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It’s a start.

If I had one piece of advice to offer anyone starting out in business today, it would be to value the people in your network.

Network = your contacts. Grow the network, to encourage the opportunity.
If I lost all my money today and my assets were gone, if my customers walked away I know that I’d be OK. I’d survive, start again and flourish because I have good relationships with those who I know well, share similar interests, trust.

You see, it’s been my experience that people will get us to where we wish to be. If we only take the time to engage, converse and take part in the exchange of information.

We have today, after all, a huge choice of media options at our disposal. We’re able to like, comment, join or share … 

‘It’s a start Charlie.’  I hear what you say, sure, it’s a start.

But, how many starts have failed through the lack of following up? 

It’s my belief that if you wish to develop any meaningful business, there is only one avenue worth pursuing and that is to seek regular engagement.

So, on finding your potential business partner or customer, (even if it is via the like/share/comment, etc) why not show your intentions and ask for a meeting?
Even if that meeting is via the miracle of ZOOM.

Choose the opportunity that presented to you. Don’t wait, take the first step.

Nothing is more enabling, with the ability to deliver the results required than to be the one to instigate the meeting. To be in the company of someone who is in the market for your product or services and … who is interested in listening can be empowering … and isn’t that just one of the reasons we’re in business?

Seeking new markets, allies, and sales, there are occasions when we need to be the one taking the initiative.

It’s a simple fact that the potential new customer won’t know about you, learn of the opportunity from you, unless you ask for their time.

Social media is a great source of leads, but why stop there? Let’s show AND tell.

Turn the possible business into probable referral. Be bold enough and have the faith and confidence in your product or services to reach out for the conversation. 

The worst that could happen?  The prospect responds with “no, thank you.” 
“Although, I may know someone else who may be interested …”

Take the first step, join the conversation and develop the relationship, because people buy from people who they know, like and trust.

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Rate your chances

I’m regularly asked why I continue to visit my network, meet with friends and their colleagues when I have stated on numerous occasions that I’m not looking to attract ‘just any, or all, kind of business.’

Not for me the ‘stacking them high to sell ’em cheap‘ kind of working.

The type of potential client I’m interested in meeting? 

He/she would aspire to offer the same profound benefit to their audience (their readers) as I aim to provide myself. 

You see, my work is to encourage the story from my customer, and of course, this takes time. Not everyone is ready to draw back the curtains, discuss life in detail and so work together with ANother to paint a picture, construct a story.

My type of customer is quite rare.

The person I’d like to meet would already understand that compiling an accurate depiction of their story takes, well, a good story starts with good relationships.  The exchange of information between both parties should be offered freely, the frequency of meetings should be regular.

On occasion, completing a story may take months, sometimes the book may take years to compile.  So why do I meet with my network on a regular basis?

Business is personal. It’s only by spending time together we have the opportunity to really understand each other …

Alternatively, I could trawl social media channels and ‘hoist a flag’ declaring something like … ‘cheap stories told here(!?),’ I’m sure that, eventually I’d be messaged by those attracted to my lure … but … chances are, I’d never get to put the kettle on, share a cup or shake the hand & break the ice in time-honoured fashion? 

Why do I reach out to my network? Because people buy from people.

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People, not devices

Like me, I thought some of you might find the following tale of interest. It came from a friend of mine, Mike Salter:

The story went like this …

I spent an hour in the bank with my elderly dad, as he had to transfer some money. I couldn’t resist myself and asked …

”Dad, why don’t we activate your internet banking?’

”Why would I do that?” He asked… ‘

Well, then you wont have to spend an hour here for things like transfer. You can even do your shopping online. Everything will be so easy!’

I was excited about initiating him into the world of Net banking.

He asked ”If I do that, I wont have to step out of the house?

”Yes, yes”! I said. I told him how even grocery can be delivered at door now and how Amazon delivers everything!

His answer left me tongue-tied.

He said ”Since I entered this bank today, I have met four of my friends, I have chatted a while with the staff who know me very well by now. You know I am alone … this is the company that I need. I like to get ready and come to the bank. I have enough time, it is the personal touch that I crave.

Two years back I got sick. The store owner from whom I buy fruits, came to see me and sat by my bedside and cried. When your Mom fell down a few days back while on her morning walk, our local grocer saw her and immediately got his car to rush her home as he knows where I live.

Would I have that ‘human’ touch if everything became online? Why would I want everything delivered to me, forcing me to interact with just my computer?

I like to know the person that I’m dealing with and not only the ‘seller’. It creates bonds of relationships. Does Amazon deliver all this as well? Technology is useful, but it isn’t life..

Spend time with people .. Not with devices.”

~

Thank you, Mike. Please let dad know that we’re not quite ready to resume in-person networking just yet, although we’re still engaging the person, making the connections that matter, regularly via ZOOM.

~

If you’d like to join the business conversation, you can do so by going to Eventbrite for further details: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/northumberland-weeklybiz-tickets-165537028709

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Comes a time …

A question during conversation …
Know anyone Charlie?

I offered Jenny the details of a local business funding program she was looking for. Why not contact them Jenny, this could help you, a grant that offers 20% of the investment planned. 

I’m not sure Charlie, I mean, I’ve enough business ticking over just now … 

But ‘just now’ is not enough, right? 

Correct.  Trouble is, I’m frightened that by investing in more staff and services means that I’m going to expand my market. 

So, is that so bad Jenny? 

That’s the trouble, Charlie. I’m not entirely sure that expansion, growth, is something I’m ready for. 

I’d known Jenny for a little while. During the past twelve months, she’d seen a strong surge in demand in her craft and tutelage, all driven by the current tendency for home working.

Jenny’s concern was that the supplementary services she had planned might be premature. Especially now, given the likelihood that ‘normal’ business practice, being back at the office, may resume sometime soon.

Jenny, you are the business. It’s a big step considering expansion, although if you want my advice? 

Go on, Charlie, what’s your plan? 

Think about why you started in the first place. Where do you see your current situation in your original plans?  You’ve found that life presents you now with an opportunity to take the next step in the process.

So, my advice? Find out what your customers want and give it to them. Repay their existing faith in you, and show them your intention of offering more. Trust your choices and your ability to fulfill your own and your client’s ambition.

Jenny then took some time to consider my view. She consulted and listened to her customers, seeing whether they would support her plans. She also talked to both her employees, who were more than excited by the news. Positive news all-round.

New sales? Seeking is the driver of new business. It’s through conversation, communication, by reaching out, that we’re putting more lines in the water.

At the same time:
“More business is lost through indecision than is lost through making the wrong decision.”

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Keep seeking

The above photograph is one of Captain James Cook’s monument.


It stands in memory of a man who, along with many others travelling with him, circled the globe pushing boundaries.

Even with the modern tools of today, sailing the world once is no mean feat. But casting off three times, in the 18th century!?

Why?

Because seeking is a driver …

Cook was looking for what was new. What he discovered was already there. He and his crew came across wondrous new lands, rich cultures that had existed for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

Yet the way us, as species and individuals look at boundaries … both inward and external, means we’re driven by the need to push further and explore.

This is no difference in the realm of our faith. What we believe often leaves us with more questions than answers. This is what pushes us forwards to explore further. The validation of what we seek.

Questions are tools. They offer clarity.

My experience tells me, just as I reach what I think I’ve have been looking for, a new horizon opens up. Choices materialise, possibilities then become many.

Whether in the business of discovery like Cook or reaching out to new friends, life is a journey of faith we are all embarked upon. By using the tool of conversation, seeking dialogue, we’re seeing past barriers, where there are no boundaries.

There’s no turning back when our faith tells us there are always open doors. Keep the faith, keep seeking.

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Shrink your circle …

the point is …

When you learn to network, you not only improve your career you also improve your personal life.

The best network marketers don’t just have amazing businesses and careers. They have incredible friendships and are always at the forefront of the line for new opportunities.

Networking is not about collecting cards and sending fancy emails anymore; there is more value in friends who share your interests than in bosses who do not have time to listen to your ideas.

For this reason, the key to successful networking is to achieve these points:

  • Figure out WHO matters most. Your employed programmer FRIEND may know who runs the business if you want a job.
  • Find easy ways to ENGAGE with people. For instance, you can share more ideas on Twitter than in an email.
  • Help yourself by helping others. People notice when you are doing good.
  • THINK PEOPLE, not position. True networking occurs when there’s an understanding between a group of people.
  • Support big sharks so good they can’t ignore you. When you are incredibly helpful to someone, they will be happy to help you back.
  • PEOPLE BUY FROM PEOPLE, because business is personal.

Here’s the link to the full message from Desiree Peralta

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Creating memories

Or, the importance of great relations …

It seems like a lifetime ago … I and several friends were spending together at a little-known festival in Spain. We were there for several days of detachment, endless sunshine, and a little mischief amongst great company.

So it was with some delight I collected the call from Paul, one of those old-time friends. We spent the better part of the next hour reminiscing. We ‘chewed the cud’ and you know, the memories came alive. 

The catalyst? Common experiences and the desire to reach out. So by way of conversation, the good times were vivid once more.

Most of you following my story understand why I spend a generous amount of my time engaging close contacts. By ‘being there,’ living in the moment we all learn more, together we exchange views and begin to understand.

It’s through familiarity we develop trust, and when we do that, dialogue is so much more rewarding.

In Paul’s case, he called me to discuss a book he was writing, a memoir. He was collecting foundations for different stories, each was a chapter of his life. Each one brought together over the decades. It was to be a great story. After all, he had a least one chapter now (surely) locked down after connecting via a simple telephone call.

A best-seller for sure!

So, what if you have no intentions of writing down your story, (even though IMHO you should.) Why do we reach out?  

Networking is misunderstood by many. Certainly, those looking for instant gratification to their needs and wants often go away bewildered.

Each of us has a different view and so a different story.

The simple fact is, networking is about creating visuals, memories, developing stories over time, years, even decades.

Take time to engage in conversation, in dialogue and the benefits will soon be obvious. Your story means something, to someone.

People buy from people.

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Helping out.

It’s right, don’t you think?  We shouldn’t have a reason to want to help anyone.
After all, by offering help to those who need it we’re somehow empowered … and I don’t mean empowered by indebtedness …

I don’t get that … “if you help me, I’ll help you” stuff. 

By empowerment, I’m meaning clarity. During these uncertain times, it’s easy to lose focus. I know many who have been so busy … staying busy, it’s come at a cost …

One eye on the timesheet, the other on the next ‘win,’ it’s easy to lose sight of that most important issue. Happiness.

For me, by spending time away from my own needs to offer support to someone else, I’m creating my own ‘space.’ I find clarity when problem-solving with friends.

