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thinkBIG Le a d e r s B u s i n ess Mindset Wea l t h

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Dr Phil Expand your mindset and purpose •How Aussie Rob’s success came to flourish

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•Secrets to successful negotiation How to manage your goals properly

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CONTENTS REGULARS 8 Editor’s letter 10 Notes to self 14 As You Think 72 Thought Leadership: Books to make you think BIG

section1:mindset 20 Joe Vitale: How to live problem free 22 Dr Kim Fenton and Penny Ombler:

Challenging the status quo

24 Bridget Thompson: Yes! We are waterproof

section2:business 50 Michelle Murchison: How to create your financial freedom 52 Debbie Allen: Marketing opportunities lost when the

16. Feature Story: Dr PHIL Your life is your own

phone rings

features

54 Carly Crutchfield: Property and finance Q&A

section3:wealth 60 Peter Wink: The secret to successfully negotiating salaries 62 Aussie Rob: Shares for rent part 2 68 Jamie McIntyre: Recession equals opportunity if we let

go of the fear

70 Chris Howard: Top 3 ways to weather the financial storm 71 Roger La Salle: Process innovation – reduce your cycle time

20.

16 Dr Phil: Your life is your own

Dr Phil is a television phenomenon with one simple message:

make your life your own and use it wisely.

48 Jack Delosa: Job security – a thing of the past

With a new generation, comes a new attitude to work

and success.

56 Aussie Rob: This Aussie’s the genuine article

Aussie Rob is a trading brand unto himself, but he had every

job imaginable before he found his niche as a stock

market educator.

66 Michael Moore:: Think big, think Pareto

Franchising Feature 26 Damian Kay: A Telco’s true calling.

Telcoinabox has won several accolades during its short life and

while Damian Kay continues to enjoy running the business,

they will no doubt win a few more.

28 DC Strategy: Objectively evaluating franchise systems 38 Jess Logan : Branding your business one customer at a time 40 Rod Young: The 10 key features of best practice franchisors 44 Marwan Kojok: Before you sign 46 Brian Tracy: Personal and corporate strategic planning in 2009

and beyond

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our team

EDITORIAL

Publisher Graham Maughan graham.maughan@thinkbigmagazine.com Ph: (02) 8003 3491 Managing Editor Jonathan Jackson jonathan.jackson@thinkbigmagazine.com Subscriptions Manager Amanda Peros amanda.peros@thinkbigmagazine.com Ph: (02) 8003 7465 Advertising Ph: (02) 8003 3491 Advertising Agent McLaren Media Grant McNicol Director Sales & Marketing Ph: 02 9231 5320 grant.mcnicol@mclarenint.com Directors Ken Wood Reuben Buchanan

Contributing Editor Chris Howard Contributors Debbie Allen, Aussie Rob, Kim Fenton, Chris Howard, Marwan Kojok, Roger la Salle, Jess Logan, Jamie McIntyre, Michelle Murchison, Carly Crutchfield, Penny Ombler, Daniel G Taylor, Bridget Thompson, Brian Tracy, Joe Vitale, Peter Wink, Rod Young and a big thank you to the entire team at DC Strategies for the tireless work on the Franchise Feature Creative Design Maria Conti – Graphic Designer Website/subscriptions www.thinkbigmagazine.com Enquires info@thinkbigmagazine.com Mindset Media Pty Ltd ACN 129 256 300 ABN 94 129 256 300 GPO Box 519 Sydney Australia 2001 Phone: 61 2 9925 8016 Fax: 61 2 9925 8099 thinkbig Magazine ISSN: 1835 7733 Important Message – Copyright and Disclaimer thinkbig magazine is owned and published by Mindset Media Pty Ltd (ACN129 256 300). The publisher, authors and contributors reserve their rights in regards to copyright of their work. No part of this work covered by the copyright may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means without the written consent of the publisher. No person, organization or party should rely or on any way act upon any part of the contents of this publication whether that information is sourced from a website, magazine or related product without first obtaining the advice of a fully qualified person. This magazine and its related website and products are sold and distributed on the terms and condition that: •The publisher, contributors, editors and related parties are not responsible in any way for the actions or results taken any person, organization or any party on basis of reading information, stories or contributions in this publication, website or related product. •The publisher, contributors and related parties are not engaged in providing legal, financial or professional advice or services. The publisher, contributors, editors and consultants disclaim any and all liability and responsibility to any person or party, be they a purchaser, reader, advertiser or consumer of this publication in regards to the consequences and outcomes of anything done or omitted being in reliance whether partly or solely on the contents of this publication and related website and products. •The publisher, editors, contributors and related parties shall have no responsibility for any action or omission by any other contributor, consultant, editor or related party.

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Love and other musings

’m a music fan. I’m one of those guys who alphabetises the vinyl collection and cries when a CD goes missing. I’m kind of like Rob Gordon, Nick Hornby’s main character in High Fidelity. In fact, if I was to choose another career I’d work in a record shop and earn minimum wage just to be able to listen to the sounds of the great artists of the last couple of centuries. I’m no music snob, mind you, — I like both kinds,— but don’t get me started when it comes to discussing the merits of who’s better and best. Recently I had the pleasure of attending one of the Simon and Garfunkel shows in Melbourne. Here are a couple of guys – one a music legend – looking at the wrong side of 70, but playing with the passion and love they still possessed when they wrote this music in the 1960s. It’s an amazing thing to be able to do what you love for so many years and affect so many people’s lives. Yet what of the people who are dissatisfied with their position in life? What happens to the nine to fivers who clock in and out every day believing they are exploited; those who think they will never achieve their full worth and lament lost opportunities? It’s awful the bewildered ‘what am I gong to do next’ feeling that envelopes the psyche when the lights are momentarily out. I felt it when I sold shoes while trying to break into journalism and editing. I was saved by a friend who told me to get out before it was too late. To forget about the regular pay packet and do whatever I had to do to make the break I needed. I knew what I loved to do, I loved to write and I’m lucky to be able to do it. Yet in my mid 20s, I was almost at the stage where I thought I’d missed the boat. How stupid is that? I love watching guys like Simon and Garfunkel. Even though their former angst toward each other is as legendary as their songs, you know they love what they do and they have their audience in rapture because of it. They may have considered retiring on their laurels, but Paul Simon created Graceland, a musical masterpiece and Art Gufunkel sang Bright Eyes the theme to Watership Down and went on to produce a string of successful films. The point I’m labouring to make here, is no matter whether you are 20, 50 or nearing 70, you should never stop doing what you love, or discovering what you love to do because it is the things you are passionate about that affects the lives of people around you. You don’t have to sing to the world and you don’t have to move mountains, but I urge you to look at the things in your life that make you happy and by extension make others happy, and know that whatever you do – all those things that equate to your life – in some way touch the lives of others. And for that you should be grateful. TB

Jonathan

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Notes to self Brand values

Branding and image is one of the most important aspects in business and personal success. ThinkBig cannot stress enough, the value of branding in relation to personal values. Image expert and ThinkBig contributor Jon-Michail of Image Group International has begun a series of seminars across the country designed to teach people the importance of image in relation to business. Previous seminars have proved successful. D. Lloyd Roberts, the founder of SMS Management & Technology, Australia says, “As a company with over $200m in revenue and 1,200 employees it became increasingly difficult to get the image message through to all our employees. I sought help from image consultants and over the years several were engaged but whilst they may have known their stuff, their ability to influence the employees to any lasting degree was

very limited if it was there at all. It is in this area of helping people to understand the reason for and the power behind “image”, thereby permanently changing entrenched mind sets, that stands Jon-Michail apart from his peers.” First on the agenda in Jon-Michail’s seminars are two people Melbournians know well, especially football fans. On 10, September the Leadership Branding – Step Up, Stand Out™ workshop, sponsored by the Australian Institute of Management (AIM), will host football legend Kevin Sheedy and Healthy Habits founder Katheriine Sampson, who will discuss how their personal brands link to their business success. For more information visit aimvic.com.au. For those interstate, we will keep you informed of events to come. And look out for our mini branding and image special in the next issue.

Women confident of overcoming tough economic time A survey conducted by Telstra in conjunction with the Telstra Business Women’s Awards has found the following: 90% of women in business are concerned that the economy is having an impact on their business but 88% of women are confident of leading their business successfully through the recession. Women believe their three key strengths in running a successful business are: • ability to multi-task • being focused and determined • their experience and training. Ms Holly Kramer, group managing director, Telstra Product Management and Telstra Business Women’s Awards Ambassador, said the survey results showed women in business were determined to succeed. “The fact that women across the country are confident of breaking through the worst global financial conditions in living memory is testament to their courage and tenacity and we continue to see the resilience and strength of Australian women shining through.”

What are you thinking?

ThinkBig understands that without our readers there is no magazine. That’s why we want to hear from you and give you a say in what content you would like to see, who you would like to read about, what you would like to read more about and any general comments with regard to personal development, finance, health or wealth you might have. For next issue (2.2), we will integrate a ‘Your Thoughts’ section and would like you to write in with any comments you feel are appropriate to thinking big and living a fulfilling life. We also want to know what you think about our magazine. So if you have anything you would like to put forward or get off your chest, pick up your pens or sit at the screen and send us your thoughts. You can contact ThinkBig at: jonathan.jackson@thinkbigmagazine.com

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Notes to self

Leading by example By Kevin Moore, CEO CROSSMARK Asia Pacific With McDonald’s announcing its 2008/09 performance last week, it’s clear that brands that reinvest in their stores and retail outlets can make clear-cut profits — even now. Since 2003 McDonald’s has embarked on a store refurbishment program while at the same time introducing new menu offers that reflect – and are reflected by – the new store formats. The aim has been to improve the shopper experience and therefore increase frequency of visit and average spend. Those are always the two key and most easily measurable outputs of investment to improve shopper experience. The third and fourth are ‘linger time’ and ‘post purchase experience’. These two are far more difficult to measure, and fodder for another discussion. So how did McDonald’s fare in 2008/09? Let’s look at the numbers – the scoreboard, so to speak. Operating profit at McDonald’s Australia this year was up 28.9%. This growth has been driven via an outlet universe that has only grown 2.6% year on year. McDonald’s has driven a higher frequency of bodies through its restaurants, seen customers spend a greater amount of money during each visit and it has significantly raised profit. It’s done this at a time when the world believes everybody’s trading down to lower priced offerings. Unfortunately for retail observers like me, McDonald’s doesn’t break down segment sales or market share, but my bet would be that high value and high margin specialty coffees, bakery items and sandwiches have increased considerably faster than value packs and burgers over the past 12 months. McDonald’s is ahead of the curve here and, in

fairness, is considerably more nimble than other larger format retailers, as McDonald’s outlets have smaller footprints, smaller staff numbers per outlet and the overall business is vertically integrated. They own and manage their own supply chain and product development. This year’s result for the chain is probably the clearest example of how improved shopper experience, in an existing outlet universe, can drive extraordinary returns.

Spreading good vibes worldwide For two young Australian women, Simon Milasas and Ajanta Willert, what began as a simple idea to create more happiness in the world led to the creation of a global empire. Milasas and Willert met while working separate stalls at the Eumundi markets on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. The pair shares a zest and a passion for life they wished to pass on to others. They formed Good Vibes for You (GVFY) and created a range of bottled water and eco friendly merchandise designed to spread the good vibes mantra and messages. The business is thriving, with established distribution throughout Australia and the USA and annual distribution of more than 250,000 bottles of water. The women are more than just about business. They are also about

teaching environmental lessons. GVFY is introducing education campaigns in late 2009 designed to teach Australian children the benefit of recycling and waste management and will launch the Water Mill. The Water Mill is a device that will provide fresh water from an unlimited source, the air. According to Willet the Water Mill has the capability to be the long term answer to Australia’s water crisis. “The Water Mill literally pulls moisture from the air to create drinking water. The higher the humidity the more water can be created. It can provide enough drinking water to satisfy a ‘family’s every day needs (12 litres per day). This device will change the way people consume,” Willert said.

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As you think A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. – Anonymous Into the house where joy lives, happiness will gladly come. – Japanese Proverb Joy can be real only if people look on their life as a service, and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness. – Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle. – John Quincy Adams Nothing could be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon, and left one unexpended effort that might have saved the world. - Jane Addams It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. – Seneca I have learned that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.– Henry David Thoreau It is possible to fail in many ways...while to succeed is possible only in one way.
– Aristotle It’s nice to be the best, but not when being the best brings out the worst in you. – Rodney Dangerfield To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe. – Anatole France

Blooper Lesson: Know your market When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the US, with the beautiful baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the label of what’s inside, since many people can’t read English. 14 thinkBIG

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feature story think thinkBIG

Dr Phil McGraw’s theories on relationships and approach to solutions tend to divide audiences, participants and critics. Yet he has one simple message: your life is your own, use it wisely. By Jonathan Jackson

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s he a human behaviourist, or merely a television host with a degree in psychology and a global audience? There’s no doubting his allure, at its September 2002 launch, The Dr Phil Show garnered the highest ratings of any new syndicated show since the launch of The Oprah Winfrey Show 17 years prior. He has been a ratings winner for the seven seasons he has been on air, although ratings have recently slipped. In fact he has had a hard time of things lately with speculation about the ‘rocky’ relationship with his wife hitting tabloids, as well as his stoush with Oprah commanding media attention. These would be worrying signs for Dr Phil. There is word that the television show will be revamped, but for many people the good doctor is more than the sum of his producers and television support staff. Dr Phil is the man who brings reality to lives, who ensures that people strip bare their fears and confront their shortcomings. Dr Phil urges people to ‘get real’ about their lives and start contributing to their own personal development. Or put succinctly, and in his big Texan drawl, “shed a life strategy for losers.” Dr Phil is about living life strategically and exploring the role of relationships within a chosen life. It is through this exploration that success in all its formats is attained. “...Success is not a random phenomenon,” he writes. “Rather, success is achieved through purposeful living. That takes planning, commitment, and some very tough ‘truth talk’.” In an interview with Associations Now deputy editor Kristin Clarke, he stated that “my basic opinion is that if you don’t have a plan in your life, you’re kind of like a missile without a guidance system. Using all the energy in the world, you just wind up right back where you started or in a place you don’t want to go. You’ve got to have a plan,

which means you’ve got to have an objective, something that you’re working toward in your life. It’s true of your children and of you as an adult. It doesn’t mean that your plans don’t change, but you’ve got to always have something you’re navigating toward.” The catch here is that sometimes you need someone to push you off the cliff with a glider on your back so you can learn to navigate. In his book, Real Life Dr Phil writes about the power of a mentor, referring to a flight instructor who taught him to fly … in more ways than one. “I was just a teenager when I started taking lessons, but he ‘saw’ into my future in that airplane. About the time I was finishing my training, he told me that I had checked all the boxes, done all the drills, met all of the requirements, and could certainly go get my license and wing happily off into the wild blue yonder. He then paused and said something that really got my attention. I have never forgotten that moment standing next to the plane on a grass landing strip outside a small town in north Texas. “Phil,” he said, “you’ve got the basics, you know how to get ’er up and down and around the ‘patch,’ and frankly you ain’t half bad. But I have come to know you, and I know just as sure as I’m standing here that you are going to need more than you got. You won’t play at this flying stuff, you will attack it and make it a big part of your life rather than flying to Grandma’s house on a nice clear Sunday afternoon. You’re going to be out there ‘mixing it up’ come rain or come shine, daylight or dark, and that’s okay, but the truth is things just happen when you mix it up. Maybe it will be your fault for being too aggressive, or maybe you will just be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but chances are that somewhere along the way this plane will carry you into a crisis. When you are airborne, all you’ve got is yourself. You’d have to depend on

The Dr Phil Foundation

Like most who earn $US30 million a year, Dr Phil is dedicated to giving some of that wealth back to less fortunate people. The Dr.Phil Foundation was established with wife Robyn in the belief that the American dream must not be just a hope, but a realistic expectation for all. The Foundation is committed to improving the lives of disadvantaged and foster children. In collaboration with others, it serves to provide youths with access to critically needed services, including safe and decent housing, medical and mental health services, education and job training. www.drphilfoundation.org

Your life is

your own

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thinkBIG feature story who you are, and if you aren’t prepared for it ahead of time you can die in this airplane. So it’s up to you — but know that it may come and if it does, you will be one of two types of pilots: one who was ready and survives to tell the story, or one who wasn’t and doesn’t.” This early anecdote goes a long way to explaining Dr Phil’s ‘get real’, tough love stance toward his studio guests. From an early age, he was taught to stand on his own two feet; to make mistakes and learn from them. This is his message, as basic as it sounds and it seems to work. Unfortunately, some people aren’t that great at seeing their mistakes let alone learning from them. Dr Phil mastered the flying part. All the practice, all the drills came down to one moment where he learnt exactly what was inside him and how that could contribute to his success. For those who can’t see the forest for the trees life is tough and it’s even tougher to ask for help. In some cases people need to be reminded that help is available to them. When the Virginia Tech massacre occurred in the United States in 2007, Dr Phil, with talk show host Larry King and several who were involved with the tragedy, explored how traumatised students could deal with the shock and how they could learn from this and move on. “They have to be able to understand that you’ve got to get help for this. If you’re starting to lose sleep, if you’re starting to have poor quality sleep, if you’re starting to have nightmares, if you’re getting irritability and anxiety and an inability to concentrate, recognize that this is a very predictable outcropping of this kind of traumatic exposure in your life and you need to reach out and get professional help for it.” That is the thing about Dr Phil, in spite of the theatrics of his television show he really does care and as a doctor looks to get to the bottom of issues. While he talks about the desensitisation to violence of those who are disturbed in some way, he says there are warning signs and we can spot them before things go too far. Perhaps the problem is that we are not only desensitised to things such as violence, but to the emotions of others as well. This is why Dr Phil’s show can be so confronting. While Virginia is an example in the extreme, the guests Dr Phil has on his show have all suffered varying degrees of emotional and physical trauma and he continues to champion those who suffer from such silent epidemics as domestic violence, child abuse, depression, racism, substance abuse and other health issues that are prevalent in society, but go largely undiscussed by their victims. The lack of discussion leads to anger and as Dr Phil says, “Anger is nothing more than an outward expression of hurt, fear and frustration.”

