Tag Archives: business

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Your Perfect Day….Who are YOU?

Happiness habitIn the chaotic path we’re all stumbling over to complete our daily tasks called ‘life’, it can be difficult to take a few minutes out of our busy schedules to stop and wonder about the life we live, and whether it’s what we want or are we just falling into whatever is easiest to please those around us?

How often do you ask yourself ‘What am I doing with my life?’. If you don’t have time to ask yourself this question, you could be holding yourself back from achieving your true potential. On the other hand, if you find you are asking yourself this question too often, then it’s a sign that you need change.

During a coaching session with a senior manager, I was surprised to hear that he asked himself the question ‘What am I doing with my life?’ at least three or more times a week, he said some weeks it was every morning on the way to work.  He would be stuck in traffic every morning for about 10 minutes, the same place every day, five days a week.

Four mornings a week he sees a man, of a similar age, dressed in trainers and fitness gear, doing his morning run. He said he longed to go for a run in the morning, but because of his schedule he couldn’t face getting up an hour earlier at 5am to fit in a 20 minute run. He couldn’t face an evening run because he was far too tired and hungry after a 10 hour working day and 2 hour commute. He was finding his job far too stressful, although he loved his work, he had found some of his staff considerably difficult and stressful to work with, and was no longer enjoying it. He knew he needed to change, but he didn’t know how this could be done.

I asked him to chose a time-frame, 6 months, a year, 3 years, 5 years, thinking into his future, and how he would like it to be. He talked about his large mortgage still to pay, and 2 teenagers at university, and because his wife hadn’t worked for over 18 years he was the sole breadwinner in the family.

I asked him to forget all the barriers, the negatives and imagine he could do anything. Then to write a letter to himself about his ‘Perfect Day’, including where he was in the world, who is with him, what is the weather like, how does he feel, what is he doing. I asked him to write it in the present tense, like it’s really happening, and put as much detail in as possible. I asked him to write it like he had found himself, the real YOU, as if life had no boundaries, or barriers, what would you do?

At first he was unsure, but he promised to humour me, and have the letter ready for our next session. I said I didn’t need to see it. He had to write it to himself and read it every day. He agreed a little reluctantly, not convinced by my reassurance of this powerful self help tool.

At our next session, a week later, he was excited about his letter to himself, that he had entitled ‘I have arrived’. He said it still was in draft format because each time he read it, before he went to bed each night, then he would add more and tweak it, and he was determined to get it perfect.  I said it didn’t need to be perfect!

At our three month review, he was still perfecting his ‘I have arrived’ letter. Although his job situation hadn’t much changed, he was a lot more positive about the staff (two of the particularly stressful members of staff had left the organisation), and he had started running 4 evenings a week.

He had made a small change by drinking more water, eating a late lunch on his running days so he still had enough energy by the time he got home, starting with a 10 minute run, building up to a 30 minute run in 2 months. His health problems were improving, he had lost 14lbs in weight, and he looked so much happier.

Our six month review saw big changes. He had got down to his target weight and was looking good. Despite his wife’s reluctance, they had started with a walking group, meeting once a month. Although they had only been once, he was sure his wife would continue with him. It had given him the opportunity to talk to other people outside of work. He had been talking to his wife about starting a new business, and he felt it was the first time they had both been enthusiastic about the same thing for a long time.

After our six month follow up, we agreed that we didn’t need to have another session, but he would keep me updated.

I hadn’t heard from him until two days ago, when he called me. We were on the phone for over an hour, and I realised how much of a friend he had become. He said it was the one year anniversary of the date that he wrote the first draft of his letter ‘I have arrived’. I was surprised that firstly he had remembered that date, and secondly that a year had gone so quickly!

He was calling from Florida, USA where he was currently working. He had been for his morning run, he does 5 sessions a week now, and was enjoying a coffee next to the pool in the sunshine (it was raining in the UK and very grey!). He had two business meetings booked in and the rest of the day was reserved for enjoying the West coast to sunbathe. He asked if he could now read me his ‘I have arrived’ letter. I shrugged and said ok.

I can’t remember the detail….Something like this…

His perfect day started with a run along Sarasota beach in Florida, he had detailed the colour of the sea, the sounds, the feel of the sand under his feet, the blue sky and the birds calling. After his run he had shared a shower with his wife (x rated detail here so I’m not going to write it, but I was blushing!!), they then shared coffee next to the pool!

You cannot believe the size of my goosebumps at this point!

