The importance of taking good care of yourself was driven home to me this month when I was struck down with flu. Whilst I caught up with a couple of Scandi dramas on Netflix during my enforced rest, I wasn’t able to make the dent in my ‘To Do’ list I'd intended. This reminded me of the importance of self-care when you’re a small business owner, a popular article on this website, written by my friend Mel Noakes. January Business Review

Once back out and about, I popped into Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross Road (a must visit for book lovers) and picked up a copy of Faya Niilson’s Fit In 3: The Scandi Plan.  I love the balanced approach Faya takes to health and fitness. By this I mean her emphasis on the importance of Fika, a Swedish tradition I hadn’t heard of before, but which it turns out I’m well acquainted with. Fika means taking time in the day to enjoy coffee and a pastry over good conversation with friends. This year I’m definitely making more time for Fika, and I hope you do too!Whilst I just had flu, it did knock me out for the best part of two weeks. Thankfully I’d completed all my meetings with clients so this didn’t have too much of an impact on my business. Nevertheless this reminded me that, as small business owners, making the time to look after ourselves is so important. In the winter, I like to make batches of soups and casseroles so I always have something nourishing for my lunches and dinners. But I don’t always take the time I need to recharge. That’s why I’m delighted that Sara Stafford-Williams, who assists me with marketing, is running a 5 day ‘Recharge Challenge’ over on her Feel Good Business Women Facebook Group. Sara has asked us to think of 1-3 actions we will take over the next 5 days that will help us to rest and re-energise. I’m going to:

  • Make sure I get to bed by 11.15pm so that I get a good night’s sleep;
  • Stock up on foods that are high in Omega 3s, which are essential for good health;
  • Write a letter from ‘my future me’ to be read on 31st December.

The idea to write a letter from ‘my future me’ to be read on 31st December came from an article Mel Noakes wrote for me on how to make the most of your New Year resolutions. In this article, Mel recommends we ‘start with the end in mind’ - the outcome we want. Mel invites us to reflect on:

  • How we want to feel on the 31st December?
  • What do we want the year to have represented?
  • Is there a word, feeling or sentiment that captures this?

As a way to really bring this to life, Mel recommends we write a letter from ‘our future me’ on the 31st December to the me now celebrating the year that’s passed and all that’s happened.

Values, Virtues and Vices

Angry that so many people have used suppliers who’ve not delivered the product or service they were promised, I wrote How To Choose The Right Supplier For Your Business. This, coupled with the discussions in the media about leadership and lies, prompted me to write my first article in my Lead With Integrity™ series on truthfulness. Whilst the diverse responses from corporate CEOs on the so-called ‘Muslim Ban’ had me reflect on how company values are a necessity, not a luxury.

This prompted me to write Values, Virtues & Vices (credit for the name to Hilary Robinson of Polished Professionals). Values, Virtues & Vices sets out what you can expect when you do business with my company:

#1: We don’t do average. We give 100% to everything we do, and aim to exceed your expectations.

#2: We LOVE our customers. You’re why we exist. And we do our best to come up with content, recommendations, products and services that deliver real benefits to your business.

#3: Trust is our cornerstone. We don’t waste your time or your money. If our services aren’t for you, we’ll say so. We take responsibility when we make mistakes, and do everything we can to put them right.

#4: We believe every problem can be solved if we set our minds to it, are open to finding new solutions and put in the hard yards.

#5: Respect and kindness are at the heart of our core values. Our primary aim is to build confidence, and whilst we don’t sugar coat what we say, you can’t build confidence through put downs, arrogance and bullying behaviour.

#6: We’re dedicated to providing exceptional value. We are uncompromising when it comes to the products and services we recommend. We adhere to strict standards and do our due diligence before advising our clients.

#7: We’re here to make a BIG social impact. Giving back is integral to our values. We explain how on our Giving Back page.

#8: We’re not for everyone. We take a strong stand on diversity and inclusion. We won’t stand for any kind of -ism, be it sexism, racism, ageism or other forms of intolerance. Denyse speaks out very strongly on diversity and inclusion in her writings for this website as well as on her personal Facebook business page.

In case you’re wondering, our virtues are also our vices! If you meet us for a networking event, you’re likely to be invited to have a Bellini at the Charlotte Street Hotel. While if you meet me to discuss how I can help you to create a business that’s Built To Succeed™, there’s every probability that I’ll suggest we do so over coffee and cake. We are as uncompromising on the quality of the cake we consume as we are when we’re recommending other products and services.

An Update On My Services

As part of a website overhaul, I’ve reorganised the way in which I present my services. These include:

  • Business consultancy;
  • Business coaching;
  • Business planning where the deliverable is a bespoke business plan;
  • Marketing strategy planning where the deliverable is a marketing plan, tailored to the specific needs of your business and industry;
  • ‘Done for you’ marketing services so that our team project manages and executes parts of your marketing plan for you.

In February

I’m hoping to put Kathryn Brown’s hacks for a productive workspace into effect as I’m crossing my fingers (and toes) that my main home will be on the Sussex coast. I’ll be also be applying Hilary Robinson’s advice when it comes to getting out to new networking events in and around the Brighton area. And to ensure perfect work-life balance, I’ve been checking out the local tennis club and found a Latin American dance class.

I’ll be scouring the local shops to see if I can find any furniture bargains. I’ve got my eye on a hand painted chest in an antiques emporium (complete with a café and good cake for those Fika moments). If you live near Hove, you’ve got to check out the Franklin Café at Michael Keenan Antiques.

I’m in two minds about whether to get a dog or not. There are so many practicalities to think about. But I very much doubt these will stop me keeping an eye on the local rescue centre!

Join The Conversation

Questions: Did your January go as planned? What are you looking forward to in February? And the BIG question. Should I get a dog or not? I love hearing from you so please do share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Explore These Additional Resources

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And be sure to check out Sara Stafford-Williams’ Feel Good Business Women Facebook Group

Let’s Talk!

To find out more about how our services can help you to create a business that’s Built To Succeed™, book a conversation with me today and let’s get started!