It is really only when you can overcome the fear that you are able to move on in life. However moving on also requires action. “Awareness without action is worthless,” he says. Dr Phil is a controversial figure and has never been far from news headlines. His credentials stand up. He graduated in 1975 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, he went on to earn a Master’s degree in experimental psychology in 1976, and a Ph.D in clinical psychology in 1979 at the University of North Texas, where his dissertation was titled Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Psychological Intervention. He followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the elder’s private psychology practice. In 1983, Dr Phil and his father joined Thelma Box, a successful Texas business woman, in presenting “Pathways” seminars, “an experiencebased training which allows individuals to achieve and create their own results.” (NB: He was later sanctioned and was unable to practice psychology in an individual capacity.) Pathways was to be the foundation for his shows and provides the philosophies by which he conducts these shows today. In 1990, he joined lawyer Gary Dobbs, the son of his college football coach, in co-founding Courtroom Sciences, Inc. (CSI), a trial consulting firm through which brought him into contact with Oprah Winfrey. In 1995, Oprah hired CSI to prepare her for the Amarillo Texas beef trial. So impressed with Dr Phil, she thanked him for her victory in that case, which ended in 1998 and soon after invited him to appear on her show. His appearance proved so successful that he began appearing weekly as a relationship and life strategy expert. The following year, Dr Phil published his first best-selling book, Life Strategies, most of which was taken from Pathways and in the next four years, he published three additional best-selling relationship books, along with workbooks to complement them. By September, 2002, McGraw formed Peteski Productions and launched his own syndicated daily television show, Dr. Phil, produced by Oprah’s Harpo Studios. Though it has arguably declined into tabloid territory, the show is not necessarily a reflection of Dr Phil’s motives or personal philosophies. He has faced his own crises; bad decisions in the past 12 months have landed the show’s producers in more than enough hot water, yet in his own words “you have the duty and gift of living. You don’t have the right to sit on the sidelines – use your life and get back into the game.” TB

Dr Phil Writes Dr. Phil is the author of six #1 New York Times bestsellers: Life Strategies: Doing What Works, Doing What Matters; Relationship Rescue: A Seven-Step Strategy for Reconnecting with Your Partner; Self Matters: Creating Your Life From the Inside Out; The Ultimate Weight Solution: The Seven Keys to Weight Loss Freedom; Family First: Your Step-by-Step Plan for Creating a Phenomenal Family and Love Smart: Find the One You Want, Fix the One You Got. Dr. Phil is also the author of the New York Times bestseller The Ultimate Weight Solution Cookbook: Recipes for Weight Loss Freedom as well as The Ultimate Weight Solution Food Guide. His books have been published in 39 languages with over 24 million copies in print. His latest book is Real Life: Preparing for the 7 Most Challenging Days of Your Life, and gives readers a solid plan on how to cope with the most demanding days in their lives.

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truth

How to live problem free By Joe Vitale

Everybody has problems but nobody realises the truth about them. Once you get this, you will never have another problem ever. If you’re interested in living a problem free life, keep reading. You can witness them. You can watch them as if watching a soap opera on television.

Third, problems are due to perspective.

F

irst, realise we are problem-making beings.

It appears to be the human condition to find problems, create them, and/or attract them. Even when you resolve a problem, you almost instantly fill the gap with another one. Almost nobody knows this. Yet it’s the key to living a problem free life. You have to understand that as one problem disappears, another bubbles up to take its place. That’s how the human mind works. Some people like drama more than others, but we all seem to attract problems simply out of human habit. It’s our current nature. It’s our program.

Second, you can transcend all problems with detachment. To paraphrase Buddha, life is suffering, but once you realise that life is suffering, you no longer have to suffer. You are free. At that point you realise that life is a theatrical experience and you are just playing your part in the script of life. You are detached. You are, in many respects, awakened. This second insight is just a deeper understanding of the first one. Yes, we are problem-making beings but you can also detach from the experience of the problems.

A problem to one person may be a blessing to another person. It depends on your intention, which directs your perspective. So where is the real problem? Is there even a problem at all? Dr. Hew Len, my co-author on the book Zero Limits, often asks, “Have you ever noticed that when you have a problem, you are there?” He means that the problem is yours — yours in perception and yours in responsibility. Clear the beliefs in you that see it as a problem and the problem is gone. Poof! The above insights work for any problem you can name. Got money problems? It’s only a problem because you aren’t accepting what you have and are focused on what you want with a feeling of lack or even desperation. You need to be grateful for what you have now and want more. When you do that with awareness and detachment, the issue isn’t a problem, it’s just your next activity. When you take the edge off your stress, you can more clearly see your next move. Got relationship problems? It’s the same scenario. It’s only a problem because of your perspective that it is a problem. From a higher view, it’s the next scene in the play of life. When you can take a deep breath, and realise this is just your next moment, you can more easily decide what to do. In fact, with clarity, there’s not even a decision. You know what to do and just do it. To recap, the larger insight here is to realise that as a human you will always have problems. Always. But if you understand and accept that fact, you are then free from all problems and can lead an authentic problem-free life. You got a problem with that? Ao Akua, Joe
 TB

Dr. Joe Vitale is the author of The Attractor Factor, The Key, Life’s Missing Instruction Manual, Zero Limits, and star of The Secret. www.JoeVitale.com

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perception vs reality Challenging the status quo By Dr Kim Fenton and Penny Ombler

When we understand how we create and perpetuate our ‘logical conclusions’, we can better manage our thought processes to foster healthy thinking in life.

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sing our five senses, we create perceptions of events and objects. The awareness from each of these senses combined with how we interpret the information creates our view of that object or event. Therefore, our interpretation our — ‘perception’ — is influenced by what our brain notices and prioritises. This process is influenced by our emotions, past experience, knowledge, our role in the event or the significance of the object, our values and beliefs and basic personality type. In a simple example, if you had never seen a snake before, you may not recognise or perceive the danger of the situation. As everyone has different emotions, past experiences, roles in given events, personality types, beliefs etc, it stands to reason that the same situation can be perceived in various ways by different people. The example of the snake is a simple one. Our perceptions can influence our interpretation of far more complex situations as well. As the complexity of the situation increases, our mind sorts and interprets the sensory experiences of a given event so that we can come to a logical conclusion. For instance, you may invite a friend for a drink after work. He declines due to a prior commitment. Your perception of this, and your logical conclusions, will vary depending on a number of factors. One of these factors is your role in the situation. If your friend is someone you normally get along well with, you may simply perceive, or logically conclude, that he is indeed busy that night. If he is someone you do not know well, you could conclude that he isn’t interested in getting to know you. If he’s someone you’ve recently argued with, you could conclude that he’s holding a grudge. In all three cases, it’s the exact same situation. However, depending on your role, you have a wide variety of possible interpretations. And we haven’t yet added in all of the other factors, such as basic personality type, emotions, values and beliefs etc. It’s clear just how easy it is to have a misunderstanding with someone due to our perceived reality or what is logical to us. Despite the obvious risks of misunderstandings, we often believe that our perceptions, or our logical conclusions, are true. These logical conclusions are produced from a series of assumptions that we have often weaved together ourselves. The brain is an automated machine. You may not be aware of the thought processes your mind uses to create your perceptions and logical conclusions. You may not even

realise that some of the story you have used to reach your conclusion has been created by you. Shifting your viewpoint from narrow to broad more frequently, allows for the prospect of understanding and learning while increasing your potential to identify opportunities in every situation. Understanding a situation from a different viewpoint allows us to change the perceptions we have of others, and also those we have of ourselves, which may be working against us. For instance, if at school I was told I was not good at maths, I may be applying that ‘fact’ to the rest of my life. I might be in my 30s or 40s and still think I’m not good at maths. Challenging that perception can be constructive. Is that one high school teacher’s viewpoint based on his emotions, experience, knowledge, his role in the situation, values, beliefs and basic personality type? What is the recent evidence to support this view? What is the recent evidence against it? Is my belief of this fact perpetuating its existence? Have I ever challenged it, or have I simply accepted it as fact? Our perceptions and conclusions shape our behaviour and influence our relationships on a daily basis. They can influence our happiness, confidence and our success as individuals as well as our success in relationships. Each one of us has created tracks in our brain which encourage the habit of certain perceptions. Basically, we have always thought that way so we will continue to think that way. It’s easier to maintain the status quo, than work to change our habitual thoughts. We need to regularly examine our perspectives and our conclusions. If a particular track isn’t working for us, we need to know we have the ability make a new track... to think a new way. Consciously identifying the habitual thought processes that influence your perceptions will allow you to both better understand the viewpoints of others as well as enable you to create new perceptions of yourself: new thoughts, new horizons and new opportunities on the road to your best life. TB

Kim Fenton and Penny Ombler founded Successful Minds with the vision of providing personal and organisational development via compelling and constructive coaching and training. www.successfulminds.com.au.

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Discover How to Achieve YOUR Financial Freedom Utilizing This Global Recession Proof Business. Start earning in a month what most people earn in a year and live the life of your dreams. Is today's economic downturn taking its' toll on your health...and your savings? • Is your current business running your life? • Are you tired of working hard and sacrificing time with your family to make someone ELSE rich? • Are you worried that your job is not secure in today's flailing economy? • Are you ready to leave the 9-5 behind and venture into self-employment with your own home based business? • Are you tired of the corporate politics and having to answer to your boss? • Do you get excited by the idea of working whenever, wherever you want to? • Ready to quickly see results in your life? You deserve it!

What is possible in this Home Based Business? • Potentially replace your current income within 90 – 120 days • Double your current income within 6 months • Turn your current annual income into a monthly income within a year • Put your money to work for you and retire within 4 to 5 years “Your future is created by what you do NOW, not TOMORROW”

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www.AchieveFinancialFreedomToday.com thinkbig@achievefinancialfreedomtoday.com or phone 1800 109 thinkbig 585 23 www.thinkbigmagazine.com


thinkBIG mindset thinkbig

health Yes! We are waterproof By Bridget Thompson

A very important insight I would like to share with you all today is one that I realised not so long ago…We are waterproof!

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ou may think I am crazy, however, really consider how profound this is and what it means for our lives including our health, our energy, our happiness and productivity. We all know exercise is essential for our health and over and over we hear people and authorities bang on about the same old message: Move your body. So why don’t we?! Why do we still find every little, apparently legitimate, excuse to get to that ‘tomorrow’, ‘next week’, ‘next month’, ‘next year’? One apparently ‘very’ legitimate reason is “It’s wet outside”. That can range from a light drizzle, to torrential downpour, to (as I have discovered living in Queensland), “Is it EVER going to stop?!” (featuring knee-deep puddle!) News flash guys: “We are water proof!” Further to that, you will not shrink, melt or for that matter experience any ill effects from getting wet! Contrary to popular belief, we do not catch colds by being in the cold. We catch colds when we have poor immunity! Many things cause us to have immunity less resilient than we’d desire and one is lack of exercise! So, as a client and I were delighting in just last evening, “Get out there!!” It’s fun! Get wet, get muddy, get dirty and even roll around in the puddles! Once you loosen up you will love it. Your soul will love it and you inner child will come out to play. Try it yourself, tell me how you go

Franchising Feature Successful branding = thriving business Trends & the global perspective

Why Telcoinabox is growing fast 10 best practice tips How to evaluate your franchise system

A few tips to get you started: • A cap helps: you will hardly even notice the rain with your eyes and face sheltered. It honestly makes an incredible difference. • Wear comfortable material and shoes: Chafe is not fun, nor are blisters! Dress appropriately. You have been warned. • Join a group/boot camp to get you started: There are no excuses with boot camps. Weather? SHMEATHER! Get out there anyway. • Watch kids for proof there are no ill effects: PS- iPods are typically not waterproof, I have learnt from experience. TB Enjoy guys.

Having once been overweight and unfit, Bridget-Jane is now an accredited practicing Dietitian with a passion and zest for helping her clients to live happier, healthier and more purposeful lives. www.newleafnutrition.com.au

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Feature Story

A Telco’s

true calling

Sol Trujillo may have left the country with his reputation close to tatters, but there are others in the telecommunications spaces that are going from strength to strength. Jonathan Jackson looks at the growth and success of telcoinabox.

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ranchising within the telecommunications space could be seen as a risky move. With Telstra and Optus dominating the services industry, little space exists for new players to make any impact. However, the best companies are those with ideas that transcend traditional boundaries and impediments. With telcoinabox, founder Damian Kay cut a niche that is turning the telco industry into an altogether different beast. In 2007, telcoinabox was listed by BRW magazine as the number one fastest growing franchise. The company backed this up the following year with a top 10 entry in the same category. This came with a listing as the seventh fastest growing company in Australia. “This gave us a lot of credibility in the market,” says Damian of the BRW accolade. “People realised we were not selling a shop front, it is an opportunity to sell telecommunications. BRW made it a tangible, credible opportunity and we built on that as part of our sales tools.” Damian knows all about sales and business, having worked in senior roles across a range of industries, though it was his first attempt at a franchise model. “My last role before I went out on my own was with Optus and that’s where I learnt about telecommunications,” Damian says. An experienced businessman, he took over Universal Telecom management in February 2002 and bought 50% of the company from a Scandinavian partner in June 2002. In February 2006 he sold the company to Commander Communications to focus on building telcoinabox. Once we understood how that business operated, we built up the blueprint to enable anybody to do what we were doing. So we evolved the business to go one step up the business chain and became a wholesale provider. The key was developing systems that we could control and support.” So if telcoinabox doesn’t sit in the shop front telco space, what is it they do? The system enables franchisees to become a telecommunications provider; a phone company, with all the latest offerings of mobile services, landlines, broadband, VOIP and beyond. telcoinabox provides four core services to all clients:

• Network services — a relationship with Australia’s top carriers provides franchisees access to a wide range of telecommunications products. • End user billing — customers receive clear, concise billing for services. Paperwork is part of ‘what’s in the box’ of telcoinabox. • Payment processing — telcoinabox provides 10 different ways for end users to pay their bills. All integrated into a billing system for ease of use and reporting. • Support framework — a number of different support teams support clients in every facet of telecommunications, which means that many have no technical or previous telecommunications knowledge.

