Is it time to put your house in order?

In these difficult times you may be faced with an array of challenges, many of which are outside your control. So now may be a good time to turn your mind to something you’re in charge of – the state of your business. Whatever stage you’re at, it pays to get your...
Surprising way to achieve your goals.

Surprising way to achieve your goals.

As we roll into the fourth quarter of the year, you may be starting to consider your business goals for next year. Given how 2020 has gone, maybe your primary ambition is to simply survive in 2021. Perhaps you’re going to create a recurring revenue stream or finally...

What do successful business owners do differently?

What do successful business owners do differently?

Much is made of analysing the personality traits of successful entrepreneurs. Some appear outgoing. Others are introverts. Some lean right, others left. Some are flashy. Others are monk-like with their money. Their diversity can lead one to the conclusion that there...

Office v Home. Time to choose.

Office v Home. Time to choose.

There have been many big battles over the years - Ali v Frazier, Thatcher v The Unions, Road Runner v Wile. E. Coyote. To that list, we can now add something new – Office v Home. Six months ago, it was a one-sided contest. Office won every time. It was the flame to...

The importance of thinking differently.

The importance of thinking differently.

When I was a Partner at an ad agency, after every pitch we used to ask, next time what can we do differently? That wasn’t because we’d lost the pitch, or it had gone badly, but because we wanted to continually improve. The change didn’t have to be huge. Perhaps...

Times have changed. Have you?

Times have changed. Have you?

We’re living in difficult times. A world of masks and economic melt-down. You may be tempted to bury yourself deep under the duvet and pray for a vaccine. But until that day arrives, you need to take this particular bull by the horns and come up with a plan. Now is a...

How to turn a service into a product.

How to turn a service into a product.

A quick question for you. Does your business rely primarily on offering a service to your customers? If so, you've probably been disproportionately impacted by the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Consumers are cutting back on services to avoid...

How to write an email.

How to write an email.

Learning to write emails is probably somewhere near the bottom of your to-do-list right now. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, for goodness sake, why should I bother worrying about how to write emails? The answer is that an email is often your first point of contact....

Turning hope into certainty.

Turning hope into certainty.

Hope is what drives us.  It can take many forms.   You hope for a better working life. You hope your business survives the pandemic.  You hope for freedom.  You hope to make a difference.  But hopes can be quickly dashed.  56%...

How to avoid the snakes and find the ladders.

How to avoid the snakes and find the ladders.

The game of Snakes and Ladders can be an infuriating one. You’re just about to reach the top of the board when you land on a snake and go slithering right to the bottom again. That's what owning a business can feel like at times. A bad roll of the dice, and you’re...

Sixty-Second Survey. Results.

Sixty-Second Survey. Results.

Some interesting take-outs from our Sixty-Second Survey. From the poll, it seems that most of you are in a good frame of mind right now. 91% were positive about the future. 82% said business was good. Only 8% said that home working had had a negative effect on their...

How well do you know your business?

How well do you know your business?

Mastermind is a successful TV quiz show that’s been on the BBC since 1972. Its creator, Bill Wright, drew inspiration from being interrogated by the Gestapo during World War Two, creating the famous black chair, moody lighting, and challenging questions. There’ve been...

Why understanding data is critical to business growth.

Why understanding data is critical to business growth.

Abraham Wald was a Hungarian mathematician working for the United States during World War Two. He was tasked with working out the optimum amount of armour for a warplane. A crucial calculation. No armour and the plane could be shot down. Too much armour and the plane...

Finding the big idea to reboot your business.

Finding the big idea to reboot your business.

There’s never been a better time to unearth the big idea that will help solve the issues you’re currently facing. Businesses have many problems right now, in multiple areas – cash flow, talent, customer retention, production, sales, operations, marketing. Is the...

Being original pays dividends.

Being original pays dividends.

Walk down the streets of any British city centre and sooner or later you’ll find someone playing cover tunes by the likes of Elton John or Ed Sheeran. These buskers eke out a modest living while the stars they impersonate run...

What helps you grow, can stop you growing.

What helps you grow, can stop you growing.

