High Speed Broadband Trains – More Questions Than Answers
It was recently announced that high speed mobile broadband was being introduced by some train companies and the International Data Corporation (IDC) is now raising queries about the introduction of this.
It has stated that this will fail to solve all of the problems and that there are more questions than answers. IDC’s, John Delaney has welcomed the proposed improvements but he considers that Network Rail’s suggestions do not solve the current problem. He stated that there is also a requirement for high-speed radio access network and he questions the terms on wich this would be provided and by whom.
He is quoted as saying “Will passengers be able to use better broadband on trains as part of their regular mobile data subscription or will they have to pay an extra fee for it? If they have to pay extra how will competition between on-train broadband service providers be ensured?”.
He ended with a warning that these issues need to be resolved before the proposed improvement can be made.
Test the relationship
Once we have a customer that we value we are often very sensitive to anything that might put them off buying from us.
On the one hand, this is a very good thing, as we do need to recognise the true value of our customers and to make sure they stay with us for as long as possible. However, sometimes this can lead to us missing opportunities to strengthen the relationship and do even more business.
For example, many people won’t ask the customer for referrals, or raise the need to increase prices, for fear of damaging the good relationship. Our experience is that relationships become stronger for being tested, as long as they are not tested too much.
We have seen many examples of customer relationships coming through adversity and emerging much stronger as a result. If your customer truly values what you do, they will want to help you be successful, and they will understand that sometimes you have to increase prices.
Buying local - how important is it?
With THAT time of year very fast approaching, thoughts come to mind about were best to spend our hard earned cash. Even though it's tempting to look online, and buy on ebay, amazon and the like, this will not help our local shops to survive. It's of course not easy to find the latest electro-digital gadget in the nearby high street, or the designer handbag at the independent fashion boutique next door. The handbag might be there, but not at the online price.
The immediate effect of buying locally is that there are less travel costs involved and also no postage to pay. Internet shopping is quite handy, but there are usually a good few pounds added for postage and packing. It's also quite often a bit of a gamble buying something you can't actually see in 'the flesh' or touch. The long term effects are something we do not notice straight away, but are made obvious when we think about what has already happened in a lot of places.
We have a catch 22 situation - the less money people spend in their local shops, the less choice there will be, the more likely it is that customers stay away. And the more likely that good local shops will close, allowing charity shops and coffee outlets to take over the town. So the downward spiral continues. It's a sight that we see duplicated more and more often in more and more towns.
Encouraging people to spend their money locally is not easy in these times when disposable income has generally gone down across the country. And people will make choices that affect them directly. Maybe it's time to see the bigger picture, at least to think about it now and then, how our buying habits affect the world around us.
Make sure you bond with the customer before you try to sell
There’s an old saying in sales – people buy from people first. If you don’t get a strong bond with the customer, you will find it incredibly hard to make a sale. Now, we’ve known each other for a long time now haven’t we? So I’ll take a risk and say something really sexist. This applies much more to women than it does to men.
Most men will still buy even if they don’t like the salesman, if they really need the product or service, and it is the best deal they can get. Most women, on the other hand, won’t buy, no matter what.
So, in any case, and especially if you are selling to women, make sure the customer likes and bonds with you before you start your sales presentation
Eating your Frogs
Anna Roberts – Get Sorted
There’s an old saying that if the first thing you do in the morning is eat a live frog you’ll be happy in the knowledge that it’s probably the worst thing you’ll do all day.
The subtitle of Brian Tracy’s book “Eat That Frog” is ’21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time’ and it’s well worth a read.
The idea is that if you tackle the most challenging item on your To Do list – often the one you dread the most – it’s probably the one that will have the most positive impact on your life.
Reading it got me thinking that like many people in business, what I do is help people eat their frogs. In fact, I’m often a lot better at helping people eat their frogs than I am at eating my own. This is often the case.
A recurring theme among many of my clients is one room or an area of their house that is bringing them down – what I call a ‘guilty room’. There are no particular problems with the rest of the house and in their working life these people are often highly organised. But the guilty room has become the dumping ground.
Sometimes it’s their home office – piles of paperwork that they intend to get around to sorting – and all their systems have slipped because when more paperwork comes in they just add it to the pile.
