If there is one radio show guaranteed to make me change channels, it’s the Jeremy Vine Show on Radio 2. Not because I have anything against Jeremy, it’s because, generally, the views of the public aired in response to the issues raised infuriate me. A couple of days ago, Jeremy conducted an excellent interview with a BBC correspondent about the Afghanistan non-election – a well informed, concise, detailed explanation of the issues. This was then ruined (for me) by uninformed points of view that added little or nothing.
Much has been written about the “demise” of the Birmingham Post, and the genuine concern at what will happen to the journalists who are losing their jobs. I sincerely hope that those skilled at writing will find new employment, albeit in a different market. I would far rather read, or listen, to someone who knows their subject and can present it well, than someone who writes and broadcasts just because they can.
The proliferation of Blogs, and the ability for anyone to write when, and on whatever subject they choose, has been cited as the end of quality reporting. I would disagree. I have more faith in readers and listeners exercising their choice to read and listen to what they like, and to switch off what they don’t like.
I also believe that there is a duty for those who know what is going on to share their knowledge and expertise.
I have been pondering a number of issues over the Christmas period to do with the power of positive thought. As I was starting to compose my own blog, I was pointed towards a great article by Jon Cooper (founder of JupiterDawn.com), published in the Birmingham Post on 1st January 2009. Serendipity strikes again…
I’ve been isolating myself from pessimists for as long as I can remember. As soon as I feel a negative “vibe” from someone, I always make a mental note to be in a different room next time they’re around.
That particular skill is one I’m calling on more and more these days, as finding people without the doom-bug can be quite tough.
One thing which hasn’t changed with the economic climate is pretty much a fundamental law of the universe. Whether or not you believe some of the more spiritual stuff preached by Dale Carnegie, or in recent publications such as “The Secret”, it will always be an irrefutable fact that you get back what you put out.
If you think negatively, you will get negative results.
Even more obviously, if you say and do negative things at work, those around you will mirror those words and actions, producing a spiral of bad outcomes for your business.
The fact is, thriving in 2009 is far from impossible; here’s my 3-point plan to ensure that you keep your plans on track when others are falling off the rails.
1 – Review which of your goods or services are selling best, and focus on making those even more attractive.
Pricing, features and delivery can usually be tweaked if you look closely enough.
Conversely, consider dropping whatever isn’t selling well or making you a profit.
2 – Use PR to get your message to the market cheaply, and ahead of the competition.
Standing out from the crowd as a fashionable, desirable business can cost less than you imagine.
Newspapers, TV and BBC Radio offer great opportunities for entrepreneurs to broadcast interesting, recession-busting stories.
3 – Banish negativity from your business. If suppliers are talking doom and gloom, agree with them and get better prices and longer payment terms.
If customers are whining, find out what it would take to make them happy again.
If staff or colleagues are getting you down, re-arrange your office so you don’t have to listen!
In summary, identify the key success factors which made your business great in the past, promote them and focus on them, whilst eliminating waste and negativity.
I know 2009 is going to present some brilliant opportunities; make sure you are set up to grab them with both hands!
The dust seems to have settled on media speculation about VAT – just how many sexy headlines were they ever going to come up with anyway?
So what should you be doing to make the most of the change?
Number one, now is the time to make large purchases, such as computers and other goods and services that have a high cost. The reduction on VAT should mean that they will cost you less. Don’t forget to haggle on price as well.
Number two, check your purchase invoices from suppliers. Make sure you are being charged at the lower rate of 15%.
Number three, check the sales invoices you are issuing. If you can justify making a supply at the old rate of 17.5%, then use it.
Number four, take proper advice if you are unsure what to do. Behind HMRC’s PR is an army of folk whose job it is to collect tax.