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The subject of no regrets, for those who’ve watched my TEDx talk, you’ll see that what triggered me was my father’s death who had a load of regrets, and that’s when I vowed that I was not going out that same way. So I spent a lot of time in personal development, spirituality, exploring many different things, and adventure was a big one for me, and has taught me so much about life and the depths of my soul… running 6 marathons across the Sahara desert, you ‘find yourself’ in the middle of that desert, as I’ve also done on mountains.

So if you want to live a life of no regrets, it’s time to get clear on your life’s purpose, as many people are chasing certain goals and actually missing the point.  I can really look back and go, if I’d of gone out, and I was very close to dying in a massive earthquake on Everest last year, I could do so with no regrets, knowing that I’d actually done everything I wanted to do in this life, to that point.  But so many people can’t.

So I instigated a research study, where we took 20 studies from around the world, about the top regrets of the dying. I’m going to show you the top 6 regrets, and I want you to choose one, go to work on it (and don’t wait for a catastrophe to happen for you to do so). I want to take you deep and I’m going to ask you some penetrative questions over the next series of blogs. So let’s play full out!

So here are the top 6 regrets, and this is in order by the way. So we’re going to come back up to the number 1 like Top of the Pops, it’s the charts.

  • Number 6 is one of my favourites, it always came out as not travelling more, or adventure, or cool times. So people always, they wish they travelled, they wish they’d taken more trips, they wished they’d gone and seen what they wanted to see in the world. It came up as travel, a lot more than adventure. For me it’s adventure, and I just happen to hook it up with cool things. And I think as you sort of go down the generations, it’s becoming a lot more adventurous and a lot more ‘wanting to see the top things in the world’ as well as experience. It’s moving more towards experiences as we move down the generation.
  • Number 5, is not spending a life true to yourself. That’s big. That went into a lot of different genres. But it was living a life for somebody else, living a life, I think we’ve got this deep calling in us, which is our calling right, it’s our lives. For me it was adventure. Now nobody around me agrees with my adventure, my family doesn’t support me on my adventures, they never have. So I could have just listened to everyone else around me, but it’s finding that life true to yourself, whatever that may be. That’s quite profound. And the question is then, what is a life true to you really mean?
  • Number 4, is not getting an education. Now this came out as university degrees in a couple of studies, i.e. wishing they’d got that degree, wishing they’d got that education, but it came out in so many other stories of, wish I’d learnt X, wish I’d changed you know, attack, or I wanted to learn how to draw or you know, how to craft. I wanted to do stuff, just learning. It was that constant learning appreciation. And the older one got, the more this came out, is wishing they’d learnt something or wishing they’d studied something that they were fascinated in. And with the access we’ve got these days, the resources, you can do anything you want anywhere in the world right now, it’s incredible. So we’re in an age that shouldn’t be an excuse any more. You’ve just got to get up and do it. Is there something you wish you’d learnt, is there something you wish you studied, go do it.
  • Number 3, is not spending more time with friends and family. That was an obvious one, but you know, really, how many of us are doing it? Let’s be true to ourselves on this on this one. How many of you are really spending quality time you should with your friends and your family? Now this is a big one, regards career and business, i.e. you need to craft your career and your business to ensure you can spend your time with your friends and your family, for me it’s a big one, being able to architect my businesses around this. You know, I’m single Dad to 3 beautiful girls, and I spend half the time, I’ve architected my businesses, so half the time I’m with my children. I’m a single Dad in that time, that’s super important to me. Cos I chose, that I knew that if I come, you know, the weekend Dad or whatever that I would have regretted that later in life, and I’m all about no regrets and so I’m going to tell you, some of these decisions are not the easy decisions to make. But for me, the time with my family and my time with my friends, super important to me. But I have to make the time for it, I have to architect my life around that OK.
  • Number 2, is not fully owning your path, now that means in career and business. This came out top. We just did a study recently in the business side, I do a lot of work on the strategy side, 90,000 hours we spend at work. 90,000 hours, now you and think that one through and being in a career that you don’t really like or you wish you’d have done something else, that’s a big ass regret, 90,000 hours worth of regret. That’s a big part of your life alright. So this came out strong and it came out in different guises. In the subsequent videos we’re going to take each of these deeper alright. But this whole, are you in the right job, do you want to change career, do you want to start a business, do you want to be an entrepreneur? By the way, it’s not always about that. I’m big in the business side and entrepreneurial side OK, but I don’t advocate it for everyone, it’s not the journey for everyone. But you can choose your job, you know, whatever you are, you’ve got a choice around your career. Which means you might want to study by the way, you start to see how these regrets start linking together. But, spending the amount of time we do in work and career, you need to get that one right, alright.
  • Number 1, is not having not loved fully. That’s profound. I think certainly living in the age we’re living in now, this relationship thing is a big issue, this was your intimate love, this was your partner, whether this came as a wishing that you’d asked somebody and never did, staying with somebody that you shouldn’t have stayed with, not working on the relationship, being complacent, this came in so many guises. And I resonate with that myself personally, as I can see around myself in business and life. So many of us are smashing it in business and doing really well and completely screwing our relationships up. Some of us are doing amazingly in health and maybe you know, travelling the world but then screwing our relationships up. So there’s a balance between all of these 6 alright, so that’s the 6.

Now hopefully you’re already starting to take something out of this. What I want you to do is think about those 6. You can access the downloadable workbook here, so you can start to assess your own regrets & the changes you can make now. Which one’s really hitting you hard right now, don’t try to go and work on all 6 at the same time alright, you’re going to freak yourself out.

In the 6 blogs I’m going to take each one of these regrets, and go deeper with you.  So you’re going to get more specific about what you can do and the actions you can take in each of these areas. So until the next video, live a life of no regrets and go do work.

So, is cash flow killing your business? Many people band this word ‘Cashflow’ around often saying “my cashflow is tight this month.” The question is, are you really measuring cashflow?

98% of businesses aren’t measuring their cashflow properly, because in order to have a true reflection, you need to have a live feed from sales, from your profit and loss and be aware of your balance sheet (particularly the creditors and debtors).

A lot of us in business would love to be able to see the future and yet we can’t, or we choose not to, because we haven’t educated ourselves enough to. Most business owners, are literally looking in the rear view mirror all the time.

So many business owners also wait until the end of the year for their accountant to give them their numbers, and if you’re a small business, you’re probably in that camp! So, t’s too late then, the numbers are the pulse of our business, and if we’re not checking in on the pulse of regularly we are blindly moving forward, and we’re not able to make the right decisions.

So, what does this mean? So, cashflow is one of the biggest issues for SMEs, but the biggest issue is that people aren’t measuring it right. So finance and sales need to come hand in hand. They need to be two functions which come together, in order for us to look ahead. This allows us to see if there is a problem coming.

Now what does that mean? For those people who are growing a little bit, you’ve got sales people; you’ve got channels in place. You’ve got to have a live feed come from the channel, i.e. what sales are due when OK, you’ve got a new piece of business coming up here, what’s the certainty, what’s the contracted business moving forward, what’s the guesses that you’ve got coming into your pipeline in the next one, two, three, four months?

The further into the future you can see the better. If you can’t see three months out, you are gambling with your business right now, and this is not a once a year exercise, this is a once a week or day exercise, depending on how tight your cash flow is right now. Because your cash flow changes in a heartbeat, an email comes in and that project gets delayed by a few months. Your cash flow’s just been smashed by two months.

You just met someone from a cup of coffee and it’s just landed into a great deal. That is every single telephone call, email, every sales conversation, your sales pipeline is changing in a heartbeat. And just most people are trying to manage it in their heads, which is impossible and it will just freak you out.

Contrary to popular opinion out there, most problems happen in businesses when you are doing well! Because what happens is you really hustle, hustle, hustle and then you get business in. Now you’re working and you get so busy delivering on the business you’ve got because your capacity is maxed, you actually take your eye of the sales pipeline, you stop selling, because you’re busy delivering. And then there’s only a question of time until you finish delivering and then oops, there’s no sales at the back end again. And that’s where a lot of people say, oh my God Deri I’m having a bad month and I say, no you’re not, you had a bad month four months ago, you just didn’t see it coming and you didn’t do the activity back then in order to impact you now. Because most of you out there, and every industry cycle’s different, every sales cycle’s different, but most of you will have a three to six month sales cycle, i.e. the work you do now will benefit you in three to six months time, and if you ever take your foot off the pedal of that, you are going to impact your business in the future. So you need to get this sales pipeline thing together. This is critical.

But this is only one component of cashflow. The others are, understanding how the profit and loss feeds into that in a live capacity and also the impacts of the balance sheet and how the balance sheet brings into this. Now I know this is usually boring stuff, it’s not, it’s critical. One of the ladies on our recent Strategy Retreat, told us that numbers made her sick, and by the time she left, she said I get it now; it’s a story, this is really exciting, this is my business. So please just get to know your numbers, because you don’t need to be having those bad months that you were having. You don’t need to have the stress around cashflow, which is mythical for you.

So we’ve put together a webinar to explain those cash components for you, and show you how you can really start to understand cashflow & look into the future.  I can spot a problem coming three to six months out, which means we can do something about it now and it will reduce your stress in business massively, because one of the biggest stresses is cashflow.

So come and join us on our cash webinar. I’m going to take this in a whole level of detail more, and I hopefully serve you in the business, to get you seeing into the future and making the decisions, the right decisions, based off intelligence right now.

Wow, what a few days I experienced in the Himilayas. When I recorded the video for this blog it was pretty much global news about the disaster that hit the mountain. There’s only one thing worse than an avalanche and that’s an earthquake, and I experienced 2 within 48 hours; something I never want to experience again.

But I survived and so many people didn’t. In the video you can see the ridge line where we knew that so many of our comrades lay dead, and in moments like that, you really know what life’s about. You realise how grateful you are for living now.

The one thing I will say to you all is love more. During these events the only thing running through my mind was my children, my friends, my family, my loved ones; that’s what it’s all about. I kind of wrote about that in my first book ‘Life’s Great Adventure’ but it took another stupidly big hill and a global disaster to smash the point home again.

Look around you guys and girls and just love more, before it’s too late. For me I knew that when I returned home my priority was going to be being a better Daddy.

I love you all. Take care.

The question I’ve got for you today is are you truly living? And what are you prepared to die for?

That’s quite a sobering question really and when I recorded the video for this blog I was feeling very emotional. You can see behind me the graveyard of Basecamp on Everest. The Mother Goddess is standing behind the clouds. Every single stone you see is a memorial to someone who has died on the mountain, someone who died living their dreams, not afraid of pushing the boundaries.

Now a lot of you may think that’s stupid, and a lot may think it’s unnecessary, but to these people it mhAUVGGwasn’t. I’m not here to die, I’ve got too much to live for, but I’m also not prepared to live without living for me. Many people look at me as a risk-taker, where as in reality I am a risk-mitigator.  So much stuff we did whilst we were on the mountain like the choice of guides, and the choice of weather, and the choice of kit has actually DE mitigated the risk of what we do. There’s still a risk, there always is and it’s very sobering as I pay my respects to those who have paid the ultimate price of living their dreams. Every single person paid the ultimate price in the end, but I can tell you this, that every single person here was living fully when they did so.

That’s all I ask of you, are you living fully? I’m not prepared to go out with a life of mediocrity. I’m here to push it to the edge safely, as safely as I possibly can, but to live life fully whilst I’m still here.

So, are you living for now? That’s all I’m asking…

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When was the last time you got out of your comfort zone?  Are you pushing at the edges of fear?  As many of you know growth comes with fear… and OMG did I experience that recently on Everest!?!

When I recorded the video for this blog we had travelled thousands of kilometres across China, thousands of kilometres across Tibet, and were 5200 metres up at basecamp, Everest North side.  In the video your can see the mountain, the Mother Goddess herself. When I first saw this I had a moment of wonder and awe, and then a moment of fear at the same time because we were climbing up it! You can see the highest point, as you come down to the left, is the North Ridge, two steps, another little jaunt and then up to the top – that’s where we were heading! Now, that’s amazing, that’s exciting, but it’s also pretty scary too. But that’s the thing with life, that’s the thing with business; we get to pivotal moments where if you’re pushing the boundaries, you’re pushing the edge of anything in life or in business, then you get those moments where it’s exciting, you’ve got a chance to grow, you’ve got a chance to do something amazing – and with that comes fear.

I’m not going to hide that from you, I was scared a lot of times along the way, a lot of times in the preparation, and when I looked up at the mountain I felt wonder and fear at the same time. And that’s healthy, I should be scared of her because she’s bloody dangerous!

So whatever you’re doing out there, no matter what you’re pushing the boundaries of, understand that fear’s just part of it, and we’ve got to push through that to truly make those magic moments in life.

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When I recorded the video for this blog we were trekking from Basecamp to Advance Basecamp. In the video you can see a bit of snow coming in and hopefully you can see behind me yaks as they were our heavy lifters on the mountain. We were kind of acclimatising at Basecamp and were at around 5200 metres making the push up slowly, acclimatising everyday up the mountain… and we wouldn’t have made it without our team!

I realise that the Sherpa teams and the yaks do the work for us, it’s all about teamwork. We had such an amazing team, amazing guides (some of the most experienced guides in the world) top climbing team, the best Sherpa’s, even down to the yaks. We had a 1000 metre ascent to follow in two days, from 5200 metres to over 6200 metres; that’s a brutal ascent for anybody, and those yaks helped us out. Without the yaks, we could get those bags up the mountain ourselves, but it would be very hard work.

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That’s what business is like: if you have the right people around you to do the heavy lifting, to do the jobs that you’re not really good at, the jobs that you hate, the jobs that – to be frank – someone is just way better at doing than you, it makes the journey a hell of a lot better along the way.

Just look around you, see if you’re doing a lot of heavy lifting in the business yourself right now. It’s usually in operations and finance by the way, that’s often where you need to dial in the most, get the heavy lifting done in there, get those dialled in and you’re building the right business!