Concentrating on solutions for others has a way of bringing about fresh thinking. It can even be cathartic. For some people though, it can be difficult.

Chris was a fine example. Among other things, he supplies cut, dried & bagged firewood, delivered to the door. Like many of us during social distancing right now he’s finding it difficult to make ends meet. The situation recently had become debilitating and he couldn’t see the way forward. Chris had become enveloped in the business.

It was ‘by the school gate’ that Jane told his story. It turns out, Chris wouldn’t accept his best friend Jane’s help. He didn’t want to appear to be ‘reliant on his partner.’

Keyword above?

Partner.

Chris and Jane did eventually prioritise and discuss the way forward – together. They sat down and spent time planning, they helped each other out. Chris talked, Jane listened, they both agreed on a solution and now they’re moving forward.

Helping others by having a conversation? 
That’s my kind of therapy. People buy from people.

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Collaborative conversation

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Become better, not bigger.

Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves

… a problem shared is a problem solved …

time is the greatest gift, once given it is never recouped

… If you do nothing, nothing is what remains …

The first step to change is acceptance

… the greatest rewards come from the greatest commitment …

… the bitterness of poor quality far outweighs the sweetness of low prices …

… business is a by-product of networking …

… treat people as you would have them treat you …

So, what drives you?

At The Weekly Business, we’re looking to hear what drives your business. What do you believe? What’s your idiom of choice?

The Weekly Business, established 10 years meet to discuss the world for a little over the hour each Wednesday 12.30 (GMT) and Thursday morning 8 am. All via ZOOM, it costs nothing to engage.

If you’ve got the time, you have our attention.

More info? Contact Charlie Kenny.

theweeklybusiness@gmail.com

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Be like Greta.


Last night I was watching TV., a BBC programme, all about an 18yr old environmental activist named Greta Thunberg, the show was entitled “A Year to Change the World.”

What strikes me about this young lady is her utmost dedication. During ‘the show’ we see her visit Poland, a monumental coal mine where we hear points of view from burly miners with a lifetime in mining. 

We’re taken to Davos, Switzerland and the ‘World Economic Forum,’ where Greta addresses leaders from around the world. Reminding them that, ‘you can’t negotiate with physics.’  

She visits the UK to a plant working on carbon dioxide capture and a whole lot of other ‘stuff.’  The plan is a year of environmental awareness, reaching out to China and the rest of Asia. That was before COVID.

Greta and her father have both contracted the virus.  It’s all change.

You cannot alter the direction of where you’re heading unless you alter the course.

“A Year to Change the World” is a journey for Greta that may be on hold now, although it’s not stopped her. Greta’s voice carries huge influence as she advises youth ‘to take the virus seriously.’

“In a crisis, we change our behaviour and adapt to the new circumstances for the greater good of society,”

Greta Thunberg is not giving up. Aspergers, OCD, COVID, depression and an ultimate sense of loss is evident as she utters to Sir David Attenborough … 
‘No-one is listening’ 

‘A great many people are watching and listening.’ he replies.

Sir David continues to reassure her that whilst there is no easy fix to the errors of the past generations, her bravery, determination, innovation … her legacy continues to inspire and bring about gradual change.

But, I’m not here to promote TV, even though I find this one program immensely watchable.

What does it for me?  

It’s Greta’s utmost determination, inspired drive to bring about change.  It’s her absolute trust in those around her (guiding her) and for me what does it for me is her admission to being at a loss asking for support.

You know, reaching out for advice from those you know and trust is no sign of weakness.  It’s exactly the opposite.

Let’s be more like Greta Thunberg.  Grow the social conscience, reach out to help others to change our world.

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Happiness

‘I remember that song …’ I thought to myself.

We all know how it works don’t we? You realise that the tune on the radio has taken us back to somewhere. Usually a special “somewhere.”

Or it may be a shout-out from the DJ – ‘any requests’?  We recall our favourites. These days I even find it difficult to choose between the favourite songs on my own playlist. It can be nigh impossible to select.

But when we get it right?

We recall the words, some of us are brave enough to attempt a sing-along! We go with the flow, we remember the message, and what we learned as well.

So it was when I picked up a call from someone from the other side of the world recently … I hadn’t heard from Michael for 25 years.

Michael was selling his business. He sounded excited about a future with more free time and being able to board a plane to catch up with friends.

He was now planning a visit to the UK, booking the next available flight ‘whenever that may be.’  We had an ‘easy’ conversation, lots of common interests. Mutual friends. We talked of the home town and covered the dim and distant past as if it were yesterday.

Michael and I always had a good relationship. I was looking forward to hearing about his plans for the future.

Charlie, he said, you know the best times for me are when I’m spending time with close friends. Even after 25 years, you and I can relate, with the same views the similar understanding that we always had. Our group of friends spent time growing and learning together.

Agreed Michael. I look forward to catching up when we see you.

I’ll keep you informed Charlie. You know this, the best relationships are those developed over time. Time together brings us familiarity. We share stories, we learn what makes others happy and in turn , that makes us happy.

Sharing those familiar tunes, Michael.

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Knowing me, knowing you

Again, I was with a bunch of friends via ZOOM recently, we were discussing the value of LinkedIn and similar online networking platforms.

It was more than curiosity that drove me. I understand that some folk view networking as a vessel for new leads while others look for learning, peer affinity. Networking fulfils different needs for everyone, even so, I asked the question:

‘How often do you post the benefits your company offer?’ You see, I’ve often wondered how many individuals actually reach out.  I thought it was simple enough, ‘how often do you shout about your business?’

I followed up with another, more pointed question. 

‘What do you bring to your network?’
There was a minute or so contemplation. Then came the description of their own services, the quality, the reach. The product range was mentioned, customer service, pricing, availability. Someone even suggested that years of experience was available to customers. Just a phone call away …” 

I felt it wasn’t enough, I wasn’t satisfied, so I put the question another way: ‘

“Do you engage your network often?”

“Whenever I have something to offer, I’ll post.” came a reply …

“I leave the maintenance of our ‘social media’ to someone else.” said another …

“Occasionally, perhaps once or twice per year. We don’t like to ‘spam’ people.” and …

“I like the customer to come to me.” replied the optimist.

So, we finished our conversation and yes, I did admit that I don’t offer nearly enough information through my network.

Bear with me. I needed to respond to my colleagues …

‘Whenever I have something to offer, I’ll post?”   It’s not ALL about the selly-sell. If we’re not conversing we’re not participating right? We’re not cultivating empathy.

I leave the maintenance of our ‘social media’ to someone else.” As the business owner you should know what is offered to prospects, otherwise how can you plan for the future?

“Occasionally, perhaps once or twice per year. We don’t like to SPAM people?”  If you don’t have enough confidence to see past the SPAM value, then will your prospect?

“I like the customer to come to me.”  Hey, me too. The thing is, that new customer is not going to come to you, if they don ‘t know what you’ve got!

No wonder there are people in business ‘out there’ disillusioned with the value of online networking. It’s not enough to be simply a ‘member’ of a network, paid for or otherwise, especially during these times.

To be considered authoritive, engaging, forward thinking, the professional business needs to regularly reach-out, show and tell, set examples, tell stories. We need to earn the right to serve. It’s not called networking for nothing.


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Independence


It was during our regular ‘Weeklybiz’ meeting when Gareth asked the room for their opinion. Gareth is a coach; he has great skills in bringing the best out of people by simplifying the bigger issues. His question today raised great debate …

“I’d like to know what makes someone decide to start up a business, work for themselves?

‘More money!’ came a call from the cheap seats …

Some suggested independence was the chance to be our own boss, being in charge of our own destiny. Others that by following the self-employed route we’re abandoning the treadmill of the organisation and of course there are people who find themselves out of a job, so going it alone … and with a plan, becomes a necessity.”

There are certain individuals who have independence as part of their DNA, the very thought of working for someone else isn’t considered. What is it that drives them on?

Control? Personal success? The satisfaction of achieving through their own means? Surely there is faith in their own ability to succeed … ambition?

Perhaps the need to leave a transferable legacy of our work is the catalyst?

There was much to consider.

Speaking for myself, I relate to a little of everything mentioned above. My father was self-employed for most of his life, both my brothers also. I’ve found we tend to follow those with influence, peers who test the water for us, those we admire as they light the way. We see this very much in evidence via ‘social’ community, don’t we?  

Independence is hugely desirable, never more so than today.

That desire, the calling for independence can come at any time.

Consider Brian D. Powell, he had a long and distinguished career fighting fires and saving lives. A lauded genius who gained recognition as a pioneer in the field of health and safety, Brian took the decision to leave the establishment late in life, to follow his passion.  Dedicating himself to his art, his independence.

If we’re not born with ‘it’ then what drives the yearning? Why the need for fulfilment via independence?

The realisation most often coincides with the understanding that we have the passion, know-how, skills, tools and the vision to achieve.

Trusting in ourselves, being comfortable in our shoes we embrace our independence as we step forward.

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It happens, get over it

Growing up in ’50s West Australia, I recall most days were happy, full of fun with two brothers not much younger than me. There’s no doubt our parents, recent immigrants found those early years pretty tough.

No promise of prosperity.

Dad moved quite a bit with work which meant we moved house often, never settling. Even as a kid I realised this time was particularly tough for mum, though she never talked about it.
Bringing up three children in a new country, without family connections, there wasn’t a lot of time for her. No way to put roots down, grow. Eventually, other families from the UK arrived, they too found it tough establishing themselves, so we didn’t get to see much of them.

‘It happens.’ I hear you say.

It was an unsettled time but it was a busy, exciting time for us young, naive kids. I remember the family took the day-night train to the East coast for the second time following dad. This is when my parent’s marriage began to deteriorate. Uneasy, tough, unpredictable times.

I found myself at my second prep school with my brothers ‘settling’ into a third primary … and a sister due in the world any time soon! 
In reflection, we all worked to keep the family together, I remember mum taking jobs to support us. We never considered ourselves poor. The family always had enough. Mum even found me my first Saturday work, my first ‘real’ job.


At about fourteen years old I began to wonder how friends managed to have all the right stuff, the latest sports equipment, the best bicycle etc.
I was becoming influenced by peers and came to learn how better stuff, extra things might be attainable.


‘Get over it!’ I hear you say again …

Ok, so I’ll cut to the chase.
Almost forty years later I find myself content with life. I’ve lived and worked, I’ve met those ‘better things.’ I’m lucky to have a loving family, made great friends, started businesses and closed them. I’ve started up again. I’m accused of being a trouble-maker, rabble-rouser. I’ve picked up pieces, learned lessons and carried on.


