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Sunday, 15 July 2012

Why this blog is not vanishing, but migrating to DraytonBird.com ... plus advice for someone intelligent on how to start a business

Do you find it takes a depressing amount of time to get anything done?

And that even when you've done it, you're disappointed?

Me too.

It is now several months since I got fed up with the "improvements" made by Blogger to the way you put things up here. They were a perfect example of how big organisations change things - but make them worse.

Anyhow, I've finally managed it, and you will now find my ramblings on a revamped Draytonbird.com. You will also find all my past blogs.

My publisher suggested the other day that we might put together a collection of the best ones - but that sounds like a pretty daunting task.

To be honest I am not yet entirely happy with that site - there's a lot of type floating around vaguely at the top. But it is in Wordpress which makes life easier, so I hope to have it sorted out in the next few days.

There are a great many features that Im going to incorporate, one of which has been on my mind for over a year. It is a listing of all the books, videos, e-books and courses I have created.

There are so many that I gave up going through them a couple of weeks ago. Serves me right for being a motor-mouth.


Last week a young man I know in Montclair N.J. wrote asking for my advice.

He has a good idea, and approached it in the best way: he has done his research and found a business with several advantages.

I am not going to tell you what the business is, but it is nothing unusual. You can see this kind of business in every town, everywhere.

Most people who talk to me about going into business do so just because they like the idea. Hardly any do their homework. He has.

He has looked at the total U.S. market and how it is growing based on the statistics in Forbes magazine. He has looked at his local area and found there is unusually high demand for what he proposes to sell because of a particular ethnic group. And he has found cheap premises.

He is also very realistic, with a goal.

"It is also relatively cheap compared to other business and I don't plan for this to become a multi-million dollar business. Just something to make a smaller income over time but more so the experience needed to run a much larger business."

This is what I wrote to him:

This is not a bad idea at all and you have started off by doing an analysis, which is the right thing.

You must now do more of the same.

Take a note of and study all the successful retailers you can, both on and off-line.

Try to determine what they are doing that makes them succeed, both in terms of their general approach and in specific things they do.

Read any books you can that seem helpful. Also anything on the Internet to do with start-ups.

I do not mean the kind of "I'll make you rich in 20 minutes" garbage. I mean stuff by people who have been there and done it with serious business - Tony Hsieh of Zappos is an interesting case.

Try to define what it is about your business that will make it better (it does not have to be different - just better).

Write a plan that defines how you will be different and better.

Work out the numbers. Never underestimate how much gross profit you need.

Define your customers. Why will they buy? When will they buy? What emotions will make them buy? How can you make them buy again? Remember, the first sale is not the one that makes you money. How are you going to communicate with them?

Be a customer. Look at what other people are doing and finish the following sentence:

Why don't they .....? Then finish it with something you think people could and should do, but don't.

When you get going, learn to live with failure and keep trying. But equally, don't persist in something that doesn't work.

One of the smartest entrepreneurs I know is an ex army officer who came and worked for me for virtually nothing before setting up his business, which he sold for millions.

So there you are. See you at DraytonBird.com, which is still like a building site, but we'll get there.

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