Too little (Business & Marketing) planning, will lose your business tomorrow

As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc around the world, I thought it would be useful to share this blog post from 2017 that more important today than ever… I’m fairly sure I work hard to develop and safeguard my business, my children tell me this regularly – my wife has given up telling me. But this blog isn’t about how I work because I really don’t see it as ‘work’ as I get paid to do something I really enjoy, helping other business owners to see their businesses in a different way (cliché I know, but true). What I wanted to do in this blog was to show how others can benefit the same way. You see it’s not just … Read More >

Steering a course through COVID-19

As we navigate through the global COVID-19 pandemic we all share a thought for all those workers that continue to help us and keep society functioning. This turned my attention to all those in the healthcare profession, council workers, food retailers, couriers, postal workers and those in the Merchant Navy who bring essential goods to our shores from around the world. It reminded me of the late 1970’s when I served in the Merchant Navy initially joining Tate & Lyle’s small fleet of six vessels where I  joined the largest and newest of two sister ships, a 30,000-tonne bulk carrier called MV Sugar Carrier (yes, that’s me in the photo). During my early career at sea I took my ‘Steering Certificate’, a process … Read More >

The Key to Growth is Understanding your P&L Summary – Part 4 Finance

If you’ve read my three previous blogs on how to perform well as a Non-Executive Director, then you’ll have already started to build a good picture of the type of person that’s required for such a role. Exemplary skills in Governance, Strategy and Leadership are all essential attributes none of which can escape the need for a clear understanding of the financial position of the client company. Having worked with small to medium sized businesses for my entire career, I invariably see the senior management teams focus on the day-to-day needs of the business and its customers. All too often the Profit & Loss (P&L) is something they might have initially looked at once a year when they sit with … Read More >

“Speak softly and carry a big stick” – Part 3 Leadership

Theodore Roosevelt’s words, “Speak softly and carry a big stick and you’ll go far” was a reflection of his military capabilities which were designed to convey the principle that it was far better to use intelligent forward thinking in order to avoid a costly crisis. It’s clear that such a phrase has a threatening connotation but it’s especially clear that it’s far better to have a solid understanding of the situation. Not everyone can be or wants to be a ‘leader’. Many are happy to follow, whilst some believe they are better leaders than those that do, and some are placed in leadership positions when they’re not qualified to be there. There’s different types of ‘leaders’ too, some are autocratic … Read More >

Senior Marketers make great Non-Executive Directors – Pt2 Strategy

Following on from last month’s blog where I spoke about the Governance skills already embodied within senior marketers, I wanted to follow this on with another of the four skills a Non-Executive Director should understand and be able to encouragingly influence amongst the executive team, this month is ‘Strategy’ (and its progression).  The term was used by the military for controlling and directing operations and movements in a war or battle in order to accomplish a long-term overall aim. As such, business also has numerous ‘battles’ to overcome at both the micro and macro levels before accomplishing its next objective. Unfortunately though there are many pitfalls that can arise en-route, namely from: staff appreciation, acceptance and adoption of new strategies, … Read More >

Senior Marketers make great Non-Executive Directors – Pt1 Governance

Progressive thinking marketers have always been an asset to their employers because they’re able to get the best for both the consumer and the firm that employs them. But they’re also more likely to be able to appreciate and drive value into the most challenging areas facing the business. Where others see risk, the ‘dialled-in’ marketer sees opportunity; where others may become distracted and disengaged, the marketer again sees opportunity, and when others see burden and bureaucratic red-tape, the consummate marketing professional sees opportunity. So why does this contribute to becoming a great non-executive director? Let’s just consider GDPR, where I personally had several senior executives, business owners and even one company chairman each claim this was just another unnecessary … Read More >