Experience over 20 years of being a Business owner focuses my thoughts to four pillars of business life that I have learned through pain, failure, error and also through the people I have connected with and thank everyday for the learning.
The four are:
- Strong Mind
- The ability to sell
Each of these four have been areas of my life that I have either naturally known, or I have had to go through in order to be a stronger person and a stronger business leader.
They are all represented in the foundations of The Business Cafe and are the roots and strategy for our success and the success of our members.
My story is an open book. I am an open book, I see no point in experiencing life if you are not willing to pass it on, I talk about being ‘real and raw’ and I am. I share as it is, always to give never to pass pain on, always with the hope that any stress or pain I have gone through will be reduced or avoided for any one I know.
I will take each one, telling a story to bring it real, and I hope this make a difference to you, but also makes those that have invested in our Crowdfund which is live now, or those teetering on the edge and wanting reassurance
Finally, thank you for this attention, it is the most amazing gift a human can give to another. This is recorded, if you valued it and also believe in passing on knowledge please share to your timeline.
Number 1. Community
The word community is as old as the hills, yet, we are all increasing lonely and disconnected. We belong to large communities like Facebook, or we even join a #tag on Twitter, a #chat at an event or on a given time, and for that moment we have a sense of belonging. It feels good, because true community does make you feel connected in a way that digital on its own cannott.
My core, and natural strength is to build community. There are many tings that are not natural, but this is my talent, we should all know our talent and make it our life. I am not blowing my own trumpet, I use it for the benefit of others , not just for myself.
It is natural to me as family is the most important part of my life, providing unconditional love, being present, listening, making a home. These things make everyone feel they matter, gives self esteem, grows the people within it and serves them, individually.
Community is family to me. Just an ever increasing one, but the culture is the same.
- To unconditionally love
- To share the joys and the sadness
- To allow vulnerability
- To allow people to be who they are, not an avatar of the person they believe they should be.
In 1998 I created a Business Community online with Thomas Power and Glenn Watkins, 4 years before LinkedIn, we served and loved small businesses across the world. The learning for me was that I was
- a Servant leader
- a leader of the culture we would all desire and be part of and magnify
- For the first time in business, allowed to lead emotionally.
We need community, globally and locally, the local community is our priority, with The Business Cafe, build locally and connect globally. Thomas wrote a book A Friend in Every City in 2005 and our beliefs then still apply.
Number 2. Skills
The skills in business are vast, large companies are constantly training, bringing in new talent and know that a business can only be as good as the people within it.
Small Businesses need to compete to attract that talent, pay for it through organic growth, and they have to know what skills are needed as the fast pace of digital technology impacts every area of business.
Sole Traders and Start-Ups, they have to be everything, now the accounts, understand finance, market, build brand, manage HMRC, build processes, look after their clients, find suppliers, the list is endless, and though all this, like the small business owner, they have to be the most courageous people in the economy
On 18th Octoebr I wrote a Blog called Productivity, can SaaS improve the productivity gap of Small Business , this is a really importnat aspect of The Business Cafes across the country
Yesterday, in the Sunday Times Dhaval Joshi from BCA Research wrote an article headed “Working for ourselves is not working in Britain”. Citing the correlation between growth in self employment and the decline in productivity.
Between 1994 and 2007 productivity of UK workforce apparently grew by 30% – this was just before the recession hit. We were clever and constantly found ways to achieve more in each working hour.
During this decade, 2010-2017 we are now below the output per hour of 2007.
Dhaval says this is due to the rise in self employment, 1 million more between 2010 and 2017 and now accounts for one third of jobs created in that period.
In 2007, we also saw the launch of the iphone and the huge increase I the dependence and distraction this has created in our lives.
I have always believed in digital, digital communities, from 1998, then digital marketing, creating the UKs first apprenticeship in this in 2011, launched in the House of Lords –Digital Youth Academy helped 1000 Millennials work for small business and thus helped 1000 small businesses become more digitally enabled.
