Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Flawed Research

In the blog entry, Lessons That Are Wasted On Entrepreneurs I quoted David Storey... and lots of people got upset...

"In spite of volumes of airport lounge books identifying simple recipes for success, the reality is that starting a business is risky. The outcome depends heavily on luck..."
And now there is more support for David's point of view (and the findings from the Magic Million Survey) from The Economist's Which MBA in an article, Flawed research (no longer available), 
and I quote...

"when measuring what makes for a successful company, one common mistake is to study only those companies that are themselves considered successful...

“When you take a closer look at the companies they study, the accomplishments of the vast majority are just as likely to be due to simple luck. It’s the equivalent of finding someone who flipped a coin seven times and happened to end up with seven heads and asking for her secret.”

Magic Million Survey
- Flawed Research (no longer avaialable)
- Lessons That Are Wasted On Entrepreneurs

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Beating The Credit Crunch - Webinar - Part Two

My most recent webinar Beating The Credit Crunch - Part Two is now out. Based on the book of the same name!

Free to listen to as well. 25 minutes - recorded for AVN.

What is a webinar? - a combination of an audio recording (my voice) and slides.

- Beating The Credit Crunch - Part Two webinar
- Beating The Credit Crunch - Part One webinar
Download the Introduction and Contents pages now - download
- The
Beating the Credit Crunch webpage - buy it here

Friday, 24 April 2009

Beating The Credit Crunch - Webinar - Part One

My most recent webinar Beating The Credit Crunch - Part One is now out. Based on the book of the same name!

Free to listen to as well. 20 minutes - recorded for AVN.

What is a webinar - a combination of an audio recording (my voice) and slides.

- Beating The Credit Crunch - Part One webinar
- Download the Introduction and Contents pages now - download
- The Beating the Credit Crunch webpage - buy it here

Monday, 20 April 2009

What To Do Now?

A quick rant. To all those who enjoy keeping their head in the sand.

In no particular order:

  1. Everything is currently entitled 'Credit Crunch' or 'Recession Beating' or 'two for the price of one' etc. This is simply chasing volumes (but not profits). Remember you get known for what you do and will clients want to pay full price when the recession is over?

  2. Everyone says that they can't afford anything - especially marketing, consultancy, seminars!!!!!

  3. People are saying that they don't want to attend a seminar/buy consultancy etc etc because they are tightening their belts.

  4. But attending a seminar/buying consultancy (of any great value/quality) will guarantee to increase sales/profit/cash and reduce costs/pain/stress/discomfort (don't forget the money-back guarantee). [Thought Bubble: Who wouldn't want that?]

  5. It was easy to make money in the good times. It is not so easy now. Now you need to be good if you want to survive. Mediocre is not good enough - you will not survive. Mediocre = death. [Thought Bubble: so what are you going to do about it?]

  6. Question: "Surely now is the time to seek help?"??

  7. Their Answer: "NO..."!!!!!

  8. Go back and repeat Numbers 3/4/5/6/7 ad infinitum...

A dumb vicious loop.
This is bonkers.

Let's Talk... workshops for businesses less than 10 employees
- Consultancy, Masterclasses and Business Surgeries from The Directors' Centre
- Beating The Credit Crunch book

Saturday, 18 April 2009


Albert Einstein once defined success in this way.

Success=X+Y+Z where “X” equals Work, “Y” equals Play, and “Z” equals “Keep your mouth shut.

What proportions of X, Y and Z are you using?

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

'Beating The Credit Crunch' - Mindmap of the Live Event

After the London Connections Networking Event laid on by Business Scene, Andrew Wilcox put together a whole mind-map/website of the event.

It is actually really interesting to see someone else's take on your material!

The 40 minute presentation was based on highlights from the Beating the Credit Crunch book.

- Download the book's Introduction and Contents pages now - download
- The Beating the Credit Crunch webpage - buy it here

Saturday, 11 April 2009

If you want to catch fish then fish where the fish are!

I was recently told a story by a businessman about fishing (from when he was a lad).

The advice he was given, when failing to catch any fish, was:
“If you aren’t catching fish in this lake then find another lake. If you want to catch fish then fish where the fish are!”

And surely this applies to business:
“If you want to make lots of money then go where the money is.”

Working with the poorest, most needy clients is like creating your own toxic, sub-prime customer base. And you know what happens to people who do that!

The lesson is that you should not keep trying to fish in lousy ponds... in effect, stop trying to seduce naff clients (who don't need/like/want to pay for your product/service) - you are trying to talk to the wrong people... and that is often a waste of time. Go and find the right lake for you...

Find the right lake then charge more and deliver better value to your top-end customers.

Everyone is obsessed with price… but really they are obsessed with value and your job is to prove to them that you can add more value than your competitors (and you shouldn’t be doing this at a low price!).

Beating the Credit Crunch - book

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

"Can You Do This On Your Own?"

Clients have been sharing their 'self-talk' with us and I am not sure how healthy it is!

Many think that the trick is to work harder and to work longer hours. The self-doubt starts to niggle: "Will you make it? Have you got what it takes? Why don't my people get it? What happens if...?"

