Welcome to Business Built Freedom, the podcast made for business owners who want more out of life and ultimately, build a vehicle of wealth and freedom. We are technologists, owners, forward thinkers, and life hackers, most importantly, we are human and down to earth Aussies. Brisbane based entrepreneurs are interviewed regularly from all walks of life, in all positions of business from greenfield start-ups to long-standing owners looking for exit strategies to retire.
If you want to increase your wealth, better your health and get a residual income, sit back with a beer and relax, unless you're on the way to work….
See how the new kids are doing it, get the time you deserve with the family, gain perspective, direction and stop the business owning you, instead OWN it!
186|Improving Communication With Marlise van der Merwe
Improving Communication With Marlise van der Merwe
G'day everyone out there. You might be wondering what we're going to be talking about today. Funny enough, it's exactly that: communication.
We're going to be talking about talking and body communication, verbal communication and the right time to communicate, how to communicate in business and why it's important. We've got Marlise van der Merwe from the Alternative Board, and she's going to be talking about exactly that.
Why is communication in business important?
Why is communication in business important and how does it vary?
Marlise: Communication is a process and you have to consider the message you want to send to your audience as well as the different listening styles because different people communicate differently and they have a preference to be communicated to.
Some people like more details. Some people would like the communication to be slower. They need time to process what you're saying and feel safe and have that comfortable, calm feel around them. Some people prefer to read through things and process the material in that way.
There are various options on how you can communicate. The important part of it is to consider the intent of the message. What is it that you want to communicate and why?
What are the most common communication challenges, and how can you avoid them?
I remember many years ago, I was doing a meeting with a business north of Brisbane and I spoke to them at the rate that I normally talk, which is quite quick, people say you must have 15 coffees before you get here and I don't actually drink coffee at all. That's no caffeine doing this. It's just how I talk.
At school, I could get in trouble. I needed to slow down with what I was saying, and it feels like I'm going in slow motion sometimes when I'm talking. But I know that for people to listen, people are only hearing a certain amount of what you're actually saying and a lot of that comes down to the body language in the way that you're talking, eye contact, etc.
How do you pick the right audience or how do you know what other people are going to be listening to? Like, if you've got ADHD, a lot of the time, you listen or talk really quickly. Other times, if you might be talking to someone who's a country fellow that likes talking a bit slower but just enjoys the conversation and every single word is meaningful, how do you make sure that the words that you're saying have meaning and you're not just dribbling and that while you're talking, you're using the right style for the person that's listening?
Marlise: The general rule of thumb is to use easy language at a general age of 15 years old. If a 15-year-old is listening and he or she understands the message, you can use this type of language to communicate with people. Not everybody knows a specific industry talk, the jargon and abbreviations they use.
When you use those terms, make sure that you also give a proper explanation of what it means and put it in context. When you're going to talk to people, say, at an old age facility or a specific city, you should do a bit of study of who your audience is—what is the general age, what's the culture, what are the language that's spoken, is English the first language, is it younger generation? Do a bit of research around that region: what's the history like, what technology trends are going in there, what type of firms and technology are they used to.
Once you've got a bit of a background regarding that, you can then work on how am I going to send a clear message? What is the best medium to reach them? Would it be an email? Would it be going on one-on-one talks? Would it be broadcast media?
Business Communication and Cultural Differences
You've touched on a couple of things, including cultural differences, like if you passed your business card to someone in Japan and you
185|How To Prepare a Business Plan With Marty Lewis
How To Prepare a Business Plan With Marty Lewis G'day everyone out there in podcast land. Everyone's told you need to fill out a business plan, prepare a business plan, review a business plan. What does it all mean? We don't know what's going on half the time in business, but we know that we have to have this business plan that a lot of us can't be bothered doing.
Today, we've got Marty Lewis from Orb Services and he's going to be talking to us about business plans, why they are important and easy ways that you can produce those for yourself.
What's your break-even point and where do you need to be making money? Cross-reference that against your service offering or your product and your price point and make sure that you've got the capability. There's no point saying I need $20,000 a month when on my own I can only generate $5,000 a month because you're lost from the start. You've got to be able to make sure you can deliver what you need and work on that. In the early days of your business, focus on volume more than efficiency. The efficiency can come later, worry about getting the volume of customers that you need. You can improve your profit margin from 20% to 23% later or 7% to 15% later. You can't improve it from 7% to 15% if you're not making any money. Keep it simple. Focus on what's near. You want to build from that level. What are the things that you can do now with the resources that you have that will allow you to take a step towards that end goal that you're doing? Have some uncomfortable conversations. Don't be afraid to get out and make some phone calls, go to some events, all of that kind of stuff. There's not a person that you would look at in business as successful or walking a path that you would like to walk that hasn't done those things. Get out and get amongst it. Embrace it.
