The Home For Great Common Sense Business Ideas That Help!

If you have a small business and are often frustrated with 'challenges' that take away some of the enjoyment....

If you have a business where you work hard all of the time and it just never seems to quite 'make it' and give you enough headroom...

If you sit there tired frustrated and not yet rich enough to walk away...

then this is for you!

I shall share my thoughts and my ideas with the hope that they help. please, if you feel like you could do with a me and lets talk it through! You know what they say, a problem shared is a problem halved!

Yours with love

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Looking ahead to the New Year and wanting more from your business? Where is YOUR solution?

In this first week back I have been involved in several discussions relating to the plans for business in this coming year…and its good to hear that so many business owners are so up-beat ….

BUT my thoughts are that despite all of the best laid plans, something is missing.


Well, please forgive my ‘direct approach’ but too many business owners are looking ‘outside’ for answers.

Looking to start new ‘diversifications’ to tap into an income stream…looking to start new marketing initiatives and bring in more new clients…looking to hire new staff to delegate that acquisition process and grow that way…and I totally agree that these plans might well be necessary – but I never hear anyone talk about what they are doing for themselves ie what skills they might learn, what groups of connections they might join, what exercise they might embrace or what people skills they feel they could use more effectively.

In smaller businesses it is usually about the main person. The business may not necessarily still be a ‘one man band’ as it might be a small team of 2 or even 10, but it is still hugely dependent upon the business owner….
That means it is dependent upon the business owner leading and inspiring the team…
That means it is dependent upon the business owner to intellectually manage to stimulate sales, embrace production techniques and simplify cash flow and overheads….
That means it is dependent upon the business owner being fit and healthy and alive!!

That means more than ever it is down to the business owner to be not just good or as good as the others but to be genuinely better than the average!

The business owner needs energy to spare…he/she needs skills to ensure tough times are dealt with and stressful impact minimised…and you can only do this with effort!

Health and fitness…mental energy and physical capacity to handle the daily ‘push’ demands attention to health and fitness…and attention and time needs to be given to feeding the mind and ensuring that mentally you have capacity to see the bigger picture not simply the daily grind!

AND I just don’t see many people actively looking after themselves!!

So, lovingly I encourage a moments thought and ask “What are you doing for YOU this coming year?”
What plans have you got for new skills, for brushing up on known skills, for fitness, for laughing and for team building and fun???

Maybe take a step back amidst all of this New Year optimism and look at your plans to see if you have properly given YOU what you need….

AND let’s share ideas. It is NOT easy juggling everything and the best laid plans of all of us wanting to be fitter or go on a diet etc usually fall to the wayside because of sheer time demands…so lets share ideas and help each other.

Just a thought!!

Here’s to YOU J

Here’s to a fabulous and amazing business year ahead
With love

Ben x       

Monday, 17 February 2014

Show Don’t Tell. Are You Showing What You’re Saying?

Picture this…you are at a networking meeting or at a business exhibition and someone stands to speak as is expected…and what they are in fact doing is a mini ‘showcase’ and a ‘pitch’ so that they hope to encourage you to enquire as to using their services.

For the purposes of illustration, they are a business that does Presentation Skills and they will tell you that they help business owners get their message across in a sophisticated and effective manner…

BUT when they in fact stand you as a member of the audience see that the ‘slides’ are ‘text heavy’ as they have so many points that they wish to put across.

You see that they suggest that they can help a business in manufacturing but show nothing to align the slide content to the object or target business.

You see the presenter is himself referring to the slides for almost every point to be made thus conveying the impression of either considerable nerves or poor knowledge.

Would you be ‘sold’ enough to ask this person for help in your business presentation arena?

You’re right! Probably not!!

Now there might be extenuating circumstances such as a last minute standby person, but basically you expect that the ‘Presentation Skills’ message is not only preached but acted upon. You expect them to ‘walk the walk’ and demonstrate in all areas that they practice what they preach.

And the same is true for all of us. We look with different eyes and without being scathing or rude we judge and asses and form opinions.

We are asking ourselves “Are they good enough to impress me?” “Can they sizzle me and excite me that they might be the key that I am looking for to make more sales?” “Are they going to show me a technique or something that I know will be better than I am currently using?”

When we don’t see it, we switch off.

Thus my question is “Are there moments when we are out that maybe we aren’t ‘walking our walk’?”

