Monthly Archives: November 2013

How to become a successful Project Manager by AVPT Global

To become a successful project manager, you need to look to build and develop these skills.

article by Diane Shawe M.Ed
CEO Academy of Vocational & Professional Training

Project management isn’t just for construction engineers and military logistics experts anymore. Today, in addition to the regular duties of your job, you are often expected to take on extra assignments – and to get that additional job done well, done under budget, and done on time.

At our 1 day workshop we  intended to take you from a supervisory or administrative position to that of a project manager. However, this one-day workshop will familiarise you with the most common terms and the most current thinking about projects. In the mean time lets take a look at the skills checklist and the bullet points for effective project management.

The Skills Checklist

  • All encompassing
  • Goals met as soon as possible (product, time, and money)
  • Applies knowledge, skills, and techniques
  • Balance competing demands
  • Work with a mixture of people/technology
  • Multi-task
  • Define the scope of the project
  • Define goals you can meet and keep them
  • Time management
  • Management identity clusters
  • Strong project management identity
  • Good at documenting steps
  • Self-confidence
  • Flexibility

Summary stages of developing a project

“The only thing worse than training people and having them leave, is not training them and having them stay”

“The only thing worse than training people and having them leave, is not training them and having them stay”

Conceptual/Creation/Initiation Stage

  • Establishing a need
  • Determining feasibility
  • Searching for alternatives
  • Preparing proposals
  • Developing basic budgets
  • Determining basic schedules
  • Naming the starting project team
  • Study; discuss, and analyse
  • Write the project definition
  • Set and end-results objective
  • List imperatives and desirables (SOW)
  • Generate alternative strategies (Brainstorming)
  • Evaluate alternatives & choose a course of action

Planning/Growth/Sell Stage

  • Setting goals
  • Listing tasks to be done
  • Developing schedules in a sequence
  • Developing a budget
  • Getting your plans approved by stakeholders
  • Conducting studies and analyses
  • Designing systems
  • Building and testing prototypes
  • Analyzing results
  • Obtaining approval for production
  • Establish the project objective
  • Choose a basic strategy for achieving the objective
  • Break the project down into subunits or steps
  • Determine the performance standards for each subunit
  • Determine how much time is required to complete each subunit
  • Determine the proper sequence for completing subunits
  • Determine the cost of each subunit
  • Design the necessary staff organization
  • Determine the number of staff needed
  • Determining kind of positions
  • Determine what training is required for project team members
  • Develop the necessary policies and procedures
  • Market study
  • Pilot test
  • Computer simulation
  • Estimating labor costs
  • Estimating labor
  • Estimating overhead
  • Estimating materials
  • Estimating supplies
  • Estimating equipment rentals
  • Estimating general and administrative

Implementation/Execution/Operation Stage

  • Getting the time
  • Getting the money
  • Getting the people
  • Getting the equipment
  • Meeting and leading the team
  • Communication with all stakeholders
  • Controlling the work in progress
  • Establishing standards
  • Monitoring performance
  • Inspection
  • Interim progress reviews
  • Testing
  • Auditing
  • Taking corrective action

Termination/Close out/ Evaluation Stage

  • Letting go of the project
  • Celebrate success
  • Release resources
  • Project completion checklist
  • Test project output to see that it works
  • Write operations manual
  • Complete final drawings
  • Deliver project output to client
  • Train client’s personnel to operate project output
  • Reassign project personnel
  • Dispose of surplus equipment, materials and supplies
  • Release facilities
  • Summarize major problems encountered and their solution
  • Document technological advances made
  • Summarize recommendations for future research and development
  • Summarize lessons learned in dealing with interfaces
  • Write performance evaluation reports on all project staff
  • Provide feedback on performance to all project staff
  • Complete Final audit
  • Write Final report
  • Conduct project review with upper management
  • Declare the project complete

The Statement of Work (SOW)

  • The purpose of statement
  • The scope of statement
  • The project deliverables
  • The goals and objectives
  • The cost and schedule estimates
  • The list of stakeholders
  • The chain of command
  • The communication plan

Project Management Fundamentals 1 day training course

Our  one-day workshop will help you teach participants how to:

–       Define the terms project and project management

–       Identify benefits of projects

–       Identify the phases of a project’s life cycle

–       Sell ideas and make presentations

–       Prioritise projects

–       Begin conceptualszing their project, including goals and vision statements

–       Use a target chart and other planning tools

–       Complete a Statement of Work

What’s Included?