Our Digital Friends, supported by larger companies, will deliver Free Software Skills to members over a coffee, 121
Now we have Digital Business Applications, SaaS – Software as a Service, sold to us in Google Play and App store, we can download and use over 500 identified B2B Business Applications that can enable us to run our business from our devices, on the move, in the gaps.
There is no doubt if you have Digital Marketing Skills and Business App skills such as Book keeping and CRM and any others that apply to your business, Project Management, HR, Event Management etc, you will be more productive.
The skills to use these can be tough for many of us, RTFM was the term we used in IT back in the 80s. We worry about connecting our bank accounts wrongly, not integrating the apps together, the time we need to locate in our day to work it out for ourselves
In The Business Cafe we have built relationships with the SaaS market, FreeAgent, Sage and Xero in Book keeping and Accounting, Receipt Bank in Expense management, Yell in data and website and social management, 9Spokes as a dashboard to integrate them and integrate with you bank Account. O2 have supported us to help with the costs of the staff we will employ and Vonage, to provide low cost and flexible voice over IP phone lines. You can see all these listed on our Making Business Digital Page here – Making Business Digital
Members of The Business cafe will receive FREE skills from our Digital Friends that we can employ and train thanks to the larger companies that believe in you and want you to be more productive and more known.
Number 3. Strong Mind
Kindness in business toward each other and from large companies and investors will spread like a virus, we do not believe in the way that the TV celebrities degrade small business
The past 19 years for me since I became an entrepreneur have been emotionally painful at times, the isolation, the loneliness, the expectations of myself, the belief that no one else seems to find it as tough as me to be a business person. The sense of self worth and esteem waning, the drive and motivation being knocked by the lonely feeling
I am a highly connected person, I have a loving family, what I want is to feel I matter in the business community, that I am relevant, that I am heard, when I am down and when I am happy.
The moments I have had personal traumas, the moment we lost our beautiful business after 14 years of slog and love was poured into it.
I can no longer live with the ‘presenteeism of this world’ , I am a normal person, and I want to be part of something that allows me to be weak and strong, aloows me to be Penny. Allows me to cry and laugh, be raw and real.
I also want to sit in a Cafe, not always a Coworking space, and just chat to a stranger in my town how is also in business. Who might want a friend for that moment or for longer.
The Business Cafe culture of community will shine through. We will all create ot together as we know what we want. We are not seeking to disrupt and we are not seeking to gain from people that cannot afford a business membership.
We will give free membership , but you do have to join, this gives you that belonging. Food and beverages will be charged at the usual high street pricing. And Skills will be free, and so will love, kindness and remembering who you are each time you enter
All Business networks in the town will be promoted and respected and desired. We will ensure members know they have events on and will provide the cafe for them at certain times
The Business cafe puts Social Networking on the High Street for people and we will focus on
- Making you part of the community
- Your skills
- And your strong mind
And finally, number 4. Trade – rocket your business
Let’s rocket your business, help you to feel you can sell, being a friend means growing your brand and feeling good about yourself and others, but we are all in business to make money and we all need great suppliers
Being able to ask for an order, ask for help is a barrier for many, I have had to overcome this throughout this whole Crowdfunding experience, I empathise and want you to grow and sell sell sell.
On The Business Cafe online community (see below)I post a daily Thought for the Day, you can see the steam on them on this blog area. On a Friday however, it is the community’s chance to tell us what we can buy from them, it is so good for us all to buy from within a trusted community.
Friday is #BlatantPromo Day on the Facebook Group we have amazing posts. Encouraging small business owners to be comfortable selling themselves is a big chasm to cross and we have to find a way, we are all in business, “the world doesn’t want another poor person”, as I was once told, so we seek to break down those barriers of promotion and fear of asking. Finding suppliers and inspiration is hard, so lets make it each for everyone to know that selling is OKAY
You can join our community on Facebook The Business Cafe Global
Come on a journey with us. Be a member, be a shareholder and together lets own and grow the type of community that we all know we need
Facebook Group where we are real, raw and caring. Search The Business Cafe Global on Facebook or click HERE