How clear is your vision?

Do you remember those weird picture puzzles, the ones that look like a random abstract mess of colours at first glance? Some people were able to focus their sight in such a way as to see through that mess and enjoy the ‘hidden’ picture image behind it all.

These are highly relevant questions, because all too many of us don’t actually take the time to consider what our business ought to look like. Many more cannot see through the jumble of surface blobs and data to what the outside world sees of them. Which is most unhelpful if you wish to portray yourselves as a pride of lions, but the world at large sees a pack of hyenas!

So what’s the solution you ask? Well to my mind, it is in part that old adage that we should spend more time working on our businesses, rather than in them. That time would be well spent focussing upon what image you wish to portray, and how to then share that image first with your staff &/or support network, and then with your market place.

You will have noted that I said in part; this is because some of us have no idea what our business looks like to others, through all the confusing imagery and fluff around us. Honing the ability to focus our vision through those distractions to see the image behind will reap dividends.

But there are other aspects of vision on my mind at this moment, especially as a Business Growth Specialist. Clarity of how well your business is performing being one. Assuming that you are on top of Cash, and periodic Management Accounts, are you also monitoring those vital “pulse points” that are better predictors of future results? ( I deliberately apply the analogy of “pulse points” rather than the term Key Performance Indicators, because just as health workers monitor our vital signs when we are ill or injured, in order to take appropriate action if we decline, so should we do the same for our businesses, and take remedial action to ensure ongoing success.)

The other form of vision some of us lack is the ability to spot genuine opportunities. How frustrating it is when competitors grasp with both hands those opportunities that we overlook. Worse still for many, is wasting time, money and energy on perceived opportunities that aren’t real!

A visit to an optician helps many of us to read better. So why put up with impaired business vision? There are ways to sharpen up those skills, so vital for sustained success. If you would like to discuss how, please get in touch.

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Limiting beliefs; are they really the villain of the piece?

The other day I realised that what we are normally told is not entirely true. Personal Development people consistently tell us how limiting beliefs hold us back, and get in the way of us ever achieving our full potential. While they may be right about purely personal matters, I now believe that in the business context they are totally wrong.

Let’s just be clear about what the term means, to avoid any misunderstandings here. If a person believes that they cannot do something, or cannot do it well, that is a limiting belief. We all know that Roger Bannister shattered the perceived wisdom of the day, by setting a world record time of under 4 minutes to run a mile. History then shows that new ever faster times came within a few weeks of that momentous day. That is the negative power of the mind at work. Which was readily understood by Henry Ford when he famously said:
“If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right.”

But I suggest that limiting beliefs are far from being the villain of the piece in the business setting, where examples may be “I’m useless at cold calling”, or “I’m not very good at converting a customer to clinch the sale” or even “I’m rubbish at admin paperwork, especially book-keeping”. That is inconvenient possibly, but can be turned to our advantage.

Why did we go into business in the first place? For most of us, because we are good at something, which is the core purpose of that business. Without quality service delivery, no ‘widget fettling’ business could last long, nor could a manufacturer who produced poor product &/or delivered it late. Similarly, no retailer would thrive without having stock to sell. That main purpose largely defines our businesses.

Now why expect to be fantastically brilliant at everything? If we focus our energies on those activities we are best at, and which earn the business revenue, isn’t that the best way for us to achieve success and happiness? This leads us into identifying what activity(ies) we truly ought to be devoting our time to. One technique applied in “Time Management” exercises is to make a list of those activities first, then another that covers what else we might have been doing, and usually not very well. Most of that second list is probably our ‘limiting beliefs’.

Hence I suggest let’s just acknowledge our ‘limiting beliefs’, as a short cut to that second list. Wouldn’t life be so much better if we accepted those limitations, and found other people to do those activities for us? This could either be by delegating to employees with the right aptitude, or by outsourcing to specialists. Which means there are no excuses, whatever the size of your business today.

So I say, from the perspective of a Business Growth Specialist, embrace your business context ‘limiting beliefs’ as your new found best friends, find someone who is good at those tasks, then enjoy your liberated life and watch your business grow!

If this resonates with you, please share your thoughts. If you’d like to discuss how to implement this in your business, please do get in touch.

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Reading List, my recommendations

Just a quick introduction today, to an occasional series of recommended reading for business people.
No froth, just the good stuff, and why I feel you would benefit from reading them.
So please return regularly for new additions here.

