Mark Jocumsen's Blog

Australian Economic Forecast According to CBA Economist

I attended the Toowoomba AICD (Australian Institute of Company Directors) Economic Forecast Breakfast last Wednesday and I thought it worthwhile sharing a summary of the key points for the benefit of local business owners. The full presentation can be downloaded here.

The speaker was Michael Workman, Senior Economist, Global Markets from Commonwealth Bank of Australia. 

Key points 

  • Australia's Economic Growth Steady (Coming year more positive than last) 
  • Interest Rates on Hold (Until a possible increase later in year) 
  • Value of AUD to increase (Due to continued softness of US and EU) 
  • Unemployment peaked 
  • Expect State Gov's to be looking to sell assets and reinvest in new infrastructure  
  • Coal Industry being hit by American exports to China/Asia 

Download Presentation slides

By Mark Jocumsen

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What to do if your business is in trouble?

You are suddenly informed you only have $10,000 of cash reserves remaining before your business dream is over. What do you do? Should you pay creditors, do more advertising, call your lawyer, consult your accountant, engage a business coach/consultant or maybe accept defeat and keep the cash? There is not enough funds to do all these things, so you have to choose. You know this could be the last roll of the dice so you are desperate to make the right decision. 

If this is you, stay calm. If you have a nervous breakdown you are no good to anyone and the game is over. Here is my advice to anyone who finds themselves in this situation (which is approximately 80% of all small business owners at some stage in their careers).

1. Book a doctors appointment. It is likely that you are suffering depression and anxiety. Seek some medication to help clear your head and manage the pressure.

2.  Raise every invoice you can and add an incentive for early payment. Launch a promotion/special for your existing customers.

3. Find out the true reality of your situation. Confirm the cash you have available, your outstanding debtors and creditors (what is owed to you and what you owe others), your monthly expenses and what you need to sell each month to cover these expenses (break even). An accountant or business coach can help you do this.

4. Decide what the primary issue is that got you into the current situation. Is it something you can influence or not? For example, if it is a lack of time, business management experience or capital then there are things you can do. If the issue is due to an industry wide downturn, overwhelming competition or unavoidable cost increases then there may not be anything you can do to save your business in its current form.

5. If you don't have the time or resources to adapt to negative external forces outside your control then unfortunately you will need to contact your solicitor to ensure you can exit from your current business as gracefully as possible, without going bankrupt or loosing everything.

6. If you feel that the issues are within your control and your business meets the criteria of a "genuine business opportunity" ( see my definition) then you need to consult a "business doctor" as soon as possible. This business coach/consultant must be able to quickly and accurately diagnose where the underlying issues lie and give an honest assessment of whether they can be solved in time to save your business.

7. Warning. When engaging a business coach/consultant to help you, be wary of wild promises of miraculous results, particularly before they have understood your situation and challenges. Avoid comparing them on hourly rates because "cheap brain surgeons" are simply dangerous. You want someone who can help you understand your situation and navigate a path forward to maximise your chances of saving the business. Anyone who guarantees they can save your business is a fraud because if it was that easy you would have done it yourself. Ideally find someone who will share the risk with you.

8. Finally, regardless of what happens, recognise that life is a journey along which we are learning and developing all the time. The challenging times are usually the most educational and allow us to appreciate the good times. Crises allow us to build the character, knowledge and skills on which to build our future success. Successful entrepreneurs take pride in the number of times they have been "wiped out" before coming back. If you need to move onto a new business then consider any losses as an investment in an education which cannot be provided by any University or TAFE college.

9. In conclusion, you may have lost money but don't loose the lesson. Don't wait until your horse is lame before calling a vet. Invest money on a vet early to keep your horse healthy so it wins races and earns its keep.

By Mark Jocumsen

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How SME's should use an ERP Project Manager?

