Is it Calm or Chaos After Your Holiday?
October 20, 2015

Thank you for the feedback from my last miview. I really enjoyed some of your holiday antics:

-Peter is back, enjoying work after a nice break
-Gemma hasn't seen much of the sun as her holiday isn't until later in the year
-John returned to chaos and wondered if it had been worth going away at all!

Thank you John, for giving me the inspiration as this is the one I want to move forward with today.

Now we all know in business we have different responsibilities which need to work together to ensure
the whole business functions successfully.

The two key roles I want to explore today are:

1. The leader
2. The manager

I often get asked what the difference between these roles are, and while often there can be an overlap,
the roles are very distinctive and complimentary to each other.

The leader develops people for the future while the manager get results today.

The leader sets the company vision for the future, challenges the way things are working.
They share their vision with their teams and align people with goals and tasks
to deliver the vision and develop them for a better tomorrow.

Leaders lead people.

If they go on holiday for a while, no one panics about decisions that are not being made because
the leadership challenges are very important but seldom urgent.

A manager controls the resources to achieve the leadership vision, usually getting
results through others. They work with a system of processes and procedures that routinely
keep the organisation functioning in a consistent and stable method of operating.

They plan, measure performance and solve the problems that arise when the results
are not in accordance to their plan. They do this with a team of people and communicate
daily with customers and suppliers who usually want their problems fixed fast.
There is often a real sense of urgency within this role.

Managers manage things.

Until a Team is well established and capable to meet the needs of most of the customers,
they would refer to the manager for guidance, support and advice when needed.
The manager would therefore be greatly missed while on holiday.

So what can John do to prepare himself for his next holiday? It is not about the leadership
activities but more the management of the daily routine important tasks that need to be covered.
Before carrying out any tasks, ask, "am I the only person that could do this'
and I don't mean just now, if it could be delegated in the future,
then why not write a procedure for it - a step by step instruction of how you want this task to be done,
the purpose of the task, the trigger to make it happen and the desired outcome.

Congratulations - You have now started a system that will enable your future effortless business growth.

As you grow your list of tasks that can be delegated, there will come a time when you can delegate
and your procedures can act as a training guide, a reference and also ensure tasks are carried out
consistently, regardless of who is doing them.

Now John, you can look to the future when you will enjoy a well earned holiday knowing that business
is running smoothly on its day to day basis.

This is how you all can earn and enjoy your well deserved break from work.

Till the next time,

Kind Regards,

Jane Quinn

Increasing Your Personal Efficiency

Being a manager/owner and running a business has its own stresses and strains, but sooner or later you may find yourself running on fumes ? especially with Christmas just around the corner. Here are some tips you can use to ensure you don’t fall behind:

The Urgency Trick - When was the last time you were late for work? Or late for a meeting? You may remember that when you realised you were late, you started to move quicker than you ever had before! This is because your mind felt the urgency of the situation, and your mind moved to solely focus on getting to work ASAP. You can in fact use this mode to your own advantage. Effectively, you can trick yourself into believing that you are in an urgent situation, such as temporarily fooling yourself into believing there will be repercussions for not finishing the task quick enough. This will inevitably begin to make you move faster. However, this is best used for tasks which don’t require too much thought. This is because when you are in this frame of mind, you will notice that you stop thinking, and the subconscious takes over. Thus, if a task requires that you think carefully, keep this one in the bag for later!

Breaks are Not Just for Lightweights - Make sure you do take breaks throughout your working day. During breaks, don’t do anything that looks like work, or even work-related reading ? it is always best to take your mind away from work completely, so that your mind can refresh. Furthermore, it is advisable to take at least one day or more off per week. This is an important part of your cycle and work-life balance. When taking days off, you need to discipline yourself to ensure that you don’t work whatsoever, and throughout the day remind yourself that this is your day off, and you need to enjoy it whilst you can. Towards the end of that day, build yourself up for the next day by thinking about how much you look forward to getting stuck into the tasks at hand. Taking time off also ensures that you work harder at the right times.

