In case you weren't aware, Brisbane City Council hosts free business excellence workshops several times a year in different suburbs of greater Brisbane.  The feedback I'm getting from small business owners who have attended is that the quality of the speakers is excellent and the subject matter diverse and extremely informative.

An example of this feedback is as follows (as advised by an experienced retail business operator who attended a recent workshop) -

"The first speaker, Stephen from Queensland Leaders spoke on developing effective business strategies.  Firstly giving an understanding of the entrepreneurial life cycle from starting at phase one- Discover, then phase two – Duplicate, and finally phase three – Re-think and Modify.  Other topics included capital raising, business planning, understanding cash flow, industry economics and profit modeling.

Stephen spoke about understanding the purpose of your business and what level of drive is required to succeed.  It is crucial to have a business plan /strategy and that the plan is clearly articulated to the stakeholders.  The plan doesn't need to be complex; a simple one-page document that can be understood by all is the most useful.  This will help you develop a positive culture within your organization and build loyalty internally and externally.

Among the common mistakes Stephen sees made in business are waiting too long to access funds, being unable to build a cohesive team, not having an effective strategy or having a plan that is unrealistic.  Most common of all with small business owners is the error of trying to do everything oneself.

Other speakers explained the different type of company structures and how vital it is to get the set-up right from the outset.  Choosing between the pros and cons being a sole-trader or partnership, company or a trust can have a huge impact legally, from a tax perspective and should you decide to sell.  Changing course later can be very expensive.  Maximize your business efficiency and your time by getting the right accounting software and considering outsourcing if applicable.

Next up was leadership and management.  Identify what your personal and business strengths and weakness are.  Don't be afraid to employ and enable people in your organization that have the skills you lack.  Create a strong culture by setting short and long term goals, and breaking these down into smaller tasks to galvanize and motivate your staff.

Another speaker from Mullins Lawyers explained the different types of intellectual property (IP) laws.  Do you need to consider protecting your service/product/name?  You should establish a strategy which includes consideration of the global market and multi-jurisdictional issues.  Will emerging technologies like 3D printing impact you?  Again getting the right advice and implementing a cohesive plan is key.

Finally, these very wise tips from the successful team at Actrua: 

  • Focus on your customer
  • Be authentic - lead with values, passion and integrity
  • Manage your cash with great discipline
  • Disrupt your business before somebody else does

If you are in small to medium business this is a great opportunity to access quality information FREE of charge.  The council also run business community forum nights where you can talk to leading government people about council government related areas including zoning and workplace health and safety etc.  You can also get free assistance from them at any time in relation to digital marketing strategy and tools that you can put in place straight away.

Upcoming free workshops being held are "Blogging and WordPress for Beginners" and "Power-up Small Business Program – Social Media."

See the Brisbane City Council website for details and take advantage of this great initiative!

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