Trymoss Engineering

There are challenges in the South Australian Manufacturing Sector but the Polaris Business and Innovation Centre team is hearten by the focus on new markets displayed by many northern businesses.

Local businesses Trymoss Engineering & H.P.H.T Drilling Tools are expanding their innovative designs into the oil and gas sectors with the development of their High Pressure and High Temperature Drilling Tools. The Axial Vibe and Fluid Tremor Tools have been developed specifically to open up new global opportunities for Trymoss Engineering which is the sole manufacturer for H.P.H.T Drilling Tools here in Salisbury North.

Jason Moss says “With a collaboration of ideas, a great team and extensive R&D and lab testing our technology have now led to the first field trials with Beach Petroleum and Origin Energy”. There is a huge global market for drilling tools and H.P.H.T Drilling Tools will be launched into the global market soon.

The Polaris Centre is supporting Trymoss Engineering by linking it with R&D funding, Export Grants and market diversification programs. The challenge for manufacturers is to unravel and understand how the various support programs compliment the strategies businesses have in developing new market opportunities.

Trymoss Engineering is a great example of manufacturers seeking out new market opportunities for innovative products.

For more product information visit.

www.trymossengineering.com.au

www.HPHTDrillingTools.com.au

Mastering your business

Are you MASTER of your business or is your business MASTER of you?

Michael Gerber in his book The E Myth encourages business owners ‘to work on their business – not in it’.

If you do not take time out regularly to stand back and look at your business from an outside perspective, you put at risk more than your business and its future.

My grandfather, who earned a living as a wood cutter in his youth, told me of one of his competitors who went broke, because he didn’t stop to sharpen his axe! When ‘you don’t stop to sharpen your axe’, you also put at risk your work/life balance. Your family and other relationships can suffer. Your own sense of wellbeing and purpose, even your health can be affected.

In the process of my work here at Polaris, I regularly see these symptoms in business owners- I call it The Treacle Syndrome. The business owner appears stuck, unable to move, apart from performing the same old routine, they are unable see a way out and just vainly hope for some sort of miracle. They gradually sink deeper into the treacle (often without being conscious of it) until it is too late.

If this sounds familiar, the Polaris Centre can help you by:

  • Helping you get out of your treacle.
  • Working with you as you start to work on your business and/or sharpen your axe.
  • Providing tools and strategies for you to become the MASTER OF YOUR BUSINESS.

Our Business Fundamentals workshop is a 3 hour workshop designed to get you to rethink and re-evaluate your purpose and direction.

Our Mentoring for Success program enables you to engage a personal mentor to help you to work on your business and to sharpen your axe over a six month period. This also involves an additional four hours of mentoring around internet marketing and the tools needed for modern marketing techniques.

Our Mastering Your Business series of workshops has the potential to set you on a course of growth, profit and business confidence.

To be the MASTER OF YOU BUSINESS, must surely be one of your goals in life,-otherwise why be in business, why carry the responsibilities and pressures associated with running your own business?

To master your own business, means self-realization, a sense of achievement and satisfaction that comes from doing it well.

Business owners often contact us when it is too late. The treacle has absorbed them. Act now! – contact the Polaris Centre on 8260 8205

“Starvation to Success” the Matthew Michalewicz event wrap up

A great crowd of over 150 people were present at the Innovation House Conference Centre on Wednesday night (May 21) to hear Matthew Michalewicz talk about success. The entertaining presentation was extremely well received by the large crowd with the core messages of “clarity of goals”, focus and the need for a “customer-centric business” really striking a note with all present.

Former Innovation House based entrepreneur Vinh Giang from Encyclopedia of Magic got a mention during Matthew’s presentation with a his video used to express a point about how knowledge can change your perception and lead you to knew possibilities.

Attendees all received a copy of Matthew’s book “Life in Half a Second” generously provided by Matthew. There may even be a few copies left……

Some of the social media traffic from the event night can be found below, please tag yourself in the photos on Facebook and share with your friends. Big thanks also to Andrew Barre for the fantastic photos.

The Election Outcome for Small Business

The South Australian election has been run and won with Labor being returned to office for a record fourth consecutive term.

