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My Latest Trip Brings New Ideas

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A short note as I sit in Dublin airport. Travelling is not often glorious – arriving can be. I hate the queuing, the waiting, the delays and the scrutiny. But fresh lands bring fresh ideas or can, at the very least, freshen up old ones.

Meeting new people is invigorating. I often see a new perspective of a current issue. That’s not to say I do things any better than before but I do feel I make a few less mistakes.

Mistakes are good. It makes us change and develop. Sharing the mistakes (aka: experiences) of others can be mutually constructive.

New customs, unfamiliar routines and Un-thought-of perspectives bring forth kinder and safer pathways for us all. I enjoy it even if others don’t. The travel is sapping of energy at times but the journey is almost always worthwhile.

Now to board the plane.

Today I Am 50 – Wish Me Happy UN-Birthday

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50. It makes you think. Over half my life lived. A special day of sorts and the very least I can do is write a blog post. A birthday makes you feel a bit special – my lovely wife and sons have seen to that already. But, could you all wait until tomorrow and wish me happy UN-birthday instead?

It is easy to feel wonderful and do extra special things on days of honor: birthdays, Christmas, valentines etc. We plan and organise to make everything run smoothly. In effect, all the ducks are in a row.

But on other days? How do we fare then? What keeps us alive and the momentum flowing?

All success has it’s mediocrity. One of my skills is SEO and I hate having to do the backlinks. Even outsourcing has its issues – crappy posts on important blogs and forums by people who don’t really care that much. Sometimes it is better to do it yourself and deal with the boredom of it all.

But these boring bits are what makes, or at least contributes to our success. They are necessary evils and woe betide those that ignore them.

So, there’s a need to feel motivated on these UN-birthday days. The money has to come in somehow. The routine calls.

A friend of mine became, what he called a success. Increasing profits saw him not only claim the big cars and vacation spots but also a large office complex complete with staff. He prided himself in his acquisitions.

His profits slumped. The building needed to be upkept and repaired. The large payroll required managing. Additional staff included a security company, human resource personnel, cleaning contractors, janitorial staff, accountants, lawyers etc. Add to that the misery of sickness amongst the staff, pension payments, holiday time and the constant infighting and bickering and you would not be surprised to learn that my friend had some regrets.

He tried to live each day as if it was his birthday. His “gifts” were the material trappings that showed the world that he was a success. He couldn’t cope too well with the drudgery and routine that lay before him most days. His success shrank (in financial terms) the more “birthdays” he tried to have.

Your success, like mine, will be measured by not what we show to others but what we show to ourselves. The not-so-special days will define us.

Today is my birthday and I shall enjoy it. The next 364 days are my UN-birthday days. Please share your best wishes for these times.

Oh, and before I forget, unless you were born on November 11th, may I be the first to wish YOU a happy and productive UN-birthday for today.

Increase Your Profits: Change Mindset

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Did you know that over 60% of all businesses fail in 6 years? It’s amazing, isn’t it? The worse thing is that this statistic has nothing to do with credit crunches, subprime lending or and other recent local, national or world event.

It is to do with mindset.
 
Yes, mindset.
 
You see, in any business there is one and only one person that you need to be concerned about. Only one.
 
That person is so important that to even make them FEEL they are not important is tantamount to business suicide. It’s not the section manager, it’s not the CEO, it’s not the company director.
 
That person is the customer.
 
Simple eh?
 
Or not …
 
Whatever business you are in, as long as you are trying to make a profit, you will always have a “customer.” That “person” may be buying goods or services – they may even be purchasing time or expertise. The “person” may be a man-in-the-street or another large company.
 
But they are very important.
 
The customer is the one and only individual that can tell you how well you are doing. Not by growth charts and sales figures. But by telling you exactly how it feels to be in the position of a buying customer.
 
That person may have a valuable insight into the sales process, barriers to further sales, after sales service and a whole host of other important parameters. They could tell you about the likelihood of them buying again in the future, what your competitors offer and whether they would be happy to recommend you to other people.
 
In short, a customer (or potential customer) can tell you things about you, your company and your services which you could never find out in any other way.
 
But you have to ask them. Not with a standard “satisfaction feedback card. But by being brave, being bold and being specific in your needs.
 
And by asking and offering incentives to do so, your business will grow and flourish.
 
… then you ask them again!
Sadly, most businesses do not consider the customer as an important part of the processes within their organisation. Their mindset is geared towards what the business wants to offer and not what the customer needs. Complaints and feedback are a distraction.

A change in mindset can only increase your customer base and therefore your profit line.

We all have guilty secrets …

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Read and digest, but wait for the “secret” at the end (actually 2 secrets).

So, the cat is out of the bag? People who write influential blogs on their blogs, don’t ACTUALLY write them. They get someone else to do it.

This is hardly groundbreaking. We all have our own skills. I, for example, can rustle up a quick website in an hour or less. But it will be basic. If I want a better site with more functionality then I will hire someone to do it better than I ever could.

In the offline world, I will get a decorator in to fashion my kitchen and make it how I want it. I CAN paint and do little things. But a professional decorator does a more professional job – that’s why he is called a professional (and I pay him professional wages).

So what is wrong with getting someone else to write a blog post? Nothing but it CAN seem strange to outsiders. Remember, all those autobiographies that sell millions of copies are NOT written by the person themselves. They are written by a ghostwriter and INFORMED by the autobiographee.

That’s the ticket (a British term). If I have an idea, what is wrong with getting someone else to research and write it for me? Of course, I will look at it, edit it, put it in my own voice and add bits here and there to make it more “me”.

This is perfectly reasonable and a lot of people make lots of money with this approach. I also make a good deal of money but I have that little “secret” I mentioned at the beginning.

Wanna know what it is?

Secret: I write ALL my own blog posts and always have.

There, I have said it.

Secret #2: I am LOOKING in to having someone else write my blog posts!

Enough for now (and, yes, I DID write this post)

Have a great time

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