The day went on… He had a business meeting with 5 prospects as he and his wife shared a business that they loved.  He had even named the business so he must have been thinking about it for a long time! The business was growing so much that he gave up his regular day job to travel all around the world. His health was good and his wife had started running with him. Her depression had reduced. It went on in detail, where they had lunch, they went sailing and then enjoyed a hearty meal in a good restaurant with good friends. The day ended with a bit more x rated activity!

He said it was almost there. He was about to have his perfect day! The business that he only started 6 months ago (apparently after our last session together), was growing considerably. His wife had been medication free for two months (although he hadn’t got her running – yet!) and they had booked their evening meal in a restaurant they had wanted to go to for years.

I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or be a little bit freaked out by the detail in which his perfect day had almost happened. He had come so far from where he had been only a year earlier.

Hearing his Perfect Day also made me smile for a long time, knowing that I have friends that are growing and developing their lives and I’ve helped with that, just a little. I planted a seed and encouraged it to grow. I also love how a colleague turns into a lifelong friend.

It’s made me determined to re-write ‘My Perfect Day’ (as mine is 5 years out of date and no where near the same kind of detail that it should have). Perhaps I’ve delayed that because I’m so grateful to live the life I want.

Is it your time to work towards your ‘Perfect Day’, to aim towards finding you?

Please leave your comments, I’m interested in hearing how you feel about what you’ve read and how you can make changes by planning your Perfect Day.

Philippa Bonham
International Business Coach

If you want to work towards your Perfect Day and love your job, be part of my team.  More information here Featured Image -- 213

Sack the Rat Race – Forever!

I am enthused about my new business that IProduct_adverts_aloe_vera_gels_1_AW_V1_SOCIAL_MEDIA started this year, so I thought it was an ideal time to share my excitement! It has been a great adventure for me, and I’m only in the fourth week of trading!

You may know that I’ve been involved in different businesses over the past 20 years, and a business coach for 14 years now.  My new business allows me to help others to benefit from my experience as I help them to set up their own flexible, home based business.

At the same time, I am recommending fantastic products that have amazing impact on health, wellbeing, and fitness.

How does it work?

When people join my team as a Forever business owner they have access to award winning training and support, I provide mentoring, and they have support from wider team members.

Being a Forever business owner means you have the flexibility to work your own hours, and fit round other commitments. You still have the support of a team, and a business coach to encourage you to define and achieve your goals.

You have the support of a multi-national company, Forever Living, that operates in 158 countries (and growing), is cash rich with an annual turnover of $2.6 billion, £75 million in the UK, as rising year on year.  They’ve been around for 37 years, and have been awarded Gold Investors In People Award, are members of the Direct Selling Association, with award winning training programmes.

They have an excellent rewards system, and I have been told I’ve already earned bonuses!

Forever is the only UK company that is licenced by the Aloe Science Council to supply natural Aloe Vera products.  They have their own Aloe Vera Plantations where they treat their employees well, and have patented the method of storing Aloe Vera to ensure it retains all its minerals and nutrients, naturally. The products are cruelty free.

Who can do it?

There is not an ideal ‘type’ of Forever Business owner, but this is not a get rich quick scheme, and you do need to work for it.

You need to have a positive attitude. There are a lot of sceptics out there that can be really negative about Forever Living and the business model (including some members of my family, until they tried the products and saw the bonuses!).

You need to listen to advice and learn. The training programme and the support of your mentor is a luxury that many entrepreneurs do not have access to.  It’s worth its weight in gold, but you get it when you join my team for no extra cost!

You must have a desire for more, to achieve, to do better than you currently have. This is an opportunity that works brilliantly for those that are hungry for success.  It works well if you want to fit it round your current work, but I think you’ll love it so much you will soon want to bin the day job and the grumpy boss!

What do you have to invest?

I would suggest a time commitment of 10 – 15 hours each week.  I didn’t spend that much time on it to start with but still earned my original investment back in 10 days!

You must be willing to learn new skills. This can be done slowly, when you have the time, but I found that I was so enthusiastic that I was spending an hour every evening on it to learn faster!

You have an option to sign up as a business owner when you buy £100 worth of products. However many new business owners, like me, purchase the ‘Business in a Box’ for £199.75 which gives you a starter box of products, and literature.  You will have access to your own website.

If you feel like you want more in your career, or your current job does not excite you, or if you’re saying to yourself ‘there must be more to life than this’, then it’s time for change, the time is now to take a look at joining me. 

Have a look at the video on my webpage and get in touch.

Re-affirming my ethics has added to my business

 

 

Who would have thought that the search to find a new moisturiser would lead to a whole new business!

I’m so excited to be recruiting team members soon. Have a look at my recruitment page.