  • Instruction by an expert facilitator
  • Small interactive classes
  • Specialised manual and course materials
  • Globally accredited certificate

Online course option 4 weeks, your own personal tutor click to find out more, its easy to start online…

80% students get qualified

Getting you qualified in days

Press Release: Leading Vocational Training Provider to Support Global Entrepreneur Week

jumpstartbusinessbootcampnotimetowastegewuk 5Article written by: Rebecca Appleton at Dakota Digital

A top vocational training provider will continue its mission to get budding business leaders up and running next month with a series of high intensity bootcamps as part of Global Entrepreneur Week.

The Academy of Vocational and Professional Training was awarded a High Impact badge for its efforts during the 2012 series of events. On the back of this, it has designed a series of three hour ‘Jump Start Your Business’ master classes which focus on a dozen essentials that every entrepreneur-in-the-making should know.

Taking place throughout Global Entrepreneur Week (18 – 24 November 2013) the Academy of Vocational and Professional Training’s bootcamps are packed with practical information, indispensable no-nonsense advice, hands on guidance and immediately implementable strategy. Designed for anyone looking to start their own businesses, the sessions are led by experienced trainers and business gurus from the Academy of Vocational and Professional Training.

Starting right from the germination of an idea through to getting a fledging new company flying, classes on the 18th- 19thNovember cover how to write a business plan, identifying a USP, how to write a perfect pitch and adding value.

Calculating prices and worth, creating a brand, designing business processes and using social media will be tackled on the 20th– 21st. To round out the week, the bootcamp sessions will focus on the marketing plan, goal setting, working on yourself and raising finance.

Informative, professional and inspiring, the bootcamp has been designed to support key Global Entrepreneur week values. Taking place in more than 115 countries simultaneously, the UK programme of events is focused on getting more young people started in business to encourage a nationwide culture of entrepreneurism.

Diane Shawe founder and CEO of The Academy of Vocational and Professional Training said, “We were thrilled to receive our High Impact badge of honour in recognition of our efforts during last year’s Global Entrepreneur Week and are determined to do even better this time around!

1 a good deal“We know that starting a business can be an immense challenge and even though government and other agencies do provide some support, many of those interested in starting their own business can still feel overwhelmed. We have poured all of our knowledge and experience into creating our Jump Start programme of events. Feedback from last year’s sessions was so encouraging that we have further developed the concept, packed in even more useful advice and pledged to help everyone attending feel empowered and confident about taking their first steps in business.”

The UK Global Entrepreneur Week activities will be organised by Youth Business International. Its aim it to create a collaborative, local and practical week which makes it easier for those new to business to learn more and more easily access the support available to them.

AVPT is the only UK Globally Accredited online and workshop based provider of over 390 Soft Skills courses using a cutting edge, proprietary online Learning Management system.

The Academy of Vocational and Professional Training’s bootcamp sessions are all priced at £9.99. To register for a master class and to see the full timetable of events visit click here.

For more information about The Academy of Vocational and Professional Training visit

Please direct press queries to Rebecca Appleton at Dakota Digital. Email or Tel: 01623 428996.


How to set your Goals with a Smart Spirit by Diane Shawe

MyallclubWe all have things we want in life.

Diane Shawe M.Ed
The route to success is to take the things that we dream about and wish for, and turn them into reality.  Thinking, planning, and taking action on the things we really want starts to set the wheels in motion. Just following our Smart Spirit guide will help you get to grips on how to start setting your goals.

