Good, simple businesses

Discussion in 'Starting & Running a Business' started by hammer, 11th Feb, 2017.

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  1. hammer

    hammer Well-Known Member

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    A lot of small businesses have trouble getting the basics right...
    So I thought I'd start a thread highlighting the ones that do.

    I'll start things off.....there is a cake shop in the middle of the city here. It's tiny, but the staff are always friendly, the cakes are fantastic and reasonably priced with a quick turnaround.

    I've seen some staff in there for years. Which is an achievement on itself considering the transient nature of Darwin...

    Anyway, whilst the rest of Darwin struggles, the cake shop is always busy....

    Keeping it simple...


    Any others?
     
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  2. Ace in the Hole

    Ace in the Hole Well-Known Member

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    What's a "good" business?
    Some dirty, disorganised, crappy looking businesses can make a tonne of money, looks can be very deceiving.
    It really depends on your goals for a business, but I'd guess making money would be the number one priority for most.
     
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  3. Ross Forrester

    Ross Forrester Perth business advisor and founder Business Member

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    I have never seen a disorganised business making tonnes of money.

    The point about friendliness and care by staff is interesting - it is not an accident. Great business focus on designing their culture rather than leave it to accident. Getting the change in culture to generate the engagement by staff is often the outcome of a very long term plan by the owners.

    The outcome is a business that is hands above its competitors.
     
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  4. D.T.

    D.T. Specialist Property Manager Business Member

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    Simple is always best. Stick to one thing and do it well.
     
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  5. Ace in the Hole

    Ace in the Hole Well-Known Member

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    Most tradies for a start....
    Some industrial service type businesses, etc.

    Retailing low priced perishable consumables would be the toughest of all to make good amounts of money, especially if operating as an independent.
    All I'm saying is that there are plenty of businesses out there who don't really deserve to be making the money they are, but if the market is paying, then they'll take it.
    Pretty businesses don't always represent quality results.
    The books matter most unless you're simply working for the satisfaction.
     
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  6. pinkboy

    pinkboy Well-Known Member

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    My workshop and yard looks like a bomb has hit it. Its not a place for customers to walk in and see our operations though. We just move from one job to the next wherever we can fit it and if there is mess there is mess. When we have a bloke spare for a day, or an afternoon spare, we do a full shed/yard clean (about once a month). We still manage to pump out quality finished work. It's just how we do it.

    I'm not making tonnes of $dollars, but I'm seeing a lot more confidence in the industry for 2017.

    pinkboy
     
  7. chindonly

    chindonly Well-Known Member

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    Coming from a background of management in diverse businesses, I often find myself analysing a lot of the businesses I see in daily life.

    Its a bit of a game to predict if a new business will remain long term, based on guesses at turnover and major costs. For example, there was a strange sort of 50's desert place opened up in Mooloolaba which had like 5-6 different food choices inside, run by different people? Ice creams, smoothies, waffles, lollies. There were always more staff than people in there. Was never going to work. They are still there but now trying a different model.

    Compare that the the Gelatissmo place just near it. Simple model, one main product, better location, low staff skill level. Always a huge line at peak times, high margins, relatively low wage costs. They would be making a motza, albeit very high rental being right on the esplanade.
     
  8. kierank

    kierank Well-Known Member

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    Years ago (probably 20+ years ago), I visited a gem miner, outside Emerald on the way to Rubyvale.

    The things that initially hit me (and I still remember them clearly today) was the dilapidated washplant, the house (more of a shack) that had a severe lean, the shabby appearance of the miner and his two offsiders, the outhouse (that's a big complement as it was worse than the house/shack), no running hot water in the house, ... You get the picture - these guys would be at home sleeping on the street.

    Then the miner mentioned that his buyers fly direct from Thailand to see his gems, then I saw his earthmoving equipment (dozer, trucks, etc) which consumes more than $250,000 of diesel a year (in mid to late 1990's dollars), ...

    Then my colleague told me that this guy paid to have the road re-aligned so that he could mine under the old road. This guy had the financial resources to build a few kms of roadway.

