Friday, December 11, 2009

NLP: What Is It Good For?




NLP, if you are wondering,  is the common name for Neuro Linguistic Programing.

In short terms, a kind of 'owners manual' training for our brain, and our thinking and how that affects our actions.

A question that often comes up, after "What is it?", is "What Is NLP Good For?"

For more than a few years now, I've cogitated on this and wondered what it is that makes it possible for so many to have spent so much time and energy and effort in learning NLP and associated spin-offs, yet appear to have little to show for it

My assumption was always, though they may not have articulated it so, that it was to enable them to create better results than they were used to getting. Maybe more comfort in being in control of their responses, and states than perhaps they had been able to date, and possibly in order to create more fulfilling relationships and interactions with others.  I kept looking for examples of individuals who had made more money, worked in environments more of their liking now, were enjoying more control over their reactions. 

I'm still looking.

I wondered how it could be, that one could ingest so much great instruction and finally meet these life changing strategies and new ways of looking at the world without something changing.  My expectation, I realized, was that in submerging oneself in these new viewpoints and ideas could not do anything but allow a smooth changeover in the ways of being in the world.

Some time ago, a conversation with a long-time student of such things, well practiced in his craft and quite savvy in his manner, asked me what I expected from people who are interested in these things, as we are.  My response to him was that I expected those who had been involved for some time, to be getting more open to new ideas, less threatened by ideas that were not their old ones, and more okay with following an idea through, trying it on, without jumping to hasty ill-informed responses. He evinced some surprise.  Surprised that I didn't just expect them to respond the same way they had again and again.  In turn, I was surprised at his surprise.

To expect the self same response, from  people who have invested so much into learning the skills of NLP would be to admit that the whole premise is suspect, and that ultimately, it is all pointless. The technology is worthless.  I am not yet so jaded.

As I work with people, either informally, or in more formal arrangements, it is evident that the degree of difficulty for many people in learning to see the potential that they have right in front of them, is extreme.  Their world views are constricted to the point of stifling them in their endeavours.  To move forward, is like forbidden fruit, and they seek, without knowing what it is they seek, permission to have what is already rightfully theirs.  From whom they hope to receive this permission, is anyone's guess. For many it will be someone who is not even alive any more, and for all, were it even possible to receive it from another, they are still faced with the cold sobering reality that the only one who can deliver them what they could have if they dared to declare the wanting... is themselves.

There is a technique to training elephants that perhaps you have read about.  The young elephants are tethered from an early age, and learn (one way and another) not to move beyond the range of their tether. This training stays with them even when they are grown and much larger and fully able to break free  Similarly, we are tethered to a set of beliefs, some of which are helpful and have been of good use to us in our lives, some which have appeared to be helpful, or so we thought, and some which have been not only a hindrance to our well-being, but have set us up for an array of lost opportunities, wasted chances to live the life we could have chosen and the means to fulfil our potential.

It is neither good policy, nor I suspect, possible, to set someone else's beliefs for them, in the context of assisting them in reaching an improved state of being.  That is for the individual to decide.  In deciding on the beliefs that are worth keeping, there remains the chasm to be jumped, that is at the heart of no-change.  It is a willingness to look openly and without fear at what our current beliefs are, and to know them for what they are.  Then it is the courage to admit that we deserve.  That we can have what is important to us, that we can achieve what we set out to achieve, and having done so, can contribute in ways that we can never do until such time as we have jumped that chasm and discovered it was nothing at all

NLP is good for this.



If you know about NLP, perhaps you have some other examples. Please add them if you do. And if you don't know about NLP yet, feel free to ask questions.




What Do I Do?

I help owners of small businesses to focus on what they want from their business and life. Discover and articulate their vision, review the business, so as to streamline operations, improve productivity, reduce waste and grow more profits.

 Lindy Asimus
(Yes. Accredited NLP Practitioner)

www.designbusinessengineering.com




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Friday, November 20, 2009

What You Should Know About Social Media And Business


Let me share a a very timely article on Bnet that anyone with a business should read. Whether you're using social media, want to use social media in your business, or believe you can ignore social media in your business.  Well it is timely to me, since social media questions are becoming more and more the topic that emerges in my discussions with clients and business owners. The amount of bad information out there, and number of business owners who are either oblivious or misinformed about online matters is of much concern to me, quite frankly. I do wonder at times who they are hiring to inform them.

It still remains that many small business owners think that they don't need to be online, or that their lack of interest in computers in some way is significant to their customers!  Nope. Whether you use a computer for anything more than checking the weather, other people (people with money who are and who could be customers for your business) are using their computers for many, many things. Notably, for researching future purchase options, for one example.

Yes you need to be online.

No it doesn't need to cost a fortune.

Just because someone offers you a "deal" - if you don't understand what you are getting for your money and how to determine if this is value - or a rort - then find out before you start.

Yes it will cost something.

Getting a website is the beginning - not the end.

Guess what - online people are offline too! Bring them together.

Get to know people who understand social media, the internet and business.

Put your Learning Hat on.

Ultimately, hopping into social media will expand your ideas on what's possible.


I rather think that's a Good Thing.


Here's the link.



Eight Ways To Kill Your Social Media Strategy



Enjoy!


Lindy

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Employer Tip

Helping New Employees





You wouldn't do this in your business, of course.

Position descriptions.
Procedures written down.

Don't make your staff guess what you want.

Don't give them an excuse for not performing.






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Monday, October 05, 2009

Who Does What? Roles In Your Business



We sometimes wear many hats!
    
Many small businesses start with the owner doing all the tasks that need to be undertaken to get the business growing. Having a plan to develop the business can start with a map of what the current territory looks like, and that can be as simple as commencing with good descriptions of each position that is important within the business even when every position is currently filled by you!

Whether you look in the future to add employees or outsource parts of the operations to an outside service provider, it is helpful to have a good description of the position, both for the execution of the role in the best possible way, but when well crafted, can form the basis of your recruiting criteria for the position, as well as the baseline for assessing performance during future reviews.