  • Do you set goals for yourself now? What are some examples?
  • Do you write them down?
  • How often do you review your goals?
  • How do you reward yourself for meeting your goals?
  • You need to select things that motivate you and make you stretch.
  • Getting out of our comfort zone helps us create the circumstances that we need in order to get what we want.
  • Selecting easy goals won’t excite you and motivate you to go them.
  • If you want real change to take place, you’ve got to be willing to take some risks and go after what you want.

Setting goals with SPIRIT

  • When you are creating big goals, you may need to break them into several small, achievable goal statements.
  • Specific
  • Be specific about what you want or don’t want to achieve. The result should be tangible and measurable. “Look gorgeous” is pretty ambiguous; “Lose 20 pounds” is specific.
  • Prizes
  • Reward yourself at different points in the goal, particularly if it’s long-term. If your goal is to clean up the backyard to prepare for winter, you might treat yourself to a special meal cooked outside when you are all finished. For bigger goals, check your bucket list to see if there are things on there that could be good rewards!
  • Individual
  • The goal must be something that you want to do. If your spouse wants you to lose 20 pounds but you think you look fine, you’re not going to want to work towards the goal. When your boss is setting targets for you at work, try to find an aspect of it that is meaningful to you and that you can connect to. (This is where working with people and organizations that have similar values to you is helpful.)
  • Review
  • Review your progress periodically. Does the goal still make sense? Are you stuck? Do you need to adjust certain parts of it?
  • Inspiring
  • Frame the goal positively. Make it fun to accomplish. For example, you could make a poster of the end result, frame it, and post it on the wall.
  • Time-Bound
  • Give yourself a deadline for achieving the goal. Even better, split the goal into small parts and give yourself a deadline for each item.

Setting goals with SMART

  • Use the SMART method to create actionable goals. SMART is a mnemonic used by life coaches, motivators, HR departments, and educators for a system of goal identification, setting, and achievement. Every letter in SMART stands for an adjective that describes an effective way to set goals.
  • Specific. When setting goals, they should answer the highly specific questions of who, what, where, when, and why. Instead of the general goal, “I want to get into shape,” try for a specific goal, “I want to run my first half-marathon next year.”
  • Measurable. In order for us to track our progress, goals should be quantifiable. “I’m going to walk more” is far more difficult to track and measure than “Everyday I’m going to walk around the track 10 times.”
  • Attainable. It is important to evaluate your situation honestly and recognise which goals are realistic, and which are a little far-fetched. Instead of, “I am going to be very rich,” (while admirable) it might be more realistic to say, “I am going to increase my turnover by 10% quarterly.
  • Relevant. Is this goal relevant to your life and to the “big picture” questions you have already asked yourself? Some good questions to ask yourself when figuring this out are: does it seem worthwhile? Is now the right time for this? Does this match my needs?
  • Time-related. Setting a “due date” to meet goals not only keeps you on track, but it prevents pesky daily roadblocks from getting in the way. Instead of saying “I’m going to get my bank loan someday”, you might consider saying, “I’m going to get my bank loan in 3 months.”

Coping Strategy

  • Everyone has setbacks!
  • Evaluate your action plan and adjust as needed.
  • Goal achievers are optimists!


What Will Students Learn?

Identify what’s important to you in your life
Use goal setting activities and appropriate language to articulate what you want in your life
Explain what your dreams and goals are for both the short and long term
Use motivating techniques to help you reach your goals
Understand how to deal with setbacks

What Topics are Covered?

Laying the foundation
What’s in your bucket?
Getting down to business
Getting started today
Dealing with setbacks

What’s Included?D.C.

