Thoughts of the Day

Thoughts of the day


Thoughts of the Day

An Offer from Anne Rolfe:

Mentoring Works – Mentoring News

6 Ways to Mentor Your Team for Productivity

Would your team answer “yes” to these questions? If not, start mentoring them so they do.

  1. We have a clear and compelling purpose. There is a reason to work together. We have a common goal, whether it is the solution to a particular problem, a challenge to be overcome or a contribution we make. Our mission inspires and appeals to our individual values.
  1. We know what success looks like. There are specific things that are measured to show how how we are tracking. Outcomes are defined and measured and we can see the results, daily, weekly or at least monthly.
  1. We know what’s expected of us. Each of us knows our role. We are clear about what to do and why it’s important. Procedures are important, but we understand it’s about the outcomes rather than the process, so we can take the initiative to solve a problem or get the result. Standards of performance are clear so we can see whether we are meeting them or not.
  1. We get individual guidance. Praise and recognition for a job well done as well as corrective feedback and coaching are provided. We know when we’re doing well and when we need to do better. We celebrate as a team when major milestones are reached. We review projects and look at what worked well, so we can repeat it; we discuss things that didn’t work well without blame or shame, so we can do better.
  1. We are taught what we need to know.We are “on-boarded” with initial training so we understand the products/services, policies and protocols of the organisation, as well as the expectations of behaviour and performance. We get regular training in knowledge and skills for our job. When things change, we are well prepared. We have formal training, on-the-job learning and sessions with internal and external specialists.
  1. Personal and Professional development is supported. We each have a personal development plan, discussed at least annually, that reflects our individual goals. Ongoing development is a priority. We can make a business case to go to conferences or relevant off-site courses. We bring such learning back to the team to share and find ways to implement it.

if your team-members can’t say yes to these questions, you urgently need to use mentoring to create this understanding in each person. Doing so will lead to an immediate increase in productivity.

If you want to know the process for mentoring your team, join me for our complimentary webinar tomorrow. Details and registration here.



“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.” – Mario Andretti

4 Reasons Young People Should Become Entrepreneurs Reasons Young People Should Become Entrepreneurs

4 Reasons Young People Should Become Entrepreneurs

Unemployment got you down? Just graduated with student loans, but can’t find the right job? Well, you’ll be happy to know that there are more new business startups in the United States-South Africa and in the World – than ever before. And, you can create your own job by starting a business, on a budget, doing what you love and what you’re good at — i.e., your passion and expertise.

Here are 4 reasons why you should start your own business as a young entrepreneur:


1) You’re not a good employee and don’t like working for anyone else then read on.

2) It’s easier than ever to become an entrepreneur, and technology has a lot to do with it. You’re a tech-savvy millennial, and Internet and mobile technologies make it easier to connect and identify with people based on shared values and ideals. At the same time, as technology has connected us, people have become very comfortable with online shopping through sites like Amazon, eBay, and PayPal, which have become very popular.

3) You’re thinking about leaving your day job to pursue your passion full-time. As a young, aspiring entrepreneur, focus on how that passion is going to help other people. How is what you love to do useful to others? It’s not just about innovation and disruption, but think about how you can serve people and really bring them value that makes their lives better.

4 Reasons Young People Should Become Entrepreneurs.

4) You know how to use social media marketing to reach lots of people quickly. Go ahead and put your idea out there as quickly as possible. Define your product or service, the customers it’s intended for, a way to process payment, and the price. Then, go viral.

All entrepreneurs wonder if their companies will succeed, but you don’t really know until you try. So, do it while you’re young and have little or nothing to lose.

If you need any further information on getting a standard business plan for R500 as a template contact me.

Contact form

The story from a highly frustrated UK start up Entrepreneur

The story from a highly frustrated UK start up Entrepreneur has been dictated to me by one person and told to me by others , who have similar stories.

Here is a summary of what I have discovered; May I also suggest you read a well written article by Brad Nosser, below.

Are we doing enough to support small business growth?

