Monday, 23 November 2009

Farewell Blogspot

Just to let you know I am switching to a new WordPress blog is now embedded in my site at

So, farewell to Blogspot and all who have joined in the party here, the good the bad and the just plain ugly (anonymice).

It has been fun!


Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Gawd Help Us!

I was eagerly looking forward to seeing 'An Audience with Lord Alan Sugar' as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week last night at the British Library and it certainly started off well, with lots of entertaining put downs and answers.

eg Audience member: 'Do you read business books and which have influenced you?'

L.A.S.: 'Nah'

But as we got deeper into the evening it seemed like there was a descent into anger and completely off-beam responses. At one point Chair of the evening Matthew Rock (editor of Real Business magazing and CEO of Caspian an £8million company) felt the full thrust of the Sugar temper:

'Weren't you listening? I've just answered that haven't I?'

Gems of the dinosaur-like advice included:

'There's no point going into a sector you don't know or understand'
(So you were wrong James Dyson, Innocent Smoothie guys and

'Personal brand PR is a useless waste of time'
(So you were wrong Anita Roddick, Stelios and Branson)

'You can't teach enterprise skills'
(Close down all those degree courses every University in the country)

Of course, Sugar was whisked off immediately after the event so didn't stop to mingle with the crowd, if he had he would have heard the feedback I did - that everyone was left totally dis-empowered, dis-engaged, de-motivated and even dismayed by his comments.

Most entertaining as a spectacle of old-style and outdated business thinking - and it was an enjoyable evening with lots of networking and lovely wine and food , so thank you British Library for putting it on.

But if this is the government's advisor on enterprise GAWD HELP US !!!!!


Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Come and hear me speak tomorrow

Just to let you know I will be speaking at one of Nick Williams 'Inspired Entrepreneur' events in London tomorrow night - Weds 11 November at 7.15pm. Tickets cost £20 which includes a signed copy of my book Business Nightmares and you can get all the info and book at

Hope to see you there!


Sunday, 8 November 2009

I can't believe it!

Interesting watching X Factor and hearing so many of the finalists saying of their experiences 'I can't believe it!', without realizing the damage of that mantra...

'I can't believe it!' has the energy of 'things like this don't happen to me' ' I don't deserve this' and 'I've only got this through luck'. So energetically the person unknowingly pushes the experience away.

Far better to say 'I love this, I'm enjoying every moment, I've dreamed all my life of getting here and I want this to go on forever'.

Similar thing applies to the 'I can't afford it ' mantra, it implies lack and scarcity and blocks the flow of more money in. Whereas 'I want this so much I'm going to find a way to get it' opens up the flow to the ideas and opportunities to allow the money to manifest.

Listen to your mantras, they represent the mindset which perpetuates your reality.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Lots of Lovely Free Publicity!

I was totally unaware until I read Susanne's comment to my last post that The Rotherham Advertiser had picked up on the story of my 'dismal' trip to Rotherham...

I definitely won't be able to show my face there again now will I ?

Anyway it's all good publicity for the Riverside Cafe, whose owner was quoted as saying of my laptop usage: 'She plugged in for two hours without asking'. (Having just checked the Dell website my laptop is equivalent of a 200 watt lightbulb so the cost of 2 hours' use is actually c6p).

Here's a few ideas for the Riverside Cafe to take advantage/generate a few bob from its new found fame:

- Introduce new promo - 'Free hour's laptop use with every latte'
- New PR positioning and signage encouraging people to travel from miles to experience 'Rotherham's Rudest Cafe'
- Blue plaque outside: 'Entrepreneur and TV Dragon wrote her second book here'
- Dartboard with pic of me on it, 50p for one dart £1 for three

Anyway, Riverside Cafe (no relation to the River Cafe I take it?), I'm sure you're on top of it.

Glad to read that Rotherham has undertaken lots of initiatives to re-generate the town, but interested to note the results of the readers' poll - 85% agree that yes, Rotherham IS dismal.