Instruction by an expert facilitator online
Specialised manual and course materials
Personalised certificate of completion

Click here to find out more about this online course

14 of the most inspirational books for entrepreneurs

Diane Shawe M.Ed

A man is just the product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes. Mahatma Gandhi

Can a book really inspire an entrepreneur?

article by Diane Shawe M.Ed
CEO of AVPT GLOBAL s.a.r.l

Every once in a while, you read a book that changes you — inspiring your career, clarifying your goals, challenging your thinking. The right book can give you the courage to start your business, the reality check that you’re not yet ready or the quiet affirmation that you’re not alone in your fears or ambitions. It can set you on your path to success.  I have chosen 14 books one of which includes my own. I hope you like them.

Who Moved My Cheese? is an amusing and enlightening story of four characters who live in a maze and look for cheese to nourish them and make them happy. Cheese is a metaphor for what you want to have in life – whether it is a good job, a loving relationship, money or a possession, health or spirital peace of mind. And the maze is where you look for what you want – the organisation you work in, or the family or community you live in.

This profound book from bestselling author, Spencer Johnson, will show you how to anticipate change, adapt to change quickly, enjoy change and be ready to change quickly again and again. Discover the secret for yourself and learn how to deal with change, so that you suffer from less stress and enjoy more success in your work and in life.

Written for all ages, this story takes less than an hour to read, but its unique insights can last for a lifetime.

Spencer Johnson Author Publisher: Vermilion; Reprinted Ed edition (4 Mar 1999)

Atlas Shruggedby Ayn Rand (Plume, 1999)

“To start a business, you just need to define a problem. But to wake up every day, no matter what, and DO that business, you need a reason. Ms. Rand taught me that focusing on a purpose is the best way to make a difference to my world.” — Jason Womack

Getting started in the hair extension business by Diane Shawe 2007

Diane Shawe Author getting started in the hair extension business
The first ebook to advise you on ‘What they don’t tell you about Getting started in the hair extension business’ by Diane Shawe. Whether you are a beginner, been in business for a few years or want to explore how you can increase your annual turnover, this is an book designed to help you prepare yourself. A book for students, mobile hairdressers, professional hairdressers, beauticians, any one considering starting up in the hair business, hair consultants and specialist technicians. Useful for schools and colleges, private training schools and anyone currently running a hair and beauty business.

Diane Shawe Author Publisher: PMM Group (UK) Ltd (18 May 2011)

Ogilvy on Advertisingby David Ogilvy (Vintage, 1985)

“I read [this book] when I was in college, studying marketing. It helped me to cement that this was the field for me and that at the end of the day, it’s all about creativity. Although at the time it refered to advertising, it’s actually applicable to all parts of the marketing mix. Ogilvy gives rules, but then breaks them. I love it!” — Jim Joseph

The Richest Man in Babylonby George Clason (Megalodon Entertainment, 2012)

“This was one of the first business books I read and it taught me that ‘saving’ money is equally as important as ‘making’ money. I’m now requiring my teenage children to read the book and report back to me on how it impacted them.” — Mark Kohler

The Leadership Challenge, by James Kouzes and Barry Posner (Jossey-Bass, 2012)

“This book was seminal for me early in my business career. It brought structure and insight to the at-the-time mysterious subject of leadership, and it addressed matters of both the head and heart.” — Mark Sanborn

The 4-Hour Workweekby Tim Ferriss (Harmony, 2007)

“This book helped me in two very distinct ways. First, it opened my eyes to how business can be sourced and conducted globally for even the smallest of businesses — the global economy isn’t limited to the big corporations anymore. Second, it was life changing because it made me, as an entrepreneur, ask deeper questions about what I want out of life, not just the business.”
Shari Alexander

Tribal Leadership, by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright (HarperBusiness, 2011)

“Despite conventional wisdom, research reveals that naturally forming small groups of people within organizations, and not leaders, drive success, quality and innovation. This book provides a great framework for companies to build a culture of success, quality and innovation.”
Ross Kimbarovsky

The Art of War, by Sun Tzu (Simon & Brown, 2013)

