To trust or not to trust?

To trust or not to trust?

You’ve started your business and you are so excited and want to share your wonderful concept with the world.

two rocks posing as people holding hands

Immediately the fears creep in.  What if someone else thinks it’s a good idea and tries to steal it.

When is it right to trust or not to trust that instinct?

The wrong tone

That spirit of fear, or distrust, is now contaminating your copy.

You temper your tone and are careful who you mention, keeping the attention firmly on yourself and not crediting anyone else.

Perhaps you are a bit cagey about exactly what’s on offer – you don’t wish to give too many secrets away. 

The right energy

There is an art to gaining attention and drip-feeding content for momentum and a big reveal.  Done with fear your energy will be off.

Trust in yourself and your product or service and be open to sharing.

Ask yourself, what is that fear really about?

It is doubt about whether you are good enough? Do you have a fear about someone else being better than you?  Are you feeling the dreaded imposter syndrome?

Recognise this for what it really is.  Take some time before you write, post, call and share your news to get in the right positive energy.

Get over yourself

Usually your business concept will be done by someone already – there is very rarely a completely unique idea. 

Do some market research.  Who is the competition and what are they offering?  Don’t go down that rabbit hole of not being as good as them.  Remember, you are the unique element of what you offer as nobody can do you. Get over yourself and own that talent that got you here in the first place!

Competition can be a good thing.  Coffee anyone?  How many artisan coffee shops are in your local town?  Which ones do you visit?  The one or two that resonate with you, that have the friendly barista or your favourite cake?  So everyone comes to your town for great coffee – not everyone chooses the same coffee shop. People will choose you, the others are not the enemy.

What are you missing?

Could you collaborate with another outfit that is similar to yours?  Do you offer an element that they don’t and visa versa, meaning you can offer a bigger or better package to your clients?

What about the possibility of sending work to each other when you are too busy?  Have a grown-up conversation at the outset about the arrangement and keep a note of what happens.  If you are willing and open to try it may work out really well for both parties.  If not, you can politely withdraw from the arrangement at any time.

Act with fear and shut others out and you may damage your reputation in the community.

You can get burnt

There is always a risk in working with others – but that attitude of mistrusting everyone will not serve you well in business.

Work out the upside and the potential downside.   

Go back to your strategy.  Can this relationship/arrangement help you achieve your goals?

Obviously we have all had a bad experience, one that we wish we had not allowed to happen, but you will learn so much more from the odd mistake.

With experience you become more confident about your decision-making process and know when it’s right to trust or not to trust that opportunity or person. 

Are you ready to start your own business (with or without chocolate) and feel that fear but do it anyway – trust yourself and put your faith and trust in the good ones out there. Good luck.

