Tag Archives: business

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

BrexitSo says the song by The Clash (1982)

And it seems quite prophetic that an English punk band’s song about relationships nearly a quarter of a century ago succinctly sums up the feelings about tomorrow’s referendum in the UK.

Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know
Should I stay or should I go?

Tomorrow is a historic day. A once in a lifetime opportunity to have your say on the future of the United Kingdom.

So, what do you do?

The first and most important thing is to use your vote. If you don’t use it due to general apathy, the weather, protest, etc. your voice will not be heard and you really do not have the right to complain if the vote doesn’t go whichever way you would wish it to go!

There has been a lot of scaremongering, a lot of postulating and an awful of hot air and heated debates. But, the one thing that has, and is, been glaringly and obviously missing from this campaign, on both sides, is the absence of cold hard and concrete facts, backed up with evidence. (And as a maths geek I kinda like those things.)

There are, however, 3 facts that I know will be true when I wake up on June 24th, irrespective of which way the vote actually goes:

  1. The sun will rise in the east and set in the west;
  2. The earth will still be spinning on its axis;
  3. I will still be able to get on a plane and fly to Europe!

What the vote is, in effect, is a vote for an unknown and uncertain future.

And when you put it like that, it sounds pretty scary, right?

My dad came up with a great analogy to explain this conundrum.

In simple terms, imagine you are working for a company that is in serious trouble – think about the recent closures of BHS/Austin Reed/Tata (I would like to point out that neither him or I are comparing the state of the EU to an almost bankrupt company).

Anyway, I digress, so you are working for a company that you know is in serious trouble. What do you do?

You have 2 choices – you stay or you go.

But with both of those choices are 2 possible outcomes, and you have no clue as to what will be the outcome.

IF I STAY IN MY JOB

  1. The company will go broke and I will lose my job 😦
  2. The company will turn itself around, start making money again and my job will be safe 🙂

IF I LEAVE MY JOB

  1. I will get a new job but I won’t like the company and/or my colleagues, so I will have to look for another job 😦
  2. I will love my new job and all will be well 🙂

In other words – to put it mathematically:

tree diagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see whatever choice you make you have a 1 in 2 chance of losing (or keeping) your job, whichever way you vote.

But tomorrow you must make that same choice!

And that’s the thing with this referendum, no one knows for certain what will happen whatever way the vote goes.

IF WE STAY successive governments can argue and negotiate to keep from adopting the Euro, Schengen and other such unified policies and win their case, OR we will be forced by the majority rule (such is the case in a democracy) and be forced into becoming a state in a United States of Europe ruled from Brussels – like it or no.

IF WE GO business may (or may not) leave these shores costing jobs, livelihoods and bringing about economic chaos OR businesses will stay and we take back our seat at the World Trade Organisation and negotiate more trade agreements on our terms (rather than having to have the agreements of 27 other countries before we can) and business and the economy booms.

But no one knows what will happen.

No one can predict the future (believe me I’d be very rich if I could!) Just like no one can predict the actual outcome from rolling a dice, or spinning the roulette wheel, you can just calculate the odds. Such is the Law of Probability.

We are lucky to live in a democracy where we have freedom of thought, freedom of speech and have been given the opportunity to make such a decision.

In the end it doesn’t matter what political party you support or what your friends and family think. You vote in accordance to what you feel is right as an independent, free-thinking human being – after all a vote, as they say, is between your conscience and the ballot box, it’s no one else’s business and certainly not worth fighting over.

All you can do is go with your gut instinct, remembering that according to the Law of Probability you have a 50/50 chance of changing history for better or for worse.

But you gotta roll the dice!

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To Schmooze or Not To Schmooze…

… That is the question!schmooze

According to Urban Dictionary the definition of “Schmooze” is: Making ingratiating small talk – talk that is business oriented, designed to both provide and solicit personal information but avoids overt pitching. Most often an artifact of “networking.” It is more art than science but can be learned.

But, blimey Charlie is schmoozing difficult!

I admit I can’t do it.

I can’t do small talk. I can’t talk to someone with an underlying intent of getting something out of it.

I never have been able to.

When I left drama school we had the usual showcase performance with casting directors and agents attending with the ‘networking’ after – but false situations like that fill me with dread and after 5 minutes I had to leave.

I simply don’t have the courage to just walk up to someone and start a random conversation in order to find out who they are and what I can get out of them – be it a job, a sale, etc.

How do you do it?

How can you learn it?

As a business owner I’ve attended business networking events – and the same thing. I can’t talk about myself. I’m happy to listen to other people, but opening up and making the right kind of schmoozy noises, I find excruciatingly painful.

Even if I try to put on a different persona and ‘act’ the part I still fail, because deep down I’m just too nervous, believe that people can see right through me and never know quite what to say – there’s a reason I always hated improve classes at drama school!  (I’m one of those people who can never quite get the right words out, and then 5 minutes later think “damn, I should have said that!”)

