Author Archive

Land of (missed) Opportunities – part 2: Would you look a gift horse in the face?

As I hightlighted in my last post Land of (missed) Opportunities – part 1: Engage & Educate recently, in the space of a week or so, three individual events sparked my interest. All relate to business opportunities that were already ‘warm’ and with the right approach would have led to income for the people I was interacting with. In this post, I will look at the second.

The Back Story

After completing a half and a full marathon, I have now set my sights on doing a triathlon. The challenge in itself is good, but there is an added benefit that I will significantly improve my swimming and I have engaged a coach to help me to that. The current gym I attend has a small swimming pool, where it is difficult to develop. Therefore, I decided to look for an alternative gym that had a larger pool; as it was it also had newer and more modern facilities, more facilities generally, larger car park and a much nicer view when you are on a treadmill. I knew that this would be more expensive than the current gym and was prepared for that, however, I did not want to pay the full price which was over double what I was already paying.

Land of (missed) Opportunities – part 1: Engage & Educate

Recently, in the space of a week or so, three individual events sparked my interest. All relate to business opportunities that were already ‘warm’ and with the right approach would have led to income for the people I was interacting with. Each has a slightly different slant but I feel there is something to reflect on in each, in this post I will reflect on the first.

The Branding exercise

How is your business like a hosepipe?

What can you learn about your business from looking at a hosepipe?

A hosepipe is used to transport water from one place to where you want to use the water. Depending on the length of the pipe, how many kinks or obstructions there are; their will be an amount of time that passes before the water starts to flow out of the hosepipe and how well it flows, once the tap has been opened.

What price customer service?



I am currently looking for a new road bike, as I’m planning to do a tri-athlon within the next year. I have been to three shops to look at bikes, get information etc and have widely differing experiences of engagement and customer service during this time. Let me share with you a brief summary of it.


The first shop I went to is a long established, small independent retailer. When I walked into the shop I was greeted and quickly asked what I was looking for. I gave a brief introduction and I was put in the hands of another member of the staff. He proceeded to tell me a little about some bikes that were in my price bracket, not getting too technical and then we spoke about some gear such as pedals and shoes. I felt that I had been well looked after and was happy with the level of service I got.


I next went to a large, national chain. I walked into their cycle department and despite my obvious interest in the road bikes none of the several staff in the shop approached me. I found a bike that looked about right for my needs, it was a new model, and there was clearly a price on it. I approached one of the staff, explained my requirements. When I pointed out the bike, the ‘lad’ said that the bike was a new range and hadn’t been priced yet – first fail. I then asked for a quote, was handed a leaflet and told to ring national call centre – second fail. With which I left the shop, I could not believe the lack of interest when it was clear I was in the market for a purchase.

Concern, Influence, Focus

As small business owners, how much time do you spend focusing on the things that you can directly control? How much time do you spend worrying about things that you have little or no control over?

For you to be your most productive and to add the most value to your clients and your business, I would argue that you need to be spending the majority of your time on those things that you can have the most impact on and that are going to move your business forward.

There are many things that will impact your business that are external to it, for example the global economy, the natural disasters that have recently hit many areas of the globe, raw material pricing. However, these are not within your direct control and many you can have little or no influence over; so to spend your energy on them is a waste. What you can do is look at your response to them, what you can do within your business or by working with suppliers/customers/stakeholders (things where you can have a good level of influence) to address the impact. Therefore, taking a level of control and pro-activity.

As I was contemplating these things, the model from First Things First by Covey, Merrill & Merrill came to mind. If you’re not familiar with it here is a quick precis:

  • Circle of concern: all of the things that we have some concern or interest in. However, many of which we have no direct control or influence over.
  • Circle of influence: these are things that concern or interest us that we have some ability to influence or make a difference about, but we still do not have direct control of.
  • Circle of focus: those things over which we have the most direct control and influence. By focussing here we maximise the use of our energy and time

You can only control what you measure…

There is a saying that I have often heard “You can’t control what you don’t measure…”, I like to express things in more positive terms so I would prefer to say you can only control what you measure. It would appear that this is an abridged version of a much longer phrase;

“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.” Dr. H. James Harrington

When is a phone not a phone…?

This post is by Rob Cameron

 When is a phone not a phone…?

Answer: When it is an Apple iPhone 3GS running on IOS 4.xx

Over the past few weeks, well probably couple of months now, I have been having a lot of issues with my iPhone 3GS. With an amazing and frankly annoying regularity it takes it upon itself to crash and reboot during telephone calls since I have upgraded to the IOS 4.xx operating system. Not very good when its key feature is to be a phone! I can get all of the other gizmos and apps on an iPod Touch right?

A vision for your business

This post is by Rob Cameron

As I considered what to write as my first post for this exciting new project, I wanted to talk a little about the need to have a vision of where you want to take you and your business too, as I did the opening lines of a song came to mind

Do you know where you’re going to?
Do you like the things that life is showing you?
Where are you going to?
Do you know…?

Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To?) – Dianna Ross (M. Masser/G. Goffin)