Sunday, 30 June 2013

Control what control.

Hi my friends,
One of the main reasons that people put down for operating their own business is to be your own boss and control your life.

All bosses are making money right, so if I am a boss I can make money and work how I want to work, rather than being told to work.

Its a dream of many people and a lot of times over rides all other thought of why you want to be in business.

Gardens are the same, people have this feeling to have "fresh" food, pick their food when they want, and know what chemicals could be used.

They don't take into account the challenges to other parts of their lives to get the benefits.
 In the garden you have to spend time in weeding, water, pruning harvesting and getting the garden prepared for next harvest.

In Business you have the stress to make sure cash flow is right, sales will happen, control of people and many many more activities that make up the business.

You can employ people to help you - but the buck stops with you to make sure it all happens.

If it does not happen - you cannot run away, employees can go off and find other jobs but the responsibility of the business is yours.

So this is another important thing you have to come to grips with before you take the important step to be in business for yourself.

Like a garden you don't want to be left with just  a bunch of dead plants, and the results of all that work is not what you expected.

Don't see yourself over the finish line before you start to train - focus on it, have it as a goal, but don't run the race before you are prepared.

Being in business for yourself may not have the control that you think, just different controls, control by your team members, control by creditors and control by your bank.

As the Buck stops with you - then you will find in most cases you don't have the control that you thought, understanding this will allow you to manage this control for the benefits that should come from running your own business.

Contact me at tony@businessgardener if you want a gardener to assist you to grow your business.

Tony Park

PS    You can control those things that can make your business create what you want from it - understanding   what you want from it and that the control of the business is as important as the operations of the business, will allow this to happen.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Sometimes you need to prune.

Hi friends,
This post is about the need to prune.

In the garden some plants will only develop after a good prune.
In our vineyard - Award winning Richmond Park Vineyard, you needed to prune the Vines 80 to 90 percent, with grapes only forming on new wood.
Roses are related so are similar, fruit trees and other trees and plants all need a prune so they can develop.

If you don't prune, eventually the plant will die.
They die, as they use too much water and other resources needed to keep the plant alive.
Businesses are similar - they can use too many resources to keep too many people on board and need to be continually reviewed.

Business is similar.

At times, the team members working with you need to be reviewed.
The natural position for most people is to not to lay people off, to keep them on as long as you can.
They have families, mortgages and expenses and most business owners feel responsible for them.

However in the role of business owner you need to ensure both

  •  The long term job for as many team members as you can.
  • The long term viability of the business for your families position.

So for the greater good you do need to continually review one of the greatest costs to most businesses.

In one of my past businesses - Park Homes we started of with 5 team members in 2007 , continually grew the business to around 35 full time members in 2009.

We then worked on a major contract that should have increased the need for team members and we increased the number of team members to 50.

Suddenly we had a great opportunity to build the manufactured homes for the Pontville Detention Centre, with our system being the only one able to build them in the time frame, suddenly we had an increase to 70 people and our focus was on the system and opportunities.

We had taken our eye off working on the business and got too excited in working in the business.

The systems were important, we could build a home every 3 days and at a low cost and should have been able to meet the needs of the Tasmanian Community for Affordable Housing, however the Tasmanian Government would not work with us.

In the mean time we had all these extra people to pay wages, superannuation, tax, Payroll tax etc... and while we had a couple great contracts, we did not have the cash reserves to take up these extra costs.

We then focused on trying to get the sales and production to feed the greater cost base, rather than taking the harder path in cutting the number of people.

Then we got into the position that it was going to cost to much to reduce people by Termination and were in a very bad position to go forward.

I did not move in time, and got myself into a bad position.

What I can do is advise you on a range of great things I and my teams have achieved - but also a range of "Learning Opportunities" that I have as well.

The learning opportunities from things that have not gone well are much more strongly ingrained in the knowledge base than just all the good stuff.

I have a range of great experiences, catch many of them at , but also a lot of learning opportunities as well.

Lack of People Pruning was one that created huge problems for the long term viability of my business and the job position of other people working with me.

Learn from my mistakes and get in touch with me at for the skills so you can grow your business - safely.

PS   Some times you do have to prune for your families future, sad for some and needs to be done with compassion, but it needs to be done.

Friday, 28 June 2013

New reasons why Businesses Fail

Hi again my friends.

Why do Gardens Fail.