Is Your Business Paying You What You Are Worth?

If you are not taking the income that you require from your company, or you feel that you are not charging enough for your services, it’s probably because you don’t know your ‘freedom figure’.

Click the button below to discover your Freedom Figure now:

Click Here Get Your Free Report Now

 

Where do you go when you have to make the really tough decisions? If you had to make a life changing decision, what would you do?

When I recorded this blog I was standing at 6400 metres at probably one of the most brutal times in the history of Everest. We had experienced earthquakes and been told the news that there has been a lot of deaths on the South Side of the mountain. It was a tough time, with tough decisions to be made, and my team had just left the mountain (or the majority of them).

In the video behind me you can see a ceremonial post, which is what’s called a puja, which is what the Sherpa’s do. A Sherpa will not climb this mountain without doing a puja it is their religious, spiritual thing. We got to take part in that puja which was just incredible. That still didn’t mean whether we were going to go up the mountain or not, that was in the hands of a lot of politics and a whether there was any further earthquakes, but it was quite humbling, incredibly spiritual and nice to see during times like the earthquake the Sherpa’s still go back to their source, go to their puja and connect back in. It was a very spiritual moment for me yesterday too.

I want you to think about that. I always go back to source; I actually do it through meditations, and throughout all of my adventures. Whenever I need to make a really tough call or make a life changing decision I go there. My gut is very rarely wrong by the way, my head usually is!

So what I want you to think about, if you don’t have a ritual, go find one because you’re going to have tough decisions if you’re pushing it in life, if you’re pushing it in business, they’re going to be coming and you’re going to need a place to go to, a ritual to go to where you can go “Ok, let me check this one back in”.

We had some tough times on Everest, and had some big decisions to make, having our own rituals and place we could go to think through these was essential – where do you go when you have to make your touch decisions?

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The question I have for you today is what makes you different? What’s your little bit of special? Where are you going against the crowd and where are you being disruptive? It’s this that is going to give you the reward.

When I recorded the video for this blog I was slightly out of breath as we were 5000 meters up Everest and had just done an acclimatization climb. We knew the route we were taking but that day we decided to go a different way and climb a direction up the mountain that not even our Sherpa’s have done. I like doing things like this – I like to climb the unbeaten path! We were rewarded for this with the most amazing view of Everest, it was a side of the mountain that I had never seen and only got to see because we had climbed a different route.

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This is what you get if you take a different route and have something different about you. You can copy business models and plans, go to mentors that have been there and done that but you need your own spark/bit of magic – something that is just you.

This was part of our trip, that bit of magic experienced by climbing up a different side of the mountain and seeing a view few people have seen, it was just so special and is what happens when you differentiate yourself and go against the crowd.

So, think about it, what are you doing that makes you different, that makes you unique, what is your USP in the market space?

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Entrepreneurs… the warriors of independence & freedom!

When I filmed the video for this blog I was on the Great Wall of China dressed up as a Chinese warrior (the crazy shit I get up to for a bit of a gag). As I felt the need to send out a dedication to all of the entrepreneurs I have been blessed to work with and the new generation coming through.

When I looked at the outfits it made me think ‘Entrepreneurship is what the ultimate warrior is all about, it’s what the entrepreneurial dream is all about, we are being warriors & fighting for freedom!’

My mission is to support you all as best as I can with the resources, guidance & support … as I’ve been there & have the battle scars… from bankruptcy to multi million pound deals and If only I knew then what I know now!

If any one that tells you being an entrepreneur is easy and that you can get rich by next Tuesday, you should run a mile from them, however having a mentor to highlight your blindspots (mainly in finance & people) & following proven methodologies of growth… it can be a very exciting & profitable journey!

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Being an entrepreneur is about being a warrior and getting through the tough times. It is about elevating yourself higher so that when the dark times come you can get through.

This video goes out to all my clients, I love you all, you’re all warriors in your own way and I am proud of all of you.

This is also dedicated to my mentor Bo Eason, and the warrior masterminders.  From me, the Chinese warrior, to entrepreneurs everywhere, I honour you!

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Delegation doesn’t mean giving lots of rubbish jobs to other people… it’s about having the right team around you, who love doing what you hate!

The question I have got for you today is are you loading a load of shit onto other people’s desks or drives without them knowing it or without you truly understanding it?

Now what do I mean by that? I love my gardening, a number of people around me know that. Around a month ago I had about two ton of shit dropped on my drive.  Now to most people – that’s a bad day, to me that was euphoria! I’ve got an acre of ground, which I love and I literally had two ton of shit that I could put around my garden beds.  You can see there, it is all poo, the whole lot is poo, that’s just one bed and all the other beds right around the whole garden has been laid down with it.

Now when I saw that shit on my drive I was delighted, my gardener was over the moon (she very much helps me with all of this).  You see this is what’s happening, you can actually deliver a load of shit to somebody and they will be delighted about it, because it’s shit to you but it’s not shit to them. This is what I am talking about, delegation.  Now for a lot of us in business, entrepreneurs, business owners etc. when we started off in business we had to do it all ourselves and because of this we had to put up with the shit along the way.  Over time, and business growth, often things are delegated down the line.  So, if you’re not a gardener and you’re standing there in the middle of London, you haven’t got a garden just concrete, and someone drops two ton of shit on your drive, that’s not good fun.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor me what is a shit job is Finance.  Now I love numbers because numbers allow me to gain clarity.  I love cash flows, they allow me to dial into business, make decisions and grow.  But, do I like in-putting it into the various accounting systems and all that stuff? – Hell no! Another example is events.  I know that when we run an event, I love turning up and being on the stage. Does this mean I love running the event? – Hell no! That’s why I have got a great team around me with great talent.  Now to me what would be a really shit job, is doing all the books and the accounting and financial control. Or running an event and checking in delegates and doing the administration, making sure everyone has got the right seat, that everyone has a chocolate on their pillows when they come away to our beautiful strategic retreats in the countryside – that stuff I hate! That’s shit to me, but to my team it’s gold.  They love it.

Now that’s not me being delusional, a lot of people would say ‘yeah yeah my team loves it’ – but do they?  My team is positioned around me to do what they love to do and what I hate.  So what is shit to me is gold to them.  That’s what we’ve got to talk about, just delegating shit out to somebody else who thinks its shit is not a good move, but so many people are doing it.  They are going – “Yeah I’ll just give that to Cyril down the corridor, he can deal with it.” Does he like it?  “No he’ll hate it too but I’m not having it, he may as well hate it because I hate it too.”  That’s not getting true talent, that’s not true delegation. We have got to find the people and surround ourselves with the people who love the jobs we hate. Think about it, as you delegate the jobs out, as you look around your team, as you start to expand your team, think it through.  Go “Mmm do they think the job is shit too?”

So there you go, are you just delivering two ton of shit onto people’s desks, or when you deliver that shit do they turn it into gold and are really happy?

A great example of this is my team. We have had to dial up our systems over the last two years and get really ready for scale and growth. Part of that was moving into a project management system called Teamworks.  Now we spent about two months researching the different systems out there that would work right for us. When we made the decision to move into Teamworks that meant having to build a system.  Now I love the strategic aspects of the system because it’s going to have this desired output and result.  Do I want to build the system, do I want to input into the system? – Hell no!

When we decided to go to Teamworks my Marketing Director Kelly and my Ops Manager Sara Beth spent the whole weekend going into it because they were so excited about moving into this new system. That’s what I’m talking about! That’s mental!  That is the shittiest job in the world to me but to them they love it, they geek out over that stuff!

A big part of this is about profiling and understanding profiles. But that’s another topic for another day!

So just think about what you are delegating, are you really just handing shit down the line to other people who think its shit, or are you getting the right people in the right role to be able to deliver and turn your shit into gold for you? 

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How many times has there been more month left at the end of your money?  Cash flow is one of the top killers of all small businesses, and recently I had to ensure mine was fully up to date, In order to go away to Everest for two months… and it simply took visibility & clarity.

People have asked me ‘how can you take two months out of your business? That’s impossible!’ Now, don’t get me wrong there are a number of areas to be considered, but one of the big ones is cash, and visibility is crucial.

The question I have for you today is; how confident are you with your cash flow over the next three to six months? When I say ‘confident’ I mean… can you be over 50% sure of the sales during this time, do you know where your leads are coming from, your conversion rate & is your funnel full in case things don’t turn out as planned?

In order for me to take two months out of my business I needed to have the right team in place, as well as the right systems; a sales processes that happened without me and an automated marketing process. I also needed clear cash flow; I couldn’t just walk away, especially when the businesses are growing. Out of the four businesses I have, three are going through rapid growth (one of them is brand new!). So if you are under the thought process that growth = happiness + success, you are delusional! Growth means hungry cash. In order to sustain growth you need to keep feeding the machine, which means you have to be dialled into your cash!

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One of the key things that give’s me peace of mind when I go away is total visibility on my cash flow. Now in order to have cash flow you have to have systems that give you visibility. Cash flow is dynamic, it changes constantly, a lot of people don’t understand this which is why we have launched the Cash Academy as people tend to think it’s to do with how much is sitting in the bank or what’s left at the end of the month; and there is so much more to it.

Whether you are new/need to learn more around cash or are more experienced, ask yourself if you are confident in your systems. What are the accuracy levels? Does the month always turn out as you planned or are there surprises along the way? It is very important to have the sales feed on cash flow (this pipeline is very important!).

People say to me ‘Deri I can’t see the next three to six months, my business is different I can only see a week or so ahead’ – I will challenge this! I haven’t seen a business yet that we cannot work out cash flow and pipeline and predict what is going to happen. Some of this is based on historical trend but most people just don’t know how to build pipeline and if you don’t build pipeline you don’t have a live sales feed coming in, which means your cash flow is meaningless.

I can promise you that if you go away and take time out from your business, it will be the cash and people side that worries you the most. It certainly worries me the most! I have a good team in place (especially in finance) I have great support over financial control along with the book keeping/accountants/tax advisers, so I know I’m in good hands. I know there are no surprises coming such as tax and expenditure. This is all because I have the right team, the right systems, and I understand cash and cash flow. It gives me piece of mind that allows me to go away and do the things that I do, knowing that everything is okay and nothing will collapse while I am away.

I encourage you to really think this one through, if you don’t understand what I am saying then we have just launched the Cash Academy, which I really encourage you to take a look at. Cash is the life-blood of every business, you need to understand it and have visibility. This is what allows us as business people to make decisions, enabling speed and growth. Remember, this is even more pertinent if you have delegated it to someone else.

So if you want to go away and have full peace of mind, dial-in to your cash flow!

Is Your Business Paying You What You Are Worth?

If you are not taking the income that you require from your company, or you feel that you are not charging enough for your services, it’s probably because you don’t know your ‘freedom figure’.

Click the button below to discover your Freedom Figure now:

Click Here Get Your Free Report Now

Are you busy doing rather than busy being?  When was the last time you indulged in yourself?  As entrepreneurs, we are all striving for the targets and goals but today I want you to reflect on whether you are enjoying the journey along the way.

When I filmed the video for this blog I was up around 4000 metres at the highest point in Tibet and I want to dedicate it to my good friend Priya Kapoor, as in her words, I really want to urge you to ‘give yourself permission’. 

I was thinking about this whilst walking around the monastery of Tashi Jong Po, which is about 700,000 metres squared and surrounded by prayer drums that circle the entire monastery – it is absolutely incredible. People come here every day and walk the entire circuit.   What a wonderful daily habit to spend 45 minutes reflecting, getting exercise, and having a bit of ‘you’ time (although being up at 4000 metres isn’t easy!)

As I walked around touching all the prayer wheels I began to notice the people walking by, they were all having little moments to themselves (which can be hugely spiritual) and they were all getting exercise at the same time, bargain!

permissionSo today I want you all to think about giving yourself permission to spend time on you. Priya’s book ‘Give yourself permission’ is a great handbook for anyone that this message is resonating with who wants to find out who they are, what they love & how they can allow themselves to be that person daily.  I love her work and I love her as a person, please check out Priya’s work. 

Ultimately start taking time for yourself; what’s your daily ritual, when is your ‘you’ time?  I think we are all so busy (especially as entrepreneurs) getting everything out there and trying to please everyone else that we don’t take time for ourselves. I urge you to please think about this

So go… give yourself permission today.

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As a proud Welshman, surrounded by sheep in the valleys, I started to think how many business owners acted like sheep with their social media tactics, as they are just following what everyone else is doing!

four_sheep_bannerSo, what do I mean by this? We all know that social media (engagement & exposure) is important to many businesses, but is it really the be all and end all of everything?  So many of my clients say ‘Deri I’ve just come back off this Twitter day course I did, it’s brilliant Twitter’ and I say ‘Why are you doing that?’ they reply with  ‘Cos this guy told me that Twitter is really good and that I need to be on Twitter’.   Twitter-Twatter – I don’t really care! The important thing is working out WHY you are using it!

Now you’re reading this blog/watching the video so don’t get me wrong, I’m not a complete heathen I love the social channels; when it’s appropriate to my business. You might have come to this page as a result of loving them too, but it doesn’t mean that it should be the prime part of YOUR overall marketing strategy.

It’s important when looking at a social strategy that we ask ‘why’, and ‘what’s the most important, and best return on investment and time’. What do I mean by this?

First of all, get clear why you are building the business, what’s your purpose and what does exit look like?  A big part of the answers to this will dictate whether or not you (as an individual) own the social channel you are using or whether the business owns the channel; where does the Intellectual Property stand, where is it actually held and who owns it?