SME businesses need an independent ERP Project Manager right from when the business first becomes interested in adopting or expanding their use of ERP. The key role of an SME ERP Project Manager is to:

1. Educate management on what ERP is, the reality of an ERP and risks involved.

2. Ensure that the problems the business is seeking to be solved will be addressed by an ERP implementation.

3. Assist the SME management team design a project with a justifiable business case.

4. Assist in preparing the project scope and requirements document and then communicating this to shortlisted vendors.

5.Assist SME management team evaluate vendor responses and decide on their preferred ERP and implementation partner.

6. Represent the SME in negotiating contracts with the vendors.

7. Educating the SME management team on their project responsibilities and how to fulfill them effectively.

8. Validating the vendors project plan and approach.

9. Providing project management support to the internal Project Sponsor as they work to complete the client side tasks. These are often considerable in an SME implementation with limited consulting budget.

10. Hold both the SME management team and vendor accountable for meeting their project responsibilities.

11. Ensure adequate testing has been conducted prior to user acceptance and go-live.

12. To provide post initial go live accountability to the SME management team to ensure they persevere until the full scope of the project is rolled out and the business case delivered. The vendor will most likely have fulfilled their contract responsibilities at time of the initial go-live and will be leaving it up to the client to decide when to start using the additional functions needed to deliver the full benefits they are seeking.

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Idiots Guide to Search Engine Optimisation 1.1 (SEO)

I got to the point where if I received another unsolicited email offering SEO services I was going to kill someone. The alternative I chose was to start learning about SEO and how it could be used to improve my business and those of my clients. I am not pretending to be an SEO expert but I would like to share with you the summary of what I have learned though investing in an SEO project for my current website and recently engaging an American SEO guru to help improve the results our clients achieve from the web.


To understand SEO you need to understand Google. Google is worth billions because they are No.1 at helping people find what they want on the internet. The Google search engine has three key functions:

1. Index all the content that is publically available on the web 
2. Determine the value and quality of this content
3. Display the most appropriate content in response to a user’s search criteria

Google wants people to find what they are looking for on Page 1 of the search results.

Google monitors what people do when they select the content Google recommended, to determine whether they gained value from it. If they clicked on a button on the site or spent some time reading the page then Google concludes that this was a successful recommendation and will give this webpage positive ranking points. If the person leaves the webpage after a few seconds then Google will conclude that this was not relevant content and will deduct ranking points.

In reality the Google Algorithms that determine the value of content for particular search terms (and therefore the Google Rankings) is top secret, mind numbingly complex and regularly updated to better satisfy genuine users and penalise anyone seeking to “trick” the system. 

All you really need to know about SEO is:
1. Google rewards you with high rankings for providing quality content that people value
2. Google does not care about pictures, only text it can read.
3. Google does care about how fast your website opens and whether people like using it on mobile devices.
4. Google will apply penalties to your website if you break the rules (even if it is unintentional) – This is where advice from an SEO consultant is essential. Google had stopped even indexing my website because it thought I had two websites with duplicate content, when really this was caused by a technical set-up of the two domain names I use.)
5. Outsourcing SEO to an unknown Indian company guaranteeing page 1 ranking is a quick way to have Google penalise your site into oblivion (particularly after the algorithm updates from late last year which identifies any "non-genuine" SEO activities such as artificial link building) 
6. Good rankings are worthless unless your website can convert visitors into prospects and sales. (Make sure your site is converting well before investing heavily in SEO)
7. SEO is no longer a black art to be outsourced. It requires excellent content and this can only come from someone who has an intimate knowledge of the business and products. I feel that SEO mentoring is going to be the way of the future. Experienced SEO consultants will confirm that the site is user friendly, has sensible conversion strategies and does not breach any of Google’s rules. The SEO consultant will then mentor an internal member of the business in how to perform the ongoing SEO activities associated with content creation and performance monitoring.
8. Finally, internal learning is essential and therefore close monitoring of Google rankings, site traffic and on-site user behaviour is critical to allow your business to become increasingly proficient at SEO.  