Most company founders are good at the early stages of entrepreneurship. They’ve got an idea to kick-start their operation. They’ve got energy, ambition, confidence. They’ve got the support of friends and family. They can manage whatever comes along. But in the phases that follow, they may discover they haven’t the wherewithal to truly increase value. Just because you have a knack for starting companies, doesn’t necessarily mean those skills will translate into growing one.

Are you still clinging to the past?

Are you still clinging to the past?

As we enter a new decade, it’s interesting to look back at a company that’s stood the test of time.

Despite the growth of well-financed chicken-focused start-ups, a plethora of new burger chains, mounting pressure to reduce our dependence on meat, and a growing addiction to fancy coffee, McDonald’s has managed to thrive. This year McDonald’s is celebrating its 80th anniversary with a market capitalisation of around $150 billion — up roughly 10% over last year.

The downside of just milking your business.

The downside of just milking your business.

Business owners, like homeowners, occasionally like to see what their prized asset is worth. You’ve put the long hours in, built a business, attracted customers, surely they’ll be someone out there prepared to pay a decent price for all your hard work. Unfortunately, the picture isn’t quite as rosy as it seems.

What your age says about your exit.

What your age says about your exit.

You probably think the desire to exit your business depends on the size and age of your company, but in our experience it’s not the age of the business but the age of the owner that has the biggest impact on exit.

2020. No better time to check your vision.

2020. No better time to check your vision.

Business owners are called “Captains of Industry” for a reason. A captain knows the destination, plots the journey, checks the weather, ensures the right crew and resources are on-board, and how to steer a safe course. That is the core of vision. Not just knowing...

A Christmas present for your brain.

A Christmas present for your brain.

Depending on how busy you are, you may or may not have noticed that Christmas is coming. It’s that time of year when multi-coloured jumpers become the must-have fashion item, Dr Jekyll turns into Mr Hyde at the office party, and retailers layer their ads with...

How do you build a business that will sustainably grow?

How do you build a business that will sustainably grow?

Sustainability is never out of the news at the moment. Are you a fossil fool? The solution is less pollution. There is no Planet B. As the world population grows, so does the pressure on our resources. We need an environment and food chain that can continue to...

How to keep your talent.

How to keep your talent.

In 1999 I helped set up the advertising agency, Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy. I know, not the snappiest name ever, but at least it did what it said on the tin. When a client came in to see MCBD, they got M, C, B and D. When we opened the agency doors we were...

When is the right time to sell?

When is the right time to sell?

A fundamental question for all owners – when is the right time to sell your business? The answer to this age-old question is this – the time to sell is when someone else is willing to invest more in your company than you are. When you start a business, nobody is...

Does your business make you happy?

Does your business make you happy?

As an owner you want your business to make you money. But ask yourself does your business make you happy? It’s a question we ask owners, and all too often the answer is ‘no.’ Take the case of Gavin Rebello. He’d set up a successful optician business, but he didn’t...

Why it’s never too early to have an exit plan.

Why it’s never too early to have an exit plan.

The idea of exiting may seem far off, and all of your efforts are going into scaling your business. But there are good reasons why it pays to be exit ready. What if you grow tired of your business, or you can’t carry on because of illness, or a key member of your team...

The BGI Value Builder.

The BGI Value Builder.

The BGI Value Builder System The Value Builder System is a statistically proven methodology for increasing the value of your company. Complete the questionnaire and instantly get your Value Builder Score out of 100. It’s free and 100% confidential.

Do you still love your business?

Do you still love your business?

There are many things in life you can fall in love with. Your partner, your dog, a particular song, a beautiful location, a sports team. But can you add your business to this list? You probably loved it once. After all, who sets up a business they hate? You were...

How to find the idea to reboot your business?

How to find the idea to reboot your business?

A man called Ingvar Kamprad had the idea to sell furniture you assemble yourself. His company – IKEA. James Dyson came up with the concept of bagless vacuum cleaners. The rest is history. Michael Dell discovered a way to miss out the middlemen and sell computers...

Do people know the true value of your business?

Do people know the true value of your business?

Sector: Food and Beverage - Hand roasted coffee shops. Challenge: Raising cash to grow and differentiate in a competitive market that the banks and accountants did not understand. In 2017 Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi sold for $450m. It’s the most expensive...