100 Ways to Unwind!

100 Ways to Unwind!

A list of 100 ways to unwind – because it’s all about YOU

A landscape at dusk
  1. Breathe – sit quietly, notice your breath in and out, breathe deeply
  2. Walk barefoot on the grass
  3. Sign up for a yoga class
  4. Have a PJ day
  5. Light a smelly candle and let the smell calm your senses
  6. Take a long, hot soak in the bath
  7. Meditate – as little as 5 mins a day can be beneficial, set a timer, get quiet and let thoughts flow, you can download guided meditations if that is helpful for you
  8. Visit the woods – hear the rustle of the leaves, the snap of a twig, notice the light filtering through the canopy, the majesty and strength of the trees
  9. Start the day with some yoga poses (use youtube to find out how to do them properly)
  10. Visit the sea, listen to the sound of the waves
  11. Watch the sunrise, notice the potential in a new day
  12. Watch the sunset, notice the beauty at the end of the day, and be thankful for at least one good thing in your life right now
  13. Celebrate a full moon, stand and wonder at the bright moon in a vast sky
  14. Sign up for a Pilates class
  15. Take a walk in nature – notice your surroundings, the sounds, the fields, the trees, the sunshine, the rain, the sky, the clouds
  16. Read a book
  17. Journal your feelings – find a lovely notebook and write regularly
  18. Go for a swim
  19. Visit the mountains, take in the view
  20. Drink lots of water
  21. Enjoy some peace and quiet and some alone time
  22. Go for a jog or run – studies have recently shown and even a short run each week is beneficial
  23. Sit by the bank of a river and watch the water flow, imagine your worries flowing by
  24. Get baking or cooking and notice the lovely smells permeating the home
  25. Have a cuppa
  26. Talk to a good friend
  27. Visit a museum
  28. Buy a colouring book and some decent pens – do some colouring
  29. Watch your diet, enjoy eating healthy foods and avoid too many sugary snacks
  30. Can you break down what you are worried about?  Set aside sometime each day to worry – instead of allowing worries to undermine you all the time, say to yourself, you will worry about that at ‘worry time’ and sit and think about all those things that are worrying you in detail.  Some you may be able to fix, some you will not.  Acknowledge each thing you are worried about and then move on until the next worry time.
  31. Go to a fitness class
  32. Stick on your favourite tune and dance around the kitchen
  33. Watch something easy and light on TV
  34. Listen to your favourite podcast
  35. Read/watch or listen to someone inspirational – Ted Talks have lots of wonderful options to choose from
  36. Book yourself a massage or other beauty/relaxation treatment
  37. Eat a little dark chocolate
  38. Declutter a cupboard, a room, or a space such as your desk
  39. Do a crossword/quiz or sudoku
  40. Have a laugh; listen to comedy, joke around with friends, watch a comedy show
  41. Draw or paint something
  42. Do your favourite sporting activity
  43. Take up a new sporting activity
  44. Spend time with animals – visit the zoo or a farm
  45. Take the dog for a walk or spend time with your pet(s), join in with a friend on a dog walk if you don’t have a dog yourself
  46. Play an instrument
  47. Hug a tree
  48. Watch children playing
  49. Do some retail therapy – maybe just some window shopping will be enough
  50. Create time in the day to think or daydream
  51. Go for a cycle ride or a spin class
  52. Go fishing or sit watching someone else fishing
  53. Climb a hill (or mountain) and enjoy the view from the top
  54. Visit an art gallery
  55. Watch a film at the cinema
  56. Go to the ballet/theatre
  57. Buy yourself some flowers
  58. Work in the garden, allotment or help someone else with their garden/allotment (even a planter or window box will suffice)
  59. Be grateful for what you have
  60. Try essential oils and aromatherapy
  61. Visit a comedy club
  62. Go to a festival/music gig
  63. Think about your next holiday, do some research and book something to look forward to
  64. Get organised, make action plans and lists and tick things off as you go
  65. Visit a coffee shop, buy your favourite drink and sit and watch the world go by
  66. Knit or crochet
  67. Learn to play a new instrument
  68. Do something mindless – some housework, clean the car, organise a drawer
  69. Smell the roses – notice the aroma from your favourite blooms
  70. Write something – a blog or some fiction
  71. Buy yourself a little treat
  72. Take a power nap
  73. Look at some inspiring photos
  74. Visit a spa
  75. Organise your emails and sort your inbox
  76. Write a letter to a loved one
  77. Visit a church or cathedral and wonder at the amazing architecture and history
  78. Visit a beautiful garden
  79. Get an early night
  80. Visit the library
  81. Take up a new hobby/learn a new skill
  82. Get up earlier and finish your ‘jobs/tasks’ earlier to create more free time
  83. Visit a food market and marvel at the delicious wares on sale
  84. Enjoy the sunshine on your face
  85. Change your bedding and notice the lovely smell of fresh sheets
  86. Skim stones across the water
  87. Visit a beautiful lake and marvel and the view
  88. Have a lie in or a duvet day
  89. Go and watch your team play a sport
  90. Plant a tree
  91. Talk to someone – a problem is better shared
  92. Ask for help, delegate something, you don’t have to own everything
  93. Remind yourself that perfection is overrated – good is good enough
  94. Put on a facemask, or an eye mask
  95. Watch a tearjerker film and have a good cry
  96. Ask for a hug
  97. Support someone in need
  98. Light some incense. Scents like Sandalwood and Sage can help calm anxieties and aid relaxation.
  99. Avoid negativity – don’t judge others but try and separate your identity and emotions from it.
  100. BE YOU! 
It’s all about you

It’s all about you

The airplane analogy is often used. We need to put on our oxygen mask first, ahead of our loved ones, to be able to help them.

Air hostess in a cabin wearing a mask

So how well do you look after you?

If you push on regardless it can become too much, you may find yourself unable to carry on in the same way.  

I thought it timely that we take a moment to focus on ourselves. Yes, this is all about YOU, because you matter and when was the last time you focused on what you need?

Where are you now?

If you are reading this quickly before dashing off to do something else which needs to be ticked off the list. Stop, really take a moment. Sit quietly, slow the breathing down, turn off distractions (if possible) and tune into yourself. This requires a little bit of your precious time, some concentration, and honesty.

How are you feeling? 

