Back to Basics


Sorry about the title – I must have been influenced by the start of the General Election campaign. I didn’t mean to sound like a wannabe Minister of Education…

First of all – even though it’s January 9th – a very happy, peaceful and successful new year to everyone who reads this blog. If you’ve seen any of the papers this week and over Christmas you’ll be in no doubt that the world is going to be a turbulent place in 2015. No-one knows what on earth will happen with May’s General Election: the Greek elections later this month are going to throw the Eurozone into chaos: China’s economy is slowing down: France in social turmoil: the rouble has more or less reached parity with the chocolate coin…

Maybe it’s best to simply go back to bed and not poke your head above the covers until it’s all settled down. Except that we all know it never will settle down and we’ve simply got to roll our sleeves up (metaphorically – it is January) and get on with running our businesses.

And I have to say that I’ve never felt more optimistic. I’m delighted that the members of TAB York are managing to defy the headline writers. It was my privilege in December to look at and discuss a great many plans and targets for 2015. I’ve never seen such a series of positive, ambitious and – just as importantly – realistic documents. It’s going to be a great year for a lot of people.

…And hopefully the information, ideas, suggestions and random thoughts in this blog will help in some small way. But for the first post of the year, let’s go right back to basics. Why do I write this blog?

When the blog started – very nearly five years ago, which I find astonishing – I had four basic aims:

  • The blog was there to keep my name in front of people – after all, TAB York had the grand total of seven clients at the time
  • It was there to prove that I could deliver: that was – and is – why it is always published at the same time every week
  • I wanted to build authority: to show that I knew about business and that if you wanted to take your business to the next level I might be able to help
  • And I wanted to start a conversation. If I got one thing right, it was the realisation that the old ways of marketing had passed their sell-by date. As social media became more and more important, so marketing became more and more about sharing useful information and engaging people

Five years on, nothing has changed. Neither has the answer to another equally important question: who am I writing the blog for?

That answer’s equally simple. It’s for the members and potential members of TAB York. But it goes further than that: I’m writing for anyone who wants to start, or build, a successful business – and also wants to guarantee that they never miss sports day or the nativity play. I’m writing for people who know that the only way to be really successful is to keep your work/life balance truly balanced.

One of the best things about the Christmas break – apart from the obvious – is that it gives you chance to reflect. Every year I flip back through my diary (for ‘flip’ read scroll, obviously) and look at the year’s appointments and notes – and it’s amazing. Every year I see things I stressed over that I’d forgotten about a week later. Appointments that seemed crucial at the time that turned out to be irrelevant. Don’t sweat the small stuff as the cliché goes: it’s all small stuff.

But there are other dates in the diary that really were important. Dates that are never going to come again. Dan’s rugby match. Rory in the school play. Our 16th wedding anniversary.

So to repeat – many of the plans for 2015 that I looked at were breathtaking in their ambition. It will be an absolute pleasure and privilege to work with you this year. But the first question round the TAB table will be simple: have you made sure the really important dates are in your diary?

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