The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Friday Guest Blog: Getting on the front foot

Phil Jones
Director, Brother UK and Vice-President, Greater Manchester Chamber

Spring is here and it's time to put ourselves back on the front foot. Thankfully, stories of doom and gloom are slowing and more positive stories are appearing to inspire us all to greatness. Following a challenging eight months or so, most of the difficult major decisions businesses have had to make have been made and actioned. So what now?

How do we now all set our sails for the journey to recovery, with untold riches ahead of us?

Here's a few tips to stir your imagination: -

What have you done recently to challenge, change or dump elements from your business model? Anything? Do you step away from your business to be creative and generate ideas? I bet you could pull 100 ideas from a staff of 10 people in 10 mins if you just asked. The trick is then prioritising these ideas into the easy to do, high impact things and getting on with it. No creativity = no innovation. No action plan = waste of time.

Meet Someone New
Are you meeting new people and increasing your personal learning? It’s amazing how many great ideas exist in non-competing sectors, you can learn these by getting out and networking, either on-line or in person, or just simply reading books or blogs. I use Twitter and Linkedin to sustain relationships and trigger new ones; however you can't beat a personal introduction. Don't be tricked into thinking social media is the absolute answer though, go retro, meet someone in person and add value! Chamber networking events are an excellent way of doing this.

No customers, no business
Get out more. It's invigorating and inspiring. Question and listen to your customers, understand their problems and how they are reacting to the economic climate. You’ll quickly be stimulated to see if there are any new products or services that you could provide or develop for them. Remember, the ratio of talking to listening should be at least 2:1 in their favour.

Change your habits
As human beings, we can easily fall into routines. Break them. Take a look at all the meetings you might hold regularly, have a review, do you still really need them? How can you release your diary to spend more time with customers? Ask yourself, why have we always done it that way?

Talk to your people
Be available, answer questions, ask questions! Some of the best ideas ever implemented came from internal staff in organisations. Fire them up, get some ideas flowing and get some rubber on the road.

Be positive
Your subconscious is programmed by your thoughts. The more good stuff you put in, the more positive you will be. You can still be positive and realistic. Life is far more interesting on the upside.
Phil blogs throughout the week at The Corporate Bubble, focusing on leadership, innovation, the environment and business in general. You can also follow Phil on Twitter here or to share news and discuss the issues affecting business in Greater Manchester, join GM Chamber's Linkedin group.

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