Perth hotel revenue up
PERTH hotels have recorded the largest increase in revenue for an available room over the past 12 months, with a jump of 19 per cent to just more than $135/room, latest figures show. Analysis by Colliers International of recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows demand for accommodation rose 4.1 per cent in the 12 months to the end of March 2009.
Barnett reveals CCC complaint
A COMPLAINT has been lodged with the corruption watchdog against Premier Colin Barnett for alleged misconduct over the removal of a Peppermint Grove property from the state heritage list. The property owner, prospector Mark Creasy, is understood to have been at loggerheads with the council over his plans to demolish the house for the development of a new dwelling.
BHP starts Ravensthorpe sale process
BHP Billiton will start the formal evaluation of divestment as a potential future option for the Ravensthorpe nickel mine. The company's official statement on the matter comes two weeks after WA Business News revealed that BHP was intending to put together an Information Memorandum. Ravensthorpe was closed earlier this year, less than 12 months after it was opened. More than 1,800 employees lost their jobs.
WA jobless rate hits 5-year high
THE state's unemployment rate has climbed to a seasonally adjusted 5.1 per cent in June from an upwardly revised 5 per cent recorded the previous month according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The latest jobless rate for is a five-year high, with the figure not having reached the 5.1 per cent mark since June 2004.
China agrees to 33% iron ore price cut
CHINESE steel mills have agreed to the same 33 per cent iron ore price cut reached by their Japanese and South Korean counterparts. Bloomberg has reported the China Business News website as saying that the steel mills agreed to a 33 per cent cut in iron ore fines to US97 cents per dry tonne unit and a 44 per cent reduction in lump ore to US112c per dry tonne unit
Stokes, Forrest recognised
WESTERN Australian billionaires Kerry Stokes and Andrew Forrest (pictured) are among the state's top businesspeople to be recognised at next week's Western Region Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards.
Fortescue Metals Group chief executive Mr Forrest and wife, Nicola, will receive top honours for their work as co-founders of the Australian Children's Trust. Media tycoon Mr Stokes has been awarded the Champion of Entrepreneurship.
Former PM to Greenland
WEST Perth-based mineral exploration and development company Greenland Minerals and Energy has appointed former prime minister of Greenland, Lars Emil Johansen, to chair the board of its main operating subsidiary. Current Greenland Minerals chairman Mike Hutchinson and Greenlandic businessman Ole Ramlau-Hansen will also be joining as directors of Greenland Minerals and Energy.
Staunton to CEO
DARREN Staunton has been appointed chief executive officer of construction and development company Rapley Wilkinson. Mr Staunton was previously general manager of the company's property division with responsibilty for the development of a number of resorts and residential projects. Mr Staunton plans to expand Rapley Wilkinson and establish a presence interstate. He replaces Alan Thomas, who was recently appointed managing director of Nomad Building Solutions, Rapley Wilkinson's parent company.
Cock to special counsel
DIRECTOR of Public Prosecutions Robert Cock will step down from his position and take on a role as special counsel to the government. Crown prosecutor Bruno Fiannaca will replace Mr Cock for the time being as acting DPP.
Directors' Interests 19
The board of Apex Minerals has collectively spent $206,700 participating in the company's $14 million rights issue. Mark Ashley was the biggest spender, buying $75,000 worth of Apex shares at 20 cents apiece, while chairman Kim Robinson bought $50,000 worth of shares. Apex's largest shareholders, prospector Mark Creasy and Baka Steel Capital Managers, took their full entitlement of the issue.
Kairiki Energy managing director Lawrence Brown has had a busy week of transactions. Mr Brown converted 3.75 million options at 10 cents and 12 cents each at a discount to Kairiki's share price that day of 16.5 cents. He bought an additional $160,000 worth of shares on market, taking his total shareholding to nearly 12.5 million shares.
More fuel to the fire
THE Note has watched the Firepower saga closely, with an estimated $100 million going missing.
About a year after the company's collapse, the wheels of justice appearing to be moving in regard to Australian Securities and Investment Commission cases against those involved, including founder Tim Johnston.
