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There are some things that business owners just won’t do in 2014

Tuesday, 21 January 2014 | By Nina Hendy

The end of a year is the ideal time to reflect. Many business owners also decide just what they won’t do in their business next year.


Some loathe certain tasks that come with running a business and want to outsource it, while others know it wouldn’t take much effort to wipe out a cumbersome and unnecessary process from their business, but haven’t yet got around to making it happen.


We speak to business owners across Australia to find out what they’ve committed to leaving in the past, and why.


No more saying yes to everyone


Elisa Limburg of Elevents creative and managing director won’t be saying yes to every project that comes in, saying she wants to be more strategic about the jobs she takes on board in 2014.


“We’ve learnt from experience that some of the last-minute, unplanned jobs that come in are often the most troublesome. Although we’ve wanted to help clients who have got themselves into a bit of a pickle with a last-minute rush job, it’s been more trouble than it’s worth in some cases. I also won’t be saying ‘yes’ as often to some business partnerships, as these can be quite time consuming, with not much reward,” Limberg says.


“We also won’t be putting together proposals for every man and his dog when they ask for quotes. We’ll be more thorough with our screening processes and how we spend time on potential client’s projects.


“Some organisations waste a lot of suppliers’ time sourcing pricing, information and ideas at times, without much regard for the amount of time and effort put into the proposals.”


No more above-award rates


Xenia Ioannou, director of Wealth Zone Education, has sworn off paying people above award rates to inspire them to do more.


“In the past, we have set up attractive packages to attract the best people who will do a better job for our business. My experience has been that this is a huge waste of profits, because more money does not mean better performance. We now pay people minimum wages and set up reward systems for more work. We also have claw-backs on commissions that haven’t gone through.


“This works better to motivate the individual and is more profitable for the business, because you only pay on what has added value to the business.”


No more staying in the office


Alexandra Tselios says that some of the best business agreements she’s ever made have been over a coffee in a café. This is why she’s decided to get out more in 2014, saying networking is everything.


The co-founder and publisher of opinion site The Big Smoke also admits that some of the most outstanding contacts have occurred organically after an event that she didn’t really want to attend in the first place.


“I’m not talking about going to that morning breakfast that cost you $100 to attend just so you could hand over your business cards. I’m talking about getting among your industry’s local community, in whatever capacity you can.


“This is dependent on your market of course, but I would imagine finding out where the people in your industry congregate is equally as important as knowing how to utilise LinkedIn.”


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No more procrastinating


Affinity Communications Melissa Donnelly won’t be sweating the small stuff anymore. She has a business strategy and game plan she’ll stick to, and has promised herself to stay focused on the big picture and let the details work themselves out.


“I’m also going to stop procrastinating. I have some ideas that I’ll get into action next year, like my Martini Mums blog. These ideas have been sitting in the wings while I faff about trying to get them 100 per cent perfect, instead of getting them 90% right and shipping them to the market.


No more pay later


There are so many opportunities to use a product or service now and pay for it later, but they’re not always as good as they seem.


Business mentor and executive coach, Katrena Friel of Activated Life Long Learner has used these facilities in the past, but won’t anymore.


This will eliminate false savings from her business, she says.


“For example, it may be perceived by me that it is expensive upfront, but you get what you pay for, so I’m going to buy expert knowledge and services now, instead of paying for cheap DIY solutions and it costing me in time and money later down the track to fix it and re-do it.”


No more paid advertising


Marina Herlihy is a cosmetic manufacturer who will stop all paid advertising in 2014, saying it hasn’t led to increase sales.


“For us, paid advertising was such a waste of money, and this money could have been put to better use.


“We’ve done many different types of paid advertising in magazines, online, emags and various other places, but there was no trail of business.


“Since we started to do giveaways with product and donate products for prizes, we have found that this has worked more to our advantage.”


Offering bloggers products to trial and reporting on them has also led to a direct increase in sales, she says.


No more comparing with competitors


Looking at what competitors are up to and comparing your products to theirs can make you doubt yourself, says Herlihy.


She was spending up to 10 hours a week following other handmade, natural and organic cosmetic brands, which has been fruitless and time consuming, she says.


“Putting a stop on following our competitors gives us valuable time to improve our market strategies, spend more time on our newsletters and giving our customers a personal touch. We can spend our time in much better ways.”


No more hiring SEO experts


Finn Peacock, founder of SolarQuotes.com.au says he won’t be hiring anyone to do link building or search engine optimisation for his business.


“Most CEOs are flogging a dead horse if they offer a link building service and they know it. Even the big, blue chip digital marketing agencies think they’re smarter than Google and are still talking about how they can buy links to increase client’s rankings, which directly violates Google’s terms of service,” Peacock says.


“The only way to safely get links and better rankings in 2014 is to earn links by writing killer content that people want to share and refer to.”