  • Poor soil
  • Poor drainage
  • lack of sunlight
  • Poor seed
  • or pests eating al the crop

These are the things that we think about when a garden fails. 

However there are other reasons that may be greater factors 
  • Wrong reasons for the garden - it takes time to grow and focus of the Gardener is changed.
  • You have a garden full of vegies that all ripen at the one time - then all go rotten because you cannot use it all.
  • The gardener would rather watch the Footy than look after the garden.
  • Someone else put in the garden and no one really wanted to look after it anyway.
So its reasons other than operation or performance - that is what the Business gardener can help you with.

Same things in Business.
Here is some information from a friend in the USA

There have been many articles written on the subject of why businesses fail, and most of them point to the same reasons, such as:

-Inadequate funding
-Bad location
-Lack of a well thought-out business plan
-Poor execution
-Bad management
-Expanding too quickly
-Insufficient marketing or promotion
-Inability to adapt to a changing marketplace
-Failure to keep overhead costs low
-Underestimating competitors

These reasons are widespread and no doubt cause many businesses to fail. However, the reason for a company's failure is not always something so obvious. Here are 6 lesser-known reasons why a business might fail.

Why do these reasons remain untold? Simple. Most of the time, the business owner doesn't realize that these reasons are what caused their failure, and consultants generally don't ask the kinds of questions that would identify them.

1) Focusing on Short-Term Profits Rather than Building Long-Term Value

It's important to be profitable, but NOT when short-term profits come at the expense of the long-term value of the business and the lifetime value of the customer.

Here's a real-life example: In the late 1990s, there was a franchise of a national smoothie shop located in West Los Angeles, CA. At this store, smoothies sold for about $4. They cost only around $1 to make, resulting in a solid profit. However, certain ingredients, like mangoes and berries, cost more than the other ingredients, such as juice and frozen yogurt. Since juice and frozen yogurt were cheap, the franchisee put more of these ingredients in their smoothies and less of the expensive ingredients. By doing this, their profit margin per smoothie grew by approximately 20 cents, which seemed great... on paper. Unfortunately for the store, customers weren't satisfied with the taste of the lower cost smoothies, people stopped going there, and the store eventually went out of business.

As you can see here, it's important to consider the lifetime value of a customer. Repeat business is way more valuable than short-term profits. Saving 20 cents on a smoothie today will cost you big in the long run.

(Another great example of this concept is Google giving preference to relevant ads in order to improve the user experience, even though there are less relevant advertisers willing to pay a higher price per click.)

2) Ego Business vs. Business Opportunity

The foundation of a good business is a good business opportunity. As an entrepreneur, you want to fill a need in the marketplace. Unfortunately, many businesses are started solely to fulfill an entrepreneur's ego (or, to put it less harshly, to satisfy one of the entrepreneur's interests).
This can often be seen in the restaurant & bar industry, where too many entrepreneurs open shop because it's a "cool" thing to do. Such businesses rarely succeed.

3) Life distractions

The best ideas don't always come between 9 and 5. A person might have a great idea while driving, or in the shower, or while working out. It's moments like these when an entrepreneur leaves behind the day-to-day tasks of running a business and gains a better perspective of the big picture.

Sadly, there are a lot of things that can disrupt a person's home life. Illness, death of a family member, divorce, relationship trouble, and problems with a child are just a few of the many issues that can affect a person's mindset. When things like this occur, moments of clarity are replaced by stress and anxiety.

Many entrepreneurial ventures depend heavily on new ideas and creative thinking, and when an entrepreneur's head isn't clear, business can suffer.

4) Bad feedback & white lies

People like spending time with friends and family. 

Unfortunately, when it comes to business, friends and family members don't always give the best advice. This is especially true at the birth of a business. Nobody wants to be a buzz-kill. No one wants to tell an entrepreneur their idea is bad, or their location stinks, or anything else negative. Most people are conditioned to be supportive of their friends and family regardless of the situation.

Plus, nobody wants to be wrong. Imagine your friend has an idea that you think is terrible. You share your objections, but the friend goes ahead with the idea anyways, and it succeeds. Now you'll always be the naysayer that never believed in them. Nobody wants to be that person. 

That's why you'll rarely get honest, objective business advice from friends or family members. And yet, oftentimes friends and family are the first people entrepreneurs turn to for advice.

