Featured

Welcome…

Thank you for finding my blog; I hope you enjoy reading it and also find it useful.

So why am I writing a business blog?

In answer to that, I guess I need to start at the beginning. I’ve never been one for lots of rules and taking orders from other people. I know it’s a fact of life and at some point we all have to, but I wanted to minimise these things as much as I possibly could and so at the age of 21 I started my first business.

As both my business and my commitments grew (a mortgage and a growing family) so did the rules and having to do what others say. But I still wanted to ‘play’ a little at business and at the same time earn some extra money for the fun things I wanted that my mortgage payments wouldn’t let me have, and so I’ve always been involved with other businesses; mostly successful but some not so.

Building businesses successfully from scratch, coupled with the knowledge gained of other business sectors, has given me not only a great deal of enjoyment but also invaluable practical experiences.

I now concentrate on providing support, marketing advice, networking know-how, plus a wide-range of other business learning. Often this leads to mentoring and consultancy.

And, that is why I’m writing this blog because business owners might just find my ideas and experience pretty useful.

9 Days to go!!

You may have read my blog, back in June 2020, about getting Kick Started. If not here it is – Kick Started.

It was about one of my sons writing his first Comic Book; it was all about The Hoards of Surrey. It’s a great story, has some brilliant art, and is about a very British treasure hunt! Well it was a success and now Part Two is being produced.

The Hoards of Surrey

Again it is with Kickstarter and well worth a look; Kickstarter could be just what you want for something you are working on.

But, back to my sons Comic Book, you can even pledge for Book One as well. And, get your own commissioned deal by the artist.

So, please do have a look and pass on the link, I would love to see Part Two in print, but there is only nine days left for his success. You can have a look here.

Thank you.

Standing on a chair!

In a few months’ time, networking (in groups) should return and it got me thinking.  You know the sort of thing, loads of business owners in a room, food and drink, lots of noise, so you have to shout to make yourself heard, and a few people get to give a sales pitch.  And, unless you are standing in the front row, or the event has a PA, they can’t be heard and so everyone just continues talking, not taking the slightest bit of notice.

Pretty much a waste of time!  Well at one event I remember one of the speakers did their best to be heard; to stand out.  They jumped up on a chair and spoke from there.  From where I was, at least I could see him, but I still couldn’t hear a word that he said.

And, it got me thinking about standing out from the crowd. About a business having a USP (Unique Selling Proposition); a thing that makes you special. I had already met three photographers that evening and they had all said pretty much the same thing; great pictures, latest technology, reliable service.  And, that their prices were coming down all the time.  They had nothing unique, so the only thing that they could sell was on price.

So, my question is – what is your USP?  When you next go networking and your competition is in the room, how will you stand out?  What makes you truly different?

Here are three things that might help you to develop a really valuable USP.  That will help you to win more business and be able to charge more.

  1. You can’t use what you see as benefits that your competition would also use, or for that matter are just expected of any good supplier.  For example: outstanding photography, reliable, we go the extra mile.  It has to be unique.
  2. Really dig down into what you do.  Ask a friend to ask you this question, “So, why is that good?”  And, get them to keep asking you the same question until your answer really makes them say, “Okay, now I’m interested!”  For example: the computers you sell have the latest chip.  “So, why is that good?”  The answer might be because data is processed faster.  “So, why is that good?”  The answer might be because then you get you work done faster.  “So, why is that good?”  Get the idea?  You just go on and on, until you really hit the reason that matters.
  3. A real success story.  I heard a great example of this recently from a garage. Like most garages they did servicing, MOTs and body repairs. But, how about this for being truly unique?  They service a fleet of Mercedes for a Royal family.  Now that has to put them a step above the norm.

So, develop a one-off USP and you really will stand out when networking and it will help you win more business.

What is Carbon Neutrality (Net Zero)?

Carbon neutrality, or having a net zero carbon footprint, refers to achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions by balancing carbon emissions with carbon removal (often through carbon offsetting) or simply eliminating carbon emissions altogether (the transition to the “post-carbon economy”). 

It is used in the context of carbon dioxide-releasing processes associated with transportation, energy production, agriculture, and industrial processes. For many businesses this could be a case of making sure equipment is turned off when not in use, being more energy efficient and obtaining a green source of energy.

But what does this mean for your business? Well, there will come a time when the government will put pressure on businesses by legislation and making it compulsory for businesses across the country to reduce their carbon footprint.

Some businesses have already started the change by looking at a greener form of energy, which in turn reduces their carbon production.

For example Full Power recognises that change needs to happen now. By looking at a business’s utility output they can help to reduce their carbon footprint by procuring a greener option and help them to get on track with not only the government’s requirements but the ethics of that business.

Full Power work with all the green and renewable suppliers in the commercial market to ensure that the supply is the right fit for your business.

So, now is the time to start thinking, and if you would like to know a bit more, do get in touch.

End Times…

We all set start times for things – let’s face it, it would be pretty difficult not to. But very few of us set end times. A time that whatever we are doing will end.

