Tuesday, 29 July 2008

No More ‘To Do’ Lists #8

No more ‘To Do‘ Lists item 8 is


The world will not grind to a halt if you are not there to take every call. In fact customers might treat you with a bit more deference if you ration your available time with a bit more respect for what is really important.

Your Mobile Addiction! - blog entry
Blackberry Stats - blog entry

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Lusaka, Zambia

Returning to Zambia has been a delight.

I did a 'More Profit' session to an audience that was predominantly members of ACCA (accountants) and members of the Management Express Forum. Again the issue of putting prices up was very controversial - lots of debate and discussion. How can this concept be applied in Lusaka? What would happen?

On the following day we did a full 'Kick-Start Your Business' full-day session. All the material was received with great warmth and enthusaism and again the pricing debate kicked in.
"How can Nando's charge three time more for the same beer and the same chicken as a local restaurant yet be full all night?"

And the answer is in the 'Kick-Start' and 'Bright Marketing' 'ologies':
- "Nature is brutally honest..."
- "Marketing is not a battle of the product but for the mind of the customer..."
- "Why should people buy from you when they can buy from the competition?"
- "Its all about branding..."
- "If there's a choice between being different or being better then different wins every time..."

At the end of the day, the MD of a fast food outlet as well as a local businesswoman came up to me and explained that they had both nervously put up prices in their businesses... there had been no noticable change in trade - if anything some of the difficult customers had left and some nicer ones had replaced them.


More Profit - seminar

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

The Leopard...

Just come back from the most amazing safari experience - three days in Northern Botswana (Okuti Lodge, Okakavango/Moremi Game Reserve) - while there I was shown this wonderful Zulu proverb. It sums up the whole Bright Marketing 'ology'.

'Ingw idla ngamabala'
The leopard eats by means of its spots
If one wants to succeed, one must develop characteristics that distinguish one from others

So maybe the book should have a leopard on its front cover!

PS All the webpages claim "Camp Okuti is enclosed by fencing and thus wonderful for the first time visitor to Africa who might need that ‘safety’ factor'" - I can assure that this is not the case!!! We were woken up by a hippo under our stilted bedroom/tent and we had a leopard come through the site on our first night! Not for the faint-hearted!

Bright Marketing - the book
Okuti Lodge - webpage

(Photo taken in N Botswana)

Monday, 21 July 2008

Gaborone, Botswana

It has been great to be back at the Gaborone Sun meeting our old friends Clare and Zaa and taking in Botswana life.

Started with a day visit to a country school with whom we have partnered a local Bath school; we have raised funds via an African evening. Refilwe from British Council joined us to liaise and she will manage the spending of the funds locally.

Next an evening event. Some 70 delegates attended ‘
Customer Is King’ as a 90-minute presentation, hosted by Stephen the Director of the British Council here. A real cross-section of fascinating businesses attended. Some real challenges locally regarding customer service!

And then a full-day ‘
Magic Million’ seminar. For the audience, some of the concepts were challenging to say the least. The idea of deliberately putting prices up (to scare away the pond life and subsequently work with customers who are not buying on price but are buying for quality etc) was felt to be very controversial. Again issues around ‘how do you get you people to do what you want them to do?’

And on to Maun to the Okavanga Delta. Botswana has a premium priced/exclusive/limited access approach to wildlife tourism. Prices are deliberately kept high to reduce customer flow and in order to maintain quality of the experiences. They are proud of this fact in Botswana. So, why do they have such difficulty in translating this concept to their own businesses?

Customer Is King – the book
Magic Million – the research and the workshop

PS photo taken yesterday at the delta - see the Bright Marketing book cover to understand the relevance!

Saturday, 19 July 2008

No More ‘To Do’ Lists #7

No more ‘To Do‘ Lists item 7 is


In the early days its great to see those emails and texts for you – you are important and wanted. However this excitement soon turns into an addiction. Your definition of success starts to depend on how much you are needed. Wrong! (unless you want to be the bottleneck in your business).

