I’m using the holidays to get focused – are you?

  It’s crazy I tell you……….

This time of the year is crazy for most people, running around doing Christmas visits with clients, filling orders placed before the holidays – then their is the personal craziness, getting presents, food, decorating the house.  The list seems endless.

But the holidays is a good time to reflect on the year and think about things that didn’t go so well, things that did go well and where 2016 will take you.

For me, Christmas is a time of family and friends getting together and enjoying each others company.  Because of the ‘feel good’ time, I find it is also a great time to collect me thoughts, look at where I want to be in the coming year and what I want to achieve professionally.  I also find it a good time to bring some of the ideas that have been flying around in my head for the last few months together.

Marketing has been high on my priority list in 2015 both for my own company and that of my clients.  Until last year social media was in the background, I kind of used Facebook to keep in touch, Twitter now and again to see what was going on, but I was never really interested or interactive.  Starting Inspire made me get more involved with this aspect of advertising and promoting ideas for clients and myself.  It was kind of strange at first, who wants to know what I am doing?  But I soon came to appreciate the benefits of social media and the importance in the current business arena.

Over the holidays I am going to be thinking about new ways to get peoples attention, maybe a new flyer that I can send by email with lots of images, or a newspaper style promotional piece.  The one thing I do know is that using the ‘time out of the office’ is a great opportunity to think of new and creative ways to reach new clients and I am not going to waste it.

So why not have a think about what you want from 2016?  Do you want to expand your business?  Increase sales and profits?  Change your hobby or idea into a viable business? Hold some motivation sessions with your staff to kick start the New Year?  Implement changes that you have been putting off? 

Don’t put it off any longer.  Make a list of the things you want to change or achieve, put them in priority order and start with number 1.  What is your goal? How can you achieve your goal? What do you need to achieve it?  You get the idea…  I find ‘Mind Mapping’ to be really helpful with this as it allows you to just keep adding and sometimes the change in direction is the best one.   If you would like some information on effective mind mapping let me know and I will send it over to you.

Well good luck for 2016, I hope all your goals and dreams are fulfilled, or at least some of them.  If any of my services can help you, please get in touch – sometimes just talking things through makes the path clearer and more focused – all first meetings are free.

If you have any feedback or would like to contribute you ideas, goals or just leave a message – please use the form below.

JUMP! Is this book worth reading?

Jump

Jump! Deliver astonishing results by unleashing your Leadership Team by Chris Henderson

Review by Judi Kelly Inspire Consultant (Dukinfield) Ltd

This book is aimed at Senior Leadership Teams but I feel anyone in management would benefit from reading it.  As Chris Henderson suggests in the book, most management books are based on individual needs (which of course are important) but few look at what happens when the individuals are put together as a team.  Even as an effective Leadership Team, the book helps to remind you where potential problem areas can, and do, arise.

It outlines the areas where most Leadership Teams fail or do not meet their potential and offers tools to improve these teams.  I work with and in Senior Management Teams and found some of the ‘tools’ helped to bring results in quicker and with less conflict within cross departments. As I often work as an outside facilitator, so have no personal involvement with the Leadership Teams I work with, these tools are really good – in a Leadership Team I find the team members are competitive and often demanding (if they weren’t they would not be good at their job) which makes the decisions to be made harder because they all want what they want. But these tools helped to break some of the barriers down and results much better and achieved much quicker.

The book itself was easy to read, not too much jargon and technical speak (my brain didn’t fry!). Managers of all levels would find helpful information and techniques to apply to their own staff and environment.

This book is not available as an ebook, but can be purchased from most online book stores and some larger highstreet bookstores. I have referred back to my book several times because there are so many ‘tools’, I find myself checking out which one I can use in each situation.

Innovation is Really important.

What do you do to encourage and implement innovation?

 

Do you have a team of Managers brainstorm in a meeting 

Do you rely on your Directors or MD to come up with something? 

Or your marketing team?

Innovation for just about every business is important.  Without innovation you just stand still and in the current market place this is not advisable. But a lot of companies struggle with finding new innovation ideas and/or implementing these ideas.

A big contribution to this is the mind set of your staff.  No one likes to be ‘told’ what to do, even children react better to being persuaded rather than told.  So why do so many companies ignore the great resources they are already paying for? The staff!

If your company does not encourage and nurture a culture of inclusion, making changes of any kind is difficult. If you involve the people who are effected by these changes and encourage their input, the change is much more organic. Staff feel valued and you will be surprised at how many things they will come up with that Managers may not have thought of.

