are  biggest cost and greatest asset. Good people are hard to find so keep them.
  4. Retain, Keep the Grade A & B good customers and sack the D customers –  Tim Ferris talks about firing the 80% of the customers who only produce 20% of the profits (point 10). I love the 80/20’s rules!
  5. Advertise – There are great deals to be had out there – Now is the time to be brave and spend! Your competitors probably aren’t.
  6. Give stuff away, to entice potential customers in –  Free works (if done right i.e. have a strategy)
  7. Add value, Treat customers special – Customer service is king
  8. Stop discounting! – The impact goes straight to the bottom line
  9. Close door sales – time limited offers
  10. Recruit, good new staff – Now is a good time find ‘cheap talent’
  11. Learn to train, Staff and yourself –  We all should be doing this anyway. Brad seems very keen on learning. He boasted that he’d read over 1400 books in his lifetime.
  12. Invest – Now is the time to buy – Brad believes a good business should save funds during the buoyant economic  times (Summer) and invest during the inevitable downturns (Winter) when prices are low. However I believe this Winter is going to last and be deeper than the usual economic winter.
  13. Be different,  Or you will only compete on price – Excellent point.
  14. Have fun – Easy to forget sometimes.
  15. Get a coach – Here comes the sales close – Hold onto your cheque book 😉
  16. Under promise and over delivery 🙂 – Great customer service again.

I highly recommend Brad Sugars talks for the entertainment value if nothing else. He’ll be back in the UK next year after building his new house in Las Vagas. As I said he is a character.

Advertisements

A Big THANK YOU :)

April 2, 2009

I would like to Thank all my readers for an amazing two months growth on this blog. I must be writing things people want to hear.

nickpoint-march-09-blog-stats

I bet any startup would kill for a sales graph like this during the recession. Oh look, here’s a SaaS (Software-As-A-Service) providers sales revenues with major growth in the current recession:

xero-customer-growth-march-2009

The results of a recent survey from Gartner shows that almost 90% of organizations expect to maintain or grow their usage of SaaS.

gartner-saas

Click her for a free copy of the report. Our startup Aware Monitoring is definitely in the right market 🙂

Is Greed still good on Wall Street Gordon Gecko?

January 16, 2009

I recently commented on Don Dodge’s blog post because Don is bestowing the virtues of Greed. In response I said:

“it seems to me that greed and selfishness is at the route of the current downturn. Like fear greed also has its downsides. Too much greed becomes destructive. The Bernard Madoff is a good case in point.”

To which Don responded in agreement, saying:

“It is hard for a confirmed capitalist that believes in free enterprise to admit this…but, you are right, greed has gotten totally out of control. The sub-prime mortgage crisis, the Wall Street derivative / credit swap mess, the Madoff ponzi scheme fraud, all driven by uncontrolled greed. I have never been a fan of regulation, but these cases certainly point out why there must be regulation and oversight on certain sectors. Sad but true”

gekko-fortune1

Like many things in life greed, fear, etc left unchecked can create imbalance. The very thing that motivated us can become destructive. We have  known the perils of greed for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Yet history repeats itself.

greedsevendeadlysins
Avaritia (Greed), 1558 by Pieter van der Heyden after Pieter Bruegel the Elder. A landscape depicinting the consequences of greed.

“Scraping Avarice sees neither honor nor courtesy, shame nor divine admonition.”

Today the greedy Bankers in London and New York don’t seem to be showing much shame. The University where I studied my MBA has a very strong focus on CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and business ethics. Unfortunately it seems to me many businesses often only pay lip service to CSR and some business leaders have very few ethics. Is the caricature Gorden Gecko right when he says greed is in our nature:

“Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms — greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge — has marked the upward surge of mankind.”

I know it’s only a film but art often mimics life. The Enterprise 2.0 blogger Susan Scrupski recently said of Generation X “Our narcissism is our legacy.” I think the problem of greed maybe more fundamental than just one generation. The question is what we and our next generation do about how much greed drives the future?

My other Banking crisis related posts: 

  • Laughing at the Bankers expense
  • Christmas nightmare on Wall Street
  • 5 career alternatives for start-up founders during the recession

    December 18, 2008

    I remember the recession in the late 80’s all too well when I got kicked out of my first tech job. Now I can’t be made redundant because I own the company. However, we’ve formed our tech start-up just as the recession is getting hold. Hummm, that’s either great or lousy timing.

    old-boot-rodeo
    Are you as tough as old boots?

    Some think it’s bad to start now. However many start-up founders including Kevin Rose; Bob Warfeild and Ross Mayfeild say it’s great timing. However the VC’s ain’t quite so positive. The debate and uncertainly goes on and on. I beleive there are five career alternatives for founders like me with new or very early stage start-ups:

    1. Do nothing.. Pretend it’s not happening. Bury your head in the sand. Problem is that your current product may not have any demand. By following the same plan you could be throwing your hard earned savings away.

    2. Bail-out and go back to work?The trouble is the everyone else is looking for a job and anyway you have turned your back on working for someone else. Plus if you are in sales and marketing, as in my case, it will take a long time to reastablish yourself and by then the recession will probably be over.

    3. Bail-out and go on a very long holiday vacation?That sounds nice but it won’t pay the bills and probably will cost alot unless you live in Goa (India) on a few rupee’s a day. Anyway I’ve done that before for a year on a round the world ticket. Today its not an option as I’ve got kids. Plus I’d be bored after a couple of months.

    4. Bail-out and give up? Mike Michalowicz wrote a great post on the difference between quiting and failing. So, don’t quit before you have even really tried. Business is still being done out there, it’s just the focus of needs is changing.

    5. Stick with it!Yes it’s going to be emotionally tough but it was anyway. Yes your money is going to have to last longer and the VC’s will be hard to convince. And yes the prospects are all going to say NO! However if you have got the right product at the right time with the right prospect they will say YES. I think now is not the time to panic but to see this as an opportunity. Change means opportunity and boy this looks like its going to rain with new opportunities if you look for them.

    There is lots of good advice around including Ryan Carson on how to recession-proof yourself and Techcrunch’s The First-Time CEO’s Recession Survival Guide. There is even a new community website for new start-ups in the recession. Now that’s an entrepreneurial idea.

    Paul Graham believes its the quaility of the founders that really counts, recession or not. As the saying goes – ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’.