December, morning coffee…

It was a typically dark, cold December morning and I was more than pleased when Natasha (and coffee) arrived, just as I surveyed the setting for today’s business over breakfast.

We wouldn’t be alone for long though, as approaching headlights suggested the first of our company this morning were on their way.

Nice and early Martin!’ I said, glancing at the clock on the clubhouse wall, 06.45.

Courtesy of the ‘Missus,’ Charlie. My car had broken-down over the weekend so Sue and the kids kindly offered a lift, they needed to be at school early anyway … I’ll be meeting ‘Bruce the garage’ here as he’s running me back after today’s meeting to attend the vehicle.

‘Sounds like a plan Martin.’

The tail-lights of ‘taxi Sue’s’ car receded in the distance, dawn was finally on its way as were others for our weekly business meeting.

Even in the midst of winter, we enjoyed a good attendance, plenty of interaction, lots of  discussion, the business flowed and with a near full-house … apart from ‘Bruce the garage.’

Martin had received a message to say he’d been called out for ‘an emergency’ and that he’d be in touch asap.

‘The best-laid plans eh, Martin?’

Any chance of a lift over my way Charlie?

Among those at the meeting, someone managed the lift Martin needed with an added bonus … the driver knew he could hook-up Martin with an alternative local garage – a ‘start-up’ looking for more business so it wasn’t long before Martin was back on the road and ‘taxi Sue’ back in the old routine.

‘Bruce the garage’ had left an impression, sadly nothing to enamour his reputation as the ‘go to’ service either.

Today in business, relationships matter. Even more so if you are a service provider, business is personal. It’s not what you have or what you can do that impresses your next best client, it’s how you relate.

Better together


Bob arrived, pulled up a chair and reclined with a cup of what appeared to be hot chocolate …

‘So, what do you say, Bob? I asked.’


Getting good players is easy. Getting those good players to play together is the hard part.” 

It’s so true don’t you think? A quote by Casey Stengel, I thought this was ‘right up our street.’ Just about sums up the development of our referral network, don’t you think?

‘A good one Bob, yes, I like this one as well, collaboration is a huge part of the business. Especially so for the small business.

OK, I get that, what do you say though, when you meet someone who doubts the value of collaboration?

‘It depends on circumstances Bob, we’re all different, aren’t we? Some don’t value it. Others may be wary of the thought of relinquishing the reins of business, perhaps it’s uncomfortable for them. Some of us fear ‘control’ may be lost when meeting new people, developing those new relationships and trust.

Being aware that we are working for ourselves is great for the soul. No matter whether you’re employed, or whether you have your own business Bob. I remember that as soon as I understood the value, of sharing views and opinions outside of the workplace, the sooner I learn to embrace the opportunity and many benefits good relations bring through my network, the human collateral. We’re never truly ‘going it along.’

Sharing the wear?

‘Sharing the chocolate perhaps? Yes, that’s about it, although in my case? More like taking my head out of the sand.

So networking is not about money?

‘Bob, the value of collaboration goes beyond ‘making money’… through collaboration we learn to think differently, we’re inspired while educating and sharing strengths. Networking is the opportunity to develop strong connections with ready-made marketing expertise, finance wizards, creatives and much more. All developed through networking. We’re richer before we know it.

So, engaging others makes you more profitable?

‘We’re immediately better off when we meet someone new Bob. By making the human connection, by offering help and support when required – and not simply at a professional level … networking is hugely educational and can help solve many doubts and dilemmas, even before they materialise.

Henry Ford said it best.

Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress and working together is success.”

My quote is better though Charlie.

‘Better together, Bob.’

