Think About Things Differently

This month, we considered not writing a newsletter and then that took us to ‘Why do we ever bother anyway?’

Well the first thought I had in response was that it’s like a habit, and we have regular reminders in the diary to ensure we keep to our habit.

Then I thought, actually it’s so that we can share ideas, tips, stories and inspirations with our friends and colleagues.

As I further reflected on the initial question, I remembered all the lovely emails and conversations we have had from readers of our newsletters to date. So that’s when it dawned on me – we are building and growing relationships through our newsletters and getting to know people and, they are getting to know us!

So if we didn’t send out a newsletter, you wouldn’t be reading this now and remembering who We are, or reflecting on what’s important to You.

As mentioned above, here are the ideas, tips, stories and inspiration tthis newsletter:

Idea: Think about something you are doing regularly just because you have always done it. Now, what would happen if you didn’t do it? How would that impact you and others that are important to you? By consdiering these questions, now make sure it meets the mark and your intention.

Tip: Do it differently! Experiment with your approach by noticing how people respond and ask questions to better understand them and remember to really listen to what they say!

Story: We have shared our story about writing this newsletter, (incidentally, stories don’t have to be long); now what’s your story? Please share one with us, – a story about something you did differently would be very welcome and we would love to read it!

Inspiration: Here are some tried and tested things practical suggestions that work:

  • Try something you’ve always assumed you can’t do yet secretly wanted to have a go at.
  • Teach someone else to do something and tap into your potential as a leader and coach.
  • Immerse yourself in learning something new and allow yourself to forget about the limitations of time, allowing you to experience mindfulness and to be in the moment.
  • Think about the challenges you face and identify possibly solutions to overcome them and think differently as you do this.
  • Attend an event to connect with like-minded people.
  • Attend an event to connect with people that think differently to you and be open to their thoughts.
  • Well, having thought differently about this newsletter and sharing a brief story with you, we hope you have enjoyed reading it.

Now it’s over to you, share a story with us about you and especially a new experience you have had.

Click here to get your creative juices flowing and be inspired by this video about Thinking Differently!

Ealing Business Forum 5th April 2016

The next Ealing Business Forum (EBF) will be held on Tuesday 5th April 2016 at 6.30pm

Venue: Waitrose, 2 Alexandria Road, West Ealing, W13 0NL

Ealing Business Forum Saddle Drunk EventA big Thank You to Jo Goh and the SaddleDrunk team for hosting the last EBF. Over 20 attendees heard about cycling and personal well-being.

To continue the theme of well-being, – physical and personal last time, this time we focus on mental fitness and well-being.

Learn: In this world where speed and convenience are seen as part of life especially in business, and in particular in smaller businesses, where is your support network? In this highly interactive session, we will be exploring how we can develop our support network, to ensure we can grow and develop our businesses (and ourselves) now and in the future.

Date and Time: Tuesday 1st March 2016, arrival from 6.30pm to meet and chat; interactive discussion at around 7pm finishing at 8pm.

EBF objectives are to:

  • Support the economic well-being and growth of Ealing businesses and residents
  • Provide a forum for the business community to meet each other and share experiences
  • Enable the Ealing business community share their knowledge
  • Membership and attendance at EBF will always be free of charge

For more information:

T: 07780605868

Twitter: @EalingBForum

Join us to chat and learn over tea, coffee and biscuits, – we look forward to seeing you!

Please forward these details to anybody who is interested in supporting the economic well-being and growth of Ealing businesses and residents.

Ealing Business Forum in association with GL connects, proud sponsors of the British Marine Conference Marina Customer Future Trends Workshop

EBF logo courtesy of iconic creative

Once upon a time…

GL connects Once Upon a Time“Storytelling is one of our oldest artforms. It stimulates the imagination and builds a sense of community between tellers and listeners. Stories are everywhere – in newspapers, books, on TV and the internet. Every day, conversation is full of anecdotes and real life stories. Storytelling helps us understand our environment and personal experience.” (Tracs)

In business, stories can help us get important messages across in a powerful way, bringing things to life, making sure that our teams understand what the messages mean to them as individuals, as team members and as part of the wider organisation.

As you can see, the GL connects story is featured on our front page!

The stories you tell in your businesses may be examples of great customer experience to illustrate the approach you would like in your business, or outstanding leadership that can be used as a model by managers in your business; there may be many many more stories to share.

What stories do you want people to be hearing and telling in and about your business? Think about it and then turn your thoughts into stories!