Michael Gerber famously described the difference between 'working in your business', from 'working on your business.' With a good outline for all those positions within your business both currently being undertaken, but also those duties that *should* be happening even if they are not yet  then you have a great starting point to grow a healthy business.

Armed with comprehensive position descriptions, some well written procedures for each task and a visual organization chart, you are well on your way to developing your own 'franchise prototype'. That's smart. Smart for your business, and smart for your sanity as a business owner. And of course, all that smart translates as profitability. A well-run business will earn you more money, save you unnecessary stress and be worth more to a prospective buyer.

You'd prefer that...Right?













What Do I Do?

 I help owners of small businesses to focus on what they want from their business and life. Discover and articulate their vision, review the business, so as to streamline operations, improve productivity, reduce waste and grow more profits.

 Lindy Asimus


  


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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Work At Home And Keep Your Focus





Many of us are now working from home, or attempting to, and there has been much written on the benefits and the pitfalls of maintaining a working routine when we are working to our own schedule, not one dictated in a "real job".

Therein lies the problem sometimes. Self employed people can share similarities with business owners who have a business they run but fall into bad habits... like doing what the business owner does... not necessarily what the business needs done! That lack of 'someone else' to dictate when we do what we do and set deadlines for us, can mean that we lack the structured routine that would commit our time in set ways.


That's the key to making the most of our time working from home. Having set guidelines and putting aside time - marked into the calendar - to dedicate to specific jobs and being accountable to complete those things we set out to do, in a timeframe that allows to plan for all the other things we need to do, around those times.

Working these hours? Then work.

On scheduled time off? Then stay off. Turn off the phone, close the door and keep your free time free. Never allow work to bleed into your free time.

Be clear on your time as you are with your goals. Fill out your diary with some long weekends and plan to spend some special time with your partner throughout the year. Plan first, then stick to it, and never make that special time try to fit around everything else that you have to do.

Do you have tips that have worked to make your time working at home more effective?



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Friday, September 18, 2009

Activity With Purpose



A Story About Activity Without Purpose

John Henry Fabre, the great French naturalist, conducted a most unusual experiment with some Processionary Caterpillars. Processionary Caterpillars blindly follow the one in front of them. That's why they are called "processionary"--they travel in a procession. Fabre filled a flower pot close to the rim with dirt. He then carefully arranged some Processionary Caterpillars in a circle around the rim of the flower pot, so that the lead caterpillar actually touched the last one, making a complete circle. In the center of the flower pot he put pine needles, which is food for the Processionary Caterpillar.

The caterpillars started walking around the circular flower pot. Around and around they went, hour after hour, day after day, night after night. They obtained no nourishment, no rest. For seven full days and seven full nights they went around the flower pot. Finally, they dropped dead of starvation and exhaustion.   Which begs the question for us all...


What Purpose Is Your Activity Serving?

 Just as it is useful to understand the purpose that our activity serves, understanding what is our core Purpose is vital in living a life of meaning. I think that Earl Nightingale said it best when he announced that the greatest secret in the world, and the secret to success in life, was to spend our life working toward a worthwhile purpose. Really knowing what is important to us can help inform our sense of purpose in life. A worthwhile purpose can motivate and inspire, not just ourself, but also those around us.

Earl Nightingale lived in a completely different world than we live in now. And yet all these years later, his words are as simple yet powerful as ever. You be the judge.




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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Coaching Philosophy - Leonard Cohen


In many ways this seems to encapsulate a set of core beliefs not out of place in the coaching role.


Is it too bad a pun to suggest this resonates with many...

Lindy


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Lindy Asimus
Design Business Engineering
Mobile: 0403 365855
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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ease Into Your Own Business



"I like to tell people that all of our products and business will go through three phases. There's vision, patience, and execution." ~ Steve Ballmer


In the past I've written about the challenges that face franchise owners and those who buy franchises and the challenges that can face both.

So I was interested to see the new way to train-then-own option that one brand of franchise have introduced as a way for potential franchisees to work their way into a franchise arrangement.

According to details on their website, limited opportunities exist for those interested in owning a franchise to "earn and learn" what being a franchisee for this chain is like, and experience first-hand what is involved and be trained in:

•    Small business operations and small business finance.
•    Franchise systems.
•    Production skills and management.
•    Product knowledge and safety.
•    Team training, management and customer service.
•    Marketing and promotions.
•    Purchasing and inventory control.
•    Effective people management practices and workplace relations.

As well as training, those chosen will have the chance to manage a store and learn first hand what that's like before making the final decision to proceed. Presumably this also gives the franchisor the chance to find out if the person is really cut out for owning their own franchise.

I like this idea on several levels. Too often people get a payout of some kind and with no background in business, run off and buy a franchise before they know if they have what it takes to buckle down and commit the time (and there is a lot of time involved to make a successful business of any kind), or have the temperament suited to be dealing with staff and customers all day long. Other people go buy a job for themselves (franchise) then get surprised that there is a lot of work to do! From the franchisor point of view - their reputation depends on successful stores, so if this training helps more franchisees be more successful, then that has to be a good thing.

We often hear the terrifying statistics about how many businesses fail in the first 5 years (most of them... and those who don't will likely fail in the five years that follow that).  As I review businesses I sometimes am more surprised that any survive at all!

As a business coach, my role is often about working with owners of non-franchise, conventional businesses to help them set up their own "franchise prototype" model - systems to follow, and standards for service and procedures to follow so that they can deliver consistent service and run the business as a business, not some kind of hobby.  Indeed, much of my coaching revolves around the issues in these trainings. My greatest wish in business, would be for anyone looking to open a business to undergo this kind of training before they commit, but those opportunities aren't really there for them. Kudos to this franchisor for turning a challenge into a benefit. In the current financial situation, this might be the smart thing for other franchises too.

Buying a business should not be an emotional decision. You buy a business, you put yourself in debt, and sign on for some hard work. Make no mistake. The better you understand the business you will own, the better armed you are to make it a success. If we begin with the end in mind... that's a great place from which to start.

[And if you are considering buying a business, look for my upcoming article on tools for new business buyers and business sellers!]


Have you thought about buying a franchise? What would make the difference for you? Do share your comments below. 