Secondly know your overall culture, brand, ethos, and marketing strategy.  What does that look like? To me the very definition of strategy is a clear plan for a major result.  Having a Twitter channel and putting up Twitter ‘stuff’ is typically more of a tactic.  Now for some of you, it might be a primary strategy because of online marketing and I’m cool with that, but it’s not for the masses. This is why I’m banging on the drum saying to think about what you’re doing within the social sphere and understand that it must be linked.  Ask yourself what social channels are you using and whether they are appropriate.  For some people operating a b2b business, Linkedin is a brilliant channel and evolving all the time. If you are more consumer facing, then maybe Facebook is a better channel for you.  If your business is very visual, Instagram could be your channel of choice. It’s got to be relevant and it’s vital to have a bigger marketing strategy and to choose the right channels and tactics based on this.

Finally, you need to think about your return on investment and return on time, and this is a big one.  I’ve had some clients of mine spending an hour a day on social media and I ask them to think about what their return on time and investment is for this. After this I ask them to think about how many clients and orders they have got out of it. Often they reply with ‘it’s about presence Deri – I need to be out there’.  Really?  With one client we flipped the hour he was spending on the social channels into picking up the dammed telephone and making some calls and guess what?  He got some new clients within a week.

So understand I am not saying that social’s bad and you shouldn’t be doing social.  I love social, you’ve seen me, and I’m here because of social. But I am saying choose it wisely and understand where it fits in your overall mix.   Understand the time it is taking from you.  A lot of people are really pissing their time away on social when they could be a lot more dialled in on it.  Choose your channels and understand that it’s got to fit with the businesses culture, brand and strategy.  If you don’t have a big over-arching marketing strategy it’s just tactical.

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In April 2015 I set out to climb Everest, something that I had been planning for 10 years, however like many things ‘man plans and God laughs’.

As I am sure you are aware, while I was at Advanced Base Camp on Everest, the devastating earthquake struck Nepal creating avalanches on the mountain, killing thousands.

Many of you have been asking for the REAL story around Everest – the reality of being in the centre of one of the biggest natural disasters, the emotions, the decisions & the aftermath.

Well here it is … the real scoop in my interview with Pembs TV.

I set out on this adventure to raise money for Community Action Nepal… now they need it more than ever, so please donate what you can to support them here (our sponsors are matching every pound donated to help raise as much money as possible).

https://www.justgiving.com/everestdinner/

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Do you know what you are aiming for & what will you do when you reach it?

I’m so excited to be recording this blog from a bucket list destination of the Forbidden City in Beijing! And I want to challenge you by asking are you setting milestones in your business journey and taking some time out to enjoy it when you reach them?

If you watch the video you will see it’s an absolutely stunning place. We had just started our Expedition to Everest and decided to take a day out in Beijing, so we could see a few of the sites. It’s so easy to get fixated on one goal and miss things on the way if we’re not careful.

I think this is so important in business especially as entrepreneurs who are so focused on goals, targets and product launches, that they actually forget to take some steps along the way to enjoy it. Stop for a moment, take a breath and see what you are building along the way.  This same thought process could be applied to life; no matter what you are embarking upon it is important to create magical moments and enjoy them!

Take a look at what ever you’re fixated upon at the moment, what’s your big goal? What’s your big dream? What’s your big vision? Whatever it is break it right back down, yes you have to do the first steps but also put some milestones in, that will really motivate you to carry on to the next part of your journey.

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Have you got your defences up & are they required?

When I filmed the video for this blog I was in China on the Great Wall, doing some altitude training, there were some really steep parts to the wall, so it was a good test for this! It’s an amazing, awe-inspiring place and somewhere I feel privileged to have visited.

History tells us The Emperor of China put the wall up to protect it from the Mongolian hoards, as well as the rest of the world, which served it well for a period of time. This led me to think about the walls we put up around ourselves, as individuals, and around our businesses.

barrierTo me creating boundaries and putting walls up around ourselves is something we do to keep ‘the bad things out’ and is linked with the values we hold in life and business. But in order to build these walls we need to know what ‘the bad things’ are – and of course they are different for everyone!

To me it’s all about values. By having clear values we are setting boundaries and building our walls, which is an essential part of business. Values are something that we stand for, something we don’t compromise on and often form the basis for what we recruit, hire and fire on.

We also need to know what our personal values are so we can set boundaries in in our personal lives. Ask yourself; what are you prepared to stand for in your relationships, in your life, in your personal development, in health and your friendships?

When building our walls we can’t keep everything ‘out’, it’s about knowing specifically what to keep out; what our limitations are in life and business. Think about what your great wall should be. In business, as in life, we need to identify our values and identify what we want to keep out as well as what we want to keep in.

The Great Wall of China is incredible, I love going around the world and I’ve built my business so that I can do this.  Think about what they built, it’s monumental, and what purpose it serves.

So, what is your Great Wall of China, what are your values and what boundaries do you need to but in place so that you can live the right life for you?

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My question for you today is ‘Are you prepared for the unexpected?’

When I filmed the video for this blog I was on a train from Beijing to Lhasa, which is a two-day/two night journey.  Now what happened a week after this footage was the least unexpected thing… the biggest earthquake in Nepal for years & us being stranded on Everest after the avalanches!

However, if you watch the video you can see we were travelling up at about 4500 metres! It’s the highest train in the world, and at one point during the night we went to up to 5000 metres.  It travels so high that there is even oxygen is in the ceilings of this train; this is something that even we weren’t prepared for! I’m not sure what I had in my head (probably something more like the Orient Express meets First Great Western) but it wasn’t what we had in reality! From the moment we boarded we had a bit of adversity; I filmed in the aisles between the cabins where we also had to store our kit. We had half a tonne of luggage and the train simply wasn’t built for it. The cabins were also a lot smaller than expected, there was no food available (so I ate a lot of my expedition food) and there was no toilet roll in the toilets (I hadn’t planned for that!).

Hurricane Natural Disaster as a Art BackgroundIn business, as in life, whether planning a fitness, relationship or business activity, sometimes plans don’t kind of work out the way we thought they would! Sometimes no matter how much we plan and how much we think we know is coming our way, we simply have to be prepared for the unexpected.

So what’s the solution?  Have solid foundations to ground you, know your purpose & vision to keep you focused in the right direction and be flexible!  Change is the only constant, and people who capitalise on new opportunity are those who are open to new ways of thinking, new systems, new technology but who have also build operations & budgets that have flexibility.

No matter what your journey, no matter what you’re doing – prepare for the unexpected – because you don’t know what’s going to happen…. we are liven proof after this recent adventure!

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Do you feel like you’re on the hamster wheel? This could be in business or in life.   It happens to lots of us; we spend each day working away doing lots of ‘stuff’ for our business and before we know it we’re on that hamster wheel unable to see a way to get off!

When I filmed the video for this blog I was on holiday with my family in Pembrokeshire, where I was born and bred.  It was really windy and I started thinking about being on a hamster wheel when I was in a zorb on the water trying to stand up! The guy at the park challenged me and said no one had got half way up the lake on that day. You know me (never one to turn down a challenge) I set to work trying to get from one side of the lake to the other. The wind was howling against me and each time I fell I just had to get on up and try again. But, it was futile, there was no chance I’d make it to the other side. The more I tried the more exhausted I got. It lead me to think about how sometimes, despite how hard you try, you keep on running in that wheel with the wind against you and that elusive goal just doesn’t get any closer!

Now what does that mean in life and business? Simply put if you’re going into the wind and you don’t have the right people round you, the right plan in place or sufficient funds to support you, you can be in a whole heap of shit and not even know it!

hamster wheelHave a think about that today; are you on the hamster wheel and is the ‘stuff’ you’re doing the right ‘stuff’? Think about the ‘flow’, are you pushing against the wind, against life and business, working really hard but not going anywhere?  Sometimes knowing what’s really important and going with the flow and taking the natural energies in nature can be really important. Mother Nature is one force not to fight (as are many of the other laws in the universe!) I think so many of us are trying to fight against these natural laws and this is why we don’t get anywhere.

So if you want to take a step off that hamster wheel think strategically; what are the important things in life? Take a good hard look around you, think of your life and your business and work out if you are going with the flow or pushing against the wind. If it’s the latter turn the other way! You don’t have to be a sheep following the crowd, you can still be an individual but trying to force the issue will just lead you to be stuck in that wheel.

So, think strategically, get off that wheel and go your own way!

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“In the light of the tragic events unfolding in Kathmandu and on Mount Everest, we have decided to abandon our World’s Highest Dinner party attempt and are returning to Base Camp.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this disaster and we will continue to raise funds for the charity Community Action Nepal.”

You can hear more about the World’s Highest Dinner Party teams progress by listening to the interview with Neil Laughton, part of Deri’s team & Dee Sebastian from the BBC.

Listen Here for the BBC Interview EVEREST DINNER TEAM

 

Here at BGI, we spoke to Deri today who confirmed that him & the team are all fine.  They had left Base Camp when the earthquake hit Nepal.  They felt the tremors but none of their team are hurt.

They are currently making their way back to Base Camp & Deri sent us this voice message (click here to listen everest update) and he thanks you for all for your thoughts and prayers.

 

 

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Today’s blog is around values; do you have a set of values, if so, what are they?

More importantly do you live them, do all of your employees abide by them and how are they implemented in your company?

Finally do you hire, fire and select your customers based on your values? These are all big questions.

But before I talk more about values, I want to explain that I filmed the video for this blog while I was at a water park in West Wales having a beautiful family holiday before I started my Everest climb. That’s why I am wearing a Pink Peppa Pig top!

So I recently spoke at a Future 50 event to the 50 highest growing companies in the UK selected by the government. I was very blessed that following speaking to the CEO’s last year I was invited back this year to speak to the HR Directors. These are people who are responsible for running talent programmes, working with £10 million plus in revenues and scaling people and teams like you wouldn’t believe.

The main topic for the event was that of values and we covered some pretty tough questions including:
• ‘How do I have difficult conversations with people?’
• ‘How do I get rid of people in the company that shouldn’t really be there and don’t fit any more but are really good at their jobs?’
• ‘How do I get the best talent out there and retain them for the long term?’

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Values are at the core of what we do and something that differentiates our business to many others. At BGI values are a sack-able offence and are our competitive advantage. Often people say ‘Really Deri do you mean that?’ and yes I do, I really mean it’s a sack-able offence to not live and breathe our company values, if you are working with us.

Now when I was speaking at the Future 50 event, the big thing that was expressed was that a lot of companies did have values, but everyone within the company had lost the meaning of these and they had just become BS values that sit in a frame on the wall meaning nothing to anyone. You know the ones I mean – think of a reception wall with five or six words sitting in a frame claiming to be the ‘company values’. Nobody lives them or breathes them and, perhaps more destructively, people don’t actually believe in them. That’s when values and cultures have gone bad. So it was so refreshing to see top HR professionals focusing and understanding the importance of true values in the work place. To me the term ‘HR professional’ is out-dated, they are all about attracting, retaining and developing talent, and then moving talent on when the time’s right.

What I really want you to think about is do you have values right now? If so are you really living them, do you truly believe in them and does everyone in your company live and breathe them? If not you have some work to do and it’s called ‘Culture’. If you don’t have a set of values it’s time to get started, look at the book ‘BGI Strategy on a Page’; there’s a whole chapter on values and the four questions you need to be asking, the first question is ‘who have you fired and why?’ If you want to fire somebody, or there are people in the business who have pissed you off this is often a good place to start as often it’s down to values, and them not having the same value set as the company.

So get to work, get the book and let’s get your values defined and set. If you’ve got people around you holding similar values and customers with similar values – I promise you – it’s a beautiful business and a beautiful life.

values

Ask yourself, do you live a life with ‘no regrets’?  This is a big mantra for me and something I live my life by.  If something awful happened to you tomorrow would you regret anything and do you feel that you have lived fully?  It’s important to sometimes take time out to reflect on this, so you aren’t just busy being busy.

Right now I am preparing for my trip to Everest, and this has led me to asking myself some serious life questions. I’m going to one of the most dangerous places on earth and there is always a danger when doing these things that I (or a team member) could be seriously injured or even die. Now I don’t say this in a morbid fashion, it’s simply a fact.

Extreme pursuits and adventures have been a big part of my life for a decade, because when I first asked the question ‘Have I lived a life of no regrets’, I didn’t like the answers I got! I had my head down focusing just on business, I realised that adventure was one of the things that I would regret not fulfilling properly if I had died. I would have regretted not exploring the world and what it has to offer.  After identifying this, I worked hard over the past ten years to make adventure a theme in my life.

I want you to think… are you being sucked into your business, or sucked into your career, do you feel that you are so busy that you lose the point and purpose of what you’re doing?  These are hard things to think about and areas I encourage you to spend some time on.

everestEverest has been one of the biggest decisions of my life; I have three beautiful children, three amazing businesses and a beautiful wife. I have everything I could desire – I am blessed.  However, I found myself asking ‘surely this should be enough for me?’ The answer was that I know in my DNA I’m am drawn to adventures, it’s one of the reasons why I was put on this planet. It is a hard thing to explain, and something that I might be able to do more comprehensively when I return from Everest, but for me it’s about living with no regrets. So if something were to happen to me, I have lived my life fully and given it my all.

So I ask you to contemplate; if this was your last week how would you live it? Is there anything you would regret? If there is, go to work on it and start by taking some mini steps to changing it. I made the decision a decade ago to do this and I have been taking mini steps towards it ever since. When I lost my father, he died with his dreams intact, and I swore that I would never make that same mistake and that I would live life fully while I was here on earth.

In order to encourage you to do this, as a pre-Everest gift, we are giving away my first book ‘Life’s Great Adventure’. This book was written as my legacy to be passed down to my children and it’s something that is truly personal to me. It’s my gift to you and it enables you to discover your life’s purpose & how you can live life to your full potential.

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This weeks blog comes from Glen Coe; one of the most beautiful parts of Scotland.   When I look at the landscape of this place is connects me back to Vision & the Big Picture.

However, the area I want you to think about today is around ‘detail’ and the small things… and yes for those who know me well, this is probably not an area you would expect me to want to focus on!