That’s a bit of a big question, so let’s break it down into three areas:

  • Stress/busyness/commitments
  • Worry/anxiety
  • Feeling low/depressed

Stress/busyness/commitments

I need a bit of busy in my life – I find I thrive on it (mostly) and it makes me feel alive. Some stress I find necessary to keep me focused and motivated. In those moments I’m saying yes to everything, I can take on the world. Suddenly something changes and a bit of stress tips into stressed out, over-committed, and overwhelmed.  

On the flip side, if I find myself with not enough to do, that’s demotivating. The less I do the less I want to do until it drives me a bit bonkers, and I take action.

Be honest and work out where you are taking on too much and where you might want to put more energy instead.  

Worry/Anxiety

This is a biggie. With recent and current life events, our world seems more worrying and anxiety-inducing than ever.

What’s normal for you?

Can you manage the level of worry and anxiety that you are experiencing, or it is stopping you from leading your ‘normal’ life?

As we get older, we can find ourselves concerned over details we would never have given a second thought to in the past. Perhaps there is an element of extra worrying we are willing to accept. If this tips into catastrophising about what might happen and affecting our mental health, then it may be time to seek help.

I suffered from anxiety in the past, which was becoming a problem and difficult to cope with. My GP offered some CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) which I found very helpful.  

Two strategies that I took from the process were:

Set aside worry time each day 

Acknowledge each worry or fear as it occurs. Park that thought but give it proper worry time at the allotted time each day. (Don’t do worry time just before bedtime.) This seems unlikely to work, but I found it helpful as instead of being overwhelmed with worrying thoughts and not dealing with them, I knew I would spend time each day thinking about those things that concerned me most.

Worry Tree

What are you really worried about? If you can identify each worry and write it down then think about all the things that could happen, drilling down into the worst thing you can imagine. It may be that there is nothing you can do to stop the worst thing from happening but acknowledging this can be helpful.

You may find that your worry, when drilled into, is not as bad as you originally thought it was.

Feeling Low/Depressed

We all feel low and a little depressed at times.

If it feels like it is ongoing and not improving, it’s important to talk to someone and/or seek help.

I’ve often found that those low moments are the true turning points of life.   

Happy Place

If I were to describe an amazing happy place it would be wild swimming in the most beautiful location, looking up at a vast blue sky, the mountainous landscape surrounding me, the gentle sound of the water as I floated along, opening my arms wide to the world and being so thankful to be present in that very moment.

What’s your happy place? Please pop over to my Facebook page and share.

Treat time

Now you have thought about good things, what small treats can you build into everyday life to fill up your tank?

  • Quiet time/reading
  • Breathing/meditation
  • Exercise/sporting activity
  • Spending quality time with friends/family
  • Diet/water consumption
  • Sleep
  • Laughing at comedy or the TV
  • Dancing/listening to music

Here’s a list of ideas – 100 Ways to Unwind if you need some inspiration.

It’s all about knowing ourselves, acknowledging where we are and putting on that oxygen mask to give us energy and ensure we are the best for those that are dear to us. We owe it to ourselves too.

Let’s give ourselves permission – make it all about you for a change!

What’s your why?

What’s your why?

When did you last take a moment and think deeply about what motivates you, what’s most important to you, and what makes you tick?

It does not have to be profound and/or huge (although I’m sure we could all agree on world peace and an end to suffering). The smallest things can be so important. Whatever is real and meaningful for you matters most.

If you want to start your own business, then it’s imperative to work out the reasons behind your decision for doing so. Without being tuned into your ‘why’ you will lack focus, drive, and ambition to realise your dreams. So, what’s your why?

Where do you start?

Break down your life into general segments and review each to see where you are on a scale of 1 to 10. 

1 being it’s not working well at all to 10 being just perfect for you. Think about where you are now and be honest. This will help you score more accurately.  

  1. Work
  2. Home
  3. Health/Fitness
  4. Family/Friends
  5. Money

What’s your dream?

Do the exercise again, this time daring to describe each category as a true dream scenario for you. 

What would absolutely fantastic look like for you?  

I would like to pass on the wise words of a well-read coach I worked with (Paul Webb), which is ‘suspend disbelief’. If we use our logical brain, we will be telling ourselves all the things we can’t achieve, if you are able for the moment to suspend disbelief then surely anything is possible!

Focusing on the work element – what would having your own business mean for you? Really spend some time imagining working in a way that you want to, doing what you love and earning some money too.

It will not just be about the money. There will be so much more to it than that. The freedom, the chance to be creative, to be able to spend more quality time with family or friends, to pursue passions whether within or outside of work.