Thankfully, these days I don’t need to go to networking events – the business area I’m in doesn’t hang out at the normal business events. But I have to do the dreaded cold calling! Which I find slightly easier, because it’s on the phone and I have a script. Then if I get to meet a prospective client it’s because I’ve already spoken to them and they want to hear more – so it’s not a cold, having to make small talk situation.

That’s probably why I’m so rubbish when it comes to dating. I’ve always been able to talk to boys/men, but when it comes to one I actually like and they ask me out for coffee I’m actually petrified of saying or doing the wrong thing that when I try to be myself I always end up looking a complete wally.

If anyone has any tips on how to schmooze effectively, please let me know – I think I need all the help I can get 😉

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Artificial Intelligence – The Rise of the Machines

Artificial Intelligence (AI), or the creation of computers and computer software that are capable of intelligent thought is gathering pace.

When I was at university, AI was pretty much at its infancy – to me it just seemed like more computer programming – so I avoided it at all costs!

Over the last 20 years or so we are all aware how computers and machines have replaced the roles of people mainly in the manufacturing industries and fairly recently within the administration and clerical areas.

But technology is growing so fast and so quickly that within the space of 2 weeks I have read 2 completely different articles about the rise of AI to the Board Room and beyond.

It seems, according to an article on Springwise, that in Japan an AI has been appointed a Creative Director at an ad-agency!

Another article in a financial magazine cited Medical Diagnosis as an area where AI could actually be more accurate than the human physician when diagnosing serious illness.

Indeed in a test run, the company claims that the chances of the computer giving a false positive (i.e., an incorrect diagnosis of cancer) was significantly reduced and it would give no false negatives (i.e., giving the all-clear to a patient with cancer). In contrast, the human doctor missed 7% of cases – that’s quite a big percentage when you’re talking about a life-threatening illness.

I think in this case AI could be a fairly useful companion to the human doctor – especially as it is also capable of prescribing the right treatment – when sometimes lives are lost due to incorrect diagnosis and the wrong treatment.

This article also went on to state that soon managers and executives in the Board Room would be susceptible to automation!

The Hong Kong Metro has already transferred power for deciding maintenance schedules and engineering tasks to AI – with the loss of managers the result seems to be reduced bureaucracy and costs and improved response times. Because of the success of this, the company that owns the HK Metro is going to roll this out to other cities, including the London Overground.

Can you see all jobs going this way?

Do you think this heralds the descent of the human workforce and indeed the rise of the machines, or does it just mean that the human workforce needs to change its way of working to work with AI rather than trying to fight again the seemingly inevitable change?

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Friday Poem – Desiderata

I stumbled across this poem in a shop the other day.magic

It was written by Max Ehrmann, an American writer, in 1927, but only became popular in the 1970s.

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;  for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

 

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

 

Be yourself.

Especially, do not feign affection.

Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

 

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

 

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;

You have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

 

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

 

Be careful.

Strive to be happy.

 

 

Desiderata – desired things – what do you desire?

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Can Women Have It All?

The perfect life – good job, lovely home, happy family, no money worries – you know the one.juggling-woman

In a nutshell, no.

I don’t believe that women can have it all – believe me, I’ve tried.

It’s a big balancing act, but however hard we try something has to give.

And being a single mum makes life just that little bit more … interesting, lets say 😉

Life is all about choices.

I chose not to go back to what I did BC (Before Child) as I wanted to enjoy every single precious moment of his baby/toddler hood. It was my choice. I was lucky in that I was not reliant on having to go back to work, as I had enough ‘rainy day’ budget in the funds (in my own right, not Mr Wrong No. 2) to be able to just about afford to.

Obviously, like with all rainy day funds they dry up eventually and when that time came I searched around to find something that would fit around SC, school holidays, etc. Now I know jobs like these are as rare as hen’s teeth, so I chose to invest in a franchise.

It seemed like a good potential – something different to the norm, work my own hours around SC.

But in trying to juggle getting a business off the ground (especially in the current economy), looking after SC, and doing all the other things that I do – 3 years on I find my self reflecting that I have failed to do anything anywhere near as perfect as a superwoman should be able to manage. (Obviously then I realise that I don’t have a nanny, a PA, a cleaner, a personal shopper, etc to do all these things for me, whilst I just go off and get manicured, coiffured and spray tanned!)

SC has remained the top of my priority list and therefore I have not put as much effort into building a business as I should. Failure on the good job front!

The effort I have put into building some business has meant that SC has not had me around as much. Failure on the happy family front!

The lack of business means that I worry about just about everything pretty much 24 hours a day. Failure on the stress front!

