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A free monthly newsletter about improving your
people, processes, sales and marketing, financial
performance…and other interesting stuff

December 2012

At the outset, I want to say a big thank you to all the readers of my material, for your interest in my work and the positive feedback I constantly receive.

I have just returned from the US where I attended the Million Dollar Consulting College with Dr Alan Weiss and 17 other consultants from 5 countries. Wonderful time of business/personal development and best 
of all...I passed!!!

Turning to the upcoming holiday season, just as 
nature has its seasons of growth and rest, we need to do likewise. Running your own business or holding 
key management positions can be a challenge at the best of times so make sure you take some time out 
for yourself this Christmas/New Years. Have a great break and look forward to talking again in early 2013. Oh, and as the Americans are fond of saying, "Happy Holidays."

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 Expressing Gratitude

The Christmas season is always a good time to stop and say thank you to the important people in your world and the more personalised the expression the better. Hard I know when we're jamming a tonne of stuff in but important nonethelessHere are a few ideas for expressing gratitude to those in your business environment whether they be staff, clients, suppliers or key prospects.
  • Send handwritten cards with an individual note of thanks, signed by you
  • Christmas or New Years newsletter expressing appreciation as part of the content
  • Give gifts as appropriate
  • Take your team out or throw an event inviting everyone to it - can be a great way of achieving everything at once
  • Get on the phone, calling people personally
  • Creative gift giving. Every Christmas (in a previous business) we used to send out a different gift to my 300+ clients for their Christmas tree
  • Use email but make sure you personalise it wherever possible
  • Cook for your people - obviously dependant on your skills in this area!!!

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 Financial Performance
Holiday Season Cashflow

Cashflow management can be critical at this time of year and often things can become quite lean. Here are four foundational things to follow through on:
  • send out as many invoices as possible
  • get someone onto following up outstanding debtors
  • stagger creditor payments as appropriate
  • establish a cash flow forecast projecting through to end of February
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Efficient Process 

The relationship between marketing and systems

The result of good marketing and effective sales is obviously increased business. This can be both blessing and curse. The blessing is more clients, increased revenue, business growth. The downside is that it can load the back end systems and people to breaking point. 

Many of the worlds leading companies have demonstrated consistent annual growth. They would never make the Fast 100 yet are stand out businesses. Getting the right balance between front end growth and back end support can be challenging and needs to be planned. Just as the height of a building determines the depth and construction of its foundations, so the growth of our business determines the level of work required in the business systems. 
When embarking on a marketing and sales assault ask the following questions:
  • "For every 5% increase, what will the effect be on our systems and people?" 
  • "Where are the bottlenecks likely to  occur?" 
  • "Who will be affected by the increase?" 
  • "Are our processes and procedures able to cope with increased demand?" 
  • "Will additional staff need to be employed?"
Once you've answered these, address the most critical and then act to ensure the foundations remain sound. There is nothing worse than gaining an increase in new clients with the complaint rate heading upwards at the same time. 

So, make it normal practise, that when you market and anticipate results, constantly review and be aware of the back end/office systems to ensure they can cope with the increased orders and sales.    

Good luck!

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The Cellar Notes
One of the annual traditions in our home is to make our own Limoncello. When I was in Italy some time back I was told that it was their second favourite drink, with Campari being the first. It is a lemon liqueur and great after dinner on ice, over top of ice cream or lemon sorbet. I leave it in the fridge and preferably the freezer when using the 50% vodka as per below. Here is the recipe I use. If you concoct it, let me know how it turns out.
  • 6 lemons - organic are best
  • 700ml of vodka. I use 50% Absolut 
  • 290gm of sugar
  • 700ml water - filtered
Peel the lemons and place in a large bottle or container with the vodka and leave in a cool place for 4 - 7 days. The longer the better and make sure you shake a couple of times a day. Once this time period has elapsed prepare the sugar syrup by simmering the water and sugar together for 5 minutes. Don't let the water boil and allow to cool once the sugar has dissolved. 

Strain the now lemon infused alcohol through a strainer (discarding the lemon peels) and mix the alcohol into the syrup. Stir well and then bottle, allowing to sit for 2-3 days before drinking. 

Finally, don't drink too much. My first batch was so good the room spun!

On The Lighter Side

When eating seafood I always ask the waiters if the fish is fresh. Here are a couple of experiences I've had in Brisbane restaurants.

Restaurant 1
Young waitress says "yes it is fresh" to my initial question prior to ordering. Half way through the 'fresh' barrumundi I thought she might have been wrong so I asked her again saying "are you sure this is fresh?" She says "yes, we bring it in frozen, thaw it out and its fresh." Wrong answer. 

Restaurant 2
A sign out the front said "fresh local fish." Again half way through the meal I called the waiter over and asked "is this fish fresh?" He said he'd go and talk to the chef. Arriving back at the table his response was '"Sir, it's imported from Vietnam frozen."

 Needless to say my new question is "has this fish ever been frozen?"

In This Issue:
Ray Hodge is the Director of Ignite Business Consulting. He speaks and consults to businesses & organisations, a notable event being the Department of the Australian Prime Minister and Cabinet.

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"What is significant that we couldn't see at the time is that the results in cashflow turnaround enabled us to fund a million dollar job that we could never have done previously out of business funds."
Kelly Mullins - J Mullins Plumbing

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Copyright 2011 Ray Hodge. All rights reserved.


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