How small businesses can compete on quality

Loaves using six-seed wholemeal dough

Most newspapers are battling to survive in the Internet age, experimenting, coming up with new formats and trying to balance their print business with their online offering. But it seems that they are missing the one key ingredient that will attract and retain customers.

Jeff Bezos who recently purchased The Washington Post seems to be on the right track. He intends putting the focus back on the reader. It will be interesting to see how he goes about doing this because quality editorial comes at a cost. You need to train and hire journalists that come up with news and information that people either want or need. Continue reading “How small businesses can compete on quality”

Can you name one area in your business that is just a waste of money?

Português: Livro "Google Marketing",...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A large business can hire 10 people to do their marketing, spend millions and still have very little to show for it in increased revenues. No one really knows outside of the company how much is spent on marketing because it is hidden in the profit and loss statement under “operating expenses”. If a prominent shareholder were to ask how much is spent on marketing, they’d be pointed to the general sales and administration expense.

By not running a business themselves, marketing people do not know the impact of their activities on the company’s sales. In some severe cases, marketing skills are so low that the company may just as well fill wheelbarrows with millions of bank notes, wheel them up to a cliff and tip them over. Continue reading “Can you name one area in your business that is just a waste of money?”

How history inspired the right business idea

IMG-20130815-00452Sam Calagione, founder and president of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, looked to history for inspiration when he founded his microbrewery in the mid-1990s. He researched ancient brewing cultures and learned that brewers made beer with whatever “was beautiful” and natural and grew where they lived.

The company now makes a whole range of Ancient Ales inspired by historic and molecular evidence found in tombs and dig sites. Continue reading “How history inspired the right business idea”

When the price of fresh fish stinks smoke them

English: Kalk Bay habour, Cape Peninsula, Sout...
Kalk Bay Harbour, Cape Peninsula, South Africa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After the bad weather the South Easter would drop in the night and we’d go out early in the morning to catch snoek off Buffels Bay near Cape Point. On the first day when the wind had blown itself out in False Bay the fish came on the bite.

Running up to Cape Point from the Millar’s Point slipway before sun rise, arriving at the fishing grounds, I still marvel how my old man had this uncanny sixth sense to put the boat right on top of the fish. He’d grown up fishing the lagoon in East London, fished for big-game tuna and marlin off Mozambique in the early 1960s and later pioneered ski boat fishing in False Bay, bagging record giant bluefin tuna in the bay off his small open boat with two 40 horse-power Johnson outboards.

We’d throw our bait lines out and work our leads, pulling in a silvery piece of metal as long and thick as a medium-sized carrot with a short red rubber skirt and 10/0 Mustard hook. We’d pull the lure with a motion that resembled a small fish the size of a pilchard struggling away from a bigger fish … the size of a snoek.

As we sat there on my old man’s ski boat with the sun coming up over the Cape Hangklip mountains, nothing would happen for a while. But we would keep on trying until at last one of us would go “vas” (strike) with a fish. This would signal that his “mombak” (unlucky curse) had been taken off.

Another fisherman on the boat would hook a snoek and soon we’d all be pulling in fish like crazy, breaking their necks, holding them tight under our arms or between our legs, pulling their jaws forward until we heard their necks crack. They were too frisky alive and their big teeth would cut severely leaving your flesh festering for days. Continue reading “When the price of fresh fish stinks smoke them”