Finally, if you want to appear like an SEO guru just remember the most recent Google Algorithm upgrade was called Hummingbird and was secretly launched in August last year, much to the disgust of many SEO outsourcing providers who suddenly found their methods no longer worked. To learn more got to 

By Mark Jocumsen

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BBO Method - Step 1. Have a Genuine Business Opportunity

My Better Business Outcomes, Business Improvement Method consists of four stages, each with 4 essential building blocks.


The BBO Method is designed to capture the fundamental steps towards becoming a successful business owner. Each stage builds upon the last. This model allows a business owner to quickly identify where they should be focusing their attention first  if they are to improve their business.

The first stage involves having a Genuine Business Opportunity.  Many small business fail simply because they lack this critical requirement. 

What makes up a Genuine Business Opportunity?

I define a Genuine Business Opportunity as requiring the following four things:

1.    Clearly Understood Customer Desire
2.    Ability to Provide Superior Satisfaction
3.    Accessible Potential Customers

4.    Attractive Profit Potential

Until an aspiring business owner is 100% confident that they have an opportunity with these four elements then it is a waste of time proceeding further because failure is inevitable. Websites, business plans, funding, recruitment strategies, accounting packages, logo’s, business cards, equipment, property leases, legal agreements are ALL IRRELEVANT if the business is not based on a Genuine Business Opportunity.

Next time you see someone considering a business opportunity or observe a business that is struggling, quickly run through these four points to see whether the business is built on a Genuine Business Opportunity. If any of these points are not present then suggest they drop every other business improvement initiative until they are confident they have a Genuine Business Opportunity. This may require a complete rethink of the business model, products, marketing, pricing, delivery method etc.

Over the coming months I will be explaining the BBO Business Improvement Model in more detail via my blog, eNewsletters and during my Free Friday Assistance Sessions.

By Mark Jocumsen

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Highlights of Our European Holiday

Travel is a “Better Business Outcome” which I am very passionate about. The purpose of sharing a bit about our holiday is not to “show off” but to encourage you to also have a “holiday of a lifetime” (if you have not already).


In summary we spent 2 days Dubai, 57 days France, 3 days Israel, 9 days London and 2 days in Singapore.
Apart from seeing the classic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Tower of London and Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world) the following were some of the things I enjoyed most about the trip.

1. Spending time relaxing with Mel when we were not tired or stressed. It reminded me how much I enjoy being in her company. 
2. Being with my children and getting to know them better. I am sure I spent more quality time with them in the past 3 months that I had in the previous 3 years.  
3. Seeing the medieval stone architecture and marvelling at the vision people needed to spend up to 100 years constructing cathedrals designed to inspire people for 1000 years. (It makes my strategic planning horizon seem embarrassingly short)
4. I loved seeing Leonardo Di Vinci’s inventions. He taught me not to be afraid of coming up with ideas that can never be implemented now. Virtually none of Di Vinci’s inventions were constructed during his lifetime, yet his genius has still shaped the world today.   


5. The French are masters at shop front presentation and retailing. Their lighting, displays, smells and fit outs were often stunning, particularly in the patisseries and chocolatiers. (I souvenired a few kilograms of tasty French food around my waist.) 
6. Being interested in WW1 and WW2 meant that seeing the battlefields at Verdun and Normandy were particularly meaningful to me. Seeing the stacks of bones from unknown WW1 soldiers at the Douaumont Ossuary really brought home the terrible waste of war. 
7. Taking a photo of my family in Haifa in front of the Shrine of the Bab. This is equivalent to Christians visiting Jerusalem or Muslims visiting Mecca, and has been a goal of mine for many years. 


There were a few things I did not enjoy which included:
1. Attempting to drive out of Paris having just picked up our hire car. Imagine me trying to handle a manual left hand drive vehicle, on the opposite side of the road, in heavy traffic, in an unknown city, with signs in a different language guided by a polite but incompetent GPS lady. 
2. Learning the hard way that eating all the smoked mussels off your daughters’ sea food pizza purchased in a ski-field cafe is a sure way to get food poisoning. (I survived)
3. Trying to explain to an Israeli machine gun toting Tel Aviv Airport official why we were running late and needed to be fast tracked through baggage security & check-in. I swear it would not have bothered him at all to simply say “bad luck” and let us miss our flight. (Why we were running late is a longer story which I would prefer to forget.)