Sunday, 1 November 2009

How to Heal Rotherham

I will accept that Susanne (see comments on my last post) is light years ahead of me in her spiritual development and so will take her lead and now try to make some positive suggestions on how to regenerate Rotherham...

First I would see Meadowhall on the doorstep as a huge OPPORTUNITY not a threat.

Thousands of shoppers descend there, but it is a nightmare to get in and out of at busy times and full of the same boring chainstores you find everywhere. So, Rotherham, go with the credit crunch thrift - and make yourself the UK's Number 1 Destination Town for shopping outlets selling designer names at knock down prices. Line the main shopping strip with these cut-price outlets - shouldn't be hard to attract them with a few retailer incentives; there are lots of designer outlets based 'oop North.

Also, I noticed there are lots of poster hoardings around town for the online fashion retailer So why not persuade asos to base their first and only UK flagship retail outlet at the heart of it! That of itself would create huge PR and footfall.

Now to address the question of local enterprise, turn the lovely old cobbled arcade into an emporium devoted to local crafts people, artists and independent retailers plus (nice!) cafes with outdoor seating with subsidised rents to attract and support local businesses. Those interesting and fascinating-to-browse shops you find in places like Tunbridge Wells and Winchester. Invite local bands/musicians to play in the arcade and fill the place with music, jugglers and street artists. Think Covent Garden.

Finally I would do something with the amazing river - if you've seen it, it is almost like a 45 degree waterfall. Is there a way to create a manmade white water rafting run to attract extreme sports specialists? Up here in the Peak District we attract thousands of them and Rotherham is not a million miles away. Then direct the energy of the local hoodies to creating the kind of businesses which would thrive with those kind of enthusiasts flooding in to town.

And of course make parking plentiful and free.

These are just a few Sunday-morning-in-the-bath ideas - and apologies Rotherham if you've already got the whole thing well in hand!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Dismal Rotherham

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know I had a dismal morning in Rotherham today...

I took a walk around town on foot trying to find a coffee shop to kill a couple of hours in,and was shocked at just how many retail units were either empty or in use as Charity shops. Not a Starbucks or Costa to be found! I finally arrived at a dismal little greasy spoon cafe in the arcade along the walkway across the river from Tesco, just opposite Wilkinson's.

I ordered a milky coffee (in London we call that a latte :-) plus a toasted tea cake (which arrived liberally spread with what seemed like marge) and proceeded to open my laptop to work on the manuscript for my next book.

After a while I noticed the woman (not sure if she was the cafe owner) leave the shop and gossip something to the fruit and veg man who was selling bananas outside the shop who then looked at me - not difficult to establish she had gone outside to have a moan about me using her juice for my computer.

So I took my plate and cup up to the counter and ordered a hot chocolate plus a packet of bourbon biscuits - just to show goodwill.

After a little while longer, the woman came up to me and said 'You've had enough time on that love, we don't normally allow it' meaning my laptop. As the pensioner who sat across with his 75p cup of tea looked on. I was incredulous!

There must have been 12 tables in the coffee shop; only three of them were occupied; I was about to buy some mineral water and invite the person I had been waiting for to join me there for another coffee.

Needless to say, I packed up and walked out, but not before giving said woman my business card and telling her if she needed any advice to help improve her customer service be sure to call me.

It's a ridiculously small incident but to me it sums up everything that is wrong with this country - the lack of entrepreneurial spirit, the view that customers are a nuisance rather than a business opportunity and the 'let's go on strike rather than try to add value' mentality that we are seeing hammer the last nail in the Royal Mail's coffin.

I am so passionate about empowerment through enterprise that I could cry at the dismal way most people approach business. If we want to rebuild our tattered and bankrupt economy the starting point is a sea change in the attitude of our people.

Oh and by the way, when I got back to my car I had received a parking ticket.

Rotherham, I won't be visiting you again any time soon.