Category Archives: Blog

Three ride-sharing companies walk into a bar….

“Will we Uber it?”, a line uttered around the country, thousands of times over any given weekend. In just a few short years Uber has worked its way into the public lexicon in much the same way that Kleenex took the name for tissue in the US, and google took the phrase “internet search” out of the public consciousness before it even got a chance to get there in the first place. Set up in 2009, this popular ridesharing company has taken over the world, or more specifically, taxi drivers worlds, around the planet, operating in over 600 cities and now offering UberEats, a food delivery service. It has faced resistance from numerous governments in Europe, including Germany, France and Ireland, while in South-East Asia they have agreed to remove themselves from the market and offer all remaining market share to Grab, a similar concept created in Singapore. But still they rule the world.

The past 6 months have seen 2 competitors announce themselves in the Australian market, Taxify and Ola, an Indian company already well established in their domestic market. Taxify launched around December 2017 offered cheaper fares, based on the lower commission they take from drivers, discounts to sign up and crucially at the time, no drivers! Christmas came along, a busy period for transport and a time when everyone would want to save money anywhere they can. Taxify promised and unfortunately, couldn’t deliver, literally. Services did improve in the new year and they continued to offer lower fares but just as they were gaining a stranglehold in the market, the newest kid in the playground came with money lining its pockets.

Ola, founded in 2011, have had to deal with Uber moving in on their market in 2013 and now 5 years later, they are returning the favour. With over 125 million users in India, it’s obvious they know what they’re doing and along with a heavy investment in marketing they are bringing their expertise to Australia. It’s very early days in their Australian adventure but having offered free rides and then 50% and 30% fares, they have aggressively undertaken Uber’s share as well as pushing Taxify further down the pecking order.

Nothing has been decided yet in this war, for that we’ll wait and see but maybe in a few months, when you’re heading out the door on another ill-advised work drinks, you’ll turn to that co-worker you never talk to and say “Will we Ola it?”

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That first step: the cold call

The first day of college, we’ve all been through it. We meet new people, and it’s time, time to sell yourself. But you’re not selling yourself, you’re just being yourself or at least who you want to be. You say all the right things at the right times and for the next few weeks you continue to do the same. You make your own judgment on how others have sold themselves too and either keep making friendship transactions with them or you get rid, leave them sit at the other side of the lecture hall, they’ll be fine, they know how it works. You put in the sales pitch countless times over the previous few weeks and now you have your band of brothers with whom you’ll go through university with. This can take weeks or sometimes only days but it all starts with the initial conversation, or in business speak the cold call.

Some will tell you cold calling is a dead art, picking up the phone and introducing yourself to someone who not only doesn’t know you, but doesn’t even know your call is coming. It’s a pointless, waste of time. You’re better off, going through existing contacts to talk to someone. Nobody likes cold calls, nobody likes receiving them so why do them at all?

Others will say it is an essential step in the sales process and one which can help grow your business. Done correctly it can do wonders, business relations must start somewhere and with one call you could be starting off a transaction that will make your company millions. Done poorly and the opposite happens, you’ve killed it, before it even had the chance to live. A lot of pressure to deal with.

According to some stats, cold callers should be making over 50 calls a day while it will take up to 10 attempts to talk to the person you want. Talk about a waste of time, a depressing way to spend your day, calling 50 numbers and only talking to 5 that are happy to. While being ignored by the rest or, even worse, talking to them and having to deal with their openly rude attitude towards you. Great work if you can find it.

So next time, you receive a cold call, spare a thought for the poor worker on the other end of the phone, take a second and humour him for at least a minute. After all, your friends did the same back in university when you were putting your unique brand of comedy and friendship forward.

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Starting a Business? Steps To Consider

Whether you are on the verge of starting a small enterprise or something with a bit more scale, it is worthwhile noting some important strategies that have marked successful endeavours in the past.

The reality is that there is no one-size-fits-all model that will be the cure to all of your ills. Circumstances, environment, profile and external factors will come into play throughout the process and it will be your capacity to learn and adapt to change that be a marker to a bright future.

 

Here we will examine the key steps to being in that position.

Simplify The Complex

From budgetary matters to revenue forecasting and marketing campaigns, there will be a lot to balance in a short space of time. For managers to achieve the best possible results, they require a plan that keeps the project on progress. In spite of daily and hourly distractions that threatens to derail the schedule, keep the objective simple and eliminate the details that will slow down the moving train.

Take On All Advice

If you are going to be running an SME, then this enterprise will likely live or die by your gut instinct. Yet no manager can ride a solo journey as the best strategy is to absorb all advice that comes across your desk. From close friends and allies to business associates, lawyers and peers in the industry, take notes of successes and failures whilst noting some common themes amongst both fields.

Be Modest With Projections

Unless you happen to strike gold early on and defy the odds, chances are you will incur setbacks and losses that can feel monumental at the time. To keep the enterprise in perspective, set modest projections to ensure that mistakes won’t be overly costly. This will accelerate improvement and build on efficiency.
Network

To secure those allies and business associates we spoke of, firstly you need to branch out and broadcast your core brand messaging. Enter local events, attend meetings, host events, engage in videos and podcasts, and get yourself out there. From media to real world interactions, the more face to face time you can garner with peers of the niche, the more capital you can bank on in the long-term.
Be a Positive Voice

Consumers need to know that you are an authority on a subject to provide true value. More than that, they like to hear a reaffirming voice and one that can guide them to a resolving a problem or sourcing an easy solution that they could not discover elsewhere. Craft a transparent social media presence, tap into an efficient customer service portal and always be looking to be a force for good for the customer.

