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It’s always an honour to be interviewed for any magazine. I am grateful to be featured in the Financial Management magazine’s article on what business leaders can do to create a coaching culture and the benefits from such a culture. Enjoy!Read More
I’ve worked for some major global brands and I’ve achieved some incredible successes in my career but, I wasn’t happy. I’ve started my own businesses, grew one to £3m in turnover, bought a nice house, a holiday home abroad, nice cars etc and still I wasn’t happy. But, it all changed when I changed my priorities. I shifted my mindset from one of scarcity, where my focus was “What’s in it for me?” to one of abundance, where I now ask, “Who can I help?” This was a game changer and it has quite literally changed my life. I am now happy 😉 I believe that having an abundance mindset has enabled me to live my purpose – to help others who are unable to help themselves. As humans we all share the same six basic needs and contribution is one that gives us fulfilment. Of course, we all need to pay the bills etc, but finding something that you’re passionate about and achieving a life of abundance gives you the freedom to create abundance for others which ultimately makes the world a better place. Some achieve this in the corporate world, while others follow a less trodden path. Whatever it is for you, keep searching for your purpose, your why, because when you start to live a life of abundance you’ll achieve a sense of fulfilment like you’ve never felt before. So, abundance creates freedom, freedom allows for fulfilment, fulfilment allows you to create impact and that impact creates a legacy that you will be proud of when you take your last breath. Be fearless, live your purpose and you’ll find true happiness!Read More
Now that Christmas is over, I wanted to share with you my secret to making 2018 the best year ever. Now 2017 was amazing and I am grateful for the opportunities my family and I had. In fact, it was my best year so far, but I’m still committed to making 2018 even better. So how am I going to achieve that? Sir Isaac Newton wrote: “If I have seen a little further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” So, do you know what I do? I go out and find some ‘giants’ to learn from. Then I stand on their shoulders. And how do I do that? Well, my secret, is I read books. Lots of books. In fact, I read one per day. I love Robin Sharma’s quote where he says “Ordinary people have big TV’s. Extraordinary people have big libraries.” And this is true. Having been fortunate to have met some very successful people and visited their homes. I found that their living rooms aren’t cluttered with the latest flat screen TV, it’s cluttered with books! Bill Gates, who I met 10 years ago, once said “I try to read about a book a week on average. Even when my schedule is out of control, I carve out time for reading.“ I believe that reading is one of the best investments that you can make. Barack Obama, even whilst serving as the POTUS, read for an hour every day. They say that Warren Buffett invested 80% of his time in reading and thinking throughout his career. If it’s good enough for some of the smartest, busiest and wealthiest people in the world, why isn’t it part of your daily routine? They say that if you’re not growing, not moving forward, standing still, or simply treading water in your life, then you’re going backwards. The world is changing at such an alarming rate and if you’re not evolving and not keeping up, then your future is ultimately at risk. Reading contributes towards development and personal growth and I believe that growth is one of our six fundamental needs. In fact, growth is so important in our lives that despite any success that we may enjoy, we will still not achieve fulfilment without it. I’ve already got a stack of books as my priority for Q1. They range from The Book of John to Tim Ferriss’ latest book; from business to biographies, from personal development to classics that I want to re-read. And remember, you don’t need to read the book from cover to cover. Simply apply the 80:20 rule, or if there’s a specific topic that you want to learn, then just read that bit. Give yourself permission to read whatever you need. Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” So start reading today and watch your life grow!Read More
Episode 12 was the first of the “Be Your Best In Business” Success Stories and I was interviewed for this Podcast. In the series, they share inspiring stories of where ambitious individuals have excelled in their businesses and their lives, as well as learning their journeys to where they are today. In this episode, I shared how important it is to tailor your product according to what the market specifically needs, especially when no one has addressed that need yet. I also talk about how important it is to offer outstanding customer support, as your customer service may set you apart from your competition. We also discussed about how (in business) if it looks too good to be true, it usually is! I also shared some points that I implement when a business is not performing as expected, as such:
Only A Business That Understands Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory
I believe that there’s no such thing as a winning business. And before you shoot me down in flames, let me explain… Recently, I’ve been reflecting on business success and my mind took me in a direction which, to be honest, surprised me. In the end, I had to conclude that there’s no such thing as a winning business, there’s businesses that understand evolutionary theory and those who don’t. Now this may seem odd to you, but when you think about it it’s true. Not a year goes by when we see established brands go bust such as Toys R Us, Target, Borders and Blockbuster to name a few and this is not just limited to retail, for example Avaya is currently in bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11.
