Are we letting our Children down with post education options

Listening to a leading teacher speak at a recent event, it came as no surprise that he admitted that teachers were probably the worst people to give students and pupils career advice. It has always been so when I was about to leave School in 1975 a tweed clad teacher of advancing years gave the careers talk to me. It appeared I had a number of options which included.

1. Getting a job at a bank (a job for life…)

2. Joining the armed forces (and branch would do)

3. Attending further education to resit as is was expected my exam results were to be less than average.

4. Do the above and then apply to a polytechnic or university.

5.Become a teacher

6. Apply to a local engineering company for an Apprenticeship (7 years before a living wage)

7. Stay unemployed as the State at the time was a generous benefactor.

None of above suited me but I persisted with 3 and 4 because at that time grants for education were readily available which meant that it was one step up on 7 but staying pretty close to it.

Now moving on 45 years what is left of that approach? More than you would have thought… Listening to teachers there are the very similar options although the University one comes a quite a high personal cost.

Having experienced overseas working there is an option which if handled well and supported properly by qualified and experienced people is probably more appropriate for the current workforce of the most recent generation this would be enjoying the freedom and pain of becoming an Entrepreneur or even just working for yourself without the backstop of anybody sitting around waiting to bail out the failures.

Why aren’t our Children leaving school with higher aspirations and a business plan in tow?

If we don’t want a failed generation we have to give them the tools to be successful not more of the same…

Posted in Business Advice, Networking, Owner Tagged

Serial Killer or What?

Networking Serial or Committed?

I heard recently someone mentioned that they were a “serial networker” and began to consider exactly what they meant was it in terms of a serial killer or a serial bigamist of just someone who hasn’t found their niche just yet. Networking for the sake of it is a bit of a waste of time but Networking with a purpose is, like anything with a purpose, an activity that pays back to everyone involved.

Networking carried out in a sequential fashion does not endear commitment or loyalty, both incredibly valuable traits in a business venture.

I believe that you should carefully choose your group in the same way you choose anyone you want a relationship with and work on that until every avenue of benefit to both of you has been exhausted.

That will take a lifetime but you will not be considered a serial anything leaving us waiting until next time for your next instalment.

Posted in Networking Tagged

Respect who wants it?

What is it about “respect” it appears that not only don’t I give “enough” to some people who believe they deserve it but they seem to be the loudest at complaining that they somehow have a right to it without actually earning it.

 

I have recently come across a person who felt it okay to include me as a cc in an email then somehow for me to respect them enough to respond to them. Even though I might add I was not included in any previous conversations. I generally only respond to emails where I am included in the send box otherwise the conversation can become very confusing and often misunderstood and cause offence.

 

On the matter of respect there may be only five or six people who we really respect throughout the whole of our lives and they didn’t demand respect but earned it by building relationships and spending time on getting the relationships to actually work well. The word respect has been hijacked by anyone who feels that they have not been taken seriously; this is probably because they haven’t been.

Does the person waiting at the petrol station deserve respect?

I would say that “respect” is the wrong word he certainly deserves good manners, which is not the same thing. Good manners are being polite and courteous both these words seem to have been consigned to past people deserve you to be both polite and considerate but not have your respect by right.

Posted in Business Advice, Owner Tagged

Bright Shiny Things

The price of everything the value of nothing

I would like to work for a company where the demands are very little and commitment to deliver is non existent also I want to turn up when I feel like it and spend my time pretending to care about my fellow workers but in fact only care about myself. If I have told you what I want and expect you to go out and find it for me as we have a false non committal understanding that if you help me I will seriously try to think about helping you.

Lots of networking groups try to model themselves on others that are more successful but they don’t like having to submit themselves to the demands made upon them.

If we look at any networking group as a team of sales people working, unpaid, on your behalf who are willing and able to leverage their reputations to help you get what you want don’t you think that deserves some form of payback or minimal commitment. Lets get back to the sales analogy if you have a team working for you how are you going to motivate them. I suggest that keeping to the implicit rules is a good way to get the buy in. How about turning up to meetings on time, not leaving early and doing what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it.

For those un-initiated in relationship marketing commitment is core to the success of any time or money invested.

If you cannot do the commitment thing then spend your money and time elsewhere. No matter how you cut it paying the joining fee of any organisation is the minimum entrance fee it is not a contribution of effort. Whether the entry fee is £50 or £5000 if the return, admittedly the main unknown factor, the return on investment must be measureable and tangible. That does not mean it has to be financial but it has to be valuable. If we spend £5000 and get a return of £5050 then that is positive but if I spend £50 and get nothing in return that is a complete waste of my time money and damages my reputation.

If only we could find somewhere that cares about my investment as much as you do then we may be some way into finding out how to run a business.

 

If you get hit by a bus tomorrow and your business does not continue along as if nothing has happened then you do not have a business you have a corner shop so don’t call yourself a business owner call yourself a shopkeeper.

