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December 2008
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February 2009

January 2009

Great quotes to get the week started

Last week social media contacts - friends - brought me some jewels of quotes:

Dawid Miracle published this one

"The difference between try and triumph is a little umph!"

(Dawid helps Building Successful Websites for Independent Professionals and Small Business Owners and co-founded The Advisory Gym on Facebook)

Long standing friend Kent Blumberg brought us this one - which made me chuckle

"A procrastinator is someone that can't take now for an answer."

(Kent is an Executive coach: Catalyzing your Growth and and organises tele-seminars on "networking for the shy and not-so-shy".

Are we in for a year of slow but sure action?

Ox Happy New Year! Chinese New Year that is and welcome the year of the Ox.

The second sign in the Chinese Zodiac stands for pragmatic attitudes, hard work and perseverance.

The Ox is associated with building to last, and slow but sure action.

Oxen know they will succeed through hard work and sustained effort and find no truth or benefit in concocting get-rich-quick schemes.
Pragmatic and down-to-earth, Ox people are motivated to work hard and have no respect for lazy or careless people.

Does sound like characteristics we will be needing this year more than ever.

Things will get done. It means focusing on just a few, long-term projects. It also suggests proceeding in a cautious yet determined manner. Finally, it counsels avoiding taking unnecessary risks and yielding to the temptation to seek short-term gains.

You could ask: if it hadn't been for so many yielding to temptation for short-term gains the last few years, we wouldn't be in this recession any way.

The year 2009 will be a period of lasting accomplishments. This is true for individuals, societies and the human race in general. There may be times when motivation appears to be lacking. In fact the big challenge everyone faces is to generate the enthusiasm and desire to act. Those individuals and organisations that do will create enduring benefits for themselves and the world.

All the above 'quotes' are from various 'Chinese horoscope' sites, some from International known online newspapers.
I don't know if you believe in star signs, Western or Chinese, or believe in the 'Predictions' this Chinese New Year will bring. I'll leave that with you, but it does make interesting if not somehow positive reading.

Greetings from an 'Ox' (and double Capricorn - so if you ever wonder why I can be so very stubborn sometimes, blame my signs Smiley9 )

UK Recession = free book offer by Robert Craven

Always one to stay positive - although he still finds it dreadful news - Robert Craven's reaction to the official news is offering his new book for free to every 25th email coming in.

Robert's new book - being printed at the moment - "Beating The Credit Crunch - How to Survive and Thrive in the Current Recession"
is promoted as follows:

"Here is a book with a short shelf-life, hopefully a few months. Realistically it might last a couple of years.

The aim of this book is simple – to show you how to trade your way out of the credit crunch; to make money and get on with your life."

Get one copy for free by emailing Robert Craven (Director of The Directors Centre and author of - amongst other business and marketing advice books - "Kick start your business

Your email should contain the Subject: Free Book and the following 4 pieces of info:

  1. Name
  2. Job Title/Position
  3. Company Name
  4. No of Employees

If you win one of the copies you might be asked to write a review on it. Entry only for UK-based companies and only 1 entry per company - but of course

It's one way to beat the crunch, keeping positive is another. Not with rose tinted glasses or sticking your head in the sand by ignoring the facts around you but by emphasising  your marketing efforts - which I hope you are still doing - on the long lasting benefits your product or services will give your prospect. Making his/her life better, simpler, richer, more efficient etc etc.

In the age of conversation Twitter is lopsided

Twitter's main phraseA month ago tomorrow I relented and created a Twitter account.
Conversations with followers and/or following twitter members limited to 140 characters per message. So far I've 'tweeted' 235 'updates' as a message is called, have 15 followers and I follow 13 fellow twitters. And I even downloaded and donated to TweetDeck - which gives a 'tweet' sound every time one of the twitters I follow tweets a message.

To be honest, still after one month I don't 'get it'. Where's the conversation?
Imagine being in a room with 3 other people, all with a phone in hand while conversing with the others in the room.

Person A tells you something
You reply to person A
Person B answers his phone and you hear what he says to someone he calls person D
Person C replies to person A too.
Person B says person E (not in the room) has written a blog-post
Person A replies to person C's reply
Person C also tell everyone person E (still not in the room) has written a blog-post
Person A tells you she likes your thoughts in the reply you just gave her
Person A tells person F (not in the room) over the phone he should check out this web-site
Person C is ROFL speaking to someone on the phone, lets call him person G
Person B is replying in one go to person C, person D and person E
Person A announces the publication of a new blog-post.