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Saturday, September 05, 2009

Childhood Landscapes. Mulbring ((no gallery))

I was looking at some real estate for sale recently out at Mulbring and
ocurred to me that this is the countryside that I remember from my childhood.
Now if only there was a quality cafe closeby... I might move back!






Well actually, this last one is a bit of wishful thinking.
Strangely I can't recall seeing a koala or a kangaroo
all the time I was growing up in this area. There was
an echidna though... and lots of ringtail possums and
sugar gliders.










See and download the full gallery on posterous
---------------------------------------------------------------
Lindy Asimus
Design Business Engineering
Mobile: 0403 365855
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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Don't Bite The Hand That Feeds Your Business




As a business coach I do a lot of networking and meeting new business owners, both online and offline. So it is always interesting to me to see how business owners approach their networking function and to see what system they have in place to leverage the opportunities that networking creates for more real business sales.

I'm fascinated to see the number who pay little or no attention to networking at all and I suspect many do not quite realise that it can be a powerful tool for their business to gain entry into circles of influence, from which, in the normal course of events, they would be forever locked-out.

I was ruminating over this and the idea the people sometimes - without realising it perhaps - can 'bite the hand that feeds them'.

As I thought about it, it came to me that for many, because they don't fully understand the dynamics and the potential that is at their feet, don't understand the loss that they sustain through their own inattention.

If you are networking... or you are not networking, then it is worth understanding fully the situation as it exists in a well-organised networking process. That process, which can encompass many different formal and informal networking situations... is yours to create.

So let's look at this a little more closely.


WHY IS NETWORKING IMPORTANT?

Networking is important because it gives you access to new businesses and new people who know about things that you don't! They know about their specialty experience in areas different from yours, and they know people you don't know. That means that they can be in possession of information about plans and intentions of people who are important to you and your business - who you don't know!

That's worth knowing.



HOW CAN NETWORKING HELP ME?

Aside from the obvious 'get more business referrals' and it's other face 'give people you know who need help, referral to people who have the expertise to help them', are some powerful 'secondary' benefits. To me, these can sometimes be even more important.  These other benefits can include:

1)  Learn about things that are not your core business but are important to know

2)  Access expertise of peers in a variety of specialties when you need them

3)  Share and learn from the experiences of business owners in other sectors, whose  ideas would be adaptable for your business

4)  Open the opportunity to develop strategic partnerships to leverage your     opportunities to do more business, at minimal cost.



Learning To Value The Gift


When you Get Smarter, or are Invited to opportunities, or Share what you know, you are being hand fed opportunities that would not happen in any other way.  This is a high value and needs to be seen for the gift that it is.

See the gift.
Make something positive with it.

But most importantly... Recognise that hand that is feeding you such opportunities. Make your hand the one that brings opportunities to others in your network.


Have you recognised gifts like these that you've received in the past?

Post your examples comments and let's share that gift too!




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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Prosperity Mind

What is "prosperity" for you?



A rich man asked a Zen master to write something down that could encourage the prosperity of his family for years to come. It would be something that the family could cherish for generations. On a large piece of paper, the master wrote, "Father dies, son dies, grandson dies."

The rich man became angry when he saw the master's work. "I asked you to write something down that could bring happiness and prosperity to my family. Why do you give me something depressing like this?"

"If your son should die before you," the master answered, "this would bring unbearable grief to your family. If your grandson should die before your son, this also would bring great sorrow. If your family, generation after generation, disappears in the order I have described, it will be the natural course of life. This is true happiness and prosperity."





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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Meeting New Minds




I had the good fortune to meet with a business coach who is a member of a new coaching network we are setting up locally. Our initial meeting came at the end of a set meeting that I confess had me a little bummed... while coaches are working to advise businesses, it seems that the advice - or the areas covered by many coaches - does not stretch to address anything to do with the online world, or the tools that we use online to promote and further the better outcomes of clients.

No matter, that is my area of interest, and will remain so.

Fortunately my companion emanated a ray of hope at the other side of the table and as sometimes happens, we shared a spark of recognition and quickly established some rapport. Forward to our meeting, it is clear that we share an interest in many things, and from a business point of view, perhaps the most encompassing way to describe this would be: A Values Match.


If you are networking in your business, attending meetings and workshops, and the like, I would urge you to step outside of the set functions and get together with people on a one-on-one basis to learn about the "who is" of that person. Time and again in network groups, I see things stall and invariably the question arises "why isn't this working?". To me the answer seems simple. There is not the engagement on a personal level, or a meeting of the critical issue - a desire to arrive at a common outcome between participants. Vital to discovering a point where interests converge, seems to me to require - and this is certainly true for me - a shared value system. Until you really get to know someone, you cannot know if the values of the other person is a match. Without that... there is no real way to go forward.


But back to my meeting. Meeting new people opens us up to all kinds of new learnings. I learned about a book that was important to my companion some years ago, and it seems like something that would be of particular interest to me too, since architecture and engineering are facets of life that I think we can find use for in all kinds of contexts. The structure of business, and the way that we engineer strategies to find solutions to problems that we want to overcome, is critical to a solution focus. And relate very closely to the name I chose for my coaching business, namely Design Business Engineering. If you believe that waiting for things to just happen by chance is not a very good strategy for building a successful business, then that might make sense to you too.

It also brought me to discussing NLP for the first time in a very long time. I have been a student of NLP since I took my first training in 1997 and for me now it is just an integral part of 'what I do' and I don't really bring it up as a subject in my coaching, unless clients are familiar with it. Instead I find it easier to bring to bear as and when the tools are appropriate in the context of my work with clients, which are essentially in the first instance, relating to business, but inevitably overlap with personal beliefs and strategies of the business owner client. So I confess, I chuckle to myself when I hear people refer to themselves as being a 'neuro linguistic programmer' as it seems about as useful as referring to oneself as a 'user of petrol' or an 'eater of eggs'... I do lots of things, and have lots of interests and use lots of tools. These do not, I hope, define me.

I look forward to learning more about my new colleague. I can already see some (pardon the word) synergy between us and perhaps I may begin to write some more on the topic of NLP than I have done in recent times.

