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

The West Wing

Time is something that we all have exactly the same amount of as each other and yet some people seem to do so much more with their allotted amount than others.  One of the questions that I am asked the most is how to make more time?  Well, the simple answer is that you can’t.  But, what you can do is save time: make better use of the time that you have.

Most things will take as long as you allow them to.  So, an easy way of saving time is to give everything you do a set amount of time: making it less than you normally might.

One of the biggest users of time are meetings.  Endless meetings, meetings to discuss meetings, meetings because that is what you are suppose to do.

I firmly believe that most meetings could be at least 25% shorter, maybe 50%, and that some meetings need not happen at all.  I will explain my rationale.

Most meetings are given a set time: 30 minutes, an hour, maybe two, maybe even all day.  Then an agenda is worked out to fill the time decided on.  A meeting might be scheduled for 2 hours every week and so it is filled up with stuff to take two hours.  But what if there are only 20 minutes of material to cover?

So, how about trying this?  Decide what needs to be covered in a meeting and however long that requirement is, that is the length of the meeting: whether it be 20 minutes or one hour and thirty-five minutes.  Trust me, no one will complain about having shorter meetings if it means they get something else done.

Another major loss of time in meetings is bad chairmanship; people getting way off the subject in hand and being allowed to waffle.  Every point on the agenda should have a fixed amount of time and then that time stuck to. 

Practise just these two things and I promise you will save hours of time.

I titled this blog ‘The West Wing’ I don’t know if you have ever watched the programme but if you have you will have noticed that some of the President’s meetings are just a few minutes long.  When what needs to be said has been said the meeting is over and it’s on to the next one.  Now before you say “It’s only a TV show” do you really think a President runs the US without having such meetings?

It’s a Rush!

Formula 1 in 1976 was a high point for me. James Hunt (my all-time favourite F1 driver) became World Champion and I had been at the British Grand Prix to see him ‘win’.  Later on I was to meet him and even race against him.  So it was with a feeling of excitement when I first watched ‘Rush’, the film of the story of the 1976 season and his battle with Niki Lauda.  Two very different people but with one common goal, to be the very best; at any cost!

I was a little concerned that they might make my hero out to be something he wasn’t, but from my, albeit limited, knowledge of the man, I think Ron Howard (the director) did a really good job.  I thought the film was brilliant and conveyed the sport as it was at that time.

Now what has ‘Rush’ got to do with us as business owners?  What can we learn from Hunt and Lauda?  Well the first thing is that you can come from totally different backgrounds, have totally different perspectives on life – Hunt and Lauda couldn’t have been more different – but also you have to have a real passion, a burning passion, and determination, if you are going to stand any chance of achieving your goal.

As I say, both Hunt and Lauda had a dream, to be the Formula 1 World Champion, but that was their long-term goal, and along the way there had many short-term goals.  They worked race by race.  Then there were rules, governing bodies, competition from other drivers, the weather, lack of money, the unknown, constant danger and distractions.  In the final race of the season in Japan, Hunt knew where he had to finish in order to be crowned World Champion.  He had his short-term goal which would lead him to his long-term goal.

A major part of their success was down to what each would sacrifice in order to live their dream.  Lauda had to give up his family to race and even James Hunt had to cut back on his ‘activities’ in order to win.  But more than that, it was their total commitment to winning (Hunt was normally physically sick before a race), to being the best, that made them both winners.

So, have you a dream? A goal?  And do you know what it would really need you to do to achieve it?  But, more importantly, have you the drive, the courage, to make it happen?  No matter what the world throws at you.

In the last race in Japan James Hunt had to pit for new tyres just a few laps from the end of the race. To most people his chance of being World Champion was gone.  Ferrari the team Lauda drove for was going mad.  But even then did James Hunt give up?  Many would have and would have said that it just wasn’t to be.

No, this was his dream and nothing was going to stop him.

Down at the local pub!

