Thursday, 29 November 2007

Which Books Would You Recommend?

At the Let’s Talk… More Profit event we ran yesterday in Woking I was asked to “recommend some business books worth reading, something that moves on from the Old Michael Gerber I have just re-read”.

Here’s the first five that came to my head – they won’t suit everyone but I do find myself suggesting certain people read them (you know who you are!):
Tim Ferris – The 4-hour workweek
Felix Dennis – How To Get Rich
Bo Burlingham – Small Giants
Andy Bounds – The Jelly Effect
The Long Tail - Chris Anderson

There are loads of others but these are the ones I seem to be recommending at the moment… (and of course my own!)

Bright Marketing Seminar in Bath – review of 4-hour Workweek
How To Get Rich - Felix Dennis – a crisp quote
Small Giants - companies that choose to be great rather than big….
The Jelly Effect by Andy Bounds

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

How To Get Rich - Felix Dennis

I need to quote to you from Felix Dennis's book 'How To Get Rich'. (I'll send this to my wife!)

"Whatever qualities the rich may have, they can be acquired by anyone with the tenacity to become rich. The key, I think, is... confidence and an unshakable belief it can be done and that you are the one to do it.

"Tunnel vision helps. Being a bit of a shit helps. A thick skin helps, as is a capacity to work so hard that your best friends mock you, your lovers despair and the rest of your acquaintances watch furtively from the sidelines, half in awe and half in contempt."

Felix's words are sobering for those of us who have experienced (or are about to experience) the Valley Of Death...

Valley Of Death Article in Growing Business Magazine (Nov 07)
The Valley Of Death - How Many Employees Should You Have? - Will Critchlow, June 07
My Valley Of Death blog article - Robert Craven, July 07
Time - The Silent Killer of Businesses - Fred Edwards blog, August 07
'How To Get Rich' - at Amazon
Felix Dennis's website

Friday, 23 November 2007

What Is Bright Marketing? (Comments from Ashford)

Karin H's blog The Kiss Business Too does me a big favour by summarising the Bright Marketing book and the Ashford workshop - an outsider can always see things better than we can ourselves... and I wouldn't disagree with her...

"By the time you finish the book (or leave the workshop) you should have sorted out How and What your Brand should be Communicating and to Whom."

She continues...
"Talking about workshops, like business advice books I have a personal 'definition' on proper, worthwhile workshops: it's is the word WORK - i.e. not having to listen for hours to a so-called guru going on and on about mostly already known strategies and/or marketing ideas, but being actively involved in the going ons...

"Workshops should be interactive and not just a lecture filled with cliché solutions...

"The 'Lets Talk...' workshops by Robert Craven in cooperation with Barclays fit the bill perfectly, if you are ever in the position to join in don't hesitate, just go and be prepared to work!"

Thank you Karin!

Bright Marketing book
The Kiss Business Too

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Bright Marketing Seminar in Bath

We had a great Bright Marketing seminar today, just down the road from us, near Bath.

100 exciting, independent/growing businesses squashed themselves into the Cumberwell Golf Club for this event run by

My book recommendation was
The Four-hour Workweek – Escape the 9-5 and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss… a provocative book which will make you realise that you are probably the bottleneck in your business. This book is a combination of '80/20' and 'work ON not IN your business' thinking... It’s time to rewrite the organisational chart so that the business can survive, grow and prosper without being 100% dependent on you!!!!!

We all left the room full of enthusiasm and excitement and I thought I should take the opportunity to mention some of the people who kindly thrusted business cards in my direction:
  • Martin Davies from NRG networks – a lunchtime networking community
  • Sarah Owen from Referral Institute – they run courses on word-of-mouth marketing

The ‘prize’ for the best business card went to Claire Morgan of Faragher Jones who publish local/regional Fairtrade Directories.

Special thanks go to our ‘resident belly dancer’ Emma – don’t ask if you weren’t there!
Dar Tangerina

And of course special thanks to our hosts, the Barclays team, especially Helen and Brian.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

"I love my Accountant"

The last few weeks I've been working with and talking to accountants of all shapes and sizes... most have loved what I have to say but some have found it a little too challenging. I did an interview (Accountancy Age interview - 25 minute interview on "What accountants should be providing to their clients)

My one-liner:
Accountants can be... should be... and, in fact, must be... fantastic for your business...

FIRST, they help you obey the law (all the compliance stuff), but more importantly they add real value to your business:
- they can help you pay less tax,
- they can help you to grow the business faster and more profitably.
Who wouldn't want someone like that on their side?

SECOND, if you think your current accountant is underperforming then sack them - get one that who you do trust and that does add real value to your business.

I do understand why this approach has ruffled a few feathers, but I must quote The Animals...
"I'm just a soul whose intentions are good:
Oh Lord! Please don't let me be misunderstood ..."

What do Today's Entrepreneurs want from their Accountants? - 25 minute interview with Accountancy Age (Nov 2007).
Accountants - Know Me, Know My Business - Accountants have still got to learn that the customer is king. (In Practice, 2005).

Friday, 16 November 2007

Fun in Basildon

I got back from a great Bright Marketing seminar with Barclays in Basildon to find not one, but two, blogs talking about the event. (Good old Google Alerts!).

Emma Duggan was a feisty photographer who 'asked for my business' in the coffee break - and my next slot was going to be on just that subject... "The guest speaker was the truly inspirational Robert Craven of the Directors Centre and I am now feeling completely psyched up about making my business work." Thanks for your flattering words. Robert Craven - 'The Entrepreneurship Guru'

Steve Hearn has put me on a tin (of beans I think!) in his blog entitled New idea, new product!... "I have created a new and unique way to give a gift or novelty item to people!" This isn't the first time that Steve has captured me although his caricatures are normally a little more flattering (more like Ringo meets George Harrison rather than looking slightly drug-crazed!).

Steve Hearn - his blog
Emma Duggan - her blog

Friday, 9 November 2007

Michelangelo - the greatest danger...

A brief blog, today... a simple yet powerful quote...

'The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.'