What’s your challenge?

I bet you have a challenge. In fact it wouldn’t surprise me if you had a few challenges in your head.

Something like ten sit-ups this week, a 5k run in 29 minutes, swimming 50 lengths, cooking a delicious paella, getting up on time, eating more vegetables, to drink a pint of water, sort out the pile of papers on your floor, call a friend, stop watching four hours of TV every day, to climb a famous peak, the list is endless and personal. But, of course, the challenge is achieving them.

And, this brings me to your business. What are your challenges? Your goals? Your targets? How will you achieve them? And when?

In fact have you got any challenges set?

More business, more effective marketing, keeping customers longer, happier and more productive staff, a first holiday, a better return, a five year plan.

What have you planned? And, do you know how to accomplish it?

Let’s say that you need five new customers (and, of course, what type). What’s your conversion rate? Shall we say one out of three? So, you need to offer your product/service to 15 prospects. Then we have to know how many people we have to market to in order to get those 15 prospects and of course how to achieve this. What method to use?

First you need a target and then the way to achieve it. It’s a great challenge and one that can give you amazing results.

So, have you a real target planned and set? If not, there’s your first challenge.

Let me know if you would like a little help. I might even tell you mine!

A lady on a train!

At the weekend I was travelling by train from Birmingham (I had no petrol) back to home (Surrey). The carriages were packed, with many people standing, and someone was already in booked my seat.

We had a quick chat and it turned out that her seat was the empty seat beside her, so I said no problem, I was happy to sit there instead. 

I had been to a two-day business convention, so for the first 20 minutes of the journey, I just thought over some of the very useful ideas that had been given to us (there had been over a 1,200 delegates at the ICC) and which I would implement first.

It was at this moment that I glanced across to the lady next to me working on her laptop and saw that she had an Entrepreneurs Circle email on screen. I couldn’t believe it, as that had been the convention I had just left. So, I asked her if she had been there as well; and, of course, she had.

For the next hour we talked about what we had liked, a little bit regarding what we weren’t so sure about, the people we had meet, but most importantly what we were going to be doing in the future and essentially what we would be doing in the coming week.

Because, as I’m sure you know, it’s not what you learn that counts but if you actually do it. That’s what will make the difference.

Neve’s (the lady I was sitting with) main business, Speaker Studio, sounded perfect for just about everyone in business, as how you say something really makes a difference, and certainly would help everyone who networks. Including me!

We had a very good ‘meeting’ and will be meeting again.

So, if you are a little nervous, or not too sure about how best to speak, then I can suggest you have a chat with Neve, as she is very helpful.

Speak your way to Success.

Are you lost for words at your Networking events?

And now, maybe worse, as networking events that are getting going again, after a long break.

Most of us have been there: a room full of people in front of us, prospects everywhere, and we can’t think of a word to say.

And, more often than not, refuge is found with a glass of wine. We might in the course of the event collect a few business cards. But usually, once we have finished our complimentary glass of wine, we find an excuse to leave.

We may even be spotted by a friendly fellow networker who introduces themselves. But after asking a couple of easy opening questions and getting just a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for answers they decide that there are more interesting things going on almost anywhere else in the room.

Well, if this picture is even a little like you, it doesn’t have to be.  A few ready made questions and answers will soon have you networking just like everyone else seems to be in the room.  But, first of all let me assure you that you are not the only person feeling as you do. Many will be, it’s just that you are all circulating the room and smiling at all that pass you by!

So, how about that first easy question?  Everyone asks it.  ‘How’s business?’  Your answer might be, ‘Fine’ or maybe, ‘Oh, we are really busy’.  The trouble with those answers is that it doesn’t really leave you anywhere to progress to. The answer may as well be, ‘That’s great!’

But, how about, if instead, you answered, ‘Really great! We have just finished a large project for our biggest client. We had to turn it around in record time, and I’m now looking for a similar job.’  The next comment is likely to be, ‘Tell me more’.

The secret is to have a few answers planned in advance: answers that are not only interesting in themselves but that invite another question.  Then once the conversation starts and you begin to relax you never know where things might lead.  You may just find your next big customer and don’t forget you can use that same great answer for more than one person.

However, sometimes you have to make the first move and again this is easy if you have a few ready prepared questions up your sleeve.  Start by scanning the room and finding someone much like you on their own, looking a little lost.  Go up to them and introduce yourself using just your first name and ask them theirs.  Then follow up with one of your prepared questions.

