Cover image of Sun Tzu 4 Small Business |  Strategy and Tactics, Technology and Leadership, Management and Marketing for Small Business Owners

Sun Tzu 4 Small Business | Strategy and Tactics, Technology and Leadership, Management and Marketing for Small Business Owners

Join James Eling as he discusses the strategy and tactics of Small Business and the strategy and tactics of histories great generals.Growing a small business is tough. We look at leadership, innovation, technology and how to wrap it all up to build a fast growing company.James runs 3 companies, generates over 5,000,000 page views a year and has customers in 5 countries. Learn how you can marry the latest technology with the ageless principles of Sun Tzu for your business today.

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23 - Small Business Leadership

This podcast looks at Small Business Leadership. Your team will perform better with better Leadership, but for many small business owners, they never get any formal training in Leadership.  What is it and how do you do it? Check out our show notes for more details on this podcast.


9 Dec 2019

Rank #1

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8 - Building a great business with the Business Model Canvas

In Tech Focus, we talk about Zoom.  Zoom is the tool that we use for our Teams to communicate.  We have found it to be more reliable than Skype and a better tool to communicate with less of the hassles. We introduce you to the Business Model Canvas.  This is a really neat tool to help you visualise the way that your business can grow and interact with the other parts of the business ecosystem.  Overlay this with the new technology that you have coming out in your industry and you can have a really powerful way to change the way that you do business and maybe even create some disruption. Before you start with this - the challenge is to open your minds and get rid of all of the sacred cows that you have in the way that you think about your business. As far as the BMC goes, we look at Customers.  Who are your customers and we look at a case study where a big company completely missed the understanding of who their customers where. What sort of Channels do you have for your business?   What are your customer relationships like?  How do you cut costs?  How do you increase value? What are the revenue streams that you have?  How are they structured and are you maximising the revenue that you can make. A great quote from General George S Patton Jr - "A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week."  We talk about how important it is for us in executing on our business plan.


15 Dec 2016

Rank #2

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10 - How to market a boring Small Business

We look at modern marketing and some of the tactics that we have used to be able to grow our business. In Tech Focus, we look at my new Acer Great Wall of Data.  I've put 4 x 27" Acer monitors, with a special monitor stand.  This has enabled me to create content a lot quicker because I can not only have multiple windows open, but I can see the windows I need with the information that I need.  It is also great for customer meetings, being able to have all the data that we are talking about at the one time. When we started this podcast we had 15 staff and we have now just hit 25 people.  How have we been able to scale this business?  One part of that is finding the new customers to allow us to scale up.  There are a lot of tools available these days, but a lot of Small Business Owners are running 'boring' businesses.  I view Extreme as one of those.  A boring IT business which people don't want to see in their Facebook feed, so what kind of marketing is it that we have done. Yellow Pages is dead now, (well practically dead.)  We used to spend $19,000 a year on Yellow Pages advertising, but it slowly started to become less effective.  Business owners have had to work a lot harder to work out how you can market and scale your business.  Too many now rely on Word of Mouth marketing, but this doesn't scale and it can't be controlled by you, you can't double the number of word of mouth leads a month. We talk about the interesting ways that you can tell the story of what you do and how you tell that story. We created a video using Prism images.  The video was then posted on Facebook and we ran an add to it.  This went really well. We also use time lapse images.  Time Lapse can make a lot of boring stuff look really interesting.  We've done this with training seminars, our new sign being put up and even just the sign rising! We like to tell the story of our customers.  Too many businesses have a lot of great customers, but don't tell prospective customers about those customers.  When you talk about your customers Your suppliers.  Too many people look down the value chain at their customers and ignore their suppliers.  We got a new sign and tagged the guys at Signarama Frankston in on that.  We created a time lapse video with a Go Pro.  This was then shared by the the sign company and increased greater traction with the marketing. The next thing to do is to create conversions with your customers about topics that they want to have.  We talk to prospective customers about our online marketing skills.  (We don't do a lot of marketing for our customers, most of our marketing team specialises in marketing for us, but we share the insights we have, mistakes we've made and wins that we've had and that creates that first conversion with our customers.  It is a lot easier than trying to talk about disaster recovery or server upgrades. W Edwards Demings quote - "In God we trust, everyone else bring data."  


12 Nov 2017

Rank #3

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22 - Microsoft Teams vs Skype vs Slack vs Zoom - Which is right for your Small Business

Comms is one of the big tech disruptors in Small Business - have a listen to our latest podcast and get some ideas about how you can drive growth in your business with better communications. Check out our show notes for more details on this podcast.


