Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Nobody Cares About: Pension Changes. Why?

Pensions are one of the biggest financial commitments we do (or don't) make.

Big changes for employers are about to hit us. 

But no-one seems to be engaging with the issue: boredom, disinterest, confusion, too busy... 

Presumably the cute employer can limit his/her costs by acting rather than waiting...? 

 Look at what the papers say: 

Monday, 28 May 2012

The Coffee Table book - 20th Century Legendary Guitars

Look at this amazing coffee table book - life size, literally. 

A standout book. Love it. Foxylady Project, The - 20th Century Legendary Guitars Maxime Ruiz & Christian Segu 

The measurements of The Foxy Lady Project (109 x 47 cm 42-15/16" x 18-1/2") create the largest book published to date. However, the size was not in itself a goal. 

It was made necessary by the content: a collection of guitars among the most emblematic of the twentieth century, presented life-size.

 61 photographs by Maxime Ruiz, hyper-realistic portraits depicted at full scale, a selection of key instruments in the history of blues, jazz and rock. 

Guitars photographed like human beings, revealing their texture, their wounds and the traces of the lives of those who played them.

The book is not intended for specialists, experts or the elite. 

Foxy Lady's creator, Maxime Ruiz explains: 
'I photographed objects telling about a century, talking about my generation. Objects loaded with history and stories. I know that the eye that touches my images takes them away from me somewhat. Like a guitar maker, I am only a ferryman. I am neither a collector nor an expert, just an amateur. From the beginning I decided that my subject would solely be guitars. Not the guitar of someone or someone else, the guitar itself, with all the diversity of my early emotions.' 

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Idiots Do Triathlons - I am a virgin!

I am running the Blenheim Triathlon on 9th June (my first triathlon)
  • 50m swim (I can’t really swim!)
  • 20km bike ride (just bought a bike!)
  • 5km run

I am doing it in aid of   

Fighting SUDEP - Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy 

Andy Swarbrick says of Jane who died last April aged 24:
“Our daughter Jane died from SUDEP & possibly from ours and her ignorance. Nearly half of all SUDEP deaths are avoidable

To donate (whatever you wish, small or large) go to

Even easier
Send SMS Text Now "JANE96 £5" to 70070 and donate £5 (or £10/£15 etc)

Thank you

Monday, 21 May 2012

How to break through the elusive magic million barrier

What do the successful do differently from the rest? The Directors’ Centre Magic Million Survey compared and contrasted the attributes, traits and characteristics of successful entrepreneurs with their less successful counterparts to find out the answer.

The study asked what successful (and aspiring) owner-managers/directors of growing businesses think is required to break through the MM (Magic Million) barrier: namely a £1m turnover and/or taking £1m out of the business.
By asking the successful (been-there-done-it successful business growers) and the wannabes the same set of questions, we were able to extract what it was that separated the successful from the less successful.
The big difference was the approach to success.
The wannabes (particularly those that had got stuck as wannabes, unable to move on) tended to have what could be considered a "blame" gene, always blaming others for their position. The successes, on the other hand, did not blame others and recognised that  “self-limiting beliefs" (“I can’t…”, “I shouldn’t…”, “it won’t work…”, “they won’t believe me…”) is what holds back so many people in business.
Some caveats:
When looking at the results, one has to take on board a couple of caveats.
Big caveat number one is: “Beware of the ‘survivorship bias’!”. We see the winners and learn from them, while forgetting the huge unseen cemetery of losers. We tend to give disproportionately large attention to the words of the winners.
The second caveat is: beware when people attribute their success to certain key factors or activities – performance (good and bad) is probably related far more to chance than skill, yet people rationalise their success and create a cause/effect explanation.
The lessons:
Lesson 1: When comparing the winners and losers, one sees more similar attributes than contrasting ones.
Learning Point: don’t assume that the difference can be so readily spotted.
Lesson 2: When asked: “What’s holding you back?” the aspiring growth businesses tend to blame the outside world for their slow progress. Fear is the dominant emotion: of relinquishing financial and managerial control. At a similar stage, the successful recognise that they, the founder entrepreneurs, are the problem and the bottleneck.
Learning Point: My attitude to growth is crucial. I can become the brake on the business or the catalyst to future success.
Lesson 3: Highly successful businesses consistently have a preoccupation with: strategy; marketing; and teams.
Learning Point: Start focusing on the Holy Trinity; work "on", not "in" the business.
Lesson 4: Entrepreneurs must also be willing to let go of: financial control (sharing ownership); and management control (sharing the responsibility of growing the business with the team and outside advisers).
Learning Point: Maintaining excessive control will stop the growth of the business so you need to find the balance where you control yet motivate and inspire the business to ever greater heights.
Lesson 5: Every "How to Make a Million" title has an inevitable (and pretty much identical) list of what the successful do. Unfortunately, it’s the same as the list of what the failures also do! It seems the big difference is massive energy and a lot of luck.
Learning Point: Be clear about how you will succeed and how you will avoid failure.
Interestingly, all our winners presented a combination of the following:
1. Charismatic leadership (and not always by consensus).
2. Attitude – a "can do", blame-free culture that recognises success and failure go hand-in-hand, and a willingness to pay the price.
3. A fast-moving, exciting business environment.
4. Rewards and systems that motivate the individuals concerned.
5. Employing the right people.
6. Luck. 
Note to the owner on getting past a £1m turnover:
1. You are the problem.
2. Work ON not IN the business – create the systems and processes.
3. Sell something people want, charge sensible prices, and blow them away with legendary service.
4. Take massive action.

Note to the owner on getting £1m out of your business:
The company must be able to tick all of the boxes below to find a buyer:
* Systematic, underlying, repeatable, sustainable profit machine
* Reference and trophy clients
* Uniqueness and excellence
* A senior team to take it to the next stage.
And a final thought...
Some 70 per cent of small businesses hope to get their millions out of the sale of their business, yet only 25 per cent actually make any plans to do so – you need an exit strategy. Hope is not a method!
Further detail of the research and report can be found at