I was invited to attend an evening hosted by the IoD (http://www.iod.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/eCS/Store/en/-/GBP/IODContentManager-Start?TemplateName=homePage.isml) last night, primarily because I am an ex QEGS pupil and there was a link in through Ann Jordan, networker extraordinaire, who is the Regional Chairman for the IoD NorthWest. It was organised by TiE, a not-for-profit group for entrepreneurs and professionals, who have a chapter in Manchester ( http://www.tie-uk.org/chapterHome/about_tie/TiEManchester200710102948127762/viewInnerPagePT)
It was one on of those evenings where you say do I or don’t I, tonnes of work on, it meant a drive into town, hadn’t eaten etc etc, but I gave myself a kick up the bum and went along. And was very glad I did. The speaker was a guy called Dale Howarth, who was also ex QEGS. Apparently we are now called QEGGLERS. Sounds like something from Harry Potter, hmmm, I digress.
Dale – http://www.dalehowarth.com/ – is a motivational speaker, primarily dealing with sales and marketing, and though superficially a lot of what he says seems to be about product based businesses, so not entirely relevant to me and my business, the more I listened and thought about it, it’s true that whatever business we do, we are all simply selling ourselves.
When you are self employed, and not part of a big corporate gang or even an SME of 5 to 10 employees, and you work entirely alone as I do, you do have to be incredibly self motivated. There is no-one else in the office to give you a lift on a down day, no weekly sales meeting to give you a push in the right direction, and no in-house training to hone your skills. Instead you just juggle being the hands on worker, the administrator, the IT boff, the sales guy, the accounts nerd, the boss and the skivvy. All in the same hour sometimes.
So events and speakers like this can really re-focus you, and make you take a step back and look at what you are doing in a new light. What resonated most for me were his anecdotes and tips on the focus and direction you and your business are going in. If you don’t know where you are heading, how will you get there, to put it simply. I’ve never been one for plans really, fly and seat of pants are words which ring in my ears. So maybe I need to get a bit more focused.
Dale gave this quote from Alice in Wonderland:
Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: …so long as I get somewhere.
The Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.
I think I might be Alice. And maybe I should be heeding The Cat.