What value do you put on the advice you get from your business mentor?

 

How do you show respect to your business mentor?

 

A while ago I read an article in the Guardian newspaper by James Caan where he talked about taking notice of your Business Mentor.

 

The first thing that sprang to my mind was “I wonder how he defines mentor?”. So many people seem to use the term interchangeably with coach and business advisor, and they really shouldn’t and I’ll be writing a blog about the differences in another post very soon.

 

It always amazes me how some businesses invest a lot of time, effort and significant amounts of their hard earned cash to pay for help/ support/ advice and then completely ignore it. Or they don’t share the knowledge throughout the organisation, so one area will be making great changes and the rest of the business fails to keep up with them.

 

So who or what qualities make a good mentor for you or your business? Well for me it has to be someone I can aspire to be like. Whether it be the person a couple of steps ahead of me on the promotion ladder or a business owner who has a successful business model I admire, someone I know has proven expertise in a field I don’t have. But for me that is the key. They have to be able to prove they’ve done something. They are the people who can stand up and say “been there, done that, & they wear the t-shirt with pride”. Continue reading

Why every business needs business processes, even if your business is just you.

I was recently talking to a supplier of mine about a customer complaint they had received and they asked me to help review their processes to make sure they couldn’t receive more complaints. They confidently told me that they couldn’t possibly have done something wrong because they “always” do things in a particular way during the sales process. Fantastic! I thought. They have some business processes…… Unfortunately when I started to ask more questions it all started to fall apart. It became clear that the business owner had a great vision, but her lack of clear communication to the staff, and a lack of attention to detail by all the staff meant every order we looked at they had done things differently, or not done somethings at all, and were regularly missing vital pieces of information. Not once had they followed the “guaranteed process” the business owner had described to me.

 

This is an established business with 3 full time staff, plus the business owner, all office based, and they are heavily reliant on repeat business. So the underlying and more serious issue was that the errors were frustrating their customers, and in some cases making the customers wary of buying from them again. (They found this out by carrying out a very simple and short telephone feedback exercise, which again prompted some very interesting discussions with the owner.) The tangible effect was that there was a noticeable and detrimental impact on their bottom line by a lack of reliability and repeatability.

 

The solution was really very simple. Continue reading

When did you last take a step back and consider the YOU in YOUR business?

First some questions for you:

  • Why and how did you get started in business?
  • Would you start the same business today?
  • What did you hope to achieve with the business by now?
  • Is the business the one you imagined you’d be running?
  • If not what’s different?

 

One of the first things I do when I start working with a business is do a comprehensive business review. One of the key points we cover (very early on) is asking the business owner the above questions. They are very important in finding out what drives the business owner, what their ambitions were, what they are now and also what the owners’ attitude towards their business is currently. Continue reading

Business Ignition Group sponsor Network Derby

As a a provider of high quality business networking events we are proud to become a sponsor of Network Derby for 2015. We look forward to meeting our fellow members and sponsors at this years events.

Merry Christmas

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our clients, suppliers and contacts for making 2014 such a memorable year. We’re looking forward to a prosperous and exciting 2015.

We’re taking an extended break so the office will be closed now until 5th January.
We wish you and yours a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Proposals and why you need them

Why write a business proposal?

 

Have you ever been asked to provide a proposal to someone about what you can do and how you can benefit their business? I often get told that they are a waste of time and not necessary in today’s business environment. Well I disagree.

I enjoy writing a business proposal. Does that make me strange? I’m not sure. But I write them for every job I do. I find that laying out in a very structured form what I have discussed with a client identifies whether I have enough information; and where I may need to ask some more questions. It clarifies my understanding of their business and what we are trying to achieve together.

I separate the tasks into small chunks so that I can agree with the client who is going to complete each one and when. If this is a proposal before we have agreed to work together then this allows the client to see the value of each chunk. if they want to reduce the cost of the project it clearly identifies any in-house work they can complete themselves – but also shows how the project is reliant on them actually completing these tasks.I often find that as a project progresses and value from each step is identified and measured I get asked to complete the steps that were initially removed.

The proposal can include initial projected timings, which can be important for some projects; and starts to identify which parts can be carried out in parallel with other parts of the project. Continue reading

EM Lawshare conference at St Georges Park

Our thanks to the organisers & sponsors of the 2014 EM Lawshare conference for inviting us to deliver “A sprint through Social Media” on 10th October at St Georges Park in Burton on Trent.

Great event & fantastic venue.

Are you indispensable to your business?

I’ve talked in other blogs about the benefits of getting support as early as possible for your business; outsourcing those functions that are onerous to you in terms of time but add little value to the bottom line. So the next question is – what happens to your business if you’re not actually there?

 

Now if you have more than 1 business partner then maybe it isn’t such an issue, but if it’s just you & you need to take time off then what happens?

If you sell “you”/ your time / your knowledge it can be a real problem. The key id to think about what you do & make it replicable/ saleable in some other way so that people have access to your basic principles/ processes even when you’re not around. Continue reading

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

We are extremely excited to be able to announce our involvement in the “Blood swept lands and seas of red” installation by Paul Cummins at the Tower of London.

 

photo courtesy of Metropolitan Police Service Helicopter crew.

photo courtesy of Metropolitan Police Service Helicopter crew.

 

We have provided all the business and project management support to deliver the installation and the day to day running of the business in Derby.
And this week we’ve even been and helped plant the poppies in the moat – now we can say we’ve done every part of the process.