You see, the path my brothers and sister walked with mum and dad, while it seemed tough, it was our ‘normal.’  Tough was normal.
Life has a habit of throwing challenges out along the way and these have galvanised me to some extent. I’ve learned the value of reaching out, engaging people. When doing so I’m offering time to observe, listen, hold a conversation and ask questions.


I’ve enjoyed finding out how to be comfortable in my shoes. I found out a long time ago that life isn’t about bigger, better things but the better people in your life … life is about how we adapt, relate.

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What goes around …

The call came in:

‘Hey Charlie, Steve here, long time no see? I’ve developed a great new product and I wondered whether you would be kind enough to pass on the news to friends within your network for me?
Blah … blah … this ‘n that, blah, great offers, blah – and by the way, hope all is well with you?’

My immediate response to Steve’s question was yes, sure, no problem … Happy to do so! Steve’s enthusiasm captivated me, I wanted to help him (because help is what I do.) 

Although …

You know, people often come to me with requests to spread the word about their business. I’ve been doing just that for the last ten years through close connections. There is value in supporting each other, it’s something I strongly believe in.

We all know that reciprocal arrangement, the unwritten rule of life and business, ‘what goes around comes around?’ That same arrangement continues to attract the ‘right kind’ of people to the network and it’s for that reason, I see why Steve called me.  After all, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

So, in this instance, I wasn’t sure how to tackle Steve’s question … ‘Charlie, pass the news on to friends in the network?’ 

I really didn’t know Steve so well, an acquaintance of a friend so to speak, so I decided to call him back, make him an offer … ‘

Steve, thanks for the news, why not come along to the meeting, introduce yourself? Show your face, spend an hour or so as you extol the virtues, the value of the new project you’re involved with?’ 

Charlie, I appreciate the invitation although networking is not for me and to be honest I simply don’t have the time. I’d be grateful though if you would give them my details?’ 

So don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for Steve and hope his new idea takes off. I’ll mention his news, although I couldn’t personally recommend a product or service I haven’t used myself to close friends or family.

Good business comes via those we know well. Referrals take time and are earned. Strong reputations we build through trust. Because business is personal.

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Take time for conversation

I sat down for a ZOOM chat with Adam the other day, he’s decided to start-up a domestic cleaning business. We shared the virtual cake …
His first question to me?

Can networking help my business?

It’s a question I’ve heard many times and I’ve always given the same answer:
Yes, networking can help your business start-up. With enthusiasm, ambition and desire we inspire others. Attitudes are infectious and listening to you as you talk up the business, share dreams, goals, products or services, we’re often empowered to refer you to others.
Networking is a great way to kick-start any new business.

Even in today’s economic climate?

In any business landscape, correct. Talk about the people, someone else’s magic and you start the gossip …
The aim of networking is to develop the diary of connections, broaden the horizons. Spread the good word, the benefits of association, all through word-of-mouth.

I could do that, the same through social media, couldn’t I?

Of course, and I see you already do that, although the difference between an ‘average’ referral and ‘great’ one is always the personal connection.

So, I need to spend time developing skills, how long does it take to become successful when networking??

You can grow your audience through social, collect the likes, shares and emojis. the difference is the Unique Selling Person.

The difference when we spend time with others? Nothing beats your presence, being ‘there’ for when a potential client needs help. To excel, with your audience, show your values, your ‘why’ your ‘how’ and where you work, the difference is personal. It’s you.

Develop your listening skills, Adam, be reflective and converse, share wisdom, allow others to learn from you. Familiarity develops certainty, so spend time knowing your audience, the market. You ask how long?


People buy from people who they know, like and trust.

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the gift of time

Chrissie called the landline this morning to let me know that she wasn’t going to make the ZOOM call this week.

That’s just like Chrissie, I thought.  Calling to speak instead of a simple text or email, I admired that about her. It was unlike her to miss the weekly ‘human interaction’ and so I asked whether there was anything I could do to help? 

Nothing new to offer from me this week Charlie, I’ll take the week off, perhaps that will ‘do the trick’ and I’ll return inspired, refreshed!

There are many occasions when misguided thoughts can thwart our intentions. Chrissie offered a prime example. I’ve known many in business believe that networking is about ‘what’s new, what do I have to offer??  Or, what can I give?’  Of course, networking is so much more than what you have …

The greatest gift we’re able to offer one another is time, attention.  By being there, listening.

Yes,  it’s understood, Chrissie knows this already. She may have ‘other stuff’ happening,  jobs to do – family – we all have stuff, right?

From past experience, I’ve learned the main reason we’re networking, meeting on regular basis is to be there to offer support for those who need it. We’re together to learn from one another and wherever possible, lend our expertise, offering solutions.

We offer our own views on the topics of the day, together with best business practice and by being attentive we’re making ourselves available…

Marvellous things happen during a conversation. We listen as we hear, relate, we develop self-reflection, we have something to offer and so we overcome the scarcity Chrissie mentions. By participating in the GIFT of group conversation we’re learning the language of others, leading to empathy & trust.

There’s another oft-overlooked magic that comes through conversation. The regular conversation develops the relationships, opportunity.

Give the gift of attention,  conversation, inspire through collaboration.

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Training for your discipline

How do you feel?

What do you do when the business you love begins to promise so much?

You dare to build on that promise, you dream big, you start to see progress from all the graft with the route to fulfilment becoming reality. The promise of success excites, doesn’t it?

All is well until …

The very path we’re following, channelling the time and energy changes forever with the arrival of negative market forces. Worse still, the changes are something we’re unable to control, suddenly there’s a feeling of helplessness when the strategy, the certainty we once had in place is all but gone, we’re driven to look at strategy. Plan B.

Planning on how to pivot the business.

The above scenario is affecting organisations large and small everywhere just now and for one such business owner, with an established fitness studio, twelve months ago Beth found her livelihood under threat of permanent closure unless she found a way to keep her clients and the money coming in.

Being so ‘wrapped up’ in the day to day of the business can be debilitating, although Beth somehow had the foresight to develop a strategy, at the same time brave enough to admit to herself that she needed help taking the concept of the pivot to reality. 

Gareth Shackleton eventually met with Beth and discussed (amongst other things) ambition, what was possible (or not) today, building for tomorrow including five components that VALUE the business all before sitting down to discuss Action – working on the new baby, the result of ‘pivot.’ 

With Gareth’s help, Beth came up with a plan to incorporate an existing degree held in Sports Therapy with her broader life skills, those as a former jockey and competitive horsewoman. This strategic move tied in with a client offer of all-round defined fitness for both rider … and horse!

Equine biomechanics.

Before long, ‘Equiskills’ was established combining the fundamentals of Pilates, inner physical and mental fitness, all presented as a rounded offer in a series of online tutorials … ‘Training for your Discipline.’ 

.  .  .

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary plans and by taking the time to share the ambition with recommended, trusted friends it can be possible to step outside of the comfort zone and realise the benefits of enforced change.

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Off to market?

So how do we know when could be the right time to sell the business and move on?
Perhaps a combination of external forces could trigger a long-desired need for diversity, or adapt, personal circumstances sometimes enforce change, partnerships are disputed, there are a myriad of reasons why the business we’ve built, spent so much time nurturing seemingly becomes passe. It may simply seem like the right time to leave the business, start afresh …

Some of us were lucky enough to hear Gareth Shackleton offer a presentation at a recent Weekly Business network. Gareth brought VALUE to the meeting. The business ‘value’ may be considered in this way:

V.A.L.U E.

Value? What do the figures say, the intrinsic difference between incoming and outgoing? What say the bottom line?

Acquirers?  Do you have interest from potential buyers for your business?  Are they genuinely interested in continuing the legacy or simply looking at the aforementioned bottom line …? What’s in it for them? 

Lipstick?  If we’re going to present our business to potential buyers, we should portray the enterprise in a way that she looks attractive. Going to market? Dress up the positive, accentuate clarity so that any potential candidate might find it easy to step forward, at the right price.

Understanding?  Your buyers will need to understand you somewhat in making up their mind whether your business is for them. There will be time spent working on how your business excels, how it contributes to the existing marketplace and perhaps additionally, why did you start in the first place?

Extras?  What are the benefits to your potential buyer? Try to visualise where/why your business is especially attractive to a potential buyer and so find ways to accentuate the positive value now and in the future.

Sounds simple enough? Agreed, for some, the process may need no explanation, although there’s still plenty of ‘work’ to do in preparation of moving on from the business we’ve spent time bringing to market. The challenge is continuing to sustain the business if we’re considering stepping away.

I’ve always felt that the trusted network has so much more to offer than a cultivated route to orders on the day book, the above example is surely confirmation to that. Cheers, Gareth!

How do we know when the time is right? We talk. It’s always good to talk.

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Forging the business

I met with Stephen Lunn recently, an artist who has been part of the family-run business since 1974. The renowned foundry itself operating for over a century.

During our conversation, I asked Stephen whether he had any business advice, something he may wish to share?

Stephen thought for a minute before offering the following tips, genuine ‘gold dust’ in my view … fundamental points to pass on to any budding entrepreneur.

‘Charlie, there are many lessons my grandad taught me over the years, here are one or two I tend to stick by:

  • Never denigrate the value of someone else’s services or business, certainly not publicly. If you have nothing positive to say, then say nothing at all.
  • If you believe that a potential client proposition is wrong, then let them know why by advising them accordingly.
  • Quality, a job well done, should always take precedence over time. There’s always seems to be time for a re-do!
  • Make it special. Try not to compare your client’s project to similar work …
  • Recommend others if you cannot complete a project. Share your connections.

Any of the above sound familiar?

Why are the above points so important?’ I hear you say?

Life is a circle.

Over the years I’ve found that what goes around, comes around. If you generate bad news you tend to be described by others in the same way. In the same way, by supplying only quality service or products, we’re positioning ourselves as a valuable provider and by making the ‘customer experience’ a special one, we’re more readily referrable. Likewise, by recommending an alternative provider of specific services we’re doing our reputation no harm at all.

In all aspects of life, we reap as we sow, and I’m a firm believer in that business should be a rewarding experience for all concerned, especially today!

Not forgetting … if we share smile, we’re generally receiving a smile in return.  

People buy from people who they know, like and trust.

Thank you for the reminder, Stephen.

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A handful of skills …

You don’t need formal qualifications to be a great salesperson, really you don’t. You simply need to learn what to do with the fundamentals.

Qualification (or studious credential) in a specific cause, subject or topic will bring you certain hard-won skills, although I firmly believe the traits of the exceptional salesperson is inherent, characteristic.

The diplomae are a fabulous confirmation of studious intent and the degree certainly confirms commitment to the cause. Although … while intention and commitment are attributes that anyone looking for success should possess, there are but a handful of skills we all possess, already resident in our DNA which, in my view should be observed.