Why not try one of the following or make up your own with similar ideas?

1)      How did they hear about the event and do they know the host?

2)      Did they come to the event for a special reason?

3)      What is it that they do?

4)      How long have they been doing that?

5)      What made them choose that line of work?

6)      What’s the best thing about what they do?

7)      What kind of business are they looking for?

8)      Is there anyone that you might know that they would like to be introduced to (this person might even be at the event)?

9)      Who is their biggest competitor?

10)  How many people work with them?

All these questions need more than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer and also the answers will tell you something about the person, their company, and if you want to start a relationship with them.

Remember, the objective at a networking event is the start of a relationship, your next meeting, not a quick sale.

So, never be lost for words at a networking event again and you will see that there is no need to feel on your own, as instead you may be starting lasting and worthwhile connections with the people that you meet.

Guitar Village

I was at Guitar Village, in Farnham, today looking at the Ukuleles; they are beautiful and my birthday is soon!

However, I’m finding it almost impossible to choose one, as I like so many; not just because of their sound but also their looks and the way they are made. Such lovely woods are used, such as mahogany, koa, maple, rosewood, cedar and spruce. Then there are the different makes and types: soprano, concert, tenor, etc. (plus they are all different sizes).

I asked Richard in the shop for help and he advised that, as a beginner, it would be best to decide on how much I would be willing to spend and then buy the one I liked the look and feel of best. He then added that after six months, if I’d become a keen player, that I can look again, as I’ll have a much better idea of what would work best for me.

His advice was perfect and is just the same in business. In business there are numerous things to do and often because of that nothing much gets done. So, think about it, what one thing could you do this week that would be good for your business? Then just ‘park’ everything else and do it. I’m pretty sure that you will see the difference it makes.

Richard also added something else, which I agree with, and in fact am doing. Having a ukulele and spending some time strumming is a great way to relax and get away from the pressure of your work. I’ve got to agree that it’s fun. So, if things are tough at the moment why not get a ukulele and try it?!

Guitar Village – let Richard know that I suggested you came to see him.

Farnham, Surrey, Business Networking – 19th August

9 Days to go!!

You may have read my blog, back in June 2020, about getting Kick Started. If not here it is – Kick Started.

It was about one of my sons writing his first Comic Book; it was all about The Hoards of Surrey. It’s a great story, has some brilliant art, and is about a very British treasure hunt! Well it was a success and now Part Two is being produced.

The Hoards of Surrey

Again it is with Kickstarter and well worth a look; Kickstarter could be just what you want for something you are working on.

But, back to my sons Comic Book, you can even pledge for Book One as well. And, get your own commissioned deal by the artist.

So, please do have a look and pass on the link, I would love to see Part Two in print, but there is only nine days left for his success. You can have a look here.

Thank you.

Standing on a chair!

In a few months’ time, networking (in groups) should return and it got me thinking.  You know the sort of thing, loads of business owners in a room, food and drink, lots of noise, so you have to shout to make yourself heard, and a few people get to give a sales pitch.  And, unless you are standing in the front row, or the event has a PA, they can’t be heard and so everyone just continues talking, not taking the slightest bit of notice.

Pretty much a waste of time!  Well at one event I remember one of the speakers did their best to be heard; to stand out.  They jumped up on a chair and spoke from there.  From where I was, at least I could see him, but I still couldn’t hear a word that he said.

And, it got me thinking about standing out from the crowd. About a business having a USP (Unique Selling Proposition); a thing that makes you special. I had already met three photographers that evening and they had all said pretty much the same thing; great pictures, latest technology, reliable service.  And, that their prices were coming down all the time.  They had nothing unique, so the only thing that they could sell was on price.

So, my question is – what is your USP?  When you next go networking and your competition is in the room, how will you stand out?  What makes you truly different?

Here are three things that might help you to develop a really valuable USP.  That will help you to win more business and be able to charge more.

  1. You can’t use what you see as benefits that your competition would also use, or for that matter are just expected of any good supplier.  For example: outstanding photography, reliable, we go the extra mile.  It has to be unique.
  2. Really dig down into what you do.  Ask a friend to ask you this question, “So, why is that good?”  And, get them to keep asking you the same question until your answer really makes them say, “Okay, now I’m interested!”  For example: the computers you sell have the latest chip.  “So, why is that good?”  The answer might be because data is processed faster.  “So, why is that good?”  The answer might be because then you get you work done faster.  “So, why is that good?”  Get the idea?  You just go on and on, until you really hit the reason that matters.
  3. A real success story.  I heard a great example of this recently from a garage. Like most garages they did servicing, MOTs and body repairs. But, how about this for being truly unique?  They service a fleet of Mercedes for a Royal family.  Now that has to put them a step above the norm.

