Friday, 30 November 2007

Scores on the Doors

I have been asked to let you have a full run down of the results of my Entrepreneurial Profiling Test so far, this is latest stats 1 September to date, now based on c2500 people:

Alphapreneur (money driven) 6%
Bosspreneur (control freaks) 4%
Dadpreneur (lifestyle orientated) 24%
Execpreneur (corporate animals) 33%
Mumpreneur (family comes first) 20%
Passionpreneur (driven by doing what they love) 2%
Safepreneur (risk averse) 6%
Sociopreneur (want to change the world for the positive) 4%
Ultrapreneur (ultra high achieving philanthropists) less than 1%

For more info on how the test works click here



Thursday, 29 November 2007

Re-defining 'Success'

And so we have the latest publicity stunt from Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis, proudly standing in front of their shiny new gas guzzling Maybach cars (the cost of which could each feed an African village for a decade), like two pin-striped dinosaurs still churning away on the golden hamster wheel of ostentatious wealth.

Meanwhile, the true Ultrapreneurs (think Branson, Gates, Gore and Buffet) are busy fighting climate change, re-distributing their wealth to fight third world disease and famine - as well as rescuing beleaguered British banks.

In fact, the results of my Entrepreneurial Profiling Test show that only 4% of the 2000+ people who have taken the test since September, profile as 'Alphapreneurs' like Jones and Paphitis i.e. people who are prepared to put their desire for money and the trappings of material wealth above all else, in their desire to achieve 'success'.

The remaining 96% would of course like to be rich, but are not prepared to sacrifice everything - for example time spent with family and friends, or risking everything they possess including their health - in the relentless pursuit of money.

So my question to you this Thursday morning is: which of the two groups in your opinion is the most 'successful' ?

Thursday, 22 November 2007

You can stop now!

All DVDs now claimed so please stop emailing - it took 1hour 23minutes; not sure if that is good or bad but at least I know someone is reading !!!

Your Christmas Pressies Sorted

I was delighted to receive some sample copies through the post this week of the new Dragons' Den Series 1 and 2 DVDs, now available on Amazon. A great souvenir of my short lived TV celebrity era!

And just to check to see whether anyone actually reads my blog, I have 10 signed sets of the two DVDs to give away FREE to the first 10 people who email me at with their address to claim them (only one set per person please!!!)

Best wishes


Tuesday, 20 November 2007

A Sparkling Piece of DM...

Hats off to jewellers Boodle and Dunthorne for a brilliant piece of direct marketing received by my husband last Saturday morning (even the timing was spot on!).

Rather than just sending their glossy 2008 brochure with the usual bland 'one size fits all' covering letter, the manager of the Regent Street branch had written a personal letter, reminding my husband that last year he had bought me a pair of gold and diamond earrings for Christmas (including a picture of said earrings alongside the text), then suggesting that this year he might consider buying me the matching pendant (again including a photo).

I await in eager anticipation to see if the mailing actually worked, but in the meantime thought I'd write this post to say that I thought it was a brilliant piece of personalised direct mail - in a world of marketing where so much is automated and de-personalised.

In business the simplest, most personal approaches are always the best.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

The Best Business Show on Telly...

...has to be the latest series of Ramsay's Kitchen nightmares (Channel 4 Tuesdays 9pm)

The last two episodes I watched have both been brilliant - restaurants run by entrepreneurs in complete denial about the state of their businesses, with Gordon arriving to give them a much needed (and often abusive) wake-up call.

It all echoes a theme which I talk about in my business talks which is about the true meaning of 'persistence' in business. It is not about relentlessly trying to flog products or services which no one wants, it is about being super self-critical and constantly assessing everything through the eyes of the customer - and then honing and refining the business offering until everything starts to work.

Brilliant entertainment Gordon - as well as a serious education for entrepreneurs everywhere who are currently struggling to make things work.

And now the penny has finally dropped why my publisher is so insistent on calling my forthcoming book (all about lessons entrepreneurs learned the hard way) 'Business Nightmares'...!!!

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Helping Launch a CoVE

This week is Enterprise Week, and what better way to celebrate it than helping Leicester College/South Leicestershire College launch their Centre of Vocational Excellence in Enterprise at a breakfast event this morning.

Another last minute gig (this time it was Levi Roots who pulled out), but it was great to be asked to step in and to have the opportunity to hopefully inspire some of the students to follow an entrepreneurial path once they have completed their vocational training.

If I think back to when I was young the words 'Entrepreneur' and 'Enterprise' weren't even on the agenda in the careers discussions so it is brilliant that we now have so many initiatives in this country to encourage budding entrepreneurial talent.

I hope more youngsters will start to believe that they too have what it takes to become an entrepreneur and take the plunge to start their own business.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Invigorated and Re-energised

I've just returned from two entrepreneurial events - speaking to the British Association of Women Entrepreneurs in Sheffield on Wednesday night and then at the Entrepreneur's Forum Annual Conference in Newcastle on Thursday.