Even though I don’t like looking at the detail, it is essential, so it’s one of those things I have to plan & schedule in – otherwise more ‘important activities’ take over.

So, ask yourself – if you are creative entrepreneur like me, where are taking the time to do the ‘detail’ in the planning?

First of all you need the Big Picture stuff crystal clear, so go back to my vision blogs to get help with that, but then it’s time for the nitty gritty of HOW you will achieve the vision.

We travelled to Scotland during the winter and did a twelve-hour decent of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK.  Now as an experienced mountaineer I am pretty dialled in, I like the big picture and I also like to drill right into the detail. But you can still miss things, if you don’t focus and do the planning thoroughly!

When we were there I made two mistakes, and they were two brutal mistakes…

One was that I used a new set of boots and when we got above the snow line where it was really icy; I found my crampons didn’t fit the boot! This was a stupid error that cost me a lot because it can be very dangerous on a mountain and I didn’t have the equipment I needed to support me.

The second mistake I made, was we set out in the morning to begin the decent of a mountain that we thought would take six hours but it actually took twelve! This was due to having team members who were simply ‘maxed out’ and to there being snow at the top causing complications.  As we were out a lot longer than anticipated I hadn’t brought my head torch, making the decent a lot trickier and longer as it was really dark.

Despite making sure that I had all of the rest of the kit I needed and that I had taken care of my nutrition, these errors really cost me and they could have been fatal.

When we are looking at business it’s the same principle, you have to make sure you’ve got the macro strategy identified first. Following this, it’s about paying attention to the detail and having a detailed plan. For example if you are hiring someone you have to work out the detail surrounding the cash flow and the marketing etc. Now this detail really matters but it’s not about dialling into it straight away, its important before jumping in you have your strategy nailed down and the big things in place, after this then go into the micro detail around the key areas of their personality profile, job role & responsibilities etc.

So that’s my bit of advice for today from the beautiful Glen Coe. Make sure you’ve got the big things in place and then remember the detail; it’s the detail that holds everything – particularly when it comes to cash flow.

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Is there something that you’ve always wanted to do or achieve?  Have you set yourself a big challenge, adventure or stretch?  Many of us have childhood dreams but how many of us actually achieve them, or have a strategy or lifestyle that enables us to?

When I filmed this blog we were just under ten weeks out from our expedition to Everest, which has been a dream for me since I was a child.   When I was around 8 years old, I used to look at the people who climbed Everest and think that they were hero’s and dreamt that one day, I would be able to do it too.

Two decades on and the dream has turned from just that, to a vision and a reality. There is a very big difference between a vision and a dream; to me dreams are something you have when you go to bed! Visions are a way of taking these dreams and putting a plan in place, to turn them into reality.

Sometimes BIG adventures take a lot of planning before you achieve them… can you believe I started ‘planning’ for Everest 10 years ago! The serious planning stages have been five years in the making; and this year it got really brutal, focused and specific. The last ten weeks running up to the event are really about the specifics, the details and the strategy. It’s pretty serious stuff and if you forget anything, it stops the expedition as you can’t go onto the mountain. However, It’s all coming together to create an epic British exhibition attempt this year and we are attempting to break the Guinness World Record attempt of the highest ever dinner party!  Check out more here http://everestdinner.weebly.com.

When it comes to your big adventure, I want you to think about what your dream is right now and what you need to do to turn it into reality. What are the specifics?  How do you turn those visions into plans, and those plans into reality?

You might not need 10 years of planning, but you at least need a roadmap & benchmarks to know you are on track.  List why you want to achieve this goal & also list what is holding you back to have not achieved it so far.  Then take each of those objections, and work out a strategy to overcome them – what resources do you need?  Who can support you?  Who could mentor you through the process who has done it before?

That’s how adventures work, they starts with a dream and the trick is not to keep it there. So please, think about it and let’s help you turn your dreams and visions into reality. Who knows anything is possible, for me it’s Everest – what is it for you?  I’d love to hear about it, so please tell me what you are aiming for & what you need to help you achieve it!

 

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I often ask entrepreneurs like you ‘Are you building the right business for you?  Does it meet the 5 elements of purpose?

  1. Are you passionate about it?
  2. Is there a need for what you do in the market space?
  3. Are you adding value & service?
  4. Does it create the right lifestyle for you? (time freedom, stress, work/life balance etc)
  5. Are you making the income that you desire?

As I filmed this blog early in the morning on the Californian Coast, I was just about to climb up ‘Big Sur’.  There was a beautiful sunrise behind me and I was living my dream.  I was out there on a business conference and as I always do… I found time for my passion of adventure.

So ask yourself.  Does your business enable you to see a beautiful sunrise, or sunset? When did you spend some quality time with your loved ones (the type of quality time where you are totally present and connected with them)? When was the last time you spent time on yourself, on your health, on your vitality, on your spirit? The brutal reality for most entrepreneurs is that the answer to these questions may not be as recently as they would like, because they are building the WRONG business… one that traps them & kills their mojo.

Getting up early in the morning and taking time to clear my head is strategy time for me. Taking a moment to look at the Californian coast, running in the woodlands close to home, climbing Ben Nevis; these are times when I can connect with my thoughts, get my ideas, and where I remember why I do what I do. It’s also where I find out if I’m building the right business for me. Now I’m not saying this is the right approach for you, I’m the adventure guy, I like to be out and about exploring and being at one with nature, for me natures a huge thing. What is it for you and are you truly building the right business to allow this to happen?

The first couple of years in business can be brutal, often you hear peopling saying ‘we have to work every single hour god sends, whilst sacrificing and destroying ourselves in the process to build the business’.

In my mind that’s old school, it’s something that has been handed down from the generation before us. I’ve had some mentors who have tried to tell me this is the way to do things and I’ve challenged them. In the world we live in today, it’s just not necessary! Now don’t get me wrong, we have to work hard (there is no substitute for that) but we don’t need to destroy our relationships, our health and our lives in the process, it’s not worth it. I’ve been there and built 20 businesses now of my own. I have advised hundreds of people and spoken to thousands.

The first few businesses were brutal, I destroyed myself, I burnout three times along the way, destroyed my relationships and my health went downhill. So I can tell you exactly what burn out feels like, and I can tell you now it wasn’t worth it! A couple of the businesses I built collapsed and, if I look really deeply into it, the reason they collapsed is because I collapsed! I simply didn’t have enough energy or passion left… I built the wrong type of business for me.

Now entrepreneurs are empowered to build the RIGHT business due to increased technology, working habits & lifestyle choices. I think of this as ‘purpose’.

If you find that you are missing one, two or three of the elements of purpose listed above, it’s only a matter of time before your business is in trouble.

Many business owners reading this think ‘I just haven’t got time to take to work on myself or my business’… once again highlighting why you are building the wrong business. If time is an issue, your killer strategy’s is likely to be ‘people’ or ‘talent’ as you haven’t got the right people behind you to help support you and free up that time. This is something that needs to be addressed straight away or it’s going to destroy you.

Businesses are here to serve us; we build a business and become entrepreneurs to drive our own legacies, to follow our passions and bring service to the world, yet so many of us destroy ourselves along the way – it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s not that we don’t need to work, because we do, but that we need to prioritise and realise if we don’t have our health or our energy we can’t run a business. Working every hour god sends is just not productive, you need a clear strategy.

It’s also important to take time and share things with the people in your life that love you and you love. The sad reality is that many people work every hour to gain success and then have no one to share it with. To me love is the greatest multiplier of all. I’m only successful because my relationships are successful. The loved ones in our lives magnify the success we have as entrepreneurs, and if we don’t have that our victories can become hollow and empty.

Hopefully this has given you plenty of food for thought.  You can sign up here for my free ebook & training series where I will send you on a couple of months of email adventures, to ensure you are building the right business!

Is Your Business Paying You What You Are Worth?

If you are not taking the income that you require from your company, or you feel that you are not charging enough for your services, it’s probably because you don’t know your ‘freedom figure’.

Click the button below to discover your Freedom Figure now:

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When people know that I’m training for our Everest they often ask ‘how do you train for such a big event, what do you do to get yourself ready?’

Well, training for Everest is much like the question I am asking you today. A lot of the time you have to do the stuff you don’t want to do, and this is something I think we need to do to gain success in general. Brian Tracey writes about this in the book Eat That Frog. As lot of people know what they need to do, even if they don’t want to/don’t feel like doing it.

If you watch the video you can see we are on Ben Nevis, Scotland in the British Isles. We had a winter ascent of Ben Nevis, which was pretty brutal to be honest with you and the team were just trying to hang on with me on the way back down. It was a horrible climb, we went out and, as sometimes happens with a mountain climb, got shut down. This means it was a total white out up there and for a few moments we couldn’t see where we were (we literally couldn’t see in front of our faces). I’m not kidding you it was absolutely freezing as you can see by the icicles on my mask, and I couldn’t feel my fingers.

This is the reality of training, you don’t get to do something like climb Everest without putting in the work, doing the things you don’t actually want to do and training when you don’t really want to do it. Believe me when we got half way up Ben Nevis and the storm came down, many of us wanted to go back! But we had to push on as this was training for Everest and if we want to face the highest mountain on earth we have to battle through the hard times.

It’s the same in business; you have to do the tough stuff, the stuff you don’t want to do like firing that person that no longer fits the values of your business, raising the capital when you don’t know how, or making the sales call you don’t want to do. These are the things I want to challenge you on today.

Build the right business you’re proud of it, which is one of the most wonderful things in the world, but to get to that point you have to see the brutal reality behind the scenes of the business. It’s going to be tough and sometimes you have to suck it up and do the stuff you know you need to do.

So my question is ‘what is it that you know you need to be doing, but are not doing?’

Remember; this applies to business but not only that, to your fitness, your health, your life, your family. Apply it to all areas of life.

I think that if we can get more consistent with knowing what we need to do and when we need to do it, regardless of whether we feel like doing it or not, it will be a huge step forward in our individual quests for success.

frog

Today I have a question for you… How present are you, truly?

This was a massive realisation for me and (as I filmed this vlog towards the end of last year) and it was probably my biggest lesson of 2014.

Presence comes in many different guises whether for yourself, for your clients, for your staff, anybody that you have interactions with that are important to you – are you truly present? I meditate, people call it reflection time, time out, whatever you want to call it, this helps me to focus and be present when I am with people.

People who have got to know me know that I am a nature guy, I love to be out and about doing adventures. In the vlog you will see a beautiful scene behind me, I have to say one of the most stunning things I’ve seen in a long time.  I was taking some time for myself and found a beautiful place in a National Park in California with a waterfall coming over the cliff behind me into the ocean – just stunning.

Now I put my hands up… I have been guilty of not doing this, I have just come out of a brutal couple of months and I knew it was going to be that way, when I looked at my diary at the beginning of quarter 4.  It was jammed packed with speaking engagements, travel, training, & product development.

During that time I lost presence with myself, and more importantly, with my family. This is probably the big one for most of you out there; certainly it’s a big one for me, being present with dear ones and those closest to you.  I’m not talking about time, I’m talking about presence.  I think a lot of people feel guilty that they don’t have time, particularly the entrepreneurs and business owners out there – are you spending the time, and being present when you do?

My wife and I now have date nights every week, but we also have 3 hours every weekend where we bring the nanny in and we go and do something together.  It might be simply a coffee or a walk, just a connection, and when we lose that for a period of time we start to lose our relationship so it’s super important to us.  Over the last couple of months my wife went through a busy period (she works as a doctor) and I was going through my busy period and we lost that, we lost our connection.  It was a tough couple of months.

Now, as I am the strategy man, I kind of figured out in advance that it was going to be a brutal couple of months, so both my wife and I scheduled in time together the weekend after the craziness stopped and went away for 3 days without the kids. We needed deeper time to re-connect after two months of dis-connection.

So ask yourself ‘How do you stay connected?’

Here are my suggestions:

  • First of all, allocate the time.  I have special time scheduled for all of my children.  Each of them has their own time and it’s beautiful to watch.  My little one still doesn’t know what’s going on, but the other two – they crave it. When they didn’t have it for a few weeks because I was away the eldest said ‘Daddy when is my special time, daddy why aren’t you spending special time with me?’ So it’s super important that you get the time scheduled in.  Don’t give me ‘BS’ excuses that you don’t have the time.  Love is what’s going to magnify anything in your life, so you’ve got to make time for it.

Do this for everyone in your life.  Plan quality time with your staff, partner, kids, customers etc

  • The next thing is ‘Are you present when you are there in the time?’ This is a big thing and something I think we have lost these days. Mobile phones are a good example of this, often I see people in restaurants, finally having found time for each other, and they are on their phones!  If you are with someone but not ‘there’ in your mind, thinking about business for example, you’re not being fully present.

I think if there’s one gift you can give yourself, one gift you can give those loved ones around you, it’s the gift of time and full presence.

I realised I was doing it for my clients.  When with my clients I am 100% present, I am there with them, in fact probably more than 100%!  But then when I got home to my children, family, wife and my friends I was so shot to pieces energy wise that I didn’t have full presence.  So you’ve got to get this right, for me this was my biggest lesson last year.

Go away and have a think. Where can you get more present in your life? What time can you allocate for the people who support you, including yourself, and how, when and where will you get super present? It’s the greatest gift you can give yourself and others and if you can get it right it will charge you and inspire you in ways you just can’t even imagine.

presence

 

Are you an early bird?  I am and whenever I’m traveling abroad, I like to get out early, before everyone is up and go running.  I love exploring cities before the tourists get there. That’s what I did when I was in Bruges for this vlog, when I came across what looked like a river loop.  After investigating it more it sparked me to think about the infrastructure of business… and I want to pose a question to you; Have you consciously designed the structure of your business?

Bruges is stunning. It’s called the “Heart of Europe” because it’s shaped like an egg and when you look at it in detail, you realise that it’s a man-made canal system that was created hundreds of years ago.  This infrastructure not only makes the city beautiful, it also enables international trade, as the canals connect to the sea (check out the map below).