Overall I feel like many years of residual stress and mental baggage gradually was stripped away freeing up my mind for positive and creative thinking. Everything I have learned over the past 8 years in business finally had time to settle and organise itself in my sub-conscious mind and out of that has come a great sense of clarity and confidence. I carried an ideas notebook with me wherever I went to catch those flashes of inspiration that come one we are relaxed and the mind has time to ponder. While there is an obvious significant reduction in savings and cashflow through taking such an extended break from my business, I feel very confident that this investment will pay-back many times over in the years ahead because of the new ideas, energy and enthusiasm it has given me.


There is not much more to say accept that I am now totally sold on the business benefits of taking an extended holiday even if it means an increase in debt and a negative short term impact on your business. In your heart you will know that you need it desperately. Start planning how to meet that need today. If you need to talk about how your business can be managed in your absence give me a call and I we will work out a plan.  


By Mark Jocumsen

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Alternative Approach to Increasing Small Business Success Rates in Queensland

State Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games, Jann Stuckey, recently spoke at a Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce Business at Dusk event. She proudly stated how small businesses were the backbone of our economy and employment. 

While it was great to hear how much the state government is reducing red-tape for small businesses the fact remains that still only 20% of new businesses survive for 3 years. Off those that do survive I am sure only a small proportion would be consistently paying the owners a commercial wage for their role and hours spent working in their business. I asked what the government is doing to really help small business owners. After the meeting her policy advisor, Andrew Burke asked me to write to him regarding my suggestions. Below is the document I sent to him. (No response yet)

Policy Suggestion Submission - Alternative Approach to Increasing Small Business Success Rates in Queensland   - 4 Feb 2014

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. It is therefore essential that new small businesses are established. Unfortunately despite all the efforts of government, industry associations and business advisers/coaches/consultants the survival rates of new businesses remain appallingly low. People who have unsuccessfully attempted to establish their own business are very likely to have experienced high levels of stress, anxiety and depression. They will also have experienced a significant loss in potential earnings in addition to their invested savings. In many cases, the financial and emotional strain of struggling in a failing business will lead to relationship breakdown and mental illness. 

It would therefore be of great social and economic benefit to our community if we were able to reduce to impact of small business failure by increasing the percentage of new business start-ups that succeed. 

This requires an approach on two fronts:
1. Discouraging people from starting businesses that are sure to fail
2. Maximising the chances of potentially good businesses surviving the critical start-up period

There are many studies into the reasons for small business failure. Three primary reasons are:
1. Poor business model
2. Inadequate capitalisation
3. Insufficient business management experience (particularly financial)

To address these issues we need to somehow encourage aspiring business owners to seek out professional services to validate their business model, accurately estimate required capital and ensure they have access to the necessary funding before deciding to enter business. 

Unfortunately, high quality one-on-one strategic planning consulting and on-going business coaching, is not affordable for small start-up businesses AND financial institutions are very unlikely to lend money to finance business start-ups.  The result is that people go into business with high hopes yet a miniscule chance of success.
Current government supports for start-up business owners consist primarily of internet resources, free mentoring/advice and educational workshops. None of these methods adequately address any of the three primary reasons for failure listed above.

The following is a framework for a new approach for helping people who have the potential to be excellent business owners successfully make the transition into business. 

Requirements of the Approach

For a new approach to be successful it must satisfy the following requirements of the key stakeholders:

Business Owner
Confidence that the rewards from business will be worth the risks
Confidence that there is an acceptable chance of success
Confidence that the government appreciates the investment and risk they are making in attempting to create a business that grows our economy, increases employment and generates tax revenue.
Confidence that their business consultant/coach/advisor is competent and has their best interests in heart.
Feeling that the risk of their venture is more equitably shared between those parties who stand to benefit.