So, develop a one-off USP and you really will stand out when networking and it will help you win more business.

What is Carbon Neutrality (Net Zero)?

Carbon neutrality, or having a net zero carbon footprint, refers to achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions by balancing carbon emissions with carbon removal (often through carbon offsetting) or simply eliminating carbon emissions altogether (the transition to the “post-carbon economy”). 

It is used in the context of carbon dioxide-releasing processes associated with transportation, energy production, agriculture, and industrial processes. For many businesses this could be a case of making sure equipment is turned off when not in use, being more energy efficient and obtaining a green source of energy.

But what does this mean for your business? Well, there will come a time when the government will put pressure on businesses by legislation and making it compulsory for businesses across the country to reduce their carbon footprint.

Some businesses have already started the change by looking at a greener form of energy, which in turn reduces their carbon production.

For example Full Power recognises that change needs to happen now. By looking at a business’s utility output they can help to reduce their carbon footprint by procuring a greener option and help them to get on track with not only the government’s requirements but the ethics of that business.

Full Power work with all the green and renewable suppliers in the commercial market to ensure that the supply is the right fit for your business.

So, now is the time to start thinking, and if you would like to know a bit more, do get in touch.

No hair cut!

A friend of mine owns a hairdressing salon which is closed and has been for a great deal in the last year due to the lockdowns.

And because of this, people are trying all sorts of things: cutting, hair colours, new styles, with some being done by themselves and others by close contacts (in their bubble), who are prepared to take the chance for them. Some are successful and others are…well, not so good. Other people are just waiting for a haircut; I’m one of those!

Anyway, back to my friend and others like him; those who have no business at the moment. Week by week it’s getting harder for them and it’s not just about the lack of business now, as for some of them it is the damage that less business will do in the future when lockdown is lifted. I don’t know about you, but I know that things won’t suddenly go back to how they were. A great deal of business just won’t return; some things are changed permanently or, at the very least, long-term.

However, for some, like my friend, things are far better than they might have been. Why? Because he has spent a number of years building himself a residual income just like me. I build my residual income business for two reasons: one, to have extra holidays each year, and two, to add to my pension when I retire. But, the thing I like best about my residual income, is that it pops into my bank account every month, whether I’ve done any work or not, and will do long into the future.

What it’s doing for my friend at the moment is taking lots of earning pressure and worry off him.

Residual income is not a get-rich-scheme, although you can earn nicely pretty quickly, it’s more about thinking five, even ten, years into the future. The great thing is that there’s nothing to lose by trying it, but maybe something wonderful to gain. My friend has really discovered this.

So, if this interests you, have a look, as I say, there’s nothing to lose and now might just be an appropriate time to find out how good it could be. There are many options available. Two, connected services, which I find are very workable together are Full Power (commercial) and Utility Warehouse (domestic) energy. Just click on their names if you would like to know more, or give me a call.

10 Minutes of Fun!

Sounds good doesn’t it, but it does involve a little hard, physical work.

I was chatting recently with a Personal Trainer, who’s pretty much closed for business at the moment. But, she is doing lots to make sure that her business is not only better, but ready for training sessions when the lights go green and lockdown ends!

One thing she is doing is making a 10-minute training video. It’s aimed to not only keep people fit but also for them to have some fun. A real bounce! She suggests that you do it every day because it will relax you and help make the whole day better. One of my other friends actually works out, at 8.30 every morning, and it energises their day.

But, as far as her business goes, it’s even better than that, because it will be sent to every one of her customers and friends. Many of whom I’m sure will thank her for it. But, also she is going to ask them, if they enjoy the workout, if they would send it to three of their friends.

I asked her how many people she was sending it to and her answer was 43. Now not only is that fun for them but business-wise it could be a real winner. Imagine if people that are not already one of her customers, really find it stimulating; maybe they will become a new customer? But imagine if those 43 people each sent it to three of their friends; that would be another 129 people.

Now that really makes you think about the possible number of prospective customers she could have when the lights go green!

So, what could you make a 10 minute video about? Why not do it today!