The question I would pose is "Can you really do this all on your own?". I suspect you can't.

If you are a small business then you may well kill yourself (not enough time, money, resource) unless you start working smarter (and how do you figure out how to do that?).

And if you employ 20+ staff then 'letting go' is a big part of the trick (as long as you can trust the people you are letting go to - and how do you do that?).

A 'finger in the air' piece of work we recently conducted at seminars confirmed the relationship between the cost/depth of the intervention and the impact on your business. And it makes sense really.

There seems to a continuum where the impact is greater with the deeper/costlier intervention:
- search the Internet - you can find some great stuff - FREE
- read newspapers - you can read some great stuff - ALMOST FREE
- read books - you can read some great stuff - ALMOST FREE
- watch videos - you can see some great stuff - ALMOST FREE
- attend seminars, workshops - you can see some great stuff and maybe get fired up and motivated - SOMETIMES FREE
- consultancy intervention - you can hear some great stuff and get really fired up and motivated and take the action required in your business - NOT FREE AT ALL

Of course there are caveats written all across the words above; some books/papers/seminars/consultancies are truly dreadful and some are simply wonderful.

Does anyone really expect to fundamentally change their business fortunes by just reading, listening or watching. No - the answer is in you taking action - and whatever it takes to get you to take action is what is required.

I can read till the cows come home but it won't motivate me to take the massive action (and take the tough decisions) that the business requires...

So, can I really do this on my own?

Probably not. Who are your stabilisers?

Your turn...

Let's Talk - seminars for business with less than 10 employees (and their advisers)
The Directors' Centre consultancy for growing businesses.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

A Suit That Fits - Love The Idea

My current obsession is looking for business concepts that are simple... obvious... and remarkable. asuitthatfits.com seems to fit the bill.

You get a 'bespoke', personally designed suit for less than you'd normally pay. Better quality, unique style according to your choice of material, lining, lapels, pockets buttons, cuffs etc etc. Maybe too many options but then they show you what your basic style looks like...

You design online then they send it away to be manufactured and the next thing you know, you are trying it on..!

I am going to have to give it a go. You can do it all online or you can have a fitting. And it all seems to be incredibly good value.

Has anyone used them? A similar concept mejeans.com where you design your own jeans has also caused a stir - there seem to be some critical comment about them if you google them... the power of the net!!

Meanwhile read about A Suit That Fits: Cutting its cloth to profit from recession from The Daily Telegraph Business Club.

Cutting its cloth to profit from recession from The Daily Telegraph Business Club

Friday, 3 April 2009

The Award-Winning Training Programme: Let's Talk...

Congratulations to everyone involved in the Barclays 'Let's Talk...' programme for winning the 2009 Business Moneyfacts award for 'Innovation in the SME Finance Sector'.

Fantastic news and recognition for all our hard work.
The Directors' Centre is delighted to have contributed to this success by delivering the Let's Talk... programmes for existing businesses. The NFEA has been delivering the programme elements aimed at start-ups. Barclays have masterminded and led the whole initiative.

The Directors' Centre team have been involved in the development, project management, marketing and delivery of the following events:

Let's Talk... More Profit - new dates just published!
Let's Talk... Bright Marketing - new dates just published!
- Let's Talk... Green Business

- Let's Talk... Exit

On our side I have to thank Kiki, Louise, Jim, Lesley, Debbie, Trish, Holly, Ant, and Laura for their noble efforts. Particular thanks go to Kay, Debbie and Jane at Barclays!!!

Here's to a great new season kicking off on 6th May in Nottingham with the More Profit event.

press release
Let's Talk
Programme Dates

Start-Up Rates Not Declining (yet)! (the mystery vanishing post!)

Start-Up activity is always an indication of what's happening for the rest of us so.

Latest figures suggest that start-up activity in '07 and '08 were almost identical - 1% in it! Let's see what '09 brings!

Business Start-Ups in 2008 from ifalife.com says: "Figures released by Barclays show that the number of new businesses remained at high levels in 2008, rising from 432,300 in 2007 to 436,600.

The total number of businesses increased by 1 per cent.

In terms of percentage growth women outperformed in comparison to the national average and overtook men. Female-only starts ups increased by 9 per cent to more than 90,000 in 2008. Male-only start-ups showed a slight increase of less than 1 per cent, to 300,000.

  • Start-up activity increased by 8 per cent in Yorkshire and 6 per cent in the East Midlands. However, the number of businesses started up declined by 6 per cent in Wales and 3 per cent in the South West.
  • New property service firms fell by 13 per cent and there was an 8 per cent decline in businesses associated with construction. In contrast, start-up activity in the area of health, education and social work increased by more than 13 per cent."

Business Start-Ups in 2008

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

April Fool's Day Pranks

According to
The Museum of Hoaxes The Top 100 include:
  1. The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest
  2. Sidd Finch
  3. Instant Colour TV
  4. The Taco Liberty Bell
  5. San Serriffe
  6. Nixon for President
  7. Alabama Changes The Value of Pi
  8. The Left-Handed Whopper
  9. Hot-headed Naked Ice Borers
  10. Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity
Good Luck this morning - its a jungle out there!


The Museum of Hoaxes