Mental Triggers - It is not uncommon to feel low on energy from time-to-time, or feel like you would rather be doing something else (or if you’re waiting for the end of the day so you can go home!). Set yourself a mental trigger. This can be a word or a phrase, such as “pump it up”, or “go” (whatever suits). When you say this word/phrase in your mind (with enthusiasm), and click your fingers at the same time, force yourself to get moving and take your energy level up a notch. Sooner or later, every time you repeat this mental trigger your mind will kick into another gear.

The End Objective is More Important than the Work - All of the greatest achievements in life have come about because someone had an objective. You’ve probably heard so many writers talk endlessly about objectives, but think about what you are working towards, or what you will have achieved once you are finished the task you’re about to embark upon. By doing this you will make yourself more eager to get on with the work, as you will be visualising the goal, and not the tiresome journey needed to get you there.

There’s a Time and a Place - I call this the “Time Basis for Realisation” – (I’m not sure if it is known by another name elsewhere). You always work better on a task when you are in the right frame of mind for it. Sometimes when you have set aside time for a task, and you come to do it, you don’t feel up to it, or aren’t in the right frame of mind. Some make the mistake of thinking that this is a form of laziness, but it’s absolutely not. You will find that if you leave the task, and come back to it when you are ready, you will perform much better. This idea doesn’t work for daily routine tasks, or matters that are urgent and must be attended to right away, but for the letter you have to write to your suppliers, or the blog article you want to put together – this should work.

On the back of this, you may recall a BBC news report that was about the Cambridge University study, which demonstrated that musicians are more creative when they are away from their instrument, or away from practice sessions (you know, tapping, drumming, whistling, humming, composing, when they are supposed to be doing other things). What does this tell us about ourselves as business-people? It means that your best ideas on how to solve a problem, complete a task, write a letter, etc. will come to you when you are not sitting at your desk trying to do it. Therefore, keep a notepad in your bag, download a voice recorder app to your phone, because when you get an idea or think of how you want to word something, you’ll need to capture it there and then. This practice of capturing the ideas you have about your work, will save you lots of time when you come to complete the task at hand.

Source: G7 Design Business Tips

If only I could get started,think what I could do!
April 20, 2015

When I think about motivation for businesses, I think of it as a title under ‘Management Development’ and how to get the best from your staff.

But as I started writing this piece, I realised we need to consider our personal motivation first and consider why it is important to get the most out of ourselves, before working on others!

I’d like you to imagine yourself 5 years in the future. Picture yourself sitting on a beautiful beach with a cosy blanket over your knee watching the sunset go down as you reflect back through your life.

Chances are there won’t just be good times in your head; more often than not we look back thinking, “if only” or “I wish I had done.....”, and “I should have....I would have....I could have.....”

So, how do we minimise the number of “what if’s” and regrets? Well, we need to act.

And the only time we have to act is right now!

I investigated the dictionary meaning of motivation and found ‘motive’ to mean reason stemming from the Latin ‘motivus’ which means to move.

So gaining motivation for ourselves means we must ‘move with reason’ or have a good reason to act, and then to act now.

We all know that feeling, I know it’s not just me, when we know we should be doing something, its waiting for us, and yet we simply cannot be bothered with it; we are too tired, it will take too long and whatever other excuse we can come up with.

However we also all know that it’s really just an excuse to put off what we need to do; either for the moment or altogether.

So where lies the secret of actually following through, getting motivation and using it?

I believe it’s in the root of the word, reason.

If we don’t see a great benefit for us, we will not be moved to act.

Motivation is often all about the future; and most of us are just trying to get through each day and at the end of each day we’re left feeling tired, guilty and sad as we think about the things we didn’t do and yet we still have to start all over again in the morning.

We need something in our heads that excites us; something that makes you want to take continual action every day towards it.

To really get that feeling and keep it, it’s a great idea to set aside some quality thinking time to work on this. Otherwise the beach sunset full of regrets, what ifs and maybes beckons.

So, you know what you should be doing right now so go DO it

And to help develop your motivation, ask yourself:
• What if you had something wonderful to aim for? What feelings are you looking for, freedom, security, happiness, contentment? What are the physical things that will help you achieve those desired feelings?
• How would that improve the quality of your life right now? Imagine all the ways your life would be better when you have the things you want, when you experience the feelings you crave, the experiences you desire to have?
• What do you wish you had started 5 years ago? What are you already regretting not having done? What nudges of intuition or ambition do you feel frustrated that you haven’t moved forward on?
• If you had, how would your life be different today? Imagine what could have happened if you have taken action? What would your life look like, your business, your finances?