Though the system makes the process of running the business easy, they can be a barrier to entry as compliance to franchise codes around the world are difficult. This is why telcoinabox vets potential franchisees very carefully. We learnt very early on that unsuitable people led to grief. They become resource hungry,” Damian says. “Selecting the right people means we can bring them up to a level of success much faster. It also means that we don’t need new franchisees, we are very profitable with our existing network.” Having said that, telcoinabox continues to grow in size. Most growth comes organically from the existing base, yet the company still fields 80-85 leads per month. They close under 5% of those leads but to continue to put on new providers who fit the telcoinabox mould. They look for franchisees who have the support of friends of family, sales experience, are entrepreneurial, passionate and motivated. Though the systems can be replicated, telcoinabox remains the only player in this space, which has given them the latitude to expand internationally. In March, 2008 they landed their first UK customer. Today, in the UK they have over 7,000 customers across three providers in mostly the mobile space but with wireless broadband to come. “Our international strategy is important, but the resources we have don’t affect our overall growth,” Damian says.

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“The market will continue to grow. We are looking to build up to a base of $100 million a year in franchise revenue and we are looking for a $250 million retail turnover in three to five years.” The company would also entertain a public offering, depending on market conditions, but Damian says he is having too much fun right now to consider an exit strategy. “There’s no real reason to sell yet. Over the next four to five years we’ll increase product and services to add more value to our current franchise base. We have also launched ADSL 2 plus and IDSN services to continue to enhance platforms.” Damian puts his success to simply finding a successful strategy and consolidating. And while companies continue to fall in these economically uncertain times, he believes the telco industry will stand up and continue to move forward. “We are very fortunate in that people are ready to give up food and entertaining, before their phone service. And in the case of small businesses that are looking to cut costs, our operators offer better service at a better price, so people are willing to move from Telstra. There are also more franchisees coming out of the woodwork because of redundancies and lack of security. The push that some people needed to start their own businesses has now materialised.” The downside of the GFC is that there are end users going out of business which means franchisees need to manage their debtors more rigidly. However the business model is so strong that a few bad debts won’t affect the overall growth of a business that is riding the global recession into a global boom. FF

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Objectively evaluating franchise systems The evaluation of a business opportunity should be based on specific measures and evaluator’s goals.

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hat’s the best franchise system in Australia? This is

would you? To do so would be foolish, yet this is precisely what

probably the most commonly asked question when

happens in the franchise sector.

people are in the early stages of evaluating different

have the same goals as you, this doesn’t tell you much. You should also consider that franchisees may not want to

Remember, franchising is a growth strategy employed by many

be too honest in a survey that will be widely published for fear

systems. If you’re interested in buying a franchise you might have

types of business. Businesses in different industries should not be

of damaging the prosperity of the group and therefore their

asked yourself this question. There are magazines and websites

compared based on the attributes of their franchise systems, but

own business.

that attempt to give you an answer. Lists are compiled that

rather on the business underpinning the systems.

compare every facet of franchised businesses. Franchise systems

3. The motivations of rankers are not well understood.

are ranked according to the rate at which the network is growing,

If you were looking to buy a car, would you pick up the latest

You should also consider the study itself. How was the study conducted? What method of data collection was used? Was responding to a satisfaction survey optional? What was the size of

the growth of revenue, or the level of satisfaction amongst

edition of Top Gear, flick to the back and shortlist your options

the sample? How was inclusion and exclusion from the sample

franchisees. But do lists provide useful information that could help

by circling the ten cars at the top of the ‘fastest lap’ list? Unlikely.

determined? The answers to these questions change how the

you evaluate an opportunity? The short answer is no, and there

That’s because, like most people, you want a car that is reliable,

results should be interpreted, yet these questions are rarely asked,

are a number of reasons why rankings aren’t logical and can be

safe and economical. Unfortunately reliable, safe and economical

let alone answered.

completely misleading.

won’t sell magazines.

1. Comparisons made out of context.

Ultimately, franchisee satisfaction is a useful guide but only

Those compiling ranked lists of franchised businesses can have a

when taken in context and when motivations are

range of reasons for doing so. Magazine editors want sales, website

well understood.

of a network. There are three major issues to consider when looking

owners want to increase traffic and sell advertising. Providing

at the growth rate as a quality measure.

worthwhile data that’s useful to prospective franchisees is usually

5. High level rankings require someone to ‘guess’ the relative importance of measures.

One of the most commonly ranked measures is the rate of growth

not top of the list. Keep in mind that having a little known franchise

Franchisee satisfaction is measured across a range of subjects

network size. This means a group that doubles its number of

system that’s grown its network by 200% at the top of a list is much

but is often grouped together to provide a ranking. At a low level

operations from five to ten, will out-rank a 100-unit network

like putting a Lamborghini on the front cover – it’s flashy and new,

this grouping might bring together results from questions about

opening 50 new outlets. Percentages are often misleading.

but it’s probably not very practical to own for the vast majority of

the lifestyle franchisees can enjoy; the result is a lifestyle ranking.

buyers.

But who determines what sort of lifestyle is better? Servicing

4. Franchisee satisfaction is often regarded as the most reliable measure of the health of a network. This can be misleading.

coffee machines two days a week would certainly be ideal for

Firstly, the rate of growth is usually given as a percentage of

Secondly, even if network growth in absolute terms is substantial, this is not necessarily a good thing. Systems can grow too quickly, without the skill, infrastructure, or processes to support a larger network. Thirdly, over the life of a franchise system the rate of growth

Comparing franchisee satisfaction does remove some of the

some, while others would love to be focused on their dream business seven days a week. This problem only becomes worse when disparate groupings

will vary. It is incongruous to compare the growth of an emerging

problems mentioned above. Measures are more general and many

are aggregated into an ‘overall’ ranking. There is even less clarity

franchise to that of a mature system.

could be used to rate business sentiment amongst all types of

and the position of a franchise system in such a ranking holds

business owner. But franchisee sentiment introduces a number of

little value and should be ignored.

problems of its own.

How do I choose the franchise that’s right for me?

In other words, comparisons made out of context provide no useful information.

2. Very different businesses compared on an equal footing.

Franchisees can be a fickle bunch and their views are highly

Ranked measures of franchise performance or franchisee

subjective. A system that has seen good returns over a number

satisfaction may not inform your judgement of a particular

of years could receive average scores simply because little has

franchise in any way and therefore are of little use when it comes

the health of a business, but it should not be used to compare

changed and franchisees are bored. On the other hand a system

to evaluating an opportunity. You wouldn’t let a stranger tell you

very different businesses. Comparing the revenue growth of a

that has consistently struggled for years but has shown recent

which house to buy or which school to send your children to.

supermarket where margins may be only 2%-3% and a bicycle

improvement might get much better results.

Similarly you shouldn’t allow someone with no vested interest to

Growth in revenue is regularly touted as a good measure of

shop where profits can be as high as 30%-40% clearly doesn’t

You have little idea if the objectives and values of a network’s

influence your evaluation of a business. By relying on lists you are

make much sense. You simply wouldn’t compare businesses in

existing franchisees match your own. The franchisees in a particular

abdicating your responsibility regarding one of life’s

disperate industries just because they both use a distribution model

system may all agree on the quality of a system, but unless they

key decisions.

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Continued...........

Objectively evaluating franchise systems The evaluation of a business opportunity should be based on specific measures and evaluator’s goals.

These lists answer the question “What’s the best franchise system?” in a number of different ways, but unfortunately it’s the wrong question. You should be asking yourself “How do I choose the franchise that’s right for me?” The key is to be objective about what it is you want to achieve, where your interests lie and what kind of lifestyle you are seeking. Once you have a clear view, follow the steps below and you should be on the right track.

Step one: set your limits Assuming you have an open mind on the particular type of business you would like to operate, the two key considerations when buying a franchise are: • What size of investment can you afford?

A new look Trios, New Stores, New Style, New Food! There’s a lot happening at Trios – and they’re looking for energetic ‘wrapstars’ to leap to the next level of this well-established food franchise.

T

his great fresh food system now has exciting opportunities throughout Australia, be part of an international brand that has expanded to the U.S and Middle East. Trios is now moving to the next level of ‘fast casual’ dining. Shifting their site focus to stand - alone stores. Sam Elia, Chief Marketing Director explains that fast casual offers a larger dining-in capacity with it’s own unique space. “Fast casual is basically about creating an environment from a store design which is a smart cafe’-style environment but with casual feel and express elements. Sam says, “We’re looking for key locations to go and put these concept stores out and we’re looking for people around the country who want to join this new wrap cafe’. It’s for people who have a big aspiration to get out of the rat race - who can put their suit and brief case away - and get into a new exciting Trios fast casual restaurant”

• What are your criteria and area of interest? With a wide range of franchised systems on offer in Australia, from mobile man-in-a-van franchises to large scale multi-employee retail, food service or B2B service businesses, the prospective franchisee is faced with a seemingly endless range of opportunities. Assuming you’ve already culled those systems which don’t interest you, those for which you are not suited or those that demand operating constraints you are unwilling to meet, the first step in filtering this range of potential opportunities is to be realistic about the amount of money you are prepared to commit to the business. Here, the savvy investor will determine what they can afford and then commit to no more than that — just like the rules at an auction, set your limit and stick to it. • Other criteria to consider include: • Where will the investment funding come from? • How much income do you expect in return for your investment? •In what geographic area should the franchise be located? • How many days will your franchise trade? • How many staff are you prepared to employ and manage every week? • How many days/hours are you prepared to commit per week? • How many years are you expecting to be involved? • Do you have the support of your spouse or partner? 30 30 thinkBIG francising feature

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Continued...........

Objectively evaluating franchise systems Step two: ask the right questions You must reduce your list of potential franchises down to a manageable level — say, three or four. Take a good look at the list. Do you really see yourself operating any of those businesses for a number of years?

Ask yourself these questions: • Does the business present well to you as a consumer? • Do you understand the business? • Have they proven their ability to secure quality locations or operate in multiple regions? • Are current franchisees profitable? • Are they seen in the media and portrayed well? • Are current franchisees happy? • What is the marketing and advertising program like?

Everything you need to become a successful telco. In a box.

• Do they have strong relationships with the banks? • What is the quality of the management and leadership team? • Do they have company owned operations?

If you’re entrepreneurial and want to start a business, then start with a system built for success. We’ve enabled over 100 people to become successful telcos by providing first class products, systems, support and training. Telcoinabox enables you to do just one thing: Just add customers. We even help you create and market your own brand, to suit your own image. In fact, with just a phone, computer and internet connection, you can run your business while you run your life. So if you want a business that enables you to work when, where and how you want, where everyone is a potential customer, think inside the box. Telcoinabox.

• Do they listen to and learn from their current franchisees? • Do they have a clear vision and growth plan? • Do they have a good, solid growth history? • How good is the induction and training program, especially if you are a novice in the product, service and/ or business? • How well developed are their management information systems? • Do they have an operations and procedures manual? • What level of ongoing support is provided?

Step three: make an application Most franchisors will ask you to submit a formal application form. Be wary of those who don’t — it’s a sign they don’t care about who becomes a franchisee or they may not fully understand franchising.

Mo ne y Sup ort po p rt Sup BTrra ain nding Kit Pu se rpo se urpo PP rod uc ts

Take your time with any application. Be honest and forthcoming with information, it’s not in your best interests to mislead anyone about your ability to operate or fund the franchise. A constant recurring issue for prospective franchisees is underestimating the amount of finance and working capital that may

y ne Mo Se s rvic ce es ervi S g t Ki nin rani d BTSra yst s em em s Syst ts c du Pro

be required. You should live within your means and invest within your means as an undercapitalised business is difficult to make

®

successful whether it is franchised or not.

Want in? Call 1300 7 TELCO

telcoinabox.com.au

Just add customers. 33 TM

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Continued...........

Objectively evaluating franchise systems

TO BE OR NOT TO BE!

Let’s Pretend we are a Franchisor! The consequences of not seeking specialist advice and identifying whether your business model is one that clearly falls within or outside the definition of a Franchise Agreement can be costly and damaging.

You may be asked to pay an application fee of some kind. Make sure you receive a receipt for the fee and a written assurance that the amount is fully refundable until you sign a Franchise Agreement.

Step four: talk to franchisees There is perhaps no more telling a test of a franchise system than

Obviously, the balancing factor is that you will not have the certainty of a proven trading history for that particular location. As an alternative to a Greenfield franchise, an established

The recent case of Spray Pave Australia highlights this point. The company claimed to be a franchise and be part of an international group. The company sold spray pave businesses. Spray Pave

business enables you to take some comfort in the proven trading

Australia did not comply with the Code, and engaged in the

history so, in effect, it is generally perceived as a lower risk option.

following activities:

to speak with a range of current franchisees. You really must do this

However, you may have to deal with the history of the previous

• advertising on various franchise websites representing that it

yourself. Franchisee satisfaction is highly subjective and you need

franchisee. If the premises or vehicles are looking a little tired, a

was a franchise; and

to understand where they are coming from. Don’t just limit yourself

refurbishment or upgrade can restore the appearance. Don’t forget

to those suggested by the franchisor — they will undoubtedly pick

the current franchisee’s reputation in the market — which could

the happiest franchisees.

be good or bad. Similarly, existing employees could be a positive

Speak to a range of franchisees and ask them:

or a negative influence. A key issue to consider is the potential for

• What their goals and objectives are? (to compare to your own) • Are they satisfied with their investment and the business? • Would they recommend this franchise to their friends and family?

further growth of the business; is there more growth to be had or has it reached its peak? There is no substitute in business for having detailed and accurate historical financial information for the performance of a

• representing on its website that it had international offices. The irony in this case is that the company was holding itself out to be a franchise, when it wasn’t. The ACCC sought court enforceable undertakings from the company that it would not, for 3 years, make any representations unless the representations could be substantiated, that it place corrective notices on its website and it implement a Trade Practices compliance program. A key comment by the ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel,

business. The quality of the numbers is crucial and frankly, some

in this matter was that in the current economic climate where

examples defy belief — they lack detail and in some cases, any

• Would they sign up again knowing what they know now?

many people are looking for business opportunities, a claim that

semblance of accuracy.

a business is a franchise is likely to have a significant impact

• What support does the franchisor provide?

Step six: do your own due diligence

on whether someone purchases that business. Therefore, it is

• Is the franchisor reasonable?

By this stage you should have contacted and met with your

• Is the franchisor willing to listen?

target franchisors and secured a first meeting or, hopefully, some

• What problems are other franchisees experiencing?

financial details about the offer. You may be asked to sign a

• What would they change?

confidentiality agreement.

• Are the marketing campaigns delivering customers?

Step five: new or established Let’s assume for a moment that you’re the type of person who can tolerate a reasonable level of risk and as such, you’re prepared to venture into a new greenfield franchise where the franchisor has not

Regardless of the information the franchisor provides, you must develop your own view of the financial aspects of the business. There is no substitute for a thorough understanding of the establishment costs, revenue potential and operating expenses. Choose an accountant who is experienced in small business

important that business opportunities are not misrepresented. This is a timely reminder to seek appropriate specialist legal advice to ensure that you are not misrepresenting your business opportunity which may damage your brand and reputation. This is contrary to our experience where we have found that companies who are in fact caught under the Code as a franchisor, sometimes avoid the cost and expense of complying with the Trade Practices Act and the mandatory Code and misrepresent their business. They do not hold themselves out as a franchisor, when in fact

operated from a location in the area or within the territory. What

and franchising. Discuss how he or she can assist you in

should you look for, what are the questions to ask and how do you

reviewing the financial information and advising you on the

arrive at a commercially sound decision?

potential of the business.

Some of the benefits of taking on a new Greenfield franchise include:

of understating revenue and over-stating expenses to gain a

Industry Association, other franchisees or business operators will

conservative view of the business.

hopefully flesh out whether the business

Ask yourself:

opportunity is genuine or misrepresented.

• No goodwill is payable to a previous franchisee • It is a brand new operation and the local reputation of the business can be established as desired • If it is a site based franchise, the landlord may be prepared to make a contribution toward fit out and/or negotiate the lease terms.

they are. The old adage “Buyer Beware” really does apply here. Do your due diligence if you are looking at a business opportunity

Your assessment should be conservative — err on the side

• Are my assumptions reasonable? • Do any other franchises in the network achieve the levels of patronage I think I can achieve?

or system. Basic steps such as a Google search, speaking to the

Most importantly seek specialist advice and get the right advice before you commit or pay any money.

• Are businesses close by achieving the level of patronage

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Objectively evaluating franchise systems I think I can achieve? • Do my rental and wage expenses include ancillary costs like rates, utilities, superannuation, holiday pay and work cover? • Is my cost of goods assumption realistic and consistently achieved by other franchisees?

the financials again to see if the business can sustain the loan repayments required to fund the initial capital costs.

