The Little Things

What irritates you the most, customers complaints, suppliers keep pushing their new products, or those unexpected little things like forgotten internet password, run out papers, or even unexpected dead mouse under the fridge?

Sometimes we feel ready for the day only to find there are still unexpected little things out of our control.

These little things, although little, the total culmination of them can lead to severe migraine and rising blood pressure, accompanied with continuous swearing.  Wouldn’t it be nice if life can just be smooth and predicted?  Interestingly that’s how life is to some people, smooth and predicted.  The only problem is, these same people are just, well…predictable because nothing much going on there.  In other words, mediocre.

So, unexpected little things?  Maybe it’s all just part of the journey to greatness.

Remember, the number one enemy of greatness is indeed..mediocrity.

Tax time .. again ..

Not sure how it works in other parts of the world.  Here in the land of down under our financial year is from July to June.  So, being the 2nd of July 12, it is tax time for us.  Workers will most likely get a little bit of tax back, but businesses on the other hand must pay off their taxes which have accumulated in the last 12 months.

When we get into the day to day running of a business sometimes the last thing in our minds is simply – making sure we have enough cash reserve.  Too many times when we look down on the dangers of not having enough cash reserve, we are caught in cash flow problems.  Some of which come during tax time.

The habit of putting aside a little bit of cash is not only good for the rainy days (and tax time), but also at the same time increases our awareness of our financial conditions.

Now, there are two more things we can benefit, from this saving habits.

First, we get to accumulate cash which we can divert into investment.  Properties, equities, or simply plans and equipments.  Second, we get to be creative with our limited cash in our disposals.  We can do things with limited cash that other people have never thought about, simply because they’ve never been in our positions.  This will definitely push us further in our competitiveness in the market.

So, happy savings, build an investment portfolio, and be creative in limited cash environment.

Hidden cost of business

We spent around 1.5 to 2 hours per day, traveling from and to work.  That would equate to around 23 to 30 days per year.  Basically around one month of our life is spent for traveling annually, and this is only for going to work and back.  If only we live close by to our work, maybe we can reduce the time to 20 min per day.  That will save us heaps of time.

Then what about those time we spend waiting for the browser to load?  Or waiting for the kettle to finish heating up hot water.  There are many activities we do on a daily basis whereby lots and lots of time are spent, waiting, driving, and for some people day dreaming.

Obviously if you own the business most likely you will have all these “time wasting” activities sorted out.  But what about the staffs?  How do we make sure that “time wasters” are not wasting time anymore?

Simple, get them to stop wasting time or ask them to waste someone else’s time.

Tough boss?  Let’s call it tough love instead.

Still finding those goals?

In business we sometimes wonder whether we are doing what we’re supposed to do.  Especially in the midst of economic uncertainty like now, more and more people are anxiously waiting for the next big news.  More and more people are wondering whether they should be selling their businesses before it’s too late.  The other half is undecided, not sure if their strategies are the right ones.

All these “unsure, anxious” activities can take up a lot of time, draining every single drop of energy we have.  We can push them aside and just focus on what’s in front of us.  Accept our place in the world, in the business community, or in the corporate ladder.  Then try to pour our best into what we’re doing now, treating them like they’re our callings.  At the end of the day, they might very well be what our goals supposed to be in life, and in business.

Maybe we are already in the right place, at the right time, we just haven’t realized it yet.

“If you search everywhere, yet cannot find what you are seeking, it is because what you seek is already in your possession” Lao Tzu

Sleep deprivation – badge of honor?

Anyone who put in 70 hours week will be familiar with sleep deprivation, especially those young family with new born babies.  However, whether it is a necessity or not that’s another story.  For some of us, we can force ourselves to “buy” those extra time, so we can rest, and not sleep deprived.  If it’s a necessity then there really is not much we can do about.  What if it’s not?

Maybe the issue is deeper from just simply not having enough time to sleep.

