Time For Some Rose Tinted Biz Inspiration

It’s Sunday and as well as having submitted my Tax Return (Phew, frog successfully eaten!) I have had quite a fab weekend fairly major spring cleaning – I am feeling thoroughly pleased with myself. The 9 year olds room took, quite literally, HOURS ūüėČ

Anyway, now for a little bit of writing but I am not feeling too serious so thought I would enjoy myself with a slightly irreverent look at some Entrepreneurial inspiration.

Well, we all need a little bit of a pick me up every now and then! 

And, what better way to bounce into a new week?

It’s My Life

One that I think every small business person will appreciate. Because everyone always has an opinion, a way they could do it ‘better’ than you. But that’s not your path, your business, your way. Only a fool dismisses genuine advice without due consideration but if you have made a decision have the courage of your convictions.

mylife

Marketing is really just flirting

A lot of people seem to get quite worried about marketing their business but the principles are quite simple … you are just telling people about your business, your passion. Remember those dating days? Get up, dress up, put your best foot forward and flirt! And make sure you enjoy it, it is meant to be fun!

marketing

I Need To Be Successful Because …

Think about your motivation and use it to drive you. Perhaps it is the freedom from 9-5pm, from the tyranny of wearing ties/ heels, from being made to feel like a square peg in a round hole. Perhaps it is the money, there is no shame in saying so! The reason is immaterial really as it varies for absolutely everyone … just hold onto it and remember your ‘why’ in the inevitable low moments.

expensivethings

You Don’t Have To Explain

One of the things I love about Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses are that they are all different. Everyone has their own take of how to fix the problem in the world that they have chosen to tackle, you don’t need to explain you just need to really understand it yourself.

explain

Strive For Progress

Perfection is not attainable so stop flogging yourself with it. There is always something that can be improved, tweaked, refined. Strive for progress rather than perfection, a little everyday, and you will get where you want to be.

progress

Be Brave, This Is Your Legacy

People often pour scorn on those that they don’t understand – ignore them. Listen to the voices in your head and act on your dreams, they won’t be realised without your action!

damnedmind

4am Know All My Secrets

If you are anything like me you will know why this one is in here. Don’t listen to anything your brain tells you in the middle of the night, it’s bound to be drivel that will dissipate the minute your sip your first coffee in the morning. Remember in the darkest moments that this too shall pass!

nighttime

Finally … Enjoy Yourself

It isn’t always easy dancing to the beat of your own drum but it is worth it, persevere and make sure you enjoy the journey.

rightplace

Small Seeds #6 – Frogs Work As Well As Coffee

Yes, it’s that time of year again.

Time to tell the revenue what you have been up to!

And I just finished munching on that particularly sizeable frog ūüėČ

For anyone wondering what on EARTH I am rattling on about now, don’t worry I’m not losing my mind.

This comes from a productivity philosophy that is about as effective as any I have tried!

If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.

And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.

Mark Twain

I don’t know why my tax return has such a paralysing effect on me!

I’m not usually one for procrastination (I wouldn’t be terribly good at my job then would I?) and as a book keeper I love nothing more than the very defined and ordered nature of doing peoples accounts …

… but something comes over me when it is my own accounts. It rather reminds me of being a teenager again actually, writing endless revision timetables and suddenly having an overwhelming urge to tidy my bedroom rather than sitting down to study for my GCSE exams.

So this morning I sat down and decided to eat that frog rather than have it constantly in the back of my mind for another two weeks in the lead up to the end of the financial year.

Knowing you are avoiding something that is inevitably going to have to be dealt with is a pretty depressing and energy draining experience.

And now, after just a few hours, I have done it ūüôā

YEAH!

And you know what?

I have absolutely no idea what I was worried about.

It wasn’t a particularly arduous task¬†and, to be honest,¬†I even quite enjoyed doing it.

Now I can get on with my life!

So, The Moral Of This Story

Is That

If You Want To

Boost Your Productivity

You Have To

Learn To Appreciate

The Taste Of Frog ūüėČ

 

6 Tips On The Brilliance Of Gantt Charts

I have been running a complicated scheduling project at work this week … lots of senior people with ‘challenging’ diaries having to do lots of things that are dependent upon others also completing complementary actions¬†in a¬†defined order before a very hard stop in May.