And it has reminded me just how energising it is to get out there amongst entrepreneurs and back on the events circuit again!

We entrepreneurs are all so busy being reactive and doing the day to day tasks (ie being in 'output' mode) that we often don't invest time on being on 'input' - which is essential to give us new ideas and inspiration.

There was a time (when I was running Red Letter Days) when I just used to swoop in to an event, do my bit and then leave immediately afterwards; I now make the effort to attend the entire event - as I find I learn so much from both my fellow speakers as well as engaging and networking with other entrepreneurs on the day.

Yesterday I heard Michelle Mone (creator of Ultimo bras) speak for the first time; I had met her once before at a women's networking event, but not really spoken to her at length - and she was absolutely brilliant. So entertaining, honest and funny with a brilliantly infectious positive energy that lifted everyone's spirits in the room. If you get the chance, go see her speak if you can.

And remember to give yourself the gift of planning room in your diary to be on 'input' at least a few times every month - the positive energy boost will be more than worth it.



Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Risk and Reputation Management

Interesting to read all the positive comments on my Blog of late and it has reminded me to write about an event I attended at my bank Coutts last week on the subject of 'Risk and Reputation Management'. Essentially about how reputations take years to build and minutes to destroy (tell me about it!) - and the kind of things you can do to avoid a reputation 'meltdown'.

Recent high profile examples have of course included Bernard Matthews (whose 'friendly Uncle' image was shattered when we saw what was going on being the facade of his Norfolk stately home), Northern Rock (whose brand was destroyed in a matter of days when consumer panic set in that their money was unsafe), as well as the classic example of Gerald Ratner (who announced his jewellery was 'crap' and lost his company Ratners as a result).

The discussion was mainly based on mass media and I know from personal experience that once the Press have decided they have it in for you it is very difficult to attract any positive coverage (just look at what they are still doing to Heather Mills if you need an example).

But one of the points I made during the evening was how powerful the online communication channel has been in trying to change the perceptions the mass media have created about me.

It was Steve Clayton at Microsoft who suggested I create a Blog and start getting active in online community forums to put forward my point of view - which actually goes a lot against traditional PR advice, which is to stay silent and adopt a 'no comment' status.

Since I created this Blog in June I've tried to post at least once a week, and I've also got Google Alerts going on a number of key business topics which lead me to post comments on other people's sites where I have a strong view.

And I've found it hugely effective in trying to turn the tide of opinion which back in 2005 (when my company Red Letter Days very publicly crashed) was incredibly negative - proven when I search Technorati for comments about me.

By the same token it has been an incredibly powerful tool to promote some of the projects I am now working on as well as traffic to my own website. In fact I would go as far as to say it is far easier and MORE powerful way for a business to promote its brand and its products than trying to get mainsteam media coverage.

Yet most of the media and business 'heavyweights' at the evening still seemed totally oblivious to the power of the web.

I think they all have a wake up call coming.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Back in the Saddle

You often read about how 'back to work mums' suffer from a lack of confidence - well I never thought that would happen to me until last week, when after three months 'out of the spotlight' I returned to the Business World, firstly presenting the Franchisee of the Year Award at the StartUps Awards in London on Wednesday (which quite frankly I completely fluffed up!), and then speaking at the Business Start Up Show at Olympia on Saturday.

And the thought of public speaking again terrified me! All the old nerves and fears which I thought I had well and truly conquered, seemed to have returned.

The material for my 'Are You An Entrepreneur?' seminar at Business StartUp was all new and untested on an audience (which always adds to the nerves); it was based mainly on the research and learnings from my Entrepreneurial Profiling Test since its launch in April this year.

In my seminar, firstly I talked about the three key qualities of the successful entrepreneur - which in my view are Self Belief, Determination and Drive.

I then talked about how my Entrepreneurial Profiling Test works and the nine different entrepreneur types which result, and the ways they can ALL be successful in business.

I then ended by talking about my favourite three business books of all time, which are:
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis, and
- Purple Cow by Seth Godin
Interestingly many of the emails I've had since the Show thanking me for my seminar also said that I was the ONLY speaker who talked about the other rewards of business (freedom, fulfillment, adventure) rather than being solely obsessed with monetary rewards - which is actually the underlying point of both Napoleon Hill and Felix Dennis's books.

Anyway, having faced my fears, I came away from the seminar feeling really inspired and energised myself, and it also reinforced my belief that I am in an incredibly priveliged position to be able to help entrepreneurs starting out in their journey in some way.

So thank you to everyone who came to the Show, and to my stand to see me afterwards (I'm sorry I couldn't spend time with you all) - as well as to everyone who has sent me such wonderful emails since Saturday. Your positivity has given me such a boost, I am no longer a 'nervous back to work mum' any more!

Next stop is the Entrepreneurs Forum Annual Conference in Newcastle this Thursday, where I will be talking about the highs and lows of my own entrepreneurial journey.

Hope to see you there!