So start right away!  Start with your team leaders, if you have them, or the most outspoken members of staff.  Explain what your aims and outcomes are and why you need their input.  Human nature is to be needed, included, valued – so make sure your staff know they have these things from you.  Get them to go back to their teams and have a chat during break times (or extend a break time by 10 minutes) so they can discuss what you need and have them report back with ideas.  They will feel they have a purpose and you will have some great ideas.   When I first started this process my first objective was to improve our Social Media postings (not my strongest skill!), my staff were a little resistant so I made it a bit of a competition – the member of staff who came up with the best post each month got a box of chocolates and a bottle of wine.  The response I got was great, it was worth the £10 I spent on the prizes!  Now it is just second nature to them, I walk through the factory and staff are throwing ideas at me, things they have seen on their way to work, ideas that came to them when they were out and about.  It is great having such open creative thinking and the staff feel much more included in the progress of our company.

Some will be a but ‘raw’ but you maybe able to use the ideas and expand on them to make a real change.

Remember as a Manager how good it feels when something you have done makes an impact on your company, get your staff to experience this same feeling, they will be more receptive to change in the future and more likely to offer positive suggestions for improvement without being prompted.

Staff are an asset you are already paying for, so utilise your assets to make positive change and improvements.

 

I would appreciate your feedback on this topic, please let any comments below. Many thanks

4 Tips to Help You Become a Person of Action

Really liked the simple steps. We all have days we need that push. I am going to give it a go.

Dream Big, Dream Often

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We all procrastinate sometimes and there are times when procrastination is okay. But, there are times when delaying action can become very costly. I learned or retrained myself to be a man of immediate action instead of a fearful procrastinator. You can too!

http://www.positivityblog.com/index.php/2011/09/14/action

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Mentoring – Good or Bad?

Mentoring – is it a good thing or not?  I came across this article by James Caan and thought it was worth sharing.  Please let me know your views.  

Find a mentor who can give your business a helping hand

How important is it to have a mentor? Columnist James Caan explains what a mentor could do for your business.

Hands
James Caan: My father was my mentor – without him, I’m not sure I’d have made it. Photograph: Alamy

Is it essential to have a mentor? If so, how can I find one and what help should I expect?

The practical advice and guidance a mentor can offer is priceless. Not only can they help you avoid business hiccups, they can share words of wisdom that are invaluable, be your stirrup during struggles and share your happiness and excitement during good times. They’ve been there, done that and got the T-shirt and have a wealth of knowledge for you to tap into. All in all, a mentor could be your saviour.

Mentorship is becoming more and more accessible and recognised within entrepreneurial circles these days. This is because we finally understand the importance and impact a mentor can have on aspiring business owners.

Starting up is a long process, full of highs and lows. I’ve failed many times in business – and each failure taught me a valuable lesson and enabled me to hone my knowledge and learn from my mistakes. This set me on the right path and gave me the grounding I needed to succeed. Collectively it is important to share these lessons of failure to try and steer entrepreneurs and small business owners away from the same pitfalls. This is exactly what a mentor can offer.

If you’re looking for a mentor, try to find somebody who can really understand what you’re going through. There’s no point starting off by speaking to someone twice your age with 20 years of corporate experience, because they won’t be able to immediately recognise your struggles.

Instead, look for someone of a similar age who has taken a similar path and can help you avoid the mistakes they made. Remember, finding someone you actually relate to and who shares your passions is essential – without these similarities you’re just wasting each other’s time.

Secondly, look for someone who knows your sector inside out. You want to get as much as you can out of your mentor and the best way to do this is by ensuring they have the right knowledge and can point you in the right direction.

Find somebody who can potentially open some doors for you, somebody with contacts that could help you progress – take advantage of everything your mentor has to offer. Take a good look around you – your mentor could be a parent, cousin, uncle, brother, friend, colleague, competitor – the list goes on. Don’t underestimate your options.

It is important to remember that a mentor won’t necessarily remove all the obstacles your business faces, but they can certainly show you a better route to get to where you need to go.

Typically, entrepreneurs are hesitant to ask for help because they feel like they want to do everything themselves but remember that everyone needs a helping hand, no matter who they are.

My father was my mentor. He helped sculpt my future success and, without him, I’m not sure I’d have made it.

If you find a good one, a mentor can help guide and nurture you, sharing wisdom you’ll never forget. For me, this was my father’s one-liner: “Observe the masses and do the opposite” – advice which still resonates with me today.

 

 

Think Positive

pos

Hi

I came across a book that belonged to my dad yesterday.  I was really supprised that he owned it as he was always so positive and encouraging in whatever myself or siblings did, and then with his grandchildren.  So finding that he read a book called ‘The Language of Positive Thinking’ gave me a new insight into my dad (who I thought I knew really well).  This book has been read many times and having read through a lot of the quotes, I can understand why my dad read the book so often.

With the non-stop rush through life, we tend to just ‘get on with it’ but do not take the time to reflect on what we are doing and where we are going.  Part of this reflection should include re-setting our mind so we have a positive attitude – lets face it if we don’t have a positive outlook, those around us aren’t going to be persuaded by us, lead by us or help us achieve out goals.

