April 28th, 2016
Talking to a client the other day about prioritising work and giving yourself time to think about planning ahead, the immediate comment was. ” I would like to, but I don’t have the time to think”. I was then shown several piles of papers and files to highlight the problem.
The complaint is common, the solution is not. In this particular case it revolves around delegation. There are major advantages in delegating to others, but we must also realise that in the short term, the person we delegate to, will need support and may not action the task as we would have done or it may not initially be quite correct. We will need to help them whilst accepting the responsibility for the task. It takes time and often we think that it would be better and quicker if we’d not delegated. Just think it through, over time, how we can consentrate more on building the business, knowing someone is now looking after the task that we used to do.
It’s worth spending time supporting others with the tasks you are delegating, knowing how much of your time it will release. That time can then be used to think and plan for the future. Delegation; difficult to do, but with enormous rewards.
March 31st, 2016
Over the last couple of months, winter in the UK has really arrived. We’ve had wind, snow and so much rain that in several areas of North West England, floods cut off villages and forced people to leave their homes and businesses.
But people are working together and helping one another to ensure that as much as possible, their homes, livestock and businesses survive.
Collaborating with others for the benefit of all, is a subject that businesses generally, are talking about at the moment. It is very much a way forward, but when you think about it, people have been doing it for generations, especially in times of crisis.
We probably just haven’t noticed.
February 25th, 2016
Christmas and Christmas Markets seem a long time ago now, although the weather is colder now than it was two months ago. Then we mixed business planning for 2016 and beyond, with a generous dose of being social and having fun.
A couple of months on, how is it going?Depending on when your year-end is, are you in Quarter one or four?
Talking to a client the other day, not only were we talking about last Christmas, we were also thinking back to when they first started on their business journey and how every penny counted. Slowly they built their business, sometimes there were painful moments, a ‘good’ customer went out of business and that made it very difficult in terms of cash-flow, but they had a little reserve and they just managed to pull through.
Planning for the bad times, as well as the good, is all part of growing the business. Life is full of peaks and troughs, that includes your business life too. But don’t forget the ‘fun’ bits too!
November 6th, 2015
I’m a latecomer to this book by Rob Temple, the paperback edition being published last year, about ‘Very British Problems’ It reinforces many of the things we British say and do. It’s a funny book to read and I laughed out loud several times (not always a good idea when you’re sitting on a ‘plane) when I was reading parts of it. But it also made me think.
Think about the way we are seen by people not from the UK who are hoping to do business with us. I would like to think they will have researched beforehand, how to engage with us so that a good business relationship can develop.
And then I reflected on how many times UK business people try to sell into other countries. They research the market, their competitors, even their own internal skill sets, but not always the way to engage with the business people of that particular country. Don’t forget too, that different parts of the UK, can have different ways of doing business ( I have lived in several parts of the UK as well as overseas and there are definitely differences in culture).
For those in the UK, enjoy the book, smile and reflect. For those outside the UK, if you can find it, enjoy it and see how many (if any) similarities there are between us.
September 25th, 2015
How many times have you heard ‘ I need to work on my business and its growth, not just next month, but for the next two years’. This is something that small businesses in particular have a issue with; planning for the future growth of their business.
It needs time, and space, to really think clearly about what you want to achieve. Something that I thinks works well is to take yourself out of the normal office environment and go to a place that gives you the feeling of ‘space’. Somewhere that allows your mind to wander, away from the routine of day to day operations. (It will go back to ‘operational’ occasionally, but that’s ok so long as it doesn’t dominate).
If you take a colleague or team with you, that can give the opportunity to ‘play’ with thoughts and ideas. Whatever you do and whether you’re on your own or with others, if you find the right space, it will give you the time to plan for the future growth of the business……..and you might also enjoy the view!
August 29th, 2015
A massive change takes place in many parts of the world, usually at the end of August and in the month of September. Schools, colleges and universities all re-open and thousands of workers go back to work after their summer holidays. They commute by car, bus, tram, tube, train, boat, cycles, motorcycles, some by ‘plane and some actually walk.
Apart from every single method of transport being very busy for about 3 to 4 hours in the morning and probably even longer in the evening, it doesn’t help productivity and the well-being of all those travelling.
Technology now allows work to be carried out anywhere, anytime, so why do we insist on asking people to commute every day. Why don’t we give people the tools to do their job, the support that they might need and trust them. There are various debates about how to do it and the right balance of support and ‘community’ but surely flexibility is a competitive advantage, not only to obtain and keep customers but also talent.
August 11th, 2015
I’ve just been talking to someone about business tools and which are important and which are just ‘nice to have’. The one area he had not considered was the tool of ‘time’.
We all have 24 hours in the day but how that time is used can make a massive difference on the success and growth of a business. We are in the main holiday season now and it’s easy to slip into ‘coasting’ mode as many of our contacts and customers are on holiday. This is though, a great opportunity to look at what we want to achieve before the end of December. We have the time to think and the time to plan, before everybody comes back from holiday and we find ourselves back in the ‘cut and thrust’ of the day to day operations.
Use this time wisely. Think, plan and of course enjoy the time and hopefully weather, to prepare.
But don’t forget to give you, your family and friends time as well. Life is not all work!
July 24th, 2015
I was having a conversation a few weeks ago with a business owner who was trying to plan for the rest of the year
He was complaining about August and how he finds it difficult to generate sales in this traditional holiday month. As a result, he wasn’t looking forward to the summer and it was clouding (sorry about the pun) his judgement on how he takes his business forward.
After a couple of conversations, we devised a plan for him to start discussions with potential customers earlier than he would normally.Two things have happened, sales leads that would normally not convert into actual sales until September or even October, coming in early, and using the slowdown in August to plan for the rest of the year and beyond.
Sometimes it just needs the ability to stand back and re-think, rather than do what has always been done in a way that people have always done it.
July 16th, 2015
I had my day all planned. I was working in the office. There were some emails to write and a number of ‘phone calls that needed to be made and a possible VOIP call, together with a couple of face to face conversations.
All very manageable I thought. Then I realised that there was no internet. It wasn’t slow or intermittent, it just wasn’t there at all. First step, check again, just in case, no still not working. Next step, ring the tech guys, they’ll investigate and respond. Now what!?
It’s surprising what happens when you look at a situation in a different way. The ‘phone calls were made, the face to face conversations took place and a proposal I needed to complete for the following week, was completed early. The emails? Extra ‘phone calls were made to explain for the important ones and the VOIP meeting. The rest waited until my internet was back on line.
Think differently. It works
July 3rd, 2015
His comments were straight to the point, that’s what I expected from a man known for his forthright views. Sir Digby Jones is not what you might call a diplomat (I’m sure he will admit that!). If you ask him a question, he will give you a direct answer and look at you when he talks to you. I like that in business. His comments and answers were easy to understand.
We, in the northern hemisphere, tend to much more direct than others in different parts of the world. We understand each other, however it can cause problems, and offence, if the company is exporting or dealing with other companies that take a different view to doing business.
It’s neither right or wrong, it’s just different. So many companies try to do business ‘their way’ when a little understanding and ability to adapt to a different cultural environment, could generate opportunities for them
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