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Friday, 13 November 2015

20 Minutes of Inspirational Leadership from a Teenager you should not miss.

When young Jake Bailey discovered he was going to die in a few weeks, it did not stop him giving a Head Boy (Senior Monitor) speech that would inspire his classmates and the world at large.

Amazing for his age. Admirable for his courage and Alluring for its content. Something for all leaders to learn from. Something for us all to learn from.

Best Wishes

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Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Why do Graduates run off to join the circus?

Is it pay or the quality of the work that leads us to choose one job over another? Are our young graduates really wanting boring jobs?

An newspaper article was headed "Debt forcing graduates into boring jobs" The University of Bath, Professor of Political Economy Hugh Lauder claims that students are opting for more solid jobs which do not require a degree because they are constantly having to look over their shoulders [due to the debt they have incurred doing a degree]. (The Daily Telegraph Thursday November 5th).

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

I often wonder if people reflect their newspapers, or newspapers reflect the people.
Apparently the Daily Mail is the most successful on line newspaper.
Yet all it can do, or should I say, all its journalists can do, is get cheap headlines by knocking two institutions that British people respect.  The BBC and The Fire Service.

Serprise, surprise or surpize

If educators do not value correct spelling then it's not surprising that when children leave school and apply for a job that there are mistakes in their Curriculum Vitae, or CV for those that cannot spell.

Adzuna Research has shown that a third of CV's had a spelling error.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

What Politicians can teach you about business

With the General Election our politicians are working flat out to sell you their story and securing your vote. So what can you learn from them to make your business better and manage things better?

Friday, 20 March 2015

Social Media is a waste of time

Over the past 2 years I have dabbled with all forms of social media. You name it, I have tried it.

Facebook * Twitter * Blogger * Google+ 
* Linkedin
 * Buffer * Feedly
 * Hootesuite * You Tube * Vimeo

I have read books, spent hours learning all the terms and techniques. I have followed blogs and experts. I have learned the 7 top tips for writing posts on LinkedIN, the 10 Big tips for blogging by Rutger's University.

I have learned about Search Engine Optimisation, Backlinks, Hashtags and Keywords.

Yes, I have had some successes 680 contacts on LinkedIN, 153 followers on Twitter. I have written 1300 tweets, 40 or so blog posts (2-3 a month). 

Now, experts will tell you this is probably not enough, that you need to do more.

My point is that if you are a small business or charity or social enterprise, social media is not free from cost. It takes a lot of time and a lot of effort to make any real progress.

Before you even open a social media account you need to:

1) Be clear who your target audience is.
2) Know what social media they prefer
3) Be clear exactly what you want to do with social media
4) Be prepared to put some time and effort into it or pay a professional.

Target Audience

You need to have a clear customer profile, different audiences use different media. 

Know your Social Media

This infographic was produced by Leverage (new age media).com and shows some useful characteristics to help you decide which platforms best suit your organisation.

Know what you want to do 

First thing to ask yourself is why. Why do you want to engage with social media?

Are you trying to drive people to your website or want to engage with them to build relationships? Tools like Twitter may be all you need to get people to visit your website. If your product/ service is more personal or involved then you might want to look a relational sites like Facebook, LinkedIN or Google+.

The important thing is you need to build useful content, you have to have something worthwhile to say. Digital marketing company Marketo say the "posting for the sake of posting can actually hurt your chances of being seen".  

If your product/service benefits from being seen then video might be a good way of doing this and so You Tube might be a better option.

DIY or Pay?

Even if yo have a lot of ideas for content you still need to get a good understanding of the technicalities especially Search Engine Optimisation.  There are excellent sites like SEO BOOK where you can learn all about it.

The thing most people do not appreciate is the point that it is easy enough to create an internet presence but hard to get people to see it.

A colleague of mine wanted to launch some management training and came up with a powerful title, but when I typed in his words we had 36 million results! After some lengthy discussions he agreed with me the best option was not to create a website but just set up an account in LinkedIN.


Social Media can be a big waste of time if you do not do it properly. Don't assume you have to go social, traditional marketing may well be the best for you. If you think it could help then:

1) Appreciate the points above
2) Play with one platform at a time.
3) Be prepared to put time or money into it.
4) Watch this short 2min video, you will understand the things a bit better.

Best Wishes

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Friday, 21 November 2014

Do you know the difference between USP and VP?

USP has been around since the 1970's, if not before and when I asked some students to identify some, this is what they came up with:

  • "One of the unique aspects of this business in comparison to other sandwich shops is that it will deliver."
  • "Using a unique selling point of premium, yet affordable menswear, something that few of the competitors can provide"
  • £+"Deliver a superior customer experience in baby product retailing at a lower price" 
Now apart from none of these being really "unique" propositions, the common theme is all are around what the company does for the customer.

The "Value Proposition" approach is about what value the client gets from dealing with you.


So, where do you begin. 

Firstly you need to be clear who your customers are. It is not sufficient to say "Businesses" or "House Owners" or Senior Citizens. You need to go in deeper and be clear which segments you are interested in. 

Small businesses within 50 miles of your office
High income house Owners
Active Senior Citizens under 80 years of age

For each segment you need to know what their needs are. Apart from the basic ones of food, shelter, clothing, warmth etc. you need to understand:
  • What tasks can you help them with. 
  • What social needs they may have (image, power, status). 
  • What emotional issues they may have (security, love, stress).
 As mentioned in the Simon Sinek video, in an earlier post , "people do not buy for rational reasons" they buy because it feels right: so ignore these more in depth psychological issues at your peril.

Now the real value start to shine. Having established your customer's  needs you then have to identify what difficulties they may have in getting these needs satisfied (pains), and what benefits they would expect (gains).


For a more detailed prompter on these issues download our handout by following the instructions on our Online Course Management Forum Topic

Finally, you then have to look at how you can relieve these pains and create extra gains.


For a more detailed prompter on what your Pain Relievers and Gain Creators should do, download our handout by following the instructions on our Online Course Management Forum Topic

So, you should now have a good idea how your product or services may provide value to your customers and be clear on what your offer is and how it is unique or better than what is offered elsewhere.

Best Wishes

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