Hands up anyone who has gone into business without a formal business studies qualification! I would guess that would be the case in a few, if not the majority of, small businesses out there.

There are of course huge advantages of having a knowledge of business strategy, processes and planning. But if you’re too busy doing business to learn about the theory and processes of business, you can always hire a business expert to help you adopt better more efficient business practices.

Successful Business Strategies Can Make Your Business More Successful

Easy Steps to Get More Sales

One such expert is business growth and expansion professional David Hardisty, based in Horsham, Sussex, who can show you a handful of easy steps to follow to increase your sales, improve profits and manage your time more effectively.


Grow and Expand Your Business with Experts like David Hardisty








“When I tell people how easy it is to grow your business to the level you want, they don’t believe me at first,” says David with a grin. “But sometimes the obvious processes to adopt are the most powerful and the least easy to see when you’re up to your neck in work and spend most of your time fire-fighting, both of which are common in small businesses.”

Defining Business Goals

So what kind of steps do you tell your clients to follow, I ask David.

“Any business needs to have some kind of plan in place, to give it direction and objectives to achieve,” David tells me. “You can call it a business plan, or a marketing plan, or whatever you want, but the important thing is to put in writing topics such as your business goals, your existing and potential customers, your unique selling points and strengths, as well as weaknesses, and who your competitors are.”

Define Market Niches

Anything else it’s important to put in the plan? David smiles ruefully and says, “You’d be surprised how many small companies haven’t got a clear defined description of their products and services, and pricing plans for these packages and combinations of packages. You should also have a clear idea of your marketing position as compared to competitors – what you offer that they don’t, or what you do better or cheaper.”

Well, now that you say it, David, it does sound obvious. Before you can sell anything, you should know how much to charge, who wants to buy and where do you find those customers.

It’s About Time

He nods in agreement. “Another pitfall for small companies is inefficient time management. Most people are tempted to do what they enjoy most, not the highest priority tasks that are sometimes essential to tackle.”

After getting familiarized with your business and market niche, David can then suggest proven strategies that will make sure you run your business more efficiently, just by using the time available in a different way and prioritizing your daily activities.

Ditch the Bad Habits

“The techniques I tell people to use are not new – they’ve been tried and tested and will shake you out of bad habits that waste time and replace them with processes that work and use available resources more efficiently. As an example, writing the phone number of a sales lead on a piece of paper that’s easily lost, instead of entering it into a spreadsheet or CRM system, is definitely what I’d call a bad habit!” says David with a laugh. “Also, how many people use their existing happy customers to attract new ones with a referral system, which could be automatic or could just involve putting testimonials on a website?”

Now that you mention it David, avoiding these bad habits that can just persist because of resistance to change or laziness would definitely be a good thing for business.

Attract New Customers

He continues, “Also, a lot of small businesses just drift along attracting new customers via word of mouth, which is good, but defined marketing strategies to reach a fresh market could also be enormously successful.”

When David’s customers start putting his suggested methods in place, they can expect to see beneficial changes fairly rapidly. “Like shaking off any bad habit, it takes a while to get used to the new system, but when you see the results within a couple of weeks, the change is very rewarding.”

Learn more about David Hardisty and his business growth and expansion advice here, at http://davidhardisty.com/

Hi Kenny here,

hassle free boilersToday I want to look at a really interesting “disruptive” business model. I was chatting to a friend of mine who suggested I talked to a company called Hassle Free Boilers.

What was interesting about boilers?, I thought! Can it get much more mainstream? Well the answer is, if you know where to look, boilers can be very interesting indeed, especially when you take a standard business model and just give it a little twist.

Here’s the story of Hassle Free Boilers.

The Story of HFB

HFB were actually born out of the Ecovision Group based in the West of England. Their business is biomass heating systems, so essentially green energy for areas where there was no gas on the mains.

Committed to eco-friendly energy they really wanted to get in to the U.K domestic heating market. Figures showed the market was ripe for a new force and profitability.

The U.K Domestic Market

Many homes in the U.K had old and inefficient boilers installed. The market was mature and tied up by the big multinationals who provided home heating services on the back of their energy supply businesses. They also provided service contracts in a market that was pretty much an oligopoly. Indeed, the regulatory bodies in the U.K were constantly assessing the market for true competition

So, ripe for some disruption then!