Posted in Owner Tagged , ,

What on earth have we been waiting for

For the last few years we, here in the UK, have been listening to politicians and hangers on about whether or not we should be in our out of the EU.

Not one side or the other has made any sense and both sides have been exaggerating the implications of staying in or leaving to the point where truth has become non existent.

As business owners we crave certainty but have managed to live without it from the day we started out with our own business ventures. Now we have experienced what it is like to delegate to the masses a decision that is well beyond most people and we will have to live with the consequences of that delegation of responsibility.

It’s all very well letting the masses make a decision if you know what that decision is going to be and you can plan for it. In this case the powers that be or used to be didn’t and with the arrogance of semi educated fools who thought they not only knew more than they did but also thought they had a divine right to be followed over the cliff edge.

Now that is done we will just have to get on with it and with the help of all the strong relationships our businesses are built upon we can thrive and grow.

These last few years have been challenging to say the least any if you want to survive and grow then raise you eyes up and charge ahead.

Lets take a leaf out of the England Rugby team just a few months ago they were embarrassed and ejected from their own world cup now they have beaten the Australian world cup runners up 3 – 0 in their own back yard.

What a difference a day makes…

Posted in Business Advice Tagged , ,

Hiring and Firing

It has been said to me so many time that you should always hire people who are better than you at doing the job and I firmly believe that to be the case. Emotions aside sometimes we have to give people a lift up which means that they have the “potential” to be better than we are but are not there at the moment. So what do we do when these people with potential fail me meet those goals that we have set them? Are we trying to hard and not showing enough patience to get them to the level that we want and not necessarily what they want?

How does this work with people who work for us in a voluntary capacity? Should be maintain the same standards or relax them a little as their is no financial recompense? I say we should always maintain our standards and we should remove anyone who does not meet their goals. People work in all capacities for a number of very different and equally important reasons. The motivation behind giving up their time has to be valued and respected but the opportunity for them to engage in something that brings them a different reward has also got to be valued and respected.

The position of intern has long been established in the USA but in the UK we have very different views on how opportunities come to those who deserve them. Remember Malcolm Gladwells 10,000 hour rule experience becomes more valuable the more it builds up.

Posted in Owner

Hello I’m back in the land of the living

Things always seem to get in the way when you are trying get a new venture underway its all work and action and little time for thought or consideration.
I have finally created enough space to do both and put a few of these ideas down.
The one thing I have picked up over the last 18 months is that we should all strive to be the best at what we do at all times and we have to set ourselves really scary goals to work towards it doesnt matter whether or not we pass the finish post but it is important that we aim to do so.
I believe that they both these ideals are worth their weight in achieved gold but one phrase sticks in my mind when I am tempted to do just enough to get by or just enough to impress…
We have all been there time is short and so many different claims on that time so you are in danger of finishing without anything completed.
I have repeated this mantra since I heard it on a retreat (Thanks to Frank):
“The way we do anything is the way we do everything – even if that is not true”
So that “anything” had better be bloody good!

Posted in Owner

The Gender Difference.

Is there a difference between the way that men & women approach business networking?
More & more mixed business groups are sprouting up but are they putting up barriers to growing their members businesses by not recognising and dealing with the fundamental differences in the way that men & women promote themselves.?
2014 could be the year where we abandon equality and embrace relationship marketing. Entrepreneurs, by nature are resilient and confident with a naturally high business drive this can appear to be aggressive and overly forceful. Each gender has this trait so it’s not the sex it’s the mind!
Without this drive things would almost certainly stay as they are.

Posted in Business Advice

Have you been predicted yet?

Communication is the only way us humans can get together and share stuff.
Whether that is emotional or physical it goes without saying that is we fail at this really basic level then we may as well give up and hiss under the stairs.
We all know that certain professions have been led to think that having a strange outlook on communicating is acceptable but I would hazard a guess that this is pretty self generated. A case of the shy convincing the shy. In a business environment getting your idea across in as unambiguous manner as possible is fundamental to getting the job done.

Posted in Business Advice

Business is never as easy as looks from the employees standpoint!

It’s a pretty simple proposition, really.

You’re in business to make money.

We’re in business to help you.

If you are the owner manager of a small, start up company or a company that has up to 250 employees I know that I can help you.

You may not even know you need help or you may have been so inundated with whatever current crisis is taking your focus at the moment that the best you can do is survive until the next crisis comes along. Either way I know that you will gain some greater insight into your business by just taking one hour out of your busy day to spend just talking to me for absolutely no charge. Sorry but the payback is hidden that would be to allow me, if and only if I think it appropriate to prepare a proposal of how I can help, where I can help and how much this help would cost you. Included in this proposal would be a clear idea of what you or your company would benefit from this engagement should it go ahead.

 

 

 

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Posted in Owner