17 ¾ Ways to Shrink Your Business…Subtitled “Big Mistakes for Small Business”
To get the best out of this article the reader is advised to place their tongue firmly in their cheek, now read on.
1. Torment your customers with rules that you create to make your business life easier but don’t work for your customer. Turbo-charge this approach by constant harassment of the customer reminding them of your rules and provide and repeat a passive aggressive toned justification until the situation resolves itself.
2. Show up to appointments late with an excuse you powerfully believe in and would like others to believe in as well.
3. Say you will do something at a specific time, don’t do it by then, ring and explain after the due time why you have not been able to make the deadline and beg for another chance. Even more effective is to provide a justification about how it was just impossible. Season liberally with apologies.
4. “Stay on Message” repeat your communications assuming that your customers are stupid and really need and will thank you for being on their case. Works very effectively when combined with point 1
5. Give discounts to new customers and make sure those who are rusted on are charged a higher price. Advertise the new price widely.
6. Be very confident about what you do and ignore what your competition is up to.
7. Work, work and more work never take a holiday, make sure your days off are filled with business affirming phone calls.
8. Make sure everyone know how hard you work and how you have to put in a super human effort to get the best out of your enterprise and make a living.
9. As the most talented and key person in your business make sure you make all the important decisions in the business and leave the small and unimportant decisions to others.
10. Find an approach that worked in the past and repeat it again and again until it comes good. Consistency is the key here.
11. Use your family as good cheap labour, pay the award to your employees and make sure that all rosters work for you.
12. After a few negative experiences with past employees make sure you bring that life learning into the management of all future employees. Systemise this so that all current and future employees know that you are on to them and will not stand any for it any longer.
13. Make everyone wait, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
14. For ‘Tradies”, buy a little white van or ute, get the sign writer to clearly put your name on the side, back and front. Now leave late each day for work, drive at speed, tailgate, cut in and out use both horn and finger to communicate your need for clear passage. Repeat on homeward journey.
15. Play it by ear and hope for the best
16. Make sure all your forms are lengthy requiring the customer to repeatedly write the same information in hand written black pen.
17. The small print is important therefore make sure type face being used is difficult to read, small fonts work well as does extended length and framing it in legalise. When published it needs to be in a faint and washed out colour.

17 ¾ Think that the secrete to business expansion and success is somehow the inverse of the previous 17 points.
Well that’s a summary of my experiences over the past three weeks.
I would love the Blogging audience to add their “Ways to Shrink a Business”. Please do not invent things (lie) only describe real world occurrences you have personally experienced or are aware are actually in current business practice. I would love it if we could create an authoritative list of say 100 points. I am sure it is not going to be a very hard a task.
Its over to you….

Seamus O’Brien
Ph 0414 24 1010


As the owner of a smallish business and faced with an unending list of the ever increasing To Do List, a very wise person once said to me -“just do what makes you happy”.
Huh ….I thought, all my education and training, all my experience, coaching/mentoring and advice, the web sites giving tips and lists of the five, ten, twenty “secretes to wealth and success” the logic and teachings of time management gurus says NO. This advice just does not fit my paradigm. It must be wrong.
I ignored it, treating those who offered such advice like I treat those who think a Leprecorn in the garden are responsible for some of our fortunes (hello mother), sort of well meaning wacky but harmless. See http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_leprecorns
I went back to listing, organising, prioritising, setting performance objectives, triaging all emails by day end, booking jobs in, doing what’s critical first… well you know the drill. My well organised To Do List has been my daily companion sine I was 15 ½ years of age (at that time ACDC were making “Back in Black”).
Rene Descartes said Cogito ergo sum (I am because I think) Seamus O’Brien says “I am because I have a well organised To Do List”
Last year the advice surfaced again and again and again. From highly qualified academics, serious first class professionals, very successful entrepreneurs and a very interesting Success Guru. I gave it a go. When faced with the To Do List and being stopped, To Do List block, just can’t face it any more, I asked myself, what would make me happy and did that?
Funny result, first I got stuff done, done well and I felt energised rather than depleted. Secondly and most surprisingly, after considering the options often what I end up doing to make me happy is something from the things that are high on my To Do List anyway, one of those things that need doing.
So when you run out of energy, get stopped, experience being blocked, are working ineffectively and efficiently try this- reorganise your To Do List on the basis of what would make you happy and pick that one, leave the rest.
Now test your energy, concentration, efficiency and focus levels, see if you are not powered up again and ready to face that BAS statement. Well maybe that’s a big call, but you get the drift.
Give it a go and let me know… now I must get back to work, where is my To Do list.. has the creepy Leprecorn taken it again.
Be kind to yourself
Seamus O’Brien – Wollongong NSW
“From small things BIG things grow”

My clients are shifting from large and costly single media campaigns to direct marketing campaigns that use a mix of media such as phone calls, email and direct mail to build familiarity and repetition with targeted prospects.
They know that successful marketing is dependent upon the effective use of multiple communications and touch points to your best prospects. Success is driven from the value of repetition and timing, as well as using the strengths of different tactics to create perceptions and actions that move customers through the buying cycle.
My clients are finding great success with multi touch marketing campaigns. It certainly works.
To turbo charge the campaign try
1. Targeting and segmenting your market , choose who you want to develop a relationship with and who you don’t
2. Use different types of touches at each stage. Provide variety and interest.
3. Build a fundamental background of relationship. See the “Torsos and the Hare”. They will only buy if they trust you.
4. Question and listen, remember it’s not about you at all in the early stages,
5. It’s about opening up a conversation about the potential customers needs.
6. Be content to build awareness and relationship for up to six touches
7. After this it becomes clear to both parties business is in the offing
8. Now it becomes about how you and your product or service can address their needs.