“My heart sinks every time I pass that room/open the garage door/go into the loft”
“I want to write a book but I can’t get down to it because sorting this room is hanging over me like a big dark cloud. It’s knocked all my creativity out of me.”
“I haven’t read a book for about 6 months because I feel too guilty”
“The state of my office is making me less productive.”
Yes, I suppose you could argue that clearing and sorting that space is something they could do themselves. I often think that I could redecorate our house but actually, my free time is precious to me and calling in a professional will get it done in a fraction of the time.
The thought of redecorating a room over my weekend isn’t just a frog. In my mind, it’s a great big toad. Ok, the pay-off is great but I’d get a greater sense of satisfaction if someone else did it in half the time – and I’d have no brushes to wash out.
In conclusion, some people are better at tackling frogs than others. Certain frogs are easier to deal with - others leave people with a sense of dread. So, choose your frogs and tackle them at your most productive time of day. If it’s something you dread, call in a professional.
Consider offering a loss leader
The idea of making an initial offer that actually costs us more than we make from it, at first sight, may seem to be bad business.
However, we would recommend doing this sometimes in order to win a new customer. The important consideration is the value of that customer over time. Winning new customers is the hardest thing to do in sales. In fact it is calculated to cost 6 times as much as keeping a customer once you have won them.
The supermarkets are very aware of this, and measure the value of a customer by calculating their average monthly spend, and multiplying that by the number of months a customer, on average, continues to shop with them.
The key point here is that the lifetime value of the customer is what really matters. When you take that in to account, it is usually worth losing a little money on the first order, in order to make money on all the subsequent ones.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
Five Key Skills for Raising Emotional Intelligence
In the words of Jeremy Clarkson (Top Gear), “Some say”, when it comes to happiness and success in life, emotional intelligence (EQ) matters just as much as intellectual ability (IQ). Emotional intelligence helps you build stronger relationships, succeed at work, and achieve your career and personal goals.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and defuse conflict. Emotional intelligence impacts many different aspects of your daily life, such as the way you behave and the way you interact with others.
Emotional intelligence consists of four attributes:
Why is emotional intelligence (EQ) so important?
As we know, it’s not the smartest people that are the most successful or the most fulfilled in life. You probably know people who are academically brilliant and yet are socially inept and unsuccessful at work or in their personal relationships. Intellectual intelligence (IQ) isn’t enough on its own to be successful in life. Yes, your IQ can help you get into college, but it’s your EQ that will help you manage the stress and emotions when facing your final exams.
Emotional intelligence affects:
Developing emotional intelligence through five key skills:
Emotional intelligence (EQ) consists of five key skills, each building on the last:
How to learn the five key skills of emotional intelligence
The five skills of emotional intelligence can be learned by anyone, at any time. There is a difference, however, between learning about emotional intelligence and applying that knowledge to your life. Just because you know you should do something doesn’t mean you will—especially when you become overwhelmed by stress, which can hijack your best intentions.
In order to permanently change behaviour in ways that stand up under pressure, you need to learn how to take advantage of the powerful emotional parts of the brain that remain active and accessible even in times of stress. This means that you can’t simply read about emotional intelligence in order to master it. You have to experience and practice the skills in your everyday life.
Contact us to Learn more about why emotional intelligence is so important and how you can boost your own EQ by mastering the five core skills.
It is often (some might say too often) claimed that women are able to multi-task much better than their male counterparts. This may well be true, but in today’s society which features many varied challenges and countless devices to attach to, the male of the species may be catching up.
Anyway, I digress. I really wanted to share with you the experiences that a humble Insurance Broker faces behind the scenes…
Even before the telephone receiver has been replaced in its cradle, or before I’ve left a client’s premises after a meeting, a plan is formulating in my mind on how to approach the challenge of providing a suitable policy (or an entire insurance programme) to meet that client’s specific needs. In fact with the more complex cases, I will have already undertaken a number of enquiries before gathering the specific risk detail, to prepare myself appropriately.
With my presentation to Underwriters prepared, I may have gathered claims experience from the present or previous insurers, obtained a survey report, or a flood questionnaire (particularly relevant in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire), I then begin the task of “sounding out” Underwriters who might be interested in offering terms (i.e a quotation) for the particular case. I’ll then monitor this to ensure each insurer is working to my deadline and feedback any additional pieces of information which may assist in the assessment of risk.