Watch this space.

And go learn about some of your network partners.








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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Twitter And Kneejerk Reactions




“The foolish and the dead alone never change their opinions.”
~James Russell

Yesterday I was interested to read an article about a work-from-home business owner on the trouble they were having getting into the whole Twitter thing. The article was interesting enough as a sharing of perspective but what interested me even more was the comments that followed.

Now I've seen this happen other places, but as the day progressed and more and more comments rolled into to my email notices, I was struck by two things.

The first... at how successful this article was at generating 'heat' from the community in the form of comments. There is a lesson in that and I might have to ponder that a bit more to isolate what that lesson is. Secondly, how willing people are to form opinions - and share them! - with the most scant information to hand.

Now I'm all for people choosing the networks and applications that suit them, but let's be clear here. We don't pick up many things straight off the bat. And less often do we do things very well, without gaining some experience. We try, we stumble and we keep trying and get better at it. If that were not true, we'd none of us be wearing shoes with laces, or even walking for that matter. And yet I don't see many 30 year olds crawling to work on their hands and knees.

Twitter may or may not be something that you need. But here's what you do need. What we all need. A mind that is open to explore and understand, before making snap judgements. It's been said that opinions are like ... well things we all have. That doesn't mean they need to be shown in public.

All this reminds me that Iggy Pintado's book Connection Generation is critical reading for anyone who is engaging in today's community in any way at all. Techie or technophobe, read it to understand some of the people you'll find around you on any day.


What do you think?


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Sunday, August 16, 2009

You Are What You Look Like - Small Business





You may have holes in your shoes,
but don't let the people out front know it.
Shine the tops.


—Earl Hines (musician)


I happened to be in the city recently and stumbled upon a store that supplies business clothing for men and women. Times have certainly changed since the only uniform shops sold blue workman's pants, overalls and steel-cap boots.

This store was quite interesting to me, they had a great range, classic pieces, that would be well received in business or smart dressing after work. Great because the items were all priced to the market and no more and in many cases cheaper than the department store Usual Suspects charge. The department stores of course, don't always have stock that is quite right for the business environment.

And I got to thinking about corporate dress and how that has improved over time, and what the situation is in small business.

Quite different.

There are so many areas that small business struggles with compared to corporate businesses. In corporations, systems (good or otherwise) are a standard part of doing business. Not so in small business.

Struggling with running a business without beginning with a good system in place, means that there is always going to be stress related directly to that lack of a systemic approach, and managing the inevitable crises that happen, in addition to the day-to-day stuff that has to happen. The stress plays out for the owner of the business, the staff of the business, and commonly, the customers of the business. Many times it affects the financial wellbeing of the business too.

Attending to planning and strategic issues is often regarded as "not important" as the customer complaining on the phone. There can be a disconnect with what's vital in the business, for it's long term health - and the actually petty but urgent "must fix this now" stuff. Stuff that exists very often, because there are no good systems to deal with it!

Dress for business is an area that gets less attention than most. And yet that whole way that we present our business - our printed material, our online presence, how we answer the phone and how we dress - all communicate with our customers what we think of our business and them and what we think of ourselves.

Really, it is time for small business to lift it's game and start presenting to the world as a business - not like amateurs playing at running a business.

Stand up and be counted as serious contenders.


How do you approach dress in your business? Your feedback is most appreciated.




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Friday, July 31, 2009

Hope Springs Eternal - What and How




A sunny winter's day as I write this, considering a tweet from a friend asking me how my day was. "Fine sunny winter day... that has to be good." And indeed it is.

By nature, I tend to be a Responder, and writing blogs often comes up as a response to something that happens then prods me out of my current trance-stream-of-events and moves me to commit to a post on a topic. One consequence of that may be, to emphasis the downside of business, the pitfalls, the traps to watch for and the Beware-there-be-beasties-here topics. Which may seem that there is no upside to business, but of course that would be to miss the great wonder of what Is possible...and I would hate to leave anyone with that impression.

Hope and Encouragement, should be the gift we all spread everywhere we go. That's not the fantasy kind, but real hope and encouragement.

The truth is, you can do far more than you give probably understand is possible. You might need help to uncover what you need to do that, and it might require you to do things that are outside of your regular habits, but that just means you may not yet know how to do that thing you want to be able to achieve.

But that's a kind of identification of a "What". Once you have defined what it is that you want to have happen in your life, then you can find out what the "How" conditions are.

You can wait for inspiration to come to you, or you can get help to identify the What. And the How.

Now that's encouraging!

First step? Ask for help.





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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Your Social Profile: Tips




Different social platforms will have different information they call for. A template will help you quickly copy or copy and paste your information. Use this information selectively, to bring your story to life on your business website too.




Name


Your personal name is usually preferable on social media.
If you have a personal account on Facebook then you can add your business Fan Page with your business name there.

Similarly, on Twitter, people first and foremost, want to Follow a person – so build your personal network and use a Business Twitter ID to complement your personal account.


Address

Business or postal address is preferable to your home address – you don’t want people knowing where you live. Identity theft is something to always be on guard against giving away too much information. With a few discreet bits of information, people can build an identity very easily!


Contact Details

Your business phone – never a home phone landline should be used. Safety first!

Your email address should be one that you use for general business online use. Make it something that you check regularly and for preference, not a hotmail or yahoo account. You never want to add your email to show up on a business listing as somethingsleazy06@hotmail.com


Date of Birth

As with your home address, your date of birth is a security risk if you broadcast it online. Many sites allow you to add your day and month of birth only. If you want to display your birth month and not your year of birth, but can’t selectively show it on that site, consider choosing a birth year that is obviously not yours (like 1919) – note: most sites will not let you put in a recent year as birth year since usually members have to be over the age of 13 or more. NOTE: Make a note somewhere that you keep your log of online passwords etc in a diary etc, with this date, if not your real date of birth, so you can always use it if you need to provide proof that this is your site, to the site administrator

Remember, without being paranoid, your business is your business and being aware of security issues online is good practice. Don’t advertise your date of birth, your home address, your home phone number or anything that will indicate to robbers that you will be away from your home or that you have bought new expensive items, if there is any way for your residential address to be found online. Tip: Google yourself and see what IS already online about your personal details.


