Hard work comes easier when your work is your passion

English: Catherine Malandrino - Fashion Designer
English: Catherine Malandrino – Fashion Designer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We went to visit a fashion designer in Salt River, Cape Town, because of my daughter’s interest in fashion. It was two days before New Year and the fashion designer was working flat out at 3 PM. She showed us some of her many patterns, we watched one of her staff cutting cloth from a pattern and were told how she farmed out the garment construction to a sub supplier. She preferred to outsource this part of her garment construction because it is a specialist field in itself and requires a different overhead to where this fashion designer is presently located. But one thing stood out. Continue reading “Hard work comes easier when your work is your passion”

How do you make your small business more productive?

English: Product icon for MindView mind mappin...
English: Product icon for MindView mind mapping software. A productivity tool for MatchWare A/S (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this economy with high labour costs, low productivity and increased competition it’s worthwhile to look at your productivity in your start-up or small business.

The place to start is with yourself. As the title track to a Uriah Keep rock song went “Take a look at yourself”. As the driver and main performer in your small business you need to make sure that you are as productive as you could be. All it might mean is getting a full night’s rest, eating food that keeps you focused and alert and working in an environment where your temperature is controlled to the correct level. You may also want to watch noise. Some people like to crank up the music but others like a quiet environment where they are at their best. Continue reading “How do you make your small business more productive?”

5 overlooked opportunities for your small business in this sick economy

Shipyard_Crane (Photo credit: shoebappa)

I heard this story once about a shipbuilder who would wait for an economic recession to build new ships. He could get labour, steel and services far cheaper when times were bad. By the time the economy mended itself and was growing again, the shipbuilder would sell his ships. Demand for ships was stronger again. That’s how he made big money.

This economic downturn has been running for five years. In South Africa, although we experienced 0.9 percent GDP growth in the first quarter (not unlike Mexico, at 0.8 GDP growth, mind you) we still haven’t gotten into negative territory. Some sectors have but here we are talking overall.

Look what the sick economy has brought: high administered prices, shocking energy spikes (electricity and petrol), tightening of cash and weak demand. As costs have risen so has inflation and wage demands. Small business has experience increased theft, stock loss and armed robberies.

Yet while many things are going south in this rocky economy, smart-thinking small business owners have been fine-tuning their costs, negotiating harder and sweeping out the dead wood.

Here are five overlooked opportunities for your small business in this sick economy: Continue reading “5 overlooked opportunities for your small business in this sick economy”

Tales of horror from the zombie business survival guide

Source: Wikimedia commons
Source: Wikimedia commons

The other day I asked a supermarket employee the question, “Where can I get kebabs?” She didn’t say a word. She looked at me with glazed eyes without even acknowledging I was there. I repeated my question and this time she mumbled something – I didn’t recognise the language. It sounded like an ancient language from Transylvania. She walked away without a smile.

It suddenly hit me. I nearly jumped out of my skin. Shivering in my shoes, I realised who I had encountered. A zombie service staff member had infiltrated this business and was operating under the guise of a customer service representative. Continue reading “Tales of horror from the zombie business survival guide”

Pirates of the Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol. In Prose. ...
Pirate publishers printed their own copies of A Christmas Carol stealing potential revenue from Charles Dickens.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Charles Dickens took a trip to Manchester to deliver a speech in support of the Athenaem, which provided adult education for manufacturing workers.

Like most entrepreneurs he was in desperate need to make money. He and his wife were expecting their fifth child. His family needed money. He had a large mortgage on his Devonshire Terrace home. Sales from monthly instalments of “Martin Chuzzlewit” were dismal.

On his trip to Manchester he had thoughts about education being a remedy to crime and poverty. He wanted to “strike a sledge hammer blow” for the poor. Continue reading “Pirates of the Christmas Carol”