“I especially find this book to be helpful for businesses that are in the early stages of development as it teaches them to prepare for the many types of situations they may experience. As we all know, one of the biggest obstacles to overcome as an early-stage company is managing the element of the unknown. Strategy and preparation can, in many ways, guide a company and help mitigate future mistakes.” — Ryan Himmel

Thinking, Fast and Slowby Daniel Kahneman (Farrar, Straus and Girouxby, 2013)
The Seven-Day Weekendby Ricardo Semler (Century, 2004)
The Logic of Scientific Discoveryby Karl Popper (Routledge, 2002)
The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin (Harper Paperbacks, 2011)
Crush It!, by Gary Vaynerchuk (Harper Studio, 2009)
Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster, 2013)

1 a good deal

Special offer for one week, all bootcamp training just £9.99 + vat

1 a good deal

Why Soft Skills matter to your employability

“The only thing worse than training people and having them leave, is not training them and having them stay”

“The only thing worse than training people and having them leave, is not training them and having them stay”

The hard truth about softskills

article by Diane Shawe M.Ed
CEO AVPT Global S.a.r.l

Though the benefits of soft skills training may be hard to measure in the short term, individuals and organisations need to look beyond simple pain relief, from a symptom of a much bigger problem and toward a long term, system-wide wellness approach. Soft skills training is the key to job security and a healthy organisation, a successful economy that help people into work. There is a quick, effective and surprisingly quick solution offered by the Academy of Professional and Vocational training. Read on…

You may have heard the saying, that in business that you are either selling aspirin (making a customer’s pain go away) or vitamins (by making the customer’s existing situation better). The work at the Academy of Professional and Vocational training (AVPT) involves helping individuals and organisations with soft skills or behavioral competencies; things like interpersonal communication, self-awareness, conflict negotiation, collaboration and leadership. These soft skills are typically considered vitamins more than aspirin. But why should they?

Many organisations suffer a great deal of pain because employees lack proficiency in many of these interpersonal skill and all too often the only thing that has been transferable is bad habits, poor performance and ineffective execution of tasks.  The pain may be as obvious and sometime quantifiable, but that doesn’t lessen its impact on the bottom line both for the company and the individuals earning power.

The downturn in the UK and global economy resulted in slashed budgets of training and development departments, and many departments jettisoned altogether. But what is the cost of not focusing on these people skills both now and in the near future? So which is more important: technical skills or soft skills? It seems that you need technical skills to get taken on by a company (which can be a big ‘if’) or to do an apprentice course, but soft skills are what help you succeed once you are hired. Both are ultimately important, but technical skills get a lot more attention, especially in a poor economy where securing a job is paramount.

Indeed it has been suggested by various people that in a number of professions soft skills may be more important over the long term than occupational skills. The legal profession is one example where the ability to deal with people effectively and politely, more than their mere occupational skills, can determine the professional success of a lawyer  (See the rather marvelous article by Giuseppe Giusti: Soft Skills for Lawyers, Chelsea Publishing ([2]), 2008)

A recent survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council found that although MBA’s were strong in analytical aptitude, quantitative expertise, and information-gathering ability, they were sorely lacking in other critical areas that employers find equally attractive: strategic thinking, written and oral communication, leadership, and adaptability.

To get, and keep, a job you typically need a repertoire of technical skills. Dentists need to know how to fill cavities. Secretaries need to type 100+ words per minute. Accountants need to take long term qualifications. But beyond the technical skills, though, which dentist do you go to?

The current state of Europe

At least 26 million unemployed people have been looking for work across Europe during the long, hot summer of 2013. They will not be the only ones looking. Millions of school and university leavers will join them in the search. Millions more are looking for more work than they already have – another part-time job, or a full-time job in place of part-time work.

Have you planned to join that group  or stay a member of that group or are you planning to solve your problem?