The pre-election announcements for small business included:

  • Expansion and acceleration of manufacturing programs;
  • Reduction of WorkCover premiums and payroll tax relief;
  • Support for entrepreneurship support initiatives such as the Majoran Distillery and the Polaris Centre;
  • Development of a micro-finance fund;
  • Provision of funding to the Defence Teaming Centre to identify opportunities for small and medium businesses to gain a greater share of defence work; and
  • Strengthening local industry participation provisions for government contracts.

We were pleased that the government has allocated $400,000 to the Polaris Centre over four years to expand the range of services we provide to business owners in northern Adelaide.

Given the pressures on manufacturing we were also pleased to see funds being allocated to the Defence Teaming Centre, support for a node of a manufacturing CRC in the Stretton Centre and a commitment to the expansion of manufacturing programs.

Tips to be an award winning business

Winning an award can provide your business with valuable publicity, be an important marketing tool and increase sales.

Even the process of entering an award can provide useful insights into your business and objective feedback on your products and services.  Some owners enter the same award on an annual basis because they use it as a structured approach to review their business performance.

At the moment entries are open for the Telstra Australian Business Awards and the South Australian Tourism Awards.  Entries open soon for the SA Training Awards.

Many other awards are run throughout the year including the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, Family Business Australia Awards, Cool Company Awards and the SA Food Awards to name but a few.

I have been fortunate to be on judging panels for various business awards.  Without doubt it is a privilege to read about, and meet people with a genuine passion for their business.

Being shortlisted for an award is usually wholly dependent on the quality of your written submission.  Sometimes you might be competing against a dozen entrants…and sometimes well over a hundred.  It is important to stand out from the crowd.

Based on my experience, the five tips I would give to entering an award are:

  1. Answer the questions.  Sounds obvious, but too often entrants let themselves down by either ignoring or not providing sufficient information for the person judging to form an opinion.
  2. Let your story shine through.  Be open about your failures as well as your successes and show how you have learned from the challenges you have faced.  Demonstrate how you are measuring improvement.
  3. Keep within the word limit.  When faced with a pile of entries, there is nothing more energy sapping for a judge than to come across an entry that goes on and on without really making a point.  Use formatting to highlight your key points.
  4. Where possible, use testimonials, case studies and hard facts to support your claims.  Use real examples.  Don’t make things up.
  5. If the award that you are entering involves a judging visit to your site, ensure that the way your business premises are presented, your standards of service and the way in which your staff are working accurately reflect what you have written in your entry.  It is extremely easy for an experienced judge to spot the discrepancies.

With that in mind, you’ll need to get moving if you are interested in entering the Water Industry Alliance’s Smart Water Awards or the Australian Business Awards – entries for both close this Friday.

3 signs that you don’t have as much control over your WordPress website as you thought you would.

You want control of your WordPress website. You paid a lot of money for it and when you ask for things to be done you want them done quickly. The trouble is, your web developer is very busy and sometimes it takes a while for the work to get done. Sometimes it doesn’t get done at all. It’s frustrating the hell out of you because you hear all your business colleagues telling you how easy WordPress is to work with. Why can they make the changes and you can’t? While we are at it, why is everyone talking about blogging but your blog is nowhere to be found? Here are 3 signs that you don’t have as much control over your WordPress website as you thought you would:

  1. You don’t see the “Plugins” or “Appearance” button on your side menu bar when logged in to WordPress.
    Wordpress was designed to be user friendly and flexible. You can change themes, add plugins and direct content wherever you want to. The reason is Roles and Capabilities. “WordPress uses a concept of Roles, designed to give the site owner the ability to control what users can and cannot do within the site.”
    Undoubtedly there are risks with adding plugins willy-nilly or changing themes at the drop of a hat, but if you want to be able to change the look and feel of your own site and add functionality then you need to have full administration access to your site.
    If you can’t see the “Appearance” or “Plugins” button then your access level is probably not set to Administrator. Ask your web developer to change your role to Administrator because you want the capabilities of an administrator.Wordpress appearance - plugins
  2. You have Administrator access but you still can’t install or switch themes or install new plugins.
    The Capabilities of any role can actually be changed. This means that a web designer setting up a site for you could add you as an administrator but manually change the database or use a plugin to set your user’s Capabilities to disable certain functionality. The potential issue here is that Plugins and Themes can provide potential backdoor access to hackers. If your Plugins aren’t being updated on a regular basis then your site at a higher risk of being hacked. If you want to gain this control back, again you will have to talk to the web developer and ask for those capabilities.
  3. You can’t find your WordPress blog.
    Perhaps you didn’t know this, but WordPress was first and foremost a self-publishing tool. We’re talking about blogging. Getting your head around Posts versus Pages is one of the first steps to realising that your WordPress is more than just a website.  Google loves blogs and getting indexed quickly is one of the reasons for the rise of content marketing and the renaissance of blogging in general.
    If you don’t know where your blog is located you are potentially missing out on one of the best reasons for using WordPress in the first place. To find your blog, go into Settings, Reading and see what “Page” your “Posts” are being sent to and see how many Posts you have set to display.
    Once your Blog is found and you are starting to get some content up, go and learn about Taxonomies. (maybe I’ll talk about Taxonomies next time)
    reading settings screen capture