    That visit was a great reminder to me to "Not judge a book by its cover" and I saw "delayed gratification" in action.
     
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  9. Perthguy

    Perthguy Well-Known Member

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    Golden Bakery in Osborne Park and CBD of Perth. Friendly staff and quality fresh food at great prices. I went to the Ossie Park shop recently and the queue was out the door. Next day I was in Malaga and went to a terrible lunch bar with zero customers.

    With those types of shops they need that repeat business. Golden does that with really good quality food at good price backed up by good service. Winning combo.
     
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  10. hammer

    hammer Well-Known Member

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    Here's another one....

    A little old lady decided to make sandwiches/lunches for Charter boats. She does it from home and gets the ingredients from woolies.

    She charges a little less than the competition and gets all the work she can handle because she is flexible. Most cafes have a 3pm cutoff for new orders. Because she is keeping it simple she can take orders right up till 10 pm (when woolies closes).

    She's making a killing because the charter boats need someone who is as flexible as the tourists.....she even delivers it to the boats!

    Word has gotten out and she is now handling the food for about 70 percent of the local market.....an Empire is born...
     
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  11. Perthguy

    Perthguy Well-Known Member

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  12. Angel

    Angel Well-Known Member

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    Here is an example of a disorganised tradie who doesn't make any money.

    Electrician, so you would think he would be rolling in it. This was 20 years ago, pre internet banking.

    He turns up to do a simple job - and while he is onsite I tried to pay him. No, he cant tell me how much it will cost. No, I cant pay now, he always get his wife to send an account. So I rang his Mrs - she couldn't tell me how much it would cost, he would tell her later. I never ever did receive an account so I never ever paid.
     
  13. Marg4000

    Marg4000 Well-Known Member

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    Mum had a mower man mow her yard every fortnight, paid him cash. Mum went into a nursing home, mower man kept coming. Never received a bill in the letterbox or had any way of contacting him. This went on for about six months, till one day I saw him mowing the neighbour's yard, which I knew was the same man as he did both yards on the same day.

    I went up to him, told him that I would go to the bank and get out the $600 I figured we owed him, he could bill any difference. Would take about 15 minutes. Gave him my contact details. He said he had wondered where mum was, but not to bother getting cash, he would send me an account.

    Never heard anything. Never paid he did not have a business card to give me, so no way of contacting him. We sold the house - I wonder if he is still mowing the yard for free??
    Marg
     
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  14. Biz

    Biz Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    Still going Marrrrgggg
     
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  15. Spiderman

    Spiderman Well-Known Member

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    At Footscray station is what became a local legend - 'Olympic Donuts'. It sold just one product. A jam injected donut rolled in sugar for 80 cents each. It did a roaring trade. It operated from a dingy caravan but it was so popular that plans for the station redevelopment were modified to make provision for Olympic Donuts to continue. The old owner passed away recently.

    Olympic Doughnuts

    The person at the back made the donuts while the one at the front took the money (and I think bagged and presented the donuts).

    An example of a good simple business?

    I believe the new owners have jacked the price to $1 and now sell coffee. It would be interesting to see the effect on turnover. On the one hand coffee and donut could go together so it could be an effective add-on. On the other hand coffee takes additional time. When there's a constrained number of serving windows (possibly only one) it would be interesting to see the effect on profitability since transaction speed times margin would be the key to profitability.
     
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  16. Ace in the Hole

    Ace in the Hole Well-Known Member

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    Do they take PayPass?
    If not, can these small cash transaction type businesses continue to do well in the modern day cashless society?
     
  17. John Ferguson

    John Ferguson Well-Known Member

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    I know of a small sewing and alterations business that does quite well. Nothing fancy, hardly no advertising, shop front is in the CBD, but looks very underwhelming. Owner/operator works full-time with two casuals and the turn over is quite good. Low cost of goods and high profit margins on work. Not sure if it will be a business that could be managed though, so the owner does not have to be there? I'm sure the business could grow though if it implemented some more BDM and marketing etc.