Here are a few of that handful …

We should be genuine, credible

As a people person, we should have empathy

Our engagement should be generous in time, considerate in offer

We need to understand that discussion is two-way, time spent in conversation

With some/all of the above, success comes by also remembering that we have a better chance of attaining exceptional results, when offering our prospects the courtesy with which we would expect ourselves.

Being a representative of the very best that you provide takes application, time. The excellence we seek comes from the repetition of certain life skills cultivated over a given period. Sure, the diploma, the qualifications we’ve worked so hard for are a great starting point, although the real, meaningful lessons come from spending time with peers, those who understand that people buy from people and that it’s not necessarily what you have to offer, but how you relate.

So, how to reap the rewards of a hard-won qualification?

Practice what you preach.

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grateful for the vision

Like most, I’ve had plenty of time recently to reflect on lessons of the past twelve months. More importantly, I’ve realised I’m in a very fortunate situation, a new (better) year is ahead of me, I have some great people in my circle and a vision to take me forward. I’m grateful.

One of my first tasks during the holiday was to clear that path that takes me forward. I’ve been making a concerted effort to remove some of those ‘unseen’ obstructions that seem to hinder any kind of progress.

The time thieves.

I started with email and I must be honest, logging on after a few days felt a chore. The inbox was carrying assorted offers, most of it promising my exclusive part of the brave new world, there were exclusive ‘deals’ if I order now plus of course the ubiquitous offer of help with my SEO – from several different ‘connections’ representing the same company!

Time for a clear-out.

The process started out as a tedious distraction ‘though soon became a kind of rewarding therapy … spending the best part of the day ‘unsubscribing’ and severing links with any kind of new year distraction. I followed up on the ‘valid stuff’ and prioritised the written ‘to do’ list for January (yes, I still keep a list!) I’m keeping in touch with my connections of course and all the while I’m making the mental note to answer those holiday cards …

‘Social’ media is another story.

The routine is just that now. Each new season, at the start of ‘every quarter’ I find I learn a lot from my aforementioned clear-out. I’m giving myself space, clearing the path to visualise the route, qualifying what I need to do if I am to go further in pursuit of my goals. 

By sticking to a modicum of routine I’m creating the freedom required to see the future.

By following-up, I’m also making myself referrable by being seen as a reliable business connection.

‘people buy from people’

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I see you!


I was interested to learn recently that, according to a recent Deloitte survey, 59% of consumers say they have  increased their usage of local services and retailers. (< link)

With this shift towards local business offering greater support to the surrounding economies, it certainly seems good business sense to play a proactive role in supporting community-level enterprise don’t you think?

Here’s one way to participate.

… especially during this time of lock-down and considering many of our potential ‘customers,’ work from home, it needs little explanation that the priority should see us all ensuring our online presence is attractive, fresh and engaging …

Tough times also call for bold decisions by stepping away from the relative ‘comfort’ of the online world (when possible,) so introducing your solutions in-person should be encouraged. Why? Because even more so today, personal business relationships are hugely important and it’s not simply those well-established local ‘cornerstone industries’we should be approaching either …  

According to “New Business Start-Ups”there are an expected 85000 new businesses established in the UKby the end of 2020. For any would-be entrepreneur, engaging the like-minded local establishments shouldn’t be dismissed. After all, developing close allies and affinity, better understanding through relationships are the type of associations that turned the one-time small business start-up into the ‘cornerstone industries’we see thriving today.

People buy from people.

Not forgetting, it’s not all the furthest, most sparkling horizons hold the richest of rewards. Try to imagine what may be right in front of you, by reaching out. Simply introduce your own local services, define your offer and invite the engagement. By lowering the ‘horizon of expectation’ and engaging local we’re creating opportunity when that local needs arise. With our own genuinely local flavour, our prospects see the worth of association and we become more readily referrable. More business at a lower cost.

Of course, readily referrable means we’re seen as a reliable business connection, the reputation grows and over time, the horizons for business broaden organically as the reputation sells for you.

A new business can be challenging during tough times although you are never alone and just now (right now!) the opportunities are enormous, we simply need to embrace the change and be prepared to adjust the expectation for when our prospects need us and …

Fly the flag for your business.

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Be like Mr Costas

I received sad news recently that an old friend, someone I had known for years, had passed away. The news was entirely out of the blue (as most sudden deaths are) and when I was asked how I best remembered my buddy Mal, I immediately thought of how much he gave.

Mal was the type of fellow who had time for everyone, for me he will always be remembered as a guy who gave time (no matter how busy) to each and everyone he met along the way …

Do you know many people like that?

I remember one family holiday to Greece, we’d flown to arrive mid-afternoon and the sunshine was blisteringly hot. The queue for the cab (all of 3 minutes) to our designated hotel was even becoming tedious – what else did I expect? Midday … in Greece??

So, our cab arrives, driver relieves us of luggage and the three of us jump into the car – immediately the driver opens an icebox on the front seat and produces three perfectly chilled, gratefully received drinks – ‘relax,’ he says, ‘we’re only ten minutes away … and the pool is good where you are staying.’

After ten animated, informative minutes, we reached our destination. Again, insistently in charge of luggage Costas (we’re on first-name terms by now,) duly escorted us to the reception, introducing us to our hosts (his mother and father) and upon completing registration, he politely offered his card and suggested … ‘ if there is anything you want during your stay, just call me.’

‘Perhaps you would like a suggestion of where to dine with your family during your stay?’

Our short stay in Greece became known as ‘5 days with Mr Costas’ … someone who went out of his way to understand, engage his audience.

As it happens, we did take up his offer of recommendation to dining. He’d directed us to a local taverner run by a close family friend … his sister. In fact we found the experience so irresistible we returned each evening before our eventual departure to the airport … via Mr Costas, luggage hauled and inclusive of in-car refreshments.

So, back at ‘the office’ when asked:

How was the break? Meet any good people? Was it anywhere you would recommend?

Mr Costas had done his job, given his time and made us feel special, just like Mal had done during the time I’d known him.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Maya Angelou.

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Small steps, BIG gains

My friends and I are meeting regularly to discuss the world, changing times, the business opportunity and maybe, where we can help and lots of other ‘stuff’ in-between.

By meeting regularly, via ZOOM we’re able to keep ‘ahead of the game’ with a short-cut to solutions provided through trusted relationships.

Around a dozen meet for a little over an hour on any Wednesday, 12.30 (make it for midday if you’d like a one to one with me before the meeting) otherwise, join us any Thursday from 8 am. (London GMT.)

Each week … small steps.

Join us in conversation, all you need is the ability to go online & log-on! The meetings are structured, it’s FREE to attend and once you confirm participation I’ll mail you a link directly to the meeting ‘room’ … then it’s time to step away from the regular routine.

You can be with us? That’s great!! Simply let me know (respond via email – that’s me at the foot of the page or reach out via telephone 01665 577084 … otherwise please use the contact form! )

We look forward to meeting you, ‘having a chat.’

charliekenny@live.co.uk ~ +441665 577084 ~ weeklybiz@outlook.com

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To-do, or not …

I know, it’s tough keeping the ‘to-do’ list in check during these distracting times, let alone the ‘bigger picture.’ although that should always be top of the list … where do I wish to go and how am I going to get there?

The humble to-do list will keep us on track for the more straight-forward tasks, planning for growth though, to a particularly flat market, during times like now, when we’re looking for other influences offering clarity and opportunity can be … challenging!  

(Is that a strong enough word??)

Most of you know I enjoy the company of peers, I keep a handful of like-minded people close through regular get-togethers and I find the regular conversation helps enormously with the vision – the ‘bizability.’

I do understand that some people can’t see my routines working for them. I hear it … they just don’t make themselves available … ‘peers? I haven’t got time to stop work and simply chat. Business vision? I’m too busy to dream Charlie, I’m busy chasing my next best customer, new business.’

For some, they’re too tied up in the business to work on the dream, the BIGGER stuff.. 

Here’s what I see as utopia in the brave new world …

How about a community for the future, good-will to form part of the fundamental fabric of generations? 

We’ll be ourselves valued, more appreciative of our close friends, more understanding of diversity, enabling a caring society for the well-being of all, eco-environment and community neighbours alike.

With advanced A.I., we would become more aware of ‘what’s possible for us,’ the BIGGER picture, perhaps independent, accountable governance, county boundaries focusing more on keeping local people safe, working on inclusive, sharing prosperity to benefit all. 

We may even see ownership REPLACED by custodianship with less material values becoming commonplace. Each local business incentivised through belonging, cherished.

The ‘home’ county would be self-governed by a co-operative, supported by the popular vote. Trading in traditional, local expertise as well as the future opportunity by sustaining inter-county partnerships.

I dream universal freedom to travel to and from each county COVID free without concerns for health.  International travel would depend on the greater understanding of universal passports when each partner (like-minded country) would be able to support the visitor to the same level of understanding as their home ‘status.’

Sounds right huh?  Pie in the sky?  Perhaps … what about you?

Just now though, it’s tough to be in a position to enjoy the dreamed-up utopia, although there’s one thing for sure … if we don’t embrace change, if we don’t dream BIG, don’t imagine, we won’t see the benefits.

Put dream on the to-do list.

Dream BIG.

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So, what do you see?

‘Bob, what’s on your mind? You look puzzled.’

‘How do you see the community of the future Charlie?’

It was a question I wasn’t prepared for although I wanted to give the answer some consideration. After all, the past few months had been a roller coaster.

Until recently Bob had a steady, well-paid job in A.I., only to be laid off like many others due to Covid … and just now he wasn’t sure whether he wanted the old position back.

We all worry about livelihood, of course, the close family Charlie, if we listened to what the city folk tell us we’ll all be subservient cyborg drones in the not too distant. All driven by ‘bots.’

Bob had very nearly become a product of his own industry and I could see this worried my friend as we sat to discuss a series of short-stories driven on his past experiences …

Community very much depends on the calibre of the people for me Bob. Community is a result of close relations with those sharing similar beliefs, values. This is what I know.’

Agreed, but … what do you now see Charlie?

‘As it happens Bob, I ‘bumped into’ one of the near-neighbours at the local grocery this morning. I’d caught her fleeting glance as she looked up from the ‘news’ paper and routinely greeted the face with my brightest of muffled, masked ‘good mornings’ … 

Not taking her eyes from the broadsheet she replied … ‘More bad news, poor kids in school, such a mess, hospitals underfunding, more restrictions and lock-down. When do we get our life back?

The next few minutes were spent discussing what was different for us, the people that we don’t see anymore, the change in routines – plus of course the lack of general freedom of movement. We ‘covered’ the doctors’ appointments online, shopping via google, self-drive vehicles, Christmas on-line and the life that was before … we both walked away moderately sated, happy for the opportunity to ‘rant.’