Celebrate the small victories. Celebrate the progress along the way that is moving you towards that end goal.
What's the easiest way possible to prepare a business plan?
Start With Finances Marty: I think the first challenge in writing a business plan that people come up against is there is such an abundance of information about it, so it's so easy to get overwhelmed and it's so hard to know what you should focus on—what's going to actually add value. Like most things in life, the best way to write a business plan is to keep it simple, keep it clean and work on what's going well for you.
The first phase is the reference. Where is your business at? If you're in a start-up phase or if you're in a pre-revenue phase, whether you're trying to change the world with your business or you're going to be the next I.T. person or the next consultant, you've got to work on how you are going to get started? How are you going to get out into the market?
The first place that I always recommend for people to start is their finances because that's the thing that brings most people undone. Tell me if I'm wrong there, but you've launched your own business and you're involved in other start-ups. If people don't have money and they're worried about non-revenue generating things before they start generating revenue, they burn through their cash, and all of a sudden, all the great business promise that they had doesn't count for too much.
How to Calculate Risk and Your Finances
I set up Dorks Delivered in 2007. I would say that my risk level is quite low, so when I started it, it was a side hustle. A lot of people start something on the side while they're working somewhere else. For me, it was Education Queensland.
I had to look at what the ongoing expenses were and where they were sitting with the business. For me, I'm always comfortable with three to six months of rainy day expenses. That's three to six months of me not earning a single dollar, and that's where I'm comfortable with my financial bubbl
184|Becoming a Leader With Tim Stokes
Becoming a Leader With Tim Stokes G'day everyone, I'm sure we've all been in a spot that we've thought about how do we become a leader, are we already a leader, what is a leader anyway? And ultimately in being a leader, is that going to be something that's going to leverage your ability to achieve business freedom? Today, we've got Tim Stokes here, and he's going to be talking about exactly that. How do you achieve business freedom and how do you make sure that you are a leader, and you are a developing leader, and you are continuing your skills, etc. He's from a company named Profit Transformations. Tell me, Tim, in your opinion, what is a leader?
The Qualities of a Leader
Tim: I've got a great answer to that one. You're a leader when someone is following you because if there's no one following you, then you're just a dictator going for a walk on your own. That's the simple definition for it. It's the effect that you have on other people. If you're inspiring people to follow your words willingly, that's what I would call a leader. If people are regretfully, resentfully, slowly or not very effectively following your words, then that's the sign that the leadership skills could be improved. I think it's as simple as that. It's the difference you're making to other people. I believe leadership is one word: servitude. You're there to serve...serve your followers. It's about redundancy. You're aiming to make yourself redundant through the people that are following you, not rule them, if you like, not dictate to them, but empower them to be like you, to give power to them, to increase their confidence, and to be able to do what it is that you are doing yourself. Ultimately, anyone can be a leader, but it's also very field specific. You could be a leader at home, but not necessarily be a leader at work. Do you think that leadership can be taught or is it something that you are or you're not? We’re All Leaders
Tim: I think we're all leaders. We just probably don't recognise that we are because we all influence other people. As a parent, you're a leader because your children are watching you, scrutinising everything that you do, copying you, mirroring you, following you, saying what you say, doing what you do and copying your body language. I remember watching my daughter look at me when she was about three and she looked at me, saw it on, and then she adjusted her posture and I said, don't do that. She just copied my posture from just watching me without saying a word, and I watched her do it and then I watched her adjust and I was like, 'Oh, don't do that. Have your own, not mine.' We're always being watched. Employees are always watching their bosses. If the bosses aren't punctual, the employees think, 'Oh, punctuality doesn't really matter here. That's great. I don't need to be that punctual.' So we're leading whether we like it or not. I think everything is co-leadership. Sometimes other people lead, sometimes you lead. We probably have a prioritised role of leadership in business, but definitely, leaders are always leaders. I believe selling is leadership because you're leading people from doubt and potentially resistance or a bit of fear into making a confident decision. So when people are in doubt, they need leadership. So selling is leadership to take people from 'I'm not sure what I need to buy,' 'I'm not sure of the price, so I don't have my decision-making criteria,' 'I'm a bit ignorant of what I'm buying. Someone guide me to making a confident decision and buying.' That is a leadership opportunity. Every sales phone call, every sales opportunity is leadership. That's exactly what it is, so I think it's everywhere. Everywhere in business is leadership. At home, you're in leadership mode. Sometimes I say the wife wears the pants, but that's not true all the time. It'd be alternating leadership because that tends
183|Working Remotely With VoIP Featuring Renier Schrenk
Working Remotely with VoIP Featuring Renier Schrenk
Today we're going to be talking about working remotely with VoIP with Renier from VoIP studio. So, Renier, tell me, when you jump into working remotely, what are some of the things that you need to keep in mind to make sure that it does appear as if the business is as usual when your phone systems are now abroad or potentially distributed between many places?