Business Name


When adding your business name, think if it describes the business too. So if your business name is ‘JB Holdings PTY LTD’ Might be better to leave off the Pty Ltd, and add a descriptor, so your listing might show as JB Holdings – Architect (or Home Builder, or Hairdressing Salon or Widget Manufacturer)


Business Description

This is one of the most critical pieces that you will write and you should think long and practice how to best tell people about your business in this section. When you do that, you have a great way to describe what your business does, not just on this profile online, but in conversation, or your print material, or even your business card or website. Make this really work for you – and it will also work well for Google indexing your site.

The following two points may need to be incorporated into the main description, or could have a separate space. Work your profile accordingly.

• What You Do

Use clean, clear language, specific and concise. What you do, and for whom you do it.

• How You Work

Let people know how you work. Do they come to you, do you go to them, is there something special in the way you deliver your product or service?

• Locations You Service

Does your business service just a 20 mile radius, or are you open to business state-wide, nationwide, or globally? Spell it out. (If you only serve locally – think – could you sell further afield?)


Education

Sites like LinkedIn are geared to educational qualifications and if you have some to add, they can be useful to complete this section. If you don’t have educational qualifications, then you can add your trade qualifications if you wish, or may be able to leave this section blank. Adding your schools and universities can help others connect with you, so this has several functions.


Recommended by

If you don’t already have any written recommendations, this is a good reminder to get some! Testimonials from happy customers are an important marketing tool, and Linkedin provides a good way to ask customers to recommend you, and a process that allows them to do so easily. Don’t just leave it at that though – add some to your website and your marketing material, and make it a policy to ask for endorsements from customers.

Your Experience

On Linkedin your profile will allow you to list your previous work and the experience that you gained in each field. This can build a solid picture of your diverse skills, or your special area of interest.


Your Websites


Add your website and your blog URL here.

Make sure that it follows the protocol required on that site (some require http://www.yourwebsite.com while others just want the www.yourwebsite.com ) Double check that you have no extra . at the end of the URL and test to make sure that the links work before you leave the profile editing page. [Learn to notice that . – it can be the cause of a lot of problems if added to the end of email addresses for example, where it doesn’t belong and can cause a lot of frustration ‘breaking’ otherwise good email addresses or web URLs)

If you don’t have a website, now is the time to seriously give some thought to getting one. Your customers expect you to have one, even if it is a modest one. Don’t disappoint them.

A blog is another good thing to have and takes some effort and is best considered as part of your entire online strategy, which is itself, a component of your business marketing plan. Like babushka dolls... this should be part of your overall working business plan. One element fits inside the next, but your success vehicle for the business, contains them all. That’s what your business plan should be. Your business success vehicle.


Your Interests


Think about the context here. If you are adding a profile to MySpace, you might add some items that are a little removed from business, but on Linkedin you might want to be a little more selective on what you add as your hobbies or interests. In both cases, if you are using your own name on a site, you might want to skip the more suggestive or less conservative ones. You may not want everyone who looks for you on Google to find out all of your ‘interests’ ;-)


Associations & Groups


Again, list the clubs and groups that you belong to, but be selective. Not everyone will enjoy knowing if you are a member of the KKK


Keeping a template of the answers you use for profiles can be a time saver for you if you decide to join multiple online sites. Either a hardcopy as a prompt sheet, or a file copy so you can copy and paste.

Check your profiles regularly and update as things change.


Ideas you'd like to add? Leave a comment!



See also Why You Should Be On Linkedin

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Coaches Do This.




“Just what is coaching, anyway...?”

Here’s the question that comes up all the time. From those who may need a coach, and for those who would coach them and are tasked with delivering a definition that has some meaning that may be understandable with those who might like to access such a service.

Personally, I am a bit ‘over’ the sporting analogies and frankly think the name is actually a bit inconsequential, since the coaching role can cover such a wide variety of contexts, and because each coach may cover within a specific niche and in some ways, may operate in a way that is slightly different from other coaches, and indeed, differently depending on the client, it may vary from case-to- case as different scenarios demand. I am given to understand that some coaches don’t vary the way they coach, but I cannot speak to that. In my own work with clients, I have a range of tools that I have developed that address certain issues within a business and still others that I custom-create to fit the need. Since I work with businesses in different sectors and with different products and presenting dilemmas, this seems to work well for us.

Coaching as a vocation is an interesting business. Like any business owner knows, there is providing a product, and then there is running a business...Two very different ‘animals’.

Today the topic came up as several of we coaches held a meeting to nut out some issues in putting together a network for coaches in the Newcastle and Hunter region. It is an interesting bunch of people, with interests, and expertise across a wide spectrum of topics. The coaches are quite different as are their respective focus areas and work with clients on issues ranging from personal/life stuff, through couples, family relationships and different shades of business, large and small, family businesses, corporate business, employee coaching, and more. With clients ranging from individuals facing transition in their lives, business owners looking to develop their business to the next level, or just plain get organised and shed some unnecessary stress from their lives. All good people all facing their own particular challenge.

Perhaps our greatest challenge as coaches is in creating an awareness, that we’re here. We’re here for the business owner who wants to finally get some systems in place and run their business like a ‘real one’. For the single mother looking to grow and raise her personal esteem and be a good model for her children. For the newly divorced man who finds himself on the outer and no real skills to move forward toward a loving healthy next relationship – with himself – and later with another.
What do coaches do? Well that depends. What do you need? What is it that you want to do that you haven’t been able to manage alone? That’s what coaches do. Help you achieve whatever it is that you want. Sometimes, it begins with helping you understand and articulate, just what that is that you do want.

As simple and as complex as that, is the answer to what coaches do.

The real point, perhaps in our coaching network, is to create a focal point, so that those looking for help – of whatever kind – can find the starting point to connect with someone who can help them to do just that thing they have a desire to do. I hope they find us.


I think that’s quite a good start... Don’t you think?