Last week, the corporate regulator banned Nedlands man, Quentin Ward, from providing financial services for eight years following an investigation into his dealings with the failed fuel technology company.
Followers of the saga would not be surprised to know Mr Ward has form in this area. Between 1995 and 1998 he was banned from being a securities representative. During that the then insurance agent was also bankrupted.
The Note will keep you informed about him and others in this case. Presumably, more than a ban will be sought, given that didn't seem to work the last time.
Continuing the theme, The Note also thought it was worth mentioning that former Hogan and Partners Stockbrokers employee Jonathan Kur has been permanently banned after he lost more than $9 million of clients' money.
Regrettably, Hogan and Partners, a long-running Perth brokerage, ceased business on December 20 2008, two days after Mr Kur resigned.
ASIC found that Mr Kur, an options dealer, had misled clients and encouraged them to trade in options by publishing information he knew to be false.
$2m for VDM Group's Civmec
VDM Group has sold the surplus assets of its subsidiary, Civmec, including the name, for more than $2 million as part of the group's restructure and consolidation strategy.
The diversified infrastructure group said it had sold a plant, the subsidiary name and the balance of two minor contracts that were a part of the construction and engineering arm for around $2.3 million.
It added that it still retained the intellectual property and capability to continue business in civil and concrete works, which will continue under another subsidiary, Wylie and Skene Pty Ltd.
Proceeds from the sale, along with other assets sold separately, will be used to retire around $1.5 million interest bearing debt and working capital for the group.
"VDM Construction will continue to actively tender and pursue opportunities for civil construction work as part of the restructure and consolidation that resulted in the disposal of the CIVMEC surplus assets," VDM said in a statement.
Last month, VDM tipped an operating loss for the 2009 financial year due to restructuring expenses coupled with current business conditions.
The group has forecast a write down of between $75 million and $85 million for the year.
Plug pulled on $12m solar project
A $12 million solar power station to be built in Kalgoorlie has been scrapped after the company behind the operation, Solar Systems, could not get federal funding.
The Carpenter government last year committed $4.5 million towards the power station, which was to be the first multi-megawatt solar photovoltaic project in the country to be connected to the mainstream electricity grid.
Solar Systems business development manager Barry Hendy told WA Business News the project had been put forward to private investors with the inclusion of funding contributions from both state and federal governments.
"The economics for an investor only worked with government support; without government support it's not an economic proposition for investment," he said.
Mr Hendy said it became clear the project would not receive federal funding after a renewable energy program the company had applied for closed last month.
He said planning for the project was in the very early stages.
The project would have consisted of 48 dishes producing around 3,200MW hours of electricity a year, enough to power 500 homes.
Mr Hendy said the company would examine other federal government renewable energy funding programs to see whether the Kalgoorlie project met the criteria.
Competition for state capital
THE state government last week signed off on a scheme amendment that will allow further development of the $880 million East Perth Riverside project in line with the 2008 master plan.
The project will create more than 3,400 new dwellings for 5,800 residents and 81,000 square metres of commercial and retail floor space for around 1,700 workers.
However, it is competing with two other major Perth city projects for investment capital - Northbridge Link and the Perth foreshore.
Planning Minister John Day said these two other projects would take precedence over the East Perth project.
He said the government would invest $130 million in East Perth, with the rest to come from private investment.
Northbridge Link has received federal government support after being one of the key infrastructure projects put forward by the state for commonwealth stimulus funding.
The waterfront project was relaunched by Premier Colin Barnett last month.
Opposition planning spokesperson Mark McGowan said in a statement that budget papers revealed the government had committed only $114 million to East Perth, leaving a deficit of $16 million.
"This discrepancy is either an act of ineptitude on the minister's part, or he is trying to exaggerate the Barnett government's contribution to the project," Mr McGowan said.
Mr McGowan added he agreed with Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi that the government was not adequately prioritising upcoming redevelopments in the city.
"The strain on investment capital for the three major Perth redevelopment projects could well result in three sub-standard outcomes if some rigour is not applied to their implementation," Mr McGowan said.
Colm O'Brien, David Nizol and Charbel Nader have been appointed to the board as executive directors.
