Row, Row, Row your boat

Over last month my son Simon was involved in the bumps rowing (Summer Eights) for his college Oriel at Oxford.

Rowing is one of those sports which involves a group of individuals pulling together to achieve a common result. Unlike traditional team sports like rugby or football there is little interaction between the individual rowers during the race – but they are a team none the less.

For many business owners who work on their own having a team of others around them who can ‘join their boat’ at key points, can be a great way to move their businesses forward.

Last month I had a great example of this.

I meet people through networking I think may well be able to help clients and contacts of mine in various ways. However, it can be difficult to guage how these people work and what it feels like to use their services.

Rachael Wheatley, of Bluegreen Learning, was one such individual. We had met at Curious Conversations and the Bristol Circle events and got on well from the start.

But how to know assess Rachael’s approach to marketing strategy? And how to facilitate her understanding of how I help business owners to master their finances?

It struck me that the easiest way for each of us to do some relevant work the other.

I needed a fresh look at how I found new clients and engaged with them, and Rachael and her husband Rob needed to do some 3 year business planning work – for which they needed some robust figures.

By the end of the two half day sessions (one concentrated on my busines and one concentrated on hers) we had achieved what we needed for our businesses – and as a bonus we both had a clear idea of how the other worked.

I found the whole exercise enlightening and would now have no hesitation in recommending Rachael. Hopefully Rachael feels the same way!

Fiona 🙂

All hands on deck

Having had an extension built to our house last year the next task on our list this year is to sort out the garden – and a key part of that task is to build some decking.

So we started off by drawing up a plan asking ourselves some key questions:
1. What is our budget?
2. What should the deck look like?
3. Who should build the deck?
4. Where should we get the decking and other materials from?
5. When do we want the deck built?

As you will know from previous articles I am a great believer in getting a professional to do a professional job. However, my husband Jeff is pretty handy at woodwork so we decided we would do the work ourselves – thus handily reducing the budget needed – and I would be his labourer!

A couple of Saturdays ago was D day!

We had to make sure we had all the tools and materials we needed before the weekend as the time we had available to complete the job was limited.

Google was a great help in providing tips and hints on how best to build a deck and what quantities of wood etc. we would need to build the size of deck we aspired to.

We did our homework and investigated several suppliers of decking to find the best quality materials for the lowest possible price.
Luckily, we were able to use a local supplier of decking, posts and screws who delivered everything in good time and for free!

The only new tool we needed – a fence post borer – along with the brackets and post crete, we also sourced ahead of time.

This gave us a clear two days to get the job done. Day one was taken up with sinking the 15 posts needed to build the frame on, and building the frame. Day two was attaching the decking.

The result? A great looking addition to our garden, which came in on budget, and was completed in the timescale we had given ourselves. This would not have been the case had we not done the legwork at the outset and planned everything effectively.

The lesson from all of this? If you have a project, whether business or personal, plan for success and you are much more likely to get the results you need.

Fiona 🙂