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The Business Plan Company Blog

The biggest risk to small business is…

May 31 2018, - by Warren Harmer

Getting into small business is risky. In fact it could even be argued that it’s one of the most financially risky things someone can do. So it stands to reason that risk management should be alive and well in small business, but contrary to logic, it is almost non-existent. In the analysis we do during the business planning process, we look at the usual suspects: economic downturn, supplier constraints, employees, security, emergencies, disasters, product liabilities, funding models and regulation (among others). Whilst these are the headline, big-ticket factors that are the most obvious, there is an even bigger factor that is usually overlooked. That risk, the biggest risk to small businesses is a factor not often discussed, or even acknowledged.  ..

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Small decisions with big impact

May 01 2018, - by Warren Harmer

On the very first day that I went to university, one senior lecturer gave a pearl of wisdom to all of us fresh faced students: “if there is a simple solution presented to a problem, then it’s probably wrong.” These words have stayed in the back of my mind, and it has been a lesson repeated time and again. Working with small business, I frequently see them looking for that simple solution, that one thing, that silver bullet that will solve their problems. At business seminars, I see so many hopeful faces in the audience, waiting for the guru of the day tell them a magical spell that will turn on the tap for customers, get them a big investor or create some huge opportunity. The reality is that businesses are complex and (at times) unruly beasts and silver bullets are mythical solutions.  ..

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How to fund your business start up

May 01 2018, - by Warren Harmer

By: Shaun McGowan, Lend ..

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Crazy clients don't have to drive you crazy

Apr 03 2018, - by Warren Harmer

In the rough and tumble of business, we all deal with people that push our buttons, grind our gears and go too far. To our colleagues we might call them crazy, bonkers or mad. In these situations, rationality seems to leave the building and communication can disintegrate very quickly into a slanging match. This week has been a reminder that such species are always lurking and will pop up to do your head in when you least expect it. After working on a project for three weeks, the final product was ripped to shreds in less than kind language, even though the client stated that he had not read the return brief. “I don’t mean to be rude” featured twice in the feedback. A prior nightmare client threatened to slander my business and me personally all over social media, because I pushed (gently I thought) for final payment, which was overdue by more than 90 days. Another refused to pay under the guise of substandard work – even though he happily approved the content in person over multiple conversations.  ..

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All business owners should be doing PR

Apr 03 2018, - by Warren Harmer

By: Jules Brooke, Handle Your Own PR ..

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'Hello' - a small investment with rich rewards

Mar 01 2018, - by Warren Harmer

A few weeks ago, I caught a cab home from the airport, after a long day of business and travel. I was in no mood to talk, tired, felt like shutting down and just zoning out until I got home. Just my luck, I had the most talkative cab driver I have ever met. He was young, bursting with energy and in the mood to make new friends. When he started chatting, I groaned inside and tried to deflect the conversation with one word answers. Alas, he wasn’t taking no for an answer and persisted until I finally perked up enough to hear his story for the 30-minute ride home. In the conversation that followed, he taught me a valuable lesson: opportunities are everywhere and the investment in simple conversation can bring great rewards.  ..

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No more Mr Nice Guy!

Mar 01 2018, - by Warren Harmer

In my utopian view of the world, I like to think that all people are nice, honest, friendly and helpful. I like to see the best in people and trust that they will do the right thing. To me, personal values are important and coexist with making money. But there are times that I wonder if this personality type belongs in the business world; a space which seems to be dominated by people who negotiate hard, often play dirty, put themselves first and see business as a fight with only one winner. In a dog-eat-dog world where survival of the fittest is the unspoken law, is there a place for a ‘nice guy’? ..

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A business for the customer, by the customer

Feb 22 2018, - by Warren Harmer

By: Tim Slater, Fat Lama  ..

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The genius of Tokyo Banana

Jan 30 2018, - by Warren Harmer

Anyone with a business wants their business to have rock star appeal. You know those businesses where customers queue for hours around the corner to buy their products, love to talk about them, share on social media and become the thing that you just have to do, must have or need to be? Everyone is looking for that elusive formula, that magic combination that unlocks viral marketing and takes your business to the next level. Tokyo Banana have done it and, anyone who has been to Japan will have encountered this genius concept that we could all learn from.

Tokyo Banana, for those who have not had the pleasure, are small desserts made from a thin layer of cake wrapped around a creamy custard-like filling and are shaped like and taste like (surprise!) banana. There are versions with printed love hearts, leopard skin, flowers, giraffe skin and a range of spin-offs including biscuits and other sweet treats. Ginza Strawberry is the sister product, creating a filled strawberry cake that uses the same method. The product itself tastes pretty good, although certainly not the best cake you have ever eaten.

So how does an average-tasting cake become the must-have gift from Japan, with queues at every store and outlet? It is the whole package of Tokyo Banana that creates a product so irresistible that you find yourself buying not only for yourself, but for everyone back home.

Let’s take a peek into that gooey banana filling to explore the reasons why it’s a must-have.

Product. The cake is impossibly cute and something you have never seen before, something you just have to try and buy, share and give to your loved ones.

Packaging is an extension of the product, super fun, super cute and high-quality. The fun starts with the opening of the box, even before you get to eating it.

Tokyo in the name identifies the product with a city most people love, with a certain quirkiness and style that feels fun and perfectly crafted, very Japanese.

Shelf life is long enough to buy for gifts, so they are easy to transport to other countries, but fresh enough so they feel like they have just been made.

The Gift Value is very high, as travellers will love giving them to their friends and talking about them.

Momentum, the attraction to be doing what everyone else is doing, to see what people are queueing for and experiencing. It draws people in.

The unique combination of these factors make Tokyo Banana a product that markets itself, with such strength of brand and shareability that it is a runaway success. What is even more amazing is that Japan does not grow bananas in any appreciable quantity.

Small businesses so often struggle with marketing and spend a lot of money with trial-and-error marketing campaigns and little result. Yet product and service can be overlooked in marketing strategy development. Do your clients tell everyone they know about you? If they do, the marketing takes care of itself and your customers will market for you. Every small business should look at how Tokyo Banana have used their own unique style, to inspire them to create their own self-marketing system.
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Your business will fail without me!

Jan 30 2018, - by Warren Harmer

Business plan or business failure. Are these really the only two, mutually exclusive outcomes?  ..

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