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Case 462: The People v the Micro Manager

The stuff of nightmares, the micro manager, the one who tells you what to do and how to do then wades in constantly to tell you what you’re doing wrong, what you should be doing and then waits by to make sure that’s exactly what you’re doing. It must be tiring being a micro-manager, not only worrying about their own responsibilities but also those of their subordinates. I’d imagine, it’s the equivalent of being a mother. Rooms aren’t cleaned properly, dishes aren’t put in the right space, etc etc. Imagine being a mother and a micro manager at work. A day full of micro managing, enough to drive anyone to early retirement, but not the micro-manager, they love it. They are in their element dishing out instruction after instruction, just in case you forgot who is in charge. Hint: it’s not you.

The obvious down side of micro management is the impact on confidence and morale, while it also said by taking away sense of responsibility, employees think less for themselves which leads to less idea sharing. So, how can we deal with a micro manager and this negative impact.

  1. Humour them – Easier said than done, but don’t feed the beast. Listen to everything and take it on board but remember to think for yourself. You have been hired to do a job because of your expertise so stay true to them.
  2. Tell them – Unlikely to ever happen, taking this route is a sure way to confrontation and things ending badly. We know from every Disney film ever, nobody likes this ending so best advice is to stay clear. If you must though, be gentle and in the nicest way possible, tell your superior you hate working for them and would rather be unemployed.
  3. Run away – The easiest and best option. Don’t stay and listen to this rubbish. Who wants to work with someone who openly doesn’t trust them to get the job done? Apply for a transfer, start a mutiny, resign from the company. Anything to get far away from this manager and back to normality where normal people trust normal people to do normal jobs.

Whether it’s your mum or your manager, not many like to be micro-managed so in the words of the Beastie Boys, “Stand up for your right to work” or something like that.

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Get out of the kitchen!

A relatively new concept, co-working, is exactly what it sounds like, working with others. Workspace floors are filled with desks, much like a student library, with access to power and internet. There are usually meeting rooms, phone booths and sometimes private offices too. As well as this, most co-working spaces, the largest being the American brand, WeWork, offer a community too complete with over-enthusiastic hipster community manager, happy to organise yoga on a Tuesday, networking events on a Thursday and drinking games on a Friday. Not only will you be getting out of your house, you’ll be sitting in a room brimming with productivity and free coffee and tea.

According to Officevibe, by the year 2020, 40% of the workforce will be freelancers, temps or independent contractors while the number of co-workers will rise to 3.8 million people worldwide by the same year. Let’s look at the advantages below.

  1. Having a place to go, that isn’t the sitting room/home office/kitchen (delete as applicable) – Spoken from experience sometimes there is nothing more depressing than getting up, leaving your bedroom, walking to the kitchen and starting your work. You won’t see anyone, so no point showering. According to the same study, after joining a co-working environment, 60% of workers are more relaxed at home. Home becomes a work free zone.
  2. Meeting and interacting with people – Whether you’re an extrovert or introvert, sometimes seeing and being around others can be the difference between a good and bad day. Sitting beside someone pounding away at their keyboard can be the much-needed motivation you need to start doing the same.
  3. Networking – Whether sitting in a room with 10 others or 100 others you are bound to find someone who can help you with your business, it could be marketing, I.T, HR, anything really and after just a couple of innocuous conversations beside the water cooler about your job and what you need, you may find yourself with a newly formed marketing, I.T, and HR department without even trying. How good is that?

For those slaving at home surrounded by house work and cooking utensils, co-working could be the break-away from monotony that you need. It may just reinvigorate you and your business but just be wary of one thing, everyone eats lunch at the same time, so bring forks!

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Re-thinking your lunch

It’s coming up to 12.30, you’ve stepped away from your desk only once this morning and your stomach is rumbling, thinking about that Chinese dish you’re going to devour at lunch. But that report you said you’d finish by the end of the day is staring back at you from your computer screens. “Stay, complete me”, it’s saying.

But you leave, no work is going to make you stay. Lunch is bought and now the big choice, where are you going to eat it? You try to fight all urge, but 5 minutes later you find yourself back at your desk, with a fork in one hand, typing one key at a time with the other, and a mouth full of beef and black bean sauce while your phone balances in the space between your ear and raised shoulder, making you look especially weird today. This isn’t how lunch was intended to be had. Go outside, enjoy your moments of freedom and don’t come back until you must.

Up to 80% of workers are said to eat lunch at their desk but just how much productivity can be gained by staying there? Studies have shown that by staying at your desk, you will not only get less done, but you will also be more likely to gain excess weight and increase stress. In other words, your work will suffer and so will your health, a trade-off that shouldn’t be considered.

Going for a lunch can be fun. It can give you the chance to get some exercise, catch up on all the exciting Instagram stories of your friends sitting at their desks, or who knows, it may even give you the chance to make some new connections in your workplace by chatting to someone from I.T who you have never seen before. Most of us work in the city, go and explore it, who knows what you might see, or who you might see, that celebrity in town for a gig, or a friend you haven’t seen in years. The possibilities are endless.

So next time, you get the usual from the Chinese counter, step out of default mode and do something new, not only will you feel better for it but you’ll be working you’ll be 100x more likely to see Beyoncé strolling down the street.

 

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