Step nine: keep asking questions A quality franchisor will be willing to answer all your questions and provide you with enough information for you to make a fully informed decision. Don’t fail to ask simply because

• Are the accounts of the existing operations accurate?

you think the question is stupid — ask it anyway. You must be

• If it is a mobile franchise, are the running costs of a

comfortable with every aspect of the business, so ask, ask, ask

vehicle adequate for the territory?

and keep on asking until you are satisfied. Only after you have completed all these steps should you

Present your assumptions and findings to your accountant and ask for his or her candid opinion.

Step seven: get specialist advice You will most likely be provided with a pro-forma copy of the

contemplate signing a Franchise Agreement. Only after completing these steps should you contemplate signing any legal documents that bind you in any way. It’s your responsibility to understand the business and make a fully

franchise documentation. If you receive only a summary of the

informed decision. Understand the franchisor is not responsible

franchise agreement ask for a full copy. No reasonable franchisor

for your success or failure. That obligation rests with you as

should refuse this request.

the proprietor of your own business. It will be your job as a

The franchisor is required to provide you a copy of the current

franchisee to ensure your franchise is profitable. If you cannot

Disclosure Document and Franchise Agreement under the

accept that responsibility you are not yet ready to make the

Franchise Code of Conduct. The contents include items such as

transition to being your own boss.

the intellectual property being licensed, the business backgrounds

The key point to remember is that nobody can tell you what

of the franchisor’s directors and key officers, and a range of

kind of business to invest in. Only you can determine whether

information about the costs you may be required to pay.

an opportunity is the right one. FF

You should engage a specialist franchise solicitor with experience in both business and franchising to review the proposed agreement, Disclosure Document and any other documentation the franchisor provides. There is no value in engaging a non-specialist to review the Franchise Agreement because such agreements are, by their nature, substantially different to ordinary business contracts. A specialist advisor is a must. It’s a worthwhile investment and importantly saves you the investment of paying a solicitor to learn franchising at your expense.

Step eight: establish finance Some franchise systems are accredited with major banks. This means the banks have done their due diligence of the franchise system and may be prepared to finance part of your establishment costs against the business. Be careful. You don’t want to exceed the limit you set for yourself originally. Test 36 36 thinkBIG francising feature

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Branding your Business One Customer at a Time Franchising When franchisees buy into a business, they are buying more than the name of the franchise brand. Jess Logan speaks about the importance of the franchisee taking responsibility for building their own brands and what they can do to improve their own fortunes.

Y

Jess Logan, Founder and Head Strategist of Brands R People 2™

ou would assume that with this level of ready-made

and let their 1,000-plus network know how terrible the brand

they have cleaned up their stores, changed their corporate

leverage, the franchisee could focus their concentration

experience was. And it’s not just about staff members and their

colours and turned shopping with Matchbox into a

on increasing customer numbers and ramping up

delivery. It’s an unwillingness to refund a product. It’s when a

holistic culinary experience. Matchbox has moved with

revenue. However, franchising is like any other business; if you

manager closes a door at 5.29pm despite the fact that Mrs Jones

the times by understanding the needs of its customers

fail to understand the culture of the company and what the

has driven 30 minutes to get to a store that closes at 5.30pm.

based upon the necessity for a new image and product

brand stands for, you are doomed to mediocrity or even failure.

It only takes an errant mistake or a staff member’s misguided

offering. They also seek franchisees who share the same

behaviour (in the eye of the customer) to bring down the

vision and who they know will work hard to make the

business will always experience a downturn if the model as

reputation of a store and subsequently the brand. So how do

brand work.

a whole – including franchisees – isn’t working in concord.

you let the customers know how much you care?

No matter whether you are Steve Jobs or Richard Branson,

That’s why many franchisees fail to maximise their full earning

The first step is to know what your brand stands for; what

The biggest mistake franchisees can make is to think the franchise will run itself. Matchbox isn’t looking for

potential. They rely too heavily on company systems and

its sole purpose is, and what truly sets your brand apart in the

these types of operators, nor is any other successful

support, without looking at the holistic nature of the business.

eyes of the market. The second step is to treat your customer

franchisor. It may be glorious to buy a Gloria Jean’s

Before a franchisee takes on any business, it is vital they

with respect and give them the service they desire under the

store, but the belief that opening the doors each day

understand why the company exists, what sets this company

guise of your brand. By doing this, you will not only begin to

is enough to turn a healthy profit will soon dissipate

apart from its rivals and what their consumers are truly

fuel customer loyalty, but the entire brand will profit from your

as you fail to reach your profit potential.

expecting their brand to deliver. It is important to use the

goodwill and understanding of your markets needs.

systems and support networks, but only in terms of how these

Consumer loyalty is what drives the core business’ growth.

Branding is about leverage. You may open your doors and enjoy a healthy response to the existing

can help you live up to the brand name while maximising

Think about it. Let’s say the average loyal customer spends

offering, but if all you are doing is pouring a coffee

profits. And you must understand that even though the brand

$10,000 per year over the course of five years. That’s $50,000

rather than offering an experience, your custom will

name may be big enough to bring customers through the door,

supplied by just one individual person. If you can attract only

leave and seek a better option elsewhere.

it is how you run the business that will dictate their experience

another 20 loyal customers per year over that five year period,

Take responsibility

with the brand and whether they come back to the fold.

your business has suddenly reached a million dollar turnover.

The experience of a lifetime

And imagine the potential if each of those loyal consumers

of the franchisor. Marketing and branding are your

Marketing and branding are not the sole responsibility

spread the word to another 20 people over the course of

responsibility as a franchisee. You may have the logo, but

collective vision that tailors entire business models to meet

each year!

do you have the right staff members who believe in the

consumer demands and achieve outstanding revenue results.

Use your leverage

company and its message?

Branding is all about the customer’s experience. It is a

So no matter whether you are Apple or Virgin, if the customer

Franchisees should think of themselves as experience

experience at franchise level is a bad one, it reflects on the

representatives, rather than business owners and offer up

entire company, not just the store. Terrible brands are created

experiences that meet and exceed the requirements and

by awful experiences. Loss of credibility can be caused by

expectations of their customers.

something as simple as a consumer being served by a down-on-

Do your staff members have an attitude that represents who you are and how you wish to run the company? Does the aesthetic of your store represent the company as a whole? Is your store inviting and friendly from the

Recently, BrandsRPeople2 took on the rebranding for

manager down to the junior? You need to take account

her-luck teenager, recently dumped by her boyfriend who is full

kitchenware company Matchbox. Director David Cohen wanted

of everything that makes the store run; from the systems,

of attitude and wants the Facebook world to know all about it.

the stores to be recognised as a complete kitchen, dining and

the ambience, the staff, the cleanliness and the product

entertainment solutions company, rather than the giftware

offering.

Good attitude attributes to success; bad attitudes decrease

In times when consumers are tightening their belts, your

revenue. The wrong attitude is guaranteed to lose customers

specialists they were perceived to be by the market. Matchbox’s

and create a whirlwind of destructive rumours. In fact a poor

goal is to not only increase its number of franchises across the

offering needs to stand out. The way to do this is

report often spreads more quickly than a favourable one. If

country, but to offer the customer an experience that is yet to be

to accelerate your brand power by staying true to the

the company is really unlucky, the customer – inspired by

tapped into by anyone else in the market.

nature of the brand and representing that in every facet of

the teenager – will post a Facebook comment of their own

To do this, the company has undergone a shift in culture;

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your business. FF

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The 10 key features of best practice franc hisors In many markets across the globe, both domestic and international franchises compete for market share. But what makes the market leader or that emerging franchise system so much better than their competitors. Rod Young, Executive Director of DC Strategy, highlights what sets them apart.

DC Strategy team found that the features of many businesses

I

of-sale systems linked to management reporting processes that

otherwise commoditised product or service. We see the best

which stood out for their growth trajectory and market share

measure and benchmark KPI’s across the network.

franchisors don’t just focus on the trade mark and colour scheme

pack. They realise that competitors will eventually copy the

which is of course the cornerstone of the brand, but understand

market leaders and understand that differentiation is important.

but were present across businesses as diverse as food, retail and

profit and loss and educate their franchisees on how to analyse

their IP also embraces their systems, processes

This differentiation is not just in product but in every aspect of

service networks which built substantial enterprise value for their

this data and their performance relative to others in

and documentation.

the business.

shareholders and proprietors.

the group.

n developing national and international franchise systems, the

had common elements that were not confined to industry groups,

Conversely, almost all networks which failed to thrive lacked many of the following features:

1.Consistent execution of the fundamentals. At the heart of any business is the customer proposition. While this may seem so basic that you may say that every business has one, the best practice franchisors have a focus on the customer proposition which develops loyalty and keeps them coming back. There is an understanding that each customer is more than

Franchise systems that flourish have highly developed point-

The better franchisors publish the entire networks’ store by store

the brand is one of the few ways to add a premium price to an

In a world where any tangible item can be easily copied, the

3. Comprehensive compliance management.

Innovation is where the best franchises keep ahead of the

The best players have an ongoing innovation program in almost

true value of IP is often enshrined in the way things are done in the

every area of the business. It may be seen by the customers and

A complaint of many better franchisees in some networks is that

organisation. A respect for these processes and an understanding

competitors in new products, services or advertising but the invisible

the franchisor is soft on compliance and is letting other franchisees

of how they create value for the business has become part of the

innovation that defends and extends market share is often related

operate a poor standard of businesses which reflects badly on

culture and is trained into new recruits in the leading franchise

to staff training, direct customer communication via email or direct

their franchise and ultimately its value.

systems. Intellectual Capital, which is the collective knowledge

mail and new technology to track the nature of the business and

in the heads and hearts of the franchisors network of staff and

customer trends.

These better franchisees soon sell-up and migrate to networks with more professional compliance standards. The

franchisees, also falls under the IP category of an enterprise.

great franchise systems understand that the customer promise

6. Real marketing and advertising muscle.

just one transaction and they understand that the ‘lifetime value’

conveyed by advertising and marketing must be faithfully

of their customers is many multiples of the first transaction with

reflected at the customers end of the business. They define

We use the word commitment advisedly because a feature of all

a new customer. This lifetime value is being calculated and

what the standard of the network is during the recruitment,

leading franchise systems is a focus on advertising and marketing

benchmarked across the network.

screening and selection of franchisees with a view to weeding

from the very beginning of the network.

This leads to a greater concentration on developing customer

7. Continual innovation.

out people who do not value standards. Induction and training

Nothing builds a business like a commitment to advertising.

While many competitors decide to wait until they are bigger

This leads to more correct decisions being made earlier that edge better franchisors even further ahead of competitors and re-engage customers who may become jaded without change.

8. Supply chain management. When franchisors start to treat their suppliers as strategic partners they start to approach best practice not only in franchising but in business generally.

relationships that are much deeper and enduring. The point of

programs highlight what the standards are and how they are

before spending big on advertising and as a result fail to grow,

sale experience is a key focus to capture new customers and is

measured, managed and achieved.

the best franchisors typically allocated a more substantial

good franchisors find a willing partner in new product research and

percentage of turnover to advertising than their competitors and

development because suppliers understand that assisting customers to grow will result in increasing sales volumes for those suppliers.

supported by recognition and acknowledgement that is backed by

The field staff provides a fresh set of eyes to prevent “store

online and sometimes text communication as well as direct mail

blindness”. Compliance in reporting is also well ingrained in the

then supplement these relatively small amounts in the early days

to build true customer loyalty to the brand.

culture of great franchise systems supported by the technology

when network numbers are small with an additional investment

and systems to measure compliance to defined standards.

to advertising.

Included in the fundamentals are the staff / store / uniform / vehicle presentation that creates and reinforces good impressions and a commitment to keeping the customer’s experience fresh.

2.Well defined KPI’s, benchmarking and financial reporting.

4. Field staff as coaches, not auditors. The best franchise systems are focused on developing their

marketing activities by franchisees. This does not just happen. The market leaders understand that marketing can drive

rather than policing. We all know that every light globe should

community engagement and look for, train and expect franchisees

be working but if field staff spend too much time on trivia, or

to go beyond the store front or vehicle into their local community.

develop a culture of blame, they miss the opportunity to earn

The advertising and marketing is multi-faceted with traditional

the confidence of a franchisee. This confidence is critical before

leaflet and direct mail, local newspapers, radio, TV, billboards, PR

a franchise organisation does not require, collect and analyse

coaching commences and quality field staff develop far better

and a growing online commitment to internet advertising.

the monthly profit and loss statements of all franchised outlets.

franchisees and businesses when they have invested the time to

How can any senior executive build, run and maximise

listen and understand the goals and motivation of a franchise

business serving the same consumer pool are also engaged.

the performance of an enterprise if he or she does not have

owner and his or her family.

These innovations are almost always developed first by the better

access to the key metrics and especially the net profit of the

5. A focus on the value of intellectual property.

emerging franchisors that are looking for cost effective ways to

“the purpose of an enterprise is to make a profit”. We are always fascinated to hear the excuses used as to why

franchised outlets?

Real champions are brand champions. They understand that

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There are also substantial benefits being created or costs

Another feature we see is highly developed local area

franchisees to become better business people by education

Alfred P. Sloan, the Head of General Motors in the 1950s, said

By harnessing the know how and experience of their suppliers,

Innovative cross-promotional activities with non-competing

create a larger than life image.

francising www.thinkbigmagazine.com

41 41 feature thinkbig


Continued...........

The 10 key features of best practice franchisors saved by working with suppliers who understand the strategic

and selection process is professionally developed and executed, the

plans of their franchisor customers. Many of the better franchisors

franchisee will understand the standards expected by the franchisor

are deriving substantial income by actively managing the supply

and the process by which the franchisee will be trained in every

chain relationships for the benefit of their franchisees as well as for

aspect of the franchisor business.

themselves. The key to supply chain management is firstly ensuring

Good franchisors understand that the initial induction and training

that standards are specified for quality, service and delivery and are

prior to a franchisee taking over his or her business is merely an

not compromised, and secondly, the prices paid by franchised owner/

orientation process. The real training starts once the first few months

operators across the full range of approved products result in a higher

of trading are under the franchisee’s belt and the franchisee starts to

gross profit than if that franchise owner purchased independently.

settle into a rhythm which will allow the franchisee to absorb the

Many good franchisors have a strong representation of franchisees in supply chain issues with some international brands having the

subtleties of what makes the franchise really tick. For the best franchise systems, training is an ongoing activity which

franchisee body control the buying process with the benefits being

is directed not just at the franchisee but his or her staff to ensure

shared between franchisor and franchisee and/or applied to the

that execution of the customer service strategies and the customer

advertising fund to boost brand exposure.

experience are being faithfully applied.

9. Sound two-way communication.

Training programs at each level of the business are evident, from

Many franchisors do not appreciate that franchising is a human

the most junior new recruit that may be trained by the franchisee

resource strategy more so than a capital raising strategy. As networks

via train the trainer programs, to franchisee and manager training

grow so do the experience of the franchisee body. The very best

supported by suppliers as well as the franchisor both off-site and in

franchise systems appreciate that ignoring or isolating the franchisees

conjunction with regular field support coaching and guidance at the

leads not only to a stifling of innovation but the loss of quality

franchisees location.

franchisees to other more open networks. The franchisor/franchisee relationship is the cornerstone of a

Online learning is also emerging as a feature of more progressive and committed franchisors as the best of the best understand that

successful franchise network and the higher the degree of franchisee

training is a commitment that pays dividends by building franchisee

satisfaction the better execution of growth strategies. Growth often

and staff satisfaction, sales and profits and the cost for this training are

entails change. Strong communication between franchisee and

incorporated into the annual budgeting and planning process.

franchisor including consultation to gain both ideas and support for

In summary, the reader can see that the very best franchise networks

change build the trust needed to make difficult change management

are also the very best businesses. They are constantly monitoring

programs successful across the network.

the outcomes that result from the ongoing application of the 10 key

The communication process starts with an open mind by the franchisor and especially the field support team and a willingness to

features of best practice franchisors. For any franchise to develop into a national and international brand,

listen and respond to franchisee concerns. The process of monitoring

how well these features are developed and executed will determine

and responding to these concerns is where great franchise networks

an organisations position in the competitive pack. The value prize is

excel. Franchise Advisory Councils, franchisee product development

market leadership and the rewards it brings for all stakeholders in your

input, regional advertising committees and annual conferences are all

business, be they customers, staff, franchisee or shareholders. FF

hallmarks of the better franchisors.

