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What books, magazines or articles are you reading?

 As an avid book reader myself I am always on the lookout for new books that I am inspired by. I have read many and have built up a fairly good library over the years. I also love to loan out the books to others who may not want to build up a library but want to read a good book.

 A good friend of mine asked “Who will you leave your library to when you go to the next life ?” To be honest I had not thought about that till then, but it is actually a substantial collection. Including a very old edition of the, “Laws of Success” by Napoleon Hill and a signed copy of Jim Rohn “Seasons of Life”. Books that I am very proud to have in my collection.

Note to self, add library to the will………

Anyway…… I have always loved to hear stories about what someone is reading and why they love it so much or what did it bring to their life. One of my previous Trainees read 7 Habits of highly effective teenagers. The feedback from her was amazing and I know that the book impacted changes in her life in very positive way. She read this at work in the quiet times, and as a team leader I think this is a very productive use of down time.

 I would love to know the answer to some question from all you Canberra Small Business blog supporters.

What are you reading?

Or what have read recently?

What has it brought to your life?

What has it taught you or inspired you to do?

I have read many books, but some of the most powerful books that have been very impactful are the Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz, The Success Principles, Jack Canfield, Excuses Begone, Dr Wayne Dyer, The seasons of life, Jim Rohn and Heal your body, Louise Hay

The success Principles has a great free coaching program that has some tools to get you started for FREE. https://www.canfieldcoaching.com/

Books have inspired me to learn from my many business and personal mistakes and given me insight to find alternative solutions. They have given me drive and inspiration to keep going and also to motivate others. I will forever read and obtain ideas on how I can continue my growth.

 I once heard a saying that has stuck with me for years now, “If you keep doing what you have always done you will keep getting what you have always got” Anon

 Please leave your comments answering the question;

 What are you reading?

Or what have read recently?

What has it brought to your life?

What has it taught you or inspired you to do?

Till next time……… Donna Moulds

Mantra Training & Development – Training with Innovation, Flexibility and Support.

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By the time this blog is posted, I will be in the middle of my holidays, relaxing and doing as little as possible!

My mobile will be off, messages will be disabled, and emails will be lying dormant.

Its important to occasionally stop everything and get off the work bus. By doing this, you then benefit by coming back relaxed and renewed, and being a great help to everyone, with new ideas, a renewed sense of purpose, and generally healthier.

You may ask; ‘But I have to keep on working!’ Trust me, as a business owner for almost ten years, your best clients will understand. Those who don’t are not worth keeping.

Now may not be the best time for a break in your business but if not, take a break when it is a quieter time for your business! You owe it to yourself to do it.

Take the breaks and forget about work for a while. You’ll live longer and appreciate what you do even more.

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changing your mind

I had a phone call during the week from a conglomerate from WA asking me to do a presentation to their EAs and PAs called “Changing your mindset to be all you can be”.

While  any “Expert” can do a presentation based on a  great title like that,  I think it’s an opportunity to talk about that great success blocker: excess stress.

Excess stress exaggerates problems and blinds us to opportunity.  Just the right amount of stress – called Eustress – works for us: we are engaged, living in the moment and receptive to opportunity – for athletes, it’s called “being in the zone”. Here are three ways to get just the right amount of stress:

Change how you think about stress: often we think “I have to get rid of all this stress”. Actually you just have to get rid of excess stress.  This realisation alone makes a difference. Ther will always be stressors, but we can choose how we think about them.  Instead of being overwhelmed, we can develop our thoughts and actions to divide stressors into manageable chunks so they lose their power – giving us just the right amont of stress. Oh, and the word “No” needs to be part of your life…

Secondly check you’ve got these things in your life:  the company of positive people; varied exercise (preferably in sunlight); and some real purpose in your life.

Thirdly, look at the donut, not the hole: seek out positive experiences and be glad of the people in your life that you care about. If there aren’t any, that’s your next project…

If you develop these things for just one month, chances are you’ll see the difference: you’ll have just the right amount of stress in your life.

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Helping Canberra small businesses to Get Smarter Marketing

Jean McIntyre – Marketing Angels

Today I want to get right back to basics and talk about exactly what marketing means – in all guises – for small business.

My oldest sister Ellen is visiting me this week and she told me about a conversation she had with her hairdresser about her point of sale system. The hairdresser said that she uses the system to manage her finances and to do marketing. Ellen asked what she meant by that. The hairdresser said “I send out birthday messages and special offers”.

Ellen’s comment when she reported it to me was to say that surely there’s more to marketing than that. She’s right.

A Business Coach is NOT a Marketing Expert

I heard a similar story myself recently. A client came to me for marketing help after getting disillusioned with her business coach. She had told him that she wanted to get some marketing advice because she wanted to grow her business. The business coach said she didn’t need to do that – all she needed to do for marketing was send out thankyou cards to customers who sent her referrals.

Of course there is a lot more to marketing than that – particularly if you have goals to grow the business. The business coach should stick to writing business plans I think!

So What is Marketing Anyway?

Let’s look at what marketing actually is – starting with a definition. Miller and Layton in their 2000 text “The Fundamentals of Marketing” give what I think is the best defintion.