So, I see the time now is for making simple decisions Bob, we either follow the guidelines laid down to enable us control over the virus and so preserve communities as we know them – or we risk the rout of neighbourhoods and the new generation of non-conformance.  What do you think?

Choices yes, but I see great opportunity, Charlie, a burgeoning free-thinking environment for the entrepreneur is rare. I’m excited about the future of stronger communities, those with common values and stronger ties all borne out of the challenges Covid has offered us all.

So, it’s not about getting the life back?

It’s about being patient Charlie, the landscape of the future will be different to ‘old life’ – I see the future as ‘old life with bells on,’ our collective community responsibility is to support and empower the new generation when embracing the opportunities coming our way, getting the new life back, in the very near future.’

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a routine change

Hello friends, how was your week?

For me? It was a mix of meeting up, engaging with new potential clients and following up on existing projects, one project, in particular, is the Business Start-Up next Wednesday and I’m really looking forward to hosting this with more of the same interaction, conversing new faces and one or three (not so) old-uns!

Why not come along? It’d be great to meet you, “in person,” via Zoom. Why not?

So this morning I changed my routine and made a conscious decision to step out with the dog. I mean, I’m often out with Dusty Dawg (D.D.) – usually, before my day ‘starts’ although today was special, it’s D.D’s birthday (11th) and so it was an extra-long, special walk as we traipsed down to the favoured spot by the sea.

D.D. paradise destination!

For one reason or another, we haven’t been able to be ‘there’ for a while as it’s been so busy with holidaymakers, families usually (and their dogs) all getting out and sucking up the wonderful air. Giving themselves some justified quality time.

For most it’s been tough this past year, 2020 will not be remembered as one of the kindest. Annus horribilis I believe ‘the Latinos’ would have called this one …

But you know what? There is so much opportunity just now for those prepared to reach out for ‘it,’ seeking exactly what they need, realising what drives them.

The world keeps turning, business operations are opening up and shut down daily and yes, of course, it’s a fact that the current situation with Covid has generated unprecedented hardship and change although with change comes opportunity. With opportunity comes optimism, clarity of vision and when we have the vision we then see what drives us … we’re visualising our goals.

Like you (and D.D.) I’m just happy we don’t have to wear blindfolds as well …

D.D. ready for the walk!

… otherwise we’d never see the opportunity.

So if you’d like to benefit from the clarity that 20/20 vision can bring your life goals or the business, you’d be most welcome to join us next Wednesday from 12 midday (GMT.)

No fees. It’s free.

A change in routine is good for us, we know that already & the opportunity to actually see the benefits that change has brought to others, listening to their learned opinions and then perhaps put some of the lessons of experience into action … all of that can be life-changing!

We’d love to see you next Wednesday. Let me know if you can make it.

+ thank you for your support!

Charlie k.

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familiar paths

Isn’t it great, especially during the current times of uncertainty, when old friends get in touch?

I hadn’t heard from Alastair for a bit until he picked up the landline and called me:

‘Charlie, I was wondering whether you can help me …’

Alastair and I have been friends since we worked together on his first book back in 2010.  

We had a lot to catch up on and chatted for a while, Alastair had contacted me to discuss his latest manuscript, something he wished me to consider.

He went further to say he was so pleased that I was still trading, willing and able to provide the same service he was accustomed. I could sense he was also relieved that our conversation was easy, we picked-up more or less where we left off years ago.

It was the familiarity. Alastair wasn’t comfortable with the unfamiliar. Me also, sounds reasonable huh?

He’d found life tough going since the Black Monday stock market crash of ’87. His specialist, fledgeling law practice was hugely affected back then. Ultimately Alastair, his wife and kids lost the business, their home, he turned to drink when ultimately, his family turned away from him.

Alastair spent time surviving on ‘the streets,’ in and out of various institutions. It was tough going for my friend. ‘Back then’ he he did manage to reach out for support from a local charity and he’d joined A.A. I met Alastair shortly thereafter through a referral via the Weekly Business.  

Alistair was coming back strong, he was looking to rebuild, get back on track at the age of 51…

Not that age should be a barrier to picking up the pieces and starting out again, look at what Henry Ford achieved, failing repeatedly before launching the hugely popular Model T Ford. Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Anita Roddick all failing along the way, learning from diversions in the path and recovering. In most cases spectacularly!

Alastair wasn’t looking for anything spectacular in 2020. He wasn’t looking to restart his own practice just now. He was enjoying long-term employ at a local law practice, a position of some prominence, he and family even managed to reunite.

I look forward to helping Alastair with his latest book, he’s a friend and we’ve swapped many vews over the years on success and of course, failure.

As Mary Kay Ash put it:

“For every failure, there’s an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour.”

Most importantly though, ask a friend.

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no giving up

When did you last give up?

The last time I felt like just walking away, leaving, giving up wasn’t the last at all.  I wouldn’t be human (ok, for clarification on this point, speak with Mrs K.,) I would not be human if I felt that my job, my efforts of encouragement at times fell on deaf ears as the recipient of my attentions paid more eye contact to the infernal device or the to-do list than to what I was contributing to the current crisis.

I get it. We all feel ‘defeated’ at times. There’s a lot distraction ‘out there’ today, and so it’s normal to feel ignored, not heard amongst the cacophony.

Blank expressions do happen, people do miss those predetermined goals we’ve settled on because other stuff gets in the way and so when that realisation of being second choice hits home, our response to this can often be negative … ‘whatever, that’s me, I’m done, had enough’… it’s that assumption when we feel that ‘it’ (whatever that ‘it’ is) simply doesn’t appear to be working’ and we just want to call it quits, throw in the towel, be done with ‘it,’ finito … 

In extraordinary times, what do passionate people do? We certainly don’t give in to market forces, we don’t give up.

We connect with those closest to us, we continue with our own stuff and we move on. Having slept, we find that miraculously, ‘the house’ is back in order with a solution. Some kind of solution is found and pick up the pieces. 

That’s just the way of us humans. Agreed?

We step back, accept our failings, we raise the flag of surrender (for today!) and move on. We talk, we mull and proceed with the next one, other stuff. 

So, what do we gain from the repetition of having lost?

What do we need to remind ourselves of if we’re not doing so already?

Where is the payoff for getting up again and going again and keeping at it? It’s tough times just now, I get it.

We understand the challenges of ‘just now,’ so knowingly we put those disappointments down to experience, put them behind us, we think again and start over. 

Experience is the lesson from loss. Experience is the reward for any failure.

P.S. Let me know how you contend with disappointments in business, I’d be very happy to hear from you!

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Right time, right place.


Johannes (Hans) is a friend of mine. I’ve known him my entire career.

We’d met during his reign as a celebrated owner of the local patisserie, Hans had one and all visiting for a weekend treat, or brunch stop.

That was in my old home town of Sydney, Hans lived there for around 18 years before meeting a young lady from Chicago, someone who he knew was Mrs Right!

So it was that off to the USA went Hans, there to meet the father of Susan, to do the ‘right thing,’ asking for her hand in marriage.

At the time, Susan’s family were in charge of Chicago’s eminently successful law practice, so when Hans turned up, seeking to ‘join the family,’ questions were asked:

I mean, after all, who was this oddball anyway?  How does a pastry-cook fit into the family business, the circle?”

I know what you are thinking, I could definitely see benefits!

Susan and Hans persisted and family saw reason, Sue and Hans began to make plans to marry. Although … business came first as prospective father-in-law wished to introduce Hans to one or two in his ‘network.’ 

“Let’s see if we can get you into management,” he says.

So comes the day, Hans was introduced to the local fraternity, it was a regular ‘thing’ and while Hans was not averse to meeting a diverse range of people, this new regime was going to take some getting used to. After all, he was from the catering trade and just now, looking for a job!

After a few months getting to know his new connections, patiently mixing in ‘certain circles,’ he met someone from a distinctly similar background.

‘Hi, I’m in the catering industry and looking to bolster the local sales team. Are you interested?’

It wasn’t long before Hans found himself with a job, the firm he had joined producing stainless cookware and his role found him responsible for developing more local sales.

The story goes that Hans is some twelve months into the new job and finding it tough going until he attended yet another trade fair where he met a buyer for a particular fast-food chain. The buyer was interested in what Hans had to offer and so they set up an appointment which led to the provision of cookware and kitchen utensils for their particular local market. 

From the local market, the client expanded, asking Hans and his firm to provide for the entire North Americas, soon after came the European marketplace and ultimately Hans was providing for the client’s entire global outlets.

Hans, (Global Sales Director by now) and his team began to prosper for over the next 20 years, as preferred supplier, they were to provide stainless steel products for McDonalds restaurants.

Luck? Right time, right place? I’d suggest that luck comes to everyone through determination, hard work, ‘being there’ for your contacts and a solid reputation.

Networking works, if you work at it.

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What WILL they think?

Hey, this ‘new normal’ is keeping me on my toes, how about you?

I’m managing to achieve a lot with the extra time I’ve found through not having to travel, achieving more means I’m accomplishing those tasks and schedules rarely given that much attention. Stuff like future planning, new marketing (reaching out) and keeping prospects warm through regular networking.

This ‘new normal’ has been good for me, I’ve seen past how I think people see me.

How I think people, see me?

I’ve made a few new connections recently (not all are new to business or career changers either,) those who have been unsure of their abilities, stressing about the validity of their offer or whether they qualify to deliver such a product or service.  I understand this, the feeling of “we are not worthy” comes to us all – myself included. 

It was that long ago … ok, I had a bit more hair when I met my first recession in ’91, the second downturn arrived in 2000 and of course, we faced more upheaval in 2007 etc, etc.

Now? Today?? I’ve learned to almost expect the unexpected and you know what?  Each time I’m kicked in the guts, start doubting the tools in my box, the skills I carry, I recall another lesson.

We cannot be everything to all people, but if we stick to what it is we do best and tell as many people we can about why we are so passionate about the skills we offer … then perhaps people will eventually see the value, the benefits in an alliance with you.  Once you begin to really nurture those true alliances, then your reputation begins to work for you, people begin to see you for how you make them feel.

So, how does working for the future work … when your vision says there’s nothing to work for?

Here’s how. Look past the fright of a ‘new normal’ and beyond that expectation, the ‘choke-hold’ we naturally seem to take on ourselves. Free your potential by broadening that vision!

You/I are continually working on the ‘best version of you’ (sorry) and it’s the best things, the ‘good things in life that take time’ (sorry, once again.)  Take time for the future planning, new marketing by reaching out regularly to prospects and your close community, because it really is good for business, believe me, it’s been more than 25 years of reaching out, engagement for me.