Ecovision looked around the world to see how the domestic heating markets worked in other developed countries. Pretty soon, they found a very interesting model indeed. When they looked at the Canadian market, they found it was very different to the U.K market.

There were a number of companies that provided boilers on long term purchase/service contracts. Again the major players in the U.K did provide services that included a new boiler and installation. But they were all on a pay up front or credit agreement basis.

The Business Twist

That twist was really very simple indeed. Hassle Free negotiated a supply deal with, initially, Vaillant to provide new eco-friendly, energy efficient bolilers making use of economies of scale and bank funding to secure an advantageous price on boiler supply.

They then passed this on to the consumer by way of a 12 year deal that allowed the consumer to get a free new boiler up front in return for a long-term maintenance agreement.

The win for the consumer was a super-efficient new boiler that cut down emmissions and energy bills for no money up front.

This was a completely new way of supplying the domestic heating marketing in Great Britain.

The HFB Offering

Offering three categories of boiler including new combination boilers and system boilers as well, they then added both Ideal and Worcester Bosch to their portfolio of bolilers, offering even more choice to the consumer.

Now, three years later Hassle Free Boilers have a solid place in the U.K market. By providing great boiler deals and superb service, they are winning market share. They also use other differentiators, like their own local engineers and a promise to leave your home spotless after install. My own experience tells me that is not the case with the big blue chip suppliers.

I had a new gas boiler installed about 5 years ago, and the mess left behind was awful.

So, I am not surprised that this disruptor model has worked in this instance. Big companies, in their comfort zones not trying very hard and creaming in profits. I love it when this type of market gets disrupted in this way…long may it continue.

Here they are explaining their offerring in plain English.

Hi Jerry here,

PeterPTI was at a local networking event last week. There’s an organisation called Link4Growth that is starting to make waves in local communities. They are trying to foster community relations, rebuild community if you like, to try and foster increased business for local people.

Building Community

So, it’s not a true business networking “thing” so much as a “community” thing.

Anyway, I am certainly all for building community, I think we so very much need that. But the reason I mention it (and I will do a full blow article on L4G later) is that I met a personal trainer at the meeting.

He was great fun, very engaging and walked up to me as bold as brass and said “I think you could do with my services”!

After I choked down the mouthful of coffee I was drinking and we stopped laughing, we got down to some more serious dicussion. Peter’s was a remarklable story.

So, this is not so unusual and one of those “turnaround” stories. I like these sorts of stories, so I am writing about it for today!

A “Turnaround” Story

Peter left school at sixteen, regurgitated by the system.

“I just didn’t get on at school, I always seeme dot attract trouble, it was always me that got caught talking and told off by the teachers and my best exam result was one C! Everything else was D and below – I only got two D’s”, he smiles at the memory.

So, leaving school at sixteen with the “troublemaker” label hovering over him, he drifted into opne bad job after another. Friday and Saturday nights were a blurr of booze and fights after he fell in with the wrong people.

It All Goes Wrong

Then one Friday it got serious. Peter ended up in a fight with some gang members and, he would say in self defence, seriously injured one of his attackers. The judge saw it as being the wrong side of self defence and Peter was “put away” for a year.

“It gave me time to reflect” he muses.

“There was temptation a plenty inside. I could have come out to all sorts of “jobs”. None of them legal and all certainly ending deeper in trouble with the law and likely longer and longer stretches inside. The temptation to life as a serial criminal was great”.

Quality Decision

“However, thankfully I decided against it. I had been naturally fit while I was younger, but during my time on the “dark side” I’d let it slip and was definitely carrying a beer gut and more than a few extra pounds”.

“The first thing I decided to do was get myself fit. So I started using the gym and taking exercie regularly. One day, in my library time I found the P90X program by Tony Horton at Beach Body and deicded it looked like a really good program”.

“It’s home study, so I could not only workout in the gym but also in my cell. So, I decided to fidn out what I could (we didn’t have the full program inside), but we did have some Internet access once a week and I pieced some of it together”.