So Why Do These Companies Run Into Such Difficulties?Business is no different to anything else in nature, where everything survives according to natural selection, which Charles Darwin put simply as the Survival of The Fittest. Having an excellent product isn’t enough. Where’s IBM compared to Apple? Being first to market isn’t enough. Just ask Friendster, who didn’t make any money, compared to Facebook, who smashed predictions and earned $10 billion in revenue this quarter! Who will emerge as the Facebook, or the Amazon, or the Microsoft in your market? Will it be you? Maybe you can’t answer that question, but what I can tell you is that it will be the company that constantly senses its environment and has the flexibility and agility to adapt. In my career I’ve worked in various organisations and one that I admire was Vodafone. They constantly change and evolve their business model because they realise that nothing stands still and to survive they too must change.
This is what a business must do; it must pivot, it must change and it must adapt to its changing environment.In nature, Florida’s green lizard realised that to find enough food, due to competition on the lower branches, they had to climb higher. To better cling to the smooth branches, they had to evolve so that their toepads got bigger and their scales got stickier. Their drive for survival forced them to rapidly adapt and change. When my business partners and I launched a start-up called MaxTag (which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year), our sole-funder pulled out at the last minute, our previous employer threatened legal action if we breached the covenants in our employment contracts and we had to be located 30 miles away from our customer base. Was this perfect? No. Did we curl up in bed and cry? No, of course we didn’t. We simply pivoted the business, funded it ourselves, found a way forward and became the market leader with a turnover of £3m within five years. Today technology, amongst other things, is forcing the business world to change at an ever-increasing pace and if your company can’t quickly adapt and evolve to:
· better serve your customers,
· be safe from the competition, or
· adapt to the changing market conditions,then it’ll be nature who will determine your fate…Read More
Unfortunately, we all do! We need lawyers, accountants and other professionals because in business these individuals offer advice that can protect you and your business against unforeseen events. We’ve all seen the ads “where’s there’s blame, there’s a claim and no win no fee” and it’s a sad state of affairs but we have to face the reality that this is the environment we now live in. We’re fast adopting the ‘compensation culture’ and as a business owner you need to ensure that you take every possible step to ensure that you reduce your risk of exposure to any form of liability. Commercial disputes are a part of normal business life and can range from late payers, employee issues to contractual conflicts.
Litigation Has More Than A Financial Impact!It was estimated that some £12 billion is been spent by British businesses and a further $20 billion by US businesses on litigation every year. No prizes for guessing who emerges the winner – the lawyers! The effects of a business dispute can be far reaching, such as affecting growth, having an adverse effect on reputation and goodwill, or causing a downsizing exercise of some sort. Should any of these happen to a small business it could have a crippling effect. However, the most important aspect and probably the one that is most over looked, is that it takes your focus away from the business and its objectives. Right or wrong the law does not promise justice – just uncontrollable costs.
