Therapy – without the couch

I met with a client the other day for our usual monthly meeting.  I’ve been his Virtual Marketing Director for a few months now and his business is starting to really thrive now.

We talked through the new opportunities he is bidding for.  We discussed his marketing activity, particularly his networking as that is what is really driving the new growth, he’s done in the last month and the results he’s getting – all the normal things we talk about.  He is a very happy client and I hope he will continue to be so for a long time to come.

Just before the end of the meeting (about 9.30pm as we meet in the evenings in a pub) he commented that part of the reason he likes what we do is that it is like therapy! He gets to talk through what he’s doing or thinking about.  When he’s concerned or worried about something we discuss whatever is bothering him and he goes away feeling much more confident about the situation.

Now, I’ve never looked at myself as a therapist.  All I do is listen and then give my own personal opinions and thoughts.  Sometimes its a “have you thought about”; ocassionally there’s a “these are the pro’s and con’s as I see them”.  In very rare circumstances I might chuck in a “this is what I would do”.

Is this what small business owners are looking for? Should I market myself as some sort of therapist or is that what their other half is for?

Your thoughts and comments would be appreciated?

What’s the value of your time?

As a small business owner you will do a variety of different tasks within your business. Some because you have to and some because you want to.

As the entrepreneur you are, the “want to” jobs are the most fun ones: service delivery, sales, customer relations, new product development etc. The “have to’s” (book-keeping, paying invoices, bank statement reconcilliation etc.) you do when you can no longer put them off.  The question is:

Which jobs should you be doing?

 The way to answer that question is resolved looking at two simple numbers:

  1. What rate are you charged out at?
  2. What is the cost of others doing these jobs?

If No.2 is lower than No.1 and you are struggling with time for all your jobs, the answer is simple: concentrate on what brings in the money.

I don’t rely on the internet?!?!

As I predominantly work from home and a burglar decided he liked the look of our house [and the belongings inside] it highlighted the absolute dependency I have on the internet and on technology.

I never liked to really admit it before but I’m addicted to the world-wide-web, as I am sure almost everyone else is. The first place for any information search is Google, to find out what is happening with my friends its Facebook and with my network; LinkedIn.

My choice of clothing is swayed by bbc.co.uk/weather and our food shopping comes from Ocado. Even Ebay plays a part these days as our kids are growing up and we’re clearing out stuff we no longer need.

I think the biggest, albeit temporary, loss has been my email. Not only is there a good few years’ email history, but my diary as well. Luckily I have been fairly consistent in backing up onto a local hard drive; something that wasn’t thankfully connected when the little b@$t@rds nicked my laptop. Once the insurance company agrees I can replace things, I will have only lost about four days’ email and the same of documents.

Closely behind my email was the loss of my phone. Being the personal luddite that I am, I still operate an old-fashioned phone – there’s nothing smart about it at all. The combination of personal and client phone numbers that have been temporarily lost is a real pain.

There are times when not converging is a good thing.  The day after this all happened I had six meetings in four different parts of London.  All I can say is thank you to my wife for the very nice Aspinall’s-bound copy of the A-Z – so that I could actually find my way around.

The morale of the story: get a good backup service and an insurance company that understands the importance of the internet to the self-employed!