A white cat, huge chair and plan is important…

For those with world domination on the agenda, a white cat, chair and plan is important…

Hatching plans can be exciting but sticking to them is something else.  I think time lines are great for a ‘big picture’ commitment to what is going on. For accountability you need something that boils those goals into actions for the month you are in right now.

A plan for the month should hold all areas of your business to account (even if you are not directly involved in each area) so you maintain an overall view of how everything is working together (whihc keeps the master plan on track).

Helpful tools:
I have created a month plan template which I am happy to share. It fits with my very large time line template. Just drop me an email and I will send one over. Any feedback is great. These things always need to be tweaked to suit you.

The Schedule Planner pro app integrates with iOS calendar and Google calendars. Takes a while to set up but charts are always a lovely way to see where your time and focus is going.

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New Year, New Plans…

Ah the clarity of January! There is something lovely about the start of a year (even if the first week back was a bit creaky). We are all looking ahead at a fresh new year and thinking about what it could be.

Most of my clients are clear on what needs to happen in 2012 to move their businesses forward. I use a huge timeline template which when put together allows them to see the whole year (and walk along it if needed!).

I am happy to share the template, just drop me an email. Here are some tips for making the most of a timeline:

  • Goals need to be measurable. They might have to be broken down into several steps
  • Divide out business areas. There is always one withered area (I will happily tell you mine is finance)
  • Live with your timeline; stick it to the wall for a bit. It is the best way to get buy-in from your team
  • Make sure it plots over 12 months. There is nothing worse than stopping in December
  • Add in check points, your timeline needs to change with you to be valuable.

Once done,  you can decant this onto your preferred program / app. But nothing beats having a large piece of paper and felt-tip pens at the start – sometimes technology can be distracting!

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Agatha Christy Sea Swim 2011

start of the 2011 Agathat Christy Sea Swim

The Agatha Christy Sea Swim took place on September 18th raising money for the Devon Air Ambulance. One mile out to sea and back is a long way (especially if you don’t have your glasses on).

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Case Story No. 1 – The Beautiful Business Machine

Once there was a man who built a business. A wonderful machine with products going in and happy customers coming out.  As it grew, he bolted on staff and added cogs and levers to keep things working.

But as it got busier, it started to groan and over-heat, occasionally churning out an unhappy customer. He patched parts with over-time and oiled creaky bits with finance. His staff worked hard but the whole thing didn’t work well together.  Caught up in the workings of the business, it was hard to see where it was headed and he was exhausted.

So he called Alison at Internal Workings. A heroine in the mechanics of business, she peered at the workings inside and asked three questions…

  • What did the machine need to do?
  • What direction did he want to take the machine?
  • Who and what was needed to make the machine work better?

Alison explained that it was the man’s employees who made up the engine of his business. Putting parts in the right order was key to his business running well.

So, together they developed clear roles and oiled processes and as a result the man has a fine-tuned business machine with:

  • The right people in the right roles
  • Efficient processes that save time
  • An energised business accelerating in the right direction

Which gives our man the space and time to build other beautiful machines…

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This is Service Design Thinking

Service design are buzz words that are gaining a lot of interest from various fields. It is an exciting movement bringing together a whole range of disciplines to co-create user-centered solutions. The boundaries between products and services are blurring and it is time for a different way of thinking.

I am really excited by this approach. It is integrating design and business in a way that might make you look at your business differently…

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Time to get help?

Who would be the most effective person to help you in your business right now?

As your business grows and gets busier, it may be time to ask yourself  are you slowing your business down by tying yourself up in activities you could pass on to others?

Recruiting is difficult, potentially daunting and can be a huge investment in your time especially if you hire the wrong person. If you know you need help whether it is part-time, freelance or an additional member of your team, preparing ahead of time will ensure you hire the right person for the right tasks.

My first employees filled roles that I understood and often hired in a hurry as we would go through very busy periods. As the company grew, I felt at times I recruited the wrong people in the wrong areas which meant I constantly had to manage the work flow.

Being able to step back and look at the mechanics of how my business worked enabled me to clarify where I needed help and what skills I was looking for.  It saved money in long run as I developed a core work team that could take on busy periods of work as they all worked well together

If you are thinking about hiring people to help you:

  • Be clear on who you want and what you want them to do, and how it fits with you and your business
  • Understand their role even if it is outside your work experience; this will make them easier to manage
  • Give yourself time. Don’t just take who’s there on the day.  Save money by having the time to explore your own networks before considering an agency.

If you would like some additional help and support contact me; it starts with a chat over a coffee to let you decide if my experience will be of value to you.


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The surprising truth about what motivates us

This lively RSAnimate, adapted from Dan Pink’s talk at the RSA, illustrates the hidden truths behind what really motivates us at home and in the workplace.
For over 250 years the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) has been a cradle of enlightenment thinking and a force for social progress. Like TED they have some great talks online.

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A day of filming

Children’s book illustrator Lauren Tobia put my ideas into brilliant pictures which was made into a film by Lizzie Tobia. I was really pleased with the end result. It is great to explain what you do in pictures.

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A blu inc and Chesapeake production