Take Action TodayThere are certain steps that one can take to avoid this exposure: vet everyone you deal with; have all contracts professionally reviewed; ensure that terms are clear; keep accurate notes and organise records; if a meeting may cause some contention, be accompanied by a third party with the relevant experience. You may also consider creating a dispute response plan to enable you to act quickly and decisively. My advice in business is the same as it is in life, always prepare for the worst and have a plan in place should the worse happen. That way you can immediately implement the plan, learn from it and get back on track doing what you do best – running a successful business!Read More
Why is there such a high rate of failure among small businesses? Bloomberg states that 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start a business fails within the first 18 months – a failure rate of 80%! Small businesses accounting for 99.3% of all private sector businesses in the UK and 99.7% in the US is a major factor, but more importantly is the problems faced by small business due to cashflow and poor financial management. We are well aware of the economic downturn since the Financial Crisis in 2007/8 and are now being encouraged by the news that recovery is on the way. Unfortunately for us, small businesses suffer these effects more than our larger counterparts. As they usually have larger buffers in terms of cash, stocks etc. to save for a rainy day.
But It Can’t All Be Due To The DownturnIn a recent study by Entrepreneur.com, they found that the reason why US small businesses fail was:
So How Can These Issues Be Addressed?A critical discipline that must be adopted is having a sound credit management system. Business can’t fail through a lack of profits but they can through a lack of cash. This is made far easier by having a computerised accounting system and instead of waiting until the debt is overdue to find out that there is a problem, implement a system whereby you invoice as soon as possible and remind, remind, remind until you are paid. A computerised system can not only provide you with the minimum financial information you legally require, it can also provide useful management data that will make running your business far easier. It can help you forecast by providing trends, margins and plan, whilst giving you useful information to aid your decision making. In a CIMA study 54% of businesses stated that their accountant failed to assist with the strategic development of the business, a management accounting system can. We cannot leave it to factors outside our control to determine the future of our business; the main driver must be the owners/directors. If you identify a weakness, take immediate steps to resolve the situation before it’s too late.Read More
In light of recent worldwide events such as 9/11 and the terrorist events in London, Paris, Brussels and recently in Las Vegas, more and more people are taking steps to improve the quality of their lives.Read More
According to the USA Today, 4 in 5 US businesses will not be around to celebrate their first-year anniversary. As you can imagine, businesses go under for a variety of reasons; lost orders, poor forecasts, bad or no controls, no cash, litigation, the list is endless. Where there’s a business activity, there’s a potential reason for failure. No business performs according to plan each and every day so why doesn’t the owner see the warning signs? They usually do, but in the case of the businesses that I have been advising, they either ignore them, hoping that they would go away, or they simply see them far too late. Addressing The Cause And acting isn’t good enough if you don’t address the cause of the problem. Ploughing more of your own personal funds into the pot to sure-up the cashflow won’t help. You must reduce your outflows because the problem will return to haunt you in weeks or months to come! Is cash the first of the alarm bells? I would argue that it isn’t. Your staff should alert you where there’s a problem, for example credit control may alert you that a customer is not paying, or your accountant may notify you that profit margins have fallen. Not Getting Paid How can you remain cash positive if you are not receiving the money you are owned, or making enough profits in the first place? OK, so you have a problem and several months later it’s still there, you take your head out of the sand and decide to do something about it. You ask yourself “have I got the necessary skills or experience to resolve the issue?” The clock is ticking, you can’t delay paying your suppliers, you’ve had final notices and more importantly pay-day for your staff is just around the corner, so what do you do? I would suggest you turn to a professional, a specialist like a company doctor, who has the experience to help you turn the ship around before it runs aground. There will be some of you out there thinking, I have managed this business for years; it has grown from nothing to where it is today, why do I need help? Outside Help The simple answer is that at certain stages of any business’s life it will need outside help, whether it is a loan to purchase new equipment, legal advice, who knows… No-one will question what you have done, the past does not matter, what is important is that your business has a future. Imagine on the football pitch, a player gets injured, he doesn’t treat himself, he calls on his medical team to ensure that his career and future is not jeopardised and that is what you may need to do. There are many reasons why each of us decided to run our own businesses, don’t let pride get in the way of seeing it flourish and grow.Read More