"Are we what we wear?"
This morning I attended a meeting with Shoo Rayner, a very talented drawer!! he showed the meeting how to draw a simple cat and then got us all to draw our own feline using our own creativity.
I started off drawing a sort of lion but as the meeting went on I added a tutu, well I would wouldn't I? My lion, a ferocious creature surely, when wearing a frilly tutu with a bow at the waistband became a kinder, happier, softer creature! Hence todays blog.
We all know first impressions count, we are all judged by how we look on a daily basis, both by people who don't know us and by those who are familiar with our appearance and who we are as people.
A big part of this is what we wear, whether as corporate beings we wear sharp suits or as more creative beings we wear stripey jumpers and purple jeans (for example, not me of course!! well sometimes!). Corporate beings can of course wear stripey jumpers but that would probably be frowned upon and possibly not do their business prospects any good and vice versa, creative beings could wear sharp suits but they're, well, not terribly creative are they?
I think a good word here is individuality and to achieve that, when limits apply, compromise. The corporate person can add a bit of their personality to their sharp suit with beautiful accessories and colour, I know a business woman who always wears a smart suit but look at her feet and she has fabulous, quirky shoes adorning them, these are her true personality I'm sure! The creative bod meanwhile, in everyday life presumably has no need to dress sharply but the time may come when he or she needs to dress more smartly for say a job interview or a meeting with the bank manager, in this instance how about wearing the purple jeans with a smart blouse and jacket?
Above all of the style choices we can make, the most important thing we can do to make sure we look good is to make sure our clothes fit properly. Well fitting clothes will always enhance, as far as I'm concerned a beautiful fitted stripey jumper beats a badly fitting sharp jacket every time.
Caroline Jones, Fashion Revived
Ask for referrals
We are all a bit shy when it comes to asking for referrals. The logic is undisputable. If a customer is really happy with your product or service it is only natural that he will want to share that happiness with other people.
Yet we don’t ask, do we? Most of the time we are just too shy. We don’t want to put the customer under pressure.
The funny thing is, when you put a relationship under a bit of strain it almost always comes out much stronger than before. The customer who recommends you will feel a much greater loyalty towards you. The one who said no will feel guilty later and will either change his mind, or try to do something to compensate.
In fact, when you ask for a referral from a satisfied customer you really can’t lose. The worst thing that can happen is that they want to give you more business. The best thing is that you get a new and profitable customer.
Go on – give it a try.
5 More Networking Benefits
1: Inspiration – Members feel inspired after meetings and claim some of their best ideas come directly after attending a networking club.
2: Contacts – Often we find the contacts we need through others. Networking provides an excellent platform for this.
3: Trust – Your club is full of members you know and trust, making your daily business decisions easier!
4: Good advice - Guest speakers who are experts in their fields offer professional advice.
5: Giving – networking isn’t all about receiving, it feels good to give!
What’s more important time or money?
It always amazes me how we as small business owners don’t seem to realise how precious our time is. We are in fact our businesses’ most valuable commodity but while we often keep a close eye on our cash flow and expenditure we rarely think about whether we are spending or investing our time wisely. Granted money is tangible; making it’s much easier to manage, where as we can’t see, feel or touch time making it’s much harder to know if time has been well spent or if it’s been squandered. But an important difference, and hence the reason time should be more valued, is that we can get more money; whether it’s making more, borrowing money, or taking out loans, but we can’t get more time. There are only and, unless you’re a time lord, only ever will be 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, 52 weeks in a year.
Due to this lack of awareness many of us try to do everything ourselves. We carry out a vast array of tasks in order to retain control and save on costs because we can’t believe that paying someone to do the work that we ourselves can do will save us money. What we’ve failed to realise is that it’s just not economically viable or cost effective to use someone whose hourly rate and worth is far higher than the job requires. For example paying someone £50 an hour to do £20 an hour work just doesn’t make sense but this is what many of us are doing when we insist on doing the mundane, routine, non-profit making tasks ourselves. There are also some unforeseen costs involved as well. When these tasks are performed by someone who is more experienced or skilled than us they are able to work in a more efficiently and effectively way reducing the number of hours required to complete these tasks. But more critically if we, the business owners, are spending a disproportionately high amount of our time on the workings of our business we have very little time to focus on running and growing the business.
Once we’ve realised that to effectively get more from our time we need to let others help us we can begin to identify tasks that can be delegated. We profit not only from a more balanced workload but from the knowledge that these tasks will be done whether we are present or not and, because we are no longer stressed or weighed down worrying about what needs to be done but not having the time to do it, we are able to focus all our energy on developing opportunities and generating income. Suddenly, somehow we are able to achieve more by doing less! And all because we’ve realised that “Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend” Theophrastus
Broadband for East Country Trains
East Midlands Trains have already announced its plans for increasing broadband the availability of this at the stations that it runs. The company is launching a £10m scheme to fit free wi-fi hotspots at 40 main line stations and that this work should be completed by the end of the year. The Customer Services and Commercial Director for East Midlands Trains, Neil Micklewaite, explained that the intention is to complement the on-board wi-fi that was installed on the London bound trains three years ago. He commented “This will further enhance the travel experience of our passengers giving them more options for entertainment or work when travelling with us”.
East Midlands Trains has already named the first 11 stations – Alfreton, Boston, Chesterfield, Derby, Hinckley, Long Eaton, Melton Mowbray, Narborough, Sheffield, Skegness and Sleaford which serve approximately 15 million passengers. The remaining 29 stations should be added to the service this autumn.
The aim for East Midlands Trains is to offer free connectivity to all its customers both at stations and on its trains along the entirety of its mainline route.
Vince Russell, Managing Director, of The Cloud, East Midlands Trains’ partner in this venture has said “Our service provides passengers with fast, free internet access allied with unique engaging content”.
Staying in the eastern part of the country East Coast Trains has also announced a £2.2m upgrade of the on-board service on 44 of its trains. East Coast Trains has stated that the aim is to achieve “a more reliable internet connection for every user, every time” by investing in the replacement of new access points by installing industry leading hardware and on-line servers.
10 years ago East Coast Trains became the first UK train company to offer wi-fi on moving trains but admits that customers’ expectations as to the quality of service has changed.
Peter Williams, East Coast Trains’, Commercial and Customer Service Director has said “It’s vital that our system keeps up with rapidly rising demand from passengers, starting with a more reliable connection into the system from the moment their journey with us begins”. He also said that wi-fi availability was one of the “key reasons” that people travelled on the East Coast Trains’ rather than flying or driving.
The upgrades will begin next year thereby making East Coast Trains’ customers amongst the first to benefit from Network Rail’s impending rollout of high speed mobile broadband.
What is interesting is that East Coast Trains is at the forefront of this bearing in mind that the company is currently state owned.
On a final note the Department of Transport announced at the beginning of the month that approximately 70% of train passengers should be able to access faster internet connections by 2019. That’s another five years away.
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