reading settings screen capture

Your web developer will have his or her own reasons for controlling this access. This is commonly to do with past clients making changes that were fatal to the website, but maybe you never told them that you wanted a blog, maybe you indicated you were worried about breaking the website. Sometimes circumstances change. I’m not saying the reasons are good or bad and I am not taking sides of either web developer or business owner.

In the interests of good communication, and a good and lasting relationship between web developer and business owner, the levels of control and access should be clearly addressed by both parties before commissioning the site build. Flexibility and understanding should be exercised afterwards.

As the website and business owner, you should have knowledge and control over this crucial aspect of your business. If you are uncomfortable with having access and control over your WordPress website, nurture the relationship with your web developer and keep the lines of communication open.

If you want to get a review of your website, don’t forget about our Digital Enterprise Program Mentoring. To learn more about WordPress, make sure you book into one of our free upcoming WordPress workshops.

Is the black dog biting your business?

It’s the same old story. We see it time and again. “Bob’s” business is struggling. Clients are leaving.  His client, “Fran”, likes him but things have now gone too far. Fran is moving her business to another provider.  They are not the first to get frustrated with him.  Things have been tough for Bob for a while now, the government is taxing him, and his family life is getting the better of him. Bob has been bitten by the black dog and now it’s biting his business.

My colleagues and I at the Polaris Centre have seen the effects caused by depression in several of the businesses that we have worked with over the last few years, both from the sufferer of depression and the business owners that have gone and moved their business away from the sufferer. No one is ever happy about the situation.

When I owned my own business the pressure of bills, life and responsibilities got too much. The jobs were rolling in but cash flow was tight. I was depressed. I got a job and my main pressure was alleviated. Feeding the family was suddenly a lot easier. But bridges were undoubtedly burnt and trust was absolutely lost. For a while I felt like a “failed business owner”. Four years down the track I am happier than ever in my job role and life in general.

Being a small business owner is often a lot less glamorous than it appeared when the idea started to become reality. The expectations you place upon yourself are high, sometimes higher even than those of your clients. Everybody keeps telling you that you have to: “learn new software, create online marketing campaigns, do your own books, manage your own databases, update your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest……..” arrrrgggggggh.

On top of those jobs you never knew you would have to do there’s the reality that you need money to feed your family, pay your employees, put fuel in your car …..  the list is endless.

There is no doubt that owning and running your own business is hard work. The problems really start to mount and seem insurmountable when the pressure becomes depression. Fortunately it is never too late to get help and there is plenty of help out there:

  • Beyondblue particularly through tools like their Business in Mind program.
  • Mental health national help lines
    • beyondblue support line – 1300 22 4636
    • SANE Australia Helpline – 1800 187 263
    • Mensline Australia – 1300 789 978
    • Relationships Australia – 1300 364 277
    • Carers Australia – 1800 242 636
    • Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800
    • Your business mentor
    • Colleagues and friends

If you are a client of a business owner suffering with depression, here are some tips to get you through the rough patch:

  • Be understanding perhaps even empathetic; if you have been through it you know it’s hard
  • Business is business but people are people; separate the business decision of moving away from the relationship with the person
  • Bridges can be burnt but they can also be rebuilt
  • Take the opportunity to learn and grow from the experience

If the black dog has bitten your business, share your experience in the comments below.

Photo Credit  Alex E. Proimos on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/proimos/5907150131/sizes/l/

True Heroes

When we stop and think about it, businesses, big or small, successful or otherwise, started with an idea and a dream.

The men and women of this country, who have these ideas and dreams and make them a reality, need to be recognised and valued. In my opinion they are the true heroes.

