Making Use of the Festive Break

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 August 2014 07:28 Written by Ed Beckmann Thursday, 22 December 2011 01:41

This is the time of year when you are likely to receive two phases of emails, tweets and blog postings. Phase one (roundabout now) provides a handy list of the business tasks you can do whilst relatively undisturbed or less hectic with meetings. Phase two happens throughout January, and it includes 101 benefits and uses of setting goals and targets for the forthcoming year.

I would like to suggest an alternative to lining up these recommendations, lists and tasks – PAUSE AND LOOK AROUND YOU.

But I love my business

Most of us who run a business do. We have all heard some people in business saying “it’s not really a job, I would do it anyway”, and that may apply to you.

My invitation is to be really honest with yourself and become very aware of the things that you would love to do if your business disappeared for a month without any harm. If you need a help starting your awareness, try exploring the headings of leisure, sport, health, family, friends, your community.

What do I do?

Carry a notebook and pen (electronic stuff tends to have close work links so can be distracting), and as you spend more time thinking about non-business life, jot down the new things that you start to notice. Maybe “call old frinds2, “take a walk”, “read a book”, “try a new recipe”. You will gradually rediscover the activities you used to enjoy when you spent less time on the business.

Even better, instead of writing notes just get up and enjoy the reading, chatting, running or tasting.

What if I have a good business idea?

Well, make a note of it but resist the temptation to dash to the computer and act further. The idea will not get lost – just dealt with after your break.

What will the result be?

Strangely enough, this may take you back to the times of a junior employee – when a day off was a day off, a holiday was just that.

You may not start 2012 with goals or marketing plans, but you may just rediscover the reasons you do what you do. That is worth quite a lot.

Whatever your faith or traditions, enjoy the festive break!

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Take time out to get inspired by others

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 August 2014 07:28 Written by Ed Beckmann Thursday, 1 December 2011 01:09

Take time to be inspired

As I was scanning through my newsletters and I came across the story of Pavegen founder Laurence Kemball-Cook. The story (there’s a link below to follow after you have read this) interested me because I like technology, new ideas and the environment. It reminded me to pop down a few hints about making time to be creative.

Developing your creativity

It might sound strange that you can ‘learn’ to be creative, but the fact is that a lot of education and advice is focussed on not being creative. So in a way we have to un-learn not being creative. Here are a few tips:

Create a creative environment

Take a few moments to think of the last time that you were really bursting with ideas. As you do this, notice a few things about the environment you are in. Are you alone or with others? What time of day is it? Where are you? What is the temperature like? Are there any particular sounds that you are aware of? Is there anything that you would like to alter, which would make the situation even better for you? Or anything that you would prefer to be removed or changed?

Now, returning to the article here, make a few notes about the situation you have just thought about. This could be the blueprint for letting your ideas flow – so make every effort to re-create those conditions when you next want to come up with ideas.

Are you a builder or a starter?

It does not matter whether an idea is completely original or a good application for an existing concept. So if you feel that you are good at building on suggestions then find a source of items to build on. This source can be a news feed, catalogue or a wander through town.

If you tend to have original thoughts that do not stem from anything else, then make a note of them and maybe work with a ‘builder’ who can take these concepts and suggest ways in which they could come to life.

Assessing new ideas

I have a separate exercise that deals with this, but the main point is to make the best of a creative mood and just use it to bring a number of ideas to light and to describe their potential. It is well known that if you immediately assess an idea it can completely ‘flatten’ your mood – I am sure that you can remember a time when that happened!

Make notes, then come back another time (even if it is late the same day).

Keep it Regular and Enjoyable

I have never yet met anyone who is better at having ideas when they are unhappy. So as you note the main thrust of an idea (or maybe its applications) and smile at some of the quirks, use that as a springboard to leap straight over the practicalities and on to the next idea.  The moment the ‘creative’ sense begins to fade, do something about it. And if that time is over, resist the temptation to force it.

You will find that with a little practice you can regularly find the creative state of mind without it feeling forced.

Absorb inspiration

OK, I wont delay your creative mood much longer – make a note of people, websites or places where you can absorb the inspiring mood, then use that mood to go over the steps above. For me, the article in the link below was the trigger to remind me what I know about getting creative and to write this post.

Have fun!

Now read about Pavegen here

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Getting rid of recorded telephone messages

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 August 2014 07:28 Written by Ed Beckmann Thursday, 17 November 2011 01:47

Do you get annoyed by recorded telephone messages about payment protection plans, personal insurance injury claims, and the like?

You may have already registered with the Telephone Preference Service ( but still get calls from numbers like 08445 598960; 002135371000 and 07012212212 amongst many others and wonder what you can do next.

Well, my approach will not instantly get rid of them, but will make the practice much less profitable – DO NOT HANG UP, just put the phone down for a few minutes then put it back on the hook.

Why this will work

Bulk calling companies rely on one person in many calls either phoning back (at a high rate) or taking up their services. By staying on the line for a minute or two instead of slamming the receiver down immediately, you tie up the machines for much longer and the caller will take much longer to get the the next sucker.

Won’t I lose business?

If your telephone is a business one that needs constant attention then this trick may not be for you. For most others, leaving the phone on the desk for a minute is unlikely to lose you an important call, but will start to erode this industry.

Please pop a link here to anyone you think is annoyed by recorded telesales.

Next week I will let you know how I get revenge on paper junk mail.

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