What do you need to do now to make that beach sunset experience one of laughter, joy and fullfilment?

Spend some time on this exercise, really play with it, have fun imagining all the things you want to do, hope to see, experience and share. Picture yourself travelling, learning a new skill or indulging in a passion or interest you’ve never had the time for. Create a mini-movie of your life as you want it to be.

Build this life in intimate detail, see, feel, taste, smell, and hear the experience. Make it come alive in your imagination.

Business is a lot like Gardening

7 Business Growth Tips

Growing a business can be a lot like gardening - just as messy and just as rewarding. Gardening is not rocket science, if you do the right thing at the right time you will succeed. Business is not rocket science either, if you do the right thing at the right time you will succeed! Here are my fail proof gardening and business growth tips:

1. Planning

If you want to plant anything in your garden you need to start with a clear plan. Take time to study the area that you intend to plant in and take time to study the plant’s needs. Are the plant and the part of the garden that you intend to plant it in a good match? Does the area offer the right conditions to match the plant’s needs? Are there already many plants in the same patch of soil? Are there lots of slugs? These are some of the vital questions that must be well thought out before planting anything! In the same way, if you expect your business to grow you should spend some time researching and planning before you do anything else. If you have already ‘planted’ your business, it is not too late to invest in some planning. Is the area suitable for your business and is your expertise suitable for the people you are aiming to reach? Ice is not going to make a great business in Antarctica! Is there enough 'space' for your business or is the competition already fierce? Overcrowding kills businesses! Make sure you can be better or find something else to do. Each question you ask yourself will force you to create a great plan for your business. Each and every time you work on your business plan you could find new and better ways to encourage business growth. Show me your plan I will tell you where your business is going. Not having a plan means you are going nowhere. It could be nowhere quickly or nowhere over a long period of time but nowhere is the ultimate destination. Would you plant in your garden randomly without considering all the necessary factors? The chances are that the plant will die. Most gardeners make sure that they understand the plant's needs and then plan where to plant based on these specific needs. Drainage, sunshine, water and soil type will significantly affect the growth or death of plants. Write your own metaphor based on these factors and see if it helps in your planning.

2. Preparation

Once you are certain that everything is ready for planting, you begin to execute your plan. The first part of the plan is always preparation! Long before you plan you dig, you water, you add fertilizer or manure and you wait. It might seem pointless, like a waste of time, but in reality the longer you take to prepare the better your crop! Business is no different. Prepare your target audience for your business. Make them excited. Get them ready so that when you announce your new business or your new product or service, they will already want it. Marketing is a huge part of preparation just like digging is for a gardener. Set up at least 20 to 30 different marketing pillars that will underpin your business. Another essential part of preparation is to make sure that all your systems work. There is nothing worse than using something that doesn’t work. You will frustrate your clients. If your business relies on your website, test it and test it and test it again until you are sure that it works the way it should. If your business offers some sort of health benefits, test it repeatedly until you are convinced that your product or service really does work. Dig, prod, refresh or do whatever you need to do to prepare.

3. Planting Seeds

Gardening requires a lot of waiting patiently. After all the hard work and digging is done you get busy with planting. Your word really hard at planting every single seed in the right place and you cover it and then you… wait. Waiting is an essential part of gardening and it is also an essential part of business. Imagine if a gardener planted her seeds and then after one day went back to dig them all up to see if they were growing. If she did that a few times the seeds would die because they have been disturbed too often. Business is no different. It is essential that we plant our seeds through advertising, marketing, word of mouth, social media, press, flyers and so much more. We must plant out seeds but we must also wait. Don’t assume because there is a great deal of silence after all your hard work that your seeds are not growing. They take time to grow. People see your adverts but perhaps don’t need what you have to offer right away. Your marketing is well ‘planted’ but people need to see it a few times before the twig that it is exactly what they need. Many factors could cause your seeds to grow or die but one thing is for sure, you must patiently wait and not be discouraged when you don’t see anything come of all your hard work. In times of discouragement simply look out into a garden and remember how long it takes for those little tiny seeds to form and shoot their tiny little stem up out of the ground. If you can patiently wait then you will reap a great harvest from all your tiny seeds. And while you are waiting, do something else. Work on your bookkeeping or on your admin systems, put a filing system in place or do anything else that will help you manage WHEN your seeds begin to grow.

