So who is Paul Henshall?
Paul Henshall is the CEO of Action Coach Australia and New Zealand, a certified Business Coach and a small business growth specialist. Paul has two passions: Business and Learning. He’s managed to combine both into his coaching business which enables him to spend every day making his clients and their businesses the very best they can be!
“I have a passion for helping businesses like yours grow and become profitable, so you, the business owner can enjoy the lifestyle you deserve. Just like a sports coach, I will push you to perform at optimal levels” – Paul Henshall.
Hi Paul, my question for you relates to growing a small business in the current economic climate. What would you say is the biggest challenge for local business owners?
Great question….I think economic climates are macro and small business generally are dealing with micro economy….so the same things always remain true: accessibility, responsiveness, understanding a customers problem and finding solutions. As far as business areas, it’s sales ability (conversion) and repeat business.
Hi Paul, just a question for you which will be relevant for me at some time in the future…. What would be your advice or plan of attack for a sole trader (eg. offering professional services) looking to expand their business into an effective small business?
The first thing – get your lead generation working and systemised so you have consistency. and then start looking at people to take on the delivery of what you do while you continue to market and sell.
Doctor On The Way:
Hi Paul, our names are Renae and Tyson and we have started a small business called Doctor On The Way which commences tomorrow.
Doctor On The Way is 100% Bulk Billed after hours home medical service. Which provides residents of Bendigo and Castlemaine with access to health care in the comfort of their own home.
I am just trying to work out the best marketing method to reach more customers to let them know of our new service. Did you have any tips or tricks?
Your PR has been seen so thats good. You have a broad target audience so that means you’ll need to use channels that connect with a broad audience. The most important aspect is to measure what you do so that 3 months down the track you know whats working and whats not and change your plan accordingly. You need to put your resources behind the best options. Just as importantly, make sure that your response to you marketing is also well considered otherwise you may be wasting good marketing on poor salesmanship.
Hi Paul, when you’re talking to people who are starting a new business, what is the biggest misconception they have? And what pitfalls can it lead to?
The amount of work it takes to get a business up and running. Work comes first balance comes later! and that its all about creating sales, not delivering.
Uptake Digital – Brenton Johnson:
Hi Paul, what advice can you offer business owners to help them transition from traditional business models to digitally-enabled business models?
The basis of the business model doesn’t change, it is a medium change. So whatever the business’s strength base is, needs to transition into a digital space. Make sure you know why the business works off-line and translate that into the online business.
What’s your biggest ever business stuff-up and how did you handle it??
So my biggest mistake was to go into business without knowing what was involved and doing the homework i should have. And then continuing to do that for too long before I started to ask better questions of better people. How did I handle that? I saw the value of mentors and used them. and still do. PS this forum is a method of mentoring, so they don’t all have to be one to one personal relationships, mentoring can be forums, books, seminars, etc. I have mentors who don’t know they are mentors of mine!!!
Hi Paul, have you heard of some appropriate community engagement efforts that may help generate awareness of this business? I.e. Fund raiser for Bendigo Community Health/Bendigo Health?
How about local sponsorship? But you have to make sure you understand who will be your market. Eg if it is young families, then engage with organisations that are primarily connected to that demographic such as mothers clubs would be useful, whereas elderly, would be a different form of engagement. Eg services clubs, bowls clubs, retirement villages.
Hi, I have just logged in and I am a new on this forum so my apology
This is Manny Spiteri from BusinessAide Pty Ltd about to move to Heathcote; In supporting local businesses what have you found to be the best way to:
1.Establish what is needed in the way of support in the business community, individually or as a group?
2.What mechanisms would you suggest setting up to deliver these needs?
3.What common resources have you found to avoid reinventing the wheel can an organisation provide in the way of software (CAD, Mind Systems, accounting etc.), staff and equipment (IT hardware) as an example?
Establish trust in the community, establish yourself. The most important thing is trust, if people don’t know you they don’t trust you. Then once you know people talk to them and ask them what challenges they have and if you have built trust they will tell you. Small towns require personal approach, not en masse. You can’t go into a small town and tell them what to do, I have seen that before and they don’t like it – it does;t matter what your expertise is, it won’t be well received. Respect what is already established before you try to make changes.
3) answering the third question, I’ll often refer businesses to services such as book-keeping, financial software, graphic design, content creators, PA or VA (virtual PA) – in other words, outsource what you are not good at or can get done for a lower rate than what you can do yourself.
Hi Paul, I have a small handmade business. I am wondering what advice you have for someone not wanting to outsource production (where the creative/artist is the brand), but wants to maximise output and revenue with a limited resource.
Find all the aspects of the business that aren’t the creation of the product, e.g. marketing, finance, admin, supply, ordering, delivery, shipping, etc. And systemise and outsource those, e.g. think GPs – their only job in the business is to diagnose and prescribe – everything else is done by others. Make use of logistics providers like austalia post that offer a range of solutions.
The impossible question…. But, what is the silver bullet for small business success your opinion?
So…. How do you know if you are no good at business…. Apart from losing money? Is there an earlier way to gauge your abilities?
No good at business? You can always learn those skills. The real issue is not what to do, but why you are doing it. If the WHY is strong enough, you will find out how.
There is not early way – if someone assessed Richard Branson at the beginning, they would have dismissed him. So many successful entrepreneurs were assessed as good-for-nothings in the early days, they believed in themselves.
Paul how do you balance work when you travel so much?
I guess there’s only a certain amount of balance I can achieve while travelling, but the reality is to use the travel for personal reasons as well. eg. I’m going to South Africa for a conference and combining it with a holiday. Someone told me that you can either ENDURE or ENJOY – so I choose to enjoy it.
How important is it for small business owners to maintain their health and fitness?
Thats a great topic Carolyn – I believe that good physical and mental health are imperative to a business owner’s capacity so both those aspects do require constant attention. Stamina and resilience are important aspects of success.
Hi Paul, so my question is relating the scaling a business into a company. Do you think taking out a business loan in order to scale quickly is better than putting away a percentage of revenue each invoice and scaling slowly?
That’s very individualised Caleb…. There’s good debt and bad debt. The TYPE of debt you’re talking about IS in fact good debt (as opposed to borrowings against current operations) but it all comes down to the level of gearing. The business has to be able to pay it’s debts in the long run so good research and financial modelling is important prior to borrowing
And we’re done.
Thanks for the questions, hope the responses are valuable. BYE!
Small Business Sam:
Thank you so much Paul, what a great way to kick off our AMA series!