Improve your business by taking on board your own advice


In my last blog, I mentioned how a researcher had said 20% of all employees want to look for a new job in 2014. What he also said, was 1 in 10 employees want to work for themselves – so that got me thinking, what do you think is stopping them?

The fear of the unknown is one big obstacle, as well as doubts about regular income.

So, if you’re self-employed, what advice would you give someone who is thinking of venturing into the big world of being an owner/manager? Does your advice also include the following? –

  1. Make sure you know who your customers are going to be
  2. Make sure you know how you’re going to attract new customers
  3. Be clear on the results you can deliver for your customers

This is because these are the biggest hurdles all new businesses have to get over – and not just new businesses.

Even if you are already in business, it is always worth asking yourself the question “How successful am I at achieving these 3 big deliverables?”

Be honest, because honesty is the only thing that will help you build the bedrock of a successful business. And the bedrock must include the 3 points above, because without them, your business will fail – I guarantee it. Sounds harsh? Maybe. But I have seen too many new businesses eventually subside exactly for not been able to nail who their customers are going to be, how to successfully attract them, and being clear on the results they can deliver.

So, try this – take a blank piece of paper and write these 3 points down, and answer them honestly. If your answers come freely then the chances are you’re onto a winner. However, if your paper stays blank for more than a couple of minutes, then take the opportunity to work out the answers before it becomes too late for your business.   


Make 2014 the year of Appreciation!

I was driving back from work one day last week, when I heard a researcher on the radio talking about how more people than ever before searched for a new job on that day (it was the first Monday of the new year)

Apparently, 20% of all employees went to work that morning and decided they wanted a change in direction. Why was this? A new year and a new broom sweeping clean? Maybe.

Was it, wanting an increase in wages? Possibly.

According to the researcher though, the main reason people were looking for a new job wasn’t about money or the fact it’s the New Year – above all it was because they want to feel more wanted by their employer.

The majority of employees state that the biggest factor leading to them feeling dissatisfied at work, is down to a lack of appreciation from their bosses. Conversely, many bosses feel they don’t always appreciate the work their employees do because they too often take it for granted. Either way, it’s a recipe for disaster – because the cost of recruiting new staff is often far more expensive than simply retaining existing employees.

So, if you’re an employer, make one of your New Year Resolutions to tell your staff more often how much you appreciate them – even if you can’t afford to give them a pay rise, try something else. For instance, give them some unexpected time off as a thank you for their hard work.

If you’re not an employer but you are in business, you can still learn a lot from this research – for instance, it’s a fact that many customers look to change suppliers because (you guessed it) they don’t feel appreciated!

Therefore, whether you have people working for you, or you have customers (or both) ask yourself a question – what am I doing to ensure they feel wanted?

Make sure you have a good answer, because the cost of finding quality new staff and quality new customers is one you don’t want to swallow so early in 2014.


The Big 2014 Business Lift-Off! – Make sure you’ve got your invitation!

I really have been amazed how much positive focus has been put on the New Year this time round – it really does feel like a rocket is about to set off!

The world financial markets are tipped to soar in 2014, as is the housing market in the UK. And apparently, businesses are being granted more corporate loans than at any time in the last 5 years.

Nearer to home, my own peculiar insight into the uplift in the economy comes in the shape of unplanned early morning wake-up calls – from convoys of HGV’s rumbling past my bedroom window, full of materials from the nearby builders’ merchants. I promise you, only 2 years ago, I could sleep as sound as a log without any interruptions from any traffic!

Everything sounds as buoyant as a hot air balloon on a summer’s day – and, if like me, you truly believe the state of the nation is at last showing signs of recovery (let’s not jinx it though!) you’ll want to make sure your business doesn’t miss the boat.

It’s scary though, isn’t it? Everyone’s saying the economy is on the turn (and judging by the hordes of people flooding in and out of the electrical superstore I visited this morning, it’s hard to disagree!) and the opportunity of success in 2014 is looming in front of you like the highest mountain – yet you feel like you haven’t even got a decent pair of hiking boots!

Seriously, though – how certain are you that your business is fit and ready for what 2014 has to offer?

The biggest tip I can give you is this. You can start by making sure you are getting in front of your biggest and best customers, because they are the ones who will be part of the 2014 lift-off.

It’s the bigger fish who always start feeding first when the economy starts to turn round, so if your customers are the bigger fish, make sure you are there to deliver for them.

So, if you want to network in 2014, network with the big fish. Get appointments to see your best customers, and find out what their plans for 2014 are, and make sure you’re part of them – make sure they know how you can support their growth, and how you can help them reach their targets for the year. If your customers aren’t corporates, but are the general public, help them feel like they’re part of the upturn – make sure you’re talking about the economy in positive terms, and not in the “doom and gloom” mumbles of the last few years. People like to be associated with positivity and success, so become that for your customers.

Be part of it – the big lift-off. Don’t just talk about it, and expect it pick you up on its way past. Trust me, it won’t.

Any upturn in the economy in 2014 will be an exclusive club, and you will need to work hard and work smart to get an invite.

Start by grabbing a coffee with your big fish customers in January, and plan together how you can make 2014 soar!

Good luck and Happy New Business Year!