They venture into the unknown. They risk not only money but maybe secure employment. They risk their time and even relationships, due to the work and effort required to start a new business.

If successful, they create a product or service… that was not there before. They create employment… that was not there before. They create taxes… that were not there before. They create prosperity and above all they create opportunity, human opportunity for others…. that was not there before.

These heroes should not only be honoured, but also nurtured.

I work at the Polaris Business Centre an initiative of the City of Salisbury and we not only honour these heroes, but provide programs to nurture them and their new business venture.

Business Fundamentals

A 3 hour workshop that is interactive, fun and challenging. Presented by former business owners who themselves started businesses from scratch. They point out the ‘pitfalls’ and point you in the right direction. This workshop is heavily subsidised by The City of Salisbury and includes a 1.5 hour private mentor session for participants.

Mentoring for Success

A 6 month subsidised mentoring program. You get to choose your mentor from a panel of 7 – carefully chosen for their skills and experience. Each mentor is either a current or former business owner who will ‘walk’ with you in the early stages of your business.

Digital Enterprise Program

Today if you do not have a website and actively use IT technology to market your product or service, then quite frankly, you do not exist!

Polaris has workshops and mentoring to support start up business’s to develop this vital function of a new business.

Polaris has a network with over 2,000 businesses and we see our work with small business as an essential role in improving and maintaining our local economy.

Visit us on our website www.polariscentre.com.au
Or call us on 8260 8205

Rob Chisholm OAM
Business Development  Officer
Polaris Business and innovation Centre

Social Media Strategy for Business Workshop Slides

Thanks so much to Allison Miller from Vanguard Visions for filling in to deliver the Social Media Strategy for Business workshop yesterday. The workshop was very well received with some great feedback on Facebook from some of the participants.

Here are links to some of the participants Facebook pages who shared them last night. Please share the love by going to their pages and liking them.

If you have participated in the Digital Enterprise Program or you are a local business that needs a facebook lg up, please add your business Facebook page in the comments below.

Allison published the Social Media Strategy for Business workshop slides on Slideshare so if you missed the session or would like to review the slides see below or go to http://www.slideshare.net/vanguardvisions/social-media-strategies-for-business-v210114

Thriving manufacturers give insight on their success

Osmoflo- plantOn the same day that GM Holden announced that it would cease manufacturing cars in Australia after 2017, over 70 people came together to hear from Salisbury-based manufacturers who are succeeding in a challenging environment.  The event was organised by Northern Economic Leaders (NEL), that consists of more than 20 Salisbury-based chief executive officers and managing directors collectively employing more than 7,000 people. NEL is supported by the City of Salisbury as a key group advocating for, and supporting, economic growth.

The firms, Osmoflo, Lifestyle Bakery, Saab Systems  highlighted the importance of a strong marketing strategy, investment in innovation, strong customer support and research in building a competitive business.  The University of South Australia outlined the expertise it can provide to local businesses.

Co-chair of Northern Economic Leaders, Kelvin Trimper, said “while there is much public focus on the future of Holden and its suppliers, there are manufacturers in Salisbury who are changing the way they do business and are thriving”.

Michael Horrocks, Director, Lifestyle Bakery, said “being a smaller manufacturer which has seen over 30% year-on-year growth for the past 15 years has had its challenges. Not being a big multi-national with a large marketing budget has required us to take a prudent and creative approach to create the most value from our marketing activities.” Michael provided a candid insight on his marketing approaches on how he has cleverly expanded his niche gluten free bakery products through product diversification and penetration into a variety of segments and distribution channels. This has provided flexible income sources with the benefit of not relying too heavily on one customer.

Carmine Ciccocioppo, Chief Operating Officer of Burton based Osmoflo, (a designer, builder and operator of desalination and water treatment plants) shared how their success has helped them grow from 4 employees to over 180 in 16 years. They are now the largest Australian owned desalination and water recycling company.

Dean Rosenfield, Managing Director of SAAB Systems Australia, talked about how the company had strategically looked ta how they could expand their defence capabilities into civilian projects such as remote air traffic control towers and prison and casino security systems.

City of Salisbury Economic Development Manager, Greg Ratsch, said “there are many exceptional businesses doing great things in northern Adelaide.   Events like this provide an opportunity to celebrate their success and learn from their journey.”