Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Are you Attracting the Right Clients

To the TEAM, SME Owners in SA.

Most of us hear this alot, it means different things to different businesses or does it.

Remembering there are always exceptions to the rule.

Here are some things for us to consider.

-in a startup there is a sales mentality, attract as many clients as possible in the shortest possible time, with the view take on the client do not worry about the gp%/ margin. the view is ,we will get the price/ margin up over time to be at the benchmark that was set for the business to be profitable!
The business has just started a down hill fight for itself over the next three years if the business lasts that long. SO A POOR FOUNDATION has been established. Here's an example or two, that I have come across in my coaching of sme businesses over the past 15 years,(where the business environment has been up and down)
First 6 months of trading 40% of total sales under gp% benchmark, so you know what this does.

Ok so we have got through the first 3years, business not profitable,cash flow not great, but you are still in the game.You start to get the picture that more focused sales activities are needed, so focus is on going after clients you want, not just any client, year 3 to 5 must be the period you really get a handle on more profitable business, so the 40% drops to 20% of total sales, remembering the 80/20 principle, (which I believe was first used in the 15 century) A business mentality has set in.

Year 5 onwards you still have some low margin business, that's ok if it stays below 20% of total sales every month.
Here's a final thought-

Theodore Levitt- USA marketing guru, the purpose of a business is to get customers.

Peter Drucker-USA management guru, the purpose of a business is to create and keep customers.

                             to me they are legends in the business world,

I have added the following- the purpose of a business is to create and keep profitable clients who are good payers.

So if you have low margin clients make sure they pay you quickly.
Till the next time may the Force be with you, I am your silent partner helping you work on your business.
Guy Daines

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

SME Owners need a Support Structure

To the TEAM SME Owners in SA

In today's fast changing, competitive environment, and a turbulent business playing field, YOU, we, need a support structure to keep ahead of the curve.

But first there are three key focus areas,
 Communication skills

 Leadership - is the capacity to translate vision into reality, we all know this.

 Relationships - our relationships make or break us.

 Communication skills - develop positive one-on -one skills

Now for our support structure, business partnering, means this for us.
 An Accountant/ Auditor-year end numbers, tax, statutory stuff.
 An Attorney. legal stuff
 A Financial planner. investment portfolio
 A Labour consultant, staff, employee stuff
A Business consultant/ coach, transforming the business, outside objective input.

Till next time may the Force be with you, I am your silent partner helping you work on your business

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Running with Sales Reps

To the Team SME Owners in SA

With 30 years of working with sales reps, let me share some of my thoughts with you, sales reps are the most expensive financial layout,or your best investment.

Remembering there are always exceptions to the rule.

A large % of reps are order takers, very few actually sell, here I talking about B2B selling, yes I agree it all depends on the setup within the business they work.

In 1980 I attended an Alfred Tack sales course, first class course, have some of Mr Tacks book, like ABC of selling, some of the information in this post comes from his training, yes somethings change, but some things do not change, you be the judge.

We have all come across the Maverick Rep, gets results, but leaves havoc behind him!

Then you get a Star Rep, a star rep is not-
        -The Personality Rep
        -The Plodder Rep
        -The Know-it-all Rep
        -The Talker Rep
        -The Chip on the shoulder Rep
The Star Rep has great-
         -People skills,building lasting relationships
         -Time management
         -sales admin
         - debtor collection-sale only closed when money in the bank
         - sales prospecting, finding new business and new clients
         - product knowledge
         - sales skills
So hopefully you ,we can set benchmarks to identify Star Reps, more on Running with reps in next posts.

Till next time may the Force be with you, I am your silent partner helping you work on your business.

Guy Daines

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Profile of a Successful Sales manager

To the TEAM, SME Owners in SA
For 30 years I have been working with, managing and training Sales Managers, in some areas the sales management role has changed , in others it has not, so heres a look at the sales managers body, tongue in cheek look.
His MIND-above average IQ, innovative,open to new ideas, gets to know how his team think.
His EYES-sees opportunities instead of problems.
His NOSE-for smelling out good profitable business.
His MOUTH-great communicator, good at selling his point of view.
His EARS-good listener, seek first to understand, and then be understood,( as per Mr S. Covey)
His CHIN-boxers chin for the hard knocks, does not fall.

His NECK-for sticking it out, but not Mr Reckless.
His SHOULDERS-broad for accepting responsibility.
His HEART-has good emotional IQ, balance of a soft and hard heart.
His STOMACH-must have guts, good gut feel.
His HANDS-can handle, manage a few key accounts.
His LEGS-strong to keep going, moves with speed(does lots of leg press at gym!!)
His FEET-fast and nimble, can adapt to change

His TECHNO Stuff- laptop, ipad, smart phone, webcam, skype and ipod( for motivational listening stuff)
His Knowledge- lots of reading and research, but not information overload.

