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.

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!

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.

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):


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.

Meeting ID: 884 9911 5214 Passcode: Ya1UM4

‘people buy from people’

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. 

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.

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!


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!


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.

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 …


‘people buy from people’

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