relationships

What value do you put on the advice you get from your business mentor?

And how do you show respect to your business mentor?

 

I was very interested to read the James Caan article in the Guardian newspaper recently (http://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2013/aug/28/business-mentor-tips-james-caan) about taking notice of your business mentor.

The first thing that sprang to mind is “I wonder how he defines mentor”. So many people seem to use the term interchangeably with coach and business advisor. (See my take on the differences here http://www.thebusinessbloggingnetwork.com/2011/03/should-you-choose-a-mentor-an-advisor-or-a-consultant-to-help-you-in-your-business-or-all-3/

It always amazes me how some businesses invest a lot of time, effort and their hard earned cash in paying for help/ support/ advice and then completely ignore it. Or don’t share the knowledge throughout the organisation, so one area will be making great changes and the rest of the business fails to keep up with them. 

 

So who or what qualities make a good mentor for you or your business?

Networking; the good, the bad and the ugly.

In 2008 I rebranded and re-launched my company, Light Films. I devised a strategy that would enable our business to grow over an initial 5-year period.

One of the early physical marketing activities was networking. I made my way around most of the clubs in the local area. I audited the busineses, formats and the people that were involved in the events. I chose the clubs and events that I felt would benefit me most, and have always completed regular ‘return on investment’ audits to ensure the clubs continue to be lucrative for my business.

A friend in need could be a friend indeed.

hat3

A friend of mine has written a book ‘How to do Everything and Be Happy’ and like every self respecting author he just had to have a book launch.

I wrote the date in my diary and offered to help any way I could. I thought I would be  on drink duty but Peter suddenly asked ‘Would you make some balloon hats on the day?’

Not what I expected.

The seven deadly sins of workplace technology

Some tips on how not to use technology in the workplace…

Working in HR, I occasionally come across poor behaviour in the workplace. In today’s workplace it often involves technology. Anyone who has attended a bullying / harassment / discrimination education session that I’ve run in the past will have heard me say that as soon as someone invents a new piece of technology, someone else invents something stupid and possibly career-limiting to do with it.

So what does being late to a business appointment say about you?

 

 

It always amazes me when people turn up to a business appointment 10, 20 or in one case recently 70 minutes late! Having lived & worked in London I know the perils of travel & the unreliability of public transport, but when the meeting is a few minutes from your home/ office what’s the excuse? What does it say about your respect for the person you’re meeting? For me it makes me feel that they don’t value my services & even if they are paying for my time then I feel guilty that they won’t be getting good value from the time they’ve paid for, even when they have actually made that decision for themselves.

The gender of workplace bullying

Ok, straight up i’m going to put a couple of disclaimers on this article. It does contain generalisations made on the basis of gender. These generalisations absolutely don’t apply to everyone in their respective gender.

The second disclaimer is that the observations are made within the context of Australian organisations, and different countries and cultures will undoubtedly have different patterns of behaviour.

Now that’s out of the way…

7 Ways To Excel As A Leader

1. Focus on your strengths

Why try to be a pilot if you’re a better engineer? Find out what you’re good at and build on it. You are much more likely to excel as a leader if you know what it is you can do and accept what you can’t.

2. Delegate

If you have no time to spare in developing your areas of weakness, turn to your team instead. If you must excel as a leader, learn to delegate.

Put the Social Back in Social Media

We all know that social media is here to stay; the chances are you might have found out about this blog through social media. The stats make it obvious that we need to incorporate social media into our business – Erik Qualman of Socionomics believes your return on investment for Social Meid is that your business will exist in 5 years.

But I am often asked the similarities and difference between online and offline networking. Much of the work I do is with clients is with people who are out and about, meeting people face to face , shaking hands , handing out business cards and generally just being out there meeting people.

But I will tell you that there are a lot of the same rules that apply to your in person networking also apply to your online networking.

What I am going to do today is just give you a couple of these “rules” for you to consider when you are networking online.

