A lot of people are eager to do something different with their lives, something entrepreneurial, but often don’t know where to start. Others have managed to start a business, but at some point later on might end up feeling stuck and unable to take it to the next level. In reality, one of the two scenarios happens with the majority of new entrepreneurs out there, because let’s face it – starting a business is not an easy task, let alone for people without any prior experience.
So what happens when you suddenly find yourself struggling in these situations? Do you give up? Do you let your dream become one of the 9 ouf 10 start-ups in the UK that end up failing? The answer is no. No, giving up is never the right option, especially when there are people out there who can help you get through those rough patches.
I’m sure you’ve heard of business mentors before. But, what is a mentor? A mentor is essentially someone with plenty of business knowledge who is willing to provide you with advice and guidance on how to cope and develop your company. It could either be someone you know and admire such as a friend or a family member, or even a professional whom you can hire to do the job.
Richard Branson, Larry Page and Steve Jobs have all received advice and guidance from business mentors at some point in the beginning of their careers. In fact, most successful entrepreneurs have benefited in one way or the other by trusting other more experienced individuals.
Even experienced tycoons can reap the benefits of hiring a mentor. One of the most common obstacles businesspersons need to overcome is their lack of motivation and self-confidence at times. That is where a mentor can come in most handy. Having someone who believes in you can make a real difference in running a business. I often find that people who have everything it takes to succeed have no idea how great they really are – not only will your mentor know that, they will also make sure you fully understand it.
If you’ve recently started a new business, chances are you are under the impression that nobody else would ever be able to appreciate the problems your own start-up is facing. Each business is unique, right? So how on earth would a complete stranger walk in one day and tell you how to run things? While that is a typical perception, it is entirely wrong.
Trust me when I say you would be surprised to find out how many people have been exactly through the same issues you are going through at the moment no matter how different the type of their business or product might seem. The main business principles are always going to be the same, despite all the emerging business models or distribution channels that deceive people into believing they are all alone out there.
Recognising and accepting the need for a mentor is actually one of the wisest and most courageous decisions you’ll have to make as a recent entrepreneur. Having the right guidance at the initial planning stage of a start-up is crucial and will definitely help you dodge a lot of the mistakes you would have undoubtedly make otherwise.
At the end of the day, you are the only one who can judge whether you could use a business mentor or not. One point I would like to make clear with this article is that accepting to hire a mentor is not a sign of weakness or incompetence to run your business. It is a sign of strength, wisdom and resourcefulness.
This weekend my wife and I have left the kids with nana and grandpa and we've travelled to Buxton in the Peak District, apparently England's leading Spa Town, nice. The weekend escape in February is an annual event that we commit to every year, visiting a different destination each time, we love it.
I do all of the planning. The research usually starts in November, and the challenge for me is to find an interesting town or city where Abby and I can spend a whole weekend not tied to the usual demands of a busy family and work life.
"I'm thinking about my businesses all of the time, it’s in my blood."
The break away from it all, is a very important event in our calendar and one that plays a significant role in my business life too. Don't worry, I don't spend the whole weekend working, quite the opposite in fact (except for this blog). But, as a certified, got the t-shirt entrepreneur, I'm thinking about my businesses all of the time, it’s in my blood.
When I'm away from the businesses (my staff and business partners know this) the constant contact that we get so used to is intentionally policed. That combined with the removal of family commitments (my weekend role is usually taxi driver, tutor and punchbag) my brain unwinds very quickly and I often have some inspired ideas that are implemented on my return with much enthusiasm.
The idea of taking a break away from it all to unwind is nothing new, but these days how much of a break do we really take when we have our phones in our pocket? Part of the ethos of our annual break is being disconnected from texts, LinkedIn, Facebook, What's app, phone calls and all the other distractions in our connected world. Here in Buxton for example, I have no data reception, no wifi, just, me, my wife and my thoughts. It was following one of my “thoughts", I felt compelled to write this blog as testimony to the power of the disconnected weekend break in Feb!
'I have no data reception, no wifi, just, me, my wife and my thoughts."
However, "embrace the beauty of technology" is one of BLAM's, and therefore my, core values and detaching myself from that technology in order to think creatively is something of an irony. The key thing for me is having the discipline to connect and disconnect to get the best results, something that doesn't always come easy to me.
I am writing this blog on my disconnected mobile, with relaxing music playing, in a clothes shop that has given me free coffee whilst Abby tries on several outfits. There's no signal so no interruptions, heaven :)
It's a well documented subject, the idea of intentionally unplugging and getting away from it all. My advice to our BLAM Partners is to make sure you diarise the breaks the same way you do with the work behaviours and consider the amount of connected time you allow yourself whilst you are there. Like me, I'm sure you will find hidden inspiration in your unconnected escape.
Next week, I will be refreshed and technology will be fully embraced once more and I'll be loving it! Now, where's that awesome little bar with craft beer on tap I spotted earlier, that looked really inspiring...
Pay-Per-Click advertising is one of the quickest ways to attract traffic to your website. Everyone knows that building your following organically can take quite a while - and for start-ups in particular time is gold!
Most people who attempt to set up a PPC campaign, however, tend to feel overwhelmed and often give up. There is such a wealth of possibilities when it comes to PPC advertising and so many different factors that need to be taken into consideration – not to mention the industry jargon which confuses people – that most beginners feel lost before even starting.
Despite these difficulties, we have identified a few simple steps that can lead any start-up to create a successful PPC campaign quickly and easily.
I would love to know what your thoughts are with regards to PPC. Are you planning to use PPC as part of your marketing?
Perhaps you’ve just had this crazy idea. Or maybe you’ve been thinking about it for ages. Whatever your situation, this article aims to help you realise why now is the best time for you to start your own business.
First, let’s define the term social media ‘strategist’, ‘expert’,
‘specialist’ or whichever title you prefer to use to describe that particular
marketing specialisation because I understand it
often causes confusion. I have picked the
term ‘social media strategist’ for this post’s title as for me it is the most
accurate to describe the role. A professional in this industry will never
proceed to manage anyone’s social media platforms without properly planning a
detailed strategy first, and that is usually the main difference between those who are qualified to do the job and those who
A social media strategist, therefore, is the professional behind any successful social media business page. That person is responsible for aligning a company’s social media activities with the overall marketing direction of the business. For some, this might still seem generic and difficult to understand, but hopefully, the rest of this post will shed some light into this role’s specifics while answering some common queries I often hear from clients.
Having said all that, and even though social media are a powerful tool, people should never make the mistake of thinking that a solid social presence is all it takes to ensure a good level of sales. The purpose of your social media strategy is to complement and augment your overall marketing and sales strategy. One cannot do well without the other, and anyone who tells you otherwise shouldn’t be trusted.