For many months I’ve been looking for new products to sell alongside my consultancy, but not found anything I was passionate about.  At the same time, I was hunting for a new moisturiser, as my current one just wasn’t good enough any more.  I suppose I have to also admit that I’m no longer in my 20’s or 30’s, which means my skin is changing, so I needed change.

I’m also not happy with the way the big brands are still using animal testing on their products. I cannot agree with that!  This was another reason for the change.  I was looking for a company with natural products, that do not test on animals.

I’m frequently telling friends and family about the benefits of herbal remedies, so when my friend told me about Forever Living and their Aloe Vera products, not tested on animals and entirely organic, I needed to know more.

My friend gave me a basket of health and well being products to try.  I’ve never been a girly, girl type, but I loved the handwash, my sore hands were instantly smoothed by the lotion, I was energised by the milkshakes, and the Aloe drinks helped me power through the day.

You can see the products here.

I looked into the company providing the products, as ethics are so important to me.  They have been around for over 35 years, they give a 60 day money back guarantee.  Their Aloe Vera is all organically grown on their own plantations, and they do not test on animals.  They’re a cash rich company so I know they are going to be around for years to come.

I’ve emptied my house of all the different products that I used before and replaced with my Forever Living products, I love them!

I love the products so much I wanted to join the team, I want to spread health and well being among families throughout the world, and create prosperous futures for my family and others.

I’ll be recruiting my team soon and can’t wait to introduce you to a healthy, wealthy world of Forever Living.

If you want to join my team I’d love for you to look here!

 

 

Be the best BusinessMum

14 Tips to be the best BusinessMum

14 tips for being the best BusinessMum

I know how the days go rushing by in whirl of family, work, house, work, and more work! Trying to fit it all in, and have some sanity time often feels like an impossible task, leaving you drained and desperate to hide away! Here’s a few tips on being the best BusinessMum that you can be, based on the last 26 years of being in Business while bringing up my delightful brood, who are now aged 27, 24, 21 and 9!

1. Know what you want: Each year I start a new year with my list of what I would like to achieve and what my targets are. This is themed around 4 areas of life 1. Fitness and Health 2. House 3. Activities and Holidays 4. Work and Ambitions.  I scribble all sorts of ambitions on there, and divide it into the months of the year so I know which targets I need to achieve for the next step, for example if I want to go on holiday in August I need to start saving. If I want to run a half marathon in September I need to plan my training.  If I want to do a course in WordPress then I have to factor in when that will happen around my current work.

2. Be organised: Do not set off on a journey without knowing where you want to end up, you must define your map.  Write down what needs to be done and what you want to do to achieve your targets. A planner or diary helps to plot out what needs doing from day to day. Set yourself a daily, weekly and monthly task list and put it on a noticeboard where you can see it.  Renew your daily task list each evening, it should only take 10 minutes and make sure you refer to your weekly and monthly task list when updating your daily one so you don’t miss any important activities or deadlines.

3. Routine: I often have so much to remember that certain tasks may be forgotten, despite referring to my daily task list. It’s important to keep a routine, not only so that you do not have to rely on memory but also because it is good for your children to have routines. It adds comfort in knowing what comes next in their day, which builds confidence, and allows them to take responsibility for certain tasks. As they get older the responsibility grows steadily, developing confident, happy children who are less likely to forget their spelling books or gym kit.

4. Include a business routine: Keep your routine in your business day too, for example check emails 3 times a day and act on them. Do not keep randomly checking emails throughout the day and then not making time to act on them because you were actually in the middle of something. Allocate your day the night before, allowing for some random time in case something changes. If you work from home, keep the office routine as if you were clocking on, including factoring in breaks.

5. Focus: Set a task from your task list and do it to completion. You may have a whole bucket full of tasks to get through, but focus on priorities and completion. Ticking off tasks that are done feels so good!  If concentration is an issue, give yourself timed tasks. See how much you can get done in 45 minutes, reward yourself with a drink and a 5 minute break then return for 45 minutes.  

6. Delete, remove and throw: If there’s anything that you don’t need to do, that has no relevance to what you want to achieve or what you have to do, delete it! Whether that is sales emails for something you might possibly buy next year, a phone call from a friend who always bitches about her husband, or the pair of trousers that your baby grew out of 2 years ago, throw it out, delete it, remove it from your life – it is cluttering up your energy, space and time – you do not need it.  

7. Delegate: Your child of 8 years old can pack their own school bag; your husband can make his own lunch; each member of the household over the age of 3 can remove their dirty clothes and put them in the laundry basket (put a laundry basket in each bedroom if it helps); every person over the age of 3 can help to clear up after every meal. Make it routine that everyone helps where they are capable of helping.  This works in business too – everyone who is involved and/or employed in the business can keep their spaces tidy, and be an ambassador of the business, do not leave it all to the Marketing specialist, if you’re lucky enough to have one! You can delegate some tasks to digital tools too, for example payments can be scheduled by Direct Debit, social media can be scheduled by programmes such as Hootesuite, saving you valuable time.

