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By T Horsley, Jan 9 2017 09:45AM

Welcome to 2017, I do hope that your business is moving along nicely and you have been able to achieve some of the goals you set down at the begining of 2016.


A goal is something to aim for with effort. Needs to be realistic and quantifiable, has an end date and importantly don't forget, you can modify it along the way.


Too many people set goals and then fail, mainly through not being realistic enough and not taking into account changes in their business.


I will talk about goals at some other point, the focus of this particular blog is Networking. Is it worthwhile, should you do it, where do you go and how long for? Are many questions that you need to answer yourself, as each business is different.


One thing is for certain though, if you think you can walk into a room full of people and expect them to buy from you straight away then you are dreaming.


Much has be written about networking and their are endless website, blogs, articles and books on it. So why do I hear you shout are you bothering to add your twopennies worth.


Well the simple answer to that is. I can.


Some points that people forget very quickly is that for those that run them its a source of income and their only objective is to get more people to join so they can make money out of it. They don't care how long you stay or how often you go, as long as you pay.


The people who chair/run or those who take a role in each meeting benefit from lower joining rates, extended membership or freebies of some discription or another. They care how long you stay because the bigger the group the better the benefits they get.


So don't ever start to think you mean anything more than a paycheck to them. To be fair if I had thought of some of the large networking groups a few years ago I certainly would like to have that source of income, so fair play to them.


Everyone is out for themselves which is fine because they all have their own business to run and they need to grow that business by getting new clients etc. So once you embrace that and look at everyone at the network meeting with a, dare I say, cynical eye, then it should hold no surprises for you.


Knowing how to network is critical, treat it very much like a sales appointment, look, listen, watch, elavuate and act.


Look: Try to arrive early and look at the signing in table and scan the attendee list, you are looking for the type of businesses that are there.


Listen: Grab a drink and circle amongst the attendees to catch a snippet of their conversations.


Watch: See who gravitates towards each other, I normally go to the person that is on their own, chances are they are new and possbily don't know anyone.


Evaluate: When the time comes to talk about who they are and what they do listen and analyse what they are saying.


Act: Pick the people you want to meet and approach them, even if they can't chat to you there and then get their business card with a promise to ring them later or see them next time.


Almost everyone will want to tell you about themsleves and if they start asking you about you then return the questions and get them talking again. This gives you a chance to see what sort of person they are really like. I met someone the other day and she asked me what I did about my marketing so I told her, within seconds she had lost interest and was looking to move on. ( I laughed, it does amuse me when they do that.)


So what are you looking for I hear you say? Well, what you are after and it will depend on your business but you are looking to see if you can work out who their customers are and whether or not they have potential for getting you an introduction to them.


Sounds complicated but image you are photographer and you are talking to an electrician, who are his customers? Could be schools, hotels, manufacturers all of whom are potential customers for you.


Initially you need to go regularly by that I mean at least one or two a week to different ones. You will then quickly pick up on the people who are habitual networkers and asscociations. I will cover those at later date and why this is important.


I have been going to networking events for about 8 years and it does pay off if you put the effort in, at the end of each year you have to work out how much money you have spent and what the return on this investment was, just like any other marketing activity you engage with.


You will also get to know some professional individuals which not only you can use for your own business but also once comfortable with, introduce them to your clients as well.


In Part 2 of this I will dig into more detail about why Look, Listen, Watch, Evaluate, Act are important and what you need to do after the network event.


In the meantime, if you haven't been to one for a while, go and have a look it will only cost about 15 quid.






By T Horsley, Jul 31 2016 02:51PM

'Success consists of going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasim' Winston Churchill


Failure is a very common word and an easy one that people use when describing someone else's change of business or course. I don't subscribe to failure when it comes to business.


If you start a business and you feel it is not acheiving the desired results, for whatever reason, you stop and do something else. In many people's eyes this is failure. In my eyes this is a major strength as you have engaged an exit strategy.


Don't push a bad position, know when its time to say no, be brave and say no, move on, learn from the experience and change. This is not failure this is good sound business sense.


I will refer to 'failure' as its a common word and hope you can see it for what it is.


Only you can measure the level of 'failure' if you think you have failed, other people's input is not worth listening to, it will be biased and based on their own experience so ignore it and evaluate it yourself.


Failure' can take many forms and its how you deal with it that matters, you can own it, you can learn from it and you can move on. Whatever you do you must move on and not dwell on it.