For the illustration above, you would need to be impressive. Knowing your content, having an interesting and different style of presenting and probably using better tools in a more stimulating and engaging manner.

If you are selling print then have some print work of all types that shows off what you can do.
If you build websites demonstrate that your own site is exciting and different to look at but is winning you business.

If you are a coach demonstrate that you practice what you preach and if you are saying that you can make other people business better show evidence that yours is better?

The truth is there are a lot of ‘pretenders’ out there and you as a buyer are tuned into that …and your BS radar is pretty high! Expect everyone to have the same ‘guard’ before they buy or enquire from you and absolutely go out of your way to demonstrate what you do.

Show don’t tell.

Simple but hugely effective, and so rarely the case! Be the one that stands out for being congruent….and in doing so have an awesome week.

Yours with love

Ben x

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Show Me That You Care

You’re in business…you want more clients…you don’t know me and you don’t really care…and it doesn’t matter at the end of the day, you just need to get on with it and make some business happen.

Is that the best attitude to growing your business?

I wonder.

You see if I were buying, the strongest persuader in any persons arguments would be that you actually want to help me not merely sell to me.

Like you I am sure, I have had thousands of people say that they can sell me a solution that really will help my business and that they know will be a good purchase because they have a list of reasons and past performances to base that upon….

BUT in truth I don’t know them, they don’t know me and bluntly it is pretty certain that they will be giving me something almost ‘out of the box’.
I am not ‘out of the box’ I know that my business circumstances, pains and aspirations are different. You probably do too.

And so, f that were you being approached by a person selling their services, how would you feel?

Would you feel like buying? Would you feel that the salesperson is genuine or are they merely telling you what they tell everybody?

If you did buy would you be treated differently or lost amongst all of the other customers who paid for the solution? And how could you gauge this before you commit?

Sadly I still see so many people who are out there in small business world and whilst trying hard and meaning well they really are missing the mark. They really do approach a prospective client with a pretty formulaic and non-personal solution offering.

The personal skill are often quite high and they come across as nice and genuine…but cynically, when you step aback and question how you feel you possibly don’t feel as though this nice and attentive manner will be quite the same after you have purchased!!

Thus, I can only ever advocate one simple approach – be genuine and show that you care. When you are ‘selling’ or looking for new business, be deliberately and consciously mindful of how it feels when someone shows that you really aren’t cared for as a person and then turn that around. Care for the person. And don’t fake it. Be real. Care or get out.

You see, in my book, selling is a profession to be proud of. Selling is THE key ingredient that spins all of our wheels…but selling is only ever to be done when it genuinely helps the person buying.

To genuinely help it needs to be personalised…and it cannot be personalised if the selling process is speedy and the process generic.

You have to sell in order to make your business spin…and there is always some pressure on ‘numbers’ and ‘time’ as there are a million things to do…and so I appreciate the pressure but warn against speeding up.

Speed usually means less attention…less human more ‘business’…and I believe that more human means in the end more business.

So, try slowing down this week and try deliberately not talking about what you do or how ‘it’ might work for them. Try concentrating on ‘human’ not ‘solution’…and try to focus on the person and caring.

I recognise that you probably do care and that at core you aren’t a cold business machine…but that you find it challenging sometimes when there is so much to do…but I urge you to fight that and slow down.  When out ‘selling’, slow down and care.

You WILL create greater connection and spin more business in all areas eventually.

And besides, slowing down and engaging more is always nicer so you will enjoy your day more!

And with that thought in mind I wish you a more enjoyable and ‘human’ day and week.
With love always

Ben x

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Don't Put It Off! An Idea To Help Small Business

Don’t Put It Off!

As Susan Jeffries pointed out “Feel the fear and do it anyway”.

I know that is something that you know...and something that you have heard before...but probably it is still an area that improvements can be made in.
Over riding the fear...the minor dread, the feeling of discomfort with certain tasks... pushing yourself to face and do those less than appealing tasks... that is where your magic happens!

In business there is always a job to do that you don’t want to might be handling a stroppy who moans and you just know that when they call you are going to have a battle on your hands or a negotiation that wasn’t planned or justifiable...
Or it might be ringing someone who you owe and couldn’t pay this month...and then actually you are not going to be able to pay all next month and you are avoiding calls from their accounts department...or letters from the collector

Or it might be possibly that of ‘pro-active lead generation’ or telephone calls!

