Are we letting our Children down with post education options

Listening to a leading teacher speak at a recent event, it came as no surprise that he admitted that teachers were probably the worst people to give students and pupils career advice. It has always been so when I was about to leave School in 1975 a tweed clad teacher of advancing years gave the careers talk to me. It appeared I had a number of options which included.

1. Getting a job at a bank (a job for life…)

2. Joining the armed forces (and branch would do)

3. Attending further education to resit as is was expected my exam results were to be less than average.

4. Do the above and then apply to a polytechnic or university.

5.Become a teacher

6. Apply to a local engineering company for an Apprenticeship (7 years before a living wage)

7. Stay unemployed as the State at the time was a generous benefactor.

None of above suited me but I persisted with 3 and 4 because at that time grants for education were readily available which meant that it was one step up on 7 but staying pretty close to it.

Now moving on 45 years what is left of that approach? More than you would have thought… Listening to teachers there are the very similar options although the University one comes a quite a high personal cost.

Having experienced overseas working there is an option which if handled well and supported properly by qualified and experienced people is probably more appropriate for the current workforce of the most recent generation this would be enjoying the freedom and pain of becoming an Entrepreneur or even just working for yourself without the backstop of anybody sitting around waiting to bail out the failures.

Why aren’t our Children leaving school with higher aspirations and a business plan in tow?

If we don’t want a failed generation we have to give them the tools to be successful not more of the same…

Serial Killer or What?

Networking Serial or Committed?

I heard recently someone mentioned that they were a “serial networker” and began to consider exactly what they meant was it in terms of a serial killer or a serial bigamist of just someone who hasn’t found their niche just yet. Networking for the sake of it is a bit of a waste of time but Networking with a purpose is, like anything with a purpose, an activity that pays back to everyone involved.

Networking carried out in a sequential fashion does not endear commitment or loyalty, both incredibly valuable traits in a business venture.

I believe that you should carefully choose your group in the same way you choose anyone you want a relationship with and work on that until every avenue of benefit to both of you has been exhausted.

That will take a lifetime but you will not be considered a serial anything leaving us waiting until next time for your next instalment.

Bright Shiny Things

The price of everything the value of nothing

I would like to work for a company where the demands are very little and commitment to deliver is non existent also I want to turn up when I feel like it and spend my time pretending to care about my fellow workers but in fact only care about myself. If I have told you what I want and expect you to go out and find it for me as we have a false non committal understanding that if you help me I will seriously try to think about helping you.

Lots of networking groups try to model themselves on others that are more successful but they don’t like having to submit themselves to the demands made upon them.

If we look at any networking group as a team of sales people working, unpaid, on your behalf who are willing and able to leverage their reputations to help you get what you want don’t you think that deserves some form of payback or minimal commitment. Lets get back to the sales analogy if you have a team working for you how are you going to motivate them. I suggest that keeping to the implicit rules is a good way to get the buy in. How about turning up to meetings on time, not leaving early and doing what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it.

For those un-initiated in relationship marketing commitment is core to the success of any time or money invested.

If you cannot do the commitment thing then spend your money and time elsewhere. No matter how you cut it paying the joining fee of any organisation is the minimum entrance fee it is not a contribution of effort. Whether the entry fee is £50 or £5000 if the return, admittedly the main unknown factor, the return on investment must be measureable and tangible. That does not mean it has to be financial but it has to be valuable. If we spend £5000 and get a return of £5050 then that is positive but if I spend £50 and get nothing in return that is a complete waste of my time money and damages my reputation.

If only we could find somewhere that cares about my investment as much as you do then we may be some way into finding out how to run a business.


If you get hit by a bus tomorrow and your business does not continue along as if nothing has happened then you do not have a business you have a corner shop so don’t call yourself a business owner call yourself a shopkeeper.

Out there without a friend

For the last few years we, here in the UK, have been listening to politicians and hangers on about whether or not we should be in our out of the EU.

Not one side or the other has made any sense and both sides have been exaggerating the implications of staying in or leaving to the point where truth has become non existent.

As business owners we crave certainty but have managed to live without it from the day we started out with our own business ventures. Now we have experienced what it is like to delegate to the masses a decision that is well beyond most people and we will have to live with the consequences of that delegation of responsibility.

It’s all very well letting the masses make a decision if you know what that decision is going to be and you can plan for it. In this case the powers that be or used to be didn’t and with the arrogance of semi educated fools who thought they not only knew more than they did but also thought they had a divine right to be followed over the cliff edge.

Now that is done we will just have to get on with it and with the help of all the strong relationships our businesses are built upon we can thrive and grow.

These last few years have been challenging to say the least any if you want to survive and grow then raise you eyes up and charge ahead.

Lets take a leaf out of the England Rugby team just a few months ago they were embarrassed and ejected from their own world cup now they have beaten the Australian world cup runners up 3 – 0 in their own back yard.

What a difference a day makes…


For those of you not in the know relationship marketing is the new normal.

You may be out there working your social media or should I say staying at home working your social media having loads of “friends”stop by and saying how much they “like” you or working the programme by “sharing” something quite “unique” to millions of people but missing out on having a proper relationship. But would you trust any of the friends with your bank account details or in fact your wallet or purse -probably not.

This is because they are not really known to you and in reality they only exist in the ether of the Internet. In my world you have to shake someone’s hand and look deeply into their eyes before you get a feel whether or not I want to like them.

This is called relationship marketing and there is only one game in town if you can actually play it. I have to admit a vested interest because it is the only game I know how to play so come on down and find you local BNI group and get stuck in.

Make friends and influence people to proper way or of course you stay at home and make a whole load of friends on line your choice but get a grip and meet someone new for heavens sake.

What are all these excuses?