It’s your horoscope



Your December is in the stars … with Genie


ARIES  Decompress with your favourite buddies around the December 3 full moon. There may be a lot of big name, exciting, and exotic entertainment available, but sometimes it’s better to just chill with your faves. At the new moon on the seventeenth, the world may be too small for you. Let yourself be surrounded by people and soak up their enthusiasm and wonderful, wild ideas. It’s more than just the holiday season. It’s an explosion of the love of life. The Mars-Neptune trine on December 27 pours some emotional magic into the end of the year for you and a special someone.
Standout days: 6, 9, 13
Challenging days: 1, 21

TAURUS – The full moon on December 3 could bring money your way. It could come from afar or even from people you barely know. There may also be plenty of advice that comes with it, but you know your own mind. You have all the answers at the new moon on the seventeenth. A variety of people and problems may come to you for solutions, and you will have them. It will be easy, too. Have fun being the expert. The Venus-Saturn conjunction on December 25 mellows out the hectic days behind you. Appreciate hearing from older relatives and long-time friends.
Standout days: 15, 20, 28Challenging days: 10, 24

GEMINI – Mercury goes retrograde on December 2. Slow down and stay organized. The full moon on December 3 is shining for you. Partners and loved ones think the world of you and want to show you more of their world. You don’t have to do anything special or clever. They find you charming. Just so you know. On the seventeenth, the new moon could bring you a brand-new love interest, or a certain romantic bumpy road could suddenly become smooth as silk. Enjoy all the special treatment and attention. On December 22, Mercury goes direct just in time for a smoother, sweeter holiday.
Standout days: 6, 17, 26
Challenging days: 10, 31

CANCER Quiet time may be all you want when the full moon comes on December 3. Holiday plans are beginning to get serious and there could be a work crunch going on, too. Take care of yourself and don’t get frazzled. On the sixth, Mercury and Mars are sextile while the moon is in Cancer. Be smart, motivated, and sensitive. The new moon on December 17 shows you that everything is neatly falling into place. Daily chores are all getting done, the cat is getting fed, and no one is feeling overlooked. Unexpectedly, you may be offered a helping hand. Say yes and thank you.
Standout days: 5, 14, 17
Challenging days: 16, 28

LEO  – Your social life is buzzing when the full moon comes on December 3, but you may feel more like a spectator or observer than a participant. Enjoy being less conspicuous and let your friends show off for a while. It should be fun to watch. For the new moon on the seventeenth, get creative with shopping and wrapping gifts. Your mind may be buzzing with a zillion splendid, personalized gifts that would be easy to make, but time is running short. On December 21, the sun enters Capricorn and conjoins Saturn. Be the grownup in the room, make smart decisions, and be respected.
Standout days: 1, 12, 23
Challenging days: 9, 19

VIRGO The Mercury retrograde starts on December 2. Hit the “pause” button and don’t get run over by the holidays. It could be hard to concentrate on your work during the full moon on the third, but you will. You’re doing interesting things and it’s a nice break from the mounting holiday madness at home. The December 17 new moon is all about your warm, fuzzy, comforting home and family life. Perhaps it’s the promise of favourite foods and treats. See relatives or friends who had become scarce this year. Being together will be good for everyone. Mercury goes direct on the twenty-second and everything gets easier.
Standout days: 12, 17, 21
Challenging days: 4, 10

LIBRA Venus enters Sagittarius on December 1. Get deep into the holiday mood. The full moon on the third could hit you with a strong desire to get away, far away. You won’t go, however, because you have so many people and things nearby that you dearly love. And there’s so much going on now. The new moon on December 17 lights up your desire to be with friends and neighbours. Think block party! Holiday preparations can be turned into quality fun time together. Someone unexpected could show up, too. Venus enters Capricorn on the twenty-fourth. Share your holiday spirit with the whole community.
Standout days: 7, 14, 23
Challenging days: 4, 20

SCORPIO Don’t let the full moon on December 3 leave you feeling insecure. A lot of people have your back and you have resources that are completely overlooked. You’re actually in great shape now. Mars enters Scorpio on the ninth. Feel powerful and energetic and get everything done ahead of time. Give your friends or family a helping hand. Money is a big deal during the new moon on December 17. You could easily spend way too much. At the same time, you could receive a generous, unexpected gift. Expect nothing, be gracious, and see what happens. The stars have treasures in mind for you.
Standout days: 6, 13, 27
Challenging days: 1, 28