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So what does this have to do with your business?  Well someone had the foresight to lay down this infrastructure right at the onset, which enabled Bruges to bloom into the beauty it is today and be one of the most protected cities in Belgium… and that’s the same as business.

Those companies that survive are ones who have solid foundations, stand out from the rest, protect their assets from competitors and have systems that allow them to adapt quickly to change.

So what infrastructure have you laid down and is it going to enable you to grow into the vision and the beauty that makes you magnificent?

We are in an age now when technology can provide great foundations for your company, especially in such fast-paced times where your systems and infrastructure needs to have the flexibility to adapt.

Now the good news is with the technology we have available today, we can do it in a heartbeat, so cost is not an issue anymore. Every small business out there can have access to world-cutting technology, for just pounds.

Some of our biggest infrastructure, costs us around £200 a month and that would have cost millions around a decade ago. So it’s not about the cost anymore, it’s about the commitment, it’s about stepping up and understanding that you need to put the scale in before you truly need it, and it’s about the execution of actually doing it.

I want you to really take a good, hard look around your operational systems, your technology, what’s enabling you to deliver on a daily basis. Is there a flow & consistency through your business and do you have good systems for storage and data/ IP protection?

Take a good look at all these things, and I’ll give you some advice that we realized 2 years ago.  The world speeding up massively, and you need to be using video as a strong driver in your marketing.  As a result, we had to build a new part of our infrastructure to accommodate this, include storage in Amazon S3 account, filming kit, video-editing software etc…

If you have any questions around what foundations are essential for your infrastructure, please just ask. I also suggest you put Bruges on your bucket list… such a beautiful place!

infrastructure blog

My question for you today is ‘What is your TRUE passion?’

Many of you who know me, are aware that mine is adventure.

When I filmed this blog I was on the Californian coastline running; I love running, I love fitness, I love adventure, I love mountaineering – they are part of my adventures and are my true passions.  However, It took me a long while to discover this and I think a lot of people never discover theirs, or they think they have but when they’re truly challenged they may find they have got it wrong. This is particularly true of entrepreneurs and business owners.  I ask this question a lot in business, especially when discussing ‘Purpose’ (which is why we exist in business) as one of the elements of this is ‘Passion’.

So what is it you’re passionate about? A lot of time when I discuss this you can almost see and hear the tumbleweed going through the room! The brutal truth of business is that a lot of people are building the WRONG business and don’t truly understand what their passions are within the business.

Many years ago I was challenged by my mentor about what my passion was, and at the time I didn’t know.  I had to go and discover it.

A lot of the time it may not be what you think, for example when I’m discussing it with people they may say:

‘I love building business’

To which I will reply ‘OK which parts?’

They say ‘I love building all elements of the business’

I say ‘Ok do you love finance?’

They say ‘No No!’

My reply is ‘Then you don’t love building ALL the elements of the business! Do you like hiring and firing people?’

They say ‘No I don’t’ like that either!’

I reply with ‘Well which bits do you love then? You have got to dial it in, and you’ve got to work it out before it’s too late’

Often I think some people look at me and go ‘well it’s alright for you Deri you found your passion, you found your calling’. This is true, but it took me decades to do it, a lot of hard work and a lot of failures, I think the thing that truly woke me up was the death of my father.

I know a lot of you out there will have experienced a form of death and may have lost someone close to you.  My father died from cancer.  I know this will resonate with so many people out there, a lot of you will have lost people the same way.  It happened quickly, it happened fast, and it was brutal, to me, the family, and my mother who was left behind.

The sad thing that really hit me during that time, and which spurs me on to this day, is that my father died, but the saddest thing was he died with his dreams intact.  He’d never truly found his passion, he’d never lived the life he wanted to live.  He always was a ‘someday’ guy.  ‘One day I’m going to do this, someday I’m going to do that’ and someday never came.  That hit me so hard when it happened.  When that really sank in and once the bereavement period was over (and it took a long time) I vowed that I would not go the same way.  I vowed that whilst I was here on this planet I was going to live life.  I was going to maximise life; take everything it had to offer.

Now I don’t know what belief you have, I don’t know if I’m coming back sometime soon after this lifetime – who does?  So I’m not taking the risk while I’m here that we might not be back.  If this is my one shot on this earth, and look how beautiful it is, I want to experience all it’s got to offer. That’s why I do the crazy stuff I do. I’ve run across the Sahara desert, I’ve climbed some of the highest mountains in the world, I’ve done an Ironman, and now I’m heading out to Everest.  All of that stuff is not just pure ego sport, it’s spiritual, it’s a calling and I get to see the coolest places on earth. In climbing the highest mountain on every continent I’ve got to experience places from Alaska to deepest Russia and Africa, and I can tell you this world we live in is an amazing place, providing we as human beings don’t screw it up in the decades to come!

I love being out there, I love being in nature, I love re-connecting with my passions, every single day, every single week, every single month and asking ‘am I living the life that I want to live, am I truly living my passions?’ Adventure to me is one of my passions. My family, my children, everything else, there’s a number of other passions out there, but adventure to me is at its core, and if I’m not doing it, if I’m not out watching the sun rise over the beautiful ocean – then I’m not living, and there’s an emptiness in me.

So now what I want you to think about is, what is it for you? And I mean truly, what is it for you? Is it something you lost? Is it music, yoga, running, sport – what is it? There are usually clues in our childhood. I used to love adventure when I was a kid and I lost it for two decades. So I got it back. If money wasn’t an option and time wasn’t an option what would you do? How would you live your life every day? What is it you would miss? And I think the biggest one is – if you died today what would you regret? What would be the one thing you would regret that you haven’t done, or hadn’t done constantly? For a lot of people it is time with our loved ones.

But don’t just get into a full life of service either, where you are doing everything for other people. I got trapped in there for a few years, particularly when my children were younger. When it was all about the children and my wife and I lost ‘me’ in the process. By losing ‘me’ I couldn’t be fully present with them. That’s the irony – kind of a double kick in the nuts!

I want you to think, find your passions and live them. Share below what they are.

Life’s too short and this world is too magical not to explore it fully.

passion blog

Happy New Year!  I hope you are well rested and ready to take 2015 by storm with your business strategy.

So what have you got planned?  New product launches, new markets, new staff, increased profit, fewer hours working?

Whatever it might be I do hope that you are using Strategy on a Page to identify, track, measure and hold your team accountable… especially as we gave away the book for free as a Christmas gift – there are no excuses!

My point today is – are you building the RIGHT business?  One that you love and one that you enjoy – because it’s FUN!

Strategy and targets are essential but they don’t bring you happiness and passion in what you do.  I’m sure by now that you know one of my passions is adventure… which is why a recent challenge of mine was to ride a Penny Farthing around central London.  Now you might think that sounds easy but it bloody isn’t!  So much so that at the end of the day there were only two of us left, and God did my arse hurt!

“Why do you do these adventures?” I hear you ask!  Well it’s because of fear.  I like to get out of my comfort zone, test my limits and my potential and have fun while doing it with people who I consider close friends.  That’s how business should be; collaborative projects which test you resulting in your growth.

So, take a look at the video where you will see my home-grown sideburns and the great reception we got as we rode down the Mall on our Penny Farthings, and think about how you could bring fun into your business in 2015.

fun blog

 

My running time is my strategy time; I particularly love running in new countries where the environment inspires me.  While I was out running in Bruges, I came across a bridge, which is very symbolic in many ways…

Firstly, Bruges actually means Bridge, which to me is a hugely important word as it’s the essence of strategy. Strategy bridges the big vision & purpose to the daily actions that you should be focusing on.

This is exactly what the people of Bruges did; they laid down an infrastructure where bridges enabled people travel into, and out of, the city, and also acted as protection for the city.  The city signifies a “bridge into the sea” as it actually provides a bridge for a lot of international trade, and has done for centuries.

So how are you bridging your vision and purpose into action right now? The first step is to hold a big vision and a big purpose. Remember strategy de-risks your chance of failure and gives you the confidence to take action to achieve it.

A lot of people look at me and think I take risks, often they will say; “Deri, you’re a massive risk-taker, you’re an entrepreneur, and adventurer and you’ve run & advised so many businesses.” Absolutely not – I am a massive risk-mitigator! The reason I successfully climb the highest mountains in the world and run across the desert, is due to all of the planning and strategy that occurs before hand, it’s all about minimising the risk. Strategy is crucial; it’s why a lot of people people die when doing extreme sports – because they don’t have a strategy.

If you throw yourselves at adventure (like many entrepreneurs throw themselves at a business), then you are likely to become just another failure statistic. Strategy is key to survival, it doesn’t have to be complicated, be clear on your “why” and fill your life with purpose-based action.  Strategy enables us to ensure that we are moving towards the big result; that we’re doing the important ‘stuff’, and undertaking high value activity across all areas of our business.

I talk a lot about the ‘Spectrum of Strategy’, as we need a blend of strategy across business. Many entrepreneurs are trying to build a bridge with just one pillar.  If you associate each pillar of a bridge to an area of strategy you have Sales, Marketing, Operations, Finance, and People, ALL of which you need in place to be successful.  If you’re missing, or have a weak pillar, it will weaken your bridge, which often leads to it collapsing (especially when the traffic using it increases).

Often people aren’t sure where to start, I suggest you start by spending some time looking at your current strategy;

  • Get clear on your purpose and vision
  • Ensure you are taking purposeful actions on a daily basis to help you get there
  • Strategically plan across the spectrum of strategy: sales, marketing, operations, finance, and people

I always find when working with SME’s that their finance and people strategies are the weakest. This is why I have produced lots of reports and resources around these areas – check out my other blogs for more specific information on these areas.

So, build your bridge, get clear on your strategy and make it an epic adventure!

bridge 

When I was in the Blue Lagoon, Iceland earlier this year I was blessed to spend some time with Andrea Pennington, a highly sought after TV consultant, medical journalist and author, with 20 years experience in media. Whilst together I created this blog as part of my ‘branding series’ (which explains why we are in our swimming gear in the video!) With all Andrea’s experience, who better to give advice on whether SME’s should do PR?

I have been guilty of ignoring using media as a marketing channel, as honestly I was a little scared of it and I didn’t really believe that I could access it! However Andrea enlightened me by stating that, if you believe your product could serve millions, then you have to consider using it.

The truth is you cannot neglect media because it is a crowded space for entrepreneurs (the people who want to make a difference) you HAVE to stand out. Don’t be afraid to start making videos, podcasts, vlogs, because you never know when you’re going to connect with that one person who ends up sharing it with thousands or maybe millions.

You don’t need huge budgets or lots of technology; we filmed the video for this blog using an iphone and a ‘selfie stick’! This is what people want – a chance to connect with the REAL you, the person they will be buying from.

Think of videos as another way of having a conversation with your customers, share insights, funny stories, resources and personal experiences so they get to know and value you on a deeper level.  It’s a quick and easy way to stay connected and for people like me, who love to be behind a camera, it’s much quicker than sitting down and writing a blog – instead I can just get my video transcribed and repurposed!

We are in an age now where video enables us to reach a much wider audience. People buy from whom they like and trust – and video is the best way for people to get to know you and make a connection regardless of where you, and they, are in the world.

The time is now. This is the greatest time in entrepreneur history and it is for media too – as Andrea says, “you are a gift to the world.” Trust me, there is an audience waiting for you, your brand, and your product so get busy!

Andrea has given you a gift of her own which is some free media training, access it via the link below.

http://www.andreapennington.com/5-keys-to-media-success-traininggen/

andrea pennington

 

Adventure is very important to me and requires me to be physically fit, (especially as I am currently training to climb Everest in 2015).  Because of this I schedule time into my diary to make sure I keep up with my training. I live in a beautiful part of the world and when I’m at home I enjoy running through the local woods and countryside. I use the time when I’m running as my ‘creative time’ as this is when I get chance to clear my head and have a moment to think.

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In my first book, Life’s Great Adventure, I share a topic that I often speak about when I’m on stage – living an adventurous & purposeful life. When I came off stage recently, a lady from the audience thanked me, she said my stories of my extreme sports and adventurous pursuits had inspired her, and that she knew she would have to start going to the gym again. We spoke some more and I explained that you don’t need to do extreme sports to have a purposeful life, instead you have to find what YOUR adventure is.

For me, my passion is running, I even recorded this blog whilst I was out running in Hyde Park and it got me thinking how important health is. Health gives us the energy and inspiration for our journey in business.  So ask yourself;

–       What exercise do you love to do?

–       What movement do you love to do?

–       What are you inspired to do?

This is what I went on to ask the lady from the event, as her face clearly showed she didn’t like the idea of the gym! For her it was dancing and tennis. So I encouraged her not to go to the gym but to go and do the sports she enjoyed. Since then she signed up for a tennis club and goes to dance class once a week.

If you are not out there maintaining your goals of fitness and health, ask yourself is it because you don’t actually love the exercise you’re doing?

As I said I love to run. Often people say they love running but make excuses about living in a city and there being nowhere to go. You have to find places, here in London there are loads – this place is stunning & Hyde Park is bang in the centre of town!

This doesn’t just relate to London it can be any city. If you think that you love running but only in nature and not on the city streets, find the parks or the outdoor space to do this. Whenever I go travelling I find the local park and  take myself out for an explorative run. It’s a case of finding somewhere that works for you. We are so blessed to have many different options, but it does require some work to find the one that fits for you.

So my message to you today is this; find out what you love to do & keep healthy.

Don’t feel trapped in someone else’s game influenced by people telling you, you should go to the gym, start running, or that you have to do certain things to get fit or lose weight. Just find out what you love to do and do it. Movement is the key and you can get that in so many different forms from yoga to football.