To be sure of your offer, your products?  Ask your close community, keep asking questions, offer support and you’ll be ready for the enquiries when they arrive, successful over time because you will be confident in what people think of you … or maybe it simply won’t worry you that much any more 🙂

Networking has a purpose, start when you are ready, do the business and don’t look back.

Let’s have a chat, every Wednesday 12.30 and Thursday 8 am (GMT):

https://mailchi.mp/45881c60b813/whats-happening-5144978

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having a chat …

Networking works for everyone, anytime, anywhere … and the magic is … all that is required is participation through conversation.


If you’re prepared to commit time in developing relations, reaching out by offering support and sharing ideas (or lack of ..!) along the way then, as a naturally inquisitive bunch, we’re going to create engagement, the opportunity that comes through affinity and the stronger connections. 


People love to do business with those who they know and trust.
… you may even find that networking is good for business.

So, if you understand the value of having knowledgeable, ‘giving’ people in your circle of contacts and if you are prepared to offer time during the conversation in developing stronger ties with those like-minded colleagues, we’d love to meet you for a chat at the Weeklybiz forum: 

Next Wednesday, 9th September (Thursday morning also) via ZOOM from12.30.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88499115214?pwd=NHc5T0NLaG9TQWttZ1J2RXhnOFNYUT09
Meeting ID: 884 9911 5214 Passcode: Ya1UM4

‘people buy from people’

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set up the win

So the world keeps spinning, stories are told, published, people hear and some even listen. The mainstream ‘news’ can be misleading, divisive, rabble-rousing. 

So, who do we listen to?
I find it helps to stay mindful, understanding that ‘news’ is designed to sell.

No-one wants to hear what a fantastic holiday you’ve had, although if the holiday turned out to be an extraordinary conversation with alien business angels offering pots of dosh … this may grab a few headlines. Perhaps.
Recently I’ve made a conscious effort to step away from the usual trough of misinformation to consider how lucky I’ve been for the projects keeping me busy these past months. I’m fortunate that I work with clients who need exactly what I have to offer. Stories. My clients understand I have knowledge of my given industry, trusted contacts in support of my goals, time for those small things during the conversation, the consultation and of course depth in recommendations.
I’ll continue looking to the future for inspiration while avoiding the continual mainstream dross, misinformation. I’ll maintain awareness of how fortunate I am with mental notes only on the positive as I reflect on the past several months. 
It’s now September and 2020 is approaching the final quarter.


So, bear with me …
I’ve played a bit of competitive rugby during my time, learning how to stay in front of your opponent with points on the board, staying ahead and playing for the win in the last quarter of the game … so it’s one of my routines to look at the calendar year with a sense of imminent completion once we reach September. Nearing completion, approaching the fulfilment of pre-set goals … the win.
OK, so it’s been an extraordinary year for all of us. Many people have lost loved ones and lost jobs, some have chosen to change their career. There are those who have made plans to start their own business and understandably the goals, the prize, the vision have all been clouded through uncertainty.  We all need to revise the plan.
Four months to go and we can still make a difference if only we’re mindful of preparation to this new beginning. We’re still able to finish this year on a positive note if we visualise, imagine where our efforts may take us … to what awaits.

So, who do we listen to?

Remind yourself of why you are moving in the direction you are and remember, you are creating change, the opportunity for future success, giving yourself exactly what your future seeks …  consultation with credible contacts, the opportunity to excel, new business, solid relationships and growth.
Be mindful of your actions, surround yourself with trusted people, listen to the positive you and … disregard the rest. 

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Less of the muddle

I’d collected an armful of firewood and returned to the house, just as the lifeline in my pocket ‘went off.’ I let the call ring-out.

I’d heard the reassuring confirmation of a delivered message as I despatched the wood and kicked off the boots. I was aware that I was expecting a courier delivery, ‘though just now it ‘felt’ like a time to write, I had a little to do, so I made my way to the office and settled down for an hour of notes…

Ten minutes later I began to fidget. Something seemed not right, out of place.

I was out of the chair and made my way to the bedroom for a quick scan … no, nothing here. I was alone in the house as Sue and the kids were out, so no-one would respond to any possible shout-out for assistance. I needed to do this and so carried on, next stop was the kitchen, nothing amiss here either as I filched an apple by way of some consolation. Ok, keep on moving I thought, it’s a mission now.

Entering the ‘spare room’ … ‘they must be here somewhere.’ No, then let’s try the living room … under the sofa perhaps? Always a good place to look, right? Wrong, nothing here either, not that the usually placid ‘puss-cats’ thought nothing of her unscheduled disturbance. A deft swipe from puss and I was away. Check the futon? Empty, still no joy, I continued on …

I eventually made it to the laundry and found zilch. Next stop the annexe where I had earlier kicked off my boots – and behold … firewood.

Where could they be?

I sat down upon the stairs just as Sue came through the door … “you look lost?”

‘I’ve lost my slippers … and I’m waiting for a delivery.’

Didn’t you pick up my message?  The delivery you were waiting for turned up an hour ago, just as you left, I put the parcel by your desk, beside your slippers …

The lesson of this story?

Mindfulness? Perhaps.

Nothing that any child isn’t learning as they set out to school and the big-wide world, being mindful helps us to be better people. We’re more content when we live in the moment, there’s less muddle, less stress, much less anxiety and a whole lot more clarity.

Faith? More like it.

Having faith in the tools we have(!) which we choose to employ, faith(!) in the people we know well, those we trust. That’s more like it.

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The opportunity, through trust

Yes, it’s tough ‘out there’ although if you have confidence in your business model, persistence and trust (there’s that word again!) in what you have to offer … if you know where to pitch the business, you have a reasonably ‘thick skin’ and plenty of patience, phew!, then you are half-way there!

Clarity.

We already understand that many firms have been forced to close through tough times. After all, we’re still in the midst of a pandemic, there’s a recession on and to top it all, it’s August!  August to many, meaning take a holiday …

I hear you, take a holiday?   Fear not, please bear with me.

Now, according to those in the know, the entrepreneur, the start-up business for today has the best chance of being successful if they’re offering the following skills:

  • Garden design & build
  • Virtual Assistance
  • On-line education
  • Digital marketing
  • and Dropshipping!

“All very well if there’s a market for it, Charlie.”    I know, I really do hear you.

So, if you are starting out, or pivoting the business, developing the website, the marketing, organising livery, discussing an accountant, networking(!) and lots of other ‘bits and pieces’ … before you pick up those brand new, shiny tools, think about who you will serve.

We’re in business to serve our customers, right?

Here are just some of the business categories that are currently (Aug) thriving during our progression through lockdown …

  • Tech, cybersecurity
  • Grocery retail
  • Transport driver (haulage firm)
  • Cleaning  contractors
  • Warehousing
  • Gaming
  • Engineering

The market we’re looking to engage should be directly related to the solutions we offer.

So as an entrepreneur, efforts should be applied to engage, make a connection with those who are thriving and offer your services.

“What can I, as a gardens company offer an engineering firm?”

Now here is where networking may come in useful …

Your connection through LinkedIn may not result in direct business, the random images posted on Instagram may not be reaching the decision-maker. The handwritten note with your business card (remember those?) may not drop on the lap of the managing director or inspire an instant decision, although please bear in the uppermost of your mind …

Your decision to reach out, to a business that is currently enjoying growth, may, by simply receiving your details be inclined to use you in the future or indeed, pass your professional details on to another looking out for your services.

Your Networking (business) works if you work at it!

 

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The people person

Early in my career Terry and I shared a carpool.  We’d alternate weekly the responsibility for the drive across town, some forty minutes of discussion on the latest footy results, when we’d be off fishing again, perhaps a beer and most importantly what he, my trade mentor, had planned for me prior the day on the print factory floor …

Once I’d completed my ‘time’ – the four years of transition from apprenticeship to tradesman, like many before me, the opportunity for travel arose. So, I took a holiday while Terry moved into sales.

A few years passed and I returned home and just like my former mentor, I found employment in the publishing industry. In fact, I’d joined a firm who were direct competitors to the outfit Terry was working with.

It wasn’t long before we were able to meet, trade events were a huge part of the industry calendar in those times.

‘Any news Terry? The fish biting??’  I smiled as I caught him mid-mouthful of coffee …

‘Not with what you’re offering them!’ Came a spluttering, though thoroughly appropriate reply.

Needless to say, we shared smiles, spent a little while covering old ground, swapping stories and discussing mutual friends – plus a little bit of history – and the footy results!

‘So, how are you finding business, Terry?’ I asked.

… ‘Charlie, I wait for the business to find me.’

Terry was old-school sales, a people person. Never without a story and while not supremely gifted technically, he had the ability to put anyone at ease through conversation. Always with a smile, often with praise for those he met and always looking at the lesson learned if, (on the rare occasion) things didn’t quite go his way.

Terry was someone who had that rare ability to see an opportunity before it actually arose.

We (Terry) talked some more.

‘Charlie, the best piece I can give you just now is to simply believe in yourself, your strengths, believe in what you do and tell as many people about those beliefs as you can. This way, you give your audience the chance to buy-in to your story. Let the people come to you through recommendation, via the trust they have gained through association.’

I soon realised my apprenticeship hadn’t finished at all, it had simply been postponed.

Terry Flynn passed away peacefully earlier this year, no doubt still bemoaning the football (or racing) results and I’ll always remember him for the advice, the support and most importantly the time he offered me in those early days.

RIP Terry Flynn, your memory lives on.

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Let’s move forward.

Join us as we move forward in conversation this week, working with the confidence we have in our business, the offer while highlighting the skills and ability to drive on, with purpose …

Like to join us this Wednesday, 13th January  (12.30 until 13.45)

Perhaps the morning suits you?  Thursday, 14th  (8 – 9.15 am)

Simply follow the link herewith, or get in touch with the next step:

Here’s an invitation, just for you …

https://mailchi.mp/44d52f963a2a/were-here-for-you-5205786

‘people buy from people’

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Digital or face to face?

The past few years have seen an astonishing rise in the investment of digital marketing, and it’s predicted to continue. According to US sources, prior COVID digital spend was estimated to reach around £115bn by 2023.

We’ll have to wait for father time to prove or dispel the above forecast activity, although even taking into account the current business climate, the ability for all to invest in self-promotion while engaging audiences over an ever-increasing stable of (trusted) platforms have become the lifeblood for many an entrepreneur. Today, digital more than matches the in-person or face to face marketing approach and in some sectors digital now leads the corporate strategy for growth.

My own business has always been heavily influenced on solid personal relationships and of course, the publishing industry has had to contend with ‘revolutionary change’ since the mid-’90s. So how do the ‘old school’ (face to face) aficionados contend or even compete in today’s world?