Buying a franchise, especially those that target mothers who want to work around their children, should really have a warning notice attached saying “this is only suitable for women with a husband who only need a little bit of extra income, and not those looking to make a living out of it!”.

And I’m deadly serious about that. In the network I belong to I would stake that not one of the women working takes home anything near enough to put food on the table, pay a mortgage and bills, plus all the other things having children comes with, let alone buying clothes for themselves!

My priority is SC and the need to provide for him.

I am therefore faced with a dilemma.

I need to provide a secure future for him, the only way I can see me being able to do that is to go back to what I did do – always supposing I can get back into it. But by doing this, I will not be able to do the school run, or take him to his after-school activities, or the other mummy things that get done during the week. Failure on the being a good mummy front!

If I continue with what I am doing I will not be able to provide for him. Failure on every front imaginable!

So no, women can’t have it all.

You end up being a jack-of-all-trades but master of none!

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WYSIWYG

I always wondered what the acronym meant when I was younger, and my dad told me it stood for ‘what you see is what you get’.

Having feebly attempted to run my own businesses, this little acronym is of vital importance. There’s no point having a name, or a tagline that does not say what you do in a micro-second, because that’s all potential customers give you to make up their minds.

Effectively, you need to think of Ronseal’s tagline – “Does exactly what it says on the tin!”

I also think it’s important to be like this in life as well.

These days it’s all very much false this and false that – eyelashes, tan, hair, boobs, bums, I could go on, there’s stuff to suck you in, push you out and up. But all it does is create a false illusion – and what happens when all the falseness is stripped away?

I will admit to having false eyelashes in my make-up box – but I only ever use them on stage. I also have hair-pieces and wigs – but again the only time the big false hair-pieces or wigs get an outing is on stage. I sometimes wear the smaller ‘hair scrunchie’ pieces if I’m going out, am running out of time and my hair is not going to behave in a month of Sunday’s let alone 5 minutes!

I am very much a ‘what you see is what you get’ kinda gal.

I have no sides. I have no hidden agendas.

I don’t lie. I will tell the truth.

I am open about my feelings. This is why I get hurt.

I think way too much – more than is good for ‘a bear of very little brain’ 😉

I talk too much – most of it complete rubbish 😉

I am a complete whirlwind of chaos! Disorganised, scatty, and always on the go!

I do not relax and am always stressed about something.

I am a good listener to other people’s problems, but always bottle my own up – this does not help the stress levels!

I am always there for my friends and family – and will go out of my way to help anyone.

I am very child-like in many ways and this gets me into trouble because I will apply child-logic and just ask ‘why not?’

I dream.

I have dreams.

And I always have hope 😉

 

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What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

I read an amazing book the other week. I’d heard about it years ago, Mr Wrong No. 1 read it, and I noticed it on the bookshelf in the local bookstore the other week and thought I’d buy it.where to go It’s not very long and only took me an hour to read it, but it was extremely good.

What book was it?

“Who Moved My Cheese?” by Dr Spencer Johnson.

It’s a small story and can be applied to any area of life, work, relationships, health, etc.

I won’t spoil the story, suffice to say it is peppered with good, common sense advice and makes you think about whatever it is you are worried about at the time you read the book.

One of the questions asked is “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

You know, that moment of stepping off the precipice into the unknown. Do you step or do you not? Does fear hold you back, or does that fear prompt you into action?

Well, when I read the book my immediate thought was with regard to my business. I have so many ideas that I want to try in order to move things forward, but fear is holding me back.

But what is my ultimate fear?

It certainly isn’t about making a fool of myself and being laughed at from trying – that pretty much happens most of the time, so that I can deal with.

Maybe it’s actually a deep-rooted fear connected with what might happen if I did manage to pull off a big coup – how would that impact SC? would I actually be able to fulfill promises? how would the ‘mother-ship’ feel that I’ve effectively gone over their heads and done something inventive off my own back? etc.

Maybe it’s not connected with that at all, but the mere thought of failure and disappointing my father.

My dad has always been there whenever I’ve needed advice on a business level – but one thing always stand out in his advice, and that is his belief that I, like him, cannot sell. And maybe it’s actually his fear that’s holding me back.

He never fails to remind me, that my weakness is sales and marketing. Even though over the last 6 months I think I’ve lost count of the number of marketing e-books I’ve downloaded and poured over. Not that I’m, by any stretch of the imagination an expert, and would never profess to be, but I think I now know enough to get over the hurdle.

So what would I do if I weren’t afraid?

I would create that website.

I would, pardon the expression, ‘sod’ the mothership and do it anyway – after all, I’m running a business, which I need to make money, not a nice little 2nd income earner. And besides, why would they be upset – probably only because they didn’t think of it first 😉

I would run into the unknown and live every single moment – good, bad, or otherwise.

2013 awaits!

May I wish you a truly peaceful, joyous and blessed new year.

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