It is not the most sought after use of time...ringing prospects or potential partners and starting a conversation.... Its all very well answering one if they call are probably happy with that! But actually ringing them and having to almost invite yourself that doesn’t feel comfortable!

Well there is magic in your momentum...if you push yourself over that first call hurdle and into the second and third...then you will be massively rewarded! The Universe conspires to give you what you ask for...just ask with action!!
Make the call, ring the contact, physically call on the person or make a de-tour and ‘pop in’. There is a client that you’d like to win...ring them! There is a debt you’d like to them. There is a situation that needs sorting out but you always put off...well put it on!

Take action today to build the ‘do it anyway’ muscle...I promise that there is magic in the momentum that you create.
Today as you sit with potentially a couple of hours spare because possibly an appointment was postponed or cancelled use that time to do what you’ve been putting off.
Why not make a quick mental list of 5 tasks that ‘you really should face but don’t want to’ and then push yourself into fronting them?
A very simple but challenging step that marks the difference between winners and also-rans.
So go on, just do it! It’ll turn out to be a tremendously rewarding day!
Have a great day
With love

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Small Business Survival...How Long Does It Take?

“I’m putting everything into this...I can only let it go for so long ...”

The words of a new business owner....struggling with the challenge of growing a franchised business after only 8months.

It begs the questions ‘How long does it take to grow a small business?’ and “just what exactly can you do to make it reach break-even?”.  After all, surely  it must reach a point at which it is either paying for itself or it must be parted with?

Well how do we help?

There are as many answers as there are differing situations...every person in every town and in every industry sector will probably see things slightly differently...but if a business is to survive it must make sales...and to make sales it must have enquiries that give it sales potential...and so it hinges upon marketing activity.
How good is your marketing?
How targeted is it?
How frequent?

To grow your business you MUST PRIORITISE the activity towards ENQUIRY GENERATION.
(If you are ever in a situation where you feel that administrative tasks are needing to be done and consuming time when actually you still don’t have enough income from current business to pay your wages then something is wrong with the administrative systems that you deploy!)
If EVER a business is struggling then there will be an imbalance between time consumption tasks...usually too heavy on ‘admin’ and too light on ‘marketing and sales’.

Here is an idea:
Take your week and count ‘the hours consumed with work’
Then look at each section or task and clarify it simply call it A – Admin, M – Marketing or S- Sales
Are you spending enough time on lead generation? It really should be approx 30-40%  (unless you outsource it all but that will add to your costs)
If 30-40% is actually already spent on ‘marketing’ then you must question:
 a) the target group aimed at
b) the message that is created and sent to them
c) the medium of delivery

It sounds obvious but is your message getting seen? Is it getting seen by the right people? Is it saying the right thing to get them interested enough to respond?

As I always say...take time to think! Too often business in today’s society is rush and pressure and deadlines and stress....and not enough time to pause and think.
Stop! Stand back...look at the situation and ask great questions!
When we did that honestly and openly with my client in this instance we discovered that a lot of time was being spent but honestly that it wasn’t really effective time. It was not creating a message to a specific group – it was more ‘get it out there’ and so it ‘missed’ the ear of the target because there hadn’t been enough time and thought given to ‘who’ the target was and ‘where’ they were.
In addition it contained a message that was very general ‘tell them all that we do’...and frankly whilst this might be the sort of message that you often see in much of the ‘advertising and promo world’ it isn’t effective for a small ‘need the response today’ business.

Craft a message about a very specific pain point and send it to a very specific group...and spend your time creating more messages and keeping them targeted  -and then you will see more enquiries.

It took us 3 or 4 ‘visits’ but we got  my clients ‘knowledge’ to match his prospects problems...and then we understood a preferred method of delivery and then we see results.
Its like magic...there is always something that the magician does that
when you  know how you can imitate.
So have a really slow day! Stop rushing and start thinking ...and the slowly and methodically chip away at the challenge. There are enquiries out abundance, they just need to hear from you in a slightly different way!
Have a great day,
With love

Monday, 14 February 2011

Business Training Ideas And Inspiration

What are you doing tomorrow night Tuesday  February 15th?
Business Booster McMillan Fundraiser
How about giving yourself the privilege of a fantastic night being inspired by
3 great speakers... potentially meeting  exciting new clients or supply partners...
AND help raise cash for McMillan Cancer support??
click here
Portland College, Mansfield, Notts  6pm - 9pm
Hope to see you there!