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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?

Is a LinkedIn endorsement as valuable as a recommendation?

LinkedIn has recently introduced the endorsement feature making it very easy for your connections to endorse you for the skills you have in your profile, which raises the issue of having a great profile and making sure your skills are complete and prioritised but we’ll talk about that in another post.

Now I use LinkedIn to source leads for my businesses, but it is also one of my major sources of good suppliers for me. And I use it to find out more about he businesses I work with before a project starts.  So I’m a little sceptical about the benefit of these endorsements on your profile.

I am a huge fan of good recommendations. Not the ones that say “I met Philippa at a meeting and she was lovely” – which are great for the ego, but they don’t really help me when I want to find a new service provider, or to learn about the people I work with. 

What does your email address say about you and you business?

I was contacted this week by a (self proclaimed) eminent authority on social media. He contacted me by email inviting me to attend one of his “world renowned” training courses. Nothing wrong so far, except it was sent with an email address along the lines of joebloggs@anispyouwouldhaveused10yearsago.com

The information about the course was all on an eventbrite page. Again nothing wrong with that, but I would expect a link to the home page of the training provider, which was conspicuously absent.

Want to really make your linkedIn profile more interesting?

 

One of the biggest complaints on Linkedin has been the difficulty in adding media rich items to your profile. Before you had to embed a video into a slide share or google presentation but now there is a little icon you need to make your friend.

linkedin media add in icon

 

this little square with a plus beside it allows you to add a portfolio, presentation, photo or video as long as it has an http:// address attached to it.

Celebrate your successes

image supplied by http://stockmedia.cc

So in my last blog I talked about having a plan to ensure that you can actually achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself or your business. And human nature being the way it is we are always the first ones to beat ourselves up about failing to achieve these goals. But how often do we celebrate when we do achieve them? It is very easy to forget the successes we do achieve as we go about our business lives so this year I’d like you to try something. Every day write in your diary, or in your calendar, or in a separate note book ANYTHING you have done well, anything you have achieved however big or however small. And if you can write more than one thing then write all of them down. But make sue you write something down. They don’t all have to be business related. Anything you do that make you feel good, that you have been putting off, or done for the first time, then record it.

Do you want real results from your goals this year?

If you do then you probably need a plan

As business owners we are told we must have business goals and we have to achieve these goals, and that we have failed if we don’t achieve them.

But how realistic are our goals? For me the piece I most often find missing is the plan to achieve these goals.

It’s all very well setting yourself a goal, but is it actually achievable? And I’m not talking stretch goals here. I mean the goals where you say you can do something in 12 months, but based on your current performance it will actually take 16 months. Now you can cWordle: goal settinghange the goal to achieve this in 16 months, or you have to change what/ how you work. Again both valid options. But what isn’t valid is saying “I will achieve it in 12 months but I won’t change how I work/ what I do”. This means you have set yourself a goal that you can’t possibly achieve. And unfortunately we live in a culture where failure is criticised. This isn’t a failure of the goal. This is a failure of the planning process that should be part of the goal setting process.

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.

Discrimination in the 21st century

Recently the UK government has stated that it is considering making positive discrimination legal to try increase the number of female senior executives and board members in our large businesses. And then last night I read an article that stated that in the USA it is becoming common in job adverts to state that only currently employed people to apply for the job.

I worked for all of my corporate life in a very male dominated environment – engineering. I was lucky that I was never accused of getting a new job/ promotion because I was female. I DID however get asked to undertake additional roles because of my sex, but they were things I was happy to do as long as they didn’t interfere with the delivery of my day job. I was also always given the opportunity to say no with no penalty.

We backed the bid, now we really need to back team GB, using social media of course!

 

I’ve spent my weekend glued to the TV, the pc and my phone – why? Well I’m a huge fan of the Olympics whatever country they’re held in. So to have them on the doorstep is a real thrill and I’m loving the fact we can access every minute of every event. (I’m also looking forward to seeing some things live next week but that’s another story…..).

What makes a good referral?

 

There is a phrase that gets trundled out at every networking meeting I go to… “What I’m looking for this week is an introduction to…..”

Well that introduction can take several forms. A cold introduction – you have a card from someone at the business, but you don’t know them, or you don’t want to be mentioned in any introduction.  This type of referral is really just a cold call but knowing the name of the person you need to speak to. Which can be useful but isn’t the best way 

Some things to think about before setting up a new business

 

Here are some of the things I tell people who come to me and say they have an idea for a new business or are just setting up in business for themselves for the first time.

 

  1. Talk to an accountant/ business advisor and get some advice about your business idea. Is it realistic? Is it viable? Don’t just ask family and friends.
  2. decide what form you want the business to take ltd/ llp/ soletrader

7 things you shouldn’t do with a business card and 3 you should…… in my opinion!

 

Don’t

  1. Use it as an invitation to send hundreds of sales emails, or even worse (and my personal cardinal sin) add someone to a newsletter email list. Treat people’s details with respect. If you hate receiving spam, don’t become a spammer yourself!
  2. Keep them in bundles, wrapped in elastic bands, waiting for work to come to you. There is a wealth of information in those bundles and you’re missing out by just leaving them languishing in the corner
  3. Collect as many as you can at a networking event. In this case it really is quality over quantity. I’d rather collect one card from someone I want to talk to again then collect 20 from people I didn’t get to know. And of course don’t be the person that rushes round the room throwing your card at everyone in the room, whether you’ve spoken to them or not
  4. Leave them in a library book when you return it. This is someone’s personal data you have taken. They didn’t have to give it to you. You need to respect it and not use it as a bookmark. If you want to do that; use your own! So maybe that s an extreme case , but it’s a serious issue. People don’t have to give you their card; so look after it and use the information wisely.
  5. Make it such an odd shape or size that it doesn’t fit in a card holder. While I love cards that are unique, or different,if you want me to be able to access your details, or more importantly be able to pass your details on to others, then make it easy for me.

LinkedIn : Connections – who should I connect to?

This post is by Philippa Bowen

 

 

As I work with clients on their social media strategies I often get asked about how to grow their connections on LinkedIn. And who should they connect o? Accept invitations from?

 

Well LinkedIn is very specific in its terms and conditions about why it exists and who you should connect to:

A. Purpose.

The benefits of outsourcing in a small business

This post is by Philippa Bowen

Making the decision to outsource a service, a product, or a process can be the best thing you ever do for your business. It can save you money, people power and physical resources. If you are a small business and are trying to run your company single handed then outsourcing will undoubtedly make the job easier. Well that has always been my opinion and is what I say to business owners when I get asked this question. I also recommend that businesses get into the habit of outsourcing as soon as possible in life of the business. Why?

Should you choose a Mentor, an Advisor or a Consultant to help you in your business? Or all 3?

This post is by Philippa Bowen

As time goes on the number of people at networking meetings who are describing themselves as a business mentor is increasing rapidly. It made me wonder about the differences (perceived or otherwise) about the roles of a business mentor, a business advisor and a business consultant.