I feel inspired by nature, I feel free when I’m running outdoors and when I’m climbing mountains. These activities work for me, but that doesn’t mean they have to work for you. You might love running down the streets of the city because you like the buzz and the environment. Find your inspriation.

So who knows where the blog will come from next time? I might pick up the camera when I’m running, perhaps when I’m in the gym or even climbing a mountain – inspiration can hit any time! Go find what you love to do, what your passions are to keep yourself healthy, engerised and inspired and share with me on social media so we can help to support, encourage and engerise each other!

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I recently visited the Grand Hall in Bruges with the ATL (Association of Transformational Leaders).  So please check out the video so you can see the amazing architecture – as it’s breathtaking!

When I stood in this Hall, it illustrated exactly what I’m talking about when I teach about Vision. Somebody held a vision for this place hundreds of years ago, as the center of Bruges was built several thousand years ago.  So they didn’t have any of the technology or building materials, which are currently available to us. Yet, they were still able to build this; as they were able to hold that vision.

So I ask you, “What’s your vision for your company right now?” and I mean think big… if they could think this big hundreds of years ago, what can you do now?  If you didn’t have limitations on finance, staff, technology etc. what would your company look like in 5 or 10 years?

Wherever you are currently are in your business, it’s always good to check back in, rebuild that vision and make it massive. Make it something to be proud of, and leave a legacy in your wake.

Looking around the hall I was inspired & realised that I’m not thinking big enough! If they can think this big hundreds of years ago, what potential do we truly have right now?

MY DREAM BOARD

So spend some creative time this week revisiting your vision board & make sure you aren’t playing small… the time is now Entrepreneurs!

vision

Happy Halloween!

I was inspired to write this blog whilst working in my garden gathering pumpkins ready for my girls to carve for Halloween.

Many of you will know me as the Strategy Man and are aware of my love of adventure, but most of you won’t be aware of my passion for gardening!

I love the garden, it allows us as a family to be self-sufficient for a lot of the year and it’s my ‘chill time’ where I connect back to nature.

The garden teaches us a lot of things, many of which we can take into the business world.  We have seasons in the garden, just like we have seasons in life and in business.

It’s harvest season and my thoughts naturally drifted to ‘harvesting your business’. Going from summer into autumn, as we are at the moment, is a great time to harvest but only if you have done the work in the previous seasons.

As it’s coming up to Halloween I have been growing pumpkins (as you will see in the video), but it has taken me 3 years to get a successful crop!  I had to research and learn from my mistakes. The first year I got the soil and location wrong, and I learnt from it.  The second year I changed all of that but I didn’t put a support under them and they went rotten.  This year I cracked it and have some beautiful big pumpkins that I harvested with my daughters (check out my carving handiwork on the final masterpiece in the photo).

pumpkin

 

This is like business… you don’t know what you don’t know.  The first year in business you will make mistakes and you have to learn the lessons and grow from them.

So what season are you currently in and what is it that you need to learn more about to enable your growth?  The two big things that I am sharing a lot about at the moment are: ‘Cash’ and ‘People’.  These are two key areas a lot of businesses have blind spots in.

Many people are feeling like they are just coming out of the recession, which is a winter season, and are heading into spring.  Spring is a time to start planting and getting new business.  For other businesses it’s more like autumn where they are harvesting the efforts that have come to fruition from the previous seasons (this is where two of my businesses are currently at, we are enjoying reaping the rewards after a few seasons of hard work).

One final tip, I have mentors in my garden (just like you should have in business), two gardeners to support me and I do a lot of reading and research  – do you?

So, have a great Halloween everyone and enjoy the harvest!

pumpkin

 

Recently I was out running in the Cotswold with my friend Andy Clayton and while he was completely destroying me by running up ridiculous hills, we were chatting about international trade, and especially China.

Andy is one of the top gurus in this space at the moment and he highlighted a couple of gems that I wasn’t aware of, which is actually relevant for YOU the small business owner.

Some of you might be looking at China from a production point of view.  Many are already outsourcing your services and to get cheaper services but, the change that is happening in China at the moment, is actually about it becoming a market for our Western services.

china

This is the massive shift that’s happening at the moment.  So how can it help the entrepreneurs out there? Particularly service based industries.

Well in the past, China was where you got made things made cheaply, creating the fabulous manufacturing and supply chain hub. However, what’s happened in the past few years is that Chinese wages and standards of living have grown, so much so, that they’ve had to increase wages by between 5-10% every single year.

This is true for all the factories, particularly the customer factories and It’s putting a lot of cost pressure on them. As a result, a lot of wealth has passed on to the consumers. So these days China is much more a country to sell to, rather than to outsource to. 

Selling things to the Chinese usually involved selling them hardware kit as they were very hardware focused industrial economy. However, that is also changing.  China is shifting towards being a consumer economy, and that’s why a lot of western brands have gone in. But a lot of the challenges that the Chinese companies are facing are due to service based problems.  For example, getting their product design to international standards, sales, marketing & branding. So they are increasingly willing to pay for those types of services. This is why the British government are saying that China is a market opportunity for British companies.

The UK has a very service based economy. It’s people like our architects, our industrial designers,  our creativity and digital designing agencies that could go to China and make a real impact.

I’ve had a couple of clients who doubled their growth just by going into the Chinese market. They are service based companies offering strategic advice particularly in the digital space. 

If you are looking at expanding to other countries, visit the UKTI.  But if you’re looking at China specifically check out the China-Britain business council. They are the organisation that helps British companies that are looking to have trading relationships with China, including, sourcing from China, selling into China, also these days increasing Chinese investments that’s coming in the UK.  They have business advisers and in-house lawyers and IP people.

So think about how to expand your sales & service internationally… as the opportunity might be closer than you think!

andy

Do you wonder if your career is off tangent? Are you finding it an uphill task to effectively navigate the work world?

I often use adventure as an analogy to business, as the preparation, journey & success are very similar… and why ultimately both of them have to start with a purpose.

Recently I was interviewed by Cheryl Liew from the 24-hour Women Show where I discuss this in more detail (don’t worry guys – the content is relevant for you too!).

So grab a cuppa, watch the interview below and learn about the following:

1. How to connect your purpose to your career

2. How to take a big adventure view to career management in the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world or work

3. How to gear up through strategy and training to achieve your goals and evolve an amazing career adventure.

cheryl liew

Cheryl is one of my awesome International Mastermind Buddies who I had great pleasure in spending time with while she was in the UK.  If you want to learn more about her then visit www.The24HourWoman.com

 

Welcome to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, what better place to talk about lifestyle?

When you’re building businesses, I really encourage you to dial lifestyle into the purpose element of business. There’s no point starting a business and building a massive empire, only to not see any of the magic along the way, lose your lifestyle and destroy yourself in the process!

So, what better place to shoot this blog than the Blue Lagoon? It’s a truly beautiful place and somewhere that’s always been on my ‘Bucket List’. Take a look at the video above and you can see the thermal springs in the middle of a volcano / lava field -super cool!

I was at the Blue Lagoon as part of a speaking trip and thought I’d film a video to bring you along on the journey, as well as have a bit of fun! That’s the point; we have got to have a little bit of fun while strolling along in business.

So what’s on your ‘Bucket List’? This is a list of things you would like to do, before you ‘kick the bucket’ (as some might say). If you don’t have one, write one.  Think about what you want to do in life. Where do you want to visit?  What do you want to accomplish? It doesn’t have to be complicated; it doesn’t have to be expensive trips & luxurious holidays. It can be something simple like falling in love, winning an award etc. Along our journey in business we should do something to break the monotony and reward ourselves, because, at times, it can be a brutal trip.

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If you’re in the first couple of years of business it’s going to be tough and you’ve got to recharge regularly.  Find that special moment to experience the magic and make it all worthwhile. If you’re bringing in the cash, do something worthwhile with it – make sure you are enjoying your life.

I encourage you to get crystal clear on what you’re going to reward yourself with next. Set targets; achieve those goals, and then reward yourself.  Enjoy the journey; it doesn’t have to be as brutal and stupid as we all make it out to be. We don’t have to destroy our health, we don’t have to destroy our relationships, and we can certainly experience a lot of magic along the way. (If we allow ourselves to!)

So go enjoy the magic within the business, find something really special to do – find your Blue Lagoon!

bucket list

This BLOG, like so much great strategy was an accident!  It wasn’t prepared there wasn’t a plan but the story kinda wrote itself.

For those who have watched the accompanying video, you will see a sack race! At the weekends when friends come around we like to have plenty of fun, not just the kids either.  We have plenty of activities for the adults too. One such favourite, is the sack race (sacks kindly donated by my client alchemy coffee)

Now if you watch carefully there are 2 key lessons that come out of this video, and one is more subtle.

Now in the line up we have myself (far left), Robbie’s son Harrison, Ben Parker (Who runs EMEA for a global distributor) and Robbie Williams (no not the pop star – but entrepreneurial rockstar). Essentially the race is a big stand off between me and Ben, we are both 6’4” and competitive, nothing will stand in our way, not even the hedge. And so the starting call goes and we are off…

So your starting call in business is going off right now, its your race for quarter four, the last three months of the year, and so many people wander into it half-arsed, still shaking off the summer lull. And for those who are fully back in action, the risk is getting really busy, on the hamster wheel, and being hugely tactical for the last quarter and not finishing strong strategically.

So take a breath right now and get to work on strategy, what’s the big stuff you need to lay down in this last quarter, this quarter will pave the way for the whole of 2015, so get this right and you kick the year off with rocket fuel. Get it wrong and just be tactical, you will be a reactive fool for 2015.

So get focused, and finish STRONG, just like I did in this race!  As you can tell Ben and I were all in and towards the finish line I finished strong! And as we know in all competition and in business the difference between winning and losing is a tiny margin.

(Legal disclaimer: I do not endorse throwing yourselves into hedges in quarter four. it’s a metaphor)

But here’s where the second lesson kicks in. Whilst Ben and I were in our own personal battle, Robbie and Harrison were changing the rules and disrupting the game. They decided that the race was two laps, where as Ben and I were already done, so the little guy won the day.  And if you listen carefully you’ll here Robbie chuckling and saying …

“slow and steady wins the race”

slow & steady

Where as what he was really doing was disrupting the game. And that’s why he’s a great entrepreneur, he built a £5m company in the last 3 years (from zero), with consistent massive growth, whilst disrupting the BIG boys in the industry.

This is the Golden Age of the entrepreneur, and for the first time in history the little guys can really step up and disrupt the BIG boys.

So what ever your industry, get clear on your strategy for the end of the year, finish strong and set 2015 up to be your best year ever, and go disrupt your space.

The word TRUST has been coming up a lot recently, whether it’s businesses that have misused their trust with their customers… or celebrities in the limelight who aren’t who they’ve portrayed themselves to be.  And last week my life mirrored this… as every engagement had the theme of trust.

So as this is a hot topic, I want to share my findings with you and I want you to start by asking yourself, “who do you trust?”  Think hard about this, as it will define you and your business.  If your answer is “only my mum” we have some work to do!

My awareness of trust has been raised thanks to a good friend Michelle Clarke who works with Talent Dynamics (who help companies discover the skill set of their employees, so they can build more trust), and I think that’s why I am more alert to this topic… and I’m VERY grateful.

Last week I travelled “up’t North” to spend some time with Michelle, have lunch and generally connect as I love her work, and obviously the topic of trust was discussed, especially with her EPIC Trust Conference coming up in September.

Well following that lunch I had a weeklong speaking tour around the UK, speaking to some amazing CEO groups, some fabulous entrepreneurs at the Executive Association of Great Britain and the Future 50 (the top highest growth digital companies in the UK.) And “trust” came up every single time.

Now why, partly because my awareness around this issue is heightened partly as I wanted to test the subject while speaking. And the results have been profound!  I would go as far as to say, Trust is THE main currency in business right now and most importantly its THE key to sustainability and longevity in business.  WHY and why NOW? Well. I believe technology has made the shift for us, as in the past “sharks” and “Charlatans” could go about business and get away with it, now we can find out in an instant thanks to technology, so our reputation is now FULLY transparent for the first time in history.

So ask yourself, do you trust ALL your employees? Do you trust your suppliers? Do you trust your customers? Do you trust your JV partners?

I can honestly answer YES to the above. And yet so many of my clients, when I first start working with them, don’t trust those around them.  And that is a problem on many fronts.

So what are the consequences you could be suffering if you don’t have Trust?

  • If you don’t trust your employees, then you won’t delegate and they won’t trust each other and you have just built a destructive culture.  This will then prove to be difficult to scale, and even if you do scale, you have just scaled the wrong business.
  • If you don’t trust your business partners, there is a whole heap of trouble coming, and if you scale these problems tend to accelerate and explode/implode.  People who don’t trust their partners also tend to increase their workload because they don’t trust their partners to do the job.
  • If you don’t trust your customers, then do they really trust you? Life is too short for these relationships.  It is also a well known fact that people buy from those they know, like & trust – so this is seriously going to effect your sales.
  • If you don’t trust your suppliers, then you will live looking over your shoulder for other people’s mistakes waiting to take you down.  This ultimately doesn’t give you peace of mind & it you are not creating time freedom as you are double checking everything.

Most interestingly, I found that trust is now perceived by many as a competitive advantage.  In less the “pure” industries where there is a huge lack of trust (think recruitment and sales), then being the player with morals and integrity, and trust, can set you apart form the rest.  So some businesses are positioning trust as their Unique Value in the industry.

TRUST is also a large part of values.  In 99% of all the values I help companies set in their Strategy on a Page, the same phrases are used, like “integrity”, “do what we say we are going to do when we say we are going to do” and “We trust each other to do a great job” but the essence is always trust.

So given the IMPORTANCE, I want you to write a list on these 2 points.

1)   Who you don’t trust  (make it someone who you are currently working with) & why?

2)   How do you know that your customers trust you & what are you doing to promote how trustworthy you are?

I have also decided to do a couple of extra things for you to help you understand and develop trust within your company further so look out for more emails from me this week.