The most messages you, being in the room with the 3 others, hear (see, read) are only one side of the conversations that apparently are going on in the room.
Multiply this with 10 or 100 and you get a cacophony of 1-2-1 short messages and short announcements.

Where's the ongoing, engaging, sharing conversation in this? It feels more like a publicly visible avalanche of direct messages from people you know (follow) to people you don't know in between an avalanche of announcements.

It's not for me. So I will be untweeting.

Meet me in the comment boxes on blogs, in the comment boxes on Facebook or meet me in forums where the whole engaging, ongoing conversation is visible to everyone. That's where I will be, where I will get to know you and share thoughts, ideas and will tell you about things I suspect you might like to know too.

Update 01.03.09: In search of conversations

(It's all down to a learning process, like life itself)

The power and promise of snowdrops

Snowdrops1 Did you ever see little snowdrops forcing their unstoppSnowdropsable way through inches of snow? No matter how cold or fierce the weather forecast is, those snowdrops just keep popping up: powerful, unstoppable, full of promise of better and warmer times.

And at the same time you will hear:
"Nah, winter will take a turn for the worst yet."

As if positive glimpses are not to be trusted and should be covered with even worse forecasts.

"I see a few green shoots of economic recovery" - Barones Vadera


Figures and Facts: there's comparing and there's comparing

Comparing number of products on cheapest priceFor months now Asda Supermarket is pestering TV-viewers with the same ad: comparing the number of cheapest products between the 4 big supermarkets in the UK and surprise, surprise - Asda always has the most products cheaper than the others.

Tesco just continued with their normal ads during this 'onslaught' from the Independent Supermarket Price Checker - week after week.

Tescocomparison But now Tesco's had enough and launched their own comparison ad - which when I saw it first made me chuckle really: also comparing price and products but in a different way.

From Tesco's own website:
We compare price on products our clients buy, welcome to Tesco REAL BASKETS

There are facts and facts and there are figures and figures, any economist and accountant can tell you that, but does all these facts and figures add up in the end?
What should really be compared to state honestly your business is cheapest (best, quickest, largest etc). Above example is a good explanation of this principle - what is being compared and does the comparison truly bring a benefit to your prospect/client or not?

Reminds me of a wooden floor we installed some years ago. 3 Rooms were done at the same time and the next door neighboor of our client had just bought a supply and install service for the same 3 rooms from another business (Timberland). After both homes were finished of course the two neighbours compared floor, prices etc. The type and quality of both floors appeared to be roughyl the same - although our clients insist until this day their floor is much nicer.
Timberland was/is known for its offer of 3 rooms for the price of 2 (smallest room for free) and our client's neighbours really thought they had come out best - until total prices were compared: even with the 3 for 2 offer they had paid more than our clients.

Goes to show again: know the facts behind the figures of any comparison before declaring a 'winner'.

(Side-note: our client's neighbours still buy their maintenance prodcuts from us, Timberland had failed to leave them with maintenance instructions - which are a 'standard' issue at our business, back-end sales etc.)

The coldest New Year's Eve ever - we think

Happy New Year! May it be a healthy, peaceful and prosperous one for all of us! May it have a better start than we, here in Charing, ended 2008: cold, cold and very cold!

We had a lot of finishing/preparing work planned for New Year's Eve, but alas. On Tuesday around 5.45pm the whole Village turned pitch black: power-cut! And that on the coldest night of the year!
We saw that around 11pm parts of the Village got their electricity back on - not us.

On New Year's Eve we woke up to a house temperature of 14 degrees Celsius (57 degrees in 'old money' - Fahrenheit)! I hoped it would be better in our showroom, but not so: only 12 degrees there. So.... the old ways became our 'new ways': open fire to try to keep warm, boiling water in a pan for coffee, pen and paper to write webpages and blog-posts and finding batteries for the radio.

We feared we would enter 2009 shivering, but around 3.30pm - almost 22 hours in the cold - all the power came back on.

(And so I'm catching up with some of the work on New Years Day ;-))