“Marketing is a total system of business activities designed to plan, price, promote and distribute want-satisfying products, services and ideas to target markets in order to achieve organisational objectives.”

Let’s unpack this definition a little to look at what it means in terms of business activities.

Setting Business Objectives

I find it amazing how many businesses don’t set marketing objectives – except to say they want to sell as much as they can. Setting objectives for (say) number of customers, number of sales, average value of sales and growth helps the business to decide on a marketing budget to achieve that. E

ven the business coach we talked about will say that objectives also help you decide on investment in staff recruitment and training, supply ordering, technology investment, networking and industry associatiation and lots of other activities that will get you there.

Marketing is About Research

The first thing a business needs to do is to identify the segment of the market that has the right characteristics, beliefs, wants, associations and buying behaviours to be easy for the business to serve and to deliver the kind of revenue the business wants to achieve.

The business needs to find out as much as it can about this market to design products that meet the segment’s needs and to be able to communicate with the segment in the places where its members are paying attention.

Marketing research is vital to understanding this and all of the business’ marketing activities fall out of what is learned through the research.

“Want-Satisfying Products”

The next step is to work out how your business can use its resources (skills, knowledge, finances, equipment and people) to meet the segment’s needs. What products (goods and services) can your business create that will fill a gap in the market for those people.

A lot of businesses start with the product they want to create – then go out and find a market to sell it to. That’s not marketing – it’s just selling and is a much less successful approach to achieve growth goals.

Pricing your Products

Pricing is a very important aspect of marketing that takes some thought and planning. It’s a complex issue. The price that you charge is a reflection of the value that customers place on your product.

Customers will pay more for products that they perceive as high quality or that have a good reputation – that are popular and in demand. To get pricing right – of course you have to understand your costs, but you also need to clearly understand what customers value, what they think of your prodct, what drives their buying behaviour (eg: fads, ego) and what competitive products are out there.

Pricing is so much more than just sticking a margin on and hoping for the best.

Promoting Your Products

Promotion is the element of marketing that most people recognise and think about – so I won’t spend too much time talking about it. There are probably 1,001 different ways to promote your products that generally fall into these categories:

  • Personal selling
  • Direct mail
  • Advertising
  • Events
  • Online
  • Sales promotion
  • Publicity and Public Relations

A small business should choose activities from a range of categories to ensure that they have maximum reach to their market segment in the media they consume.

Getting Your Product Out There – Distribution

How you get your products out to market is also a decision that requires some considerable plannng.  Now with the internet every business has many different ways that they can sell products to the market.

You might have a number of different distibution strategies working together.  Businesses can distribute products through:

  • Retailing – in a shop or at a market
  • In home selling  – door to door or party plans
  • Telemarketing
  • Automatic vending
  • Wholesaling (getting other businesses to sell for you)
  • Online sales

The distribution methods depend on the nature of the product you sell (some products won’t keep for travel) and how customers like to buy.  Again – research will help you determine the best ways.

So as you can see – marketing is a complex and multi-faceted activity that takes a lot of planning to get right.  A marketing consultant can help you plan our activitity so that your marketing activity across the board can help you achieve your business objectives.

Write a comment to tell me about your activities in setting objectives, research, pricing, product planning and development, promotional strategy and distribution in your business.

Jean Mc

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Author, Donna Moulds www.mantratraining.edu.au

When we are children we dream about becoming a superhero, or travelling the world, or in my case a hairdresser, untill I had no dolls with hair. As adults…do you think we forget to dream? Dreams are what give us hope and passion, they can drive us to do something that logic would tell us can not be done!

If you have a teenager who is yet to decide what they want to try before they grow up, here is an inspirational story they may want to read………

Chris Warren came to Mantra Training & Development in September 2009 for work experience, which is something that Mantra Training & Development have been part of with various schools and industry bodies for about 3 years now. Taking young adults from a school environment and putting them in a real work environment, that is not only supportive it is also empowering and teaches self motivation. This has also been a wonderful opportunity for the team at Mantra Training & Development.

We have a number of businesses that provide support and mentoring for our team including those involved our work experience program.
One of the Mentors that Chris has had an opportunity to work with and learn from has been john Phillips. He has played a very supportive role with both of Chris’s qualifications.

As the CEO and also a Trainer/Assessor, Chris instantly caught my eye with his “go get it” type attitude to technology and websites. At the time I thought I had a good website and was pretty proud of the fact that I could update it. Now……. don’t get me wrong we had to rein him in on a number of occasions as he wants to do things today without looking at the security or other access and usability implications. In fact I remember him launching our new website way to early and he didn’t take a back up. But we had a plan B and more importantly Chris was able to learn the importance of planning and being patient.

Once we launched the new website early in 2010 I realised how primitive my old site was. Not even 12 months later Chris has created yet a better website allowing for growth and advances in technology and has learned a greater degree of skills in many areas allowing for a much better product. He has also learned how to work better with people not just technology and has grown into a wonderful young man with some great skills that have now seen him accepted into a Bachelor of Software Engineering.