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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Is Your Opinion Valid?



“The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed, in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a wide-spread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible” ~ Bertrand Russell


And how do you tell?


In the wake of the death of Michael Jackson, once again, the news is full of the boy/man who has spent an inordinate amount of time in recent years living down his reputation.

It is this reputation, or at least the way that it seems to have been gained, that leads me to write this blog.

With Michael Jackson's sudden death, we've seen an avalanche of tributes and outpourings of support and messages of rememberings and replays of videos and songs on the internet. In amongst these, of course, have been those who apparently are holding fast to their opinions of what this person was like. And their dislike is obvious.

Like we witnessed during the recent US election, and just as we watched the different sides of the 'pro' Vs 'con' sides of the "Should we be in Iraq" debate, some of the more heated and vitriolic comments come from people who it would seem, have arrived at their opinions, without any real consideration for the context and without any facts or appreciation of the overall implications that such opinions must create.

We know, and have seen time and again, how the media can create a story - create as in completely fabricate - in some cases, and at other times so twist the facts as to render the correct version of events impossible for the remote observer to acess.

We view our tabloid heroes as though we know them. We don't. We are treated to media stories that exploit every news opportunity, real or fictional, and are swamped with slices of information that may or may not be correct, but are peddled about as though saying them will make them true. We sneer at the paparazzi who carve out a career by invading the privacy of others, even as we - some of us- give in to the irresistible compulsion to buy their cheesy magazines and leer at the photographs they have taken. Discriminating between what is true and what is fallacious seems to have become a moot point. If it titillates or lets us pass judgment on someone who is just media fodder for our entertainment, then that's all that matters.


Objectifying people in this way, can easily become a habit. We see a series of 30 second grabs on the TV and we think we 'know' this person in the spotlight. We know who they are, what they do, what their sins are, and what their punishment should be.


Do you form your opinions in this same rapid-fire way? Do you stand back and make some effort to objectively separate what you know, and has been verified, from the emotions that you feel when you read or see some of this news?

Are you open to discuss your opinion, or do you just want to blurt it out without any thought to the consequences of what it says about you, as well as the person of whom you hold this opinion?

Do you keep an open mind so that you can revise your opinions as new facts emerge?

Perhaps the single greatest wish that I have in this regard, is for you who read this, and as you read this, consider perhaps if you have jumped to conclusions about people in the past, without real scrutiny of those opinions... Consider what it might be like to to move toward a position where you are able to be a little objective ... Even when the topic is emotionally compelling... and allow yourself to observe without jumping to an opinion straight away.

Just observe.

Notice what you notice.

Question what else this information you are noticing might mean, if you looked at it from different angles.

Notice yourself noticing the information.



Think about the information and ponder, "If what seems to be, is so, what would have to be true, in the mind of that person, for those actions to make sense?"

Then perhaps we may arrive at a place with some scope for understanding and a position of compassion.

Good things can come from a place of compassion.

Good things rarely come from a place of derision and hatred.


What's your opinion?










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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Your Local Business In Today’s World


It would be nice in a way, to think that time stands still. That what worked in the past will work now and just doing what we always did will keep working for us. Unfortunately whether we like it or not some things change.

Just ask the people who made their business in manufacturing button hooks for lace-up boots that were once the rage. Maybe not since they are long gone, along with the sulky makers and the cars that needed to be hand cranked to get started. Remember audio cassettes and video tapes? Now there was an industry. Replaced by CDs and DVDs and now they are in peril from download.

Some things of course, don’t change. Being well organized in your business will never go out of fashion. Which doesn’t mean being inflexible, but does mean approaching your business with the respect that it deserves. It means taking the right actions for the right reasons. Nourishing the business as necessary, in the form of scheduled marketing, and repeatable quality standards in delivery of services and product, which means good procedures and policies – written down and followed.

Whether you have noticed or not, your market is changing. Your customers are changing and the way they do business, the way they want to do business, has changed. Time is precious for your customers and many of them do their shopping research online.

They want answers when they want them, even if it is 2am and when they look for someone to help them from their plight – whatever it is – they want to be able to find the local business that can help them to do that. If they are looking for something that is in your field, then you bet you want to be there online for them to find, and get all the information they need to satisfy their interest. You want to be found and you want to be sure they have all they need to be able to use your business if they can, to satisfy what is important to them at this time.

Your customers are looking online to find you on Google and guess what? That’s not the only place they are looking now. They are seeking advice from the people around them and online more and more that is the people in their social networks. Need a good mechanic? Ask your network. Need a new accountant or a pool repaired? Social networks, like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, review sites, you name it, they are checking it out. They are finding who is there, and they are finding who has been recommended... and who has been rubbished for their lack of service.

But you probably know this already. As a business owner, you probably do the same thing yourself. The question now is how are you responding to this change in your market, within your business? What are you doing to meet your customers in the new marketplace? How do you let them find you online and what steps have you actively taken to meet their enquiries and respond to their needs?

The tools are available to help you monitor the word that is out there about your business, and to help you spread the good word about your business. It isn’t something to take lightly and it isn’t something to ignore if you want your business to be flexible and able to prosper in the new economy. Databases for marketing, social media, sms text messages and VOIP, inventory management and advanced point of sale technology, online identity and reputation management, recruiting methods are just some of these new tools.

If you have not taken steps yet to address this side of your business, and how that fits with the overall management of your business, then now is a great time to review your direction and plan for the future that is now.

If you have taken steps to move with the times, please do add your comments and share your thoughts so others in local businesses who may still be struggling with these concepts may learn from your experiences too.


@lindyasimus

Business Planning Now includes Online Business Development



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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Leonard Cohen Lessons From A Man of Grace



Four months into my Leonard Cohen obsession, kicked off by seeing him in Australia in concert in the Hunter Valley under the stars at Bimbadgen Estate, I am just now begining to find the words to relate the impact of seeing him perform in this recent tour.

Actually, the impact is unfolding as I have learned more about Leonard Cohen than I ever knew before the concert. While I had liked him well enough before the concert, I'd really only known his very old songs and his voice on those had never really quite "got there" for me. Perhaps it was the primitive recording methods of the late 60's or that his voice had not fully matured or perhaps a combination of the two.

