I'd like to introduce you to Maia

b2ap3_thumbnail_Maia.JPGMaia is our newest recruit to the team.  She is not shy about getting out there and revealing the secrets of remote office support so she's the ideal person to accompany me to networking events.

The reason for 'recruiting' Maia is to grab people's attention when I'm out and she's certainly doing that!  However, she's only been with me to a couple of meetings so far but already other 4N members are saying that they need to work out their own version of Maia.  You see it's not just about grabbing attention (which flashing your bra certainly does), it has to have a point and help people understand easily what you do.  

Our new tag line is ...

"Invisible but Essential - Remote Office Support is like a bra for your business"

and along with our accompanying literature and website Maia is not only helping us get the message across but she's helping us keep that message in people's minds for longer.

Do you have a Maia in your business? Something that helps get your message across and stay memorable?

It's great timing as well because we're about to embark on a 9 week 4Sight tour of 4Networking, so if you're a 4N member take a look at my post on the forum and see if you can come and meet us both over the next few weeks.



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I hate football but ...

I am a big anti-football fan, if there is such a thing, and I take absolutely no notice of what's happening in the football season. However, even as someone who hates football it didn't escape my notice that Leicester City may win the Premier League and that this was some kind of small miracle.

I'm sure you've had loads of motivational emails over the last couple of weeks with the whole "David and Goliath" story, reminding you how with team work and focus, etc, etc, the small guy can over-power the big guy. That may be motivational if you have a team or plans for world domination, but what if you're a one-man band who simply wants to take the next step?

I wouldn't normally talk about football (and I'm fairly certain it won't happen again for another 10 years) but I heard something yesterday that did grab my attention and could be motivational whether you have a team in your business or just you. 

In a sports review on the radio yesterday morning someone said that this is the first time since 1978 that a new team won the Premiership.  Not a team that's new to football, but a team who hasn't won the premiership before.  So for 38 years the title has been spinning around the same few clubs, no-one new has broken through, the status-quo hasn't been upset.  I guess that's why it's such a big deal now that Leicester City has managed to break the mould, shake up the establishment.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Can-Do-Copmressed---iStock_000084442213_XXXLarge.jpgI've been in business 10 years this year.  Many people will congratulate me and tell me what a great achievement this is and how well I've done to survive the recession years and still be in business.  But surviving is all I feel I've done.  Survived not thrived.  It's easy to get down-hearted and wonder if, after 10 years of surviving, it will ever be any different.  

So for me the message from the Premiership this weekend is that the status-quo can be broken ... it doesn't always have to be how it's always been.  With a bit of focus and hard work I and many others can break out of the cycle of sameness and achieve things that we perhaps didn't feel we could before. 

Let's go for it!!!


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I’m having a love affair in the office

I have to admit to being guilty of having ‘shiny object syndrome’. You know what I mean, the next new shiny gadget (or in my case, piece of software) is introduced and you want to try it.  Like a small child, the old toy gets thrown in a corner and you’re mad for the new toy.

I think over the years my team have got fed-up of me keep changing the software we use as I’m introduced to the next amazing tool that will help us work more efficiently, so I am now consciously trying to stick with the key tools that work well for us and have a very specific role within the business. 

I now have 4-5 pieces of software that are central to how I run my business (bearing in mind we’re a remote team so everything has to be managed online), but there is one piece that has become the king-pin.  I use it internally within the team, with my clients and their teams, with teams I volunteer with outside of work and even just for myself at home.

I’m totally in love with this piece of software. It’s so flexible and I just love to find new ways to use it.  

I discovered Trello a couple of years ago but didn’t really get into it.  It was only last year when I realised it’s potential to be a great hosting place for the process/staff manuals I was building that I investigated it more and understood how many uses this piece of software might have.

If you are old enough to remember T-Card boards that were used in the office or factory back in ‘the old days’, you'll find Trello familiar as it’s basically an online version of a T-card board, but with so much more functionality.

As a brief example, I set up 2 boards last week.  The first was with a business friend who was struggling to manage her sales pipeline.  We set up a Trello board which now clearly shows her the different stages of her pipeline (each stage is a ‘list’) and who is in which stage (each prospect is a ‘card’).  As the prospect moves through the pipeline the card simply gets moved from list to list but with the ability to add notes along the way, attached files and tick off items on a check-list, it’s interactive and an easy way for her and her Marketing Assistant to keep on track with what’s going on- and she no longer has to wait until she's back in the office to get an update on pipeline progress.

The second board I set up was shared with a friend I’m working with to run a children’s Christmas project at our church (I know it’s a bit early but it needs a lot of planning and preparation so we’re starting early!).   The project involves a number of different tented areas with quite a lot of equipment/props/costumes required, scripts, helpers, refreshments, the list goes on, so this is a great way for us to manage each area with check-lists that we can both access so we can see what's been done and not duplicate work.  We can also upload the scripts and forms that will be required so that everything is kept in one place.  This might be an extra-curricular activity but it’s a project like any other and is an ideal use of Trello.

I now have 33 boards and as well as helping me manage my pipeline and work with my clients, it is also a central portal of information within the business - processes and instructions on how to do nearly everything in my business can be found one board or another!

In December I did a brief overview video of Trello so if you haven’t used it before and want to get a feel for what it looks like then take a look, it’s just 5 minutes but will give you an idea of what it’s about.


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