I posted an article into my Blog “Interco Development and Training/BASS Business Skills Charity site” called “Are we doing enough to support small business growth? in the UK (My addition)

This a well written and thought out article written by Brad Rosser, Non-Executive Chairman, Xref, who does not believe the UK Government has a well-orchestrated plan for ongoing small business support.

Personal comment.

I support the article but……

I still do not believe the report gets to the Nub of the real issue and that is for small start-ups to find actual funding both Grants and Secured and Government-backed loan funding is a nightmare.

My story that follows is from a story of a fairly astute businessman with his startup experience. I didn’t just accept it I went through his documentation and it was all confirmed.

I can now say in addition to my International experience I also have the UK as well.

The story from a highly frustrated UK start-up Entrepreneur

Having started many small businesses in South Africa and Australia and more recently helped someone on a Pro Bono basis in the UK, I can genuinely say the UK is impossible.

Please understand I agree with Brad. BUT, I believe for every 1 entrepreneur who makes it through a terrible journey, 100’s give up and or run unsustainable business until they fail.

What I have heard from a multitude of sources

Burgeoning Red tape, no real grants for working capital, some yes as long as it complies with local council rules, state funding rules retention, due diligence more paperwork and on and on.

The Journey of someone who experienced a Hull trip to hell and back

Phase 1 EOI

The journey starts by first having to complete an EOI (Expression of Interest) for the uninitiated – so far so good, and same in South Africa and Australia.  However from reading through is submitted document it was apparent thaf right from the start the average Entrepreneur does not have the economics degree and accounting wherewithal to deal with even the EOI successfully. No matter how astute.

I have a little experience in this as I have helped over 500 in 14 years of my Business.

If the applicant gets through the EOI process the approval allows you to Phase 2.

Phase 2.

Phase 2 is a more detailed regurgitation of Phase 1 with more specific outcomes. Unless you have conducted a complete marketing survey, and I assure you Your marketing must be boilerproof or you will be accused of wishful forecasting, you will not be approved. So beware and ensure that you have enough money to get a reasonably strong marketing study to confirm, as far as you can, your outcomes.

Ok, my correspondent was fortunate enough to have some cash, and managed to get funds for a small market research study someone, and had a friend who was an accountant to help him pass Phase two.

And Yet  More Red Tape

Phase Three

Now You get to the fun part if you are an economist with statistical analysis skills.

Phase 3 is called an OBC (Overall Business Case). Mostly regurgitated from Phase 1 and Phase 2,  but specifically, the document expects the entrepreneur to provide economic statistics showing “evidence of impacts on the community, area, target market,”

Not for the faint-hearted and any startup that does not have the money to go and pay at lest 1000 Pounds to get through this will definitely fail.

Phase 4..0

IF Phase 3 is approved, without too many back and forth’s, and the startup entrepreneur hasn’t gone insane he gets to the almost last hurdle. The CBC. (The Complete Business Case), which must comply with the  London Green Book “Appraisal and evaluation in central government.  HM Treasury guidance for public sector bodies on how to appraise proposals before committing funds to a policy, program or project.”

I’ve checked this out and it is the final threshing floor used as a standard to finally unsettle the stoutest of hearts.

Economic statistics,  economic value add, rules and regulations that would now scare off a bank of accountants and only if you have a PhD in Economics, (fortunately one of my Doctorate studies) would you have a chance to get through to the legal contract stage. AND, oh Yes, according to ESIF, ERDF training, if the Grant originates in any form from those two sources the auspicious startup would have to keep all the Project data for auditing between 13 and 20 years.

The story from a highly frustrated UK start up Entrepreneur

Due Diligence at all stages

Due diligence and auditing of all your application takes place from Phase 2 onwards.

Legal Contracts

If you pass this and get a legal contract that the grant has been approved, you still have a last nail in the coffin.


You must not spend any of the money you haven’t got until you reach the stage that you have to buy the items needed and then claim back.  You don’t get the Grant in advance.

This is how the British Government is helping startups and SME’s.

Wow! And we wonder why it is failing.