SAGITTARIUS Romance knocks loudly on your door during the December 3 full moon. You have so much to offer a prospective partner that a lot of people are going to find you totally irresistible. You can charm your way out of it if you like. The moon conjoins Jupiter on the fourteenth. Get lucky about something fundamental that will make many other small problems go away. The new moon on December 17 beams happiness and good cheer your way. On the spur of the moment, turn over a new leaf in your personal life or attitude and instantly become a new, improved you.
Standout days: 5, 9, 22
Challenging days: 1, 29

CAPRICORN Some little things around the house need attention, and you’re in the mood to do them under the full moon on December 3. Groom the dog, get the cat to the vet, or organize and feed the indoor plants. The new moon on the seventeenth favours quiet private parties rather than big social blowouts. You might want to invite a few choice friends (or perhaps only one) to your place for an intimate celebration of the season. On December 21, the sun enters Capricorn and conjoins Saturn. The holidays are falling into place, and you are making it look effortless. 
Standout days: 8, 18, 23
Challenging days: 10, 30

AQUARIUS – Get quietly creative under the December 3 full moon. Social life may be getting out of hand and you’d like some quality private time anyway, just to play. The new moon on the seventeenth might take you from one holiday party or gathering to the next, to the next. Just when you think that you have your schedule under control and can get a little rest, the next irresistible invitation comes along. Don’t even think about saying no. Just go. On December 27, the moon conjoins Uranus. Take a breather and have a little silly fun in the middle of the stressful holidays.
Standout days: 8, 16, 31
Challenging days: 1, 12

PISCES Work may try to draw you away from home during the full moon on December 3, but you know where your heart is. Even if it’s an early holiday party, you might prefer to skip it. Get out in public on the new moon of the seventeenth. People want to be with you and do what you’re doing. Participate in a holiday charity event for children or seniors or both. Get great pleasure from doing the simplest things. The moon conjoins Neptune on December 24. The heart of the holidays could be the dreamiest, sweetest, most beautiful time of all.
Standout days: 1, 14, 28
Challenging days: 3, 16

Genie returns – but not ’til next year! thanks, Genie!

community network

Community-focused networking has lots of benefits, some are immediately evident, others need clarification and I was witness to this just recently as around twenty met over ‘brunch.’

Our guest was Michael has a lot of domestic responsibility, being the ‘office at home’ and supporting two young kids. He loved the idea of opportunity through engagement, connecting with others in business. The same for many sharing a similar routine these days …

‘Great business today Charlie, met some good people and so glad I accepted your invitation.’

It’s taking that first step, isn’t it? That’s where the intimidation lies, right? Stepping outside of the ‘comfort zone’ into an alien landscape, we all become moulded by our routines and I think Michael was no exception.

With a greater number working from the home office, we soon realise the value of people.

‘I didn’t know what to expect really. Although, I was half expecting the selly-sell, and/or the ‘sign-up’ so today was a refreshing change.’

‘Yes Michael, it is good to have you with us and course there are those who come along fishing for business, with focus on the referral. Others Michael, are just as happy to engage views, share the dialogue, focus on areas of passion, of need and the point of view, not to mention collaboration and to ultimately sample the ‘culture.’

Business is at times a secondary consideration – or ‘the bonus’ as some put it.

Seems to me, the development of community engagement is important, not least because it inspires better efficiencies by creating belonging. Along with a clear infrastructure, community helps us all, in whatever line business.

Most especially, those working from the home office.

‘Happy people mean a happy business, right?’

True Michael, cultivating the community network has enabled many to plan for the realisation of longer-term goals, the chance to step away from the monthly/quarterly led management figures and visualise the ‘bigger picture’.

Cultivating community delivers so much more. Community inspires relationships, affinity, infrastructure and ultimately the trust – then comes referral.