29 Sep 2019

Rank #4

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4 - The Hiring Process - Creating a system that works rather than rolling the dice hiring in your company

The two top tools that I use to cut the time I spend on Facebook marketing are Facebook Pages Manager and Ads Manager.  We look at what they are and how you can use these powerful tools to conduct great marketing on your phone. Hiring can be a huge gamble so in this Podcast we discuss some of the mistakes that we have made, and how we have evolved our processes to increase the chances of hiring the right person for your company. There are two mistakes you can make when hiring - Hiring the wrong person and not hiring the right person.  How can you minimise these mistakes. We talk about the importance of Reference checking.  This scary story about how reference checking saved us from making a terrible mistake. Reference check!!! Hire slowly, Fire quickly.  We discuss this great quote and how we have evolved to practice this philosophy.  


29 Oct 2016

Rank #5

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6 - DISC profiling with Ray Strongman

We look at building a KPI dashboard and displaying them with the 4K Kogan TVs. In this episode, we interview Ray Strongman, who is a business coach and is an expert on DISC profiling.  Ray has been doing DISC training for years and does the DISC training for our customers. We use DISC profiling to help with communication and performance within team and also use it to help with the way that we communicate with our customers. We discuss what it is and how you can use it too in your team.  Even if you don't have employees, this will help with your customers and suppliers. We talk about how we have implemented DISC profiling in our hiring processes. We also discuss the relationship between Wonder Woman and DISC profiling - who knew! We also look at one of Winston Churchilll's most important quotes and how it relates to your business.


13 Nov 2016

Rank #6

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5 - The $250,000 mistake that I made with Culture and how you can avoid it in your Small Business.

We talk about Culture and I go through the huge mistake that I made at Extreme Networks by not focusing on growing a great culture at the company.  Our company was going along brilliantly, was featured in the BRW Fast 100.  After that, I defocused and my laissez faire leadership style meant that stronger personalities in the team were able to mould the culture of our company.  Customer feedback was really bad and I got to the point where I didn't want to go to work.  Poor culture makes it harder to bring in great team members, harder to retain them, harder to retain great staff, so getting the culture right is critical to growing your small business. In Tech Focus we talk about Wordpress.  For 99% of small businesses, Wordpress is perfect for their website.  We look at why you should be using Wordpress for your website and more importantly, why YOU as a business owner should be able to use your Wordpress website. We talk about how Wordpress compares with Wix and why Wix may not be great for your business. We talk about King Leonidas and his great quote from Thermopylae and why he said, "Then we will fight in the shade".  Tina and I often say this when we have a bad day at the office.  


2 Nov 2016

Rank #7

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3 - Goal setting for Small Business Owners

Tech Focus - Prisma - This is an amazing app that allows you to create some great images from your photos.  Check out the video we've made using Camtasia and Prisma to build a very effective social media video. https://www.facebook.com/veryextremenetworks/ What are the goals in your business?  Do you have them written down?  Should you? We look at how goal setting can make a big difference in your company. We break down how we use goals within our company and how they have helped us to increase revenue. How does a 5 year goal articulate with your annual, quarterly and weekly goals and how does that drive your business. We look at SMART Goals Specific Measurable Assignable Realistic Time Based I discuss the work of Ivy Lee and the work that he did at Bethlehem Steel for Charles M Scwab.  Schwab paid him the equivalent of $400,000.  What was that advice and how did it change his company. We look at Dwight D Eisenhowers quote "Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable."


26 Oct 2016

Rank #8

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9 - The Secrets of Successful Business Planning

In Tech Focus we look at Trello.  This is a great piece of freemium software, that helps you to keep track of your goals. For annual business planning we look at the process that we use. We look at the plan that we had for the last year and how we did with those. We look at the problems within each company within the group and we also look at the 5 year plan and where are we with that?  (How long does it take to execute a 5 year plan?) We look at the process for setting KPIs and goals within the company. We look at how to integrate those with your personal goals.  The personal goals are really important in the business plan, because as the business owner, you will normally be working harder with more stress - if you don't align your business and personal goals, you will burn out a lot quicker. We look at your 90 day goals, how they work with your plans and how to come up with them. Alignment with your team and your culture - these make the plans a lot easier to execute on. Our quote from Verne Harnish, the author of the Rockefeller Habits: "The main thing is to keep the main thing, the Main Thing.


6 Jan 2017

Rank #9

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7- Building a great team with Nick Sarillo

Nick Sarillo is an expert in building a great culture.  He run's Nick's Pizza and Pub in Chicago.  It is America's third largest independent pizza Restaurant. Nick was a building by trade (he built the restaurant!) and he has taken the skills from his building business in managing a team across to his Pizza business.  Nick is an expert in building culture.  I was lucky enough to eat at Nick's and it is a great experience.  His staff have a very low turnover, love working at the Restaurant, truly believe in the values of the business. Nick practices open book accounting.  Unlike a lot of businesses that talk about it, Nick really does do it.  I've seen it!  I have seen the P+L up on the wall for all to see. Have a listen to this podcast and have a think about your approach to hiring and managing a team.   In Tech Focus, we look at Canva, a great tool to help you put text and create Social Media content quickly and easily. We finish off with a quote from Sun Tzu.


29 Nov 2016

Rank #10