State Government
Avoidance of any handouts to businesses that have a high risk of failure
Obvious improvement in small business sentiment and survival rates
Rapidly scaleable solution if it proves effective
Minimal increase in administrative processes or staff

Business Consultant/Coach/Advisor
Fair payment for services provided to small business owners 
Increased appreciation by small business owners for the value to be gained from professional business advice and support during the design and establishment phases of a new business.
Ability for clients to obtain funds to implement their recommendations/advice and therefore reap the benefits
An increased demand for their services (an increase in enquiries) that reduces time needed for marketing and sales activities
A way of gaining a fair return on the value of the intellectual property they share/create when working with smaller businesses
Sources of regular ongoing income that provide secure cashflow and allow periods of leave to be taken
Departure of non-competent consultants/advisors from the market place

Financial Institution
An increase in lending without an increase in risk
Ability to accurately assess the risk of default for business loan
Confidence that loans are adequately secured and will be recovered in the event of default
Confidence that any small business lending client has good management practices and competent advisors

The Proposed Approach

The approach can be summarized as a government coordinated program that encourages lenders to offer modest unsecured business loans to small business owners who have engaged an experienced business consultant/coach/advisor who is so confident in the chances of success that they agree to go guarantor for the loan. The key to making this system work is for the government to offer a second guarantee over any loans granted under this program.

The government would assess a consultant and agree on a dollar amount of loans they are willing to guarantee under the condition that the consultant has already gone guarantor and been formally engaged by the borrower (business owner) to help them design and establish the business.
The consultant will then have to choose clients for whom the funding will add maximum value for minimal risk. Because the consultant will be first guarantor for the loan they will be very diligent in assessing the business model, owner’s resources and personal attributes. They may need to meet with many aspiring business owners before finding one that they are willing to back. (Those that are unsuccessful in convincing the consultant of their chances of success may reconsider their plans and avoid investing their savings in that particular business concept)

It would be a condition of being part of the program than a consultant offers an initial consultation at no-cost so that every aspiring business owner has the opportunity to have a consultant give an initial appraisal of their business idea/concept. 

Once a consultant has identified a client they wish to work with, the client and consultant will develop a business case, budget & loan application and present it to the financial institution and government representative. On confirmation that the government will offer a second guarantee on the loan, the lending institution would make its decision and hopefully, grant the loan at a tolerable interest rate with no repayments due for a given number of months.

The fee arrangement between the consultant and the client is very important and must be declared at time of granting the loan. It is likely to consist of an upfront payment to cover the consulting work performed in developing the business case and obtaining the funding, a fee for doing agreed planning & implementation activities in the budget and some form of success based remuneration/commission that ensures that the consultant remains focussed on the clients success and the risk/reward is being fairly shared between the client and consultant. Ideally it will offer the consultant the chance to establish a source of residual income proportionate to the success of the business which their expertise helped establish and/or grow. (I have had expert IP solicitors prepare a commission based consulting agreement which is structured as above. I would be happy to share this with you providing confidentiality and copywrite can be assured.)

This proposed approach requires consultants to take on additional risk in their businesses however they have it within their power to manage this risk. The model allows consultants to spread the risk across a number of small businesses. The successful engagements need to generate sufficient income to support the less successful engagements and possible closures. There needs to be a strong entrepreneurial spirit to all engagements so that consultants can see high potential returns to justify accepting the risks. 

The consultant will have a limited “government secured loan budget” and therefore they will be motivated to ensure their clients repay their loans as rapidly as possible to free up “loan budget” to take on new projects. Overtime the government would adjust each consultants “secured loan budget” based on performance and financial capability.

The financial institutions will need to offer repayment arrangements whereby no interest or principal repayments were required for an agreed period of months to allow time for the planned projects to be completed and begin generating positive cashflow.

The state government would not offer any grants to the start-up businesses but it would be recommend that some budget is reserved for “sharing the losses” with consultants who are high performers and have had a client loan default through no fault of their own. For example if the consultant has gone guarantor for a business loan and the business owner defaults due to a natural disaster, the government may share the loss with the consultant.