So I went to this concert willingly, and looking forward to seeing the performance, but really clueless as to what it would be like but wishing to keep my good friend company and enjoy this beautiful day in a lovely part of the world with one of the world's preeminent personalities in the world of poetry and music.

Without expectations as such, still any vestige or measure about how good the concert might be was surpassed in short order and from the first step on the stage and the swell of the audience and good spirit directed toward Himself as the musical notes began, set the tone for a performance that literally transported an entire audience.

This aging man, his voice deeper and more resonant than ever captivated each and every person there. From the elderly reliving the songs from their hip (perhaps misspent?) youth, to the children of this group who attended. A spread of ages amazingly broad.


Authenticity is a concept that we see bandied about as desireable quality and yet our examples that splash across our TV and movie screens belie the value of self acceptance. The contrast as we view Leonard Cohen large on the two giant screens at either side of the stage, the cameras zooming into capture his face in unforgiving closeup reveals a man whose vanity lies in the presentation of his thoughts and striving for some kind of impeccability in what he does. Not hiding from reality and pretense of youth, by surgeon's knife and botox. He wears his years with good humour and resignation, perhaps. He has earned the scars and shares them with us. The songs personal and intmate and letting us into the place that is the external representation of his internal landscape. He is no remote 'star'. He is one of us and we appreciate that humility. And we appreciate the marvellous talent that he brought together to create this remarkable presentation of his life's work. And his generosity in sharing the stage and edifying all who made the performances so remarkable, including his band members, but also those responsible for the wonderful sound and the visuals that were to find their way onto the DVD from the London concert.


There are lessons for us all in what happened during this, and each and every other concert that has occurred on this tour. This tour that began as a fighting back, after Leonard Cohen's financial stability was undermined by the very manager he entrusted to safeguard his interests. In the aftermath of the embezzlement that resulted in the loss of some $5million and the resulting court case that vindicated his claim and awarded him damages in excess of the original theft, but with little chance of collecting, at the age of 74 this man, whom many like to portray as being a master of gloom, does what he needs to do and heads back to work. "Back on Boogey Street" and "Just Paying The Rent... In The Tower Of Song". Some strange way to bring this light into all our lives. Go figure. Just be grateful.

And perhaps Leonard Cohen is grateful too. How many of us have the chance to see how profoundly loved we are by so many around the world, whose lives we have touched. What price that experience? Certainly a rare and precious thing. And a reminder to us of how fleeting life is, and how fast time flies, so there is no time to waste. No time to put off creating our own pieces of unique art that will form our own body of work during our life.

No time to waste chasing unattainable perfection, for in Leonard Cohen's words:

"Ring the bells that still can ring.
There is a crack...a crack, in everything.

That's how the light gets in."



So what are the lessons? This will be a topic for another post.

Lessons for us as individuals.

Lessons for us in how we approach our business.


Halleluljah.

Had to update with this ... I'm Your Man + Recitation of A Thousand Kisses Deep.






Video - Where Is My Gypsy Wife Tonight?




Video Hallelujah (droning voice on the soundtrack is not from the band!)





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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pride: Your Quality Online Affiliate Business



Affiliate marketing is often mentioned as a great way to make money online. Many times the suggestion is that this is a way to make money with no effort. Not so! Like anything worth doing, your success in building sales will need some concerted effort from you! So make it something of which you can be proud.


Articles are a great way to enhance and improve your affiliate business. To do this, you should be submitting articles to article directories. Many times visitors become buyers through the article links. When using article submission you need to regularly submit articles to websites – article directories, ideally, two or three articles every week.

Write good copy for your affiliate website. If you are not good at writing, consider using professional article and content writers. Professional writers can deliver you good quality articles that are optimized with proper keywords, and this should let you in turn get more traffic to your website. Quality articles rank better and get you much more traffic compared to only keywords and poor quality articles. Hiring help is one way to get top quality web content for your website. Consider hiring a Virtual Assistant. A VA can do many of the repetitive tasks in your marketing and offer help with submissions of your site. This can save a lot of your time while ensuring that more articles are being submitted.

Make use of forum marketing – Discussion boards are a great place to promote your website. However, you must earn credibility so act in an ethical manner and add value to the forum. Make sure that you post about affiliate website in relevant forums that are in some way related to your program. The links that you provide in forum postings help in a great way to produce you more leads. For this method to be productive you need to make sure that you regularly post answers in forums, as many times a day as possible. NEVER spam your host network.

Use of Social Bookmarking and Social Networking sites –Facebook, MySpace, or YouTube and the many other social networks out there are a great way to become noticed and ways to promote your business and affiliate site thoughtfully, is simply limitless. With social networking your efforts are multiplied, but you must be very careful and definitely No spamming! If you think something you are going to post might be spam it probably is! Rethink your method.

Blogging – Writing a good blog increases the opportunity for you to selectively promote your affiliate products. Remember that blogging successfully means you need to be providing quality content and good information. That’s how you can increase the traffic to your affiliate website, your blog and make additional sales.

Search Engine Submissions – Submit your website links to search engines. Remember to submit your website not only to the search engines, but to quality directories such as Yahoo! Directory, Google Local etc. Such directories will provide high quality backlinks to your website and increase your chances of ranking in the search engines. That provides you with a good traffic flow to your website.

Press Letters and Releases – Research writing Press Releases and learn how to write good content to submit for publication.

If you want to earn money online, become a learning monster for all things Affiliate. Do your homework. Use quality products and be proud of the business that you build. Despite the terrible examples you might have seen online, an affiliate business need not be a venture offering products of low quality and low value.

Now take pride in your work.











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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Forgiveness. Letting Go.



Forgiveness is an interesting topic.




A year or two back we had a thread on a Facebook group about this
that cemented my relationship with one of the members who had
been Pro-Forgiveness. A remarkable young man he posted about
his abusive relationship with his father and how he had been he felt,
forced to deal with forgiving his father for his own peace of mind, and
to make good his life and focus on positive things that were within
his control to do. He wrote of how he had looked at himself in the
mirror one day and said "Enough!". And he forgave. For himself, he
forgave those who had caused him pain. Which is not to say that he
condoned what they did... but he forgave them anyway.

