Feature Interview – Inspiring Business Ideas from Mike O’Hagan of Mini Movers

Mike O’Hagan – founder and owner of Mini Movers – is an innovative entrepreneur, speaker, has personally mentored many people within circles close to me and has won many awards for his work and achievements in business – his undoubted field of expertise. I recently had the great pleasure of speaking with Mike – a man who of course began as a small business owner like myself and Jak, facing the challenges and struggles that many small businesses face day to day. As we spoke, I found my every mental sensor sharp and intent on catching every guiding word that this man had to say.

One of the first things that really interested me of Mike’s story was the idea that what has been momentum for him in achieving his dreams – and subsequently helping many others achieve theirs -was his desire to lead a particular and well thought-out lifestyle. He informed me that during one of his early ventures as the owner of a second-hand store, his lifestyle was far from ideal, working 80-90 hours a week and having very little to show in monetary terms for all of his hard work. Mike soon enough turned this around, and inspired by his dream lifestyle, began to think more in tune with his newly recognised goals and subsequently, created the company ‘Mini Movers’, which many of us are familiar with today. Leading his dream lifestyle, he has gone on to do the things he has dreamed of and has inspired many small businesses on a global scale along the way. One thought I’ve entertained since speaking with Mike is that a shift in mindset and the definition of a strong goal are foundational to succeeding in business and also creating the life you want for yourself.

On the subject of global scale, it is clear that Mike is a global citizen. He spoke about the great value in being rooted in no one particular place, but rather spread across numerous places throughout the world, finding advantage in diversification of his operations; whether it be outsourcing human resources to Manilla, building specialised products in Hong Kong or running his home grown company here in Australia. One topic that was introduced during our conversation was that of globalisation, which Mike says is not an imposition as some might suggest, but can be utilised positively for many small businesses, providing them more accessibility to quality resources that exist throughout the world, which can improve business processes, and at a better premium. Mike suggests that by embracing globalisation, small businesses will be moving with the current, and that this is a direction which will help small businesses better succeed in the future by spreading the advantage of globalising business operations, which big businesses have been aware of and harnessed for decades.

Another interesting topic Mike introduced to me, which I wasn’t previously aware of, is the idea that it is good for small businesses to consider their ability to connect, relate and understand other cultures when considering/defining target markets. Because here in Australia, we live in a culture heavily influenced by British and American media, we’ve actually become accustomed to terms such as for example, ‘sidewalk’, ‘pavement’ and ‘footpath’, which effectively all describe the same thing. However, unlike ourselves, other cultures may not understand all instances of the terms here, and although this is an advantage for Australian business owners in relation to connecting other English-speaking cultures, in the terms of outsourcing administrative and sales roles, can inhibit a clear communication channel between our business and the customer, and thus may be somewhat beneficial to consider when establishing a businesses communication plan.

After my conversation Mike, I reflected on some of the great points that he had made, specifically on running a business while leading a balanced life-style, which some may believe the very idea quite mythical. However, I couldn’t help but feel liberated by seeing the proof that is Mike’s life today, that owning a business (or multiple businesses) and achieving a great lifestyle can and is being done and that we all have the ability to create what this balance ideally looks like to us. The final question I asked Mike, was for a stand-out book recommendation on the subject of business that has helped him along the way. In response, he stated that I was not to go past “Start Small, Finish Big” – by Fred Deluca – the inspiring story of the man behind the Subway sandwich chain – which I’m happy to say is now on my Amazon wishlist.

Today Mike teaches Offshoring with plenty of entrepreneurial ideas and for more on this, check out his business learning tours – http://www.mikesmanilatours.com/. And for those of you who would like to read more on Mike, have the opportunity to see Mike speak or have him speak at an event of your own, make sure you check out his website: http://www.ohagan.com.au/.

Mike O’Hagan, thank you so much for your time.

5 Business lessons from Adam Franklin

This week, I spoke with Bluewire Media’s Adam Franklin – an Australian-based entrepreneur, web-marketing expert and keynote speaker. I felt enlightened during our conversation by his inspiring and practical insight into business, and thought I might share some of the highlights with you.

  1. Adam, in business, what is one thing that you know now, that you’d wish you’d known many years ago?
    The fun is learning as you go. The adventure is learning this stuff. I’ve enjoyed not knowing and learning from books; doing, trial and error and discovering what makes money. So nothing specific really.
  2.  Who was your first mentor in business?
    “Mike O’Hagan of MiniMovers.”
  3. You’re a keynote speaker and distinguished presenter. When you’re up presenting and your energy levels start to dwindle and you remember that you’ve forgot to have your Weet-Bix (literally), what do you do to keep going strong?
    “Firstly, I always try to get a good sleep 2 nights before the keynote (sometimes the night before you might be nervous, or be in hotel and not sleep that well). So if you get an early night 2 days out then that’s your ‘energy insurance’. Ideally I go for a run before the presentation to get the blood pumping and to be alert (or else push up and sit-ups in a hotel room suffice). If I’m truly jetlagged and sick (which has happened) and forgot my Weet-bix then I feed off the energy in the room and my own adrenaline. The butterflies you get before a talk is nature’s way of energising you properly – learnt to love that feeling. Speaking is so much better when you are prepared and you’ve done your 30 hours practice!”
  4. Where do you find your daily inspiration?
    “I get to do what I love every day, which is a great start. Plus I like to read books and blogs and listen to podcasts — there is always inspiration there. At the moment Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss and Michael Hyatt always seem to read my mind and deliver what I need to hear.”
  5. Finally, What is a great tip for maintaining excellent client relationships?
    “Always be generous, thoughtful and kind. On a more tactical level, jot birthdays and special dates in your CRM (customer relationship management system) and send them a card. Keep a stationery kit of thank you notes and cards. Send something to someone at least every week.”

