Saturday, 25 January 2014

Shoots of recovery - what's the outlook?

The green shoots of recovery - such a lovely phrase, and one spread across the news of late to herald a drop in unemployment and the IMF predicting a 2.4% growth for the UK economy; apparently  the highest of any major European economy.   Sounds reassuring and encouraging, yet I wonder what the true impact of this for businesses and I suspect that some will benefit sooner and greater than others. 
Well, I've recently (unscientifically) tested my suspicions when networking, and so far the feedback is mixed.  Some feel that staff development and training is still viewed as a discretionary spend by some businesses, and proposals issued during last year are still awaiting approval, and may not achieve this until Spring.  Other anecdotal feedback about the procurement of services and technology would suggest this is a higher priority for some companies, though one hopes they invest in some training to maximise its use. 
So what can you do to get your business ready for those opportunities?  Here are 3 thoughts:
1.       Dust off your sales and marketing plan - if you've been conducting less marketing over recent periods, the chances are your plan needs to be reviewed and activities critiqued to ensure they will support growth

2.       Let people know your still here - similar to the sales and marketing plan, your previous customers may have had less to spend in the last few years, and your interaction with them may have decreased to reflect this.  If they are ready to buy again, don't assume that you are the only supplier they will contact

3.       Meeting demand - you may have downsized your team or diverged into other product or services to keep the business going.  If your old customers do come back or buy more, are you able to increase productivity or service an increase in customers and their needs?  Evaluate theses scenarios in advance and know how you will sustainably deliver this

It's a concern that if Britain is split on the recovery, those businesses that are still bunkering down are likely to miss. You've seen the motorway signs "is your car prepared for winter?" - ask yourself is your business prepared for the opportunities of 2014? 
Here's to a great year.

John is a Director of Vector Resources Limited and helps businesses increase sales and improve sales performance.  Find out more at

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Best intentions - what will make you stay the course?

It's resolution time! Whether personal or business, now is the 'default' time to start a fresh and go for broke with a goal or challenge.  No doubt you've heard or seen many make a commitment to do something different - I know I have. I've suddenly been inundated with newsletters and blogs from a variety of sources. 

A number of you may be rethinking your sales and marketing strategy and what the perceived return on investment has been, or what it could be. There's a lot of buzz and activity, and then.......the day to day business takes priority and we drift back to business as usual,  and the goals we thought we'd set become blurred - welcome to February.

We start with the best intentions yet we occasionally lose focus  - it happens - just this afternoon on local radio Paul McKenna stated that 70% of new gym members stop going after 3 weeks, whilst their commitment to paying for the membership probably lasts a further 49!  Generally we are aware that we will embark on certain goals at this time of year and that our enthusiasm will wane in the coming weeks - yet every year we reset and make those well intended commitments again and again.

So, here are some tips to help you 'stay the course'

1.       Is your goal achievable for you and will you know when you have achieved it? 

Goals should be challenging and take us out of our comfort zones, however are you willing to commit to the activities you need to do to reach the goal?  If not, choose another goal

2.       Write it down - it's well proven that writing down a goal makes you more likely to work towards and achieve it.  Shirley Mansfield (CoachSME) has written a blog recently with a great example

3.       Tell others who can help you - whether it's your coach, a business buddy or perhaps your team.  Share your goals with those that can help you maintain focus and make you accountable - and return the favour by helping others be accountable to their goals too

4.       Celebrate milestones en route to your goal.  Sometimes we all need encouragement to keep going.  Think about football supporters - they cheer every interception, save and goal.  Don't leave it to the final whistle to recognise your achievements

Good luck and have a successful 2014.


John is a Director of Vector Resources Limited and helps businesses increase sales and improve sales performance.  Find out more at