This young man passed away just a few months after he posted this
story.

The notion of Forgiving can be very emotive for many of us,
simply because it does not happen in isolation. Our regard for others
with whom forgiveness may be an issue can be complex. It can
harbour identity issues about

who they are
who we are
what it would mean if we forgave them
what it would mean if we stopped feeling bad
what it would mean if we 'let them get away with it'
what it would mean if we forgot our grievance
what it would mean if we did not have that experience
what life would be like now if we started over without that pain

Essentially, forgiveness is the often just the first step.
After forgiveness, what then?

What will we do differently?
How will we view life now?
What actions will we take now?

One of the presuppositions of NLP, is this.
"People are doing the best they can with the resources available"

What this speaks to, is that we have resources that we need to do
whatever it is that we need to do. Sometimes we have trouble
believing that, because we are overwhelmed or just plain don't know how
to access those inner resources.

Sometimes we have to forgive ourselves first, in order to gain the
use of our own resources, that we need to consider forgiving others.


An interesting topic for sure.






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Monday, April 13, 2009

How To Hire A Virtual Assistant




Best Results Working With Your VA

Whenever someone in business thinks about hiring some help, it often follows a process something like this:


1 They don't get stuff done that needs to be done. (This can continue for a LONG time!)

2 They are pushed to a point of hiring someone and can't avoid it any longer

3 Obsess for a long time, wondering how they will pay for it

4 End up putting on the first person that turns up to help (even if they have no appropriate skills)

5 Discover the surprise that things get done which used to be left undone

6 Wonder how they got along without help

7 Continue like that not knowing how good (or how bad) it's really working (no way to measure)

In every case I've seen, getting help has resulted in the ability to do more and scale the business in a way that doing everything oneself, just doesn't allow. It doesn't matter what business you are in, it works just the same.

So what does the other side of this look like?

It happens that I've quite a few Virtual Assistants (VAs) in my network and
so I know that while they are willing to do what they do and help where they
can, making that happen with the people who really need what they do, isn't always that straightforward.

Really, what the clients often need, is a coaching session first - to determine what, out of that mess of ideas they have spinning around their head - it is they need help to do.

It is very easy to get what you want when you know what it is.

Knowing precisely What You Want, on the other hand, can be devilishly difficult!

Knowing what you need, will depend on the outcomes that you want to achieve.


These desired outcomes we want, have to fit within a broader context and that means understanding:


Where you are now.

Where you want to be.

How to get there.


Again, it seems simple. And it is.

It just isn't necessarily easy.

Well, it can be easy... if you know how.


So here it is -


If you think you need help, you probably do.

If you think you don't need help... you probably do.


Of course, that depends if you really are growing a business.  If you are just playing at it, you probably don't need help.

So if you are looking to hire help, be very clear on what it is that you
want to achieve as a result, then work backwards from there.


Tips For Starting With Your Virtual Assistant

Be clear on what you want done.

Don't expect your VA to tell you what you need done.
That sets up a bad dynamic and puts you in a passive position
and that's NOT what you want to be as you run your business.
Be Active and take responsibility for your results.

Be clear on what skills the VA possesses

Don't hire a bookkeeper to do your multi media presentations.
And please don't hire your web designer to do your books!

Since you are only paying for what gets done, then think about what roles you need help in.

Some category example:

BackOffice: Accounting and book work, typing, transcription

Front Office: Customer relationship management, social media

Scheduling Concierge: Calendar management, travel arrangements, co-ordinating personal stuff.

Events management: Setting up conferences and the like

Marcom Production: Marketing and communications production. Brochures, presentations, advertisements etc


Web: design, blogs, affiliate programs, shopping carts set up and the like.

Make your VA an integral part of your action plan.

Organize your business and your marketing efficiently,
and ensure that your VA's work adds to your efficacy
and your ability to meet your business goals.

Write down your Action Plan and your VA's Duties

Get those ideas out of your head and onto paper. While the
ideas live only inside your head
, they are worthless!
Be clear with them what you expect Your VA to do, and
if you need to, how you want them to do it. Make sure they
have the competencies to be able to fulfill that requirement.
Make sure you have been SPECIFIC with them!


Communicate!

Give clear instructions. Give good respectful feedback.

Have a process for managing performance of the VA and
be accessible when you are meant to be accessible.
Don't hide and withdraw if they do something not to your
satisfaction. Get the communication channels open and
be honest. Expect honesty from them. But don't tolerate
over familiarity or disrespect.

Do What You Say You Will Do.

Return calls or emails. Your VA is not your mother!
It isn't the job of a VA to run after you, so don't
act like a kid who needs a wet-nurse!

If you tell the VA that you will do something in
preparation for what they need from you to go on with a task,
DO IT!.

Budget For Your VA

This is an essential part of your business. Make sure
you have budgeted the funds for your Virtual Assistant.
This is your responsibility so attend to it and don't make
your VA wait for payment, you will get no loyalty that way.
Don't end up being the deadbeat client on the next Twitter message you see.

Monitor Your Progress

Make sure you measure just how far you have come since you
started using your VA. If you have been using them for some
months, you should be able to see how your business has
benefited and be able to track the capacity you have in
your business now as a direct result of that activity. Check
this every week and every month and review formally at regular
intervals. Don't let this just coast, make every week count.

There are some ideas to get you started. Simple, and if you need help to do it right... Get it!


Lindy Asimus
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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Creativity It's Good For YOU

I found this rather nice presentation on Creativity (Yes, Creativity is available to everyone! - even YOU) and thought I'd share it here.

Maybe it is something in the air. I was loaned a copy of The Artist's Way last week by a good friend and colleague (as it happens a very creative woman who is doing some remarkable work on producing products for business buyers and sellers, but more on that later!) The subtitle of The Artist's Way is - A Course In Discovering And Recovering Your Creative Self.

Must be that time of the year...




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