In fact, talking of start times, let’s cover those first. Have you ever thought about making a start time not on the hour? Most meetings are naturally set on the hour.  10.00am – 11.00am – 2.00pm that sort of thing.

So how about instead of setting a time of say 10.00am you go for 10.15am? It’s amazing the difference it makes. Psychologically it says the meeting will be shorter – because people’s minds work in hours. And of course it marks you out as different. You stand out. It’s a small thing but it helps you to be remembered.

But put that together with end times and you have a real winner.

Most people don’t set end times for their meetings and so their meetings take as long as they – well take. In consequence they allow any meetings they have a large window of time. Extra time in case they run-over. Or even – just because they don’t have much else to do. Nothing planned. The thing is these people don’t value their time. The amazing thing is that time is the only thing we can’t get more of – when it’s gone, it’s gone.

Why do meetings drift? The simple answer is because most people don’t plan their meetings. They have a broad topic (or an overloaded topic) – but that’s about it. So it’s impossible to know how long they will take.

So a great place, maybe the only place, to start is to plan your meetings; by doing that you will have a good idea of an end time.

On the other hand – just set an end time in the first place. You will be amazed at how much more focused your meetings will become and because of that a great deal more productive.

Now this might seem like a small thing (and you might already do it) – but it can have enormous benefits.

One of which is with diary dates. If you look at the average person’s diary they are filled with a lot of ‘air’.  Shall we say coffee time, or catching up on social media – that sort of thing. For example: meeting at 9.00am – not sure when it will end, so maybe the next meeting will be a 11.00am. Time for a coffee in between – or look around the shops. I bet you’ve been guilty of that. I know I used to be.

Worse still, I know business owners who never book more than one meeting in the morning and another in the afternoon! Why? Because they just don’t know how long their meetings will take. Nothing has been set.  It could be 20 minutes, on the other hand it could be two hours. Result? Lots of lost time.

Now just imagine what a difference there would be if you set an end time and didn’t start on the hour.

First meeting at 9.15am – finish by 10.00am. Next meeting at 10.30am ending at 11.30am. Meeting after that starts at 12.00 and ends at 12.45pm. All made possible by setting end times.

With clear focus and planning, meetings will be both shorter and more productive. Making it possible to have two, maybe three, meetings where before you had just the one.

Just think what that would do to your own personal productivity! Scary isn’t it?

But it doesn’t have to end there. Because all ‘meetings’ can have a fixed end time. Zoom calls, video calls, even plain old phone calls.

I know someone who only takes phone calls in the afternoon and they are all booked in slots of 15 and 20 minutes – on top of which before the call is made he has a rough agenda for the call. The amount of work this guy gets done in a day is just staggering.

If you value the limited time you have – please plan and set end times (end times made possible due to the planning) – I promise that you will discover time that you thought just didn’t exist.

Well that’s it, four really useful business practice thoughts that will give you more time.

I hope that you will implement some, if not all four, into your business and that you reap the rewards from doing so. If you do, frankly, the results will amaze you. And please don’t even think for the moment that you don’t have the time – because you do.

You will have hours, and I do mean hours, of extra time. But more importantly you will find that time pressure disappears and with that a vast amount of stress.

And it doesn’t matter who you are. Everyone can save some time. From maybe just a couple of hours a week to, in some cases, whole days. I’ve seen it!

Whichever it is, you don’t need much of an imagination, to see how the extra time would make a massive difference to your business – in fact your way of life.

You would have control; more time to work on your business. You could have a better work life balance. And, I’d almost guarantee, fewer sleepless nights.

No hair cut!

A friend of mine owns a hairdressing salon which is closed and has been for a great deal in the last year due to the lockdowns.

And because of this, people are trying all sorts of things: cutting, hair colours, new styles, with some being done by themselves and others by close contacts (in their bubble), who are prepared to take the chance for them. Some are successful and others are…well, not so good. Other people are just waiting for a haircut; I’m one of those!

Anyway, back to my friend and others like him; those who have no business at the moment. Week by week it’s getting harder for them and it’s not just about the lack of business now, as for some of them it is the damage that less business will do in the future when lockdown is lifted. I don’t know about you, but I know that things won’t suddenly go back to how they were. A great deal of business just won’t return; some things are changed permanently or, at the very least, long-term.

However, for some, like my friend, things are far better than they might have been. Why? Because he has spent a number of years building himself a residual income just like me. I build my residual income business for two reasons: one, to have extra holidays each year, and two, to add to my pension when I retire. But, the thing I like best about my residual income, is that it pops into my bank account every month, whether I’ve done any work or not, and will do long into the future.

What it’s doing for my friend at the moment is taking lots of earning pressure and worry off him.

Residual income is not a get-rich-scheme, although you can earn nicely pretty quickly, it’s more about thinking five, even ten, years into the future. The great thing is that there’s nothing to lose by trying it, but maybe something wonderful to gain. My friend has really discovered this.