Grant Funding Experts

What I have found is a host of GRANT Funding “expert“s all charging to do what is supposed to be free business support or so I read all over the place on the Government websites, and claiming t find you the perfect grant source. Well most of the persons spoken to say a rather rude Anglo Axon Expression..

The Government advertises over 650 Grants, at last count on the Grants. site.

Medals provided to all who succeed. And, yes there have been many but NOT ENOUGH.

So helping startups in the UK with real grants for small entrepreneurs is a journey through hell.

Unless you have enough money to do what you want you will get nothing but hoards of people sending you emails and promises of grant funding and loans galore.

Try it and all you get to do is to fill our reams of papers for business plans – my grist – economic and marketing forecasts which funders ultimately dispute unless you have an actual order or a Grant organization has actually given you a grant, which in that case you wouldn’t need the loan, and then to be asked can you provide 100% matching personal funds.

Brick wall after brick wall.

Absolutely pathetic. – to such an extent I am not going to be helping anyone else – Pro-Bono or not. I will unfortunately have to leave them to the thousands of grant consultants out there.

I’m going back to South Africa after visiting my brother who has lived in Hull for 15 year. The experiences of listening to UK business both small and medium have left me with a bitter taste in my mouth for what I perceive to be a government disgrace in a very poor and disjointed and very fragmented approach to helping small business startup.

It’s probably why that whilst I was born in Aylesbury I have really been battling to come “home.”

The story from a highly frustrated UK start-up Entrepreneur

Some Statistics 

  • The number of UK business births continued to increase from 383,000 to 414,000 between 2015 and 2016, a birth rate of 14.6% compared with a rate of 14.3% in 2015.
  • The number of UK business deaths also increased from 283,000 to 328,000 between 2015 and 2016, a death rate of 11.6% compared with a rate of 10.5% in 2015.
  • London was the region with the highest birth rate at 17.5% and the highest death rate at 14%.
  • In broad industry terms, business administration and support services had the highest business birth rate at 23.1% and finance and insurance had the highest death rate at 17%.

Source:  UK office For National Statistic Released December 2017.  

I have been coming back to the UK every year for thirty years to see if the time is ripe to return home.  But finally, now I have seen the decline of a once Great Nation to what it is today. In an ever declining downward curve. Wages for 10 years have hardly moved and yet costs, especially food costs, have grown massively.

Median growth rate of gross nominal weekly earnings in different sectors
UK, 2002 to 2016      
Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, Office for National Statistics   

I know I do the shopping when I come to the UK. It has become every expensive to visit here and has gotten worse and worse to visit. In addition to our Rand exchange rates that have fluctuated from R20 to £1; Now  at R17.16 to £1, making it cheaper to buy Pounds, you still get far less “bang for Your Pound.

I wouldn’t like to call the UK a smashed economy as it is still supposedly a Financial Powerhouse. BUT, it is seriously flawed still mired in the 2008 world ebacle, whist Communist China has become a veritable Tiger.  As South African’s know, you cannot sustain anything with a 1 to 2% growth rate.


Brexit, I believe, is the and now Trump rattling the trade Tariff chains, is UK’s last death knell, in my, the Labour Government’s and Conservative Rebel’s opinion.

You have lost World War 3.

South Africa has come up with far more attractive schemes which actually do support small startups. I have worked with IDC (Industrial Development Corporation , wholly owned by the Department of Trade and Industry) for years and have been a Senior IDC Support Expert, appointed by the Minister of Trade and Industry for all that time. Applications are online with a standard business plan template and necessary statutory requirements to satisfy FICA.

I have seen and given real support, not just talk. Yes, the money that is granted and loaned also takes about 6 months, but you get it with standardized applications to a single source and a single contact;  it is almost painless. The IDC help you through every step of the way, and when you get your grant or loan, you also get free access to nearly R 500,000/£30,000 of business support. IDC can also arrange to pay directly to the provider of the service needed as long as you get three quotes and the item is in the approved business plan.

I have successfully applied for R800 million in the last few years mentioned.