10. Induction and ongoing training. When a franchisee applies for a franchise it is obvious he or she is doing so because they do not have the expertise to operate a business similar to that of the franchisor. If the recruitment screening

Rod Young is Executive Director at DC Strategy. DC Strategy is widely recognised as the region’s leading Strategy, Franchising and International consulting and legal group. DCS has developed the networks and brands of many of the region’s most successful brands. Contact Rod Young at rod.young@dcstrategy.com www.dcstrategy.com

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Before you sign I’m looking to buy a franchise and received the disclosure document and franchise agreement ... what do I do now? By Marwan Kojok

M

any individuals view franchising as a quick and

Before you sign a purchase and sale agreement to buy an

easy way to start their own business. However, the

existing franchise or before you sign a franchise agreement consult

purchase of a franchise consumes a substantial sum of

your lawyer to assist you and guide you through the process of

your money and provides no guaranteed path to success.

due diligence. Due diligence is the process of gathering and

By investing time and effort to read the material provided to

studying all the relevant information that you can find about the

you by the franchisor including the Disclosure Document and

business you are purchasing or starting. During your due diligence

Franchise Agreement will certainly paint a clearer picture of

you should look at:

what’s to be expected. Any success you may have in franchising is essentially a combination of factors:

• Financial information; • Data about assets and liabilities; • The history of the business;

1. That the information provided to you is true and correct.

• The historical tax returns of the business;

2. Your true understanding of your obligations under the

• Possible contingent liabilities including employee claims

franchise agreement.

and environmental claims;

3. Your ability to operate the franchise business as required.

• The performance of similar franchises in your area and beyond;

4. The franchisors experience in conducting its business and

• The history of the franchisor’s relations with its franchisees;

supporting its franchisees.

• The reputation of the franchise brand among consumers;

Franchising is founded on open and honest relationships between you and the franchisor and on realistic expectations about the franchised business. There is no better way to ensure a mutually successful franchise relationship than for you and the

• The historical profitability of the brand’s franchise locations; and • Information about many other issues. Start with information provided by the seller or by the franchisor

franchisor to enter into the business fully aware of each other’s

in the case of a new franchise, but prepare to quickly move

rights and obligations.

beyond this limited and sometimes biased information. A unique

Generally, I suggest that most franchisees speak to their

Franchising is founded on open and honest relationships between you and the franchisor and on realistic expectations about the franchised business.

advantage to the prospective franchisee conducting due diligence

It is wise to work with your lawyer during the due diligence

franchisor. It is often found that during this time that your

process before signing a contract. Issues with which you are

‘cooling off’ period under the franchise agreement and provided

unfamiliar can then be fully examined with the guidance of a

under the Franchising Code of Conduct expires. Hence, be

professional accustomed to purchases and sales of businesses.

sure that you make your decision soon after the signing of the

Also many of the things learned during the due diligence

franchise agreement or during the training program (within

process will influence the terms and conditions that you will

seven days from signing the franchise agreement or making any

accountants or financial advisers in relation to the documents

is the existence of other franchisees who run similarly situated

to determine whether the financial aspect of the business meets

businesses associated with the same brand. Existing franchisees

your expectations. Does the establishment costs noted in the

are the single most valuable source of due diligence information

Disclosure Document match your budget and the franchisor’s

to a prospective franchisee. Do not be reluctant to approach

estimate expressed to you? What structure (sole trader,

existing franchisees. Most will relate to the situation that you are

want to see in the purchase and sale agreement. If you wait to

payment under the agreement) to decide whether you want to

partnership, company or trust) should you set up to operate the

in as they recall the time when they first got into their franchise

retain a lawyer until you have been presented with a purchase

proceed with the franchise.

franchise business? These are some questions that you should

business. Existing franchisees are usually more than willing to

and sale agreement or your franchisor is pressuring you to sign

address before seeing your franchise lawyer. I say franchise

share great amounts of information including information about

a franchise agreement you will tend to have fewer negotiating

then becomes a matter to either commence business or

lawyer, because as you have different medical specialists, the

sales and profitability.

opportunities in the transaction.

proceed fitting out your store for commencement of your

What happens after the terms of the agreements have been negotiated?

franchise business.

same applies to lawyers. Find a lawyer who is experienced in

In addition to the information about the franchise brand

providing franchise legal services because it will only be a cost

generally and the historical experience of similar franchises, a

benefit to you and ensure that you receive experienced legal

prospective franchisee must look very carefully at the details of

services from a lawyer who has experience in respect to franchise

the operation he/she is about to acquire.

documentation. This at times is invaluable as a franchise lawyer is able to compare your terms to those of other franchise systems.

Do not make the mistake of waiting to contact a lawyer until you have been presented with a purchase and sale agreement.

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Upon satisfactorily completing the training program it

From experience, it is generally found that the secret to

Once the franchise agreement has been negotiated, you will

success can be increased if you have taken your time in making

enter into the agreement and pay the required fees. Generally,

the right decisions and seeking experienced advisers to assist in

at this stage and depending on the franchise system, you will

your decision making. FF

be required to attend a training program provided by the

Marwan Kojok is Executive Solicitor at DC Strategy.

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JOB SECURITY – a thing of the

PAST!

Old logic no longer applies. Things are changing quickly, especially in business. The top ten in-demand jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004, this means that we are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t exist.

W

ith unemployment on the up and job security declining into extinction, the US Department of Labor estimates that young adults belonging to Generation Y (people born in the 1980s and ’90s) will have 10-14 jobs by the age of 38. In Australia, unemployment rates are the highest they’ve been in six years, with 200,000 people out of work since last October. Things are changing. The traditional path of employment has become overgrown and increasingly difficult to walk, especially for those who are new to the job market. For Gen Ys to have any sense of career security, we need to start thinking like entrepreneurs, whether we consider ourselves one or not. To expect to be a ‘good’ employee with reasonable job security is outdated thinking and should have been left in the ’90s. Gen Y embraces change and so we should. We have been brought up in a fast-paced environment where we have learnt to become adaptable. If you’re a Gen Y then your job security is your knowledge and your employability stems from your ability to adapt. You’re expected to be able to produce a result, and then to produce a different result next month. Anyone who has only one skill set and hasn’t learnt how to be flexible is going to struggle; we need to start thinking more entrepreneurially. This doesn’t mean that Gen Ys should all run out and start a business, to do so would be counter-productive for a lot of people. It means that we each need to approach our job and our career with a sense of ownership. I recently had a chat with Domenic Carosa. Domenic floated his company, Destra on the ASX when he was 25, becoming Australia’s youngest ever CEO to run a publicly listed company. Today, Domenic is a well regarded entrepreneur. “Being entrepreneurial is a state of mind. Whether you’re doing it in your own company or within an organisation is less relevant than your state of mind. It is important for people to have that state of mind these days,” Domenic says. ‘Intra-preneurship’ is about bringing an entrepreneurial approach into an existing organisation. This concept is becoming increasingly popular, with people being given ownership of a particular project or a division within an organisation. With their remuneration tied

to their performance, they are not only incentivised to perform, but are encouraged to start to think about how to best produce a commercial result. This not only delivers a certain return for the organisation but encourages a certain skillset to be adopted by the employee, that is vital to survive in today’s workforce. It also provides an environment where people can learn through implementation rather than theory based teachings. As Domenic said, “Knowledge that is implemented is significantly more powerful than knowledge alone.” If Gen Ys can adopt this sense of ownership toward their career and start to think like entrepreneurs, they will not only produce a better result for the organisation, but will be forced to adopt the skillet that will ensure they capture that once elusive job security.

Take away points: • What is a career you could become genuinely engaged in? Regardless of whether or not this is a traditional career path. • What are five organisations you know of that do this or something similar? • How could you approach these organisations in a way that demonstrates entrepreneurial flair?

Jack Delosa is the General Manager of Teldar Media. Jack sits on the Advisory Board at Shift International, Australia’s leading personal development organisation for teens. He has also just been announced as a 2009 winner of Australian Anthill, Hot 30Under30.

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finance needs How to create your financial freedom By Michelle Murchison

by understanding the financiers’ perception in changing times

For your family’s future and lifestyle to be all that you imagine it to be, you need to know what strategies are appropriate to meet your financing needs. Now more than ever, different strategies are needed at different times, based on your circumstances, combined with the ever-changing economic, property and finance cycles.

W

hile this may seem overwhelming and an impossible challenge at times, it can be done with the right advice and by understanding how best to access other people’s money (OPM). By understanding what the financiers’ are looking for, you can maximise the power of leverage. Property continues to be their preferred security and they can lend up to 90% of the property value. The changing credit environment over the last few months, has given rise to the financiers’ being more cautious than what seems warranted. Nevertheless, they have obligations to ensure they can remain profitable so as to provide long-term service to the community.

“Whatever you can do or dream you can do. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now!” With low interest rates, low vacancy rates, higher rental returns, undersupply of housing and effective tax minimisation strategies available, there is plenty of reason to seize opportunities! If you have a regular income – whether salary or self employed, and can provide/demonstrate savings or equity (held within existing property), you are still in a strong position to leverage and buy/invest again! It’s important to partner with a finance expert who understands the idiosyncrasies of the financiers’ that are changing often, so that you can gain maximum leverage with little of your own money. Areas to mitigate (reduce) perceived risk by lenders when borrowing money: • Review your 5 Cs – character, capital, capacity, collateral and conditions. • Maximise leverage – use other people’s money – ie the financier’s and taxman’s (if buying for investment). To do this focus on:

1. Buying for capital growth – predominantly governed by location and land content. From a financier’s perspective – near CBD and/or higher land content contributes to perceived value as it will usually have higher demand. 2. Optimise your income – aim for as close to or greater than 5% gross rental return on investments – the banks allow approximately 80% of this income towards your capacity to repay the loan. 3. Maximise tax benefits – rental income minus investment outgoings and depreciation (on newer properties). With current rates and rental returns, it often equates to minimal shortfall in your cashflow – which the financiers like to see also. 4. Aim for affordability – while land appreciates (capital growth) and building depreciates (for tax benefits). It’s important to buy in a market where the median income can service the rent you wish to receive from your investment. As a general rule of thumb, around 30% of a tenants’ income can service their rental payments. If you buy in areas where the median income can afford your property, this will capture the greatest demand for people to rent your home. 5. Let time be your friend – wealth building requires a long-term view and plan. Using capital growth to accumulate property is the buzz of ‘making money while you sleep’. This is a ‘get rich slowly’ formula. The key to your long-term wealth is to buy and hold, while the value of your assets grows. The sooner you start, the longer you hold and can duplicate, the easier it will become! By providing quality, clean and financially viable housing (for you and the tenant), you are contributing not only to your own personal freedom, but also to your broader community and the global economy. It starts with us individually. Collectively we can make a wonderful difference to change the perception of our global economy and thrive during these times. After all, perception is projection. TB Michelle is the owner of Money Advantage. www.moneyadvantage.com.au

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customer service Marketing opportunities lost when the phone rings

By Debbie Allen

When the phone rings in your business, are your employees prepared to turn the call into a solid marketing opportunity? Or are they rushing through the call, not connecting with the prospecting customers and losing you thousands of dollars in lost revenue? 



H

ow many businesses do you call that ‘wow’ you on the phone? How many actually take the time to connect with you and use the opportunity to actually market their business more effectively. This always amazes me because most businesses spend countless dollars on advertising hoping customers will call them, but when they do, customers are often put on hold or put off? 
 Hold please! 

 You know how frustrating it is when you call a business and before you can get a word out you hear, “Can you hold please?” Most of the time you don’t even have time to respond and they already have you on hold. So why did they even bother asking? You didn’t call to be put on hold or transferred three times explaining your question or concern over and over. Then when you finally think you’ve been heard you hear, “Sorry, you’ve got the wrong department. I’ll need to transfer you. Can you hold please?” ERRRRRR! 




Voicemail hell 
The only thing worse that being put on hold is going through voice mail hell. Will a real live person ever answer the phone? Often there are so many choices on voicemail that you forget why you called. The message says: “To repeat these messages press …” Then you go through it all over gain and finally you reach the right person in the right department and they say “Can you hold please?” ERRRRR! Do these companies ever call their own companies to see how their prospective customers are being turned off everyday? I doubt it! 



Call your own business 
When discussing lost marketing opportunities in my presentations I ask for volunteers that would allow me to call their businesses in front of the audience. Some brave business owner always steps up to the challenge. They call their business from their cell phone and hand it to me. I get on the call posing as a 52 thinkBIG

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prospective customer and the entire audience hears the call. Most of the time they are shocked by what their employees have to say. For example: The owner of a company who sold sandals wholesale had a warehouse in the city where I was presenting. He made the call and handed me the phone. I explained to the employee that I understood that they were wholesalers but wondered if they could tell me of a retail store in the area that sold their shoes. After the employee told me he was not sure, he put me on hold and when he returned he told me, “No, sorry, we don’t have anyone in town. I said, “Okay, well I live in Scottsdale, Arizona. Do you know of a store that sells them there? I really want to buy a few pair because I think they’re great. 
“No, I don’t think we have a store there either. I really don’t know what retailers carry our shoes.”

 The business owner sat there in shock as he heard the conversation. When I hung up he told me how upset that made him because they had a couple of retail stores in the area plus some in my city as well. 
Whose fault was it that the marketing and sales opportunity was lost, the employee or the owner? Both, but if the owner never communicated to the employee just how to handle calls and go through different scenarios to allow the employee to think on his feet, how would he ever know how to do it, much less do it well. 


Studies reveal more lost opportunities 
Studies consistently show that the telephone remains one of the most underused business tools. Researchers called 5,000 yellow page advertisers to say that they had seen their ad and asked about

Discover How to Launch Your Product or Service Online For Maximum Profit in Minimum Time My name is John Anderson. You may have heard of my reputation as Australia’s Product Launch Specialist because of my proven track record of consistently creating ‘profit windfalls’ through online launches. If you use my powerful marketing strategies you could enjoy an almost thrilling financial result when you launch your product or service. You will also avoid the costly mistakes that most business owners make when launching their product or service online.

“$16 “...even though he has a baby face, don’t 0, underestimate him. In just 2 x 6 day long email in Br 000 a campaigns, my secret weapon has generated Span nd king $160k in brand spanking new business. Ha!… New and all in an economic downturn!” Helen Collier-Kogtevs, Real Wealth Australia. Busin ess”

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the price of product or services. The results revealed endless lost opportunities. More than 78% of those phoned didn’t bother to ask for the caller’s name. Lost Opportunity! Over 55% took eight rings or more to answer. According to the researchers, many of the people who answered the phone rushed through the call and spoke so rapidly that it was hard to understand them. Lost Opportunity! Less than 10% answered the phone in a manner that made the caller feel welcome enough to want to do business with them. Lost Opportunity! 
 Your telephone could be a powerful marketing tool if you and your employees regard every call as a marketing opportunity. 



Create a first impression opportunity 
Answer the phone by the second or third ring. Taking too long to answer creates an impression of disorganisation and/or lack of interest. Speak slowly and clearly giving your name, your company’s name and a simple, direct offer of assistance such as, “How may I be of assistance to you today?” Put a smile on your face when you pick up the phone and a smile in your voice before you reply. To get into the habit of doing this, place a mirror next to the phone so that you will see your facial expression when you answer. Are you ringing up marketing opportunities or placing them on hold?

Debbie Allen is one of the world’s leading authorities TB on sales and marketing. She is the author of five books including Confessions of Shameless Self Promoters and Skyrocketing Sales. www.DebbieAllen.com

How to Tap into the Hidden Power of

FREE Publicity to Dramatically

Boost Your Business –whatever you do!

Results-driven Publicist Brian James will uncover the hidden ‘stories’ in your business to attract the media, then feature you, your product or service and drive MASSIVE SALES through the door.

What Brian’s clients say “One TV mention generated nearly $200,000 sales in 48 Hours” Trevor Andrews, PainEze Plus

“An eleven minute interview on ABC Radio brought in 653 calls and a booked out seminar,” Robyn Lovell, Breaking Free

“An ‘Age’ feature on our ActivDesk, ultimately led to $400,000 in sales,” Richard Winnicki, AME Systems

“Brian sent out one media release on my rare books shop and website. National TV, radio and print features made me and my books overnight stars and multiplied the value of my business,” Allan Walker antiquarian book purveyor

“Extensive National top rating media coverage helped cement the “Thrillionaire” branding,” Nik Halik, the Thrillionaire

Discover how to use Publicity to target your audience and generate massive sales, almost overnight.