Mind the Gap

What life elements are furthest away from where you want to be?  

Where in your life need some focus and attention?  

Can you start to take some small steps to achieve more balance? You may not be able to tackle everything at once, but acknowledging where you are and taking small steps to improve or change a given situation (or even to acknowledge that there is nothing you can do right now to change it) will help.

What did you notice?

So which bits about your life filled you with the most joy?  

What did you find easiest to think about, dream about?  

What fired up your passions? 

Or maybe, what came so easily that you hardly realised it happening – because that bit is where your personal magic lies! The stuff that comes to you with ease, that doesn’t ever feel difficult, that gives you pleasure, where time literally flies – that is where you need to send some focus.

Watch this Space

Keep a diary, make a note, reflect and record. Now you are tuned in to what is happening, try and find out the bit that makes you sing more than anything else.   

Add in the elements of trying to find more balance in your whole life and it’s from there that you can start to identify your why.

It’s not just about you

I was training someone recently to start their own chocolate workshop business where they live. They asked me what’s the point of what I do. 

I thought it was a good question, without hesitation I showed this photo:

Two ladies smiling and laughing with chocolate smeared on their faces.  Having fun on a chocolate workshop experience.

This picture sums up exactly what I want for my customers.  

It really matters to me that everyone has a good time. I spend time creating the best possible customer experiences with chocolate that I am capable of delivering. The fact that people are spending their hard-earned cash with me is something I would never take for granted.

Although I need to own the responsibility for my business and what I offer, it’s not just about what I want. What do my customers want or need and how can I deliver that for them. How can I meet and hopefully exceed expectations?

What’s next?

Good luck with discovering your why. Will you dare to take the next steps and put a plan into action?

You will start to experience some fear, that’s normal, when faced with change we are bound to experience fear, but it will hopefully also be mixed with excitement! Now it’s time to take some action.

Your why, the thing that makes you tick, may just be something that helps, inspires, motivates or brings some joy to another.

Be a Better Speaker

Be a Better Speaker

Are you one of those that hear the word speaker and run for the hills?  

If you can overcome that fear and use speaking in your business, it will do wonders for your confidence, offer opportunities for growth, and mark you out as the expert in the room.

Your comfort zone will kill you…….so here’s how to be a better speaker:

Get out of your own way

Put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Do they want to watch you on stage dying of embarrassment and being too nervous to deliver your message? Imagine what that experience would be like for them. They will feel uncomfortable on your behalf, and your message might be lost.

That may sound rather harsh, but if you are able to get out of your own way and think about the experience of the audience listening to your message, it really does help overcome some nerves.  

Think about your speech in terms of the need to share your message. Why not give the audience the best chance to hear what you have to say and benefit from what you have to offer?

Fake it ‘til you make it – act more confident than you actually feel, and you may just find yourself feeling far more confident in the process.

Study the experts

Pick someone you admire who speaks from the stage and watch them intently. What is it about their delivery that really speaks to you? How does their delivery method work and resonate with the audience? Can you notice any tricks they employ to keep engagement and interest?

Ted Talks are a great place to study the greats – Brene Brown is a personal favourite of mine. Don’t despair or think you can never achieve such levels as those on Ted, use it as a learning opportunity and something to aspire to.

There are plenty of courses on offer too should you wish to invest in training.

Tell your story

Stories really sell, people are interested in other people, what bought you here, what do you have to share about your journey to get there.  

You may think it’s insignificant and other people might not be interested, but it makes it real and human and will definitely resonate with someone (if not many) in the room.

Weave stories into your business, anecdotes, something funny, real-life examples of how your product or services has impacted your clients.  

This will make you and your business far more memorable in the minds of the audience.

Be authentic

Don’t read from autocue or cards, this is not a corporate presentation where you have to stay on message. That’s totally boring and never interesting for the audience.  

This is you, your business, your way with your personality and that is what makes the experience unique.

Yes, you have to bring more energy and life than a conversation around the water cooler, but you are still you. 

Try and be as natural as possible. 

Fake a little confidence (to yourself) until you start to feel that confidence grow.

Once this happens, you will notice how you are able to play with the room a little. Suddenly you are able to access that wealth of information you hold in your head, even banter with the room as you are able to ditch some of the nerves and start to enjoy the experience (I promise).

Have some tricks up your sleeve

Bad luck, they gave you the graveyard slot (after lunch) and everyone has had a slump in energy. You feel you are losing the room.

Keep your own energy up. 

Have you seen Tony Robbins? He bounces around on a mini trampoline before hitting the stage.