Loans under R 5 million/£265,000 are dealt with by SEFA (Small Enterprise Funding Agency – a wholly owned IDC subsidiary).  Again a standard application online with statutory requirements, like IDC and a check to ensure you are not a money laundering operation. I have had the good fortune of getting someone a loan in 5 weeks.


Should you wish to contact me regarding the post, please use the form below.

On a more positive note. I will be back in South Africa ready to do business in May 2018.

If you wish to find out what I charge to do the necessary application for an IDC or SEFA Loan including the standard business plan, then use the form, you may be pleasantly surprised

Remember if your application is approved you get free business support after that.

[contact-form][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Website” type=”url” /][contact-field label=”Message” type=”textarea” /][/contact-form]



5 Steps You Can Use to Find Your Niche Steps You Can Use to Find Your Niche with the thanks to , which is taken as an extract from Entrepreneur.

You want to start a business, but the thing that’s holding you back is the market niche you know you need to choose. And, honestly, this can be tricky: You could list all of your interests and passions and still come away feeling as if you haven’t hit upon the singular thing you were meant to do.

Yet putting that kind of pressure on yourself to choose the exact right niche may cause paralysis.

 Certainly, you want to do your due diligence in selecting a viable niche business, but it’s better to get up and running than to wait around. That way, you can test out ideas, enter the market sooner and learn from your successes and failures. That way, too, if your first business doesn’t take off, you can always take what you’ve learned from previous attempts and move forward with new ideas.

If you’re struggling to decide, or you need more data to work with, use the following five steps to find your niche.

  5 Steps You Can Use to Find Your Niche Identify your interests and passions.

This may be something you’ve already done. But, if you haven’t, make a list of 10 topical interests and passion areas, immediately.

Business isn’t easy, and at some point, it will test you. If you are working in an area that you don’t care about, your odds of quitting will greatly increase — especially as a first-time business owner.

This doesn’t mean that you need to find a perfect fit. If you are passionate about some aspect of running the business, you will stick with it. If you don’t care about the topic, you may not be able to find the drive within to persevere.

Here are a few prompts to help you determine what your interests and passions are:

  • How do you like to spend your free time? What do you look forward to doing when you aren’t doing it?
  • What magazines do you subscribe to? What topics do you like to learn about most?
  • What clubs or organizations do you belong to? Identify problems you can solve.

With your list of 10 topics in hand, you’re ready to start narrowing down your options. To create a profitable business, you first need to find problems your target customers are experiencing, then determine whether you can actually solve them. Here are several things you can do to identify problems in specific niches:

  • Have one-on-one conversations or idea-extraction sessions with your target market. Make sure to find or create a framework for asking questions that helps you uncover pain points.
  • Peruse forums. Search Quora, or find forums related to your niche, then take a look at the discussions that are taking place. What questions are people asking? What problems do they have?
  • Research keywords. Explore different keyword combinations on Google Trends and Google AdWords’ keyword planner. This can help you uncover popular search terms related to pain points.

5 Steps You Can Use to Find Your Niche

Related: 7 Steps to Defining Your Niche Market

3. Research your competition.

The presence of competition isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It may actually be showing you that you’ve found a profitable niche. But you do need to do a thorough analysis of competing sites. Create a new spreadsheet and start logging all of the competing sites you can find.

Then figure out whether there’s still an opportunity to stand out in the crowd. Can you still rank for your keywords? Is there a way to differentiate yourself and create a unique offer? Here are several signs that you can enter a niche and be successful, even if there are already other sites serving it:

  • Low-quality content. It’s easy to outrank your competition in a niche where other business owners are not creating high-quality, detailed content that serves the audience.
  • Lack of transparency. Many online entrepreneurs have disrupted entire industries by creating an authentic and transparent presence in a niche where other sites are faceless and overly corporate.
  • Lack of paid competition. If you’ve found a keyword that has relatively high search volume, but little competition and paid advertising, an opportunity definitely exists for you to upset the market. Determine the profitability of your niche.

You should now have a pretty good idea of what niche you’re going to get into. Maybe you haven’t narrowed your list down to a single topic area, but you’ve likely found a few ideas you feel pretty good about. At this point, it’s important to get an idea of how much money you have the potential to make in your niche. ClickBank is a great place to go to start your search.