His WATCH-has great time management, so he does not have to work a 10 hour day, day in and day out

Off to JHB for two days to train sales managers and sales reps, My next blog will focus on Running with your sales Reps.

Till next time may the FORCE be with you, I am your silent partner helping you work on your business.

Guy Daines
Also on Linkedin

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Are you creating Wealth in your SME business( part 2)

To the TEAM SME Owners in SA.

Following from my 20th May blog, there are two types of businesses, those that create a Lifestyle for the owners and those that create Money Wealth, ie- the value of the business when you sell it.

The Key is for these two types to come together, in your business.

A few years back, I was looking at a project with a new client, needed to repostion his business, so in our chats I asked him if he knew the value of his business,.

Yep he said, about 15million, the business had been operating for 10 years, he, (the owner) was 42 wanted to sell his business at age 50, great goal, vision, so I asked to look at his balance sheets, and other financial info going back a few years.

Heres the deal he was in for a shock, the business had made big losses for the past 2 years, which had affected his Retained income base in his balance sheet. he was in a B2B business, one key product, sales were on big decline. My view was that the business was valued at about 4million, excluding good will, stock etc.I advised that he should chat to an auditor/ accountant, and set up which valuation method to stick with,( the stating point to give focus.)

Lets be clear, there is really no one best method of valuing a business, it depends on the type of business you are in.

For me the quickest and simple way is to focus on the amount of Retained Profit/ Income you have in your Capital Employed section of your balance sheet, if you can show steady profits every year, yes there are dips in profit from time to time, but you get the message

Till next time may the Force be with you, I am your silent partner helping you work on your business

Guy Daines
Also on Linkedin

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Are You creating Wealth in Your SME business

To The Team, SME owners in SA.

Remember Our first Rule, There are exceptions to the rule.

There are many ways to value your business, if possible ask your accountant to give you his method and then every year benchmark where you are at.  Keep to the same valuation method year in and year out.

After 3 years in business and all those long hours where does your business stand re- its wealth, if it is 5 years, 7 years etc where are you at, remembering we have as part of our vision, for a big corporate to buy into our businesses our buy us out, (I am making an assumption here)

Till next time may the Force be with You, I am your silent partner helping you work on your business

Guy Daines
also on Linkedin.

Friday, 18 May 2012

The 7 forms of Wealth

To the Team, SME Owners in SA.

Today lets chat about the above, from the book by Robin Sharma (The Greatness Guide, book one) a first class book, I have been reading it since 2006, go buy it, a great investment, so here goes.

Wealth is not just about making money, here's the 7 elements to reach before You, We, can call ourselves Rich, Robin identifies them as-

Inner wealth-positive mindset, high self respect, internal peace and a strong spiritual connection.

Physical wealth-your health is your wealth.

Family and social wealth-when your family life is happy you perform better at work, making your family your first priority is important, yes hard but is a key area.

Career wealth-reaching for your best in your career is incredibly important, it is good for your self respect.

Economic wealth- yes money is important, it makes life easier and better(if used wisely( to me it is a by product of doing everything else well)

Adventure wealth-challenges is necessary for happiness, we need lots of adventure in our lives.

Impact wealth-each of us craves to be significant, to make a difference.

So powerful, you would agree

Till next time may the Force be with you, I am your silent partner helping you work on your business.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Reality Check 303

To the Team SME Owners in SA

Today lets chat about you the Startup business or your business that has been going for less than 3years, as always there are Exceptions to every rule ,so we do not focus on this.

Every one of you guys know that it is a 24/7 task, we have been told this over and over, so whats new. first up I hope your wife, husband, girl friend, boy friend is aware of this, that's a good place to start. Then lets look at the rest of the issues, it will take your business at least 3 years to turn a profit, lack of understanding net cash generation will create huge stress, your emotional IQ will be tested to the full,managing vs doing will create you juggling many balls in the air,etc, etc (not if you get the right help)

Remember you started your business to be your own boss, have you just created another job, yes in the first 3years, for sure, yes keep motivated , stick to your vision, but go do the following- from day one or start now budget for professional outside objective input, advice, be it a mentor, business consultant, coach, or whatever the market calls us who have a passion for helping SMEs. find someone that has been in a sme business , someone that has many years of experience, and knowledge, there are many of us, it is an investment not a cost. Helping SMEs is one of the fastest growing industries in SA.

