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Archive for the ‘Thought Bites’ Category

Listening! Sorry, what did you say?

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

20140620_122949Lara Morgan is Founder of Pacific Direct which she set up in 1991.

She talked a lot of sense and most of that was ‘common’ too.

As she mentioned, listening is a good skill to learn. Listen to your customers; listen to potential customers and listen to those that didn’t become customers!

Listen to your team; your suppliers; even your competitors. So much can be learnt from just listening. Then, of course, interpret it and turn it into action.

Ask questions that will encourage people to answer, then listen. If you don’t understand or the answer is not what you expected, than ask for clarification. People will give it.

Don’t leave without understanding. Your business will be better for it.   Just a Thought.

Think Big, Not Small

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

20140620_115219Michelle Mone, Founder of Ultimo, grew up in the east end of Glasgow, left school with no qualifications but had a ‘can do’ attitude to life.

She had a paper round whilst still at school and ended up ’employing’ 17 other people to service the various paper rounds.

Her early career was modeling but at 19, she had a baby and thought that she should find a job although that prospect didn’t delight her.

Throughout her life, she has always had this positive attitude and believes that nobody should wait for the opportunities to appear; they should go out and find them.

Listening to her and the peaks and troughs that she has had in her life, just highlights how business life can be. Sometimes it’s good and other times, it’s tough but the one thing it never is, is boring.

The opportunity to grow the business is always there, just seize it.

Perfectly Imperfect

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

20140620_105632Adam Shaw, Founder of the Ideas Company, has a view of how to grow a business.

His view is that we spend a lot of time fearing the destination; being concerned about what’s going to happen when we get there.

That is one reason why we never ‘arrive’. Instead of concentrating on the steps to get us to where we want to go, we sometimes think too far ahead.

His comment was that his mother kept asking ‘why not’ to his queries (I often ask that!). Why can’t you just be ‘perfectly imperfect’ and once he understood this, it gave him the freedom to go forward.

So why try to be perfect when ‘perfectly imperfect’ is ok!



Passion is all you need?

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

20140620_102422Wayne Hemingway,founder of Red or Dead, and now a driver for social change, challenged the audience to identify what makes an entrepreneur successful.

He believes that Passion plays a very important role when starting and building a business. That passion will take you to places and people that you never thought you would have access to,allowing your fledgling business to grow; but of course, you then have to deliver your promises to those people.

I’ve heard Wayne speak on several occasions and he is very passionate about the things he believes in and straight talking in his approach.

‘If you care, you will force change, because of your passion’

Now there’s a thought!


Liverpool Accelerate 2014

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

20140617_072951As part of the International Festival for Business, Liverpool, in the North West of England, hosted the conference,’ Accelerate’ for the second year.

There were three themes for this conference, Passion; Power and Performance. The speakers ranged from John Maltby, who is CEO of RBS, England and Wales, to Lara Morgan, Founder of Pacific Direct.

Over the next few weeks, I shall be giving a little insight into their subject matter and making a comment or two about what they said.

I call it ‘Thought Bites’

Hope you have your own thoughts on this business content. In the meantime, here are mine.

How do you create the cycle of innovation

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

20130909_181147A widely regarded leading expert on innovation and growth, Clayton Christensen, who is a Professor at Harvard Business School, was talking to a group of us at the RSA in London recently, and posed a question based on his knowledge of innovation creating growth and therefore jobs.

Between the end of the second world war and the turn of the century, it was taking an average of about six months for the economy to recover to its pre recession employment level. Since 2000, it’s taking longer and longer to reach the pre-recession employment levels, after a recession. He argues that there are three areas of innovation; Empowering, where capital is needed and jobs are created; Sustaining innovation, where fewer jobs are created and the business model is streamlined and Efficiency innovation, where the same products are produced, but much more cheaply, creates very few jobs, but freeing up financial capital. The problem arises because this financial capital  needs to get a good return for its owners and the owners of that capital, instead of encouraging innovation that leads to the need to employ people, they see a way of using the capital and obtaining a quick return, by investing in innovation that drives efficiency. Therefore how do you now use innovation to reduce unemployment after a recession?

Although it maybe an academic argument, the realities are there to be seen. More governments are finding it increasingly difficult to create an environment which encourages businesses to invest in people.

Over time, as Clayton Christensen agrees, the capital most sought after by businesses, could be people, but not yet. In the meantime, the greater the numbers of unemployed, for longer, the more frustrated everybody becomes.



Social Media, get the balance right.

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

This ‘Thought Bite’ follows on from the last speaker.

After listening to the very inspirational speaker Martha Lane Fox, the broadcaster, Declan Curry invited a number of entrepreneurs to join Martha on stage, for a panel discussion.Panel members  included Edwina Dunn, Founder of Dunnhumby.

The theme coming out of the debate was all about a balance of social media and professionalism. The argument was yes, use social  as much as possible, but concentrate on what’s relevant, not gossip or trivial.


Always remember there’s a human being at the other end, so be professional.

Wise words, especially as social media is now becoming the ‘norm’. Businesses will have to balance between the professional and the personal and some will do it better than others.


Have you a skill that somebody else needs.

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

This ‘Thought Bite’ is small but interesting.

Martha Lane FoxIn our businesses,we all have different skills. For some, it’s a financial skill, for others it’s production efficiency, others it may be ITC. Whatever it is , it has a value. It has a value to the business and it can also have a value to other businesses who don’t have that skill but need it.

Martha Lane Fox, speaking at the Accelerate Conference earlier this year, talked about how useful it has been in the last few years, for companies and organisations to help each other and exchange skills. One company may have a ‘surplus’ of one skill, whilst another needs that skill, perhaps only in the short term, but by helping each other, the problem or bottleneck can be resolved.

Sometimes, we underestimate the skills we have and take them for granted, but it’s quite likely that somebody else really values what you have and through mutual respect of each others skills, the two parties may be able to help each other.

Just a thought.

Doug Richards, Founder of School for Start Ups and ex Dragons Den

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Another ‘Thought Bite’ comes as a result of Doug Richards, ex Dragons Den panel member and Founder of School for Start-ups. He had a few things to say at the Accelerate 2013 Conference, and afterwards when I had a chance to ask him a couple of questions.

One was to look at things differently. Don’t do what everybody else is doing. Innovate. It sounded very much like the ‘Purple Cow’ by Seth Godin. He has this attitude to business and one that I would endorse. Another was to exploit the luck that comes your way, don’t let it pass you by. I agree with that too, as the retail sales pitch says, ‘when it’s gone, it’s gone’. He mentioned how people approach him with an idea but won’t tell him the details ‘in case he steals it’. That comes down to trusting the investor or whoever you want to help build the business. That’s not an easy one, but a business cannot be built without input from others, so choose wisely, but choose someone.

More ‘Thought Bites’ soon.    Marj

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