Today’s business world is really no different to methods of not so long ago. Success is ultimately about who you know, the relationships, the developed trust and I find face to face (even virtual face) referral networking is just right for my business.

Trust is something that has established many a great relationship, without this most important of ingredients meaningful business is rarely sustained.

An example being the UK phone tapping enquiry of 2005-7.

One of the world’s most successful media families were in charge of a popular Sunday tabloid, stories of phone tapping, celebrity witch-hunts, accusations/tales of institutional corruption and pay-offs that threatened to topple the government of the time.

The weekly gossip columns sold a lot of newspapers readers gleefully lapping up the scandal. That was until the same tabloid was accused of ‘listening in’ on the phones of victims of the London bombings, even deceased servicemen and of tragically the murdered schoolgirl, Milly Dowler.

What followed was a total collapse of public trust in the organisation, reviled were its masters and anyone else with affinity to the newspaper. A lengthy enquiry followed, people went to prison, reputations were ruined and the paper was closed.

Digital or face-to-face?  For me, business is personal, it’s about who (or what) I trust.

People buy from people.

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This time tomorrow

A little while ago I picked up a manuscript offered by a friend.  ‘Read it for me?’ Reg had asked.

It wasn’t a vast tome, some 120 pages of handwritten foolscap (in pencil) and I thought (as I weighed up the copy) that if the story was interesting enough, I would likely spend an afternoon deliberating the work and return it next day.

Reg and I had originally met through networking, juggling coffee, cake and a chuckle a few years back. We have a similar interest in the unfathomable – people – and so we ‘hit it off’ right away, although we hadn’t really been in touch apart from the occasional blog copy, until this day.  I happily agreed to read the hand-scrawled, grubby looking piece.

‘Sure, I’ll give it some time Reg, thank you.’

‘When can you let me know what you think, Charlie?‘  Reg sounded anxious, I sensed it important I acted quickly.

‘When would you like my opinion mate?’ I replied.

‘Asap please Charlie, it’s a story I’ve been working on these past 30 years … and I’m running out of time. You see, it’s Mary, (wife) she’s not well.

Needless to say, I was slightly taken aback and agreed to meet the same time, same place, next day.

Mary and Reg had been married for almost thirty years and during that time Reg had kept up a ‘diary’ of the highs and lows of living with another human being,  raising a family, juggling careers whilst making ends meet. It is a very personal story, with some pretty raw, emotional stuff evident, especially given the recent cancer diagnosis.

So, as promised, we met the next day for coffee and the ubiquitous sticky bun. I’d been involved with many projects of a similar type over the years, it’s my craft, memoirs are what I provide my clients. ‘Flesh on the bone’ one of my friends called it.  Episodes of life are more like it.

But I am not here to offer the selly-sell …

During the course of the next few months, I was privileged to a sometimes-humorous story of companionship, a portrayal of family life which is not that dissimilar to most others, a story that is testimony to the power of love and devotion brought about by great, long-term partnerships.

Both Mary and Reg were grateful and thanked me for helping with their story. We said our goodbye’s and as I went along my way, I thought, this is yet another lesson networking has shown me, being ‘available’ to help others is more than ‘simply business.’

Business is personal.

 

 

 

 

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Gossip is good …

As a relatively ‘green’ salesperson back in the 1980’s I found out, pretty early on in my chosen career that it’s not particularly what you have that’s important, it’s more like how you relate.

‘What’s new?’ I hear you say.

OK, here’s how I woke up …

It was while spending time on the road, calling on clients, cold calling prospects that I had my first really good break. My routine in those days was leaving the house, hitting commuter traffic and travelling the 10 miles or so to the manufacturing plant, my office. I’d spend a little time there before ‘hitting the road’ again, engaging people, knocking on doors, prospecting for business.

There was no internet to help us in 1984, the in-car telephone wasn’t yet with us. My job was to deliver the benefits of my business, in person. Like anyone else in sales during that time we were expected to be well-versed, resourceful, agile and always available for the opportunity. Pre-technology the job was heavily reliant on the ability to engage, developing the people skills not found in any on-line course or wikipedia research.

This particular morning at the office I’d received a telephone (land-line) call from Neil.

‘We’d like to speak with you, can we set up an appointment?’  It just so happened the ‘prospect’ was halfway betwixt my home and the office, so we agreed that I call-in for a meeting, next day during the course of my regular commute.  

‘That’s fine, can you get here for 7 am?’

Next day I arrived well before 7 am., parked up, made my way to reception to be met by a fellow with an outstretched hand and a smile … Neil.

‘Like a coffee? Follow me.’

My new friend proceeded to inform me exactly what he was looking for. He outlined how his company wished to be served and at what price levels, when he expected to see us, what he expected of me as his trusted supplier …

After all, I’d been ‘highly recommended.’  

So began nine years of regular visits to this particular client. Through regular contact Neil and his company became the ‘mainstay’ of our own business. Morning and evening, twice per day. Coffee in the morning, tea in the evening. I was treated like one of the salaried workers, a regular fixture, all the time developing our ‘people skills.’ I had become a familiar face with each of the employees, we each knew the unspoken value of working closely together, developing the relationships. Business was good.

It wasn’t until several months had gone by, I was out doing my ‘regular rounds,’ calling on my regular clients, the people, the prospects for new business when one of those prospects invited me to tell them just a little more about the business …

‘Good to see you again.’  he said.

‘How can you add value?’

We spent a little time discussing ‘the trade,’ trends, other people and a little while later we started doing business. Then, one day he asked …

‘By the way Charlie, did you ever catch up with Neil?

Networking works, persistence pays off, people buy from reliable people.

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Just passing through …

 

It’s ‘that’ time again David …

What’s that you mean Charlie?

I’m seeing a lot of interest in our business forum lately, much activity from those looking for the quick fix, you know, those out distributing the business cards, looking specifically for the next order, something to fill the hole.

Hunters?

We see lots of activity from the passer-by-hunter at this time of year. It’s usually when their core industry activity has quietened down when out come the seasonal business. It’s this time of year when we try and discourage the impulse networker.

Impulse networking? Sounds intriguing?

For some. In this part of our world, you can set your watch, your calendar to it. There are those who are ‘in business’ and then there are the seasonals, those that wish to be in business only until something else comes along … it’s something that those of us being around awhile are very aware of, it’s transparently obvious at times …

So, you discourage these folk from participating?

Not exactly, but when that initial enthusiasm crashes through that door, I make a point of offering insight into how we like to do business.

You mean, there are choices these days?  You know it’s tough out there Charlie, are you not making it just a little tougher? Don’t you think that you and the rest of the meeting are missing out on the opportunity?

David, over the years we’ve had plenty of seasonal businesses through the door. In the early days, it was difficult to see through the initial enthusiasm and effusive declarations of future prospects. The love!

The almost unbridled joy of being in the room with untapped opportunity, the chance to engage other business owners who could offer the bigger picture has its benefits of course.  Energy … for one and we all appreciate the attitude.

So what’s not to like with newfound enthusiasm coming to the table Charlie?

It’s when they leave Dave. The hunter has no intentions of developing the close ties, it’s all about now.

Once the realisation that networking is about the community build beyond the room and the time that it takes in developing the relationships enabling the meaningful business … by having your name recommended to others.

This is when our seasonal hunters tend to leave the table before dessert, before that ‘bigger picture,’

Ok, but some of us need to pay the bills.

Correct Dave.

Sadly the effect just one or two ‘seasonal networkers’ have on a room can be devastating. It’s not good for the prospects of those with nobler intentions.

You see Dave, promises are made, appointments scheduled and leads are passed. All this comes to nought when the clock strikes ‘times up’ and it’s back to the attention of the “day job.”

Networking works best for those wishing to develop their business for the long term. Good relationships sell your reputation, there is no need to worry about when the next ‘fix’ is coming when we have our trusted network watching our backs.

It’s not about seasonal business David, because today, more than ever, business is personal.

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community get-together

We’re all aware of the effect people have on our everyday routines. Whether there’s a smile, offers of help, direction or support of well-being, it’s the people in your life that count.

As human beings, it is said we’re at our best among communities. Most of us tend to engage others of a like mind. We react, some contradict, spar and learn. We’re able to make choices, whom to have around us by being present, living in the moment.

Along the way we’re collecting messages considering, listening in conversation, music may be heard! Humour is often exchanged, appreciated, or maybe not! We all have choices, we can choose to tune in to the messages, turn ’em up, down or off.

Close communities can offer so much more besides. There’s less effort, less grey if we have good relations, trust and have confidence when offering engagement during participation.

It’s when building enterprise we are similarly blessed by observing the benefits of celebrating humankind, the fundamental practice of being present.

Remembering also that our ideas are nothing … unless they serve someone.

The practice of being there, making the best of time together in the community brings affinity closer. Being that familiar, reliable, go-to person within your community, being ready for business, offering the same consistent messages that have made your business worthwhile to you become much clearer also to prospective partners.

Consistency in expectation is what makes communities successful, we align with the reliable that offers confirmation we’re on track, we feel comfortable in an environment encouraging growth.

Do as you say you shall, be with your preferred prospective community and engage, support better engagement and be ready for business with specific messages.

People are the key to getting us where we wish to be. It pays to get together.

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Serendipity?

Brian D. Powell was born in York in 1932. and as a young boy, he frequently accompanied his grandfather down by the River Ouse.

With Britains involvement in WW2 Brian spent many a day ‘sculling’ the (mostly) servicemen/women back and forth across the river. It was during 1944 that Brian Powell, budding artist, spent a day sketching the ‘traffic’ upon the water at the Leeman Road Ferry. There’s a copy of that very scene, opposite.

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Leaving school, Brian completed an electrical apprenticeship, then national service before joining the Fire Service for a career that was to last 30 years. It wasn’t long before Brian rediscovered his passion for art and in 1965 he produced a watercolour depiction of the aforementioned original. This watercolour was presented to a cousin who kept it in the family for over fifty years, until his passing. The painting, along with the contents of his house then went to charity …

At around the time of the house clearance, Pauline Sturchfield and her husband were looking for something that little bit different and found Brian’s watercolour. The condition of the canvas was ‘a little worse for wear’ although they immediately fell in love with the depiction of life by the river, an ideal addition to their home collection as it reminded them of their time ‘sailing’ on the River Ouse. It was only recently that Pauline decided to find out a little more about the artist and the painting.

Brian Powell, today aged 87, lives and paints in Northumberland. He is an active member of his local art community and regularly exhibits his work … never did he think he would have someone contact him, asking for verification of a painting produced – in 1965 … but to his surprise and to Pauline’s credit, this was exactly what Pauline Sturchfield did.

Although, little did Pauline know, that Brian also had a surprise for her! He was still in possession of that original sketch from where the watercolour was painted. Dated 1944.

