Marketing – it starts with the Big Sea doesn’t it?

Recently Isabel was coaching a business owner about their need for clarity in their marketing thinking and strategy.

We talked about the fact that there are lots of potential customers out there, all swimming around like different fish in a really pretty sea! The owner’s questions were around:

  • How is it best to catch these fish?
  • How do I get the fishing nets in the right place and target the marketing energy and investment?

Understand the fish!

We made a start on who and what the market for her service was really like. This helped her be clear on how her services fitted with the segments of the market.

At the end of the coaching session she had made a start on clarity over what her service really did. This leads to the answers – who is she aiming at and how will they be netted!

We talked through some really straightforward practical marketing and planning tools and how she could apply them. Instead of wandering around aimlessly in the big sea she can go to the best fishing grounds.

How a coaching approach worked

This person was experienced in business and life.

The skilled use of listening, probing and (yes!) some challenging questions revealed brain assets that were already there – they were just needing to be drawn out. Most business owners have these assets.

It was great to help this business owner unlock REAL insight, draw conclusions and then shape actions that had REAL direction.

Bite size goals

Coaching really helped her break what she wanted to do into chunks of actions and research that made sense, are achievable in amongst her busy family life and will save her spending money until she knows exactly what to spend it on for best effect..

Top tip

Marketing – Think clearly before you spend and time or money or stress in marketing methods.


Do you need more clarity to improve your businesses performance?

If you are a business owner who wants to freshen up your marketing why not come along to our workshops in Thatcham?


If you want to know more about business coaching

CONNECT on Linked in:



Are you a business owner who has used market research tools that have worked for you? please get in touch, love to hear from you – please comment at TRBC.09

Workplace Pensions – Auto Enrolment

Do you employ at least one person?  If you do, you now have certain legal duties, which are listed below.

  1. You will have a staging date – this is when the law comes into effect for you.  The Pensions Regulator will have or will be sending each employer a letter with this date.
  2. You will need to confirm the primary and secondary contact for your company.  They will be responsible for making sure the legal duties are met.
  3. You can choose a pension scheme that is right for the company or join the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) set up by the government.
  4. You will need to work out which employees need to be in the pension scheme.  This will depend on their earnings and age.
  5. It is your legal duty to write to all your staff to explain how Auto Enrolment applies to them.
  6. You will have a deadline to complete your compliance declaration otherwise fines maybe imposed.
  7. Then of course there will be ongoing tasks which will include keeping accurate records.

All a bit confusing?  Find out more from a trainer from the Pensions regulator at our workshop in Bracknell on the 11th April?

For further details and to book please click here.


Sales, the life blood of business

If sales don’t matter to you then you can stop reading now!

Don’t sell: Help! Challenge your mind set and see the results!

“Don’t sell: Help!” is a top sales tip for any business.

The journey of learning about sales and selling can be a rocky road.  Some businesses never get on the road properly; people try things; some are naturally good, others hate the word; some have perceptions of it being “American” or “sales is not for me”.

Sales may not be natural.  Sales may even be a word that you turn away from.  However particularly if you run your own business sales matter, don’t they?  If they don’t, then you can stop reading now.  If they do, then read on.  Here are a few headings and thoughts to improve your successful in sales.

Do you know what success will be for you and your business?
This is a basic question but of course the answer to it both reveals and motivates.  Not knowing the answer means “shooting in the dark”.  Defining what success will look like, feel like and enable, really clarifies what you are doing and why.

Do you know your business purpose?
Answering why you do what you do, and who your business is designed to benefit, has a powerful impact on you and how you work with people.  Knowing what problem you can solve more effectively than anyone else, gives direction to your sales, saving time, money and effort.

How confident are you?
This, of course, can be a challenge but working out your confidence in your product or service and in your ability to deliver, is essential.  If you don’t feel confident this comes over to potential customers.  Do what it takes to develop your confidence.

What does the universe of your potential customers look like?
With purpose, confidence and knowledge of your product who are the potential customers?  Have you “walked through their day” so that you know how what you do might help them?  How will you make them feel?  Do you have target customers and do you have a clear process that helps you reach them?  Think about what they fear and what they desire.

Do you have a straightforward sales strategy that you know works and why?
Strategy can sound a grand word – but having something that both suits you and works is what you are aiming for. It’s not about a “shop bought” strategy that someone else has filled in for you!  Have a clear description of what you do, use questions, listen well and have a process are tips to increase your confidence.  There is much more of course!

How are you at “closing the sale”?
Many people struggle with this! We walk away with a “maybe” from the person we have been talking to.  We spend time and money based on this “maybe”.  That’s frustrating, isn’t it? If you understand their need, know that they have the budget and authority, and have their time frame you will be nearing to asking “Let’s get a start date then”!

Got you thinking? If you would like to improve your sales success through answering these essential questions then The Real Business Club is working with Max Barbour at Sales Revolution to provide high quality training from the voice of sales experience.

Business Survival Top Tips after 5 years – still plenty to learn!

There are lots of good survival tips out there.

Richard Branson – he’s survived and prospered.  Martin Sorrell – amazing track record.  Peter Jones – doing OK(!).  Ray Mears – in the jungle or in the dessert.

The Real Business Club – OK so we are not quite in this league.

We have done some looking back on the first of our five years and this has been a worthwhile experience.  We have learned a lot – including that we don’t know everything!  But then I suppose even the characters named above don’t know everything!

Here are some tips – of course we have not got it all

  • Hold your nerve – we did not know where it was going when we started and when we try new things we are not always sure – but we will give it a go and take the learning we can
  • Hold on to core values – we started out with some aims and these have values under them that guide what we are doing.  I don’t mean anything grand by this – just that there are things we will do and things we won’t!
  • Be flexible and creative – we have tried not to get stuck into ways of doing things and always ask ourselves and review – do we still need to do this?  Is this what businesses want?  Is there a better way of doing this?  Are we missing an opportunity?
  • Know what you mean by “productivity” – not just being busy but being genuinely productive for yourself – and if you don’t know, this means have a word with us!
  • Regularly look at the strategy and the operational sides – try to avoid just being so “strategic” that customers don’t know what it is you are doing and avoid being so operational and granular that it’s just about processes
  • Enjoy the feedback you get – take this as a reward because at the top of a small business it can be hard to find praise.
  • Work hard – work smart – keep an eye on profit, not on turnover
  • Try out things and watch what happens – it’s your business and don’t be put in a box.
  • Kiss some frogs and learn from it – others will come along who say they want to work with you, or you want to work with them – in the end not all these will work out – some will and some won’t!
  • Invest in yourself – take time for training and be thinking for the here and now and the what next – and of course you can put the cost against tax too!
  • Thank people who help you – it’s just nice to do – we did at our 5th Birthday networking event – because without these people we would not have got so far and learned so much
  • Work with others that you can have fun with – it is likely you started your business wanting to enjoy it – so having fun matters.

If we can help you put these tips into action – either through helping you make more time, sorting out the money bit or through coaching then get in touch.  Our support service – Focus Port – might be just right (click here for further information!).

For The Real Business Club the context of being partners has brought a terrifically valuable dynamic.  We know that partnership does not suit everyone but here is what we have found valuable:

  • Honesty and openness
  • Complementary skills
  • Common attitudes

Talk to us if you or your business needs a new view or someone else to objectively come along side you and prepare it for the years ahead.

And the next five years……………….

So what did Richard Branson say?

Check him out here – a good read we thought – some we have done and some we have not!