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…

Why Everything You’ve Ever Been Told About Time Management Is A Lie!

Do you regularly wish there were more hours in the day? Or wonder why others seem so organised when you feel frazzled? Today I’m going to let you into 3 of my favourite secrets to overcoming the overwhelm and feeling like you’re in control of your workload. Time management is a lie! There are 24 hours in every day, 60 minutes in every hour and 60 seconds in every minute. None of that is negotiable. None of it is stretchable, shrinkable, repeatable or manoeuvrable. Time is simply not manageable. No wonder all those time management techniques don’t seem to work! The good news is…

Why Consistent Marketing is Crucial

Is your marketing planned, structured and consistent? Or are you like most people who squeeze it into whatever gaps are left once everything else is done? That’s if there are any gaps at all of course! One of the biggest reasons that businesses don’t grow as fast as they could is because they don’t have a clear marketing plan and don’t treat it as a priority.  Of course it’s always tempting to let the marketing slip when things are busy and you have plenty of clients. But so many people allow their marketing to really dry up during those times and…

How To Take More Holidays!

Anyone who knows me knows that I love my holidays. And that I regularly talk to clients about what holidays they’re planning. Whilst I do that because it’s a great subject to talk about, I’m also a massive believer in taking regular breaks to recharge your batteries, reward you for a job well done and help you refine your business plan. That’s right, I honestly believe that holidays help you to refine your business plan. By taking yourself out of the daily grind you give yourself the time and head-space to think, which can bring a level of clarity that’s very…

What’s The One Biggest Thing?

People often ask me “what’s the one change that would make the biggest difference to most businesses that want to grow?” I know they’re expecting me to say that it’s something along the lines of a great business plan; or a cash-flow forecast; or maybe a slick marketing strategy underpinned by a great USP. But the real answer is way more simple than all of those things. It’s simple, but it takes genuine dedication to truly master. It’s Responsibility. Recognising what responsibility really means and then applying this into your business every day is the difference between constantly getting round to things…

Are You Stuck Planning The Plan?

Do you set goals for your business? Or do you think that’s just text book rubbish which never seems to really work in practice? I speak to lots of people running their own businesses who’ve either given up setting goals because life, the world and everything always seems to get in the way anyway; or they don’t set them because they just don’t know where to start. Should you just put a finger in the air and pluck out some figures that sound about right? Should goals always be financial or should they be about other things? There are so…

Untangling The Confusion Around Cashflow Forecasts – Part 1

I’m a firm believer that every business large or small, well-established or brand-new, needs a cash flow forecast in place yet only around 10% of the businesses I talked to actually have one and use it regularly. The 3 main reasons people give me for not having this in place are: They don’t know how to do it They don’t see any benefit in having it so they’re not sold on why to do it (I know I’ve got enough cash in the bank to pay for everything, isn’t that enough?) They don’t want to face up to the truth…

Why It’s OK To Say “I’ll Never Be Any Good At Sales“

OK, let me ask you a question …what are the first few words that spring to mind when I say “salesperson”? Is it something like “professional, organised, well-trained and popular”? Or is it more like “pushy, sleazy, slimy, aggressive and arrogant”? This is a question I ask in lots of my workshops and I can pretty much guarantee that 90% of responses will be negative. Let’s cut to the chase here. Most people really don’t like salespeople. But wait …that’s not true. Most people really don’t like what they THINK a salesperson is. And if most people believe that becoming good…

4 Reasons Customer Feedback is Crucial for Small Business

When did you last ask your customers for feedback about your service? I mean really asked them not just a quick question in passing. When did you last ask your customer to give you brutally honest, no-holds-barred feedback? If you’re like the majority of small business owners the answer is probably never. Let’s face it, it’s time consuming, you might not be quite sure how to go about it so that the feedback is structured and useful and deep down the thought of really honest customer feedback is absolutely terrifying isn’t it? Even if you think you’re absolutely brilliant what if someone…

Why Not Everyone is Your Customer

One of the most common mistakes business owners make is thinking that everyone needs their product or service. How many times have you heard someone at a networking event say they’re looking for “anybody who runs their own business” or “anybody who needs X, Y or Z”? So, what’s the problem? Surely having a really broad target market can only be a good thing can’t it? No, sorry to disappoint you but trying to be all things to all people generally leads to a constant battle to find more customers. And here is why: When you try and appeal to everyone you won’t…

Why Your Business Needs Competition

Business would be so much easier if there was no competition wouldn’t it? No need to guess whether someone else is going to undercut you. No more worrying about losing your existing customers to somebody else. But here is the real irony. With no competition you would most probably have no business at all. No competition is usually a sign that there is either: no real demand for what you sell or provide; or not enough people willing to pay the sort of price you need to charge in order to make a profit And don’t forget that competition means you have…

Are You A Sales Guru or Sales Phobic?

There’s a question that I regularly ask new business owners that I meet. It’s a really simple question but it can be incredibly insightful. The question is … “what’s your opinion of salespeople?” Their answer usually speaks volumes about their personal approach to sales, about their team’s approach if they have a sales team, but more importantly about their business’ current sales performance as a result. So what’s your opinion? Do you think of salespeople as being pushy, aggressive, inconvenient, or worse? Or do you consider them to be skilled professionals who build great relationships and guide customers through a clear buying…

How British Is Your Attitude?

We all know that Americans are fantastic at congratulating themselves and each other for their success. The Australians are always looking for an excuse to chill out & reflect on what they’re achieved. If we’re honest though, don’t most Brits think that’s all just a bit crass? As a nation we’re brought up with a head down, soldier on, stiff upper lip attitude. Just look at the current trend for ‘Keep calm and …..’ slogans. All that slogan says is ‘life’s supposed to be difficult but that’s OK because we’re British so we can handle it’. Enough! I have news for…

Do You Have Vision?

When I talk to small business owners about their vision I hardly ever receive a crystal clear response. Typically people have a rough idea of what they want to achieve but they’re so entrenched within the day to day detail of their business that they rarely stop to solidify their vision for the future. I often get asked why a vision is so important anyway. What I hear is: why bother with a vision statement at all? Isn’t a rough outline of what I want to achieve enough? And aren’t vision and mission statements just for big, faceless companies so they…