8. Delay: prioritising tasks is important. If your credit card payment day is the 2nd of the month then schedule it to arrive that day, is there any need to pay earlier? Tasks that have a longer timeframe can be scheduled later, as long as they are on your to do list and you do not over delay!

9. Do: I will borrow Nike’s strapline for a moment to say ‘Just Do It’ – stop putting it off, get it out the way, get it done!

10. Be reasonable: You may have a whole load to get done, but you have to be reasonable with yourself and remember that you can only do so much in one day. Do not get stressed out about the little things that don’t matter – the lower priority jobs can be done when you have a few spare minutes, if they don’t get done of day 1 of your list then do not worry. If they are still on your task list by day 10 then you need to ask yourself if it really needs doing (see delete or delegate above).

11. Be flexible: Things happen to surprise you, particularly when you have adventurous children like mine!  You may need to take time out to be a taxi service to the doctors, or see your little one perform in the school play. These moments are important for Mum and child, if you can attend then do so, but do not allow the guilt to set in if it can’t fit in with work.  

12. Time management: Try to make appointments at the beginning or the end of the day to make the most of your time. Get up early and go to bed at a decent time, only allowing a few exceptions.  Being tired drains your ability to work and to be a good parent, factor in your sleeping hours to make sure you get as much as you need.  If you have young children, you may need to learn the art of cat napping to keep sane during those hectic BusinessMum years.  Breaths of fresh air and sipping cold water, help to deal with tiredness temporarily to help you through the day.

13. Seek Help, guidance and a confidante: Whether life is going well, or if it isn’t, you must make sure you have someone to talk to, someone to confide in, and someone to share your ideas with. Do not exclude yourself from the world. Husbands, partners, boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, siblings, older children, colleagues and best friends should be there to help, to advise, give you guidance, listen to your dreams and hear your tears. Make the most of them.

14. Be positive: When you’re tired and anxious it can be so hard to enjoy your days, and getting bogged down in negativity can impact on your health relationships and your business. It is important to remain positive and enjoy your time as you’re living it now.  I’ve coached many entrepreneurs and CEO’s whose negativity has nearly resulted in tearing family’s apart and killing businesses, life should never get so bad that you hate to get out of bed in the morning. Take positive action if you feel everything is getting too much. Every morning, think about what makes you happy? What are you grateful for? What do you love about your life? In the words of Peter Pan ‘Think Happy Thoughts’ – your family, and your business, needs your positivity to thrive.

Some of these points you may be already doing, and perhaps you think about doing some of them, or not at all. Try to get a balance of thinking, doing and enjoying in your life, always enjoy the moment you are in before its gone.  Your children won’t stay little for long and nothing is permanent, life is always changing. Make sure you and your brood are changing, learning, growing and happy :) Good luck to all the BusinessMum’s out there! Let me know how you’re getting on.

Unconditional love

What horses have taught me about being a good leader!

What horses have taught me about being a good leader!

I’ve been horse mad since a very early age, and I was finally allowed riding lessons at 8 years old.   The first few sessions were a bit shaky, with a few nose dives as I fell off on a couple of occasions, but I was determined this was my sport. Although I was not allowed my own horse until I was 15, I made maximum use of everyone else’s, and was soon competing.

At the time I was totally unaware of the skills I was developing and it’s only now, 30+ years later that I appreciate what horses have taught me about being a good leader.  When I first started in a leadership role it never occurred to me that being around horses could impacted on my career.  More recently my new horse has reminded me about being a good leader.  Here are some examples;

Preparation and Planning:

There’s a lot of work involved in caring for horses, and this can be less or more according to the type of breed.  For example a slinky thoroughbred needs more care than a robust cob type due to their different genetics and origins of the breed.  I’ve benefitted from the company of cob’s, thoroughbred’s and anything in between, over the past 36 years.

Planning all the necessary requirements of a horse into my already hectic day is an absolute must.  My children and my business activities also have to take priority, which means everything has to be planned and organised to perfection.  My horse would not forgive me if I failed to make time for the gallops or arrived late with her tea, and my family are not too great when hungry either!

The planning process includes everyone who needs to be involved, whether I’m planning the business requirements, family activities or horse duties, those who play a part will be included in the planning. I make sure I am clear and concise in sharing my expectations and I always double check everyone is prepared and understands their part, no matter how small.

