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The Business Plan Company Blog

'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.  ..


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’? ..


A business for the customer, by the customer

Feb 22 2018, - by Warren Harmer

By: Tim Slater, Fat Lama  ..


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.


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?  ..


Being a jerk should not be profitable, but (for now) it still is.

Dec 01 2017, - by Warren Harmer

Every day we hear more allegations of sexual assault, harassment and bullying against high-profile business and entertainment figures. With every new instalment, one question keeps coming up in my mind: How did this behaviour go on so long and no-one in power took any action? In all honesty, we all know the answer to that question: that their self-interest took priority. Whether the jerks in control turned a blind eye or were negligent in their role, ultimately, their bonuses and shareholder returns were more important than the well-being of others.  .. READ MORE

Keep your focus on business future: Don’t look down!

Oct 21 2017, - by Warren Harmer


Business Planning: What’s the point? How a plumbing business found the path to growth.

Oct 21 2017, - by Warren Harmer

Richard’s Plumbing is based in Melbourne’s bayside suburbs, with a long history of more than 20 years and client base that includes builders, maintenance companies, body corporates, real estate agents and a limited number of residential clients. Some frustrations and niggling doubts about the business were getting the better of the business owners Simone and Richard, who were getting more clients and additional work but felt they were slowly going backwards. It felt busier, but the bank account was going backwards and very high tax bills were just not making sense. Rather than continue to chase their tails, Simone and Richard engaged The Business Plan Company to create a Business and Action Plan, a short, sharp project that analyses the business and sets a 12-month plan for the direction of the business.

What we found.

Simone and Richard had done a great job at growing the business, but with the benefit of external perspective and experience, The Business Plan Company picked up some important issues that needed fixing: ..

Suppliers: what to do when they don’t hold up their end of the deal

Oct 13 2017, - by Warren Harmer


Partnerships: How To Avoid A Nasty Breakup

Aug 31 2017, - by Warren Harmer

In the early stages of starting a business, you and your business partner work tirelessly to set-up the business to hit the ground running – brainstorming the business' name, setting up social media accounts and finalising the fit out. It's an exciting time. Neither you nor your business partner are considering any issues that could arise. But no relationship is immune to a breakup. ..