How do you manage your income with everything going up?

Income producing assetsEverything is going up. Taxes have shot up. Petrol may have gone down for some time but it’s on the rise. Electricity keeps going up. Wherever you look rates, utility bills and local taxes are increasing. Every one of your expense items whether it be insurance, DSTV, groceries and even restaurants is going up. Compare the price you paid for a meal on a Friday night about 2 to 3 years ago to what it is today. You’ll be lucky if you get a piece of chicken and a salad under R100.

With everything going up it is becoming more and more difficult to get by on your income. Increases are either zero or barely cover inflation. Many would say that you are lucky to even have an income. Even if you do have an income, you are probably working harder and longer hours because of the psychological pressures you are under and as a survivor in the big companies hard work is driven by your survivor mentality. Continue reading

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Would you do this for fun?

Credit: Unsplash

Credit: Unsplash

When I started out researching, interviewing and experimenting for my book “Breakthrough Ideas” I wanted practical, hands-on tools and resources that would give people the best possible chance and actionable results.

I pride myself on action orientation and leadership of change and used these qualities to go beyond deep research into the subject of turning new business ideas into viable products and services. I collaborated with several start-ups and experienced small business people to test-drive my concepts to ensure that they work in the real world.

One key ingredient was to ensure that the tools and techniques would be fun to use. This is important. Why would you put all the hard work, time and money into developing a promising new idea unless it was going to be fun to do?

One of the celebrity entrepreneurs who I admire says that you should ask yourself when pursuing an idea whether you would do it for fun. This comes from an entrepreneur who started at the very bottom and worked his way up. He’s not someone who has become rich and famous and dishes out advice to extend his brand personality. No, this entrepreneur walks his talk. He has a genuine interest in helping others do well for themselves – a rare quality.

Pursuing an idea that you want to turn into a small business needs to be fun. It especially needs to be fun if you think you are eventually going to make a living from it and it will be your main lifestyle. You need to put in the extra hours, burn the midnight oil, suffer the pain of the challenges that are presented to you and work weekends until you don’t even know what a break feels like. Of course, you need to take breaks but you know what I mean.

The important ingredient of fun comes with the underlying belief that doing something for yourself, starting something from scratch and making it work gives you a freedom that others year for.

Yet once you have earned your freedom through the vehicle of a successful enterprise you need to be extra careful to not give that freedom away. What do I mean by this? It’s simple. You can so easily give your freedom away to bankers when you take out loans. You can give your freedom away to shareholders who take a cut of your business. You can give your freedom away to a landlord who sinks you and your business into a deep spiral of debt by jacking up your rental with exorbitant annual increases.

You have to be on your guard. All of these and many other traps lie in wait for the unwary. They may be furthest from your mind when you start out but when you plan your formal legal structure, access to finance and location it’s important to consider how much of your freedom you are giving away to others.

Yes, that celebrity entrepreneur knows what he is talking about when he says ask yourself whether you are doing this for fun. It sounds like an innocuous question but behind it is really how much meaning does it give to you and how much freedom?

Double your potential with breakthrough ideas
Do you want to come up with new business ideas? Choose Idea Accelerator for practical, hands-on advice without the myths and half-truths.

Does your business model require a makeover?

Photo Credit: Wikicommons

Photo Credit: Wikicommons

On a Friday evening in December we went to listen to an opera at the Roodepoort, Theatre. The main draw card was South Africa’s top tenor Stephan Louw. If you’re not interested in opera don’t worry because the fascinating part of this opera was the business model.

Opera audiences in South Africa aren’t big and running an opera in a small theatre such as the Roodepoort Theatre was probably the right size venue because even though we were to watch and listen to a top tenor, the theatre was about half full. Continue reading

Double your potential with breakthrough ideas
Do you want to come up with new business ideas? Choose Idea Accelerator for practical, hands-on advice without the myths and half-truths.

Unsung heroes with real community spirit

Free high-resolution photos from Unsplash

Free high-resolution photos from Unsplash

In the local communities small business owners contribute to their communities in many ways. For example, one small business sells off their large hessian coffee bags at a dirt cheap price and collects the money for a charity. Without fanfare, this business quietly and in a dignified way does its bit to make a difference in its local community.

