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In our hectic modern world it is essential that you prioritise your daily tasks.  Here are four tried and tested methods employed by successful businesses.

•    ABC Method.  Divide your tasks into three levels of importance, A, B and C.  Then prioritise within each category 1, 2 and 3.  Start with job A1, then complete A2 and work through to C3
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•    Eisenhower method.  President Eisenhower summarised his theory as “what is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”  The Eisenhower Method divides tasks into four categories; important & urgent, important but not urgent, urgent but not important and not urgent and not important.  Do the important & urgent and important but not urgent tasks first.  

How many times do we hear about the ‘average business’?

Let me tell you something; some businesses are always in demand.  They supply things that their customers and clients value.  And one thing they are not is ‘average’.

Never mind spring cleaning at home, you need to think about decluttering your office.  A tidy workplace gives you peace of mind and can lead to more productivity.
Start with these five easy steps:

I’m sure you all remember Corporal Jones from Dad’s Army shouting “Don’t panic” and then running round in circles doing an excellent impersonation of a headless chicken.

Sometimes you can find yourself in a situation where you are unexpectedly put on the spot and have to think on your feet to come up with some answers.  It could be an awkward question in a Q&A after a presentation, something that a client asks that you haven’t considered before or even a press interview.  

Don’t panic.  Here are some quick and easy ways of coping with such a situation:

•    Relax.  Take a couple of slow, deep breaths.  Keep your voice calm and controlled.  Think clearly.  Confident body language and a relaxed expression will reinforce the belief that you are in control of the situation.

Now don’t worry – I’m not going to go all New Age on you, but I am always open to suggestions about improving productivity and reducing stress.
 
It has to be said that there are some very useful techniques that can be borrowed from the current Mindfulness movement to make your working life easier and more productive.

•    Go for a walk every day.  I find I have some of my best ideas when out for a stroll and yes, you can find time.  Don’t forget a notebook.
•    You don’t need to aim for perfection in everything you do.  Just try and do better than you did yesterday.

Deadlines – some people love them and use them to get their work done efficiently.  Others hate them.

One of my favourite quotes is from Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  “I love deadlines.  I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

In marketing, however, a deadline is an extremely useful tool.  Put something on offer for a limited length of time and you will get a good response.

I know that everyone wants to increase sales so here are 5 treid-and-tested ways to get your customers buying more.

1.    Cross-Selling.  This one is an old trick.  Would you like a case for your new mobile phone?  Do you want some batteries to go with that torch?  What about insurance?  You can also link items – “customers who bought this item also purchased this”, for example.

So it’s another new year – how are those resolutions going?

Did you promise yourself that this would be the year that you took control of your business planning and moved up to the next level?  That you would sort the website out once and for all to make it a really professional looking marketing tool?  Or did you decide that all your marketing needed an overhaul and you were going to really get stuck in to it?

Are you winding down for the Xmas break?  I’m not, and you shouldn’t be either.

The start of every New Year is an ideal opportunity to get new clients.  The smart companies will be hard at their planning now, knowing that they have a terrific chance of stealing a march on their rivals.

I am always being asked for ways that small businesses can improve their marketing.  Here are five that are simple and straightforward.

1.    Keep it Local.  The further afield you go the greater the risk you run of spreading your marketing too thinly.  Local marketing keeps costs manageable and allows you to react quickly to any new localised trends or fluctuations.

 Yes, I can hear you.  ‘Fire a client?  Are you insane Clive?’

No, I’m not and on occasions this is something I have done and on more occasions wished I had have done.

Just think about this for a moment.  Your relationship with a client is usually a simple win:win.  You supply the goods or services that your client requires and in return they pay you.  If you didn’t provide what was required, for example, you would not be surprised if the client no longer used you.  That cuts both ways.

Let’s say there are two garden centres who want to improve their marketing and decide to send out a newsletter.  Gary’s Gardens knows that back in the day you had to buy in mailing lists of potential clients, pay for the paper and printing, pay a company to fold and insert the newsletter into the envelopes (unless you fancied stuffing 20,000 envelopes yourself) and finally you had  pay for postage.

I am regularly asked by clients for marketing tips. Here are four of the best to get you thinking about marketing smarter, growing your market share and increasing your profits.

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