There are some key principles we use at Hummingblue when designing businesses, products and services. They are aimed at creating sustainable profitable business, without compromising life/work balance. If we can tread a little more lightly on the planet while we are here well that’s great with us too.
Systems and Processes, Recurring Revenue
Unless you were lucky enough to be born rich, you will be working for a living one way or another.
The Hummingblue philosophy is to reduce expenses and liabilities to a minimum, then cover the rest with income that does not rely on your constant management.
So when dreaming up, building and running businesses, we need to ensure that:
- Revenue (and profit) should be recurring and reliable. Ideally this means building a revenue stream based on subscriptions or recurring purchases, but it can also be achieved by creating a marketing and sales engine that works for you.
- Income should be largely passive. If you have to work 60hrs a week to achieve the income you need then you are missing out on too many other important things in life. There is no such thing as a completely passive income of course, and every investment needs some oversight or nurture (which means that your part in the income stream should be portable – see below).
- If recurring and passive income will never pay the bills in your business, then the right systems, processes and team must be created to allow you to focus on things other than the day to day management.
Own Less, No Liabilities
“Debt is the slavery of the free.” Pubililius Syrus (Roman author – 1BC)
There is of course good debt and bad debt. Good debt is used to accelerate earnings via leverage and increase income. Bad debt is used to buy things we could not otherwise afford that do not earn us anything.
Good Debt can fast track business growth, and is often necessary to invest in plant and machinery or new technology. Many businesses would simply not prosper without it.
Nothing stifles flexibility like monthly repayments however, and at Hummingblue we are fanatical about flexibility, including:
- Structuring business so that little or no debt is required.
- Minimise capital investment in technology by using cloud technologies and outsourcing (while simultaneously taking advantage of the latest technology).
- Avoiding debts’ cousin – the long-term contract, when negotiating outsourcing contracts.
The economic principle of comparative advantage was first described in the early 1800’s and has been the basis of much international trade ever since. Simply put, comparative advantage explains that countries should focus on what they can do best, leaving others to do everything else (even if they are capable of doing it all at home).
Outsourcing business processes on the other hand at least seems to be a more recent phenomenon. The same principles apply however. Businesses are more productive when they use available capital and resources to focus on their core business, and let the experts in other fields take care of the rest.
At Hummingblue outsourcing is not just a way to cut costs, clever outsourcing will also:
- Reduce capital requirements (and therefore debt)
- Improve flexibility, allowing for simple up and downscaling as required
- Allow us to take advantage of the latest technology
- Provide access to best of breed technology, services and expertise
- Allow for razor sharp focus on our core competencies
Flexibility and Portability
“By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.” Robert Frost
Flexibility means different things to different people. Some are not happy unless they can take care of business from any beach or luxury hotel in the world. Others just want more time with the children at home. For us it’s about being free to choose.
It is very difficult to experience all that life has to offer when you are required in the office 40 or 50 hours a week.
At Hummingblue we achieve flexibility by:
- Structuring business to provide predictable income
- Focusing on minimising debt and fixed liabilities
- And by outsourcing or delegating anything that can be done by others
Experiences Not Stuff
“You’re not the car you drive”. Tyler Durden
There’s only so many big screen televisions one can fit in one house, however with a little imagination there’s no end to the great experiences life can offer.
Aside from being a rewarding personal philosophy consuming a little less probably wont hurt the planet.
Whatever your personal preference however, it is very important to realise that a move from more stuff to experience is a very real trend in key demographics – and in the Western world it is those with money to spend leading the charge.
As belts are tightened all over the world less and less is being spent on cars, televisions, clothes and shoes. Restaurants, tourism, personal trainers and other life experiences are generally faring much better.
Aside from the personal benefits, at Hummingblue we recommend the following for business:
- Recognising the growing and struggling industry sectors and focus marketing in the growth areas
- If starting fresh, create an experience based business (or one that sells to experience based business) if possible
- If you are selling product, use online strategy to connect with customers and be a thought leader in your industry. Online strategy is not just for those selling via the web.
- If you do require customers in your store, make sure they have a great experience while there (as there’s almost certainly a way to purchase your product cheaper and more conveniently online).
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Confucius
An obvious one really. If you are not enjoying what you do then make a plan and fix it.