What can you do to change the energy? A show of hands, standing up, changing places, high-fiving your neighbour? Judge the room, it can easily be over-done and become a bit too cheesy (I’ve definitely been on the receiving end of a very American-style vibe, which was just too much).

Here’s something to help if it feels like it’s all going wrong.

Know your stuff

Once you have decided what you are going to say, practice, practice, practice.  

If you are comfortable and confident with the content, it will help your delivery.  

People are giving up their valuable time to come and listen, you owe it to them to give it the best shot you have.  

If you have not taken the time to study, practice, understand your audience it will show.

Your position

By standing at the front of the room, or on the stage, you are seen as the go-to expert.  

That’s a powerful position for you and your business and is a great opportunity to gain credibility, increase awareness and if relevant, make some sales.

Don’t be afraid to ask for the sale

If there is an opportunity to sell from the stage, take it.  

Keep the energy and language in the same tone, stay upbeat. Don’t suddenly start to falter or stutter because you are about to ask for money.  

Get really comfortable with your sales pitch and really make it sing.  

You may lose some of the room if they are not in the mood to buy, but don’t be afraid to mention what you have to sell confidently, if appropriate for the speaking gig.

Enjoy it

I was petrified of speaking. 

My only previous experience was from the corporate world, I disliked it and considered myself rubbish at it.  

Once I started my own business, I decided that I was going to tell myself a different story about speaking. I wasn’t following someone else’s script anymore, and I decided to bring my personality to the stage and get better at it.  

Now I speak lots, in fact, speaking is an integral part of my business. I still get nervous for some speaking events but know those nerves are good. Nerves help keep you on your toes and focused as to what you want to deliver.

I absolutely love it; the buzz, the energy, the ability to influence, help, guide and support a group of people through speaking is just great.  

Say YES

Start with small events and gatherings and work your way up to larger audiences.  

Say yes to speaking opportunities when you don’t feel ready or comfortable and challenge yourself to get better at it. Decide you can and will do it, and see what you can achieve through observation, practice, and experience.

I’ve had people fall asleep while I’ve been presenting (very off-putting – but it was in a care home and after supper) and made people laugh or cry as I’ve touched a nerve and resonated with them.  

It’s an honour to have the opportunity to speak to an audience and will reap benefits for you personally and for your business. Good luck.

Why I started my business

Why I started my business

 I usually tell everyone about my love of chocolate and people, I just put the two together and created The Melting Pot.

Of course, my reasons for starting run far deeper than that.  

Dawn Fry

Here’s why I really started my business:

I took a job to fit around the needs of the family and it was driving me mad. It was something beneath my skill set for the part-time element and often left me unfulfilled and bored. Trying hard to turn it into something else wasn’t working, which just added to my frustration.

Life’s too short

My Dad became ill with serious cancer, followed by my husband in the same year. The next months were a blur of sitting by hospital beds and supporting them both. It was a tough time, with both seriously ill at the same time and three young children to support too. Driving around the M25 day after day, spending hours at a bedside, sitting watching loved ones suffer, and getting home and trying to be something for the kids. It took its toll.

Eventually, I went back to work but being in that environment was the final straw for me. How could I continue to work in something that didn’t serve me when life was so short and precarious?  

The only way is up

After a gruelling time and against the odds, we received good news, both my dad and hubby survived and are still well to this day, touch wood.

However, I now found myself teary and upset a lot of the time. The past had taken its toll. Not only did I not want to be in my job, but I was also not coping that well at all. It was hard to believe that everyone was going to be OK, even though the news was good, and I certainly didn’t feel OK myself.

One day there was a passing comment made in the office. It typified everything about what was not going to happen for me in my current role. 

I found myself in the toilet crying and knew something had to change.

The lightbulb moment

It was getting to that really low point, that kicked in some form of survival instinct and finally got me to tune into my need to reinvent myself. Time to start my own business, be my own boss, set my own agenda…..but what could I do?

I did literally have a lightbulb moment – I knew my business had to be with people and some sort of food and one day I just went, “chocolate, that’s it”. Running chocolate workshops felt right; I had created my new business idea, now to make it happen.

Redundancy Cheer

Redundancy is no joke; I’m not trying to make light of how awful it feels for some to know that they are going to lose their job and security. For me, it was a cheery and fearful moment. I was called into the office to be told that my job was being made redundant (it was the height of a recession in 2009). My response was ‘hurrah’ as it meant I could focus on my dream. I’d not been there long enough to qualify for redundancy pay, but it did give me the opportunity to start creating a chocolate workshop business as there was no job to full back on. This was the catalyst I really needed to make it a reality.

