Tag Archives: leadership

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.

My 5 top digital tools

My 5 top digital tools I use for (UK) business are;

1. Contracts Finder www.contractsfinder.businesslink.gov.uk- For organisations that are ready to contract with local and central governments to build their income generation, Contracts Finder is a good way to find opportunities, to see what the government is buying and to set alerts to keep you updated on government buying.

2. Yortender www.yortender.co.uk – the Yorkshire and Humber procurement sites for local authority opportunities, you can set up your organisations profile, search for local opportunities and set up alerts to make sure you have up to date information on new contracts.

There are a variety of procurement sites for your area. Find them by googling ‘ (your local authority) e-procurement’.

3. Funding Central http://www.fundingcentral.org.uk/ – is a useful site for finding funds and updates on new contracts. It’s not always as comprehensive as it could be, but it is improving and definitely a good starting point for your funding searches.

4. Dropbox.com – this is a great storage and file sharing option, useful either as an individual or as a team. I use it everyday for file storage, and when I’m working on specific projects I can file share with the teams to make sure everyone who needs the information has access to it. You can start with a free storage option which is ideal for cash strapped third sector organisations.

5. Google Drive http://drive.google.com – another file sharing option that is really useful, particularly when you have a team putting information together for a project or a bid. You can create and share presentations, drawings and forms which has proved a great addition for working with remote teams.

Also Pinterest, Snapchat and Instagram are the best ways of keeping in touch with friends, family and having a creativity fix!

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!