In this, our final newsletter for 2015, we have attached a story of goodwill and a great customer experience that will be remembered for many years to come by the participants and veiwers! Click here for a festive feast of truly amazing service!

We wish you a restful and peaceful seasonal break and look forward to staying connected with you in 2016.


The Power of Emotional Connections

What is it about the John Lewis Christmas advertisements that regularly makes grown men and women have tears in their eyes, propel unknown singers to number one in the music charts, encourage massive sales of advert related products and top the hashtag trending topics on Twitter?

Typically, the majority of people have no knowledge of any of the actors that appear in the advert, including their personal history and background and yet, there people are with tears in our eyes, singing the background music, buying the promotional products (remember Monty the Penguin last year?), and Tweeting to share!

Marketing has definitely become more and more about emotional relationships, than either the product itself or the price, as evidenced by the many choices You and everyone else makes, – just think about what you have bought recently yourself and why.

As human beings, we are driven by emotions and relationships and this is as important to understand in business as it is in our personal lives.

The relationships we form with our internal and external customers and therefore the emotions we create in them are critical to our success.

So, how are you developing your relationships?

Here are a few thoughts and ideas about how to build and strengthen emotional relationships with your customers (internal and external):

  • As you know, your team is actually made up of human beings just like you, and like to be treated the way you yourself like to be treated. The old command and control approaches to working with your team are recognised now as not-motivating, so ensure that you look after and, dare I say it, ‘love your team members’ (in a professional way of course!).
  • Say “Thank you” regularly to all your customers in any way that works for you and them. It takes seconds to say “Thanks” and means the world to the recipient.
  • Empower people; genuinely give them responsibility (within their skill set and guidelines) to truly delight the customers.
  • Really get to know people and tailor your conversations to include topics that are important to them as an individual as well as a customer. Ask good quality, open questions, to find out about their interests and then include this in future conversations, sending snippets of information to them if you come across something interesting related to their topic of interest, this will enable you to learn new and interesting things too.
  • Remember; always be authentic and genuine in all the activities mentioned above, your customers will know if you are treating them in a way that feels genuine to them.

In this video, the fisherman is clearly being himself, doing what he believes is going to benefit others without expecting anything in return. This approach is one of abundance mentality, where there is more than enough of everything for everyone, and frequently what one does with an abundance approach, is repaid many times over.

What will you do today to engage with your internal and external customers even more, – maybe using one or two of the approaches above?

For more ideas about creating long lasting relationships with yourself, your team, colleagues and your organisation, connect with us now.

The Power of Connections

Ealing Half Marathon 2015 GL connectsAt the end of September 2015 along with 6999 other people, I ran 13.1 miles in the Ealing Half-marathon. The run starts in a leafy park in the borough of Ealing and winds its way along main roads, side roads, a number of parks, up hills, down hills and through suburban shopping areas.

So what? There are half-marathons run across the UK, indeed the world, and every day! What’s exciting about the Ealing Half-marathon is that it is in its third year, and has already been publically recognised by being awarded the Number One Half Marathon in the UK (The Running Awards) for two years running (excuse the pun!), and Number One for Atmosphere 2013 (Runner’s World).

As I have run in two out of the three of these events, I feel qualified to say a few words about what awards like this mean in practice, and why there are important lessons to be learned from this for you and your business.

Ealing Half-marathon:

  1. It is really easy to enter the event and there are encouraging words from the organisers to make everybody feel at ease and confident about entering.
  2. There are regular communications sent to entrants, to make sure that they know what is going on leading up to and during the run, – including how to get to a standard of fitness to enable everybody to complete the course.
  3. There is a party-like atmosphere at the start of the event with plenty of support, advice and activities for all entrants to join in and prepare for the forthcoming 13.1 miles.
  4. Along the route, the organisers have managed to enthuse an astounding level of support from the massive number of Ealing residents and businesses, all willing the 7000 runners to successfully complete the run.
  5. Many, many volunteers guide, provide water, support and cheering for every single one of the 7000 runners around the course.
  6. There is support right up to and until the last runner comes through at each stage of the run encouraging and motivating.

So, what can be learnt from these points and how does it connect to your business and your customers internally and externally?