I was speaking at the same event as Penny Power and as I was on stage directly after her decided to sit in on her session.  She was talking about social media and how so many people get it wrong, as they just broadcast rather than take part in a conversation.  She likened it to moving in to a new village, popping down to the local pub, opening the door and announcing “I’m an architect” rather than going in and sitting at the bar, buying a drink, getting to know the locals, and then them finding out, in time, that you were an architect.  And, it got me thinking.

So many people do just the same when networking.  You meet some, in fact lots, at every networking event there is, they just introduce themselves and then say, “I’m an architect; here’s my card.” And that’s about it!  You can obviously replace architect with: accountant, solicitor, printer, web designer, business coach, mobile phone supplier.  Need I go on?

Well networking is just like social media; it’s about starting a conversation.  It’s about building a relationship.  It’s certainly not about a quick ‘hit’ and moving on.

If you are going to be a really successful networker, to really benefit from networking, you have to be prepared to make an effort, to really get to know the people you meet, and that takes time.

So, please don’t rush in with “I’m an architect”. Instead ask about the other person, have an interesting question or two to ask, and never ‘push’ your business card.  And when they do ask what you do, because they will (it’s the polite thing to do), please don’t say, “I’m an architect”.  That’s just so boring!  Have something interesting to say, like “I help people to live in the home of their dreams!”.

Start a conversation, agree to meet again, contact each other by email, and build a long term relationship, that if mutually beneficial, will bring far greater rewards than anything a quick ‘hit’ will ever bring.

Earn more just by dressing up!

Making a good profit can be a hard thing to achieve, In fact, at times, any profit is hard to make, but so many business owners make this more difficult than it need be.  There are so many ways to make more profit and one of those is to simply charge more for what you do.  Again there are many reasons for charging more for your service but one of the best is just dressing up!

I will assume that you are very good at what you do and that you give an incredible service.  But now I will give you two examples of how the same business might be sold.  For each I will just concentrate on three areas, but I’m sure that you will get the picture.

Method one:  The owner drives up in a dirty three-year old car, his business card is flimsy and has a number crossed out on it, and, to be honest, he looks like he has been away camping for the last few days.

Method two:  The owner drives up in a beautifully clean three-year old car, his business card is branded and printed on a heavy board, and he looks as if he is going somewhere special.

Now remember they are providing exactly the same service.  Which would you more likely give your business to?  But, more importantly, most people would pay more money for the service provided by the second method.

There is another point to my example: you knew the service was the same in both cases, but what if you didn’t?  Who would you have chosen to buy from?

‘Designer’ goods are all about dressing up: charging more and making more profit.  Okay the quality of a £4 pair of jeans from the supermarket is not the same as that of a ‘designer’ pair, but a great deal of the price paid is for the ‘look’ and not totally the product.

So, if you want to increase your profits, why not just try ‘dressing up’ a little? Believe it or not – it does make a difference.

Kick Started

Everyone I know received a bit, or a great deal, of a kick start when they first got their business going; and in fact still do today. It may have been their mum and dad, brother or sister, a friend, another business owner, someone famous on TV, someone in history, or at a live business event. The possibilities are endless but it can make a large difference to someone’s success.

The same is true when things get hard; finding a person that will give you a ‘kick’. The trouble with many business owners is that when their business is running they don’t like to ask others for help when things are tough as it seems weak. Many also think that they know more than most others so they can’t in fact be helped. Often that is a big mistake because often a ‘kick’ makes you think differently – it’s not an obvious answer.

Kickstarter exists to help bring creative projects to life and it can make an enormous difference to how you start a project; a new business.

During the lockdown my son has written a comic book. He has been planning it for years but being ‘locked down’ he was given the time to work on it and Kickstarter gave him the ‘kick’ and the knowledge to launch his comic. I have to say that it has been great and I’m really looking forward to getting my printed copy.

So, now maybe the time that you need a ‘kick’, from a friend, or a mentor, the important thing is to improve the way your business operates, adapt the current situation, and make sure that your business is successful going forward.

If you like adventure have a look at my son’s comic book; it might just give you a little kick (in more ways than one). You can see it here.