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Braddon Business Blog

A defining characteristic of business in north west Tasmania (including King Island) is that almost 90% of businesses in the region employ under 10 people. If small business is the backbone of Tasmania’s northwest coast economy, then small business operators are its intelligence and life blood.

To succeed as an operator of a small business, either an existing business or a new one, you need to cover many bases – both in the marketplace with customers and in the management of your business. In this series of business management articles, local management consultant and business adviser, Warren Moore, will focus on those aspects most critical to the successful operation of your business – these are the bits you’ve got to get right!

Warren is the principal consultant and owner of Moore Consulting, a management consulting and business advisory firm based in Burnie. Warren graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Economics from the University of Tasmania in 1977, achieved a Diploma of Education in 1978 and in 1995 Warren graduated with a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Tasmania. Warren has worked as a secondary school teacher, business development manager and a public accountant.  He has operated his own business as a consultant since 1998.

Strategic Planning vs Business Planning

For those of us in business we usually have a clear idea of the terminology associated with our core business. Most of us have been asked at some time to prepare a Business Plan for their business. This could be requested by the bank as part of a loan application; by the purchaser of a business in a sale situation or as part of a grant application. It could be a strategic plan, a business plan or even a corporate plan. Most people don’t know the difference – even those people who ask for the plan to be prepared! If you...
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Identifying and Managing Risk

This article sets out the major tasks involved with risk management. Managing risk is a three-stage process involving; Risk Identification Assessing the impact of the risk Identifying strategies to manage the risk Stage One: Risk Identification The easiest way to identify the major risks a business faces is to firstly, undertake an analysis of the strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threat (SWOT) relevant to your business. This means identifying firstly, the strengths and weaknesses of your business. These are factors in your business that you have control over. Strengths might include a good location, positive cash assets, well-trained staff, and a good reputation. Weaknesses may include...
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Managing People

Many business owners I work with to improve the operation of their business’s performance commence the engagement by explaining to me that their problems would be solved if they only had a particular piece of equipment or an extra $10,000 in the bank. With these assets, they could then supply more products or services, sell them to their customers – and all their problems would be over! In almost all cases, buying additional equipment or borrowing extra funds would ensure the business owner goes broke and the next time we read about them is in the TCS Trade Gazette. As we...
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Using Professional Advisers

People who own and/or operate small businesses still need to cover the same range of business related skills as larger businesses. The difference between small businesses and larger ones however, is that in smaller businesses the owner/operator usually is required to provide most of the business skills himself - larger businesses may be able to have dedicated staff to cover specialist skills. Specialist business skills include those relating to accounting, law and compliance, investment and financial planning, engineering, architecture, advertising, land-use planning, computing and so on. As you can see, it is impossible for the owner/operator of small businesses to expect...
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What is Marketing?

Most people view marketing as selling and advertising. We often think of marketers as people in checked jackets, flashy shoes and always saying ‘Have I got a deal for you!’ Those who know about marketing know that it is much broader than this and involves identifying potential customers, understanding their requirements and developing ways to satisfy customers in a profitable way. Understand Your Customers After many years of assisting people in starting up a new business or growing an existing business, the single, most glaring failure by business operators is not knowing who their customers are and, what their customers require. Without...
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Negotiation in Business

One of the key skills needed by operators of small businesses is negotiation. Negotiation is something we do everyday – sometimes successfully sometimes not, often spontaneously and sometimes planned. As operators of small businesses, we are negotiating with suppliers, customers, employees, competitors and government – just to name a few. There are three basic rules for successful, win-win negotiating: Keep the range of issues to be included in the negotiation as broad as possible. Narrowing the negotiation to one issue often means that someone is going to lose. Get to know the other person over and above their business or the deal being...
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Managing the Skills Shortage

Many small business operators are experiencing rapid growth in activity but finding it difficult to respond to the buoyant economic circumstances due to a lack of access to skilled staff. Although this issue is more acute at the moment, in most businesses it is not new – good people have always been hard to find. The current positive economic conditions have lead to a tightening of the labour market with the lowest unemployment levels for 30 years. Smart operators have realized that the skills shortage issue has shift from “where can I get additional labour from”, to “how can I keep...
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Time Management

For those of us running small businesses, there never seems to be enough time; not enough time for working on our business, let alone time for our families, our friends and ourselves. Having operated my own small business for the past 25 years, I have come to realise that even if I worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, there would still be things I could do to improve my business - its profitability and its value. So management of time becomes less of a matter of finding enough time to do all the work and more a matter of...
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Business Planning

Despite the fact that this month’s column is about ‘Business Planning”, don’t be disappointed when you discover that I’m not going to give you a blow by blow description of how to write a business plan, what information to include in it and how to make it look pretty. If that’s what you want, there are text books galore, software packages and workshops available, as well as an abundance of web sites (complete with templates) that can assist you in that regard (and practically do the plan for you). Writing a business plan isn’t everybody’s idea of fun and as such,...
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Decision Making

When operating a business we are constantly required to generate solutions to problems that threaten the smooth running and viability of our business. As the owner and/or manager of your business, you need to determine your role in the process of working out; what the problem is; whose problem it is (invariably yours); and what is the best way of solving the problem. The manager/owner usually has a choice of three roles when solving problems. These are: Arbitrator: You make the final decision Mediator: An emphasis on negotiation and identifying compromises Facilitator: A focus on understanding issues and identifying solutions The following table summarises the features...
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Succession Planning

The issue of succession planning, or how am I going to get out of this business, to my advantage, is continuing to be a challenge for operators of small to medium enterprises throughout Australia. Research by KPMG indicates that 70% of small business operators want a succession plan but don’t have one. This situation is compounded by the fact that, due to the preponderance of baby boomers in the current population, 50% of small business operators are likely to want to retire within the next ten years. The succession planning issue is of greater importance to the north west coast of...
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Leadership and Management in Business

Continuing our discussion regarding the operation of small businesses leads us to the role of leadership and management. Many people see these as one and the same. However, nothing can be further from the truth. The confusion often occurs because operators of small businesses will often be required to perform both roles, leader and manager. Leadership involves identifying major business opportunities and establishing the vision and mission for the business. Leaders also set the organisation culture including how the business tackles problems, overcomes challenges and displaying the courage to see through, what seem to be, impossible circumstances. Leaders tend to be good...
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Managing Finances

When it comes to financial management, it’s the same story whether you own and manage your own business, or if you are in a position of authority or responsibility in a club or community organisation. Business owners, managers, board members or committee members have to develop at least basic skills in financial management. Expecting others in the organisation to assume responsibility for the finances is asking for trouble, particularly if it’s your business or if you can be held responsible in some way. As with the other topics we have discussed, being a great entrepreneur or highly-skilled trades-person does not necessarily...
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