The Power of Asking Great Questions

I want to let you into a secret this week that could save you lots of time and energy in your future sales meetings. It’s a great trick that could make those meetings feel much less stressful, run more smoothly and hopefully become a lot more lucrative for you too. Because I know that sales meetings for many people growing a business, are a thing of dread! But they really don’t need to be. The simple fact is that without making sales, a business simply can’t grow. But there’s a way to manage these meetings so that you can feel professional…

How To Write A Super Simple Business Plan

Do you have a business plan that feels like a living, breathing guide for your actions every week? Or is it one of those things that you created once, tucked away nicely in the bottom drawer and have never looked at since? I know that a huge number of people running their own businesses wish they had a plan, and feel like it’s something they should definitely do, but they simply don’t know where to start. How many pages does it need to be? How much detail should it have? How many years ahead should it forecast? And how can…

Are Your Brutal Enough With Your Time?

I’ve been talking to several clients recently who are really struggling to fit everything in. It’s a very common challenge when you’re running your own business! One of the biggest reasons this happens is because it’s easy to give away huge chunks of your time for free without realising that’s what’s happening. Possibly because there are invitations or opportunities that might lead to some juicy work down the line; or because deadlines are a little blurry; or because they’re just really nice people who love to help others. The challenge though is that when you give away too much of your…

Are your Customers Always Testing Your Boundaries?

Do you have customers who always seem to work on the ‘give them an inch and they’ll take a mile’ principle? The truth is that most businesses have at least a couple of customers like that. Often it creeps up on you until you suddenly realise that you’ve delivered way more than a customer has paid for and you’re not quite sure how it happened. Over-servicing has a nasty habit of catching you out like that! The good news is that there is usually a very simple solution to this. Here are a few classic examples that may feel familiar to…

What’s The Definition of Success?

Do you have a really clear image of what your business will look like when it’s successful? I often find that people start a business with a short term financial target in mind. Most people know how much money they need their business to make for it to be sustainable, and they focus on that. I typically find that beyond that point though, the majority don’t have a clear definition of success and that’s when it’s easy to find yourself drifting or to feel as though you’re working incredibly hard but you’re not actually that clear what it’s all for.   There…

Why You Deserve A Payrise!

I’ve been talking to several clients recently about their business goals. It’s reminded me how common it is to see people running a business, working tirelessly to deliver a fantastic service to their clients but paying themselves a frankly measly salary. So many people pay everyone and everything else before they pay themselves, and are almost grateful if there’s anything actually left for themselves once everything else is covered. It’s a very British trait. But it’s bad for business! And here’s why … Because You’re Worth It! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to earn a fair wage for a fair day’s work….

The Trap of Changing Too Much Too Soon

Are you a shining beacon of organisation? Or are you like most people in business who would love to feel more organised but are too busy dealing with all the day to day challenges so they never have time to sort things out? Have you tried to put lots of things in place, like systems and templates but you quickly get frustrated with them and feel as though they’re just creating extra work so you give up after a few days or weeks? Then I have good news for you! There’s a fair chance your quest for seamless organisation has led you…

7 Classic Networking Mistakes & How To Avoid Them

Are you a networker? I’ve been using business networking as my primary marketing strategy for the last 7 or 8 years.  I met around 75% of my current clients via business networking so I absolutely know it can work. It definitely didn’t work overnight for me though. I can honestly say I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my time! There are a huge range of benefits from business networking beyond the obvious chance to find new clients. Being part of a supportive business community and spending time with people facing similar challenges to you can be very reassuring. I also find all…

Why Every Business Needs A Sales Process

When I say ‘sales process’ does that make you think of pushy, aggressive sales people who have their own inflexible approach that never bends regardless of your needs as a customer? If it does, don’t worry, you’re definitely not alone because I know it implies that for a lot of people! But it absolutely doesn’t have to mean that. I’m a huge believer that every business should have a sales process because it’s actually the best way to make sure your prospects get exactly what they need. Yes, it helps you to organise yourself and your business and to keep…

Why Pressure Is A Privilege

I was absolutely engrossed over the weekend watching the Winter Olympics. Saturday was an amazing, record breaking day for Great Britain as we won 3 medals in a day for the first time ever. What brilliant performances! There was one throwaway line in skeleton gold-medallist Lizzy Yarnold’s post-competition interview that really intrigued me though. She was asked what a difference it had made to her training and preparations to have another emerging British athlete breathing down her neck. And she replied “pressure is a privilege”. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it described that way before! It made me think about the pressure…

3 Ways To Get Paid Faster

One of the most damaging things to a small business is having clients that pay late.  The best laid plans can be shattered when expected payments don’t arrive. You may then find yourself in that awkward situation of having to juggle the payments due out of your own business and working out what’s the most urgent versus what can wait. You might have to put marketing or outsourcing plans on hold because you no longer have the budget. And of course you have the headache of how and when to follow up. How do you chase up this money…

Does Putting Your Prices Up Fill You With Dread?

At this time of year I always find myself talking to a lot of people about their prices. There’s a natural trend within all the new-year target setting for people to decide that the time has come to charge what they’re truly worth instead of underselling themselves. Price is a hugely emotive issue though, and that makes it very difficult to be objective about it when it comes to your own business. You may well know that you’re undercharging but still have a mountain of doubts about putting your prices up. Many people worry over questions like: Will people think I’m worth…

Are You Still Getting Round To It?

Are you like so many business owners out there who still have a mahoosive list of things you’re getting round to? Do you have that one thing that’s always number two on your to do list but somehow it never quite makes it to number one! You could call this procrastinating, you could call it faffing; you might think it’s because you’re disorganised or terrible at prioritising. The reality is probably a whole lot simpler though. Here’s an example of something I’d been getting around to for about the last 3 years. I’m using this to show you the three simple…

The Three Enemies of Focus and How To Avoid Them

Focus is such a straightforward thing when you think about it. I mean, how hard can it possibly be to decide what you’re going to do, get started, stay on track and get everything done? On paper it’s a doddle isn’t it? And yet all too often we start with the best of intentions but then get drawn away, distracted or diverted so that focus becomes something we crave but can never quite seem to master. And then we usually beat ourselves up about being unable to stay focused! So here are 3 of the biggest reasons that people lose focus…

Why Christmas Is A Great Time To Grow Your Business

Warning … I’m going to talk about the C word. Christmas! There I said it! Do you feel as though Christmas starts earlier and earlier every year? I do. Decorations start going up in November; Christmas gifts are in the shops months in advance; Mariah Carey is on the radio for the 14 bazillionth time; everyone at work is talking about Christmas parties and Christmas holidays. More importantly, customers and suppliers start to turn down meetings. “Let’s do that in January instead.” By mid-December the roads start to get much quieter. People are staying in their offices instead of getting out…