Getting Fitter

” It wasn’t long before I started to look a little fitter and I certainly felt better, although prison food is not the best for nutrition”.

I was “out” in seven months for good behaviour and I came out determined to buy the P90X program as my first purchase. Fortunately I had some money saved, so I got it. Now, working with the full P90X workout schedule I came on leaps and bounds. My physicque changed quickly and I was looking beach fit”.

“Now that in and of itself is good, but it was from looking so good that I got a job on the desk at a local gym. From then on I studied fitness and extreme workout results and got myself super fit”.

Never Stop Learning

“I learned about nutrition and how to build my body. No, I’m not a bodybuilder, but I build my body, there is a subtle difference. One day I was talking to the head tariner about P90X and some of the techniques and he invited me to test out for trainee PT”.

“I was “made up” and worked even harder to make sure I passed the interview”.

“When interview day came around, I talked with entusiasm about what I’d learned. About nutrition and how to build certain muscle groups and how everything I did was based around the techniques I learned through Power 90X”.

“I got hired as a personal trainer and here I am today, five years down the line and loving my life. A life that is positive and empowered. A life where, thanks to Tony Horton’s training and programs I help others make the best of their fitness”.

“I’m not expert in all beachbody programs even the latest P90X3 review which I do just that on my website, it’s linked above”!

What a great story, as I said I love success stories and guess what? Yes, I have an initial session booked with Peter for next week!

Hey-ho. Here’s an example of the Beachbody stuff Peter wolrks out with. Looks a bit fierce, not sure I’ll survive next week!

bp-handsup-happyIt’s not uncommon to hear about different businesses that had a wonderful success. However, this all ends when you hear what the business is about. The unusual business ideas that became successful had only one thing in common – they offered solutions for those people who had different needs.

This is a principle that you can also apply if you want to start something on your own, because people will always pay for something that is not currently on the market but that is needed. Depending on your localization or on the needs of people that surround you, you can come up with your own unusual business ideas that can bring you a fortune.

businessHere are some things to consider about this.

Start from a Necessity

The needs will always prevail and people have different needs that really need to be satisfied. For example, someone needed to go to a special event, but the person had the leg broken and bandaged in gypsum. That person was a woman, and realized that she needed something to cover the bandage, so she Business_tuxcreated different accessories to cover it so that she could be able to go to that event. Today, her company produces different socks that can be wore above different bandages for the legs, and those are used by people from all around the world, even celebrities.

Think of Possibilities

Business-Education-Department_iconPeople don’t always know if a certain activity is fit for them or not. You can help them find out if they like to do something in specific. For example, there is a whole business that rents chickens. Yes, you have read correctly – this business rents chickens to those people who want to enjoy the experience, but who are not entirely sure that they will also be able to do this. Those who want to do this can rent two chickens with everything they need for setting them in a yard – a special place, boxes and food. It is rented for a season, and if the people like this, they can also buy everything that they have rented. Think in similar terms and you might produce the next successful business.

Think of Insufficient Things

business-intelligence-iconSome people need more of a certain thing, and if you can figure it out what people want more, you can become billionaire over night. This happened at least once in the history of business, when someone decided that there are not enough wishbones for everyone sitting at a table. The company has a profit of more than 4 million dollars per year, by producing plastic wishbones. These can also be customized at the request of the buyer. Breaking a wishbone and making a wish is a fun activity, and at a table of 6 persons you definitely need more than just one wishbone. Just think of things that people have in insufficient quantities, and you might be successful.

business-manThink of Wishes

It’s wonderful to be able to fulfill wishes, and one of the most spread wish among children is to receive a personal letter from Santa Claus. Yes, you have read correctly. There is a company that sends customized cards and letters to children all around the world that are written by Santa himself. On the same principle, you can have a business that sends letters from Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and FUELLING-BUSINESSother characters that children simply love.

Think of Strange Things

There are plenty of unusual business ideas, but one that really caught the attention of the audience was the one that was selling rocks as pets. The idea was so strange and also so funny that it had a great success, making millions of dollars as a profit. This company was active more than 10 years ago, but the idea was indeed interesting – they were selling small rocks, which could be customized as the customer wished. Later, they have tried to introduce other strange items on the market, but the fun was already over.

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