Here are a couple of the quotes from the book:-

‘A man should never be ashamed to say he has been in the wrong, which is but saying in other words that he is wiser today than he was yesterday’ Alexander Pope

‘We learn wisdon from failure much more than from success.’  Samuel Smiles

If you are a Manager, Entrepenuer or thinking of starting up your own business keep in mind these quotes and take a positive from every situation, good or bad.  It is often how you deal with a problem that matters rather than the event it’s self.

I was tutoring a Sage Course and everything was going well and to schedule.  Half way through a class the IT equipment went off.  Not great when I am teaching Computerised Accounts!  It was the week before their exam and my learners we getting really stressed.  Rather than panic or just sit there waiting for the IT chap to sort out the problem, I gathered everyone into a circle and asked each person in turn a question about the sage system, how to enter information and what phrases meant (you get the idea).  Some struggled to bring to mind the process but with a little encouragement each learner got more confident and we talked through areas that came up where knowledge was limited.  The following week, with all the IT equipment up and running, my learners completed their exam and all passed with flying colours.  After the exam finished we had 10 minutes catch up and I asked how they found it.  A common theme was that the Q&A session from the week before had helped embed the knowledge and made it easier to recall during the exam.

So from what could have been a wasted lesson, a simple change gave a positive outcome.  From this I changed my last lesson for this course to include the Q&A and had my lessons benchmarked for the whole provision.

On a bigger scale, Virgin Airlines had a problem with one of their flights.  The delays were excessive, customers were left in the airport for hours.  The passengers were very unhappy with the service they received which would have an impact on their business.  Richard Branson personally rang every passenger on that flight and apologies for the delays.  Instead of passengers complaining about the terrible experience they were telling everyone they had actually spoken to ‘the’ Richard Branson.  It is amazing how the small thing make such a huge difference to a person and in turn have a positive outcome for a business.

To sum up, positive thinking goes a long way in positive outcomes. Do not let other tell you that you can’t do something (unless it is illegal!) if Henry Ford had listened to his customers, he would have invented a faster horse instead of a car!

Till next time.

Top 5 Digital Marketing Tools

marketing

Hi

When starting Inspire Consultant,  I had to look at lots of different tools that would help me promote the business and keep costs to a minimum.

I read SOOO many articles on the internet, specialist in marketing giving their advise but I found that a lot of these specialists rely too much on the Google Adword campaigns to promote business.  Google Adwords has it’s place and if you have the funding for it, great.  From personal experience this can be (and proved to be) really costly and you have little control on who is clicking on your link – you are still charged even if they don’t want what you have.   I am very much a penny in the pocket kind of girl, as are my colleagues, and I felt their was more cost effective ways of spending my advertising budget with a more controlled outcome.

So I have put together a list and a little bit about each suggestion, that I have found to be FREE and easy to use, even for a novice.  The more you use the platforms/tools the better you become but even the basics are better than most others offer.

If you would like this FREE information sheet, please send me an email and I will send it by return.  There is no catch, I just wanted to give back some of the information I have found to save you the hours upon hours of research I have been through!

Judi

 

We have Officially Launched Inspire Consultant

WE HAVE OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED

new logo

We are really excited because Inspire Consultant (Dukinfield) has officially launched.  We are working to create interesting and informative blog posts to help new Start-ups and Small Businesses to move forward in their goals.

We have a free local (Tameside) training course that will be starting soon to help New Start-ups with the basics.  So if you have an idea for a new company and don’t know how to get started, this course will help.  Also if you have a hobby that you would like to convert into a business we can help with the too.  AND IT’S TOTALLY FREE.

If you are interested in this short course please let us know and we will give you more details.  You have nothing to lose but a lot to gain and with the government offering additional support to new companies, it is a great time to get started.

We will be posting a page on our website just for this training so keep watching.

We would love to send you our free articles on a wide range of business topics, from our take on marketing platforms to policy writing.  We will also notify you of new blogs going up, where we aim to keep you up to date on our free offers and services, along with what we have been getting up to.   So please sign up to our mailing list and you can look forward to receiving good quality information that actually helps.

If you would like a free consultation, where we can help with a specific area or just a general ‘health check’ of your systems, please give us a call or email and we will arrange a free visit with NO obligation.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Free Training for Enterprise

Hi Everyone

I am starting a free short course for people who are just starting out in their business and those who want to start a business.

The class will be 2 hours per week, one evening in Ashtn-U-Lyne.

If you would like to attend or know know someone who might be interested, please either call me or email me (details on my website).

This is totally free and the final session will be a question and answer format so people attending will have the opportunity to ask questions about their particular venture and get support.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Judi