Tuesday, December 4, 2007

What I learned from Ben

In my short meeting with him, he shared not only ideas of doing eBay business and soft skills but also other business ideas. I think I managed to caught a glimpse of the entrepreneur mind in him.

What exactly did I see?
I see that he is constantly thinking of things and ways to expand or broaden his business and not just optimising as I mentioned in this "What I learned from Ben Dr eBay" post. One simple example is jhong ren who started a wedding blog and even launched an ebook on wedding planning.

So what can he go on from here? Fine tune his blog and business further?
Ben just give him this simple advice.

1. After getting married, what will you do.... buy a house, start a blog on getting a house and decor.

2. After moving in together, a couple may like to have children, start a blog on having and raising children.

3. Married couples may divorced for various reasons, so start a blog on getting a divorce.

I have something to add here... after getting married, it can be tough to be living together and the clashed of character or personality is even greater when you see each other day in day out. And there are also numerous things that can turn a married life sour or the passion for each cold. So start a blog on Staying Happily Married....

This is actually a kind of thinking forward way of expanding from your original business or blog. Some might call this diversifying or adding value to your original business. I would just call this business mapping.

So what is business mapping?
It works quite similar to a mind map. With your core or original business in the middle. You make roads outward from the core to create a subset or branch from the core. This subset or branch have direct links to the core and therefore further adds value to core or original business.

Take for example the MacDonald restaurant owner in Singapore decided that he wanted to expand his business.

1. First thing he did, is to have delivery service. This adds value to the original business and gives their customers extra service and it add value for the customer too.

2. Next, he started McCafe which a number them sprouted at the existing or new MacDonald restaurants. This broaden the business and it actually builds upon from the original business and giving their customers extra choices. If you notice, he did not just add cappuccino and lattes to the menu in the original restaurant but grew an entire new cafe which gives its customer a totally different experience from the original. But remember, this is build upon from the original. So, this new cafe builds upon from the original giving it a head start to compete with other coffee cafes like Starbucks and CoffeeBeans. And at the same time giving a new experience to their customers and there are several resources that can be shared thus saving costs for the owner.

Another way to look at it is, giving the customers a one stop place where he can get everything he need or want from a single place. A good example is from my motorcycle mechanic. He started a business in motorcycle repair and maintenance. He realised that his customers have several other needs pertaining to motorcycle.

1. Customer wanted to buy or sell a motorcycle. He started a trading business in motorcycle.

2. Customer needed financing to buy a motorcycle. He started to a financial business giving loan.

3. Customer needed to buy insurance and road tax. He liaises with insurance companies to buy insurance for his customers and did "runner" for his customer to help them buy road tax.

4. Motorcycle breaks down on the road. He liaised with transport company to bring the bike in.

5. Customer need to wear helmets. He started selling helmets.

In conclusion, by doing a business mapping, one will be able to see or find what are the areas that your business can grow out to or start one that build upon from the core.