But firstly THIS FRIDAY, I have arranged a webinar with Michelle Clarke where we will be talking, Talent Dynamics and how psychometric testing your team & partners lead to increasing trust.  I have used this tool for many years & it’s my top tip for recruitment & building a business culture of trust.

You know the deal with Webinars, only so many on the line, so click here to book your place. It starts at 11am this Friday, so take some strategy time out and you just might discover that TRUST is central to your strategy.

Lets talk “LOVE strategy” said in a kinda husky welsh Barry White tone…

Now before you think I’ve gone bonkers… hang in there, this really is strategic but for your life.

Those who know me and know my message, you know at my very core my message is to Build Purposeful business, and Purposeful Lives and Live with No Regrets. This came from my own “special moment” in life when I nearly decided to end my life, as I had built the wrong business and the wrong life based out of ego and greed.

That story has many angles and if you want to learn a little more, there are two great interviews full of insights, conducted by some great people (London Real & Lilou Mace) at www.thestrategyman.com.

But that isn’t the purpose of this message, this is about LOVE.  The very essence of what saved me in my darkest moment was Love. The Love of my daughter (the only one I had at the time, but since upgraded to Three!)

So LOVE is very important to me. My family is the core of everything I do.

My question is whether it is to you?!

For you it maybe your wife, husband and children. It might be your boyfriend, girlfriend or special friend.  Or it could just be your close friends or pets right now.  But most people will nod happily and say that love is core to their life.

The question is, does your life reflect this? Are you making Love a priority?

Most people will put it as #1 and yet if you look at the time, energy, money and focus they give it, it ranks way down…. Sometimes right down at the ground

As we get busier and busier, and the more we gaze into these mobile phone screens and feel like we are super connected, I feel like the world as a whole is disconnecting from the true essence of love.  We get so busy that don’t we really spend the quality time with our loved ones that they deserve.  And even if you make the time, are you really there? Are you truly present?

I’ve noticed this so many times, I am with my wife and children, but I find myself on my iphone checking emails or Facebook.   That’s not being present, that is being a warm body in the vicinity.  So last year I introduced “Special Time”

This is the time that when I am with my wife, I am with her 100%.  When I am with my children, I am with each of them 100%, one by one they all get special time and now this is THE most precious time of the week.  My children now want it all the time and all I hear is ”daddy when is special time?”

So what do I do in special time? Whatever, its totally free, usually drawing, playing, painting, building stuff with my kids or walking, coffee, dinner, spas or snogging with my wife lol.   It doesn’t matter what the activity is, what matters is your full 100% presence.  We do it for clients, we do it for meetings, yet we don’t do it for the ones we truly love.

Let’s not build businesses and careers that disconnect us from what’s most important, this is the one area that if you don’t get focus on you will regret. I know when I meet the maker, I will not be thinking about how much more I should have been working it will be how much more I should have been LOVING.

So if your Love Strategy is something you want to work on – then check out my super exciting news!

Recently, I have co-authored a chapter in an upcoming book called Successful Living & Successful Marriage, which will become a global sensation, with no other than my good friend Jose Gomez (globally renowned in the relationship space) and no other than my hero and legend, Jack Canfield.

love book

Seriously cool hey!!! I was so honored for the invitation to be part of such a super group.  The eBook is released today, so you are one of the first to know, and I’ve read the other chapters they are amazing.

You can download your FREE copy here:

http://bit.ly/1kOIXsU

Enjoy!

Living the Jet Set Lifestyle…. Do you have the business that you set out to create?

If you are anything like me you became an entrepreneur because you wanted to:

  • Be your Own Boss
  • Do more of what you Love
  • Earn more money
  • Spend more time with your loved ones
  • Live the lifestyle of your dreams with all of the toys and luxuries

So how’s that going for you?

The most common thing I see with clients is that they end up having:

  1. Too much responsibility and hate being the boss
  2. They only do what they love about 30% of the time as they are busy doing everything else in the company
  3. They get paid last!  And they have normally invested a lot of their own money in to the company
  4. They work weekends and night so they hardly see their loved ones
  5. Their ideal lifestyle is on hold… but it always feels so far out of reach.

A lot of this pain results from TIME… something that over the years I have been able to master and I would love to share my top tips with you.

Download my TIME MASTERY FOR ENTREPRENEURS report (which I charge my clients £2000 to do with me!) and get back in control of your lifestyle.

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Every business needs to grow CONSTANTLY but who is stretching you?

There has never been a more important time in history where the ability to GROW, ADAPT, CHANGE are THE most important ingredients in current and future success. The world is changing so fast and technology is emerging quickly.  Which is super exciting but also super scary.

I realised recently (actually I was told by one of my mentors,  as couldn’t see it myself) The consistent key to my OWN success in all of my roles in life, is that I am “extremely teachable” and I have mentors. And if your own coach/mentor doesn’t have one then I would run a mile – even Bill Gates has Warren Buffet as a mentor!  Im not sure who Warren’s is… Maybe God?

Being the Strategy Man I have taken mentorship to another level as I currently have 5 mentors, all in different areas of my life:

Stu Mittleman supports my adventure training and endurance (arguably one of the greatest endurance athletes of all time)

Darren Shirlaw and Shirlaws UK provide me with a WIDE mentorship around coaching/consulting and train the trainer GLOBALLY (Again one of the greatest coaching organisations in the world and their board is world class)

Brendon Burchard is my marketing mentor (he is the greatest online marketing guys for people who are considered experts)

Bo Eason is my speaking mentor which I am stepping up massively this year (Bo is named the WORLDS greatest speaker)

… and I have just acquired my new mentor who I just flew to the states this week to spend time with… Jon Walker the expert in online distribution and digital product launches (The brother of Jeff Walker)

And that’s just this year!  I spend over 6 figures in personal and business growth each year.

mentor collage

So why are mentors so important?  I find that they provide expert industry experience which can fast-track my journey and save me a lot of money, time & stress by learning from theirs. They keep me at the bleeding edge particularly in this SUPER fast-paced world…. And most importantly I LOVE to learn.

I think a major problem for entrepreneurs is that often they don’t know what they don’t know!  So if you don’t have a mentor – how are you supposed to avoid making crucial mistakes or waste resources when there is a much simpler way?

So think of the main area in your life where you have a significant goal but your feel quite lost on how to achieve it… this is THE area in your life that I suggest you get a mentor. What area of business specifically are you weak?  For me it was the train the trainer model – that’s why I partnered with Shirlaws this year and they have it internationally nailed.

Once you know your area of need where do you find mentors?  “Google it!”  Search for experts in that field to discover a match for you. If you are not sure ask us, or post below or ask in the facebook group and get a discussion going. (www.facebook.com/TheStrategyMan)

Be prepared to go that extra mile to work with a really good mentor… that’s why I’ve spent over 50K to work with Brendon Burchard alone & I’m travelling to America regularly to train with Stu, Jon and Bo.

If they are going to give you their valuable insights… you will need to make sacrifices to grow & become GREAT!

One piece of WARNING though – be careful who you choose, and ensure they do have THE RESULTS you seek as there unfortunately is a lot of smoke and mirrors out there.

Happy Hunting and make this year your greatest growth year yet!

 

 

 

 

On Valentine’s Day it’s time to show your clients that you LOVE them.

So do you really LOVE ALL your clients?

If not why not…

Do you ever have the moment when your phone goes and you see the name of a client and your heart sinks and you ignore it because you just can’t face talking to them?

I ask this question a lot from stage and always get lots of nervous laughter – then I tell the audience to fire those customers!

Seriously

I LOVE all of my clients, I really do. And if I don’t I fire them quickly.   This mostly happens due to a mis-match of values and I suggest you do the same.

Life is way too short to to work with people you can’t stand, know your values, what you stand for and select your perfect customers… go on you deserve it.

And if you love them, show it… TODAY!

Think back to a time that you had a WOW moment with a company… I love those unexpected times, when someone goes above & beyond the normal standards to really make me feel that they care & that I am appreciated.  Actually over the last couple of months 2 of my mentors have done this with me by sending surprise packages in the post, which my family, my team & myself have all enjoyed.

So this month I decided to send all of my Top clients and JV partners a retro sweet gift box (containing Love Hearts) to make sure that they know I love them this Valentine’s Day!

final valentines image

So my challenge to you is:

–       To think about your clients/customers as your most valuable asset.  Don’t take them for granted, give them excellent customer service & surprise them every now and again

–       Think of one way to give recognition or a surprise to these customers/clients over the next quarter.  You may be surprised by the response you receive!

–       NB:  Do NOT send a surprise & upsell or promote your services with it… this is purely an exercise to show your appreciation not for self-promotion.

Happy Valentine’s Day… spread the LOVE!

I was privileged to meet Rachel Hanfling in my trip to the states… this woman is AMAZEBALLS!!!

Rachel is to media what I am to mountains…  having co-produced Oprah’s Winfrey’s network (OWN) she is the media strategy person to have in your camp.

This series, which is our guest blog today, helps you dial in your media message whilst watching the Olympics and connect with your audience.

Enjoy the adventure!

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Can you feel it?

Excitement is building for the 2014 Winter Olympics. As a girl who grew up figure skating, I cannot wait!

But it’s not just me…

Over 219 million Americans watched the 2012 Summer Olympics in London making it the most watched event in US TV history.

Wouldn’t you love to attract even a tiny fraction of that attention? Imagine what that would do for your business and your life. Watching the Olympics with the right mindset can get you one step closer to achieving media gold yourself.

I watch the Olympics with my heart…and through the lens of everything I learned in 20 years producing countless celebrities, experts and everyday people for media moguls like Oprah and Anderson Cooper.

That’s why I created this special weekly five part blog series entitled Go For Gold: Your Olympic Media Manual. Consider this series your Olympic viewing companion. This blog is week one.

Rachel Hanfling Go For Gold

Over the next five weeks I will take you inside what I see in the Olympics – and each week you will walk away with actionable strategy and training to become more successful with media, business and throughout your life.

I will break down why the Olympics are must watch TV…and teach you how you can use those lessons to become a must watch communicator in your own life.

Today we begin with why the Olympics attract so much attention.

The Olympics are 17 days of inspiration… the stories of the games make us dream bigger, stretch further and see hope in our own lives. An incredible emotional ride…

TV producers spend years learning how to craft stories and the storytelling you see during the Olympics is among the top in the industry.

There are many ways for you to get attention for your brand and learning from these beautifully produced stories will help you recognize some of the most effective: harnessing emotion, figuring out what details to share, how much to share and learning how to put them together. When you do this well, people will become invested in your story and rally behind your brand.

Here’s your first viewing assignment:
When you watch the games (and the coverage leading up to the games), pay close attention to how the athletes’ stories are put together. Just like for all of us, there are countless details that could be shared. But watch how the producers carefully choose the details that allow us to emotionally connect to the athlete’s Olympic journey. Those pivotal emotional turning points draw you to the athlete’s story and cause you to invest. Also watch the focus of the storytelling. We only see the story points that will move us. Extraneous details that detract from the focus of the story are omitted. That’s how it’s done.

Here’s your five-step process for applying what you watch to your own messaging:

  1. Think about the purpose of your message and write it down. The purpose is the end result you want your audience to rally around. For the Olympics coverage, the purpose is an investment in the athlete and the event because that equals ratings. For you, the purpose is usually to sell your brand, product, book or cause.
  2. Make a list of key points in your life and business that brought you to your purpose. Look at what is most compelling. Most relatable. Most unique. Most emotional. Look for the hardships and the triumphs.
  3. Eliminate extraneous details that do not connect directly to your purpose.
  4. Think about how you can authentically explain your key points in the most succinct, compelling, dramatic way leading straight to your purpose. Write that down.
  5. Actively test your message on others. See where they connect and where you lose them. Do they care? Do this as often as possible and keep honing your message with every delivery.

Keep these 5 steps in mind as you watch and tune in next week to learn how YOU can get a piece of the Olympic spotlight. You don’t want to miss that.

http://rachelhanfling.com

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So we are nearly at the end of January and you will have just got to the bottom of the new year resolution emails in your inbox.  Don’t worry… I’m not going to add to them, they are mere whims.  I am more interested in BIG Vision, Awesome Strategy and Superb execution.

You’ll always hear me harping on about your purpose in business and in life and encouraging you to do what you LOVE! So now is the time to think about what is the BIG THING for you. What’s the one MA-HU-SIVE vision you want to bring into reality this year?

Think about something that gets you excited, but also something that will STRETCH you, CHALLENGE you for 2014 and then let’s get clear on the strategy of how you will achieve it.

My passion is adventure and I want to inspire you to set yourself a BIG VISION… Have a look at this weeks video which is part of my strategy for my BIG CHALLENGE of Everest 2015!!!

The Summit team started our training on a Scottish Munro just before xmas and immediately we were faced with an obstacle.  It was probably the worst weather of the year, blizzard conditions with 100mph winds.  So when we heard the forecast we could have postponed, but we didn’t because the end result means so much to us! And we are all SUPER clear on that.

Everest Training Weekend-2

Think about the BIG Challenge you have set yourself and be aware (if it hasn’t happened already) that you will be tested on how much you want it, and if you give up on the first hurdle, you are not setting a target with emotional commitment. You need to want it really want it!

NOTE:  As this BIG Challenge will be a stretch, break down the target into smaller benchmarks and reward yourself for achieving them – just like we did by having a champagne 3 course dinner on top of the mountain. Watch the video I kid you not!

I would love to hear what your BIG Challenge is for 2014 as there are fantastic followers of this blog who might be able to support you… me included

SO think BIG, set your Vision BIG, get super passionate about it and REALLY REALLY REALLY want it…. Now crack on and make it happen. See you at the top!