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE PUBLICTY POWER REPORT (valued at $129) on How to harness the awesome hidden power of publicity. Go to:

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Q &A

Property and Finance Q&A with Carly Crutchfield

By Carly Crutchfield

Carly Crutchfield is the CEO of Australian property and investment firm CCORP and its subsidiaries companies. She is a property developer, investor, public speaker and self-made millionaire. In this new and exciting addition to Think Big magazine, Carly provides you with personalised answers to all your property and finance questions! Q. Are there some ‘tricks of the trade’ that would be helpful to know when it comes to property? Vee Mignone A. One of the most important things you can do is to ensure you get three opinions or quotes on absolutely everything. A lot of people get themselves into trouble when they only ask one person. This is particularly important when getting quotes. You should get three quotes for everything you do such as builder’s costs, architect’s costs, engineer’s costs, real estate fees and any other costs you will incur. Another thing that I cannot stress enough is the importance of making sure you understand what it is you are doing. Terminology can vary. If there is anything you do not understand make sure that you ask questions. It is the simplest of misunderstandings that can cost you the most money further down the line. Q. 1. What are the escalation rates for construction, rent/and and absolute sell-on escalation rate per annum when doing your feasibility? 2. What are the estimate costs for conveyancing per site for selling and buying? 3. When developing or renovating property what are the overall costs for consultants (architects, engineers etc)? Jal Cordier A. 1. Escalation rates generally are only of interest if you are developing or renovating a property. It refers to how much the cost of materials and construction could rise (escalate) during the development or renovation. Generally, if you are doing a project that only takes one year or less don’t worry about the escalation rates. If you are doing a development that takes two years, the escalation rates will be approximately 5%. To be on the safer side you can factor in 7-10% when calculating profits. 2. $2,000 will usually cover conveyancing fees on purchase per site. Conveyancing fees when selling are generally approximately $1,000

per site, this will vary based on which solicitor or conveyancer you use and how much business you give them. But those are the general rates that my clients and I would pay. 3. The costs of the different consultants will vary from one project to the next depending if the project is already DA approved, how much work is needed when you take it on and of course how large the project is. To get an accurate estimate you can call an architect for a free quote. To make it easy you can use a percentage of construction costs as an estimate. This would generally be about 3%–5%. You should, with some good negotiating, be able to pay consultant fees of about 3% of you’re overall costs of the project. Q. What are the basic requirements to determine if a property (flats/multi-units) can be strata titled? Does this vary between States and local governments? Brad Davis A. Primarily, the building will have to meet all the new current building codes and the individual council requirements. The building codes are Australia-wide as per the Building Code of Australia (BCA) while the council requirements will vary from council to council and State to State. The best thing to do in this circumstance is to have the block assessed by a local architect. He will need to review the property and see how much work has got to be done to it to make it comply with current rules and regulations to meet the specific standards, once you know this you can then assess how feasible it is to undertake strata titling. To get your property and finance questions answers, email Carly on carlyc@ccorp.com.au and look out in our next issue to see if your question is featured! TB Carly Crutchfield is a self made millionaire, the CEO of several national companies she’s been involved in developments throughout Australia, New Zealand and America with a value of more than $200 million dollars. www.carlycrutchfield.com.au

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thinkBIG feature Prior to becoming a trading educator, Aussie Rob’s career took many twists. He tells ThinkBig about his growth as a trading educator as well as how the current GFC will affect future markets.

A

ussie Rob has covered all bases when it comes to employment. Having run away from home at age 16, he took up an apprenticeship as a diesel mechanic before joining the army, which he says taught him systems and discipline; a combination of ideals which helped him later in his trading career. After a short period of time in the army, he swore never to work for a boss again as “there was no incentive for working harder or smarter than the guy next to you.” Having learnt his systems, he did what any good systems man does and became a Financial Planner (before the term was even created) and developed several franchise systems, which led him into international banking and retirement in the Bahamas. Most people who have retired to the Bahamas, usually stay retired. Although Aussie Rob says he still feels like he is putting his feet up, he is working harder than ever, coming out of retirement by accident after advising people how to trade. Think Big (TB): You have been known as Aussie Rob for quite some time now, how did your brand come about and how important is this to who you are and what you do? Aussie Rob: It’s quite surreal how ‘Aussie Rob’ is becoming a global brand. It started with an internet-based talk back radio show in the US back in early 2000. The show was a new concept where the listeners would email in questions and a financial expert would give their opinion. I sent in an email and signed off as Rob. Then the next three emails were from ‘Rob’s’ as well with the last guy signing off as ‘Rob from Chicago’. I then shot off another email and signed off as ‘Aussie Rob’. The host then said, “Ah, I’ve got an email from ‘me’ mate from Down Under, Aussie Rob.” That was interesting considering the guy had never met me before. Anyway to cut a long story short, I was invited to Dallas to co-host the show one day and

the rest is history. The brand has become my second life. It enables me to push the envelope while training. I can say and do things that a person in a suit cannot. So I guess it enables me the freedom to have some fun, enables my students to have fun, which in turn provides them with a great learning environment. People get so uptight about money so I find humour enables them to relax. When they’re relaxed, they’re more receptive to learn. Think Big: When did you realise that trading would be your career? Aussie Rob: Back in ’84 I invested $3,000 of my hard earned money with a commodities broker. The trade went well for three days then turned around sharply and took me out. It took me out of the game and my money went down the gurgler. I was 21 at the time and $3,000 was a lot of money so it hurt pretty badly, especially considering that it really wasn’t my money. It was money borrowed on my credit card. They were my first two lessons in trading: 1. Don’t invest money that you can’t afford to lose! My minimum monthly repayment was something like $25 per month so it took a long time to repay my frivolous dabble in the markets. 2. Don’t trust anyone else with your money. After all, no-one will take care of your money better than you! In hindsight, if I didn’t have that moment of greed, I may never have been exposed to the thrill of ‘what could have been’. It whet my appetite and opened my mind to new possibilities in my search for financial freedom as I knew that working for a boss was definitely not going to make me financially free. So I’m glad I went through what I did as it

This

Aussie’s the

genuine article

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thinkBIG feature conditioned me to be a very astute trader in years to come. Think Big: You advise on markets, but what kind of student were you? My mentor was a stickler at being methodical. He was purely a numbers guys. He kept enforcing his favourite saying, “The numbers don’t lie!” That has stuck in my head all of these years and whenever I sense that I am about to stray from my trading plan, a little voice in my head keeps saying, “The numbers don’t lie!”

I was and still am an ‘all in’ kind of guy. If I’m going to do something, I jump in boots and all. There is no point in doing something by halves. If it’s worth doing by halves, then it must be worth doing completely, or don’t do it at all. I immersed myself into my mentor’s teachings and kept practicing until I was totally confident in what I was doing. There was no way that I was going to lose my money this time similarly to what happened when I gave my money to a broker! Back then, it was too bloody hard to make so I didn’t want to frivolously squander it. Think Big: Are there any hard and fast basic rules you tell people who are looking to invest? Aussie Rob: Yes, definitely... You’ve got to get educated. If you jump into the market without knowing exactly what you are doing, you’re going to lose. You’ll simply be donating your hard earned cash to the market and then what will you have? If you invest in your wealth creation education first, you’ll have that knowledge to use for the rest of your life.

There is no point in doing something by halves. If it’s worth doing by halves, then it must be worth doing completely, or don’t do it at all. Think Big: What is your take on the GFC? What should people do to ensure their wealth and continue their path to success? Aussie Rob: The GFC is very exciting... We’re going to see the biggest transference of wealth in the history of mankind. You see, after every recession/depression, the people in the know accumulate insane amounts of wealth. Take the Great Depression for example. It created more millionaires than any other time in history. So let’s think about the opportunity that lies in front of us right now. While the media paints ‘doom and gloom’, people are positioning themselves to take advantage of the enormous opportunity that is just around the corner. People are more financially savvy nowadays and those who are not have easy access to great information that can be immediately implemented. We’re in an instant gratification world so we need to grab every opportunity as it presents itself. And they’re everywhere, people just have to remove their blinkers, their old school mainstream conditioning so they can see the trees through the forest.

Now with that said and done, if people would simply take the time to get educated on trading both sides of the market, then the market can give them total financial freedom for life! By that I mean to learn how to go ‘short’ in the market as well as going ‘long’. ‘Shorting’ or ‘short selling’ is the strategy that enables you to capitalise on falling markets. While going ‘long’ is the strategy that enables you to capitalise on rising markets. When you master both of these, it really doesn’t matter what the markets do so long as they do something. Think Big: Will the market correct itself, if needed, and when? Aussie Rob: Yeah it will. It always does. I believe that everything works on cycles and cycles are based on fear and greed. In the good times, greed takes over and markets rise. Then when prices become way over-inflated, fear kicks in and markets fall. We are definitely still in fear mode. Eventually, people will start to think, ‘Gee, that price is bloody good, I want a slice of that action’. Whether it is the share market, real estate or business, there will become a time that a low price will overcome the fear. Then prices will start to rise again due to supply and demand. When there are more buyers in the market – prices go up. When there are more sellers in the market – prices go down. I like taking the rocket science out of stuff and keeping it simple. This is basic economics 101. When? Gee, that’s a million dollar question, isn’t it? I’m on my way back home from a seven week seminar tour of the US and I’ve noticed that the public’s attitude has definitely changed since I was running training classes there in January. People are now starting to look at alternative ways to get ahead. Australia is not there yet. We have not had the pain that the US has had and I think we have a way to go yet before we do. The sad thing about humans is that we’re driven more so by pain than we are by pleasure. The pain has to be strong enough to make us want to make a move, to want to make a change. The US is the leading indicator of the GFC and from what I’ve personally experienced from my grassroots travel. I believe that we’re about a year behind where they’re at. Think Big: Given your knowledge in trading and the vast amounts of jobs you’ve had, what were your dreams as a kid? Aussie Rob: That’s a difficult one. As strange as it might sound, I don’t really think I had any. I grew up without a mother and my father was an interstate truck driver who was always working, so as a young child I started working too. I had numerous jobs in primary school from working in a fish and chip shop peeling spuds, to scrubbing a butcher shop and it continued in high school with washing shop windows to pumping petrol and of course, washing my dad’s friends’ trucks. At a young age I knew that I wasn’t going to be rich by working for someone else. I knew that things had to be different as all I knew was: be on the river at 6am with my rowing crew, run home, get ready for school, go to school, run

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home and get changed to go to work then run home again so I wouldn’t be late for dinner, do my homework then go to bed. So I guess my dream was a subliminal one. The dream was to work out a better way. Think Big: What does it take to realise your dreams? Aussie Rob: To be relentless. Just keep trying. Keep focused and most importantly, don’t listen to those who doubt you! You’ll find more people out there that will crush your dreams and give you all of the reasons why you can’t succeed than those who will support and encourage you. You need to look at your peers. Reassess with whom you associate and only associate with those who add value to your life. At first that might seem strange as you wonder where these ‘added value people’ will come from. I’ve found that the best way to find them is to attract them. It’s really simply to do. Change yourself and you’ll attract people like yourself. In other words, become a positive and encouraging person who only says positive stuff and you’ll become a magnet that only attracts positive people. Try it and you’ll be amazed at how it works.

Be relentless. Just keep trying. Keep focused and most importantly, don’t listen to those who doubt you! Think Big: What are your future goals? Aussie Rob: As far as my business goals go, I have two that are related to my Lifestyle Education Group. We have built a solid foundation in both Australia and the US so the next step on this journey is to expand into the UK. My second goal is to diversify our education for our students to cover real estate and internet marketing. I see a massive opportunity over the next five years for people to capitalise on the correction in real estate pricing as well as the exponential growth of the Internet. The addition of real estate and internet marketing will then complete the ‘Circle of Wealth Creation’ (trading, real estate and business) to enable clients the best opportunity of gaining total financial freedom for life. One of my most important goals is to really develop my foundation, the Aussie Rob Foundation. There is not enough space to write about it here but I’d love for you to check it out at www.aussierobfoundation.org. Together we can make a difference! Think Big: Have you fulfilled your goals? Aussie Rob: Always and never... I like to set two levels of goals. My short-term goals I always achieve while my long-term goals never come to fruition as they are always changing and evolving. I love change. I live by change. So by knowing my makeup, I am constantly living a life of metamorphosis. I couldn’t think of living any other way! The last nine years have been phenomenal for me but it is just the start. I have so much more that I want to give and this GFC has made my desire even stronger. TB

Aussie Rob’s five favourite books

1 2

1. Watership Down by Richard Adams

This is the only book I remember enjoying reading as a child. I guess it was my escape from the real world or what I perceived as the real world. You’ve now motivated me to read it again and see what my perspective of it is now as an adult.

2. Success through a Positive Mental Attitude by W Clement Stone This was the very first motivational book that I ever read. I underwent a sales training course with Combined Insurance Company of America, whom W Clement Stone founded, so part of their curriculum was to read his book. It opened my eyes to a total new world of opportunity. It’s funny, I still have their mantra “I feel healthy, I feel happy, I feel terrific” implanted in my head. They made us yell it out every morning from their training room balcony in North Sydney during peak hour. I’m sure everyone walking below must have thought we were crazy!

3 4 5

3. Richest Man of Babylon by George Samuel Clason

The ‘save 10% of what you earn principle’ is a must. This book should be compulsory for every child to read after their parents have read it first so that there can be congruency in their family monetary values. I’ve lost count of how many copies of this book I have given away to teenage kids.

4. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Well what can I say? This book is legendary in the way that it opens your mind to the endless possibilities of where you can go with your life. When you learn the possibilities, the choice on which direction you take is really yours. And I guess that’s what I’m all about. I want to be the master of my own ship, the master of my life. I want to choose where I am going, how I am going to get there and what will be there when I arrive.

5. Catching the Wolf of Wall Street

by Jordan Belfort.

This is the book that I am currently reading. It is a true story that illustrates how greed can take over a person’s life. Greed is the killer of all principles as far as I’m concerned. It’s great to have goals and the desire to be mega successful but it must be acquired by creating value. This is what I attribute my personal success to, to create value in other peoples’ lives. With being in the wealth creation industry, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly. This book really illustrates how corrupt Wall Street is and has instilled an even stronger desire for me to continue educating people to take control of their

own finances instead of relying on someone else. It has also made me stop for a moment and think about how easy it could be to get caught up in all of the hype and success which could eat into your own core values.

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negotiation The secret to successfully negotiating salaries By Peter Wink

Economic times may be tough. Still, if you’re exceptional at what you do – you deserve to get paid fairly for it…and you can! No question about it! If you’re not satisfied with your present salary, benefits, perks, or for whatever reason, you just want more from your career – this article is an absolute must.

L

et me start by emphasising that everyone gets butterflies in their stomach when negotiating for a new position, promotion, or a raise. It’s normal to feel scared when facing the boss and negotiating for a higher salary or bonus. The good news is that it’s doable – the bad news is that there are risks involved in asking for a raise. The truth of the matter is that excellent, qualified, employees are a valuable asset and should be rewarded in relation to their contribution. Many executives may disagree with me, but the bottom line is that the best employees need to be well compensated. I recently read something absolutely appalling. An author of a human resources textbook (who obviously was clueless) had the nerve to state that money is not considered a motivator for good on-the-job performance. What a crock of bull! Money is not only important…it has to be considered one of your top priorities. Would you show up to your job if they stopped paying you? If you’re going to spend at least one third of your life at work, it makes all the sense in the world that you leverage your time financially. Would you rather make $8 per hour or $80? The truth is that you can earn far more money per hour, or per year, by utilising some simple techniques. By learning how to negotiate with your boss, you can also secure a great deal of company benefits for yourself.