While your technical skills may get your foot in the door, your people skills are what open most of the doors to come. Your work ethic, your attitude, your communication skills, your emotional intelligence and a whole host of other personal attributes are the soft skills that are crucial for career success.

Albert  Einstein

Interact with Soft Skills and get the new Hard Skills of the future

Traditionally, people don’t receive adequate soft skills training – either during vocational instruction or as part of on-the-job training. That’s why services like those of AVPT are great for helping people build great people-skills. What is a huge bonus for employers is that courses in soft skills are cheap, quick (none last more than 4 weeks), effective and have global accreditation.

As an apprentice, development of these skills should be encouraged alongside regular training and study. The development of these skills is about learning through guidance, practice and working out which areas you could improve on. Excellent online courses in communication can be very important in gaining a vital interpersonal skill.

Just take a look at what the future is going to look like with big data?  What type of jobs could you create for yourself\/

Working as a team is key to the success of any company and something that you can be taught by the latest online courses. If you are not used to it, it can be difficult to cope with people with different personality traits who you may clash with in the outside world. Teamwork development will come as you work on different projects and learn the best ways to negotiate and liaise with others.

For an apprentice it is essential that they have the opportunity to develop their soft skills and through an online (but guided system of virtual tutors) like that offered by AVPT) it can be done quickly and cost effectively alongside the technical training.  Being proactive is a personality trait that some people are born with while others have to work on its development. It is the difference between being the person who is always being told what to do or being the person that goes out there and figures it out for themselves. It is a skill that is valued amongst employers as it makes companies more productive.

Although building workforce competency is generally focused on first-time employees, human resource professionals say in Critical Skills Needs and Resources for the Changing Workforce—a poll released in June 2008 by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that many workplace soft skills have become more important for experienced employees than for new workers. These skills include critical thinking/problem solving, leadership, professionalism/work ethic, teamwork/collaboration, and adaptability/flexibility.

Become a Virtual Teacher Facilitator

Become a Virtual Teacher Facilitator

Proficiency in these soft skills separate organisations who may survive yet another year versus those who grow, adapt and are able to compete in a global economy. Employees proficient in soft skills demonstrate higher employee engagement, greater productivity, and help make an entire organisation more competitive in the marketplace. It makes sense to look at the new training paradigm offered by Academy of Vocational and Professional Training Ltd.

The Will to Succeed: Why So Many Businesses Fail in their First Year

The Ultimate 3 hour Jumpstart Business Bootcamp Cover

Join us during GEWUK week. Book your place now

If you’re going through Hell, Keep Going – Winston Churchill

By Tim T Dingle BSc (Hons) PGCE MBA
Chief Development Officer at the Academy of Vocational and Professional Training

In 2013, 62 per cent of all start-ups will fail within their first year of trading.

We have evidence to support this and yet we see that many people are now being forced into self employment as a result of the most intense financial economical downturn. Yes we are all going through economic hell in the United Kingdom at the moment; but  there is a need for us all to keep going.

This astonishing statistic, and one that becomes even worse in certain parts of the country. In parts of the UK business failure rates have reached almost 85 per cent.

Yet the truth is that half a million people per year set up new businesses.

They do so for a number of good reasons including

  • being in ‘control’,
  • ‘being their own boss’,
  • ‘getting a better work / life balance’
  • ‘freedom’.
  • only way to earn some money

Do any of these thoughts resonate with you? Most business owners work very long hours, for very little reward. Having met with many owners and business people I think that is universally true.  They often cannot afford ­or have not planned ­ to take on anyone else. In the United Kingdom, nearly 99 % of business is made up of SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprise with less than 250 people), amounting to almost 4 million SMEs. Of these, the staggering fact is that­ 97% of which have fewer than 20 people and 70% are one-person owner managed businesses.