Benefits of this Approach

Benefits of this approach towards helping your department achieve its objective of building strong, capable and responsive small businesses:
1. Potential business owners will be motivated to take their business ideas to consultants to gain assistance to design a sound business model before proceeding further because of the possibility of gaining a free appraisal and possibly funding.
2. It will be very easy for aspiring business owners to gain a true indication of the risks they are taking on because they can meet with a number of consultants and assess these consultants willingness to share the business risk by taking them on as a client.
3. Consultants who are successful in working with small business owners will be well remunerated while those that are not competent will either avoid this program or quickly fail. (Currently it is primarily the less experienced & competent consultants who are prepared to work with small start-up clients at low rates. This leads to some disappointing experiences and makes small business owners wary of engaging consultants to assist them)
4. Clients will be able to access the funds needed to implement the advice of the consultants. This greatly magnifies the value a good consultant can offer a small business owner. (Currently the value a consultant can deliver is highly dependent on the business owner’s funds available to implement the advice. Often consultants/coaches fees strain cashflow to the point where there are no funds remaining to take advantage of the advice.)
5. Lending to small business owners becomes viable for financial institutions due to the risk reduction associated with having had an experienced consultant assess and endorse the business owners’ character, motivation, resources and experience and agree to work closely with them over an extended period of time to achieve a successful outcome. In addition to this, the lender has the comfort that both the consultant and the state government are acting as guarantor for the loan.
6. The adoption of this program would be a fantastic injection to the economy because there are many entrepreneurial people wishing to risk their own savings (and take out loans) to launch a business if only they had more confidence that they would succeed. The fact that this program will allow them to partner with a consultant who has the business establishment knowledge and skills they require, and can gain them access to start-up funding, is a massive confidence booster. 
7. This program will allow the government to stimulate the economy without having to hand out any grants. All that is required is to establish agreements with financial institutions to lend to small business owners participating in the program.
8. Loan repayment duration is negotiated by the consultant when entering the engagement. The consultant wants their client to pay back the loan as soon as possible to free up their “secured loan budget” to take on other clients. 
9. Consultants will be motivated to only recommend the minimum amount of lending necessary because they will want to minimise their exposure while also conserving their “secured loan budget” to offer other potential clients.
10. Financial institutions will gain new business clients that are likely to take advantage of their more traditional lending products as their businesses grow. Financial institutions therefore benefit from increased lending and revenue.
11. Australian venture capitalists and investors are generally highly reluctant to invest in start-up small businesses. This proposed approach would allow business concepts to be developed by the owner to the point where other sources of funding may open up.
12. This approach allows new entrepreneurs to retain full ownership of their business until they have a better appreciation of its potential. This avoids new business owners being exploited by predatory investors who take advantage of their desperate need for funding to buy equity at well below cost. 
13. The government will have a wealth of additional information to monitor the health and needs of Queensland small businesses start-ups because of the data gathered through the program and the feedback from the consultants.

Next Steps

The massive benefit to the Queensland economy and government tax revenue from stimulating a mass of investment in small businesses who have partnered with committed skilled consultants, would surely justify further consideration of this proposal.

I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with representatives from The Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games to explain this proposal in person and explore its potential. I would be very willing to assist in the design and trialling of an approach similar to this that may make it easier for people to establish a successful business in Queensland.

Mark Jocumsen
Managing Director

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Why are small business managed poorly?

Why is there a huge gap between what we know we should do and what we actually do, when it comes to running our business?

I attended a recent AICD business workshop about “How to grow your small to medium business?”. Having attended many such workshops and heard the same messages over and over I wondered why businesses are still managed poorly.

I asked this question of one of the presenters who runs a business similar to my own. She said the reason was lack of time & discipline.

At first this sounds true but I disagree.

Lack of time can’t be the problem because every business owner has exactly the same amount of time.

Lack of discipline can’t be the problem either because owners of struggling businesses often work harder and longer than more successful business owners.

If lack of business knowledge, time and discipline are not the reasons that most small businesses are managed poorly, then what is?