Astro Diamond Mines
Susan Hunter has resigned as secretary.
Errol Levitt and Gregory Peacocke have been appointed as non-executive directors.
David Taylor has been appointed as a non-executive director.
Anthony Eastman will be acting as an alternate director to Peter Landau.
Dynasty Metals Australia
Low Hock Peng has resigned as non-executive director.
Hilton Nathanson has retired as director.
Brett Dickson has been appointed as joint company secretary.
Stephan Dattels and Chris McFadden have joined the board of the company as directors.
Roderick White has been appointed as an independent non-executive director.
John Priest has retired from the company. His chairmanship will be taken over by Stephen Belben.
Global Nickel Investments
Steven Leithead has resigned as director of the company.
Jack Telford has retired as executive chairman.
Mark Ward has resigned as managing director. Laurie Marshall has agreed to reassume the role.
Kathleen Chai has been appointed as company secretary replacing Darren Crawte, who has resigned.
Dennis O'Neill has resigned as managing director and CEO. IG Muir has been elected as executive chairman. John Jackson has been appointed non-executive director.
Bruce Maluish has been appointed as a non-executive director.
Paul Moore has been appointed the company's new chief executive officer.
Franco Mestichelli has been appointed managing director. Luke Innes has been appointed chairman of directors. He succeeds Peter Remta in this position.
Anthony Ryder and Keith Lucas have been appointed to the board
Kow Hin Fan has joined the board. Edwin Boyd has resigned as director.
Blair Lucas has been appointed company secretary.
Timothy Clifton has resigned as chairman of the company but will remain on the board as executive director. Anthony Kiernan has been appointed chairman.
Anthony Reilly has been appointed executive director.
Michael Perrott has been appointed as director. Clive Bradshaw has retired as executive director.
Roland Berzins has resigned as company secretary.
White Canyon Uranium
John Hasleby has resigned as managing director. Peter Batten has been appointed managing director and CEO.
Martin Jones, Andrew Saker and Darren Weaver have been appointed joint and several administrators.
Windy Knob Resources
Andrew Mcllwain has resigned as non-executive director.
Yellow Rock Resources
Jeffrey Green has been appointed to the board.
Change of address
30 Richardson Street
West Perth WA 6005
PO Box 493
West Perth WA 6872
T: 9481 2555
A winning strategy
THE first time I recall hearing the expression 'winning the hearts and minds' was when an American general was describing the American strategy towards the South Vietnamese during the disastrous Vietnam War. While the concept was sound, the way it was executed ensured that the strategy was an abject failure. In reality, both the people of North and South Vietnam were alienated, if for different reasons.
Managers probably spend most of their time concentrating on winning the minds of their people with logic, rationale and analytical thinking. They probably tend to ignore the importance of winning both - hearts and minds.
Why is this so? Maybe because it is easier and less threatening to do so. We accept that both what they think and how they feel govern people's behaviour. Thoughts and emotions are both powerful drivers. Yet when managers talk to their people, they tend to focus on the cognitive rather than the emotive.
Our discussions with our people tend to be along rational and logical lines, which presumes that people always think and act logically and rationally. The fact that they don't is why we have managers.
How do you incorporate emotions - yours and theirs - into your discussions with your people? It is not easy. Many of us - possibly more so with men than women - find it hard to express feelings. When you ask a man how he feels, you are more likely to get a response that tells you what he is thinking. Men have been conditioned to repress feelings.
Here are some guidelines to get at the underlying emotions affecting behaviour.
- Be authentic yourself. Practise getting in touch with your own feelings. Try focusing on how you are feeling - block other things out of your mind. Close your eyes and 'feel' your body in your mind from head to foot. Write down words that describe how you feel, not what you think. Express your feelings honestly.
- Describe your genuine feelings using statements such as: I feel disillusioned and let down; I feel uncomfortable with this; I'm angry that you did that; I'm disappointed that this has happened; I'm apprehensive about doing this; I feel such great relief; I'm really cheesed off about this; I feel very comfortable about your approach; I feel a lot of anxiety about this; what you did makes me feel very confident about you; I feel very encouraged by your efforts; I'm really excited about our plans; I feel sad that this has happened; and this just doesn't feel right to me.