To be honest I don’t mind if people make mistakes, are late, have forgotten something important to me or in fact made a complete mess of things what I really can’t do with are excuses sometimes real sometimes well meant and sometimes complete and utter rubbish.

They add insult to injury and dont assist the healing process at all. I’m not known for my high levels of emotional intellegence, in fact I probably wouldn’t do very well in the empathy business. To me it is important to make things as clear and uncluttered as possible. That said I don’t feel the need to buy into someone else’s disasters.

Failure does not need to come with an explanation life is NOT to be treated as a learning experience or you run out of life while you are still looking over your shoulder either in a self critical or self serving manner.

I find excuses are, by their nature, a waste of limited time and resources. If you want me to buy into your emotional turmoil I have to say that it probably isn’t going to happen.

I do demand an apology but do not want an explanation as offering one is like a serial philander owning up to their partner the errors of their ways and looking to offload all their misdemeanors onto someone else so they can “clear the air” or “start afresh” These actions are selfish and pointless.

Everybody makes mistakes and we have to accept them sometimes there is no reason or no person to blame so an excuse is unacceptable. Don’t do it just move on and burn the hair shirt.

The Lost Generation

In the past there have been occasions when all of us would like to hide away literally disappear for a while in fact sometimes disappear completely – then there are other times when we would quite like to be remembered a bit sometimes by family sometimes by friends sometimes by no-one in particular. But being remembered can be quite nice. It can mean the difference between having existed or not at all. They say in sales terms often the only difference between successfully winning business and losing business is being remembered first.

That said I have been looking at all the material both being published and being broadcast in the media on what was known as “The Great War” the one that our Grandparents or Great Grandparents started just over 100 years ago. Through all this history nothing hits home like some of the inspiring images that have been unearthed of disheveled, hungry and exhausted men (mainly men) in khaki rags that communicate something of the moment to us over 100 years later.

Something worrying struck me as I looked at images of long gone people who I never met, were unlikely to have met and had lives and families that are also long gone. In fact the only thing left was that careworn image somehow saved for posterity and in the public domain. With notes written on the back, which was the norm on photos (these days called tagging) we have a chance of drawing back the years and gaining an insight into who these people were and what, if anything, became of them.

Now we have a whole generation whose photo-images are hidden from view or are carefully choreographed into seductive juveniles looking wistfully into the camera in the vain hope of becoming “famous” these self styled selfies are little more than indicative of a self indulgent generation that is more focused on themselves than on the heritage that the past has to teach.

With the abundance of smart phones with cameras we have all created a profusion of useless gigabytes of indulgent rubbish which we clearly scared to delete just in case we need them. This is all okay except for one thing – that is access to the majority of any historically significant shots is going to be behind an encrypted password that with one flash of electrical impulse could be lost forever.

In one hundred years time when our ancestors choose to look over their shoulders are they going to find a treasure trove of unforgettable images or are they going to be looking at a blank wall? I’m guessing not. 

Sat here just contemplating the future…

We just don’t give ourselves enough time just to sit and stare…
Our busy lives force us to look busy or we feel we are not doing enough to warrant our existence. I have to say that some of the best decisions come a bit after contemplation not before. Politicians were renown for taking their time over decisions and coming up with the best most appropriate solution for everyone in their constituency and I mean that in the greater meaning of the word. We all know that when the pressure is on then we need to spend more time in consideration not less a quick decision without thought is a knee jerk reaction something we can’t help an involuntary reaction caused by an inability to control your actions something that ALL the political elite are becoming good at no one is considering all the options in case it looks bad to the electorate when in fact doing the wrong thing and keep on doing the wrong thing is the way to look bad to the electorate!
While certain factions cut the heads of their captives (which must I say really endorse their warmth and well meaning to their followers) we sit on our hands when did violence and aggression come as such a shock to our leaders so much so that they have to organise another meeting admittedly this time with the nasty COBRA committee talk not action is what everyone wants Prime Minister and if you continue to worry more about the next election than your constituents then we should say goodbye now. That goes for all of you in Westminster…

How many people do you have a relationship with?

Connection Nodes

As we go about our business we like to think that we have a small but select group of people in our network.

How wrong could we be as we think further out everyone knows more people than we think.

Take a look at the network connections chart above you will be shocked to know that even if we try really hard and like to think that we get to know most people we come in contact with look at the numbers in a room of 30 people (normal for a Chamber or Breakfast event) we will talk to about 4 or 5 but if we do the calculations there are 435 relationships we could have but don’t. Why is that?

Going it alone…

With all the talk about Scotland and going it alone the question of can she or can’t she go it alone.
Now any fool knows that of course you can go it alone and of course you too will have the benefit of living or dying by your own decisions – whether they be poor ones or brilliant ones.
The question is really that is this a good thing to do? I really mean is it a good thing for Scotland or in fact any nascent country or any group to “go it alone” how does the Tom & Barbara scenario pan out for anyone else.
Great idea! but history tells us that self sufficiency is usually macro-economically disastrous. You can do everything yourself; but do you really want to. Should we all return to doing everything ourselves from killing the pig for breakfast baps to basket weaving or collecting gallons of urine to make soap or maybe we would be happier just popping down to the supermarket and buying something that someone else – who I may say really is far better at it – for example Proctor and Gamble have made a massive global empire just from taking the piss…
So I would encourage anyone who is wanting to become self sufficient to think of the alternative. This should be “outsourcingnot becoming a “Jack of All Trades” but focussing on your few core skills and creating a niche of excellence and getting paidanf handsomely for it then finding someone else to do the stuff you are not so good at and probably don’t enjoy anyway.
So Scotland take note of course you can become independent but do you really really want to…
As I say to any person wanting to set up in business for themselves it is much better to be in control than not but then not everyone is born to be in control and be comfortable with it.

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