Chris has completed a Certificate III in Information Technology and will have completed his Certificate IV in Information Technology (Web design) by December 2010 and this will then take him into the University by February 2011.

In August this year Chris was also invited to the Google office in Sydney where he was able to contribute some of his skills and learn what it would be like to work with such an elite group of IT experts. He was blown away by the experience and I also think it ignited his motivation and drive to really go for what he wanted in a career path as well as was he is truly passionate about.

Here is what Chris had to say:

From College to University

At the end of college I always knew what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know how I would go about doing it this involved having a Gap Year and then going to University to complete my Bachelors of Software Engineering then I discovered Mantra Training & Development, after initially completing work experience I was offered a
job by the CEO Donna, to Continue working on the Mantra Training & Development website and be part of the team.

An entire year later, the experiences I have had, the people I’ve met, the skills I’ve gained, and the qualifications I have achieved are amazing to say the least. To put this into perspective I never anticipated what I have achieved in such a short time. It truly has been a incredible year and a great start to both my personal and professional life. I now look forward to an exciting future as I know anything is possible.

And now through gaining my Qualifications under an Australian Apprenticeship with Mantra Training & Development as my RTO and Employer, I created the pathway and had the
support to enter University, my new Journey will begin in February 2011.

I will continue working with Mantra Training & Development and assist them in growing their organisation into one of the best RTO’s in the ACT, and help Mantra generate more pathways and opportunities for it’s students, staff, and trainees.

I would like to give special thanks to two people, Donna & John. You have parted with some tremendous skills that I will use for through out University and the rest of my life. Thank you….

Now this is a great message about keeping dreams alive.

Donna Moulds

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Good boss, good business

This blog was prompted by watching a manager demean and de-energise  an employee today.  While  I don’t do it much now,  I have had a career in workplace  performance management, so  I was very interested in his crap performance.

If you’re a good boss, your sales go up and your costs go down. If you’re a bad boss, your sales go down and your costs go up, with high staff turnover and workplace conflict.

A US example placed costs of putting up with one bad manager in a large enterprise as being about $160k per annum.

Here are some some thoughts bad bosses have often:

“I’m surrounded by idiots”

These people have no motivation”

“That showed ’em who’s the boss”.

For a great (and funny) test of your management style see the ARSE test at  http://electricpulp.com/guykawasaki/arse/

A common rejoinder from managers is “But you have to jump on bad employees, or they’ll walk all over you”.  The words that matter are, as you  will have guessed already  “jump on”.  In fact what you have to do is have a performance plan that removes emotion and bullying from the process, with warnings and documented processes.  It’ll keep you out of trouble, and earn the respect of other employees.

If you want an entertaining and entirely useful short piece on what makes a good boss, check out Bob Sutton speaking at the Commonwealth Club in California, available at  http://www.abc.net.au/rn/backgroundbriefing/stories/2010/3035136.htm

Remember, treat others like adults, and they’ll respond like adults.  Manipulate like a controlling parent, and they’ll respond like unhappy children, or hate you for your crap behaviour.

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Donna Cox

 

Written by Donna Moulds, Mantra Training & Development Pty Ltd 

In the training market, training packages are continuously being changed, updated and endorsed. This is related to many factors including continues improvement and also what the industry is saying about the needs of the marketplace and delivery of quality programs. One of the recent changes is the Training & Assessment field is the new cert IV.

We need to be able to assess the change and decide how we feel about it and the set an action plan to make this a positive experience.

Do I have all thew facts to make an informed decision?

Who will be effected b the changes?
What does this change mean for me, business?
Why are these changes necessary?
How will this benefit the industry, the people?
When does this need to be implemented?

New …….Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE40110)

The new Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE40110) replaces the superseded Certificate IV qualification (TAA40104) and will become the new ‘entry level qualification required for trainers and assessors of training package qualification as determined by the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF2010).

Program participants will develop skills and knowledge in exceptional training practices, assessment and developing and delivering effective and engaging training programs every time.
Participants achieving this qualification will develop skills and knowledge in:

 The role of training in organisations and the Skills Framework that supports and governs
 The principles of competency based training and assessment
 The training cycle including identifying training needs and promoting training
 Identifying a range of training delivery methods & resources
 Creative and innovative learning strategies and resources
 Planning, designing and delivering effective training sessions incorporating
 Communication skills
 Empower, engage and motivate learners
 Adult learning principles
 The learning environment and how to enhance opportunities for learner’s engagement
 Evaluating the effectiveness of training and making recommendations and implementing continuous improvement practices
 Planning, conducting and reviewing workplace assessments in accordance with the principles of assessment

As times goes on we will experience subtle changes that this qualification will bring and also see evidence of the training industry level of trainers and programs increase to a better standard. In our organisation we have experienced three of our training packages change and also the AQTF2010 being endorsed. This has an impact on our organisation in respect to costs time and professional development.

Here are some easy steps to manage changes in business:
Regular team communication
Prioritising changes
Managing the requirements and allocating teams and timelines
Continuous improvement strategies and documenting progress

Till next time keep productive and embrace change as something that is inevitable.

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