- Conversations that involve both thoughts and feelings are more honest, more powerful, more rewarding and, importantly, more likely to lead to the behaviour you desire from your people.
- Encourage your people to express their emotions by asking:
How do you feel about this? No. I don't want to know just what you are thinking. I want to know how you are feeling.
What's happening for you in relation to this situation?
How do you feel inside about this?
What does your heart tell you to do?
What is your gut feel for this?
Forget all the logic. What does your intuition say?
What's your emotional commitment to this?
Would you say you feel good or bad about this?
Well, we've heard from everybody in terms of what we think about the situation. Now I'd like to hear how we all feel about the situation.
Having got the feelings out in the open, we can now explore what's causing them. Have you ever heard yourself after the event say something like, "I wish that I hadn't ignored my gut feeling".
Many a disaster has been avoided because someone was listening to their feelings and was not afraid to say, "Look. I understand the logic and the rationale. And I agree it all seems to make sense. But something still doesn't feel right about this. Let's go over it again and try looking at it from some different angles."
Time for answers
I GET loads of emails asking to solve sales dilemmas. Here are a few that may relate to your job, your life, and most important, your sales thought process right now:
Jeffrey, I don't have a problem finding new customers. It's keeping my current customers that I struggle with. What's the best way to make customers feel appreciated, so they come back again and again?
Steven, think about the companies that you buy from more than once. They have accessibility both online and on the phone. They have reliability to get you what you want, when you want it. They have perceived value in both their products and their services. And as a bonus, they have friendly people to serve you. These are the elements that make me want to spend my money and I feel confident would want to make you spend your money as well. Best regards, Jeffrey.
Jeffrey, About 10 years ago, you published the book Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. Have the dynamics of generating loyalty changed with the deepened role of the Internet in sales and communication?
Nick, the only thing that's happened to loyalty over the past decade is that the importance of it has finally come to the forefront. I love companies that brag about their 98 per cent satisfaction rate among customers, yet for one reason or another they lose 15 per cent of their customer base annually. Interestingly, since the internet is always available and getting easier to use by the day; it has generated increased loyalty among shoppers and more viral word of mouth because web communities, bloggers, and Google have created a new awareness. Best regards, Jeffrey.
Jeffrey, How do you recommend that I sell to a company that's "weathering the tough economy?" I'm a young company and I'm trying to close that crucial first sales. My product is an advertising/marketing solution, especially advertising for credit card companies. As you know, advertising is one of the first places that companies scale back (even though tough times are the best time to ramp up advertising) their spending. My selling proposition is not for companies to increase advertising spending. In fact my proposition is that my product will decrease advertising spending and augment the effectiveness of their other advertising efforts.
Jeromy, stop using the word advertising. Nobody wants to advertise, but everybody wants what advertising does. Focus on words like 'increased sales', 'increased traffic', 'increased exposure', and 'increased profit'. The key to your sale lies in the customer's ability to see what is in it for them and act accordingly. Best regards, Jeffrey.
Jeffrey, what would cause you to fire a customer?
Dan, my first disclaimer is: I've never done it. I have, however, fired internal customers. I would fire a customer for failure to keep their promises, failure to act in an ethical manner, not telling me the truth, creating unreasonable demands, or not allowing us to make a profit.
But I wouldn't just fire them; I would sit down with the highest-ranking officer in the company and talk to him or her face to face, openly and honestly, about what our challenges are. I would tell him or her that I can't continue to do business under these circumstances.
If there were no ability or desire to change the situation, then I would try to find another source for them - the competitor I hate the most. Best regards, Jeffrey.
Jeffrey, if I sell office equipment, what examples would I provide in my speech to pose an interest while preventing them from running away?
Colleen, when you give a speech to a civic group, never speak about what you do. Speak about what they do as it relates to you. If you sell office equipment, then your job is to talk about office morale, office productivity, and office productivity - something the audience will relate to and think of you as an expert, want to see you again, and want to buy from you. Best regards, Jeffrey.