So, if this interests you, have a look, as I say, there’s nothing to lose and now might just be an appropriate time to find out how good it could be. There are many options available. Two, connected services, which I find are very workable together are Full Power (commercial) and Utility Warehouse (domestic) energy. Just click on their names if you would like to know more, or give me a call.

10 Minutes of Fun!

Sounds good doesn’t it, but it does involve a little hard, physical work.

I was chatting recently with a Personal Trainer, who’s pretty much closed for business at the moment. But, she is doing lots to make sure that her business is not only better, but ready for training sessions when the lights go green and lockdown ends!

One thing she is doing is making a 10-minute training video. It’s aimed to not only keep people fit but also for them to have some fun. A real bounce! She suggests that you do it every day because it will relax you and help make the whole day better. One of my other friends actually works out, at 8.30 every morning, and it energises their day.

But, as far as her business goes, it’s even better than that, because it will be sent to every one of her customers and friends. Many of whom I’m sure will thank her for it. But, also she is going to ask them, if they enjoy the workout, if they would send it to three of their friends.

I asked her how many people she was sending it to and her answer was 43. Now not only is that fun for them but business-wise it could be a real winner. Imagine if people that are not already one of her customers, really find it stimulating; maybe they will become a new customer? But imagine if those 43 people each sent it to three of their friends; that would be another 129 people.

Now that really makes you think about the possible number of prospective customers she could have when the lights go green!

So, what could you make a 10 minute video about? Why not do it today!

The pen is mightier than the email!

Email is now one of the key ways in which we communicate.

It’s the same with the phone: texting has taken over: and that’s without WhatsApp (and more).  Although I often think that by the fifth text exchange it would have been easier and faster to have actually used the phone.

But email, that’s the thing.  We receive hundreds every day and, if not careful, we can lose whole days just sending and answering emails.  We feel we must; we are drawn to them.  They control our lives.  Well, they can do.

We also get spam; so much spam.  I even know people that just delete all of their emails, working on the assumption that if important enough the person sending the message will, having not had a reply, make contact again.

Writing a letter is almost a forgotten art.  Invoices arrive as pdfs.  All sorts of things can be downloaded or done online.  We live in the age of the computer and of the internet.

And this is why the pen can achieve such incredible results!

I’m sure that you must have received a ‘Thank you’ card from someone after they have been round for dinner.  Didn’t you feel great?  And, what about Christmas cards this year. Well, just imagine what your customers would feel like if you sent them a personal card.  How wonderful would they feel?  How would they feel about you?  You took the time to write them a card, which included buying a card, writing a message, putting the card in an envelope, affixing a stamp, and posting it.  What exactly does that say about how much they mean to you?

Fire off a quick email that may never be read, or send a lovely, personal, card.

You only have to ask: which would I like to receive?

So, if you want to make your clients feel really valued don’t always send that email. Send them a beautiful card instead and see your business grow!

Do you feel like you are on your own?

Many business owners feel like that they are on their own, that they are the person at the top, so it’s their job to sort things out.  After all, who can know more about their business than they do?  And, wouldn’t it be a sign of weakness, if they let anyone else know they had a problem?

They are the captain of their ship.  But then, we know of captains who have gone down with their ship, because they didn’t ask for help. 

Yes, no one else will know more about your business than you, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be helped and asking for help is everything but a sign of weakness. It is in fact a sign of strength!  It means that you are big enough to know what you are not so good ‘at’, and will ask for help from someone that is.  The result? – a much better company.

The reason I mention this, is that over the course of a number of conversations, three conversations were exactly the same.  They had the same problem, at almost the same time.  It doesn’t matter what the problem was, but my point is that they battled through the problem on their own, only just making it, and they didn’t have to.  All three were shattered, but knew they had to keep going.

A business mentor could have helped, because the mentor may have already been through what they were going through and therefore could offer guidance, but at the very least a mentor would have been someone to unload on and so take some of the pressure away.

But, maybe even better still, would have been to join a business group, where business owners get together to discuss their businesses: their problems, successes, ideas and much more, most importantly finding out that they are far from alone.  Groups offer help, support and guidance and can make a big difference to the success of your business.

So, if you want more success, less stress, and not to feel like you are totally on your own, why not join a group and discover the benefits for you and your business?

I was Kicked!

A few months ago, I talked about my son promoting his comic book with Kickstarter. Well he had success and over 200 people now have a copy of the comic. And, it’s good.

In my blog I talked about doing things differently in our current situation; not getting bitter but getting better.

I’ve written for many years and really enjoy doing so, mainly stories for children, about ponies and horses, and due to my son’s success with Kickstarter, I am now giving it a go myself.

You see, due to the effect of the current state of affairs, I’ve had time to write fully and find a great artist to paint the drawings I needed.

So, now I have a possible book being promoted with Kickstarter. I have to say it’s exciting, but also scary. What if I fail?

If you have a moment, love ponies and horses, are interested in a possible Christmas present, or are willing to help me, please do have a look at my book and help me succeed.

Here it is: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/davidwimblett/bonzo-and-her-grace-a-very-special-pony-rescue?ref=user_menu

Thank you