So, browse top products in your category. If you can’t find any offers, that’s not a good sign. It might mean that nobody has been able to monetize the niche.

If your search does turn up a decent number of products — but not an overabundance of products — you’re in luck. Make note of price points so that you can price your own products in a competitive manner.

Also keep in mind that you don’t have to start your business with a product offering of your own. You can partner with products creators, advertisers and site owners in your niche to begin generating commissions while you’re working on your unique solution.

5. Test your idea.

You are now armed with all of the information you need to choose a niche, and the only thing left to do is test your idea. One simple way to do this is to set up a landing page for pre-sales of a product you’re developing. You can then drive traffic to this page with paid advertising.

Even if you don’t get pre-sales, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you aren’t in a viable niche. It could be that your messaging isn’t quite right, or you haven’t found the right offer yet. By leveraging A/B split testing, you can optimize conversions and find out whether or not there is anything stopping your target market from taking action.

5 Steps You Can Use to Find Your Niche

5 Steps You Can Use to Find Your Niche

Final thoughts

Once you’ve confirmed the viability of a niche, start developing a full-fledged website. You’ll want to learn how to create a blog, and generate more traffic to your site to boost your revenue and scale up.

But, do keep in mind that there isn’t necessarily a perfect process for finding a niche. You’ll want to do your homework, but if you get stuck in the planning phase, you’ll never actually get around to starting. As an entrepreneur, you need to become a good starter.

Related: 5 Steps to Determine Your Ideal Niche Business Even in an Unfamiliar Market

If you believe you’ve found a business idea you can invest yourself into, take the plunge. The learning and growth that comes from doing will be far greater than the rewards of just planning.

Send me an enquiry and let us see how we can provide you with a consultancy service at very low rates.

Best wishes Steps You Can Use to Find Your NicheDr Michael John Freestone.



[contact-form][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Website” type=”url” /][contact-field label=”Message” type=”textarea” /][/contact-form]



8 signs of an Imploding Business.

8 signs of an Imploding Business.

Welcome to our 8 signs of an Imploding Business page signs of an Imploding Business.




Check out these 8 signs of an Imploding Business..

If you’re still uncertain that Your business is in serious trouble, then pay attention to the following 8 signs of an Imploding Business.

1. Low sales.

The first, and most obvious of the 8 signs of an Imploding Business is low sales. This could either be lower than expected projections or a decrease in sales than the previous quarter. Your business can’t succeed without a steady income to pay all of your expenses.

When you notice that there’s a sudden decrease in sales, you need to diagnose the problem. Begin by surveying your employees and customers, conducting a competitive analysis and examining the outside environment, like societal changes or natural disasters. 

This should give you a better understanding of why there’s a decline in sales and if there will be a turnaround. If it doesn’t seem likely the industry or your business can turn things around, then it’s rather clear that your business is in trouble.

2. You can’t remember the last time you spoke to a client.

The second of the 8 signs of an Imploding Business is that Customer service reps aren’t the only ones talking to your customers. Even as a founder and CEO, it’s your responsibility to talk to your potential or existing customers to understand their needs and how to improve your business. It’s a trick that everyone from Sam Walton to Slack’s Stewart Butterfield have relied on.

It’s another troubling sign for your business if you can’t remember the last time that you spoke to a customer. Either you’re not actively engaging them or they just don’t have an interest in your products or services anymore.

3. No one is talking about your business.

The third of the 8 signs of an Imploding Business almost goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. Something is wrong if no one is mentioning you on social media, leaving reviews or getting in touch with customer service reps. It’s either because you’re not interacting with your audience or they simply don’t care about your business.

Make an effort to reach out to your customers by asking them to leave reviews and boosting your engagement on social media. If there’s still silence, then that might not be enough to save your business. I personally blog about whatever it is that is trending, a lot, to attract people to my company. It helps!

8 signs of an Imploding Business.