That’s just one example. There are so many others. Perhaps the biggest contribution that small business owners make, in contrast to big businesses, is that they create jobs for the local community. Instead of hiring people from other cities and countries, the small business owner in one community hires local youngsters for his business and helps to develop them so that they can go on to bigger things. Continue reading

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Where do you look for your new business idea that you can turn into gold?

English: , Hungarian fashion model

Hungarian fashion model (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A fashion model in Sri Lanka came up with an idea for a new business when she was selling hair care products to salons and garments from the boot of her blue station wagon. Although she was a successful model her father wanted her to do something in business. Her idea was to come up with a fashionable brand that could cater for both local and international visitors. Now her fashion house is one of the largest and the only publicly listed such company in Sri Lanka.

It all started with a promising new business idea. Some business advisers like owngrading the value of an idea mainly because they are interested in selling their business training and consulting time. But the creativity, the most valuable part, the core element is the idea that comes at the right time. As the fashion house owner who built a business from scratch says, an entrepreneur finds a gap in the market even in a sector that is highly saturated and does something which may never have been seen or done before, or does something differently – something that is correct for that time and for the future. Continue reading

Double your potential with breakthrough ideas
Do you want to come up with new business ideas? Choose Idea Accelerator for practical, hands-on advice without the myths and half-truths.

Finding a gap in the market

IMG-20150808-00845A fashion model from Sri Lanka decided to go into business for herself when her father wanted her to do something in business. She decided to give it a try. She started selling haircare products to salons and subsequently also added garments from a factory which she sold to family and friends. Through selling garments she learnt all she could about the fashion business and eventually came up with her own fashion brand. She now owns a publicly listed company. Continue reading

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Do you want to come up with new business ideas? Choose Idea Accelerator for practical, hands-on advice without the myths and half-truths.

Do you need to review your goals?

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Some time ago I went to the farewell party of a successful entrepreneur who built up a marketing consulting business over many years. It was interesting to learn how many awards he had achieved over the years for brilliant work and how he had always been able to attract blue-chip clients. But now that he’s in retirement, he has had to set new goals. He will be lecturing at universities, engaging with the media and communicating brand and marketing leadership and helping to nurture young brand leaders.

Continue reading

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Do you want to come up with new business ideas? Choose Idea Accelerator for practical, hands-on advice without the myths and half-truths.

Warning: turning your promising idea into a viable business requires hard work

Woodfired pizza oven at Pizzeria Sorbillo, Naples

Wood-fired pizza oven (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A small business owner recently bought a pizzeria and restaurant franchise in a local shopping centre. Not happy with the appearance and interior design of the restaurant, he set about refurbishing it. His contractors started early on a Sunday morning and by the Wednesday evening had completed the entire refurbishment of the restaurant. (You can buy my book “Breakthrough Ideas here: http://wp.me/P1A3Pz-2hY) Continue reading

Double your potential with breakthrough ideas
Do you want to come up with new business ideas? Choose Idea Accelerator for practical, hands-on advice without the myths and half-truths.

The power of a new idea for personal success

Power up with the sun's energy.

Power up with the sun’s energy.

In Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada, a grade 8 student James Murphy came up with the idea for a solar air heater, constructing the energy-producing equipment with recycled materials. He used about 160 empty soda cans, an old door found at a dump, a big piece of glass and aluminium tape. He included several of his fellow students in the project. The solar air heater they designed and built was part of an initiative to make the school more energy efficient. The project won the Zayed Future Energy Prize for Global High Schools. Continue reading

Double your potential with breakthrough ideas
Do you want to come up with new business ideas? Choose Idea Accelerator for practical, hands-on advice without the myths and half-truths.

The #1 reason why you shouldn’t start a business from an idea (stop now or you’ll lose money)

IMG-20150613-00571An entrepreneur starts a new business from a promising idea. Take the woman who started a double-insulated water bottle. She got the idea while out hiking with her mother. She’s sold 4,000,000 units to date. This business gets a lot of media coverage but is it wise to start something based on an idea?

From the outside it may seem that you can also start a business with a promising idea. But there is a fatal flaw. That flaw is that the idea may appeal to you but will it appeal to a market? It won’t unless others find the resulting product or service attractive and useful in their lives. Too many people come up with products or services based on an idea but experience failure. It’s bank draining and heartbreaking. Continue reading

Double your potential with breakthrough ideas
Do you want to come up with new business ideas? Choose Idea Accelerator for practical, hands-on advice without the myths and half-truths.