These benefits include • Higher salaries and raises • Additional vacation or personal days off • Tickets for workshops and seminars applicable to your position • Subscriptions to business newspapers and trade magazines • Larger bonuses • Signing bonuses • Health club memberships • Country club memberships • Interest-free loans to cover home and auto expenses • Financial planning assistance

• Profit sharing or performance bonuses • Golden parachutes to protect you in the case of a layoff • Overtime hours at 1.5 – 2x your pay rate • Stock purchase plans and pensions • Payment for sabbaticals

You can also negotiate non-monetary company benefits including… • Time off for extra training • Reimbursement for suits and other work clothes • New homes and boats • Additional days off for personal or vacation use • Additional medical and dental benefits • Sabbaticals • Expansive expense accounts • Company cars and jet usage I mentioned that there are some risks associated with asking for a raise. Let me share some caveats and advice with you. You must follow the next three secret tactics when you negotiate with your employer. 1. Time your strategy. There are good times and bad times to ask for a raise. Here are some examples of god times to ask for a raise: After you’ve successfully completed a major project, while the boss is in a great mood, when the company announces excellent earnings and after you’ve made a high-ticket sale. There are also some bad times to ask for a raise: When layoffs are announced or shortly thereafter, after you’re reprimanded, when your boss is feeling angry and even when the company announces poor earnings.

The next secret is… 2. Figure out what you’re worth to the company. Once you feel ’ you have the timing right, you have to figure out what you’re worth to the company.

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Too many people make the mistake of asking for a raise or promotion with no justification. To get a raise or promotion, you must not only know what salary, benefits and perks you’re looking for, you must also be able to prove you’re worth giving them to.

3. What if your employer’s counter offer falls slightly short of the salary you desire? 5. If you have a legitimate ‘raise’ request, it is time to ask your boss.

Ask yourself the following questions…

A. Maintain a positive mental attitude. No matter what, be positive and cheerful. Never ask for a raise with a negative or nasty attitude. Some quick tips to keep in mind during the negotiation process. • Smile; never frown. • Never seem nervous and try not to feel uneasy. • Keep straight posture and maintain eye contact. • Avoid confrontation or making your boss defensive. • Keep the discussion lively. B. Prove to your boss that you deserve a raise. C. Remember who needs the raise and who’s the boss. D. Ask questions. E. Find ways to become more valuable to your boss/company. The following list contains some of the typical mistakes people make. • Avoid these mistakes at all cost: Giving free concessions, reaching an agreement too quickly, making unreasonable demands, not getting the offer in writing, or even negotiating tired. Some of you are probably asking, “This is all great, but what do I do when I negotiate for a new position at a company where I have no track record to speak of?” Great question!

• How much money am I earning? Figure out your hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and annual salary. • What do all my yearly commissions, medical and dental benefits, profit sharing, bonuses, and incentives add up to? Total it all up. • How much do other people earn, who are in your same job title, at other companies? This is a very important, so I’m going to spend extra time here. To ask for better salaries, raises, benefits, and other company perks, you need to have knowledge of not only your worth within the company, but also what you would be worth to other organisations. The following are several ways to get salary information: Ask other people within your field, interview personnel recruiters, or even meet with executives in major companies. You may also reference publications at your library including trade journals and other magazines relevant to your industry. You can also read The Encyclopedia of Associations, and The Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Or you can visit the following websites… 1) Salary.com @ http://www.salary.com/ 2) Jobstar @ http://jobstar.org/index.php • Am I truly SUCCESSFUL in my job? Many times, salaries increases are based on performance. Think real hard and determine if you’re actually doing your job well. • Can I quantify my performance? This is vital! If you’ve determined you’re excellent at your present job, you need to prove it to your employer. You need to list all your accomplishments on paper or on a spreadsheet. If you’ve made the company a vast amount of extra money, you may be entitled to a higher salary based on this figure. If you can’t quantify your contributions, list out every day-to-day responsibility you have done throughout the year, and everything you’ve done that goes beyond the normal call of duty. Were you on special committees? Did you help out on different projects? Did you exceed expectations in sales? Did you bring a profitable, new idea to the company? If you did write them down. • How much is my performance really worth in terms of dollars and cents? Based on your answers above, calculate an estimate of what you think you’re now worth to your employer and write it down. • How much do I realistically think my employer can afford to pay me? Keep in mind that not every company can afford to pay huge salaries, give extravagant benefits and provide big incentive plans. • What salary am I going to request? Now that you’ve figured out what your current worth to the company, as well as what you feel the company can reasonably pay you…figure out the dollar amount you’re going to ask for. Also…you need to decide what you’re willing to accept if they don’t meet your requested salary. • What will I do if my salary request is denied? It’s very important that you lay out a long-term battle plan based on three scenarios. Use the following three scenarios to guide you… 1. Play out the best-case scenario – you get what you asked for. 2. What will you do if your employer says, “no, we can’t afford to give you any sort of extra compensation at this time?”

Always…

Here are the three steps I recommend… 1. Take what’s called a ‘Specialty Skills Assessment’ based on the needs of your prospective employer. This will enable you to figure out what skills they’re looking for and if you’re a potential match. Write down every possible skill that would interest ABC Advertising. 2. Take what’s called a ‘Skills Inventory’. Write down any additional skills you can offer them. Things indirectly applicable to the position, but still valuable like new negotiating skills, educational credentials, software skills, and special projects you’ve completed. 3. Tell your prospective employer several personal things. These are traits that typically don’t come up on resumes like eagerness to start early and stay late, the ability to make good, quick decisions, strong personal references, willingness to travel anytime to anywhere, professional clubs you’ve joined in the past or are a current member of, business books you’ve read, seminars on business skills you’ve attended, attendance record, sports you participate in that show dedication and teamwork, and even continuing education programs you are currently enrolled in or starting in the new future. Remembe, negotiating and dealmaking is based on leveraging your power. The more power you have in a negotiation, the easier it’ll be to get what you want and accumulate riches in every area of your life. Also, regardless of depressions, recessions, bad times and good times – employers need good employees and will pay dearly for the right ones. Negotiate smart and you too will get excellent salaries, raises, benefits and other company perks! If you have any other questions, please feel free to reach out to me at contact@peterwink.com. TB Peter Wink is a negotiating expert and bestselling author of Negotiate Your Way to Riches and Buying Secrets Retailers DON’T Want You to Know About. www.buyingsecretsretailersdontwantyoutoknowabout.com

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trading Shares for rent part 2 By Aussie Rob

I’m excited that you’re taking the time to read this as the information that I am about to share with you has enabled many people to change their lives. G’day mate,

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need you to sit back, relax, open your mind and accept what I am teaching here, even though you might initially be thinking, ‘WOW, is this for real?’ This definitely is for real. In actual fact, I have taught hundreds, no thousands of people around the world how to do this. There is no rocket science here, just simple maths. My motivation in sharing this two-part article with you is to sort out the ‘Gunna’s’ from the ‘Do’ers’. So many people over the years have told me that they want to change their lives and get out of the rat race but never do anything about it. I have devoted my life to helping people who really do want to help themselves. My mission is success! My team and I are 200% dedicated to helping people become successful. All the information in the world is useless without action. Take the first step and read this article, then if you really are a ‘Do’er’ and serious about achieving financial success, let’s make it happen. The best way to start learning about renting out shares is to think of real estate… If you owned real estate, would you rent it out or would you leave it vacant? No doubt you said that you’d rent it! Why on earth would you leave it vacant? Why would you want to miss out on that rental income each month? So what about shares? If you own some shares, are you renting? If not, why not? Think of the income that you are missing out on each month! Imagine if you could earn 5% per month from renting out shares. That would equate to a whopping 60% per annum, without compounding. Mate, this is found money. This is money that could, no ‘should’ be added to your trading account each month. Imagine the difference after a few years. Why don’t you grab a calculator and do your maths and see what kind of difference this could make to your long-term investments. Imagine the difference it could make to your Superannuation Fund (Aussie Retirement Fund) or your IRA (Yankee Retirement Fund) or your RRSP (Knuck Retirement Fund). Imagine the difference it could make to you right now? If you’re retired, what could the possibility of an extra 5% make to your

quality of life? If you are still working, could an extra 5% per month help towards a mortgage payment? Think about the reasons why you want to learn this, as it will put you in the right mindset to take action and do something about it. Again, are you a ‘Gunna’ or are you a ‘Do’er’? The concept of renting shares is to earn a monthly income from selling someone the right to buy your shares from you. The strategy is known as writing covered calls, which is an option trading strategy. Before we get into writing covered calls, there are a few option basics that you need to understand first.

• There are only two options: 1. Calls 2. Puts • If you buy Calls, you are buying the rights to buy shares. • If you sell (write) Calls, you are selling someone else the rights to buy shares. I won’t be discussing Puts as the strategy that I’m going to teach you relate to Calls. NB: As an example one option contract controls 100 US shares. Therefore, if you buy 1 Call, you are buying the rights to buy 100 shares. Likewise, if you sell (write) Calls, you are selling someone else the rights to buy 100 shares. Note: We do this in the US market, as the profit potential is far greater than any other market. Option contracts expire on the third Friday of the month in the US. Therefore, if it is currently August and you buy an August Call, you are buying the rights to buy 100 shares by the third Friday of August. Likewise, if you sell (write) an August Call, you are selling someone else the rights to buy 100 shares by the third Friday of August. You can choose which price you buy or sell (write) Calls as per the following guidelines:

1. Shares priced between $5 and $25 You Can buy or sell (write) Calls in $2.50 increments. Therefore you can buy or sell (write) $5 Calls, $7.50 Calls, $10 Calls etc.

2. Shares priced between $25 and $200 You can buy or sell (write) Calls in $5.00 increments. Therefore you can buy or sell (write) $25 Calls, $30 Calls, $35 calls etc.

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3. Shares priced $200 and more You can buy or sell (write) Calls in $10 increments. Therefore you can buy or sell (write) $200 Calls, $210 Calls, $220 Calls etc. These are general guidelines as there are some cases different to this but most follow these guidelines. The price that you choose to buy or sell (write) Calls is known as the strike price. For example, let’s assume that you own 1,000 shares of Microflop that you bought for $23 and they’re now trading at $24. The July $25 Calls are now going for $1.15. You could sell 10 Calls and bring in $1,150. (One Call controls 100 shares, so 10 Calls control 1,000 shares, therefore, 1,000 shares x $1.15) Why would someone pay you $1 per share for the rights to buy Microflop from you for $25 per share? They are hoping that Microflop goes up prior to the option expiring. If it went up to say, $28 per share, they could exercise their option and buy Microflop from you for $25. Their net cost would have been $26 ($25 for the shares + $1 for the option), therefore giving them a nice profit of $2 per share. Remember, they only paid $1 per share for the option so if they sold the stock immediately, they effectively made a $2 per share profit on a $1 per share investment or a pretty cool 200% return on their investment! Let’s now get into the actual mechanics of the strategy...

To write a covered call means: 1. Write: Means to sell 2. Covered: Means that you own the shares To write a covered call simply means to sell a Call option against the shares that you already own. For example, let’s assume that you own 1,000 shares of Microflop, which you bought for $8.00 and they’re now trading at $9.00. The July $10 Calls are going for $1.15. You could sell 10 Calls and bring in an extra $1,150. (1,000 shares x $1.15) Why could you sell 10 Calls? Because one option contract controls 100 shares so if you owned 1,000 shares, you could write 10 contracts. Simple maths, eh! ;-) You are selling someone the right to buy your Microflop shares from you by the third Friday of August for $10 and they have paid you $1.15 for the right. The exciting benefit with this strategy is that you get to keep the $1,150 whether your shares go up, stay the same price or go down. If the shares are higher than $25 at expiration (third Friday of August), then it is highly likely that they will be bought from you at $25. If so, that adds an additional $1,000 profit to the trade (because your shares had to have gone up from $24 to $25). This is called being ‘called out’.

Now let’s compare the two different scenarios here: 1. Buy the shares and sell the shares Buy 1,000 shares of Microflop for $23.00 and then sell them for $25.00 Profit: $2,000. Return on Investment (ROI): 8.7% (Cash in: $2,000 divided by Cash Out: $8,000 x 100) Now you can boost that return up a bit if you take advantage of a broker with buying your shares on ‘margin’. Margin is a very simple strategy that I am surprised most people

Aussie Rob don’t know about. You can ask your broker to pay half of your initial purchase. For example, if Microflop shares were trading at $23.00, you could get your broker to fund 50% of your purchase so you would only have to pay $11.50 per share. Pretty cool, eh? Now of course your broker won’t lend you 50% of your share purchase for free. He’ll probably charge you around eight or 9% per annum. So there’s a little tip that nearly doubled your return! (You owe me a beer for that one when we next meet.) Return on Investment (ROI) if on Margin: 17% (Cash in: $2,000 divided by cash out: $11,500 x 100) Of course you’ll have to deduct the 8% to 9% pa from your profit to cover your broker’s margin interest. If you were only in the trade for a month, you’d only have to pay him one month’s interest. So therefore, I’m sorry but your return would only be about 16% instead of 17%, but I’m sure you could live with that. Oh, and of course your broker has to eat so he’ll charge you commission for buying the shares and commission to write the call. Commissions vary from broker to broker so I won’t be factoring in commission with any of these examples. Just remember that you’ll have to adjust the returns a tad to cover commission.

2. Write a Covered Call and get Called Out Buy 1000 shares of Microflop for $23.00 Sell $25 Calls for $1.15 (Brings in $1,150 cash into your account) Get Called Out for $25.00 (Called Out means getting your shares bought from you.) Profit: $3,150 ($1,150 for selling the Calls & $2,000 profit on the shares) ROI: 13% (Cash in: $3,150 divided by Cash Out: $23,000 x 100) ROI if on Margin: 26% (Cash in: $3,150 divided by Cash Out: $4,000 x 100) You would only do this if you really wanted to sell the shares at $25.00. If you didn’t, you could sell the next strike price out (27.50) which would bring in less premium (amount for writing the Call) but you would have a better chance of keeping the shares.

Tips for not getting Called Out 1. If you want to keep the shares and not get Called Out, you should always sell the Call at a Strike Price that you don’t think that the stock will get to prior to expiration. 2. If it looks as though the shares are going to be higher than the Call’s Strike Price, buy back the Calls and then sell the next higher Strike Price. For example, buy back the 25 Calls and sell the 27.50 Calls. 3. If the share price goes higher than the Call’s Strike Price, don’t panic, sit tight and wait until most of the Time Value has gone from the Premium and then buy it back. You would then be just buying Intrinsic Value. If you’d like to learn more about Renting Shares, then go to www. lifestyletrader.com.au/sharerenting to order a FREE copy of my Share Renting DVD and Special Report valued at $97. Editor’s note: In the next issue Aussie Rob completes his look at renting shares. TB Aussie Rob has just released a brand new Covered Call training DVD called Aussie Rob’s Share Renting DVD that teaches step-by-step how to write Covered Calls.

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Think Big,

Think

Pareto By Michael Moore

How much time do you spend on the little things? How much time do you spend on those things that are not wealth generating?

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t is so easy for our attention to become enticed into something insignificant and our focus pulled away from what is important. Setting priorities in our activities is one way we can ensure that we stay on track. Look at how your activities and actions assist or impede your progress towards expansion. Your time is valuable. Look at how much of it is spent working on achieving your goals and how much is not. On April 14, 1912 a great ocean liner, The Titanic sank. One interesting story that emerged from that event concerns a woman, who, alighting into a lifeboat suddenly stopped and, turning around, rushed off stepping over money and jewellery scattered on the decks. She reached her cabin and, ignoring her own jewellery, grabbed some oranges, rushed back to the lifeboat and jumped in. A dramatic shift in priority when an emergency arrives. Determining a priority will depend on what your goal is at a particular time. The goal of the woman on the Titanic was to survive the open sea. She adjusted her priorities to fit her goal. What sort of goals should you have in relation to your business or investments? ‘Principle: You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.’ -John C. Maxwell, Developing the Leader within You Robert K McKain said, ‘The reason most major goals are not achieved is that we spend our time doing second things first.’ When building a business it is easy to become distracted by the mundane and petty things around us.

