So it’s that time of year again folks – The snow has rolled in and rolled out again and a new year is round the corner. I can’t believe it was a year ago I wrote my round up post for 2009! For those of you who missed it, I write a summary post each year on the things that changed my life for the better. I hope that in amongst the points, there will be some that you can use to improve your own life for the better, after all this blog is about you guys, not me.
Here’s 2010 coming up.
1) Stephen Coveys Book – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (aff link)
This book has been around for years and I’ve had it on my ‘to read’ list for some time now. I finally got around to reading it this month and I have to say, of all the business books I’ve read (and I read quite a lot), this one is awesome – a real ‘lightbulb moment’ read. In fact, I felt it was so important, that after reading it, I emailed my staff and offered to buy a copy personally for anyone who wanted to read it. I can’t possibly summarise the whole thing here, but if building your business and relationships is important to you then don’t question it, buy it today (It’s like £7 so don’t hang around) and let me know how you get on.
2). YourJobsBoard – http://www.yourjobsboard.co.uk/exeter/
As a bit of a serial entrepreneur I came up with a new business venture this year which aims to change the face of local recruitment. The search engines are going local – You’ll have probably noticed that Google Places is far more prominent (thats the map and pinpoints) and smart phones can geo-locate you (find out where you are) easily in an attempt to offer up content that’s relevant to your area. For this reason, we have built a truly local Jobsite for our town of Exeter. This aims to take on the faceless national jobsites and provide good quality content for the Exeter area. It focuses on the strong links we have with institutions in the area including Exeter University, Exeter Council, Connexions and all the local recruiters and companies looking to advertise their jobs cost effectively. If you’re based in Exeter then make sure you get your jobs on the site asap as it’s currently free for companies to post. Charities will always be able to post their jobs for free.
3). Sandler Training
There is always room to improve. The top athletes in the world have coaches so there should be no pride lost in business coaching of any kind. This year we made the jump and I enrolled on the Sandler Sales Management course. Having started my business at the age of 19 and 11 years on finding myself in charge of more than 10 staff, I’ll openly admit that management was not my strong point. I recognised that, so wanted to better myself. I’m now working with a guy called Andy McCreadie in Exeter on a monthly basis, specifically in sales training and sales management. I’ve learnt so much in the few months I’ve been working with Andy, most noticeably about finding the right clients, qualifying, saying no, shortening our sales cycle and understanding that behaviours drive targets, not the other way around. Sandler offer sales training and management courses all over the world. If you are starting a business yourself or even a few years down the line then I can thoroughly recommend the Sandler guys. If you’re in the Westcountry then let me know if you’re interested in meeting Andy and I’ll set it up for you.
4). My MacBook Pro
I can’t say much more than I’ll never go back to a non apple laptop. Nuff Said! Check out their online store for the latest products.
5). Inbound Marketing Practices
I started practicing true ‘Inbound Marketing’ properly this year, having been dabbling the year before. If you’re unfamiliar with the term it’s essentially where you give value away in return for peoples details (which become leads). You entice people to you by proving your credibility and authority. This year we launched two pieces of fantastic Inbound Marketing Collateral. The first was our social media survey. After 6 or so months of surveying businesses, we collated and crunched the data we had and spent quite a bit of money on producing a glossy 32 page booklet displaying the results which we have been giving away freely in both hard copy format to local businesses and online to anyone who wishes to view the information. We also produced a tool for creating a free social media policy you can give to your staff. We simply ask for details of people who download it in return for the document which we brand up with their logo and company details. Since launching this just a few weeks ago and without much marketing, we’ve had over 50 companies use the policy – all bona fide leads for my business. Think what you can give away today in order to build leads.
6). Travelling on Trains rather than Driving
I used to drive everywhere. I love driving. It’s my favourite. However, when I realised how much time I was spending in a car and not able to work, it frightened me. I now travel by train whenever possible and if its at a weekend then the 1st class upgrade is well worth it at anywhere between £5 and £20 extra a journey. This might sound obvious for the train crew already but Im sure there are other people out there with businesses not realising quite how much you can do if you turn to train travel.
Ok so I included Lizz last year (my girlfriend for those of you who don’t know) but she is so important to my life that I need to include her again. All I’ll say this year, is that once again, I recognised on a few occasions how important it is to have a strong support network behind you when the chips are down. I had a great year in 2010 but we all have off days and sometimes it can get quite stressful. When that happens to me, Lizz is always there for me. Thank you Lizz x
Now Your Thoughts
- So what changed your life this year?
- Who and what made an impact on your 2010?