Wednesday, 23 December 2009

BNI YouTweet Competition

We have produced a video promoting our BNI Elite chapter. This is part of BNI's YouTweet challenge - details here:

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Without Prejudice on doing a Phoenix

Sorry, I've been a bit slack in updating my blog - not to worry, I am being told off for not doing it! - and rightfully so. Mange-2, sandwich, pen and paper is what makes this possible - soon I'll be modern and connect my Blackberry to the internet and email :-)

The really good news is that Mac Million has been busy throughout September and October. So busy that we for the whole year were down by 55% on the same period in 2008, whereas in October we we are up by 126% - that is a great result and a fantastic turn around. As a small business owner I always seem to battle with whether one should draw a line through the debts and "close" the company through a so called phoenix and start again with no debts.
It amazes me how easy this is to do, however recently both my landlord and Revenue and Customs have given me (more) time to pay off the company's debts; it is a very tough plan, but it has to work! To underscore the issue, one of my fellow BNI members told me this morning how he is about to loose nearly £20,000 to a client doing a phoenix - just shows how important it is to take responsibility for debts created and take any action necessary to honour commitments or other small business will topple like a game of dominos. Sadly we in the UK now have developed a culture where it is OK and far too easy to declare your company bankrupt. This is not a good role model for future generations of business people.

Onwards and upwards. Every day doing Network Marketing is a new day for me. I am getting more leads than I can manage and doing my best to find referrals for my colleagues - both in August, September and October I was one of the top referrers in my Chapter. Not setting aside the continued "ownership" of the blue "Notable Networker" badge, I am also seeing the truth of the BNI slogan "givers gain" - this morning I got three referrals. One of which includes being asked to be the keynote speaker at the December Annual General Meeting of a specialist association. This will, I promise, be very boring as I am not one to provoke anyone at such a meeting ;-)

Beside this flush of work I still get time to find new ways of hurting myself through exercise. I've been doing fairly well with a big dose of circuit training and boxercise. However, being one for not liking football and having not played the game regularly since school some 30 years ago. It only seems naturally that I should join an weekly indoor 5 aside game (sometimes we've been three on each side). So far I've managed to walk away from each match with markings on my legs and elbow - I hate to admit it, but I am enjoying the pace of the game and people that allows me to be a true amateur. Even though it is made up of tough Kivi's I still managed to score 3 goals in the last game - but it was not something that could be called beautiful...

Last night I also managed to play a game of Squash - so back to burning carbs - if only we hadn't gone to Ciao Bella for afters.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Taxing Times

I think that most small business owners will agree that the current times are some of the toughest times that we've experienced. I am splitting my time equally between dealing with creditors, debtors and marketing. It is difficult to decide what is the most important? It still takes me a good day to prepare and write a letter to a creditor, and often I just get a 2 line reply with either "Repeat of their previous request for info" or "yes, that will be ok" - however, it keeps the business alive.

One of the ways that I know that other businesses is having a hard time is by the high amount of sales calls and job applications that we receive on a daily basis. Actually, I think that I've become much nicer when I turn people down - maybe it is because I realize that it could be me or anyone that I know at the other end of that phone or email.

But I am really starting to like the marketing part, go out and meet new people, ask for introductions, think creatively about how you can help this person with Mac Million services whilst adding value to their business.

Tomorrow morning I am doing my 4 min introduction at my BNI Elite chapter. I've already received a fair bit of help from some of the more experienced members. So all I have to do, is to decide what is the most important services that we can offer that is tangible to the group members? In November I'll be doing a 10 min presentation for the same people - this I intend to be the big one - something that for better of worse won't be forgotten in the near future.

On a happier note, on Saturday it was by birthday and I received a lot of good wishes, cards and people were queuing up to celebrate it with me. Had a lovely breakfast with friends at Mange 2, followed by one hour of phone calls, an hour in the gym (hill programme on the treadmill - level 16 at 6.2 speed for 45 min.) and then I went to have dinner and a movie with a couple of very dear friends in West London. They intercepted me in Hammersmith and took me to their tailors; T.K. Max - I had an amazing lesson in designer clothes by a former fashion editor, and was kitted out to look the business. The dinner afterwards was fab too - always involves discussions on a high intellectual level - not sure I get all of it, but I like it and love it :-)

Niels Bohr gave me my quote of the week:
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future."

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Blog Me

I started writing a few months ago about my life inside and outside of Mac Million on the Touch London Business blog. Unfortunately they decided to stop me from posting due to restrictions on how many posts that you are allowed too put up each month... I did ask via their website and email for an upgrade and inquired about costs for doing this, but they never responded - if only we had soo much business that we could ignore new clients, then I would indeed be a very happy bunny.

This summer has been really slow, so I've spent my time equally on taming the paperwork, marketing and putting more hours in at the gym. I've started reading "Time Management" by Polly Bird, published by the chartered management Institute. Actually, I'm trying to live it, rather than just read it - after many, many + a bit more years of failure in this field, I'm hoping to get both my precious time and paper mountain under control. The result so far (half way through chapter three) is that I know the color of my office desk and carpet - eventually everything will be paperless, or at least in some form of organised lever arch files.

For too many years Mac Million has enjoyed word of mouth marketing. However, not only with the crunch but also with our business changing so rapidly, including our business model, I've had to recognise that many of yesterdays clients won't be the same tomorrow. So to be more proactive a number of very good and special offers has been generated in form of Direct Mail Marketing and on our website (

A direct result of this was getting an invitation to the July visitors day at our local BNI (Elite) chapter. BNI ( is a concept build around doing referrals between businesses. There are over 6,200 chapters Worldwide and the attraction is that each chapter only have one person of each type of business/profession. So I will never find myself in the room pitching against another video production company. However, there are a Pr, Web and a design company that I can work + people in the area of accountancy and legal services that could use video too. The concept is simple, when you sign up you agree to turn up at the weekly breakfast meeting to give a 1 minute presentation + hear a longer presentation by a pre-selected member. The short presentation is an excellent opportunity to highlight a specific services + ask the group for specific contacts. Yes, it costs money to join and to eat the breakfast, but I got my first paid job from the induction meeting to BNI + I am busy meeting 1-2-1 with all the other members - work is definitely being created as a direct result of this.

Then there is the work that I am doing in the gym - trying to sort my soul and body out before a big milestone next year. Found another member, Mirko, who is introducing me to Push-ups, Burkees and Circuit Training - his comment is that there is a reason for why the military has been exercising in this style for thousands of years - I'm still hurting...

Anyway, got to leave some content for the next blog :-)