20% of a book will contain 80% of the content 20% of the people will eat 80% of the food 20% of the people will have 80% of the money 20% of the products will produce 80% of the profit 20% of your customers will be responsible for 80% of your profit 20% of your customers will produce 80% of your complaints 20% of your orders are more likely to be fraudulent orders. And the other way round. 80% of your work will produce 20% of your results 80 of your money will produce 20% of your profit 80% of a book will contain 20% of the content 80% of the people will eat 20% of the food 80% of the people will have 20% of the money 80% of the products will produce 20% of the profit 80% of your customer will be responsible for 20% of your profit 80% of your complaints will come from 20% of your customers 80% of your fraud problems will come from 20% of your orders. Sales people know that 80% of their time is spent getting 20% of their sales and 20% of their prospects result in 80% of their commission. The exercise they are constantly engaged in is locating those 20% type of prospects to increase their commission. A business understands that 80% of their profit comes from 20% of their customers. Their task is to either make the other 80% of their customers produce the same ratio of income as the 20% do or to reduce the 80% that only produce the 20% profit or change them for the 20% type of customers that produces the 80% of their profits. Imagine what would happen if 80% of your time, energy and money which you spend on problems was

reduced to 20%? What a difference that would make! So if we can understand how to use this principle to reduce problems such as increased expenses, complaints and fraud, for example, to an acceptable maximum. Perhaps we only need to apply our policies of handling complaints and fraud to that 20%? Reducing 80% of our time handling fraud and complaints down to 20% of our time. Using the Pareto Principle, 20% of your priorities will give you 80% of your production if you spend most of your time, energy, money and personal attention on that 20%. Isolating those successful actions that resulted in a sudden increase in business; perhaps a special discount offered or a particular phasing in your advertising, could result in an increased flow in business thereby. Discovering that 80% of the communications in the company are a waste of time due to the same communications being bounced around with no result and putting in place processes to ensure this does not happen can reduce the amount of company time wasted. Even one’s own communication lines reading that report or email and actually handling it on the spot rather than putting it off with the thought ‘I will handle that later’, will reduce wasted valuable time and energy as the matter will not then require handling twice. There are so many ways this principle can be applied and it only takes a bit of thought to see how one can apply this in your business. Perhaps 20%? TB Michael Moore is a prolific Australian author of books and articles including Kickstart to Wealth and All About Gold. www.authorservices.com.au

What is The Pareto Principle? The Pareto Principle was named after Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist who worked out and developed the concept while studying economic efficiency, by one Joseph M. Juran, a business management thinker. The Pareto Principle is a method of isolating your time, money, activity or priorities in such a way that you are able to increase those things that will assist you in achieving your goals quicker while at the same time decreasing those things that would impede or stop your progress towards the accomplishment of your goals. It is also known as the 80/20 principle. It describes a ratio of one thing to another. Sales people know it well and are often taught it in the early stages of their sales training. Corporations use it to manage their business strategies. For example Microsoft applied the principle in relation to bugs in the software. Microsoft discovered that 80% of the errors and crashes in Windows and Office are caused by 20% of the bugs detected, so that eliminating that 20% of bugs would reduce 80% of the errors and crashes and, sure enough, it did. Basically it demonstrates that 20% of any time, activity, money, etc will produce 80% of the results.

Here are some examples: 20% of your work will produce 80% of your results 20% of your money will produce 80% of your profit

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opportunity Recession equals opportunity if we let go of the fear
 By Jamie McIntyre

You may have heard the Chinese proverb ‘crisis is opportunity’. This is true, but to overcome a recession we need to see it as the opportunity it is.

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s challenging as a recession can be it creates a lot of opportunities for those who are willing to embrace the changing economic environment. The recession has made many including myself look at our overheads and expenses and eliminate wastage in our companies or personal lives. In a boom time this would never occur, but thanks to the recession I have eliminated millions of dollars a year in waste from my companies and achieved massive efficiencies that would never have been discovered if the recession never occurred. So have you eliminated unnecessary spending and overheads to become more efficient? Recessions – once every 10 or 15 years – can be a valuable cycle that allows economies to eliminate underperforming companies, make society more efficient and move employees from inefficient jobs to more productive and rewarding careers. At a personal level it can make us appreciate the wealth that exists in our lives and the wonderful things we often take for granted. It can also simplify our lives to focus on what really matters most. However the challenge in a recession is to stop being fixated on the fear of falling sales and redundancies. Fear causes us to lose our creativity and ability to innovate. I have some friends who are doing it tough in business and are close to going broke. These are multi millionaires who may lose everything. What they need to do is make some quick changes.

Here are my tips on how to do this. 1. Cut costs and overheads early and fast. Don’t delay or

procrastinate or wait for things to get better. Survival is the first goal and you must stay in the game to achieve it. 2. Focus on innovation and new and better ways to do things. In a recession, companies must focus on better customer service to keep their repeat clients. They must work harder to generate sales and focus on margins more than overall sales.This year, my group of companies will achieve only 60% of last year’s sales, but will make a better profit. Why?

A focus on sales at the expense of profit margins is a waste of time and energy. And I cut overheads hard and fast early, (50% of my staff across the 21st Century Group were cut to maintain and actually increase margins with less sales). My first goal was to survive the recession, the second is to grow and thrive in a recession. To do this I have focused on becoming more creative and innovative. I have changed marketing strategies, products and launched new companies that are recession proof, while putting other companies that struggle in a recession into hibernation until there is an upturn. Which leads me to my final tip. Look for industries that will boom in a recession and look at how to tap into them. I’m launching a new company called www.21st CenturyGlobalEducation.com.au as a recessionary business; it offers a business opportunity and is in the education industry, a recession busting industry in its own right. In a recession, business-opportunity type companies boom as well. Avon has reported record new recruits since the recession started. MLM companies such as Amway always boom in recessions because people are looking for additional forms of income. Other industries and products that will boom in a recession include: education (as people need to be retrained), 
alcohol, Farmers’ Markets, food publishing, chocolate, home day care, affordable beauty products and the ageing sector. Remember, in past recessions some of the world’s largest firms including Microsoft, McDonald’s, GE, Disney, HP Australia were founded during a recession and have enjoyed 17 years of growth. Recessions are common. Australia has had eight in the last 50 years, so let’s embrace the recession and make the most of the opportunities it brings. TB

Jamie McIntyre is founder of 21st Century Group of Companies. www.21stcenturyacademy.com

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cycle

dreams Top 3 ways to weather the financial storm

Process innovation – reduce your cycle time By Roger La Salle

By Chris Howard

It’s been said that in times of challenge, one’s true character is revealed. Some people, I’ve noticed recently, are using this time of reported economic downturn as an excuse to give up on their dreams. Others are taking the opportunity to reassess their future and what is most important to them.

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etting themselves feel like victims of circumstance keeps that first group from acting on their personal dreams and business ideas. It gives them the perfect reason not to have to work very hard on their goals ‘because it’s no use anyway, right?’ Today is always the best time to take charge of your future financial results. Here are the top three actions you can take now to ensure you’re still in good standing later:

1) Set clear goals and don’t lose of your vision. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to think that this is the time to simply wait out the storm and see where you land when the market stabilises again. If you don’t set clear goals, you can’t chart a course to get there. People tend to hunker down and think smaller and smaller when they’re told that their options are dwindling. In fact, infinite possibilities always exist no matter what changes appear in the outside world. This is exactly the time to think bigger. Go for that greater idea. Being motivated by money is not nearly as effective as being driven by passion. And passion is generated when you set meaningful goals. Instead of just scrambling to pay the bills, take the time you need to get perfectly clear about what you want to be doing in five years and where you want to be in 10 years. Those who prevail are those who keep their sights steady on that future horizon and take whatever route they need to get there.

time listening to bad news or naysayers, stay focused on what doable steps you can take each day in the direction of your dreams. You need to maintain the big picture and be willing to do whatever it takes to reach your intended destination. Follow through and track your progress. Your smaller wins along the way will build resolve and propel you through any rough waters.

3) Keep your skills and knowledge-base growing. Success is a moving target—don’t get caught relying on one skillset, expecting that the way you did your job before is going to work three years from now. Be a resourceful and creative thinker when it comes to business. Common thinking tells us to hold onto our money during tough times, when actually, it’s the time to make the biggest investment in your future. Just be wiser about where you invest it. Instead of modelling mediocrity, get advice from the right people. Develop latent talents and money-making ideas you have yet to fully develop. Seeking out specialised education is especially important while the market is changing so fast. With traditional education you can make a living…with self-education you can make a fortune! TB

2) Execute a realistic plan and take action. The difference between those who never fulfil their pie-in-thesky dreams and those for whom the sky’s the limit is effective and consistent action. Don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed by your own grand vision. We often overestimate what we can accomplish in a day and underestimate what we can accomplish in a lifetime. Big dreams are arrived at with small steps. You won’t know what to do tomorrow until you set a 9-month action plan and work your way back from there. Without a map, you’re more likely to allow outside forces to dictate your direction and throw you off track. Sometimes losing a job or struggling in business can serve as the perfect opportunity to chart your own course. Rather than spending your

International speaker and coach, Chris Howard, is a best-selling author, prominent speaker and the owner ’ of Christopher Howard Training. www.chrishoward.com

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The tightening of credit markets has made running prosperous enterprises even more difficult, and while some ‘wring their hands’ and lament the good old day of plentiful credit, how many people are looking at their business cycle time as an alternative to extended credit or increased overdrafts?

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ycle time is best defined as “the total time in business it takes from receipt of an order until payment is received and banked” © RLS 2006. In many businesses the cycle time is typically 90 days. In some cases it is much longer. For complex projects payment can be staggered over many years and final payments are often withheld for a guarantee period, extending even further the total cycle time.

Negative cycle time Some businesses have a negative cycle time; that is the money is received and banked even before the goods or services are delivered. Airline tickets or pre-paid phone cards are typically negative cycle time businesses, so too are on-line sellers such as Amazon. Indeed in the latter case there is not even a need to have expensive infrastructure, such as in the case of a telco or an airline. Amazon as a business needed nothing more than a PC and a web site as its investments to get started and create a highly successful negative cycle time business.

Cycle time can mean the difference between success and failure It is important, especially in smaller businesses, to understand the influence cycle time can have on success, or perhaps failure. Indeed there are many stories of business that have failed because they grew too fast and were unable to provide the finance to support that growth. In simplistic terms, if a business is shipping $100K per month and is operating on a three month cycle time, a minimum of $300k is needed to finance the business. Banks, especially these days, are loath to finance businesses against orders, but rather look for bricks and mortar assets as collateral. If suddenly the business starts shipping $200k per month with the same cycle time, $600k is needed as working capital. If that is not available, then foreclosure may be staring you in the face. However, if the same business can reduce its cycle time to just 1.5 months, then sales of $200k can be supported with the same initial equity base. That’s how important cycle time is, but unfortunately this is often overlooked.

Customers are slow to pay Doubtless the greater part of cycle time is the delay in customers paying their debts.

While we can push for deposits, short term financing or even early payment incentives, we should not ignore the inbuilt delays inherent in our own internal processes. If these can be identified and rectified any reduction in cycle time will be immediately seen on the bottom line as pure profit.

So what’s the solution? Some businesses look to factoring their debts. This means taking a short-term loan for the period of financial stress, but in many cases the interest charged is sufficient to wipe out any potential profits. Factoring does have its place, but look closely at the costs before seeing this as a panacea. Yet another means is to offer discounts for early payment. The above options may improve cash flow somewhat, but at a cost. A better solution to gaining a partial reduction in cycle time is to take immediate deposits on a customer’s placement of an order. Deposits from customers are seldom seen as your ploy to gain some payment a little earlier, but more likely embraced by many as a means to secure their place in your delivery queue, and thus they are not viewed negatively. The best solution is to analyse your entire business cycle time. Dissect the business into its serial components, from receipt of an order to shipment and debt collection and look for ways cycle time can be reduced. Process Innovation is one way of investigating cycle time in a systematic manner. It is quite amazing what effect small changes to processes can have in delivering real cycle time reductions and any gains made here go straight to the bottom line as profit.

What’s the message? Process Innovation applied to the cycle time reduction should be seen as a means to reap hidden profits from transactions that may otherwise cost real money. Dissect and analyse your business, there is always room for improvement. TB

Roger La Salle, is the creator of the “Matrix Thinking”™ technique and is a widely sought after as an international speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development. www.matrixthinking.com

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Thought Leadership Reviews edited by Daniel G. Taylor

Having it All/The Answer

Daniel G. Taylor publishes a weekly e-newsletter – Thought Leadership – spotlighting ideas from the best success books. Email daniel@danielgtaylor.com to subscribe.

Remembrance of Things Past While you can find Wallace D. Wattles’s books available for free download online, a much better read is the new full-colour The Science of Success (Sterling Publishing, 2007, $12.99), one volume which contains three Wattles books. Written circa 1910, what relevance do these books hold now? The rules regarding the acquisition of money remain unchanged. Two key points: money is not to be sought for money’s sake, only seek money for what you can use. Second, money comes to those who seek to serve humanity through providing a service that advances life. Advances in health sciences have dated The Science of Being Well (SOBW). I tested his ideas regarding diet for three days and did feel better, yet I wondered whether I was getting an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals. My friend Paul Bard directed me to www.thescienceofbeingwell. net where a doctor has updated Wattles’s ideas with modern health knowledge. The best is saved for last with The Science of Being

Great, which provides the foundation for character and living a life of faith in service to something greater than self. While I believe character precedes success, Wattles’s ploy is well considered. He has met people’s most pressing needs, health and wealth, before introducing them to nobler notions. People are in a position to be interested in making a contribution to humanity, first through doing small things in a great way, and later, through doing great things in a great way. While SOBW has dated in parts, for the most part of Wattles’s ideas remain timeless, and offer excellent instruction to the modern reader.

Remembrance of Things Past by Wallace D. Wattles Reviewed by Daniel G. Taylor

Having it All gives a simple, readable way to see where you’re at, create a picture of where you’d like to be, and craft a plan to get there. The Answer does the same thing for businesses. One of the most helpful tools are the useful forms to gain clarity and direction. Should we get both books? Business people will benefit from both, though with some repetition. Everyone else may find Having it All enough, but The Answer takes a deeper look at how the brain works in relationship to the law of attraction. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve

used the Neural Reconditioning Process (from The Answer) to reprogram my subconscious mind in relation to my goals, and success has become effortless. Temptations to eat junk food have drifted away, and I’ve lost 1.8kg in a week. Assaraf is an engaging writer, with an inspiring story from the streets to multi-millionaire. Daniel G. Taylor

Having it All/The Answer by John Assaraf Reviewed by Daniel G. Taylor

Find Your Courage You need courage to live fully – to face reality and make changes. Warrell starts at the foundations of courage, such as integrity and responsibility – not topics you’d expect. She builds with acts of courage – courageous choices in moment-to-moment living not heroic one-offs. She caps the book off with a look at courage as a way of being – courage as character. Warrell goes to new places. The chapter on the courage to persevere follows the chapter on the courage to take action. I have more open loops than I’d like and now have tools to bring them

to a close. As a dreamer, projects are easy to begin with their promise of rewards, but they’re hard to finish – if I fail, people will think I’m fake. Warrell points out that my unwanted results do not define who I am. This book suits readers fond of hiding from reality – or living in a reality unlike their wants.

Find Your Courage by Margie Warrell Reviewed by Daniel G. Taylor

Leading at a Higher Level Blanchard’s delivered more than 30 bestselling books, so unless you’re a raving fan and haven’t missed a book, Leading at a Higher Level acts as an omnibus of his core ideas. The four sections of the book cover how to set your sights on the right target and vision, how to treat your customers right, how to treat your people right, and how to have the right kind of leadership. The foundational idea: the triple bottom line – be the provider of choice, the employer of choice, the investment of choice. One of the principles discussed in the book is catching people doing things right. Last year, when I worked in a bookshop I had a

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reputation for insensitivity. Put Blanchard’s idea to work and not only did the staff respond to me better, but they were harder on themselves than I would ever have dared. Leading at a Higher Level is the essential Blanchard for business owners.

Leading at a Higher Level by Ken Blanchard Reviewed by Daniel G. Taylor

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Why Mars & Venus Collide Men and women process stress in different ways, and this results in conflict. Why Mars & Venus Collide looks first at the science behind the way men and women deal with stress and then shows you how to support your mate in the best way. Before reading Gray, I thought my Grandma was sinkhole of negativity. All she seemed to do was complain about her problems and how the problems each member of the family affected her. After Gray, I see that Grandma’s constant chatter about her pressures is the

way she deals with a very challenging life. My respect for her shot up and now I allow her to talk her way through anything she brings up. Why Mars & Venus Collide is for anybody who wants strategies to avoid collisions with the opposite sex.

Why Mars & Venus Collide by John Gray Reviewed by Daniel G. Taylor

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thinkBIG magazine - issue 8  

thinkBIG magazine is about achievement, leadership, business, personal development and making a difference. Global in its perspective, think...

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