How did it occur, was it of your own making, external influences or not understanding the situation which then ended in you stopping.


We all experience change from time to time, some people I know give up and withdraw, others just chuck it all in and move town, country or job. Others take a deeep breath and start again.


'The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential...these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence' Confucius


It may take sometime to come to terms with the issues you have or are facing however, if you take time out, look closely at what has happended and stay positive a solution will present itself, in my experience it always does.


'This time next year Rodney, we will be millionairs' Del Trotter


By T Horsley, Jun 22 2016 09:41AM

Given that we have only one day left before the referendum I thought I'd weigh in with my thoughts on whether it is a good idea to leave or stay.


One thing I have noticed is that everyone is quite happy for you to have an opinion, as long as it matches theirs, if it doesn't, then you are wrong, misguided and dimissed as an idiot. Mostly though I have noticed this is from the out supporters.


Both sides are appealing to their base support which is quite natural, both agree that Europe needs to change the question is do you want to try and change it from the outside or the inside. Many argue that we don't need to be inside for change to occur but then they can't seem to say why would we want to change it if were we out.


Duncan Smith argues that Italy has been stagnent for the last 10 years, Greece is taking money and is virtually bankrupt. That may well be the case but the UK has thrived during this time along with Germany because of our strength in the financial, technology and manufacturing markets, added to that leadership and entreprenurialship.


Mr Dyson has come out and said we need to leave, I'm sorry I forgot that he was such a patriot, have we forgotton he ditched the manufacturing in this country to take his factory overseas and made hundreds here redundant.


I could go on and on but I've expect you've seen and heard the rhetoric from both sides.


The two things I have looked at is from a personal point of view and business, what impact will it have on me in both of these situations.


From a personal point of view on a day to day basis in the short term not much apart from when I travel abroad, the currency rate will change and it will go down. Why? In the short term the pound will weaken because of short term profit taking in the market and then as the months go by the uncertainty of what place London will play in the world financial market.


In the longer term ie 6 months onwards the cost of products will go up, now I hear many of you cry you are scare mongering and the trade deals are still in place so there is no need, however you are missing the point. Most major companys will use the exit as a way to make more money and shift the blame to Europe.


As for immigration which seems to be at the forefront of the exit supporters how will this make any difference to me on a daily basis, none in my opnion. There has been a minumum of 1.5m people unemployed in this country every year for the last 30 years, I have watched Benefits Britain on the TV and seen the reports in the tabloids of people getting thousands of pounds in benefits and these are Engish people not immigrants. I think we need to change this first.


I know several people who were were born in the UK who only do 16 hours a week because anymore and they lose their benefits, that's wrong, not some man or woman coming from wherever and picking fruit (not just fruit but you get the jist) and paying tax. In fact Mr Corbyn stated that people from abroad pay more in tax than they take in benefits.


How many of you will vote Brexit and then sack the cleaner, the gardener, clean your own car, go and pick your own fruit. That will be a none of you then!


There are over 52,000 foreign workers in the NHS, why is that, because our unemployed make more on benefits than actually working.


From a business point of view will it make a difference, look at your business and your client base and the products/services you offer.


Some famers are convinced that the UK government will still give them the £4.2billion pounds in subsidies they currently get from the European Union, you can make your own mind up about that one.


Business is run on money, yes you need to offer a good service, after care support, professional products and services etc but your business has to make money or you will fail. 90% of SME's do not trade with the European Union so the arguement for you could be that it won't make any difference whether we are in or out, however, maybe it is worth considering both your products and your clients.


Where do you buy you products from and do they manufacture them or buy/import them from someone else. If it is a service you offer then what impact will that have on you being able to deliver without any external pressure, regulation changes, financial constraints. Do your clients futures depend on what you are offering, will that change if we are in or out? Look at the bigger picture and with a business perspective not from a personal view point.


Many on the exit side are saying we will be able to have more flexible trade agreements with both Europe and the rest of the world. Not sure if anyone has noticed but the UK Trade and Industry and many Chamber of Commerces have been promoting this for some years, most companys who see expansion are either in talks or already have been able to get exporting. This has nothing to do with being in the European Union. Yes of course there are some that have not but this arguement by Mr Johnson and many others really doesn't stand up to scrutiny.


Now having read some of this you have more than likely come to the conclusion that I am an advocate of staying in. I think Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne have done themselves no favours by the ridiculous statements they have made, there won't be a war, there won't be a meltdown of our economy (we are too strong for that).