Understanding Personality:

In the equine world the difference between the personalities of mares, geldings and stallions is well documented, suggesting that geldings can be managed, mares will negotiate, and stallions rule the roost!  However the personality of the horse is actually not so stereotypical, for example some geldings refuse to accept the lower status, and mares often have days when negotiation is not on the agenda.

Training ex race horses and unbroken horses has helped me to understand that there is so much going on inside someone’s head that we do not know about.  With people, we expect to be told they are having a bad day (how many of us will admit that to the boss?), whereas horses will not vocalise their feelings, apart from a whinny when they’re happy to see you carrying breakfast. It’s up to us, as leaders, to feel the changes, learn empathy and to be observant, look out for the signs of what colleagues are feeling.

Understanding mood swings and how personality plays a big part in leading teams is vital to good leadership, with a good leader having the ability to read the atmosphere, pick up on body language and distract away from major issues.   Taking time to learn about personality and how different types of personalities interact with each other can make major improvements in productivity and reduce the fight for power (either in the board room or in the paddock!).

Build confidence to improve performance:

I’ve spent many hours repairing ex racehorses who have experienced hectic athletic careers, and suffer mentally as well as physically from their extreme workloads.  Working with a horse to build trust and confidence through a safe environment helps to reduce the damage and stress, providing a nurturing environment to make subtle changes and improve performance.

I set achievable targets and allow for mistakes to build confidence.  Allowing time for practice of new skills or new ways of working, within a non judgemental environment, will nurture and build confidence. The smallest change should be rewarded immediately, increasing the move towards improved performance.    Good leaders use rewards effectively and genuinely, encouraging small steps of change to improve performance.

My latest horse love project has almost reached a year with me, straight from the race  track to my caring, empathic family, where she has repaired, grown in confidence, and learnt a whole new world of work and fun.

I have been lucky to work with some fantastic teams, both in the equine world and in business. I’ve watched them out grow their confidence issues and go on to achieve great careers. I’ve come a long way from those days of my first few riding lessons, and although falling off is still part of the action, my leadership skills are on top form.

I aim to be learning from horses for a long time into the future.

How I saved £114,748 in 52 minutes, and still made money!

How I saved £114,748 in 52 minutes, and still made money!

I am an advocate for a healthy lifestyle and the importance of using exercise and hobbies as a way of zoning out of stressful business issues and recharging your body and brain. Nevertheless, often zoning out means you can focus on solutions, and I thought it would be good to show you how I saved £114,748 in 52 minutes.

It was an extremely windy day one spring morning and I was trying to find an excuse to avoid my 10k run. Luckily, my run was temporarily halted while I eagerly answered a phone call from a colleague, which set my mind racing.

The challenge set during that phone call was to save the organisation some money, or it would close. Creating 25 job losses, and a whole range of services lost to people in need. I had to achieve this challenge, but how?

Thinking time was required, and as much as I try to find excuses for avoiding my run, I am a runner, and I knew it was time to run, time to think.

After achieving an Ok time of 52 minutes on my 10k run, I had the answers.
These were my suggestions (the calculations were completed later);

1. Cancel all subscriptions to magazines – with ipad and Kindles people can now read a whole host of magazines online, many e-zines and some journals are free. Make the most of them.

Saving £210 per annum.

2. Review and change phone contracts – 22 of the mobile phone contracts had not been reviewed for 4 years and they were paying outdated prices.

Saving £223 per annum.

3. Assess job roles, outsourcing and ask about voluntary redundancy – although this is always a last resort because no CEO wants to worry their staff and focus attention away from the business, the relationships between CEO, his PA and the staff were excellent which meant they were able to identify who wanted to work part time, who had additional skills and who was ready for redundancy.

Saving £27,212 per annum.

4. Send everyone home! Yes! Homeworking is now possible if it suits the work you do. In this case all staff were outreach with the exception of the CEO and his PA, yet the company was paying for 3 offices! The CEO starting working from home 3 days a week and shared an office his office with another organisation for 2 days a week, where the PA was based.

Saving £87,103 per annum, and 22.5 jobs, also gaining an income from the tenant and creating partnership opportunities with further income potential.

At the time it was difficult to know how the suggestions would be taken, and I did have some further ideas but they were not taken on board for this organisation. Not every idea works for every organisation and it takes discussion and negotiation to get it right.

My area of business is to help organisations develop and grow by sourcing income and establishing an effective long term strategy, which usually includes becoming more efficient.

Although I had every intention of avoiding my run on that cold windy day, I was brave enough to use the business issues as an excuse to zone out of the weather and focus, with the added bonus of reducing my 10k time by 2 minutes.

Thankfully my thinking is faster than my running!