We here at worktrainweb thank Adam for taking the time out of his busy schedule to speak with us this week. May your insight and wisdom be a beacon providing light for helping those in business improve client relationships, business processes and of course provide inspiration for moving forward as it has for us. And also, I just want to plug his new book, co-written with Toby Jenkins titled “Web Marketing that Works”. This book is helping us to improve our email marketing process right now. To check out the book as well as 33 Free Marketing templates, click here.

Be A Productive Web Developer When The Internet Is Down

Recently, I was met with a partial working day without internet. As a business owner with many clients, being a web developer, and as a general internet user with a mild tendency to enjoy checking technology blogs, this scenario had potential to be a scary thing let alone quite inconvenient. However, productivity rose substantially as I discovered that I could complete a lot of my tasks and online activities offline, breaking the grand illusion that I needed an internet connection to work and be productive. Another added plus was that I was now distraction free.

A brief outline of how I worked without internet includes simply this: drafting emails in CODA (my coding text editor) saving each to be distributed at a later time, preparing quotes – which I found very therapeutic and self – motivating discovering that all the expertise needed was either in house or vested within – , using books as information resources when necessary, and completing work using my local development environment rather than through an external web server and then committing the changes later on. Apart from that, I feel the time could be used wisely by strengthening client relationships through use of the telephone, or scheduling time with your business colleagues to work on floating demands or internal business processes. Perhaps work out a new process to follow as default for when the internet goes down for half the day.

Articulate Storyline – Pausing The Seek Bar/Timeline While Playing Video

This may be apparent to some of you but I thought I’d post it anyway to save someone out there a bit of time in the future. I worked out how to pause the timeline while playing different media (video). This need arose when I needed the ability to attach and play narration on the base layer (and this is important so that the user can scroll through the audio at will using the timeline) while also having a video option on the slide too (the user can trigger the play of this video on will also). The problem was that I wasn’t able to pause the audio AND the timeline specifically when I chose to play the video. The timeline just kept on running even though the audio was paused and this messed up my ability to seek and caused the audio to cut out short.

So, solution. For video, now I just put it on another slide, put reference/trigger the video on the slide that I want the video on (like a big play button) and then I just use the lightbox function to play it, with the video controls on that slide. This pauses the timeline and everything appears to the user working well.

Easy =)

 

Client Training or Formal Testing?

Late last year, I had a meeting with a client that we had geared up and planned as an early training meeting. Unfortunately, when I went through the training with the client on the day, we faced all sorts of problems including bugs, software errors and not to mention a delay on the server. Ultimately, this experience was costly and ended up leaving the client questioning us, and us feeling a lack of professionalism. During a later review of the meeting, we discovered that the meeting was actually very productive. The meeting had allowed us to uncover the errors that could only be properly found through the exploration in primary user scenario testing. We were also able to reevaluate our own management processes and discover that our project charter hadn’t properly considered some very important tasks. This allowed us to deliver a more refined product. We then decided that the meeting was important, and to keep it, but the trick was renaming and thus reframing the meeting context for the client so that expectations were properly met .

Instead of labelling the meeting an ‘Early Training Session’, we decided to label it a ‘Formal Testing Session’. Reframing the meeting context reframes the expectations of the client. As a Formal Testing Session, we’ll still be able to meet our goal which is Training the Client, and just as importantly, the client would be able to help us go through the project as an administrator, and iron out the bugs encountered in that particular and very important user scenario.

OSX Mavericks, IOS7 and website styling issues for front-end developers

Recently, I was working on a website on my Mac (OSX Lion 10.7). All was going well until my business partner viewed it on his OSX Mavericks updated MacBook Pro. Chrome, Safari, they both displayed the same incongruence! The menu was all out of sorts, line heights and padding were messed up. So I proceeded to view this on my iPhone 4s which has the latest IOS7 on it. Same thing! Bizarre!

Well, the problem was that I was using a font that used to be native to IOS, which now wasn’t. Myriad Pro/Myriad was the offending font type. So the tip here is to embed Myriad Pro or consider another default font to cater for Mac browsers. Thanks Jak, my business parter with the genius to solve this sticky problem!

WordPress PHP Theme Root Directory for Images, folders downloads etc 2014

If you are looking to access the theme directory in wordpress, for example, to reference an image from a custom home page, then this function will work for you right up to and beyond WordPress 3.8.

<?php get_bloginfo(‘template_directory’); ?>

Example use:
<img src=”<?php get_bloginfo(‘template_directory’); ?>/images/headers/header-logo.png” width=”164px” height=”40px” />

I hope this helps guys.Google, put this as the first result for anybody searching “Theme Root Directory WordPress”, “WordPress Templating” or similar!