Keeping Busines As Usual
Renier: The main thing is you want a system that moves along well that you can pack up into a laptop take it somewhere else. And with that, the whole cloud-based solution means that everything is kind of already in the cloud in one place ready to go, and you just connect to it. So if someone calls up, it's not being forwarded somewhere. It's not going to someone's cell phone number, it's still going through the system. So you have all of your messages, you can have your call recording style and you can still transfer calls as if you were in a normal office. Understanding Different Phone Systems
So there are lots of different types of VoIP and lots of types of phone systems, such as IDSN, IP PBX, VoIP systems, cloud systems, on-premise systems, hybrid systems, systems that have trunking, SIP trunking, the list goes on. What's the easiest way to drill it down and simplify it? Renier: Many countries have made promises to shut down ISDN because it's old infrastructure and it's becoming redundant to an extent. Some countries have said that 2020 they'll do that and others in 2030. IP PBX is basically the same concept, but it's a completely digital system. So that's also still something that you have in the office, but it's a bit more versatile. You can also get a free PBX, for example, and you can run that from a normal PC. Even if you have a small requirement, you can use something like a Raspberry Pi to put on your little PBX on. That’s a digital system that runs through the Internet. It’s a cloud-based system that backs all of that equipment up and puts it on a server run by the cloud provider. This means you don't have any hardware that you need to worry about. You just need to worry about your connection to that server. That's a pretty big difference when you think about it. Traditionally PBX systems came with this bulky package of hardware. Businesses were paying thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars locked in contracts for years and years and ultimately kind of just felt like that's the way that they had to do it. Gain Flexibility
A lot of people aren't aware of how easy it is just to move across to a cloud system that allows you to remotely work and allows you to have a distributed office without any of that hardware. Imagine you decide, are you going to move office from X to Y, especially if we're looking at commercial real estate in Australia and the way that it's working at the moment. You think, well, ‘what's it going to cost to move everything?’ The beautiful thing is you can move your office two, three, five times and there's going to be nearly no business interruption. Renier: Exactly right. Our team started working from home a long time ago because our very solution allows for that. So why not utilise it? And ultimately, even us as a company, we've saved money because we're a company with global focus. So you need people in different places, different countries that speak different languages. So now we can have a team member in the US, for example, which didn't need us to buy up, you know, a property or rental property or something so that that person can have an office. You just ship hardware that they need and you're done. Most of the things that you use already are probably cloud-based, so you might as well move your phone system too. It definitely gives you flexibility, and it shouldn't be something that you're too scared about as well. It sounds like I'm spru
182|Finding Your Passion
Finding Your Passion
What is passion? It sounds like such an easy question to answer, but you really don't know. Now, today we're going to be talking about exactly that.
I'm sure we've all felt that feeling when we want to go to work. We absolutely love it. The day just glides by, but then other times you get to work and it just feels like you're in the trenches and nothing happens. You think, what am I doing here?
Then when you go home and you work on that passion project and you find the time just flies by. How much does that piss you off? You want to spend some time on what you love but the time goes from six until 12:00 at night. All of a sudden, you're in bed and back at work the next day.
Consider the “Why”
This is important to think about because most people don't consider why they go to work and what is passion. What is passion, and what is passion to you? Because sometimes you might find time gliding by, while other times it feels like it's standing still. It's important to understand what's passionate to you because at the end of the day, you want to be doing that when you go to work.
You might be in the position right now where you've been running a business for 10, 15, 20, 40 years. Who knows? Or, you’ve just been working for the man for 10, 15, 20, 40 years. It doesn't matter. What's important is you have had this emotion. We've all had this emotion, and we all need to work out why did we feel that way when we're doing that thing? Why do we love doing a certain thing and not another thing?
Because too many people are working in a dead end job or a bosses of a company that they don't really care to be bosses of. They are just looking at a way to escape, we all need to work out a way that we can be passionate about the reason we come to work.
Help People That Help You
I'll tell you what you can do. If you're running a company and you find out that you're really, really passionate about helping people, or change the reason that you're running the company to be more about helping people.