I left the job in June 2009 and launched The Melting Pot in September 2009.  

Why stop at workshops

After many years since I took the plunge, I still offer chocolate workshops and now so much more….

Hot Chocolate Team Day

So many courses and bespoke events have been created for clients – I say yes, then work out how I’m going to make it work.  

My hubby was inspired too, and for some years has been offering ‘be a blacksmith for a day’ experiences from his forge. We’ve even collaborated and created ‘hot chocolate’ team days.

I’ve documented everything I did to create a ‘business in a chocolate box’ and sell this to others wishing to run chocolate workshops where they live.  

New Dawn start-up business training came out of mentoring and supporting those starting a chocolate workshop business. Not everyone wants to work with chocolate – can you believe that?

Lack of confidence seemed to stop the people I met from starting something, they didn’t believe they could do it. If I could surely others could too? A free creating magic challenge and building confidence course were born.

Who knows what might be next…..

What I’d like to pass on

  1. Don’t stay working in something that makes you unhappy. You can and deserve to be happier at work. If you find yourself having a cry in the toilet, please make a change.
  2. Be brave – stretching your comfort zone will feel uncomfortable at first but the rewards are enormous.
  3. Choose love – firstly learn to love yourself properly, this is so important if you want to support all those that are so important to you too. There is nothing like working for yourself to really explore you and your capabilities.

There it is, why I started my own business. I love being my own boss, flexible, challenging, interesting and you will be so surprised at what you will learn about yourself.

Why All Relationships Matter

Why All Relationships Matter

We are talking business relationships here, but it’s personal too.

The most obvious relationships are those we have with our customers. The customer is king in every business. However, there are so many more to consider for a successful business to survive and indeed thrive, including the one you have with yourself.

Let’s explore why all relationships matter:

What relationships?

Meeting at a desk, with notebooks, drinks and laptops (you can't see their faces, just there arms writing in their books)

Sometimes we focus so much on the obvious (our customers) we overlook other opportunities.

Who do you have relationships with?

Customers, employees, contractors, suppliers, competitors, family, friends – are all key relationships within your business.

Another thing to consider is your potential relationship with someone where you are simply making an enquiry.

Maybe you are looking at a business opportunity?

How you behave will reflect on how you are perceived by the vendor.

Do you ask, realise it’s not for you (right now) and then ignore all the follow-ups? What if you later change your mind. If you didn’t go back to them explaining not right now, have you burnt your bridges for a potential transaction in different circumstances?

Send a simple reply explaining it’s not for you and why, and come across as professional and considered.

Supplying the Goods

Think about the importance of getting your supplies for example.  

Cacao beans

You are spending money with your suppliers and may think that you need do no more than hand over your hard-earned cash. What about a shortage in supplies (something that we are often facing in these difficult times).  Your supplier may have to choose which customer to send limited supplies to.  

What if you need a rush job and will need a supplier to go the extra mile for you?

Might your supplier recommend your services/goods to another customer if you are great to do business with?

A good relationship can reap unexpected benefits.

Money Matters

How do you pay for your supplies?  

Pink piggy bank

Cash flow can be an issue at times, so you may leave certain suppliers waiting for payment.  

Is this something you accept personally?  

Are you willing and able to wait for payment from a service or goods you have delivered?

What are your terms, and do you act with the same integrity with everyone else you do business with?

If you do hit on difficult times and you need to speak to your suppliers about extending credit for a limited time, your payment history will come into play. Have you built credibility with your supplier to afford you some leeway when it might be most be needed?

The Competition

Hide your head in the sand, feel threatened and defensive, or completely oblivious – what is your attitude to the competition?

Competition can be a good thing. If more people are offering what you do, there must be a demand for it. Always check out the competition and keep an eye on what they are doing. Is there an opportunity to work together, to collaborate?  

No one can do things the way that you do them. You are what makes your business unique.  

Make friends with the competition where appropriate and explore ways of potentially working together. 

The team

If you employ people or use contractors, then they are representing you and your business.

Do they clearly understand and operate by your values? Have you adequately trained and equipped them to achieve their tasks properly?

If there is one big lesson I’ve taken from running my own business, it’s all my fault. If an employee/contractor makes a mistake, then the buck will stop with me. Choose good people (we need to part ways with those that are not the right fit) and train them well.

Build good strong relationships with all members of your team and it will reap rewards.

Customers are King

Without customers, we don’t have a business.  

