Looking Back to Next Year

I’ve been reminiscing. Looking back over this year’s blogs. (Thinking about a time when the sun was shining. When I could travel from home to York in less than three hours. Happy days…)

The blogs started at the end of June – this is blog no. 26, very neatly completing the first six months. And there’s a thought. 26 blogs, which have averaged between 500 and 600 words – so let’s say that’s around 14,000 words. This time next year I’ll have over 40,000 words, which means I’ll have written a book. Not War and Peace, I grant you, but enough to be published. Enough to sit on someone’s bedside table and be dipped into occasionally.

So don’t ever let anyone say you can’t achieve something significant by taking a series of small steps. You can. (And if your New Year’s resolution really is to write a book, there’s your answer. Break it down into small chunks and you’ll get there.)

Like I say, I’ve been re-reading the blogs. It strikes me that four themes have run through them consistently – and that all four themes have implications for next year.

Number one – business is changing. Possibly faster than it’s ever changed before. Five years ago how many of us had heard of Facebook? Today – depending on what statistic you believe – it has anywhere between 200 and 300 million active users. (So between three and five times the population of the UK – a significant market by anyone’s standards.)

The blog which generated the biggest response from you was the one on business quotes – and one of the quotes which especially struck a chord was from Charles Darwin:

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.

We’re all going to face change next year. What’s the betting that by the end of 2011 I’m writing about something that none of us have heard of right now – but that’s suddenly become an essential part of all our business lives?

So we’re all going to have to keep learning as well. What was the quote from Jack Nicholson? The minute you’re not learning you’re dead.

Theme number two – and I hope this is one of the key areas where TAB has contributed over the past eight or ten months – business is there to be enjoyed. Hopefully the Board meetings and the one-to-ones have helped you get the work/life balance under control, and put you in control of your business – not the other way round.

But clearly, business can only be enjoyable if you’re successful: that’s why this is such an important time of year, and why I’m so determined that all my Board members should go into the New Year with a clear idea of where they want to be at the end of it.

The third theme – and I guess you’d expect this from me – is that you’re not alone. One of the earliest blogs was about the loneliest place in the world – running your own business. Perhaps the aspect of TAB that’s pleased me the most over the past year is the way that Board members help each other.

I remember being on one of my initial training courses. ‘You’ll be amazed at how much free help members give each other,’ I was told. And when you see it in action you realise how much goodwill and expertise there is on a TAB board and how much members genuinely enjoy helping each other. Another of the quotes from that blog summed it up: Jim Rohn said, You cannot succeed by yourself. It’s hard to find a rich hermit.

And finally, fulfil your potential. Several of the blogs – and comments – have been about achieving your goals in life and business. I remember quoting the advertising slogan of the United Negro College Fund: A mind is a terrible thing to waste. That’s absolutely true – but your potential is also a terrible thing to waste. So whatever your goal is in 2011, make sure that you’re shooting for 100% – don’t settle for less than your best.

Next Friday is Christmas Eve, and I suspect some of you may have better things to do than read the ramblings of a bloke in a stripy suit.  So next week’s blog will arrive on Monday or Tuesday – leaving you plenty of time for that crucial business meeting in Tesco’s wine aisle…



  1. Tom · December 17, 2010

    Well Ed, why not write next Friday’s blog in a big red suit instead?



    Ho ho ho

  2. Dick Jennings · December 17, 2010

    Greaat advice as to the effect of small steps. But not for all: cross-channel swimmers and free fall parachutists look away now!
    Merry Christmas one and all.

  3. Lorraine Ives · December 17, 2010

    What a great way to face the last few frantic days before Christmas – ‘a few small steps at a time’, ‘you’re not alone’ and ‘business is there to be enjoyed’ – well that’s me set up for the next ten days then! Merry Christmas all – dare to enjoy the break and be damned 2011 is another year!

  4. edreidyork · December 17, 2010

    I’m glad the small steps is working for all of you (with Dick’s notable exceptions, but as I don’t think I have anyone reading this blog who falls into either of his categories, we’re probably OK)

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