Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Robert Craven in Gaborone, Botswana

Today, the Gaborone President Hotel hosted my Management Express event, Bright Marketing.

We spent a wonderful day exploring how and why the Bright Marketing ‘ology’ can help an audience of Botswana’s entrepreneurs and business managers to run better organisations.

The key points for the audience included:
- Why should people bother to buy from you?
- What makes you different from the rest? How to introduce your business – the elevator pitch
- Focus on what works… and this is normally word-of-mouth

Warm, friendly, hospitable people - I think I learnt more about them than they did about or from me!!!

PS The President is where Mma Ramotswe of The Number One Ladies Detective Agency was accused of leaving without paying the bill – wonderfully enough no-one has yet mentioned Mma Ramotswe to me although I have read about several tourist tours that do visit the sites mentioned in the book!

Clever marketing… or spotting an opportunity? It is pretty much the same as setting up the Jane Austen Centre in Bath which seems fine… although the Inspector Morse theme seems to have taken over Oxford!

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Referral Institute Conference, Bristol

Just attended the annual conference of the Referral Institute in Bristol – an interesting combination if speakers from the UK and US. I did a keynote on 'why should people bother to buy from you?'

Worthy of mention were the American speakers:
Hazel Walker the ‘queen of networking', Dawn Lyons and Mike Macedonio co-author of ‘Truth or Delusion’ with Ivan Misner.

From the UK it was great to hear/see/meet
Warren Cass from Business-Scene… and it was also great to meet up again with Dave Clark from NRG. Plus countless others… Marcus Cauchi and of course plenty of people there who have seen their membership of ecademy, BNI, BRX and so on actually work for them big-time.

I will take away some excellent, thought-provoking, points…

  • third-party testimonials are so much more powerful than us selling ourselves

  • three steps of networking: visibility then credibility then profitability

  • how many people are actively networking on your behalf and making referrals to you right now? How can you get more business this way?

  • find out how you can promote/network on someone else’s behalf – what do you need to know to make a compelling introduction/recommendation?

I met a great bunch of people who all know the ins and out of how referrals and networking and can help you to grow you business… I suggest you see them/speak to them if you can…

So a special thanks to
Sarah Owen and the Referral Institute team for arranging the day.

Referral Institute, Sarah Owen, Hazel Walker, Dawn Lyons, Mike Macedonio, Ian Misner, Warren Cass, Dave Clark, Marcus Cauchi

Customer What?

Lexpress in Mauritius has just published an article...

Robert Craven, author of “The customer is king” will be speaking at a corporate seminar on customer service next month. Customer service, an almost alien concept to many local businesses…

Lots of lovely examples of 'interesting' customer service!


Lexpress - Customer What? article
Customer Is King - the book

Monday, 21 January 2008

Checklist for Success

A business magazine has kindly commissioned me to write an article that concludes with a ‘checklist for success’. I thought I’d share my thoughts with you...

- Remember, success is goals
- What’s holding you back: your self-limiting beliefs
- Fundamental rule: accept responsibility
- Develop a positive attitude
- Believe in yourself
- Decide to be successful
- Manage your time
- Set goals and achieve them

If only it was that simple!

The final one should be…

BusinessZone article - outlines some of the above...
Success at What Cost - article

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Entrepreneurial Qualities

I have just been asked to do an article on what makes successful entrepreneurs.

I had to refer them to Geoffrey A Timmons’ excellent study of nine key entrepreneurial qualities that apply to successful business people:

1. A high level of drive and energy.
2. Enough self-confidence to take carefully calculated, moderate risks.
3. A clear idea of money as a way of keeping score and as a means of generating more money.
4. The ability to get other people to work with you and for you productively.
5. High but realistic, achievable goals.
6. Belief that you can control your own destiny.
7. Readiness to learn from your own mistakes and failures.
8. A long-term vision of the future of your business.
9. Intense competitive urge, with self-imposed standards.

And, of course, TAKE MASSIVE ACTION!

Kick-Start Your Business - best-selling book for growing businesses
The Directors' Centre - consultancy and coaching for growing businesses

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Your Mobile Addiction!

I have been talking to lots of people recently about delegating more… letting others take the strain..., freeing you up to do the important stuff. Another part of that plan will be to stop your addiction to your Blackberry/email/mobile device.

Now is the time to get you out of the loop that is your belief that people have to talk to you in person (and right now), and if your phone doesn’t ring then you feel unloved…

Put a message on your device saying “Thank you for your enquiry but I am unable to reply right now – contact X to talk about this and contact Y to talk about that. I will be collecting messages at 4.00pm and will only be able to get back to you then”. Of course you’ll need to find a Mr X or Ms Y (in the office or on the web) to whom you can delegate the jobs.

What this does is train all your old dependents to look elsewhere for the answer they want.

If you have a semi-sophisticated answerphone then you can filter people to the appropriate extension but I am sure you get the idea; it is all about you stopping working IN the business and spending time working ON the business.

In essence, I am advocating the creation of a business model, a system that has you almost totally written out of the script. Now there’s a thought!

Bright Marketing Seminar in Bath - blog refering to Tim's book