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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Is Your Business Safe To Drive?

Every morning when I get in my car I know instantly whether my car is safe to drive. I have the Blackpool illumination style lights show on the dashboard and then, fingers crossed, they all go off and I’m good to go. Some days though, there’s one left on. Now what am I going to do? Let’s be honest, I’m no petrol-head and whilst I know what the main dashboard lights are all about there are plenty that I haven’t got a clue about. That’s when the trusty handbook comes out of the glove compartment and tells me exactly what…