So why Spinning Plates? Simply because this process is going on for dozens of my clients and prospective clients simultaneously, as well as responding to Insurer queries, accounting issues, payment matters, client questions, internal queries and referrals – and all in a manner which is compliant with the various Regulations which govern the way in which I and my firm operates. For instance, we can no longer take details of a risk on the back of a cigarette packet and present to the client on a piece of paper which is hardly larger than A5!
In addition to this, I have to demonstrate to my professional body and my employer that I am competent in the areas in which I conduct business. Undertaking regular study, assessment, reading of trade publications, e-learning modules, insurance seminars, regulatory lectures all find the time to fit into my diary.
Professionally as well as personally, the concept of Spinning Plates is constantly a part of how I live. I thrive on being busy, with many varied, interesting, testing challenges and tasks on-going at any one time. The idea that a plate might fall, keeps me on my toes, ensuring that I give everything the greatest attention that I can.
Yes, occasionally one plate might appear to be perilously close to falling to the ground, but as an Insurance bod, I have always risk-assessed the situation prior to the launch of that activity…
The Foot - Did you know?
The foot can be split into three parts FOREFOOT, MIDFOOT and REARFOOT.
The foot has 26 bones, 20 muscles, 19 joints, 3 arches and 2 sesamoid bones - Now there’s a lot that could go wrong!
The foot’s components and structure are vital in determining the distribution of the ground forces that are absorbed by the body when walking and running.
When the foot is moving well the ground reactive forces translate through the foot into the knee - hip - pelvis - lower back and up into the rest of the body.
If there is an error in the foot mechanics the forces absorbed by the body can become more dominant in certain areas. If the foot, ankle and knee aren’t absorbing the force correctly for example, this will place excessive pressure onto the hip and lower back and can present itself as pain and discomfort in these areas, leaving the foot and knee pain free!
To prevent problems occurring in the foot...
Wear supportive shoes that fit well, avoid walking barefoot, keep your foot skin healthy and nails cut neatly. If you develop pain or discomfort get it checked out - usually a few simple tests and observation can identify any errors in the foot mechanics and often simple manual treatment can be enough to restore the foot (and therefore body) back into balance.
Call me for more information or advice on 01600 890 282 or visit www.shireschiropracticclinic.co.uk.
What would be the impact of an IT system failure in your business?
With technology and IT ever changing, that means there are a number of potential
problems small businesses can face. From setting up IT infrastructure, supporting it to
making sure it’s used appropriately.
Most businesses can often benefit from professional support and other resources to help
them make the right decisions.
What is the best IT infrastructure for your business?
The IT infrastructure of your business is absolutely vital. If it’s not setup correctly in the
beginning, there can be significant problems sooner rather than later down the road.
Do you need inhouse servers or cloudbased storage? Are desktop computers, laptop
computers or tablets the best choice for you and your business? Should you set up an
Ethernet network or rely on wireless technology?
So what is the best way to make sure you get the correct IT infrastructure for your
business? Bring in a qualified professional team who can best understand your needs.
Getting IT Support
Once your network is setup: how do you get the best support you need for your IT
Without good expert support, your IT systems could be down more than they’re running, and
that could mean lost revenue for your business.
So what’s the best option for IT support? How will you perform updates to software
applications and ensure critical patches are applied? Who will upgrade components of
your system when needed and diagnose hardware problems? What will you do if your
network goes down and you lose connectivity?
Because there are so many questions that centre on IT support, you need to have a good
solution in place. If your business budget allows and the size of your business is sufficient
to support hiring an IT professional, having a person available onsite all the time may be
your best option.
How will you ensure your IT is being used efficiently?
How will you ensure your IT resources are being used effectively? How will you keep costly
bandwidth from being wasted? How will you protect your network from malicious viruses
that can be hidden in emails or on websites?
The best way to avoid many of these problems is to ensure your system has safeguards
such as firewalls and other controls in place. The IT support solution you choose will assist
in making sure that you have the most appropriate measures in place to protect you and
support your business.
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