blog category: personal development

My recent podcast interviews


I was recently interviewed for a couple of business development podcasts: Small Business Elevation and Your Business Focus Group. You can hear the recordings below to find out a little more about my story, as well as some tasty tips on how to use email marketing to grow your business.

Subscribe to Small Business Elevation on iTunes »
Subscribe to YourBFG on iTunes »

Will it make the boat go faster?


Last Friday, I spent a full day working on the plan for Future Visions and what we’ll do to grow the business over the next 90 days. These four days are the first thing that go in to my diary each year, and it’s all because of a mantra we introduced to the business a couple of years ago, ‘will it make the boat go faster?’, which helps us to make sure that everything we do is done on purpose, and to help us to understand the importance of everything we do. I introduced it after seeing Ben Hunt-Davis speak at an event I attended.

The phrase was coined by Great Britan’s gold-medal winning Olympic rowing team in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. For the years that they trained, they held each other accountable to what they were doing by asking themselves, and each other, whether what they were doing would make the boat go faster.

That’s precisely why they didn’t attend the opening ceremony. When they asked themselves whether they should go and considered the proposition of standing for several hours, missing a scheduled mealtime and forgoing a training session, they decided that when it came to their races, it wouldn’t make the boat go faster.

The execution is slightly different in my businesses. We don’t have a boat. But we are all working towards a common goal, and we all have to ask ourselves whether what we are doing is contributing towards the growth of the company, the acquisition of the right kinds of clients and the generation of profit.

Whatever you are doing, ask yourself:

Will it make the boat go faster?

Is education killing creativity?

This TED talk from Sir Ken Robinson really is one of my favourites. It highlights some of the shortcomings of the education system both in the UK and around the world.

Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.

Watch on »

You can fail at what you don’t want…

I recently watched a video of a speech delivered by Jim Carrey at Maharishi University of Management, in which he inspired graduating students with a heartfelt insight into how he’s achieved so much success. If you have a spare 26 minutes and 9 seconds, I’d urge you to watch it too.

From that speech, there’s one line which I think we can all take something from: “I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

Reasons to be cheerful…

Every time I get the opportunity to speak with ambitious young people, I continue to be amazed by some of the things they say.

Perhaps it’s because times have changed, and young people are more ambitious than they used to be, or perhaps it’s that they’re more open to new opportunities and are less fazed by the potential challenges they face that might stand in the way of them achieving their goals.

Honestly, I don’t care what the reason is. All I know is that the next generation of budding entrepreneurs will be the biggest, and most successful, ever. The way entrepreneurialism has been influenced by factors such as the internet and developments in marketing is a really great thing for young business owners and the economy of the UK and the world.

Why I love losing clients

A fellow web designer came to me today and, bold as brass, told me he couldn’t understand how it was possible to build a web design business that ‘paid well’.

Naturally the idea of something ‘paying well’ is contextual: to one person, a high income is different to what it would be to another, in that £40,000 a year to someone currently earning minimum wage means something very different to a millionaire.

That aside, we went through the process of understanding:

  • who his clients were
  • what services he was offering to them
  • how much time he was spending on each one
  • how much each client paid him for that time

What became boldly clear at that point was that he had a handful of clients he loved working with, and a small number of clients that he didn’t enjoy working with, either because they didn’t pay him on time or because the work they were giving him just wasn’t the ideal type.

The same is often true in my own business: my A* clients are the ones I really love working for: they respect my expertise; they pay what my time is worth; and they pay on time. There are also a handful of clients who require more time and attention (which is absolutely fine, provided I’m paid what my time is worth, but that isn’t always the case).

However, every business has ‘bad’ clients. How you define a bad client is up to you, but understanding what makes a good or bad client is important. Then, you’re in a much stronger position of being able to choose who you work with, and spot those you don’t want to work with much sooner.

That’s why I love losing clients – providing they’re not a good fit for my business – because it means I can dedicate more time to the right clients for my business.

Think about your top 10% of clients, and your bottom 10%, and choose who YOU want to work with. And remember, your bottom 10% might be someone else’s top 10%…