Bill Gates ran a software company for many years while he was running that he was helping people, but not necessarily in the same way as helping people now. The major thing that changed was he understood that he wasn't helping people through technology. That was just one way that he was helping people. He was helping people in many, many different ways. And he decided to step back and understand exactly what he was doing and what drove him.
That’s what moved him away from technology, a very competitive area into what he's doing now around making sure that people are staying safe.
I have a similar, more Queensland based story. When I started my company, I really loved solving problems for people with computers. I loved technology and loves everything around it. What I've realised is I love finding out about new ways to fix a situation that people weren't aware of. So I don't necessarily care about I's and O's and ones and zeros and bits and etc, etc.
I care more about helping businesses succeed through introducing them to new technologies that they may not have otherwise understood or even knew were available. Let that sink in.
I started fixing people's computers when I was about 11 years old or something like that, and I had my first computer from when I was four. All that changed over the years that I've been doing things wasn't just fixing people's computers. It was always about helping people and helping people achieve more with less, because I'm introducing them to new things.
You need to think about what is your why? Why do you exist? Why are you in business? Why are you in your current job? And let's bring it back to the start there. What are you passionate about and where do you find that time just flies and you enjoy doing what you're doing now?
181|VoIP 101 with Renier Schrenk
VoIP 101 with Reiner Schrenk
Everything you need to know about VoIP
You might be wondering who Alexander Graham Bell is? He invented the telephone many years ago. That device has changed the way that we communicate around the world. We're going to talk about how to ensure that you are cost-effective with how you communicate. And more importantly, what is VoIP? We've got Reiner here from VoIP studio to go through how a cloud-based phone system works. What is the difference between VoIP and a traditional phone system?
Reiner: The main difference between the two is traditional phone systems are traditional analog, and VoIP is digital. Analog is not as versatile as digital is nowadays. And with that comes a lot of benefits.
I would say from personal experience is that it’s very convenient. The first analog recordings from recorded tape players were no longer valued as they went over further distances. You'd get weird noises and interruptions. But with using VoIP, the difference between having to go through your CD collection to find a song, you only need to jump onto Spotify with just one click. That's one of the benefits of VoIP being cloud-based. There are different flavours of VoIP and the way it can work. But why should a business jump into a cloud-based phone system?
How VoIP works
Reiner: Yes. Traditional phones have less versatility. For example, when you are on a call with an electrician, you can't move from one point to somewhere else because you are using a traditional wired phone. The advantage of switching to VoIP would be, you can easily have your laptop with you anywhere you go by connecting it to Wi-Fi without moving your desk.
You've got a lot of versatility, traditional phones. You have to have a traditional phone line coming into your property. You then have to have that wired to different rooms, and then you end up having to call an electrician if you want to move the point somewhere else where a huge, big advantage to VoIP would be that you can easily have that on your laptop that can be going over Wi-Fi, you can move your desk, and it's not going to cost you any money.
So there's a lot of these other just infrastructure costs that aren't necessarily always taken into account that you can have that flexibility with VOIP.
Reiner: I've known a lot of people who work from different locations. When they move from the UK over to the US every few months or every few weeks, they'd pack their laptop up and plug in their VoIP phone and use it over the internet.
Finding a VoIP Provider
With VoIP, you also don't get that annoying echo because the whole phone system is digital and faster than it used to be. Rather than running copper lines or going underneath the ceiling around the place. It sounds super, super flexible. But if you've got your current phone system, can you still use a normal phone with VoIP?
Reiner: You can. You just need a VoIP provider. Some people have their phones at home or in their business, and they are looking to swap to VoIP. So what other companies provided was this little box that you plugged into an internet cable and plug your phone in. This transforms your analog phone into a digital phone. This is way more cost-effective and less expensive. These boxes I am talking about are configured.
That’s great that it will give you the ability to use your old phones. You can also go to new phones by using an app, which is another cool thing. Am I right in saying that most providers would allow you to have an app on your phone you can use to make a call using a professional business number? So you don't end up getting calls at midnight from a client through your mobile?
Reiner: Yes. Most providers have both applications. And in some cases, you can still use third-party applications that might be a little bit more lightweight. It's become a far more common practice nowadays w
Highly engaging show
When you hear Joshua speak, you know straight away that it comes from a passion for business. And for helping businesses. What that does is it makes the conversations so free flowing, that it’s easy to get engaged and gain value from it. Highly recommend subscribing.
From a guests point of view
Being someone who rarely listens to podcasts because they can be a little all over the shop, when I chatted with Josh it was great. Very easy to actually talk about what weve been doing with our business. Worth a listen and very interesting.
Always a great listen
As a business owner listening to Business Built Freedom is a great way to build my knowledge