Archives for January 2014

Difficult people we do not work with

We know how to deal with customers who are making our lives less fulfilling. What about the non-customers who are unkind to us?

Many of us market our businesses on-line. That does leave us open to abuse. I do accept that many high-profile people have to put up with targeted abuse. The rest of us just catch random abuse. It is important not to take it too hard. After all it says more about the abusers than about us.

The on-line world has highlighted that there is a small minority of people who enjoy being unkind and who harbour dreadful prejudices, often based on ignorance, although with the web has been up and running, there is no excuse for ignorance. Maybe it is studied ignorance, but one only has to look at comments on stories on newspaper websites to realise that there are some with serious chips on their shoulders.

Those people spitting bile we do come across now and again. We do not need to take notice and let them spoil our lives. It is probably not personal (but if it is, that’s different). Sadly it is their lives that are already spoiled if they do not get help. Rise above it if you can. Have you had to rise?

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Difficult people we work with

iStock_000007991360XSmall cross businesswomanEvery now and then we will come across difficult people in business. Fortunately I have generally got on well with my clients. Of course some leave me because their circumstances have changed, or because they have been lured by Sirens offering “cheap” services.

I always give great value, or believe I do, but when people leave with the prospect of a lower bill from someone else they may not realise that they will get less support. I do believe you get what you pay for.

Now and again clients expect that having agreed a fee for a certain service, they will have access to my attention on an unlimited basis. Some will grudgingly agree a further fee, but at times I have had to ask certain individuals to find someone else. It is the same if the attitude of some clients makes me uncomfortable. They need to find a new adviser, and I tell them that.

In the end we do not have to do business with anyone we do not get on with.

Does watching TV dull our business brains?

Old televisionThere is a school of thought that watching TV is a waste of time and I understand that view.  I can see that for soap addicts in the UK there is a potential to waste fifteen hours a week watching unlikely story-lines without straying from the first five channels on the programme menu. That is time down the drain as far as I am concerned and the equivalent of almost a couple of days at work a week for some so-called full-time employees; perhaps not for small business owners.

It seems to me there is so much useless rubbish to watch. There are apparently many reality shows including the “talent” ones, bizarre artificial ones with strangers being forced to live together, and business shows involving strangers thrown together. None of these seems useful, educational or even simply relaxing after a hard day’s work. Does this dumbed-down nonsense fog people’s brains?

I do not claim to have virtue in watching TV for only a couple of hours a day. I do like to see the news and especially business news in the morning. It is important to know what is going on in the world. I like programmes where I can learn new things. I like natural history and astronomy. Those subjects are fascinating to me.

Yes, I do watch the occasional escapist fiction because I think it has the same effect on my brain as reading a good book, and because it is important to share the experience while relaxing and spending quality time with my wife.

Am I a TV snob? Maybe, but I do like to use my time profitably both in the business and figurative senses. Do you think TV is a waste of time or are those soaps a safe haven which help you unwind after the business day?

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Reading is good training for writing about your business

I like to write, and I have always thought I found it easier because I read a lot. I read other blogs, newspaper articles, I read non-fiction and I read novels. Some may think a lot of that is a waste of time, but I am sure that I benefit from the knowledge and also from the relaxation I get from fiction.

Apparently reading good novel boosts our brain power for days.  That is great news for those of us who may have worried that our reading was too much of a distraction from our work. Now we know that enjoying escapist ideas from other people is beneficial. The better our brains are working, the better we are in business.

I do not claim to be a great writer or even a good writer. After all, however good a football coach I had, I should never have become a good footballer. However, just as I know that having a good gym trainer encourages one to try harder in training, and to enjoy being fit, having the benefit of great writing from others must help us to do what we need and at least ensure our writing keeps fit. That must be good for our marketing.

What do you think?

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Persistence in strategy can pay off


You know that old cliché “If you keep doing what youve always done, youll keep getting what you’ve always gotten”? Albert Einstein and Tony Robbins are credited with it, as well as “Anon”. It is certainly true that if your business is not going well and you never change anything, you will never see an improvement and the business may fail

English: Albert Einstein, official 1921 Nobel ...

Albert Einstein – don’t blame him!

However, it is important to give certain strategies time to work. When I started my first business more than a decade ago, I was told that my local advertising would not work. That was partly true. The directories such as Yellow Pages and Thomson did not work. I dropped them after a while, and they were an expensive mistake. A local pamphlet going out monthly certainly did work, and I gained a lot of business, but I had to persist with it to get that success.

It is the same with social media. A short term strategy certainly will not work. Persistence may work and you have to give each plan time. You have to acknowledge that after a while, if little or no business is gained, you should try something else, but allowing time is important.

After ten years, my advertising in the pamphlet is less successful. I will have to change either the copy in the ad, or I will drop the pamphlet marketing and concentrate on what works better, which are content marketing and Twitter currently. Next year it might be different, and I may again have to allow time to change and test something else. Whatever it is, I will give it time.

What about you?


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Hard work and small businesses

blog picsnov 10 010It seems obvious that you have to work hard to make your small business successful. Of course it is true that you have to apply yourself to the essential tasks needed to keep the business running smoothly. What you need to remember is that if you are working 24/7 all the time, or it seems like it, you are probably doing something wrong.

I cannot deny that when you start a business you are often trying to meet a deadline when you want to open your doors for business, physically or metaphorically. You might then “work all hours”, but if time passes and you still have no time for other things, you have a problem.

  • Are you making a profit?
  • Have you priced your offerings correctly with a decent margin?
  • Are there really potential customers for what you offer?
  • Is your marketing targeted properly?
  • Are you wasting time on office chores which someone else could do for you?

Ask yourself those questions if you realise you have hardly any time to yourself, and ask other questions too. If you think you are too busy even for that, you cannot deny you have private time to think if only it is just in the bathroom.

If you have made yourself a slave to your business, even a minute or two’s thought should show you what changes you need to make. Why don’t you try it?

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