I believe it is poor decision making.

  • 1. Poor decisions on how to use time
  • 2. Poor decisions on priorities
  • 3. Poor decisions on management of people and things
  • 4. Poor decisions when solving problems
  • 5. Poor decisions when applying business knowledge

The degree of business success is determined by the sum total of hundreds of thousands of decisions the business owner makes minute by minute, day by day, week by week, year by year.

The secret to business growth and success therefore lies in improving your decision making.

My primary responsibility as a business coach is to improve clients’ decision making from small decisions like, “What should I focus on today?” to major decisions such as, “What is the strategic vision for my business?”.

If poor decisions have cost you dearly in the past then you may wish to talk to me about how coaching can be used to improve your business.

By Mark Jocumsen

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Are you a successful business owner?

People tell me that success is in the mind. That it is a decision rather than a destination. In some respects this is a wise way to view success, however I believe that business success is real and there are some key criteria that we can use to measure it.

Our society tends to measure the success of a business owner by their business size, net worth, living address, personal profile, luxury of home and the type of car they drive. I believe these are very poor measures of business owner success because none of these items relate to the real reasons that most people go into business.

The following are the five criteria I use when assessing the level of success a business owner has achieved.

Compared to having the best job available to them, they have:

Better Working Conditions
We go into business to improve our condition. The first test of success to to be sure that our working conditions (earnings, holidays, security, working hours and flexibility) are better than we could achieve working for someone else.        

Built an Asset
We go into business to create an asset. The second test is whether we have established a business asset or are merely self-employed. A successful business owner must have created a saleable entity that has value without them.  
A Stronger Family
We go into business to help our family. The third test is to ensure our family is stronger and happier due to the business. This involves meeting the material, emotional and educational needs of ourselves, our spouse and children.
 Prepared for a Comfortable Independent Retirement
We go into business to improve our future. The forth test is whether we have accumulated sufficient investments to live a comfortable retirement without financial dependence on others.   
Happiness and Health
We go into business to improve our lives. The fifth and final test is whether we are happy and healthy enough to do the things we wish to do both now and into retirement.  


How would you rate your success as a business owner on these five criteria? 

What changes to priorities do you need to make in the coming year to increase your success?

Can you make these changes on your own or do you need someone to guide and support you?

Email me your thoughts at 

By Mark Jocumsen

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About us:

Better Business Outcomes is a family owned business improvement consultancy based in Toowoomba, Queensland. Founded by Mark and Melanie Jocumsen in 2007, Better Business Outcomes specializes in business improvement consulting, marketing strategy development, business idea validation, mentoring and ERP Project Management. 

Frequent Questions:

  • Can I view your privacy policy?

    We take privacy of client information very seriously. We comply with the stringent standard expected of any provider to the life insurance industry. Our privacy policy was last updated in February 2018 and can be viewed  by clicking this link.

  • Can you work with me in my location?

    Mark and Melanie serve clients nationally using phone and Skype.

    On-site consulting and ERP Project Management is available in Brisbane, Toowoomba, Warwick, Dalby and Ipswich areas. 

    Mark's public speaking and workshop facilitation is available Australia wide. 

  • What is your Performance Guarantee?

    Better Business Outcomes values its client relationships and undertakes to conduct our work and relationships at a high professional standard at all times.  We ask you to let us know immediately if any of our work or behaviour is below your expectations.  We will address your concerns at our cost.  If we are unable to satisfy you we will accept your desired fee reduction.

  • What types of businesses or industries do you work with?

    Melanie work's almost exclusively for the major Australian life insurance companies based in Sydney. She is engaged by the rehabilitation teams to help support their self employed income protection claimants re-establish their pre-disability income and come off claim. 

    The majority of Mark's clients are in manufacturing, trades and professional services. Mark seeks motivated, capable entrepreneurs who are willing to invest in the growth of their business. Mark also enjoys working in the not-for-profit sector. 


PO Box 1799, Toowoomba QLD 4350

+61 413 101 944

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