So a lot of people forget the social side of both networking and social media.  It’s funny because the clue is in the name with SOCIAL media.  However, the number of times that I connect with someone on Facebook or Twitter , and the next thing I know I’ve got a message or an email  introducing me to their “get rich quick” or online marketing scheme. Now I am going to use the word scheme in a broad sense because it signifies that not understanding, just not getting, what it is I am looking for, that makes it a scheme even when it may be a very valid kind of business.

Myth or Reality

Two separate but connected events combined this week to get me thinking about a politically generated myth and a political PR agenda that was reinvented; some would say stolen.

Fancy a Date?

I was talking to someone who had recently started internet dating the other day and was gobsmacked by the number of preferences that you could set when filtering potential matches. 

What surprised me even more though was the range of boxes you could tick to restrict who could contact you. I certainly hadn’t expected that. 

The Unexpected Outcome

I know social media still has such a buzz about it in the business world and when I joined twitter it was purely for business reasons as I was looking at developing business opportunities. However as I was new to it I played with it a little before I sorted out a business twitter account.  The unexpected outcome from this is that it really has had an impact on my personal life as well.  All for the better.

I have been using twitter for quite a while now after much persuasion and encouragement   from @EssexSocial I have grown a substantial following resulting in some great friendships and business opportunities.  In fact I have found some people I actually feel closer to online than some people I know offline.

This last month has been an interesting time for me with lots of positive outcomes, some of which were totally unexpected. This has been both on a personal and professional level.

C’mon I Want to Know Now!

Strategies for Networking Success

Today I want to talk to you about something very close to my heart – using networking to grow your business. I love helping people get much better return on investment for their networking and have fun doing it. I cannot think of a better way to be successful in business than meeting new people, chatting to them and then doing business with friends or people that friends have recommended.

And today I have a question for you. What’s your system? What’s your strategy? (I guess that’s 2 questions.) What is your system and what is your strategy?  And this is a lesson that came out of our Business Rules of Engagement Summit that we held earlier this year and many of our experts were talking about the need to have a strategy and the need to have a system or systems in place. So I want to ask you – when you get invited to a networking event are you thinking about how that fits into your long term strategy? Do you even have a long term strategy?  The thing with networking is that it takes time. Relationships take time to build and it’s the relationships that are foundational for networking. So you need to have a long term strategy, long term approach.

With a little help from my friends …

So if you have read some of my blog posts before, especially on my own site, you will have no doubt realised that there have been many occasions in my life where times have been tough and I have been left reeling. However, I am a strong believer in no matter what life deals you, if you get knocked down, you dust yourself off and bounce right back again, but this time not only stronger but also smarter because you learn from that episode in your life.

I know so many people who have gone through all kinds of challenges within their lives and they still keep fighting and smiling. So, why is it that when people receive knocks and obstacles within their business lives, they often crumble at the first sign of difficulty? Having gone through personal and professional difficulties, I believe I know the answer.

Business Head vs Human Heart

Business is all about figures and is widely acclaimed as the only language of business.  This is why Richard Branson can run an airline, a makeup company, a railway, a media company, Virgin Comics, a formula 1 racing team and the list goes on.  However there is always a human element. I’m not just talking the people involved but the heart of the business owner. If you are in business for yourself it’s because you are passionate about something.  Whether this is plastering, cabling, security, electrics or social media you started because you love it.  This is when the cold hard world of business and your heart start to do battle and sometimes in business this can be quiet often.  However, in life in general you can allow your heart to win more than not, but in business it has to be the head that triumphs more often.

Strategy – What’s Your Next Move?

There are over 4.5 million businesses in the UK and every year 400,000 are formed, with nearly as many failing. Most businesses stay small or plateau at a certain turnover without being able to grow – probably because business owners are working ‘in’ the business rather than ‘on’ it; making tactical day to day decisions rather than strategic ones.

So what distinguishes a successful business?

How about the following?:

• Knowing your strengths and weaknesses
• Having targets in place
• A business plan covering all aspects of the business
• Effective targets and measurements in place
• Ensuring that product and service offerings meet the needs of the market
• Ability to create a competitive edge
• Efficient, clear and consistent business processes
• Inspired and driven leadership

Getting back to your core competencies and strengths in order to focus and build upon them is where having a strategy is important.

So where to start?