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Profit Coventry 2012

I had an exciting time yesterday; I was interviewed on local radio! No, that is not what got me excited, this is not me having an ego trip!
First off, let me thank Mark Sephton for inviting me on to his Talk Business show, on the Coventry station Plus Radio. It was a very enjoyable experience, but the reason I am now so excited is that our talking on air stimulated a grand idea… Profit Coventry 2012

One of the areas that we discussed was the effect on the economy of hosting the Olympics. We did not totally agree on the national impact that the Olympics 2012 would have. We did, however, agree that Coventry’s localised economy would see significant benefit from being one of the co-host cities. That is what sparked my thinking… I was aware of the positivity behind ‘Godiva Awakes’, so what else can we revive?

The major challenge right now is to drag ourselves out of the trough of recession. Especially here in Coventry, where the local economy has taken such a bashing of recent times. Where will jobs come from, and how will we fund the improvements to our environment and lifestyle that we would all like to see? Most pundits agree it is the small to medium sized business sector that will have the greatest impact for us, especially on job creation. And that is good news in my book because the smaller businesses are far more nimble, and quick to react to fresh positive situations. By contrast the large corporations are more like an oil tanker, slow to change either course or speed. That said I am delighted by the recent upturn in the fortunes of local engineering manufacturing businesses, and in particular those that are quite closely involved with the automotive industry. I feel sure that all of Coventry will join me in mourning the passing of mass car production here in the city. That is the background to my big idea, my personal crusade even, Profit Coventry 2012

So what does this entail, what am I hoping to achieve, and how will we do this? Profit Coventry 2012 is all about raising the game for the business community, both in Coventry and the immediate surrounding area, raising it from so-so to Gold Medal standard! What I aim to achieve is a thriving and growing business sector, based in and around the city of Coventry, the like of which we haven’t seen for decades.

Is this a rather bold challenge, an overambitious undertaking? I think not. After all, Coventry has a fine tradition of prospering entrepreneurs. As to how we would achieve all of this, a Chinese proverb aptly puts it “a 1000 mile journey starts with a single step”. Rather than attempting to deliver all the required assistance alone, I fully expect to organise assistance, pulling in the services of others who have the relevant skill-sets to help individual businesses on a case-by-case basis.

What is the scale of my ambitious project? I would love to see 100% of Coventry businesses quickly grow by 10%. That is totally unrealistic, just not viable, if only because we could never manage the resources to help every business make that much improvement in performance. What I expect to find is that the more significant and successful businesses will likely supply the early eager participants, the prime movers if you like, who will blaze the trail, and by so doing will encourage wider uptake a few months later. Their success will automatically benefit other businesses indirectly, by using more of the goods and services they supply. (The struggling micro-businesses are probably too busy just surviving for now, and have little or no resources to invest in their own success until it is a proven winner. But the cascade effect will drag them up, so as to allow them to join in at a later date.)

This means I now need a handful of enthusiastic, committed & ambitious business owners to contact me quickly, to tell me what form of help they would need to grow their business quickly by 20%, maybe even 25%. Armed with that information, I will be able to start finding the resources that they require, and to explore what the cost implications are.

We have some great foundations in place already, including communications infrastructure, and a leading Local Enterprise Partnership, or LEP. We need to be realistic in our expectations, as there is no ready supply of public money to fund Profit Coventry 2012. However, once we identify the form in which that help will be required, we can then resolve the cost implications, probably starting with the cheapest solutions which will, in turn, generate the funding for the more expensive help. My speciality over recent years has been highly effective low-cost marketing, which is always welcomed by the smaller business owner. I will not presume that marketing is the only challenge facing Coventry businesses, which is why I need them to tell me what their particular challenges are, in order for us to find the resources that suit their needs best, and which will seed further economic growth.

For this ambitious project to succeed I too need help. I need all of you to spread the word around your contacts. And if you are keen to be one of the prime movers, reaping those early rewards from Profit Coventry 2012, then please tell me quickly how we can help you right now.

Thank you for your support. Let’s make a massive difference to Coventry. Please keep following further updates that I will be broadcasting over the coming days and weeks.

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It is finally here, the Profit-Growth Unlimited blog

What would you like to read in this blog?

The intention is to cover business interest topics, together with problems that arise and helpful advice on business development ideas.

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