4. Watering Seeds

Seeds need watering after you have planted them in your garden. That’s a given. Planting without watering would be silly. If seeds aren’t watered consistently they won’t grow, they will die. Business ‘seeds’ need watering too and neglecting to do so is just as silly as not watering seeds in your garden and expecting to see results. Consistency is the key. People need to hear the same thing at least six times before it sinks in. They need to hear, read and see your message several times in various different ways. Eventually they will realise that they need to contact you but only after you have consistently repeated your message to them. Subtly is a key too. Watering your seeds with a pressure hose will just blast them out of the soil and destroy them. A gentle rain like spray is all your need when watering the seeds you have planted in your garden. In the same way, your message needs to be subtle and not a full force sales pitch repeatedly. You will lose people this way. Gently sprinkle your message consistently and in time you will see the little seeds growing and bearing fruit. Pushy sales people usually scare people away. Take time to regularly water your potential clients with an appealing message that will encourage them to do business with you.

5. Protecting and Nurturing

Allowing your tender seedlings to be exposed to the elements will hinder their growth and could even lead to their death. When the seedlings push through the ground and show signs of life they need protecting from the sun, wind, hail, frost, bugs and so much more. Business needs protecting and nurturing too. You simply cannot start a business and leave it, expecting it to grow. Various things are dangerous to business and so it is essential to protect and nurture it. Some threats include money, time and health. It is essential that you make sure that you have enough financial backup to keep you through a difficult month or two. Most importantly, don’t allow yourself to accumulate too many overheads at first. No money equals no more business so a healthy cash flow is essential. Another threat is time! If your time is not managed well you could either burn yourself out or invest too much time in the wrong places and end up killing your business. There are many threats to a small business so including a thorough SWOT analysis in your business plan is essential. Don’t assume that your business is safe, protect and nurture it.

6. Pruning

Pruning is what strengthens and maintains plants. It is a practice involving the selective removal of diseased, damaged, dead and non-productive parts of a plant’s branches, buds, or roots. Reasons for pruning include removing dead parts, shaping (by controlling or directing growth) and increasing the yield or quality of flowers and fruits. Businesses need pruning too if they are to grow into strong, healthy and prosperous businesses. Prune off dead parts of the business, areas that are not producing a good income or are even a drain on the business. Shape the business into precisely what you want it to be. Most importantly, remove damaged or diseased parts of the business, parts that are haemorrhaging money or time or damaging people. One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make is that they feel the need to be the expert at everything. It would be better use of your time to do what you are good at and leave what you do not excel at. If possible leave it entirely but if it is an essential part of your business outsource it to someone who can do it better than you. Cut off people that are bad for business too. Cut off anything at all that is preventing your business from being strong and healthy.

7. Harvesting

Harvesting is hard work but this is also the fun part, the part where all the hard work pays off. If you planted flower seeds then you get to enjoy the beautiful flowers, if you planted vegetables or fruit then you get to eat from your hard work. In business, this is the part where you make your money, you harvest your return. Harvesting is very rewarding but even in the harvesting stage, you still need to focus on the important next steps. After harvesting take time to plan for the next season. Ask for referrals, create an after sales system, focus on customer care and upselling.

Happy gardening!

Trumpet Call
February 12, 2014

We know what it’s like, so we know what you need!

We all know or have heard of the benefits of social media, but how much time have you spent trying to get your word, product or service out there? Do you have the time to go through the various networks? How would you like us to do all the work for you?

With wow-a2z, you don’t have to worry about not having a website, blog or business page/s. We provide you with all you need to get your idea or business straight into the market. All you have to do is create your profile to get instant access to your ready-made shop from which your product, service or even unwanted items can be sold.

Your profile, including uploading pictures, takes only a few minutes to set up. Once that’s done, through our networks on twitter, facebook, pinterest and linkedin, we will circulate your information to over 14,000 people, thus saving you 100’s of hours of work and stress!

Don’t keep this to yourself - share this by tweeting and liking this blog!