Answer these questions honestly for your business to find out:

  • How easy is it to do business with your organisation? Can your customers easily reach the person they need to in the most efficient way for them? Are all your processes and procedures designed around your customer and how often are they reviewed to ensure they are current and up to date?
  • How and how often are you communicating with both your internal and external customers to make sure that they feel valued and included? Or are you always waiting for them to come to you?
    Are you there in a similar way for all your customers “from the first through to the last runner”?
  • How are you ensuring that your existing customers create goodwill for you with new potential customers?
  • How are you “training” your team so that they are capable of achieving success in their roles and are you setting realistic goals to help (and stretch) them, including reviewing progress regularly to ensure they are on track and feeling good?
  • How are you creating an environment (culture) that encourages your team to do their best work and how are you supporting them to be successful for themselves, their team and the organisation? How are the team encouraged to support each other?
  • How often and how are you celebrating success and what does that look like in your organisation?

Contact us today for a telephone, virtual or face-to-face conversation

Narendra Modi, Lessons in leadership

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Becoming a Calmer Person

Top ten tips…

  1. Accept that things will not always go according to plan. Whenever you try anything it is inevitable that obstacles will get in your way. It’s how you deal with them that counts. Instead of referring to them as ‘problems’ think of them as challenges
  2. When in a stressful situation, breath slowly and deeply. You will be amazed at how calming this is
  3. If possible, leave the stressful situation for a while and allow your mind to calm. It will be far easier to find a solution after a time out. If you are talking about a subject that is stressing you out, change the subject for a while
  4. Exercise Regularly. Exercise can help burn off excess energy and frustration, generally leaving you far calmer
  5. Eat a healthy balanced diet. Many studies show children’s behaviour significantly improves when they are eating a healthy balanced diet. The same is true for adults
  6. Try meditation and self-hypnosis. Disciplines such as these can significantly help calm the mind. They also get our minds used to being calm, helping in both the short and long term
  7. Consider yourself a calm person. Often what we tell ourselves is what we become. Why not tell yourself you are a calm person? People really admire this quality, and it is something to be proud of
  8. Remember, most worries are almost never as bad as we first think. Don’t jump the gun and waste your energy stressing over nothing
  9. Can you control it? No point spending a lot of energy over something that you cannot control. Use that energy to develop a plan on how you will handle the situation
  10. Remember, a calm mind can resolve almost any situation, whereas a stressed mind often makes things worse. Take the easy route and remain calm

Ealing Business Forum at Bang & Olufsen

The latest Ealing Business Forum took place at the Bang & Olufsen in Bond Street Ealing. It was a lively event hosted by Stuart and Helen, proprietors of the award winning store. The topic for the evening was sales with a highly interactive discussion facilitated by Geoff and Gita Langston of

The key learning points from the discussions were:

Do your homework

  • Understand your customer
  • Read up on them and ask people about them
  • Know your product well
  • Understand the competition without defending limitations of yours
  • Relate cost to an everyday product e.g. it is as much as a cup of coffee etc.

Key differentiators

  • Use open ended questions
  • Remember that people buy people
  • Active listening is critical and needs practice
  • Watch for the main buying signals
  • Word of mouth is a great sales generator
  • Show confidence
  • Why should people believe in you if you don’t seem to believe in you?
  • Under promise and over deliver
  • Use a win-win, no deal approach
  • Listen to your customer feedback

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Go on – Make an Exhibition of Yourself!

Prepare your team to get the most value out of your boat show exhibit investment.

Many organisations and individuals invest large amounts of money on stands and resources at exhibitions. If you are one of these organisations or individuals, are you really getting value for money, or are throwing money down the drain?

Every year, I visit many exhibitions to see what is new in the leisure marine market place as well as to meet new and existing clients.

Some of the exhibitions I visit include the London Boat Show, Southampton Boat Show, The Dinghy Show, Seaworks and METS (the world’s largest trade show of the international marine leisure industry), which includes the Superyacht Pavilion.

It regularly amazes me to see the lack of engagement with exhibition visitors, by the team members manning the stands. If I were investing what are often very large sums of money in being represented at an exhibition, I would want an excellent return on my investment.

When you add up the costs of renting the space, fitting out the stand, branding it, the electricity and the staffing etc., the costs can be significant.

The answer to this issue in my opinion is very simple. READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT MARINE MARKETING.

A Sustainable Approach to Growing your Business

Customer Experience 2.0

How to get maximum value from your customer relationships by thinking about how you can develop long-term relationships with them and considering their life time value.

Fact – it costs five times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing customer. (eMarketer 2002)

Fact – a 5% increase in customer retention yields profit increases of 25% taking it up to 95% (Bain and Company 1990)

It therefore, seems common sense to look after the customers we already have, really get to know them and develop a personal long-lasting relationship with them.

Life Time Value of Customers

Building on this approach of developing long-term and understanding relationships with our customers, we can now start to think about them in terms of what is known as their Life Time Value (LTV) rather than a “one-off”…