I read this phrase in a book recently, and it has stuck with me. The context was not about where I was physically, but in time. Do I spend time thinking about the past, the present, the future, or some combination of them?
What kind of questions do you ask? Are they about the future:
What’s for dinner, What’s happening next, What do I want from…
Or about the past:
What was I doing when, Can you remember why, When did we…
There is no right or wrong. But the kind of questions you ask do reveal a lot about the kind of person you are. Are you a reflective person, who analyses the past to make sense of the world? Or the kind of person who is always starting from today, and thinking about the future?
Both types have their place in the world, and although they may have difficulties relating to each other (!), they need to understand the relevance of the other person’s point of view.
In business, everyone knows you must spend time thinking about the future. You have also got to be realistic about the past and present.
Think about the last meeting you were part of. How much time did you spend talking about things that happened in the past, and how much about what you were going to do in the future? Was the balance right?
My blog How Much Are You Worth caused quite a bit of discussion, which has reminded me of another measurement of “worth” that I came across many years ago – The Mars Bar index.
As far back as 1981, Nico Colchester was writing in the Financial Times about the need for a reliable standard measurement of value, and proposed the Mars Bar.
The principle is very simple. Work out how much something was worth in Mars Bars in a particular year (the base year), then repeat the calculation in the present. The change in number of Mars Bars (MB) is an indication of whether the product (or service) has increased or decreased in worth relative to a standard measurement.
For example, in 1940 a Silver Spirit Rolls Royce cost MB 204,000. By 1981, it had increased to MB 347,000. In today’s terms, it is worth as much as MB 800,000.
A slightly more relevant example is a train ticket, say from London to Oxford. In 1940 it was worth MB 50, by 1981 it had fallen to MB 35. Is it a surprise to learn that in today’s terms it is again worth in the region of MB 50?
So what does all this mean?
Comparative pricing allows us the chance to evaluate our world. Have we desired certain things for so long that market forces have enabled their value to increase faster than the standard index? Have things fallen from favour to the extent that their worth has declined relative to the “standard”? A quick look at house prices over the last 60 years shows how demand drove the price up above and beyond every standard index. It also shows how, on at least two occasions, the market collapsed, allowing prices to return to a more sustainable and affordable level.
All this points to our apparent inability to make rational decisions about what something is worth. We are being driven to pay more for less. What is really worth more (relatively) than it did 60 years ago? Inflation is not the enemy, greed is.
Over the last few days, a new theme has emerged during my discussions with clients. What motivates them?
Some are facing choices between two or more potentially lucrative opportunities, some are having a tough time, some are sitting back and questioning what it is that inspires them to keep running their own business.
There are easier ways to earn a living than by running your own business. But are they as satisfying?
The answer is very personal and, in my experience, changes over time. A whole host of factors continually change and influence the kind of people we are.
In my work, I try to understand what it is that motivates a business leader. From this, I try to ensure that business goals link into personal goals.
Running a business is not for everyone, the stress alone can ruin your personal life… But the rewards for those who are willing and able to put the time and effort in can be great.
Even if you are not running a business, what you do for work is a key part of you.
Life is like a three legged stool. Each leg represents work, home and friends. If they are not balanced, you will end up slipping off the stool.
Thinking you have a good balance is not the same as knowing you have a good balance. If they are not in balance, what are you going to do about it?
Twitter is a way of communicating with your audience. It has the same potential as any other medium, including advertising and networking, to reach large numbers of people.
It is free (no cost), but it does require an investment of time. On this basis it might be worth thinking of it as an “instead of”, not an “as well as” means of communication.
It relies on you being informative and interesting. If you fulfil these criteria your audience will find you, like you, and follow you (read what you say). If you are pushy, people won’t follow you.
Twitter communicates to everyone who wants to follow you – so one message reaches a far greater audience than a single telephone call or email can. If someone likes what they read, they can forward the message to everyone that is following them.
What particularly differentiates Twitter as a mean of communication is the way that serendipity plays a part. More so than any other medium, it works through referral, over which you have little or no control.
Twitter is used by everyone, from teenagers, to CEO’s of major blue chip corporations. Your next major client, or customer, may just be looking for you on Twitter…
July 6th, 2009 |
So you've read what I think - Ed Hart of Your Financial Business Support, otherwise known as YourFBS.
If you'd like to know want I can do for you and your business, take a look at What I Do, email me, or call me on 07913 895798.
Your Financial Business Support Ltd is an approved supplier on the Business Link West Midlands Select Supply database and is also an East Midlands Brokerage Quality Assured Business Link Advisor.