Building strong relationships with your customers and providing the best possible service matters. I like to create sticky customers (ones I cover in chocolate, but also stick around for more). Working with chocolate is a good hook for building rapport, but you don’t need to work with it to use it to your advantage! Here are 100 ways to make your customers go WOW.  

You

Nothing will test you like running your own business. It is the best personal development programme you will ever encounter. You will experience highs and lows, but the benefits of being your own boss far outweigh the difficult bits!  

Be YOU. People buy authentic, tell your story, be yourself. 

If you do not it will be exhausting and not something that you can sustain long term.

Set boundaries for yourself and stick to them. Respect yourself and others will follow suit. Treat everyone in the way you expect to be treated yourself.

The relationship with yourself will be tested and you need to know who you are and what you stand for.

All relationships matter.

7 reasons to just do it

7 reasons to just do it

What are you deliberating on right now?

It can feel so difficult to wrestle with a choice or change of direction. We might make a list of pros and cons, talk to all the people we know and trust, seeking answers elsewhere. At the end of the day, the decision is yours.

Sometimes we just have to bite the bullet and say yes to a situation or opportunity.

Here are 7 reasons to just do it:

Enthusiasm

You are obviously excited about this opportunity, or it would not be causing you the anxiety of deliberation. Listen to that emotion. What is it really telling you?

If you seek a new adventure of some sort, the reality is likely that you feel a bit stuck or stale with what is going on in your life at the moment. It’s time for a change or you would not have been attracted to the idea in the first place! Enthusiasm motivates you to take further action.

Momentum

While your energy is high, and you are in the mood to explore – act on it. Go and find out lots of information, speak to relevant people with a BIG caveat! Who you speak to matters! Some people, especially those close to you can be very cautious and negative about shiny new ideas.  

Seek out those that have relevant experience of what you want to explore. Use that momentum to really flesh out your idea in more detail. 

Energy and drive are required to make big changes.

Back yourself

You’ve got this.

Almost anything is actually possible if we put our minds to it. We tell ourselves we can’t do something as we have put ourselves in a pigeonhole. When we actually challenge ourselves to achieve something, it’s amazing the resources we find within ourselves.

There is also a whole world of experts, mentors, teachers, and coaches out there. If you don’t know how to do something go and find out about it from someone who does. If that’s starting a business, my hand is waving in the air!

Stretching your comfort zone

In a toilet in Shoreditch, there is some wallpaper that says, “your comfort zone will kill you”. 

Rather dramatic, but how true. We slowly shrivel up and fade away when we don’t challenge ourselves now and again. It can be just a small action, something that makes you feel a little uncomfortable now and again will work wonders for your self-esteem. Running a business stretches my comfort zone on a regular basis, there are some surprising things you will learn about yourself!

What’s the downside?

Is it losing face, fear of failure, scared someone will say no, someone will judge you? Honestly, how bad could the downside be? I think we can often overestimate the downside of something so be as objective as possible. If we fail, we have learned some valuable lessons. 

Can you afford to lose?

Putting my whole life, house, family, and the dog at risk from making a decision is not one I could live with. As much as I may dive in with a big decision and give it a go, I need to know the cost should it go wrong.

A default setting is often – I can’t afford that. That may well be because it’s a stretch financially. It is also about backing yourself to achieve something and that feels very uncomfortable. 

There are many ways to finance plans; business and personal loans, credit, etc – not just about what is currently in your piggy bank. Speak to a finance professional and take advice. Learn what the risk is to you and then make an educated choice on whether you can afford to lose or not.

 What will success look like?

Cork popping off a bottle of champagne with sparklers fizzing out of the top

You did it, took the plunge, and there you are sipping a glass of fizz reflecting on the journey you’ve been on.

What does success look like to you, what measures will mean that you have made it? Don’t just look at the numbers because it’s never just about the money. There will be financial goals, but what personal goals are there too? More free time, quality time with family and friends, holidays when it suits you and not the office rota?

Define your success criteria and if the decision means you are more likely to gain the success you seek, this life is far too short so………JUST DO IT!

Come and tell us your big news.

Fear of Failure or Fear of Success?

Fear of Failure or Fear of Success?

Most people will think that a fear of failure would stop them from starting something out of their comfort zone. If you don’t start something you can’t fail, so surely it’s far easier not to start.

failure written on a piece of paper on the table, success on another piece of paper being picked up

I beg to differ.

While fear of failure can prevent you from starting, far more powerful is your fear of success.

Let’s explore this a little more:

It’s personal

Do you believe that you deserve to succeed in whatever you set your mind to?

