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Year 2007

Season’s Greetings And A Prosperous New Year.

After a hectic final four weeks and the promise of some rest until the early New Year, all that is left for me to do is to wish you my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2008. I would like to thank all of you for your comments and input to…

Are we really that dysfunctional?

A few days ago a colleague sent me a newspaper cutting from the The Times, a piece written by

Does your small business make your customers feel good?

It helps people to feel calm and secure, or superior - these feelings are deeply satisfying to all of us.Is that the only motivation why people buy, I don't think so.... If your product and service does not do one of the two, you may have a problem.

Success Makes Entrepreneurs Stupid!

You worked hard to get to a profitable position in your business and believe it is time to relax - all is well, and than "bang".A few years back I helped a business that used to be successful for a number of years and made good money.... Nobody had paid attention to the customers for all the time since the owner had left.The moral here is to make sure you hand the business over to people who understand that customer care is more important than a great product.

The Week Ender: Government Contracts for Small Business?

I met an old friend the other day who told me that he sold his little business, he used to work on MoD - Ministry of Defense - contracts and had developed testing programs for them.I asked what he was doing next, go back and do it again?... If these alleged practices are true, than they would be highly damaging for small business.The only thing small business seems to be good for in the UK is paying more and more taxes, in return we appear to be lied to more and more.

Happy Thanksgiving!

While today is the "Thanksgiving Day", in reality the celebrations go on until Monday when everyone is back at work - it is by no means a one day affair.Having had the pleasure of celebrating Thanksgiving with a friends family in Massachusetts in the late eighties, I have always been a little jealous when my U.S. friends and employees leave on wednesday by saying "Happy Thanksgiving". Because I know the scenes around every small and big dinning-room table, with good food and the much needed family time - especially in todays fast living society.Thanksgiving is now an almost four hundred year old tradition in the U.S. (1619 - Berkeley Plantation in Virginia), and the holiday was first established by President Lincoln, with specific reference to giving thanks to God.

Are you working in or on your small business?

Don't get confused about what you, the business owner of your small business or start-up business, like SOHO-, SME, SMB-, Micro-, Lifestyle-, Home-, DIY-, Hobby-, Boomer- or Personal business, like professional, contractors, freelancer, self-employed, sole-trader and virtual assistants, should be doing?... That is very wrong and also the reason why many businesses fail.Working on your business means to looking at it from the outside, remembering all these little customer comments, imagining a new type of technology to be employed in the business, changing the way you advertise, in other words making changes to the business, the whole business:- that will improve performance, enhance external communication with clients, improve the clients experience, cut costs out of your business,and many other aspects of your business.That is in reality the most important part of what a business owner should do - plan the future.

Data Protection the Government Way!

In this year alone the following list of "accidents" have happened: November 2007 - HMRC sent a disk with 15,000 Standard Life customers from Newcastle to the insurance, the disk never arrived;October 2007 - another computer from HRMC worker was stolen with hundreds of peoples personal data;November 2007 - BBC's Watch Dog uncovered a string of mistakes made by HMRC causing personal details to be sent to the wrong people;April 2007 - HRMC documents found in Nottingham containing sensitive information.And these are the cases we know about.... Combine this with the Capital Gains Tapper Relief and Northern Rock debacle and you get a pretty clear picture of the competence of this government.Watching Mr Darling defending any of these debacles beggars belief and leaves me speechless.

People buy from People.

All these personal traits are important, but not as important as EQ - emotional intelligence - which means people who have natural warmth, are optimistic and can empathize with the plight of other people.Who would you rather deal with, someone who seems cold and distant, or someone who understands your problems and can suggest solutions or ideas on a services/product level, but also on a more emotional and beneficial level.... So when you hire, ask about faults, ask about being told off for getting something wrong, ask how they felt when someone else got told off at work?

Benefits, Not Features is what sells!

Know who you are talking to, if you are talking to an industry insider, tell him all the technical details, because he understands enough of the technology to understand the details, and then work out the benefits for himself/herself. If you are talking to a customer who wants to use your service or product to gain a benefit from using you, let him/her know what the benefit is.One word about not being able to show a benefit, I would openly say to my client that there is no benefit from using our product, you may not get a sale, but you will get someone who will respect you and come back, because he/she trusts you.

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