Try to design the entire business model with the sole intention of getting it to operate without you. (Or do you enjoy working 24/7?)

‘Start with the end in mind’ is what
Steven Covey says. If you intend to get out of your business at some point then you need to design the whole thing with that endpoint in mind. Otherwise you end up as the tiredest person in the graveyard!

Steven Covey
Steven Covey’s
Seven Habits book

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Airline Food

Just travelled economy class (airline not relevant) to Jo/burg with knees up under my chin and elbows digging into my neighbour. Sounds like I am getting too old. But… my point…

Economy Airline food!
- Question: “Do the air stewards and flight deck crew eat it?”
- Answer: “No way – they have more sense.”

- So, the next question is: “How come it is good enough to give to the people in ‘cattle class’?”.
- And the answer is: “Because the airline simply doesn’t care about these customers.”

Am I just a victim of my own ‘ology’ (sort customers between platinum/gold/silver/bronze offerings, sack pondlife customers buying on price, focus on giving premium service to premium paying customers)? I think I am and it’s not very nice.

Bright Marketing – see the chapters on the 80:20 Rule

Monday, 14 July 2008

Heading Out Of Malawi

We are now heading out of Malawi towards Botswana via Johannesburg. We arrived with a big box of my books, which totally sold out (all revenues to a local orphanage).

In Lilongwe we ran a full-day ‘Customer Is King’ event working with senior managers from some of Malawi’s key businesses (banks, postal services, seed producers). A challenging day, where the highlights were a highly lively debate about how to apply the 80:20 rule (AKA ‘sacking customers’) and the use of the ‘same/better/wow’ index for measuring/designing the steps of your customer journey.

I met people from a bank, with a ‘no appointment/walk in’ policy, committed to giving clients responses to applications ‘on the spot’ with full decisions made within 24 hours. An impressive offering.

Next we drove down to Blantyre to run a Management Express Forum. A fascinating four-hour drive took us through markets and across remarkable African landscapes. One of the most densely populated African countries, you were taken aback by the sheer volume of people on the edges of the road. And so many of them seemed to be waiting – just waiting…

The Blantyre seminar, ‘Bright Marketing’, attracted some 70 or so managers from small, medium and large businesses and government organisations in this commercial centre of Malawi.

Key moments were the 'elevator pitch' and the 'business card' exercises, which were participated in with real relish. Great Fun. And the serious message was ‘Be Different!’

Highlights from Malawi have to be the friendly, warm people and their hospitality:
- Our porter at the Sunbird Capital Hotel greeted us with the words ‘Welcome to the best hotel in Africa – it’s a fact’ and he really believed this to be the case…
- A dinner with a UK theatre production (Moj of the Antarctic – an African Odyssey’) and our hosts from the British Council…
- The faces of local fruit sellers pressed against our car windows as they offered us their wonderful fruits and vegetables…
- Meeting up with Jason Agar (ex- Durham Bus Schl) who now runs a development consultancy in Blantyre
- My attempt to eat mushrooms in tomato sauce at breakfast which turned out to be ox kidneys!

We were sorry not to spend more time in this country. Rave reviews of Lake Malawi make me feel that we have missed something special.

Special thanks as ever go to our friends at the British Council: Patience, Muhte, Grace, Chank and Selemani.

Bright Marketing – the book
Customer Is King – the book

Saturday, 12 July 2008

No More ‘To Do’ Lists #6

No more ‘To Do‘ Lists item 6 is


We spend 95% of the time focusing on the 5% of things in our businesses that don’t work… and only 5% of the time focusing on the 95% of things that really do work.

If we do screw up we already know about it so let’s recognise the mess and get on.

In his ‘Winning’ book,
Clive Woodward describes just such a situation. In summary, he says that if the team lost there was no point dragging them into the boardroom to dissect and analyse every action made that (may have) contributed to the poor result… It was only when the team won that he would take them into the boardroom to dissect and analyse every action made that (may have) contributed to the good result ie he got them to focus on what they were doing right.