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I know what you are thinking dear reader, a good ‘yarn’ perhaps? Simply another example of coincidence, serendipity?

I prefer to think of this as a wonderful example of friendships forged by simply reaching out, or how art has that ability to bind a community together. Don’t you think?

FOOTNOTE … Brian D. Powell is not only an accomplished artist. During his time in the Cumbria Fire Service, he was responsible for some of the more profound innovations in health and safety. Brian is recognised as the inventor of today’s portable life raft, the fire safety door, decontamination chamber, HGV anti-spillage valve and much more. He is credited with saving dozens of lives, appeared on BBC television’s Tomorrow’s World and inducted as a fellow of the National Geographic Society. He has published his story, widely available, “Thoughts Of A Watercolour Artist.”
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The lessons of the past

Britain’s tribal inhabitants first arrived sometime during the 2nd century. A time of identity, belonging and ownership. There were unseen lines of territory leading to tribal disputes, warfare and wholesale cultural disposition.

Sound familiar?

Here’s an excerpt from a book by a brand new writer…

= starts =

The Selgovae were among the first of Britains tribes, occupying the chalk hills of the North East of England, the Cheviot.

One Roman writer described the Selgovae warrior in this way, saying:

‘Each warrior dons on his head the face mask of a wolf as he wears the pelt like a cloak on his back. Warriors colour their body to match that pelt, chest, arms, legs. He even goes to the extent that the sturdy hill pony he rides is coloured the same, making the ‘warrior wolf ‘ and pony appear as one large, almost mystical, fearsome opponent. Before battle the Selgovae holy man would call to their God when the mists would descend their Chalk mountain, shrouding the lands in that Kingdom of Calchfynydd, where Selgovae enemies were soon terrified by their own imagining of what was before them, the Selgovae lands presented a frightening, inhospitable landscape, for in these mists supernatural things would happen.’

. . .

Tea had finished, everything washed up and put away. All those staying at the shepherd’s cottage that evening settled down in front of the remnants of a still flickering fire and listened, as the Selgovae storyteller continued:

. . .

Today’s glorious spring day was waning as the couple paused by their destination, the imposing entrance to a magnificent Norman cathedral. They had arrived but were unsure. Beyond the threshold was the same comfort and shelter offered to all over the centuries and as they stepped within, the last rays of sunshine filtered through the rose windows, illuminating their entrance toward the pulpit of this Great House of God.

‘Take my hand, our instincts shall guide us, she whispered, we’ve been invited here and whoever sent for us knows that we have arrived.’

= ends =

—– the above is an excerpt from soon to be published series of factually based work supporting the work of Alzheimers Research (UK) —-

Have faith, learn from our past. We shall know when we have arrived!

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When our bird has flown

Growing up in Australia, I’ve known Diane Merrick’s family since I was a youngster, she and her brothers were always sharing our apple tree, the mischief.

Here’s part of the story when catching up with Diane, some 15 years later:

‘So Charlie, picture this, February 1971, I’m 20 years and 3 months old, six weeks into my senior year of nursing as I find myself deep in the Vietnamese jungle – the so-called ‘wrong’ jungle. Our ‘ride’ had flown and left the two of us.

Cradled in my arms is a US Marine (a Grunt) not much older than myself but with a hole through his stomach the diameter of the ‘bud’ can, he was clutching. The wound is clean, I’m able to see my left boot curled below us where we sit. 

Nothing is heard above the cacophony of exploding shells, cartridges whirring about our heads. I don’t see anything but the pleading, blood-shot blue of my ‘patient’s’ eyes, an expression of disbelief as he uttered ‘they got me, the b—–ds shot me.’

I held him … don’t give up, please don’t give up.’

I can still see those eyes today, mine was the last face he saw, I was caring for that man as he died …

Silence. I had nothing to say.

I was sat beside Diane Merrick’s hospital bed, forty-one years on, she presents a slight figure with eyes that burn with determination, she is almost enveloped amongst the tubes, the ‘lifelines’ that monitor and maintain her position, propped-up amongst the linen.

Sitting almost adjacent me, on the other side of the bed, is Paul, her husband, a slightly older, equally determined-looking, weather-worn fellow

Charlie, I’m almost 63 years of age, I’m ill and told I’m dying, said Diane. Turning toward her husband she added, I want our story put down, I want you to write my story because I’m not ready for giving up.

Diane Merrick, an independent young woman, a nurse who took to the armed forces for economic reasons during the Vietnam War wants her story told,  ‘before I forget.’ 

“Where’s our bird?” is the story of Diane Merrick, published Spring 2020.

Never give up.

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I remember you!

Networking works, yet for some, it simply does not.

Reputations, integrity through your business community greatly influences your opportunity for success, so there is a little work to do once we decide we’re going to give this networking thing a go … most of us wish to be seen in the best light.

I wonder if he’s here either to develop the audience or simply the quick fix?

Sure you can have both, we’re all sales-people of one kind or another, right? Here’s where the engagement matters.

For the real benefits of business networking to become more apparent we simply need to be working on the fundamentals.

Today’s networking is full of those looking for instant success, it’s to be expected, the D.I.Y marketing opportunity is at everyone’s fingertips, the multitude of social platforms and more, we’re all driven to sign up, show and tell, the selly-sell.

Personally? I make my most important business decisions with those I know best, those whom I can engage, discuss in person over a decent coffee. OK, the cake also …

It’s choices, we all have choices.

Attending the network meeting day we choose to either ‘wing it’ for the instance order or ‘go with the flow.’  We’ve received the invitation to attend the appointment, meet with new people, potential colleagues, we choose whether to accept that appointment, we either embrace the structured environment for the long term plan of relationships and trust or simply take the meeting as a given opportunity (it’s that word again, opportunity) for a little incidental business.

It’s through our choosing how we engage, choices who we work with, how we treat others, the time that we give or do not, the follow-up and so much more, all of this contributes to how we are perceived.

Networking works for those who give time working on the opportunity. The opportunity to define the reputation.

Think about how you may be perceived? Hunter or farmer?

Featured

The conjurer

My offer? My business?  It’s simple.

Help others put more wins on the board. When people become more successful as a by-product of something I’ve provided, that’s a win for me. When they are not so successful? I’ll try to think of other ways to help those in need.

There is no trickery, it’s pretty straightforward stuff.

There is though, something that will always upset ‘the apple cart’ here.

If people don’t know me well enough, they are not going to believe my offer.

That is the problem. It’s everyone else’s problem in life also, isn’t it? We’re worried that people don’t have our best interests at heart, we worry that someone who acts with kindness, maybe isn’t that kind. They can’t be can they??

It’s the same in business, given that we’re worried about trust in all avenues of life, there is no easy answer. There is though, a word that conjures up hope.

Faith.

I’m one of those guys that believe people are all inherently good people. I act as if everyone has my best interest at heart the way I have theirs. I act as if what people tell me is the absolute truth, no question, no hesitation. This helps me with lots of situations.

Faith.

But there are other things that people conjure:

They will cheat on you.

People will lie!

There are people around who take glee in doing stuff behind your back that isn’t so good …

I accept that it is going to happen, we know it, it’s part of ‘the deal.’

My response to this? I have faith that people will treat me the way I treat them.

I have faith that by doing enough – if not, more than enough and by going out of my way to help people then I’m going to be conjuring up the positive that will come my way over time.

Naive perhaps?

Faith. Our thoughts create reality, make sure you conjure really fabulous thoughts!

 

Image.  Tony Rabbit. Courtesy Joe Scarano (US)
Featured

Just by doing.

Several years back I had finished a long-term tenure with the Ex-Pat Chamber of Commerce and was looking for ‘something similar.’
I was confident of a new assignment with a similar organisation, a familiar role and so I  bided my time.
One or two agencies had my resume and so sat back … waiting for the ‘offers’ to come by.  I figured that in three or four months I could transfer my contacts and all which I’d learned and move amongst the familiar network once more.
Twelve months arrived without any interest. Twelve became 14 months, then 18 months came and went.  
I found myself in an unfamiliar position of ‘chasing shadows’ via ‘specialist recruiters’ offering limited, much oversubscribed ‘vacancies.’
 I wouldn’t say that I was worried, although after eighteen months I was now considering diversity. It was time to start with a blank canvas, I needed to leave the comfort zone of what I knew – start afresh.
Around this time a friend suggested I visit a local networking event:
“Something that might ‘do you good’ and ‘help to view the bigger picture.’ ” 
We agreed to meet up later that evening after I visited the local automatic bank teller.
After twenty years in business, I’d never been in a position when I had found myself ‘broke.’  Now though, the message I read as I requested my withdrawal confirmed it – ‘funds unavailable.’ 
Starting at nothing was one thing, existing on it was another and the realisation of this moment took me aback. A reality check.
Needless to say, I did catch up with my friend, and after we’d discussed my ‘plight’ when he introduced me to an acquaintance who happened to be heading up a Govt., funded rehabilitation unit.
It so happens they were ‘looking for specialists’ who could manage to deliver ‘a brand-new programme.’ It did not take me long to confirm ‘I’m interested,’ so we set up a meeting at his office the next day which led to a 4-month delivery cycle.  It was a start.
Some way into the new role, on my way home, I met a familiar face …
“Hi, George” I called as my near neighbour approached, almost colliding with the chap.  There was a short exchange of pleasantries although at the time I did feel that George was not acting his usual buoyant self.
The next couple of weeks proved fulfilling, the project keeping me busy. I had certainly not given up plans of moving back into the industry I loved, although I was grateful for this hiatus in my search for the ideal work-life balance.
The project training I was charged to deliver one evening, was to a group who were unknown to us. I read the expected attendance sheet and saw a list of names – amongst them I saw was my neighbour, George Parks.
Sure enough, a band of six ‘offenders’ arrived, one being my near neighbour and all accompanied by community police officers.  ‘This was going to be tough.’ I thought to myself and sure enough, George saw me and immediately broke down.
Little did I know, George and his wife were having a tough time. He had recently been made redundant and all was not as it should be. George had picked up with his drinking and his his wife was not in the best of health. At 55 years of age, this was proving an awful time for the family.
Eventually, George stayed with the programme of three weeks and I came to know and understand him well. Both he and his wife moved on from their problems and both became much happier as a result.
My lesson from this was pretty easy.  I have always known that networking can be an antidote for many ills, whether business or personal. Given the chance, a simple conversation can work its magic.
Sure networking is often seen as something we ‘do’ to encourage business. Although we should never underestimate the simple choice of ‘moving,’ of ‘doing’ – networking is more than business. It’s about people. By engaging, doing brings change.
I’ve learned from the past. For me, business is personal.
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