Why do you need to target your perfect customers with precision?

Why do you need to target your perfect customers with precision?

Leads, prospects, customers. Where would you be without them? In big trouble. That’s why the mantras – “Sell, sell, sell”, “Show me the money,” “Go big or go home” are so popular in business. They’ve become the war cry of many a Sales and Marketing Director, often...

How can your business escape from the draw of Death Valley?

How can your business escape from the draw of Death Valley?

There’s a place where many businesses find themselves. It’s bleak, dangerous, inhospitable. Certainly not somewhere you’d want to stay for long. We’ve called it Death Valley. It’s a place where many SMEs find themselves as they seek to scale up, but they are not even...

Is your business on the edge of Death Valley?

Is your business on the edge of Death Valley?

There are two Death Valleys. There’s the one in California, that recorded the world’s highest-ever temperature, a whopping 56C. Then there’s the other Death Valley, the one we invented for the purpose of this blog. It’s where many businesses come to grief. That’s the...

Is your strategy active, dormant or extinct?

Is your strategy active, dormant or extinct?

In August, 1833, a volcano on the island of Krakatoa erupted. It sent pyroclastic flows 25 miles into the air. The explosion was heard 2,800 miles away. As a result of the ash and debris, average global temperatures fell by as much as 1.2 degrees for the next five...

Where do ideas come from?

Where do ideas come from?

I’ve always loved writing. No idea where this love comes from. My Dad was an engineer. My Mum worked in a shop. But they both shared a love of reading. The written word was always important to them, and it became vitally important to me. Little did I know, that as a...

Has your business gone flat?

Has your business gone flat?

Feeling flat is a fairly common occurrence. It can happen at many times throughout your life, like when you’re on a diet. You’ve cut calories. You’re doing your 10,000 steps a day. You’ve eaten more fruit than a monkey. And yet, when you step on the scales the needle...

How can you make your business great?

How can you make your business great?

"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em." So said Malvolio in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Fast forward several hundred years, and ask yourself – how can you make your business great? If you were born into a successful...

Dare you ignore your business warning lights?

Dare you ignore your business warning lights?

You’re driving your car and a warning light comes on. What you do next could have serious implications? You might decide to stop at the nearest service station and sort it out. You could make a mental note to book your car into a garage. Or, the worst option of all,...

Would you fly a plane if you only knew half the controls?

Would you fly a plane if you only knew half the controls?

"You are cleared for take-off." "Just a moment. What does that button do?" Let’s be honest, you’d never attempt to fly a plane unless you were totally confident with the controls, had been properly trained and knew exactly how everything worked. But when it comes to a...

Leaders are readers.

Leaders are readers.

As a business leader, we’d like to suggest a new way to improve your business – open a book. Reading is one of the quickest, simplest, and most inexpensive ways a business owner can scale up. “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader,”~ Margaret Fuller. How can reading books...

What’s the purpose of Business Purpose?

What’s the purpose of Business Purpose?

“Because it’s there.” That was George Mallory’s classic reply when asked why he wanted to climb Everest. As a business owner, if we were to ask why you chose your particular path, “because it’s there” really won’t cut it. Perhaps it’s because you want to make lots of...

Can a mentor help you scale up?

Can a mentor help you scale up?

The founders of Google, Virgin, Microsoft, Dyson and Apple. What did they all have in common, apart from building incredible companies and being richer than Croesus? They all had mentors. But surely, you say, when you have a hugely successful business the last thing...

Brexit. How to find certainty in a time of uncertainty.

Brexit. How to find certainty in a time of uncertainty.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the...

Strategy. Hit or myth?

Strategy. Hit or myth?

There’s a lot of fake news about. It can be disruptive, confusing, divisive. Separating fact from fiction is vital in all areas of life, but no more so than in business. To succeed you need hard evidence, not hearsay. That’s why we’d like to explode eight of the myths...

How certain are you of success?

How certain are you of success?

You probably started 2018 with high hopes for your business. You hoped that sales orders would come in, that new ideas would work, that new recruits would live up to their CVs, that profits will grow, that your operations run seamlessly, that your marketing delivers,...

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