Yes, enough to give anyone brain ache!

The scheduling and diary management could be positively nightmarish if not approached in a systematic way!

Fortunately as an experienced Executive Assistant, a born organiser and a trained Prince2 practitioner this is just the kind of project that I find hugely enjoyable and stretching.

However I do understand that for many the first words of this blog will be making them feel light headed and panicky …. not everyone is cut our for project management but small business owners have to employ the skills at some point or another in the interests of advancing their companies goals.

And when the need arises?

You should be aware that¬†a badly run project will end up being more expensive, won’t come in on time and is in serious danger of not being the answer to the problem that you set out to solve.

So, if your business is not big enough yet to employ someone to do this for you here is one way to make sure you are going in the direction that your business needs РI feel a Project Management series coming on!

And now back to Gantt Charts, and their brilliance!

ganttchart

The first thing I did when confronted with this particular project last week?

I started to think about a Gantt Chart.

And before you start to, you don’t need any spectacular and expensive software to put one together. Given that most companies only supply relatively expensive PM software to dedicated Project Managers I have learnt from experience that you¬†really only¬†need Excel and some very basic skills.

For today I am going to focus on the headline benefits but there will be¬†some more practical ‘How To’ Blogs to follow shortly.

1. Clarity

One of the greatest benefits of a Gantt chart is the ability to boil down multiple tasks and timelines into a single document that any stakeholder can easily understand. It simply and simultaneously shows where teams are in a process while giving an overview of the ways independent elements come together.

2. Coordination

One important yet often overlooked part of Project Management is people resource management. A Gantt chart allows you to sequence events with an eye on reducing the potential for overburdening team members. As a very visual medium highlighting how different teams/ tasks intertwine they can also sometimes encourage new partnerships/ collaborations that might not have evolved under traditional task assignment systems.

3. Individual Working Styles

Whilst an overall project/ programme Gantt chart gives a big picture view it has the significant upside of allowing flexibility for the teams working on the various separate elements. Whatever their preferences of time management and working style they can plug their own work habits into the overall project schedule.Some project managers even use combinations of charts to break down projects into more manageable sets of tasks.

4. Better Collaboration

Scheduling and Time Management are one of the major benefits of Gantt charts. One thing that it particularly does is helps teams understand the overall impact of project delays  and can foster stronger collaboration.

5. Flexibility

The ability to issue new versions of charts as your project evolves lets you react to unexpected changes in scope or timeline. Changes as a project progresses are inevitable and all part of the natural evolution and offering a real time and realistic view of a project can help team members recover from setbacks and adjust to changes.

6. Efficiency

Another one of the benefits is the ability for teams members to leverage each other’s deadlines for maximum efficiency. For instance, while one team member waits on the outcome of three other tasks before starting a crucial piece of the assignment, he or she can perform other project tasks. Visualizing resource usage allows everyone to make better use of people, places, and things.

Projects, whatever the size and scope, are simply puzzles to be worked out. Any tool that helps you visualize all of the pieces of that puzzle helps you to make more focused, effective decisions about resources and timetables.

Small Seeds #5 – Spend Time Alone

Time for another Small Seeds blog … this one borne out of the delightful way I am spending my Saturday!

For me spending time alone is not a regular affair, as I suspect will be the case with many.

If we are not with others we are texting, tweeting, phoning, emailing ad infinitum. In this pro-social world silence is a rare gift.

We are always going somewhere or doing something but spending some time with yourself can reap enormous benefits.

Being more in tune with yourself and more relaxed can also make the time you spend with others more enjoyable!

I am having a lovely alone Saturday after a hectic Festive season, with only my sofa, a pile of movies, my laptop and a never ending supply of tea.

Everyone has a different idea of a blissful day, What would you enjoy doing on your own?

There is no pressure as to how well you perform

Day to day life is fraught with expectations of how you should look, how you should act, what you should do and how you should perform.

Everyone needs a break from expectation at some point!

expectation

Your unique brand of creativity flourishes

The brain needs peace and space to wander and roam, creativity is hard in an open plan office!

I get my best thinking done when taking a break from the world.