5) Maybe the owner is just a jerk

There are a lot of great people in the business world, but there are also some jerks. And these jerks sometimes start their own companies.

A jerk, in this case, is someone who a lot of people can't get along with. Maybe it's because they're a super-perfectionist, or they yell a lot, or they demand that everything be done in a certain way, or they constantly complain. Or maybe they're annoying in some other way.

The key is that nobody -- not employees, customers, partners, suppliers, clients, etc. -- wants to give 100% for a jerk. Clients and customers will be turned off, and employees will start cutting corners. Most people believe that life is too short, and don't want to spend their time working with someone they can't get along with.

6) The entrepreneur never took the full leap

In most new business attempts, the entrepreneur never leaves their day job, or they create a back-up plan, or they have a job lined up in case the new business fails. In these cases, failure IS an option, as the entrepreneur has a safety net to fall back on. In cases where failure is NOT an option, and the entrepreneur depends on the new business to provide food, shelter and clothing, the business has a greater chance of succeeding.

My favorite story about taking the full leap is the one about general Xiang Yu. Xiang Yu was a third century (B.C.) General in the Chinese army. He led his troops into enemy territory by crossing the Yangtze River. Then, in order to inspire his troops, Xiang Yu took some unorthodox measures. He burned all of his troop's ships and destroyed all of their cooking materials. This left the troops with only two options: Move forward and conquer the enemy, or perish. The maneuver did not make Xiang Yu very popular with his soldiers; nevertheless, the troops advanced and ultimately emerged victorious.

Xiang Yu's methods might be a little drastic in this day and age, but the moral of the story is what's important. Author Anita Roddick has said that entrepreneurship is a matter of survival, and the truth is, if you're not totally committed to your business, your chances for success will be greatly diminished.


P.S. Don't let these reasons stop your business from succeeding!

So contact me to see what Growth Strategies we can put in place for your business

Monday, 24 June 2013

Before the Dawn

The Garden
Before the Dawn, is to try to understand those things that you need to do before you start to think of a garden.
  • What sort of garden, 
  • Where to place it
  • How you manage the grow process
Are all STAGE 2 thought processes and are the things that people  focus on when they think of what they need to do first. They think of the process, the management, the vision of the result, before they really look at the first question ;
  • Why you want a garden.
Do you want a garden to grow flowers because you love to control fresh flowers, do you want to have your own vegetables to eat or share with people or do you want to have enough to sell and try to make some extra money.

Why not just buy your vegetables from the supermarket or flowers from florists, why muck about with a garden, with weeding, watering, etc... to get a result, when you can just buy what you want so much easier.

 It's the same in business.Why not have a job working with someone, why have the stress and hassle of running a business.

You may be a great electrician, plumber, accountant or whatever, however you need skills to make the business work that is a different skill to being the electrician plumber or accountant.

There needs to be an understanding why you want to be in business before you look at all those things that will make it successful, without this understanding you will never know if you are travelling the right path or even when you have reached the result that you want.

When you climb a mountain, first you need to see and understand the mountain. Understand what you want to do - climb the mountain, find a path, learn how to climb etc... But also to understand what you want to achieve - to stand on the mountain , to be part of a team to get to the mountain, to engage and show others as you climb - its your success and you need to be clear what you want.

All the rest is process, but people tend to just see this process as the most important part and forget what they want to achieve and the final goals they want to achieve.

Without the thought process before the dawn, then inputs like sun, water, soil, seed and whatever will not mean anything and your garden will not grow to achieve the reasons that you started it.

Same with your business, you need to feel why you want to be in business, then the process will be created so you can achieve it.

Tony Park

PS     Its always colder before the dawn but was always the best time for armed forces to attack - same for you to start your journey to create your success. New information coming soon to so you can create your future !

PPS   Next Blog is some "learning" opportunities that I have had along the way, for you to learn from.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Over View of the Business Gardener

Hi my friends around the world.
Over the next few months I will go through some business information and skills and make the understanding simple, by relating them back to gardening. Gardening I hear you say - what's that got to do with business, but in my 35 years experience in building up a number of business in many industry sectors all over the world, I have found many many direct comparisons that will enable anyone to gain the skills and knowledge to grow your business. Come along this journey as I show you how your can grow your business, make it profitable and allow you to create your life.

Tony Park Business Gardener

PS     I too grew and engaged the world and gain life experiences along the way.