When you consider something that you really would like to do, can you imagine doing well at it? If you do imagine doing well, what emotions does that stir up for you?

Were you always told to be modest and humble, not to brag? Do you need to hide your potential success, so don’t try and achieve as much as you might be capable of?

Does success mean being busy, working all the time, and having no time to play? If you keep it safe and smaller, although you are bored or unfulfilled some of the time, is it better than being too busy?

Your relationships

Might you upset someone with a level of success? Will your success make you different in the eyes of friends, family, or partners? Do you believe some of your network would not like you if you gained a level of success?

Are you always the supporter in your relationships? What if that changed with you as the achiever, the most successful, the breadwinner? 

If you were super-successful, what support would you need?

Where might success lead for you? Does it mean you might leave some behind, or be faced with life-changing decisions?

Money Blocks

Pink piggy bank

Success may or may not have anything to do with money.

What is your relationship like with money?  

Is there a level of money that would make you uncomfortable?

Do you believe you deserve to have money?

You need Denise Duffield Thomas – she is an Entrepreneur that focuses on our relationships with money. 

I always recommend her book ‘Get Rich, Lucky Bitch’ to everyone on my business start-up course. She advocates that we all have money blocks. Emotions buried deep in our belief system stop us from reaching our next level of success. We need to identify and clear the blocks to move on.

Dare to Dream

What does success look like for you?

Dare to dream as big as you can. Forget all those labels, responsibilities, and worries, and take some time to identify what would be a wonderful achievement for you.

You might want to become super fit and healthy, eat differently

Write a book

Start a new business

Take on a role or job that you never dreamed possible

Learn a new hobby, instrument, sport, skill

Plant trees, take up volunteering, save the planet (we need you)

Make a plan!

If you fail you’ve learned. 

You may never reach your potential if you are too scared of being super-successful. It doesn’t have to be some huge grand scheme, it’s whatever success looks like for you. 

Why not come and tell us all about it – let’s make it real!

What’s the plan, Stan?

What’s the plan, Stan?

I’m not a great fan of New Year resolutions. They tend to be a bit flash in the pan. However, now is a great time of year to reflect and work out something more meaningful and relevant for the following months and beyond.

Let’s hope there are not too many more weeks of restrictions and compromise to come. At the time of writing this, it seems that we have a bit to go yet. 

This is the moment between Christmas and New Year. Usually the calm between two busy periods. For us, Christmas had to be cancelled, so it’s been exceptionally quiet for a time. The perfect opportunity to work on what’s the plan, Stan!

Dawn Fry

Why make a plan?

You may feel the need to make some changes in your life, these are more achievable if you think about what needs to be different and attempt to tackle them at some agreed point.

Perhaps, pandemic permitting, you would simply like to travel or see friends and family further afield. While these last two years have taught us that plans can’t be set in stone, it’s great to think about how & when you might do such things and plot them in the diary.

What do you want?

We are so often on the treadmill of doing stuff, getting through each day, and not thinking much beyond the daily grind. There’s nothing wrong with that but now and again it’s good to check in and make sure we are doing some of the good stuff too.

So rarely do most of us sit down with a pen and paper and work out what matters to us most. 

Let’s break it down

Take a moment to think about each of the following areas of your life.

Work

Home
Family
Friends
Health
Fitness
Leisure/fun

Describe the absolute best-case scenario for each of those categories.

What does work look like if you are doing the dream job for example? Perhaps you have always dreamed of being your own boss? Is it time to explore making this a reality, you might consider turning a hobby into something more serious?

Here are some of the reasons I chose to work with chocolate!

Now go over each area again and describe where you are now. Be honest with yourself, it’s your life, and time is ticking on.

Mind the gap

What/where are the gaps from the dream scenario to what you are actually doing now.

Do you need to focus more on your health and fitness to achieve some of your dreams?

Is it time to factor in more fun as you have not had time/energy to focus on this area of your life and you feel a little stale/bored?

Maybe you feel lacking in confidence and need to work on this first?

Identifying what’s holding you back, or feeling a little fearful is important. You are giving it air time and yourself the opportunity to work through issues.

Once you have identified the gaps – this will form the basis of your plan.

Write up the headlines and put some dates against when you wish to achieve them. It does not have to be done overnight. Some things will be longer-term.

What is most exciting on that list to you?

Do something towards that first.

Come back to your list throughout the year, or at agreed intervals (every quarter, six months, annually) and rinse and repeat.

You can change a plan – nothing is set in stone.

Come and tell us your plan Stan and inspire us all over on Facebook.