I’m going to dispel a few myths about work/ life balance and what people say and don’t say about it. Whilst we’re about it let’s dispel a load of myths; there’s no Santa Clause, there’s no tooth fairy and there are no leprechauns either. Let’s just get it all out on the table and be done with it! But there is a tooth fairy; I was it last week for my little daughter whose first tooth fell out. Apparently teeth cost a pound these days- I think that’s extortionate!

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So are you seeking an illusion? That one day a magical wand will be waved and then everything will just be in perfect balance. I just don’t think life works like that. I know enough people; I have enough cool, amazing friends, from lots of different areas, who I’ve had these conversations with and they all agree with me to an extent. Now, this is coming from the ‘The Strategy Man’, who practices and puts lifestyle into the purpose of strategy on a page for business, and also preaches the three day week and how to a good work/ life balance. So, how can I say this? It’s just sacrilege!

Well, what I am saying is that it’s never perfect. It just kind of ebbs and flows. But understand that we create it, if you think one day it’s just going to happen, good luck, because it probably won’t. The reason I have the lifestyle that I’ve got now and the business that I have built around it is because I created it very, very consciously. I sat down and I realised what I wouldn’t put up with and what I would accept. What I wanted in my life and what I didn’t.

I consciously structured my days around that; Monday’s are typically filming days and doing creative stuff; I am a lot more close to home, I can do stuff with my children, go running and do all that kind of good stuff. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I work in London typically, or around the world- this is when I usually do my flying around the world. Friday’s are adventure time for me, I am out on the hills; you’ll probably hear me running around the hills if I call you!

Closeup calendar page with drawing-pins
So, just understand that this was created, it didn’t just happen magically. I didn’t just wave a magic wand to build my life, I worked on it, and it took years to build up to the lifestyle that I live today. It’s the 80/20 balance, and equally not all weeks are equal, some weeks will just be rubbish. Recently, we’ve had August which is always an easier month, and then September which is an awful month for balance with lots of speaking events- and is extremely. I make sure that I carve out that time in between, but there are some weeks when I won’t get the three day week and I have to just nail it for five and I have to just take back that time somewhere else; that’s the important bit.

So understand that you have to map out what the perfect balance is to you and start thinking about what that looks like. For the purpose of this blog let’s start focusing on the week, think about your week and map what the perfect balanced week is for you.

Now I want to see the following elements in there; obviously business, and the different elements of business. So I am looking at;

• Where’s your action time?
• When are you actually doing stuff and earning the money?
• Where is your creative time in the business?
• Where’s your strategic/planning time?
• Where’s your other time, you need for your admin!

Make sure you are clear about what comes where in your business. But then, what do you want in your down time? Do you want your weekends clear? Do you want to have time with your children? Do you want to have time with your family? If you haven’t got children; do you want to be dating at the weekend- trying to find that future family?! What about health; how are you looking after yourself? Don’t feel that you have to go down the gym and just run for the sake of running. Do what you love to do- go play tennis, go swimming; do whatever you love!

But just take the time to carve out and create the perfect week; and then within that, create the perfect day. I have been working off the perfect week and the perfect day for years now and I am constantly cleaning and refining it. But start thinking, what is your perfect week? What is your perfect day? Once you have outlined this, try to make it happen and if it doesn’t work next week, then work towards it. Just slowly but surely get into that 80/20 scenario. I am about 80/ 20; 80% of the time I am living the right lifestyle and 20% it goes a bit off but I make sure that I am aware of this so that I can bring it back into alignment again.

So that’s why there is no such thing as a work/ life balance. It ebbs and flows; weeks change and it’s never perfect. But if we create it and go for the 80/ 20 rule, that’s as good as it gets I think and it’s a really cool way to master life!

What does ‘sweating your assets’ actually mean? Some of you will already get it as it’s a good old business term that very much came out of the manufacturing industry. Usually it’s thought about in terms of machinery, buildings and physical stuff and are you really using it, are you using it fully, are you sweating your assets fully? Hence me in the sauna in the three piece suit! Believe me we had some weird looks when we did this – and yes I did wreck the suit afterwards in the swimming pool, but that’s in another blog!
So what does this mean to you in the business world? Let’s break this out in assets terms.
Firstly what are you assets? Let’s take the three main groups of assets in this terminology.

home

1. Buildings. If you own a building, or you use or rent a large space, you want to be sweating this space and getting the most out of it as it’s a fixed cost. For example clients of mine have cafes/restaurants which they have to pay the rent.. So if they decide to just do a dinner menu that’s fine but maybe they could do breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. The rent is already paid on one of them so you may as well sweat the asset through the rest of the time. Leveraging building capacity is a huge one. Can you use the space more? Can you use it in the evenings or the mornings? Often you see cafes and bars start doing breakfast, with what they were already doing the rent is already paid for; but anything else they do on top is profit. That’s what sweating your assets is, you get to a point with assets, where anything else on top of that is just profit.

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2. The next piece is Machinery. If you buy large expensive pieces of kit you really want to use them, like I am doing now in front of the camera! You wouldn’t believe the kit we have here, we have invested in this as we use it a lot – we are sweating the assets of the technology we are buying. A client of mine is in printing and they have massive printing machines, if you have a machine like this you want it printing all the time, if it’s just sitting there to be used just at 4pm, it’s not being used well. Before you buy expensive pieces of kit – think! Make sure you are sweating it properly and you are going to use it. A lot of people buy expense toys and kit without thinking through the full optimisation of why they are buying it, it may actually make sense to rent it beforehand. We did that with our video work for example. We hired in video for a long time before we knew we were getting the capacity for it and it made sense to buy our own.

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3. The less obvious side of assets is in the service industry, and that’s people. For a lot of us, including my company, people are our biggest assets. Are you sweating your people assets? This is not about slave driving them and making them work to the grind stone– it’s about maximising the capacity of people. There are lots of good things you can do here. For example the web & marketing company I work with have lots of projects with many people working on them, looking at this how do you know if the people working on the projects are working to their full capacity, where are they spending their time, which of their projects is profitable? A good tool for creative and operations people to manage the time of their people is ‘Stream time’ a great project/time management resource, this is just one resource from many available. What I want you to think about is how is how are you measuring your assets and are you really sweating your assets? If not why not? Think about the future, how can you do it more and how can you do it moving forwards? This will help you with recruitment decisions and when you could purchase rather than hire. It impacts a lot of decisions around the business

Ask yourself some tough questions and drive your strategy forwards with BGI Strategy on a Page.

How big are your business balls?

I hope the picture for this blog brought a smile to your face… I thoroughly enjoyed the photo-shoot, although my ops and marketing directors nearly didn’t let me – so I’m glad I sneaked it past them!

We are going to talk about risk today, there’s this myth amongst entrepreneur’s and business owners that we are all massive gamblers and risk takers because you have to be. Interestingly over the years I have found this not to be the case.

Don’t get me wrong, in my 20’s I was a risk taker, especially in my early businesses I was much more of a gambler in business. Now, from what I see in business, we entrepreneurs are risk mitigators, that’s what we do.

However there are two extremes:-

1)     One extreme are The Gamblers, the roll of the dice people.  I was once told a great a great story by a friend of mine who was 5th generation aristocracy.  His grandma lost a lot of fortune on betting on flies on the wall – she would literally bet on whether they would take off or stay on the wall! She lost thousands and this was back in the early 1990s!

gambling

Although, it’s a lot better odds than a lot of business people are taking, as at least you have a 50/50 chance a fly is going to take off!

2) On the other side you have Extreme Perfectionism. Every ‘T’ has to be crossed every ‘I’ dotted before you move on.

Neither work alone – there is a spectrum; the question is where should we sit? I believe there is a grey area in the middle where we should sit. We should class ourselves as risk mitigators and that’s the point of strategy to mitigate risk.

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Lots of people look at me and my adventures and think I’m a massive risk taker – this couldn’t be further than the truth, it’s about risk mitigating. When I investigated climbing Denali I found out that Insurers won’t cover you to go up the mountain and you have to get special cover. When you find out you have to get specialist cover you know you are taking a risk. There are other areas you look into the seasons, the kit you will need, etc. to mitigate the risk. There is a higher risk of having a car accident than an accident when mountaineering but only if you mitigate the risk.

When up a mountain, like business, choose life! Don’t take risks and gamble your whole company on things.

Risk is never predictable, you can mitigate as much as you can but sometimes you have to do something.


In 2008 I faced the perfect storm in business- if you remember at this time there was the property market collapse. We managed to predict this would happen and stepped in afterwards (with the perfect strategy and timing). Looking back the risk was mitigated brilliantly, the banks backed us and people thought we were clever as we predicted the collapse. BUT, even then risk wasn’t perfect, what we didn’t predict were the banks collapsing.

Strategy is never perfect, risk is never perfect.

It was a bad time, the banks when down and I went bankrupt.

Looking back would I do the same again – yes!

The reason is, is that the information I had at time was correct and told us to make that call, the only thing we couldn’t predict was the banks collapsing.  The only perfect science is hindsight, sometimes you have to learn from mistakes and move forwards.

There is always something we can’t see, we can’t predict the future perfectly and we have to make a call.

Sometimes the biggest risk is not taking a risk and not doing anything – regret. When I go out on the final whistle I would much rather live with failure than regret,

10 years ago we lost my father unexpectedly – it was very hard. The really sad thing was the regret that went with it -he died with his dreams intact. He failed early in life and he never came back from it. I don’t want to do this, and I encourage you not to do the same.

You’ll make some failures along the way, I’ve made loads. Understand that ‘how big are your business balls’ is about mitigating the risk as much as possible. Be careful and make sure it doesn’t sink you. If you are going to take a risk and the worst that will happen is you will fail and you can move on -fine, if it will kill you and your business – no, think very carefully.

What does risk mean to you, where are you on the spectrum?  Rolling dice on flies on the wall or doing nothing?

BGI Strategy on Page helps you mitigate that risk, plan, give you clarity and certainty.

We’ve created some great free training resources on this, so sign up and come and join the revolution in strategic planning.

‘Are you running blind in your business?’

I see this a lot in small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. Usually if the passion element of purpose is in place they are running really enthusiastically, but often blindly, and sometimes into a brick wall or off a cliff! I want to talk to you today about what does running blind mean?

There are 4 elements of ‘blindness’ or ‘blind-spots’ in business where I see the bigger issues occur.

Let’s explore them in terms of adventure…

I’m an adventurer, I love my adventure and endurance events, and the same principles occur as those in business.

1) Do you have a destinationpoint? If you are climbing a mountain or running a marathon, you need to know where you are going – an end point. Another example is if you are planning a trip or holiday you need a destination point. So, what’s your destination point in business? It sounds simple but most people don’t know and most business don’t have adestination point. Stephen Covey said it brilliantly with“begin with the end in mind”. In business what is this end in mind? In BGI Strategy on a Page terms we talk about this as Purpose – why do you exist as a company and what does the exit look like?

So really – where are you going as a business, what is the destination and what does the endresult look like? If you don’t know and don’t have one you’re running blindly. You’re in a hamster wheel, doing stuff but not sure where it’s allgoing.

That’s the first blind spot – knowing the destination.

2) Next, you know where you’re going, so you need a map so you can work out how to get there – that’s strategy. Strategy is the map. Some people don’t know where they are going or have a map to get there, so they have no plan. If you don’t have a plan you can go round in circles not knowing how to get there even if you have a clear destination.

That’s the second blind spot – having a map/strategy.

3) The third blind spot in business is choosing the right vehicle. Keeping with the adventure theme, let’s say you have your destination point as New York, you have a map and then you choose a push bike to get there. If you start in the UK that bike won’t get you to New York, a bike won’t get you across the ocean – you chose the wrong vehicle!It’s all about choosing the right vehicles in business. Vehicles areelements of strategy, sometimes the vehicles are the people to get you to the destination,  sometimes the vehicle is the system or structure and sometimes it’s is the strategy.

So, you need the destination, the road map and the right vehicle.

Like travel like business.  So think about what vehicles andwhat models you have got in place in your business. Have you got the right people(are they the right vehicle)?

If you put these things together you start to get clarity and destination and you are no longer running blind in business.


Here’s the kicker.

The above things are the more obviousin business, there is something else to think about.

Even if you have the first three; you have themap, destination point, the vehicles. Now what’s your dashboard?

For example, you’ve chosen New York as your destination, got amap, and identified that there’s an ocean, so you know you are going to need a ship or planeas your vehicle.

Now (whatever vehicle you are in) you have to check your dashboard.

For example in an airplane you want to know what height you’re at or you could fly into something.  If in you’re in a boat you want to know about the tides and your speed.

4) You need to measure the right thing because even if you have a clear destination point, you have a map of getting there and you have the right vehicle you can still crash and spectacularly if you get it wrong. In business examples can include running too fast, measuring the wrong thing or being guided in the wrong way

That’s what I’m talking about when I ask are you running blind in your business? BGI Strategy on a Page created an app around these points.

Purpose starts you at your destination point – where you’re are going with the business.  Thenyou create your road map –that’s the strategy element to help you get there. Then we helpyou to get the right vehicles/strategies/ values etc. We make sure the vehicles are in place to get you there.We hold you accountable on the journey but most (andperhaps more importantly), with business growth indicators,we measure the progress. That’s your dashboard and helps you prevent crashing the business unnecessarily on the way.

So, ask yourselfa question ‘are you running blind in your business?’

Think about the 4 points inbusiness:

  • Are you clear in your destination?
  • Do you have a strategy and map?
  • Have you chosen the right vehicle?
  • Areyou measuring the right things?

We want to help you take theblind fold off, get clarity and give you a clear vision and direction of where you are going.

Now,we have producedloads of resources around this.  If you haven’t already go sign up to BGI Strategy on a Page Fast Track programme (enter link). In this are two hours of training that will go through the purpose elements in more detail to get you clear of destination points and take you through the 5 criticalareas of strategy. It’s my gift to you.

It’s all about bringing strategy making it excitable, fun and bringing it alive.

Come and join the revolution in strategic planning!