Creativity.jpg

Gear down, refresh and get ready to tackle the world

We live in a very hectic and noisy world and it’s been a long day, week, month & year.

Everyone needs time to take a breath.

1463832

Quiet time can help you sort through problems

To make headway with prickly problems I’ve always found it is important to get some space from them.

To take a step away and find some perspective.

problems

Become more relaxed and tolerant

Generally, when people and events increasingly appear annoying to you, the more you could benefit from some time on your own!

You have a limited ability to change the world  and people around you.

But you can change your perspective.

I’ve always found that taking time out is essential for balance and calm.

knowyourself

Explore the possibilities for your life

What would you REALLY like to do or achieve?

How can you go about it? What do you need to do to be able to start?

Think things through.

Allow your mind to wander.

Never relegate ANYTHING as impossible.

daydream

Shining Your Light On Twitter

You may have noticed that Twitter is relentless ‚Äď both in noise and speed.

As a small business it is hard to see how you will ever get noticed!

But there is a tool that can really help but many overlook … When used correctly Twitter hashtags are a great way to market your business.

Hashtags make it easier to network, to promote your brand and business, to share your content, to recruit the right people, and to learn and develop your business skills.

Tweets with hashtags get double the engagement compared to those without. And what’s more, if you start using them properly you’ll see your Twitter engagement soar and your social media traffic increase.

Here are¬†just a few¬†of my favourites …

Great for all things with an Entrepreneurial flavour …

#Entrepreneurs

Meet other users who are starting or running their own business

#Innovation

Get tips from industry innovators

#Growth

All things growth and expansion

#StartUps

Advice, news and resources for new businesses

#SmallBiz

#SME

#SmallBusinessUK

#UKBusinessHour

Small business tips and conversations

I am a total Growth and Motivation junkie after all …

#Success

#WontStop

#Mindset

#BeBolder

#Hustle

#Freedom

#FindAWay

#Believe

#Motivate

Leadership always goes down well …

#Leadership

#Inspiration

#LeadFromWithin

#Ambition

#Innovation

More Generic Business Tags…

 #B2B

Business to business

#B2C

Business to consumer

#BizTips

Business tips

#Business

Business news or resource

Some More Specific Business Skills …

The list here is endless, there simply isn’t anything you can’t find a specialist for on Twitter

#Marketing

#Inbound

#Brand

#Copywriting

#ContentMarketing

Marketing news and best practices

#SocialMedia

Social media strategy tips

#Sales

All things sales

#Networking

Tips for networking best practices, both online and offline

Looking for something in particular …

 Try combining these with other hashtags depending on what your interest is

#DIY

Combine this with other hashtags to learn new business skills

#HowTo

Combine with other hashtags to learn new strategies

#Tutorial

Find specific tutorials by combining with other hashtags

Online Networking with your peers …

 And if you are keen on doing some online networking here are some of my favourite National UK Networking hours … there are so many local ones I couldn’t possibly list them all here but they are well worth looking out for.

 #Bizitalk

Used by small businesses as a way of networking and connecting with one another

#BuyBritishBrands

Wednesday 8.30-9.30pm

#ConnectFriday

Friday 10-11am ‚Äď networking for ‚Äėgreen‚Äô businesses

#EcoHour

Friday noon-1pm ‚Äď eco friendly talk

#EnglandHour

Sunday 9-10pm ‚Äď networking hour for English businesses

#FlutterBiz

Wednesday 6-7pm ‚Äď twitter networking within the UK

#HRHour

Wednesday 11am-noon ‚Äď HR networking hour

#MondayMadness

Monday 8.30-9.30pm ‚Äď general UK business

#SmallBizHour

Tuesday 9-10pm ‚Äď networking for small UK businesses

#SpeedNetworking

Saturday 6-7pm ‚Äď networking for UK businesses

#UKBizLunch

Everyday 12-1pm ‚Äď lunchtime networking

#WineOclock

Everyday Monday ‚Äď Friday 6-7pm ‚Äď networking hour for businesswomen

#WomanInBiz

Everyday Monday ‚Äď Friday 6-7pm; and Sunday 8-9pm ‚Äď networking hours for businesswomen