A couple of things sprung into mind.  First, it’s a great excuse to make mistake when we’re sleep deprived.  Hey, we’ve done our best, we even loose sleep, a little bit of mistake is acceptable, right?  Second, it’s a great feeling being able to tell our friends how hard we work, we’re even starting to have amnesia, what a hard working fellow.  Finally, it’s a “badge of honor” for us.  It doesn’t feel right if we’re fresh all the time, we need to be sleepy and tired before we can feel our worth.

Sleep deprivation or emotional need?

“Entrepreneur” is:

“Entrepreneur” is:

NOT JUST someone who can spot OPPORTUNITY while others can’t

someone who has the COURAGE and SPEED to turn this opportunity into reality FASTER than others

has the discipline and tenacity to PERSEVERE through difficult times into making this reality a SUCCESS

taking full RESPONSIBILITY of all risks

can enjoy the PROCESS from beginning to the end

have the STRENGTH to admit defeat should the STAKES were too high and the SACRIFICES were too great

Apparently brain alone is not enough

Entrepreneurs (successful ones) are always associated with great ideas, great management, leadership, and so on.  Mainly these attributes are related to their brains, and social skills.  There seems to be one particular attribute that most people often forget about: physical endurance.

Think about it, if you need to work 70-80 hours per week for the first few years, running all over the place trying to get finance, networking, not to mention doing all paperwork, logistic, and so on.  If you have problems running down the stairs then it might not be a suitable career choice.  I guess being entrepreneur can be thought of as some kind of professional sport in this case.  As time goes by, players get more skills, experiences, getting to know the playing fields and obviously can win more trophies.

So, proper rest and good food?  It might be the secret of successful entrepreneurs, they surely provide the extra “kick” for those long hours and late nights.

Happy eating (and sleep)…

Chasing payment from customers can be a tricky business

Chasing payment from customers can be a tricky business.  You don’t want to offend them yet at the same time you also need to be firm (and maybe a bit scary too).  There really is no easy rule of thumb in this matter.  The more you know your customers the easier it is to approach them.  Obviously some of them are impossible to deal with so just get the hammer down and get it all done.  Some others probably just “missed” it.

It can also very well down to the intention itself.  Are you trying to show “I am the boss?” or are you trying to admit “They’re the boss?”.  It is off course important to have a good balance between the two.  Over emphasizing one over the other will result in either one being the “boss” which we don’t want to happen.

Cocky and scary, or firm but fair?

It’s not everyday we had power failure

It’s not everyday we had power failure for few days in the office.  In fact, this is the second one in the last 12 months and last time it only lasted for few hours.  Luckily out of 3 phases, two were working so we managed to shift the machines, printers etc closer to the working power points.

Then to make things worse, our warehouse person decided not to come today (apparently stuck somewhere in some out of town area).  Customers also decided it’s a good time to chase up their orders.  Some of them were wondering why they hadn’t received the goods on the following day.  To top it off, suppliers also decided it’s a great time to chase up some payments, didn’t matter if the cost of the call was worth more than the payment itself.

At the end of the day, everything was quiet, things were so calm and there’s this satisfaction knowing it’s been one hell of a day but we went through it – and tomorrow it’ll repeat all over again.

It’s just another day in the life of a local business.

a real estate book



Managing staffs can be challenging, yet it is crucial

Managing staffs can be challenging, yet it is crucial in scaling the business.  After all there’s only so much an owner can do on his/her own.  However, this crucial difficulty can be reduced significantly by simply recruiting the right people.

The question here then is off course, “How to recruit the right people?”.

Before going to that question, there is an important basis to all recruitment – the business model.  Does your business have many repetitive, mechanical tasks?  Or does it rely on the creativity of its staffs?  Obviously both models have its requirements – or you can say different people will fit into different models.

Now that you’ve got the business model, the next thing to consider is the existing people in the business especially the managers/leaders.  What kind of newbies will work with the existing staffs?  Do you need ‘yes men’ or ‘someone with attitude’?  What level of compromises are your people willing to take with the newbies?

These two questions will help you to alleviate your staffs’ management challenge in a great way.

In short, if you put an ant into a community of ants, guaranteed it will start working straight away.  However, try putting the same ant into a community of spiders.

Happy managing (or recruiting)!