AddThis Social Bookmarking Sharing Button WidgetBut here is the really stunning fact you may recognise; most of these business owners end up investing all their money (or family savings) and giving up the very reasons they started the business: freedom, work / life balance and control. Far be it from being in control, most businesses and business owners are in fact spinning out of control, being highly reactive rather than proactive, with no real goals, no clear vision and many being so time deficient that there is no time to think, let alone have time for a plan.

So why do so many business fail and so quickly?  Consider this quotation from Sidney A. Freidman (I have it over my desk),

“You can achieve anything you want in life if you have the courage to dream it, the intelligence to make a realistic plan, and the will to see that plan through to the end.”

The ‘courage to dream’ is essential and business owners have without question been courageous.

However that dream must be qualified by a very sound non-emotional understanding of money and finance.  From cash flow to paying too many people too much, most people start out in business without any idea of how much money is really required. They don’t then make a plan or even an intelligent business plan. Those brave souls who start their own business and take all those risks then fail as they give up far too quickly.  Any new business will be lucky to break even in their first year. Many people new to business often assume that they are going to make a fortune within 12 months. The truth is less than 80% of new start-ups make a profit in their first year. You need to have the will to see that plan through to the end.

jumpstartbusinessbootcampnotimetowastegewuk 3      Years ago you would have been looked up for having a ‘vision’. Now it is considered essential for business owners.  But having a vision is not enough.  Failure starts when the manager is incompetent. Most small businesses fail because the owner does not have the knowledge to run a business properly.

AVPT is supporting Global Entrepreneur Week in 2013 with a series of Business Jumpstart Bootcamps. Get qualified and do the basics! Take one of our brilliant Boot Camps or train on line- sign up now at

Must business don’t get the importance branding; their own personal brand or their business brand. Every single piece of your company has to scream out your brand including your brochures, websites, delivery vans and the uniforms that you and your staff wear. Everything has to congruent.

I am continually surprised that most people that are afraaid to sell. This essential soft skill (which I teach and we have brilliant short online courses waiting for you) of how to close the sale is a MUST HAVE item. This is an art form that needs teaching. Some people are naturally good closers but others have to learn by reading and studying. The more you practice the better you will become. So make a note to self: learn how to sell!

One really crucial understanding for all employees and the owner is understanding what the true demand is and the companies own Unique Selling Point. Small businesses often overestimate the demand and usually have no unique selling proposition built in to their products.

Now here is the crucial point so often ignored by new business owners. You need the ability to get on with other people. A brilliant ‘soft skill’ that can be acquired. We all know that we have to treat our customers with respect but what about our suppliers? I am amazed that I have to explain to intelligent people that this is an essential of business success. If you do not pay your suppliers on time they will start quoting you higher prices. If you are rude to them they might stop doing business with you altogether. I like the Tony Robbins thought that,

‘The degree to which you manage your relationships is often the degree to which you will be successful’.

In my experience from commercial mediation (a sensible alternative to conflict) a huge proportion of a manager’s time is wasted on managing unwarranted conflict, misunderstanding and so on, that could amount  to over a full working day per week. ­So, could you be more productive if you used this ‘conflict time’ for ‘selling time’? Want more money?

jumpstartbusinessbootcampnotimetowastegewuk 7Finally, a large number of businesses fail because they are over-reliant on a very small number of clients. This is the hidden danger that lurks for all business owners. It takes just one unexpected closure to result in significant financial hardship. Short-term future earnings can be massively reduced, and invoices for completed work can go unpaid. While maintaining caution about spreading yourself too thin, try not to rely on a very small client base. If you deal with a very few clients, or if a small number make up most of your turnover, you must start finding and bringing in new clients and business. Right now.

A business needs a good business plan that covers all these issues and makes them part of a living, working document. If you want back control of your life and your business then write a plan and get help (with writing or implement it). Business failure can be quick and unexpected. Make sure that you are totally aware of the major risks facing your company and ensure that you are in the best possible position to avoid them.

Churchill was right. Make sure when you have the courage to dream that you make an intelligence to plan and have the will to keep going. If you’re going through hell, keep going.