Party time cometh!

I am a great believer that as business owners we have to give ourselves a break every so often.

We often do not celebrate when we have done particularly well, or when we have come out the other side of a particularly gruesome time.

In traditional businesses the office party has become their opportunity to do just that. The business owners provide the environment for employees to kick back and enjoy each others company in a fun  way.

Of course the staple office party comes at Christmas.

But if you work on your own you don’t have anyone to party with. Five years ago I tried to address this by starting the Billy No Mates Christmas Bash in Wells, Somerset. The idea is that business owners who work on their own, or with just one employee, can come along to a Christmas party. It is NOT a networking event but just an opportunity for some ‘letting down of hair’.

Each year this event has become more and more popular – little wonder when there are so many one/two man (and women) businesses in the country.

So why don’t you come along? If you don’t live in Somerset why not start your own Billy No Mates where you are?

For more information please visit and click on Billy No Mates Christmas 2011.

Fiona 🙂

What do YOU really, really want?

I have been working with several clients recently reviewing their business plans and working on various ‘what if’ scenarios. This has got me thinking about what motivates business owners and impacts on their decision making.

Over the years I have had clients who have expressed goals for their business, which it turns out were not their goals at all, but goals they believed they should have.

One particular example was a very focused, dynamic and forward looking client who was (and still is) a super businesses person. Their business was becoming successful and they had some surplus cash to spend.

During one of our regular reviews they expressed the wish to get a new car. Now I already knew they also had plans to expand their business and to buy a new house. Given there was only the money available to do one of these things, I asked which was the most important to them to do.

They immediately said expanding their business was paramount – which, incidentally, I knew they would say.

They have since gone on to do just that!!

It turned out that the reason they wanted a new car was, not because it was particularly important to them, but because they had picked up along the way that successful business people have new cars.

The lesson of this story is to look hard at what motivates YOU. What does success look like to YOU?

After all it is YOUR business and should be delivering against your idea of success not someone else’s. That is why we start businesses in the first place rather than carrying on in employment where we are working to achieve someone else’s dreams.

Fiona 🙂

Cutting your cloth!

For many companies the recession continues and times are definitely hard. A natural, and quite correct, response is to batten down the hatches. This means reviewing every penny spent and making sure that money is only spent on essentials.

Now is definitely the time to make sure the procedures are in place to ensure proper expenditure controls are followed. There has never been a time for most businesses when ‘cutting their cloth’ to suit their means is more apt.

Reviewing unavoidable costs such as rent, rates, utilities etc can also be rewarding.  For example, if your rental lease is up for renewal it is very likely that you can negotiate a reduction. If your landlord won’t negotiate there are many empty offices and commercial premises empty. It may well be cheaper to move, than to carry on paying the higher rent – you may even be able to get a rent free period.

However, it is important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater!

For many businesses  one of the keys to their success is their employees. Keeping your employees trained, and your processes efficient, can make the difference between taking advantage of opportunities as we move towards growth in the economy, and not.

A couple of my clients are taking the view that they can help their employees work more efficiently by reviewing their systems – both computer and manual. Both companies are growing, so by freeing up the time of existing staff they are able to function without taking on anyone new. A no-brainer in my opinion.

Similarly, service companies in particular, need to ensure that they continue to train their employees so they are up to date in their relevant fields. This will ensure that they work as effectively as possible, whilst offering clients the most relevant service to them.

This enables them to remain competitive and even to edge in front of competitors who are not keeping up.

Fiona 🙂