We still export 40%+ to Europe and 12% etc to the USA. Why? because they want our products.


I'm no expert and neither is the SUN newspaper, nor the Times (in the interest of balance) but there are many out there that are, most economist say we should stay in and I'm going with them. It is as I said earlier, about money.


On a personal level I will still go to the pub, have a meal in a resturant, buy my weekly groceries, go on holiday, travel in my car etc. Will this cost me more, in the long run, I think it will.


From a business point of view will it have an impact on my business, yes it will, if we go out, my clients will cut back on their spending because their clients or their lives will be affected either by uncertainty, rules changes, shifting customer base.


If we stay in, will my business be affected, yes it will, my competitors will have greater access to my clients, pricing and margins will come under pressure and there will be more rules and regulations to deal with.


Whatever your thoughts on in or out the best thing you can do is vote, then you can voice an opion, it may not get listened to but you have the right to have a say. If you don't vote then shut up. The other thing you should do is listen to the younger generation because its more of their future than yours. (Listen to someone younger than you, blimey that's radical)


Either way, whether we stay in or out, over the next few years you will hear the cry above the crowd shouting "I told you so"


One thing is for certain though, all the politicans will still have their jobs.










By T Horsley, May 2 2016 02:18PM

Looking through a list the other day it occured to me that I have travelled in the variuous cars I've had more than a million miles. Sounds quite a lot given your average driver in the UK does about 12,000 a year.


The jobs I've had over years have meant that most of my life has been spent in a car, now I'm not complaining that was my choice, much like my speeding, again my choice. I collected my first points for speeding (3 and a £20 fine) in 1978. On the 13th November 1997 my licence was clear for the first time, sadly three hours later I got nicked again.


Last year was a bit dodgy I picked up an addition 6 to go with 6 I already had but if you get yourself some decent lawyers and are prepared to spend the money then you can still drive with 12. I was doing so well late last year, 6 dropped off in December but old habits die hard and i gathered another 3 in January, so back up to 9.


Now I don't condone speeding and its ridiculous not only could you kill someone but you can also kill yourself, I know this but like with all habits they are hard to break.


The defintion of habit 'an acquired behaviour pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary'


The phrase I use for the businesses I work with is 'if you always do what you've always done you will always get what you've always got' - in other words: Habit


As we approach the next 6 months are you getting what you thought you would get from your business, we are now 4 months into 2016 and you should be looking at your data, where is the business coming from, who are we selling to, which products/services are doing well, does it match the objectives we set in December for 2016.


Of course if its not then stop, take time out and really look at whats happening, is it happening again, same old same old, no real progress no real changes.


Change the message, stop doing what you doing, fresh approach, its not too late.


Habits can be broken there just has to be the will to do so.



By T Horsley, Jan 2 2016 04:46PM

Before we dive headlong into 2016 it's worth a moment of pause, no matter how well or not so well 2015 delivered for you, the past cannot be a reflection to the future.


"Then the liars and swearers are fools, for there are liars and swearers enough to beat the honest men and hang up them" so eloquently spoken by Macbeth, as true today as then.


The people you will encounter this coming year will be influenced by a new set of priorities - theirs, not yours. Many will obfuscate, procrastinate, lie and take you down a path of anticipation. "All that glitters is not gold" aptly read by Morocco in the Merchant of Venice.


It is up to you to absorb, analyse and choose the path you take with your eyes fully open.


The successes you achieved last year can be built upon if your expectation levels are set appropriately. Your goals, thoughtful and understood, your objectives, specific and realsitic.


Your continued business success will be down to being focussed, objective and having the ability to adapt, improvise and overcome obstacles in your way. The focus needs to be on those goals and objectives you set in the next few days as you embark on the next chapter in your business.


Be realistic with your expectation levels, setting them too high or by emotion will lead to great disappointment, your positivity will be dragged down and you will question your effectiveness.


As a professional business person you can develop 2016 on the foundations you laid within 2015, doing the right thing and believing in your own expertise will give you the success you deserve. Enjoy.


"This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!"

Polonius


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Most of the articles are written by myself or I have extracted parts from published information from people who I feel have something to offer.

 

Other articles are a straight copy of what someone else has written and I have shared this with you as I believe it adds value to your business experience.

 

So the authors are and will be referenced under:

 

T Horsley

C Shaw

Kim Garst

David Zaleski

James Caan

Chris Green

Ian Stanley

Emile Darwin

Samantha Horsley