If you get/see what you focus on then it seems mad to focus on what’s gone wrong and it seems obvious to spend more time looking at what really works.

Clive Woodward - the Winning book
No more 'To Do' lists #5 - more on Woodward

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Magic Million - video..

The starting/intro video for the Magic Million in London! And the delegates' thoughts...

Magic Million in London - intro
Magic Million in London - delegate feedback
The Elusive Magic Million - blog entry

Monday, 7 July 2008

Radio Shows - Bill Moore and John Farrell

Bill Moore runs an online radio station entitled "A Smiling World" - the strapline on his business card says "Check out my radio show on wealth and happiness".

He mentions, and reads out of, the Bright Marketing book on the last two shows (#'s 13 and #14) now on the archive of http://www.blogtalkradio.com/asmilingworld. I met Bill at a Barclays 'Let's Talk... event'.

The whole radio station idea is great. Check out Glastonbury Radio which clearly focuses on things alternative and gets a massive following - Kiki and I were on John Farrell's 21 grams show last month.

Should you have your own radio station?

Bill Moore - personal website
"A Smiling World" - Bill's radio station
Glastonbury Radio - link
Robert & Kiki on radio Glastonbury - click on the '21 grams show' link and then on 'Going green in your business' - radio interviews

Friday, 4 July 2008

SMEweb Blogs#2

I am continuing to write a series of short, tight blogs for the people over at SMEweb. Recent posts you might like to look at include:

Kick that mobile addiction
How will you grow your business?
Tear up the business plan
Finger in the air research
Obsessed with strategy, marketing and teams
Does advertising give value for money?
Get the business working for you

SMEweb - the first blog entry with SMEweb
SMEweb - the website

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

No More ‘To Do’ Lists #11 & #12

No more ‘To Do‘ List item 11 is


No-one enjoys working with a bore… and while we are at it,

No More ‘To Do’ Lists #12 is


When you are on your deathbed you will not say “I wish I ‘d spent more time at this office”. Get real, have fun, laugh and lighten up!

You going to have to wait for 6,7,8, 9,10 and 11 - coming soon

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Blackberry Stats

From The Sunday Times:

"When you go on holiday with your family, should you stay in touch with the office or leave all your work gizmos behind?

"A survey by Stark Brooks Associates, a recruitment consultant, showed 97% of holidaying business people took their mobile phones and 68% either a laptop or a Blackberry. Just over a third would not consider staying in a resort without wireless access."

What ever happened to taking a proper break? What about helping your Number Two to develop by leaving them in charge? Does taking the Blackberry with you really mean you are more relaxed when you go away? and more relaxed when you come back?

The Sunday Times article: Me, My Other Half and the Blackberry
Your Mobile Addiction! - blog entry
No more 'To Do' lists #3 - blog entry
emails vs marijuana - dope wins every time - blog entry

No more 'To Do' lists #5

"Don't do" #5 is:


This is 'stolen' from Clive Woodward.

From time to time we all work with energy sappers/zappers and don't we just know it! They seem to squeeze every last ounce of passion and excitement out of any project. Their mantra is some permutation of:

"Yes but..."
"If only..."
"They won't/can't'/haven't/shouldn't/couldn't..."
"Well, if that's what you want to do..."
"I don't really see the point of..."

And don't the energy sappers just love the "they" word. "They did this..", "They do that..."

Oh how I hate these people! They become high-maintenance (and usually low-profit) because of the damage they do to your own immune system. Their stress and negativity-dumping behaviour sucks the very lifeblood out of your most precious asset - your enthusiasm.

Replace all energy sappers with energisers - it is as simple as that!

Clive Woodward - the Winning book
No more 'To Do' lists #4 - blog entry
No more 'To Do' lists #3 - blog entry
No more 'To Do' lists #2 - blog entry
No more 'To Do' lists #1 - blog entry