I was told last week that 40000 businesses in SA closed in 2011, you do not want to be in that class in 2012.

Till next time, may the FORCE be with you, I am your silent partner helping you to work on your business.

Guy Daines
also on Linkedin

Monday, 14 May 2012

What I am learning about Blogging and Social Media

To the Team SME Owners in Sa

I have only been using  SM as a part of my communication plan for a few months now, here's what I have come up with, you may find it of interest.
So I did some research, says that there are over 200million blogs in cyberspace, with 54% of bloggers posting content or tweeting daily, so a very, very competitive market! On techprone website, global stats for 2010, 152milloin blogs where posted on the net.
SM must be part of your, our strategy but it needs focus because it can and does take up a lot of Your Time, and as the saying goes time is money.
Recently I posted on various Linkedin groups, something along these lines, "Is social media worth the ROE, return on effort", I had some interesting views.

So for YOU ,us to get better results, content needs to be relevant, level of comments, interaction, the size of the platform you are on, ie Linkedin has approximately 158million users.

Also a good read Strategic Marketing mag from IMM.

Till next time may the Force be with you, I am your silent partner helping you work on your business

Guy Daines                             You wish to view
also on Linkedin           

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Surviving-Assess our Capacity

To the Team SME Owners and Entrepreneurs in South Africa.

Is it important to know our capacity level and can we improve our capacity, you be the judge.

Lets start with what the dictionary definition of capacity is,
               -power of holding
               -absorbing or grasping
               -power of mind
When we look at a business in terms of capacity we look at,
                -financial capacity
                -resource capacity
                -production capacity
                -technology capacity
So what about our Personal Capacity, some business owners can grow their capacity as their businesses grow, in my experience they may need help in this area, is this a contributing factor for the business to fail, hard to know, not much stats, but with 15 years consulting to and coaching Sme businesses I have a good feel.Personal Capacity is very important.

I was in a meeting recently, it was said that 40000 businesses in SA closed in 2011 seems alot, I also read an interview given by Zweli Manyathi SBSA director of Mid Corporate and business banking,in the magazines Signature, a great mag and read, Approximately 67% of start up businesses fail and as much as 70% of the employed population is found in SME, makes one think.

Till next time may the Force be with you-I am your silent partner helping you work on your business


Guy Daines                   You may also want to check out
also on Linkedin

Friday, 11 May 2012

RSQP Formula

Hi to SME Owners and entrepreneurs in SA.

Here is a formula I came up with in 2008 for focus areas in a sme business, RSQP.

Quality---and then
If you can view your approach to your clients in the RSQP process and you have specific action steps in place to drive these, you should be in a moving foreward position, Yes! price is important, remembering that there are exceptions to the rule.

The above should help you pinpoint how you and your team Win Business, in my view it should be a combination of the above.

Great Relationships come from establishing lots of TRUST, yep we all know this.
Lots of us say we give great Service, here's what I have been trained to know , great service means,reliability,competence,speed of responsiveness,level of communication,understanding client needs,access to the team, credibility, Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten, as the saying goes.Quality means different things to different people, so how do your clients view your Quality.Price, in my view you are in Business to Find and Retain Clients who are Good payers and who are Profitable.So have a RSQP weekend, Rest,Smile,Quality time with loved ones and Party.

Till next time, may the Force be with You, I am your silent Partner helping you work on your business.


Guy Daines
Also on Linkedin        You may wish to visit the online portal at, I like to promote certian businesses in my network

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Spotting New Opportunities-SME

Hi to SME Owners and entrepreneurs in SA.

With 30years business experience and since 1997 I have been consulting to and coaching SME businesses in Joburg and Cape Town who do sales of R3m to R50m pa
With one saying I like, Teamwork,you can succeed quicker and best by helping other people to succeed,  Through my new blog I hope to help you be more successful.My blog will try to focus on B2B who sell products. As in life there are always exception to the rule.

Spotting new Opportunities or stick to what you know?

We have all been there, we try to chase to many opportunities at once, thinking that big deal will be our gold pot, the easy part is coming across the opportunities, the trick and what is essential is having personal discipline and staying power to stay focused on your core business or one or 2 opportunities until the opportunity is turned into a sustainable-established business that can stand on its own.
Look at opportunities in your business ie- critical mass of clients for your business.

Remember there are winners, losers and marginal players, so next time an opportunity crosses your desk think twice before you run off in another direction.

Till next time may the Force be with you.I am Your Silent Partner helping You work on Your Business


Guy Daines
also on Linkedin