The best bit of this approach in my business (Smallfish Business Coaching) for me is it takes away pressure and I get to meet and talk with some very impressive people and get a deep understanding of them and their businesses. It’s a privilege not a sales process. If they become client or if they don’t we are mutually pleased that we met…and who knows what the future will hold.
Well being honest with you I do, because if I really want to work with them I will in six months, start the process with them again. You know what the most common reaction I get at this second approach “Hi, I am glad you have not forgotten me…how are things going?”
I reply “funny you should ask…..got time for coffee?”
Seamus O’Brien
Smallfish Business Coaching

Then the truth of the matter is that the universe (small u universe) will make it for you.

Being in business is fun for lots of us. We love the hurley berley of getting forward, overcoming the obstacles, getting team alignment and a game hard fort. For us we sometime think all business owners are like us,

but they are not.

Many businesses are coasting, happy with the way things are and very content with just opening their doors each day and seeing what happens. Lady luck is their mentor.

Others have developed a winning formula based on past success that they are churning out day after day. Of course over time, like the frog in slowly heating water, they finally reach the end of their business life and at the need don’t even know it. See Business Life Cycles http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_life_cycle_management_(marketing)

Some just can’t make any decision at all as they seek the RIGHT one, the one without risk, the answer. Often falling victim to the foolproof answer charlatan providers for whom they are the natural prey.
For them the good news is the answer has been found.

It is 42.

I hope that makes a difference, but I am guessing it may not.

Then there is the ME TOO’s. My competitors have /2 price Tuesday, I have /2 price Tuesday, my competitor’s offer 42 days interest free (warning, look very carefully at the fine print) that’s for them as well. If you run a pub or club then the meat tray raffles, Karaoke, happy hour, badge draws, TAB, Keno and some of the cheapest nastiest wine by the glass this side of MIA.

Me Too’s share the available market and are trapped by their competitors.

There are those who run their business each day exactly the same as the previous day.
At 7.30am they put the key in the lock open the door, turn on the lights, put on the kettle, have a cup of coffee and settle down into “IT”. The day consists of what it always does. At the end of the day it is off with the lights, close the door, take the key out of the lock and head for home.

What is the colloquial definition of insanity..something like “repeating the same action again and again and expecting to generate a different outcome”.

I should mention those with the grand scheme or “build it and they will come” business philosophy. Grand schemes like golf courses, night clubs, restaurants a long way from anywhere and of course Telstra.

Of course the grand scheme has lots of associated costs and considerable investment and if they do become successful their business is pinched by low cost operators leaving them a bit like the Pasha Bulker

Well you get the drift…… or maybe not (pun).

What I mean is getting good results for the business season may not be that hard. Put together a great team, get an innovative and experienced coach, practice the moves, add a touch of brilliance by thinking fast on your feet, be prepared to take the hard knocks and get up smiling (nothing unsettles the opposition as this) and be prepared to play the whole season and loose and learn from a few.

On the other hand sometimes it pays to try new stuff when you want a new outcome.

I wish Robby Dean well in Christchurch. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/sport/robbie-deans-still-waits-for-great-leap-forward/story-e6frg7mf-1225899736144

Seamus O’Brien
Smallfish Business Coach

My little girl when she was at school was worried that the sheer volume and intensity of work she felt she needed to do to get good grades and compete with her peers was just getting over whelming.
She mistakenly believed everyone worked a diligently and hard as her. She was also more than a little peeved at the geniuses who seemed to naturally sore to the top, so effortlessly.
Like all dads you just want to fix it so I had a go.
I segmented the market.
I asked “How many kids for whom maths (the topic in question) was just not their thing? Maybe they were good at other stuff, other subjects, music, netball, soccer, boys, frocking up and even the most talented partiers?”
“Around 10” she answered. I asked are any of these really putting in the time and effort to become good at stuff that is not their natural thing. She said “No.”
OK they are just not in the maths game.
I asked “so who is just lazy?’ She named the individuals. I said “do you recon you have the metal on this lot given the work you are putting in?” She thought for a moment and said “probably”.
OK they are not in the game.
How many kids are disruptive to the class, come late , wag, don’t hand in assignments on time or at all, spend a lot of time just being annoying to the school system. She thinks and comes up with another half dozen. I asked “are they playing the game of maths hard enough to beat you.”
“No chance” she says.
Out of a class of 30 or so we were left with less than 10 students. Of this a couple were naturals at maths and she was more than happy if they did better than her. Indeed if she kept up with them she regarded this as a real victory.
Of the eight who were left who tried as hard as you. “Maybe half” she says.
I pointed out we are down to running neck and neck with just 4 persons. The odd of being in the top 20% of the class was very good as long as she kept up sufficient actions.

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