4. You regularly question your motives.

The 4th of the 8 signs of an Imploding Businessis that we all have moments where we ask questions like “Why am I doing this?” or blurting out statements like “I can’t take this anymore.” That’s normal during the entrepreneurial journey. However, if that mentality is becoming more and more frequent than it’s time to move on from your business.


5. There’s nothing unique about your business.

The 5th sign of the of the 8 signs of an Imploding Business is that your business needs to stand-out from your competitors. Take a moment and jot down all of the characteristics of your business, products and services, then compare it with the others within your industry. If you’re different from your top competitors, then you have a competitive edge you can use to your advantage.

If not, you can be certain that your business won’t stand the test of time. Either find something that makes you unique or, find an industry where you can differentiate yourself.

6. Complacency.

The 6th sign of the of the 8 signs of an Imploding Business is that Blockbuster is the poster child for business failures in recent history. The main reason that the company went kaput was it failed to acknowledge that its customers wanted something different. Instead of driving to their local Blockbuster and paying hefty late fees, people enjoyed having Netflix deliver or stream movies. Reportedly, Netflix executives offered a partnership with Blockbuster around 2000 but were laughed out of the office by Blockbuster execs.

In short, complacency was Blockbuster’s demise.

If you’re sitting there wondering why your business is in danger, ask yourself when was the last time that your business introduced something new into the market?

8 signs of an Imploding Business.

7. Employee turnover and hiring turnovers.

The 7th sign of the of the 8 signs of an Imploding Business is that sometimes your employees realize that there’s a problem before you do. Whether it’s as obvious as not getting paid, or subtler like no longer believing in your business or frustration with management, you need to get to the root cause of high employee turnover.

It costs more money to hire and train new employees than to retain the employees that you currently have. Things can get real tricky when you don’t have the budget to replace those employees. That means that you’re expecting your already frustrated and overworked staff to do more work for you. How much longer do you think they’ll put up with that? It’s a vicious cycle that can ultimately bury your business. 

8. There are serious cash flow struggles.

The final in this article of the 8 signs of an Imploding Business is that cash flow negative. It’s generally accepted that if you want your business to survive it has to have a positive cash flow, which means that you’re bringing in enough money to manage all of your expenses.

If you’re having cash flow problems due to debts, poor bookkeeping, growing too quickly, and not accurately forecasting your future earning and spending, then there’s one of the most obvious warning signs that your company is going under. If not correctly dealt with, don’t expect to keep your business open very much longer.

8 signs of an Imploding Business. signs of an Imploding Business.Don’t let your business sink beneath the waves…..



So if this is where you are heading you will need a complete makeover.

Start by getting a Business Development Review (BDR) – online. Saving thousands of Rands by not using a Consultant as the first point.

Once you have purchased the BDR you get access to 13 more for free.

Once completed, the responses are insightful, providing you are brutally honest and answer each question no matter how simple you feel it is or you know you are doing what is asked, already. Then give yourself a high score.

Remember Your business isn’t in the mess it is because you are doing everything right. On the contrary unless you follow simple business rules you will fail. No matter how smart you are or how smart Your employees are.

So act now! Click on the graphic and go to our purchase page and get your first download link.. Spend $100/R1225 and save thousands. Get control of Your business. You get a detailed report from the system with the responses. But wait there’s more!. I also send you a more detailed report for each report with suggestions and links to free tutorial sites. This is worth  thousands of $/Rands.


If you would rather have a discusion we can only offer the first 30 minute free and after that we charge R1500 per hour. sign in and pay and get your business back under your control

Our next appointment dates are between 30th April and 3rd May 2018. (1st is out) We meet at the Protea Hotel off the R562 in Midrand. Oh by the way You pay for Coffee. signs of an Imploding Business.

So send us your appointment request choosing prefered dates and time between 10: and 15:00 First come first served.


Should you have any queries use the form below.


Dr Michael J Freestone. B.Comm. FCIS. FCIBM. MBA DBA.

Contact us Now.

[contact-form][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Website” type=”url” /][contact-field label=”Message” type=”textarea” /][/contact-form]