Consider offering a commission package where your employees get a cut of the jobs they book.Q: MY BIGGEST challenge is staffing. I can’t afford to have someone on board full-time but need someone who can stay with the business about 30 hours a week. This condition doesn’t attract many removalists, so I have to get involved in a lot of jobs myself. Hence I lose some of our future business as I am too busy in the labour side of the job. Have you any advice on where a small business is trying to grow their business but has not enough jobs to cover necessary costs?
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A: THIRTY hours a week is close to full time, and it will likely take up enough of a person’s week to impede them from getting a second job. I’d suggest that if you are offering work that is flexible, you might want to consider getting some university students or recent graduates to help out. They are often happy to get some experience in the working world and can do jobs in between classes. But getting a student to commit to 30 hours a week during exam time and school holidays could prove difficult.

If you’re keen on getting people with experience on board, I’d consider offering a commission package where your employees get a cut of the jobs they book. That way you’ll start bringing in more business that will enable you to grow and give you the ability to offer full-time work to the most qualified candidates.

Q: WHAT are the best ways to defend the first-mover advantage that I might have when I launch a new e-product online? The idea behind the product is very simple, and while its application and market will potentially be extremely broad (and hopefully quite profitable), the barrier to entry for any potential competitors is extremely low. People will be able to copy the idea and create their own products very easily, meaning we will have first-mover advantage for a very short period. While I accept that reality, I’d like to make the most of the opportunity while it’s there. Are there any generic defence strategies you can recommend without knowing the details of the product?

A: IT’S tough to give you concrete advice without knowing what the product is, but here are some ideas. First I’d look into obtaining a patent. There are patent lawyers who specialise in this and they can tell you what elements of your product you might be able to get a patent on, which could help protect you from copycat competitors.

If that is not possible, you might look into copyrighting part of the product or the business process to give you some level of defence.

If neither of these is possible and if your e-product will open up a unique new category, you might want to try creating a unique name for your product with the goal of effectively inventing the name of the category in and of itself.

As an example, how many times have you left someone a “Post-It” or have had to “Hoover” the lounge room. These brand names have become common phrases to refer to a product category. If you have something unique, creating a bespoke product name is a good way to make it stick with consumers.

I’m not sure if you have current competitors, but if you think copycat products will follow very quickly, you might want to think about ways to work with category rivals instead of against them.

Can you license out part of the product or service? A lot of ”inventors” get precious about their product, but if you know your idea is going to be copied, you’re better off finding ways to work with your competitors instead of against them. Good luck.

Mark Bouris is executive chairman of wealth management company Yellow Brick Road. His advice here is intended as guidance only.

Email questions for Mark Bouris to Larissa Ham at [email protected]南京夜网.au

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