March 2013

Monthly Archives

  • Is growth closer than we think?

    How great it is to see the sun and it is amazing how much better everything appears when the sun shines. So it is pretty encouraging all round especially with the news this week that according to the preliminary GDP data released by the Office of National Statistics last month, the UK economy grew by 0.3 per cent between Q4 and Q1.

    In the process, the UK narrowly avoided falling into an unprecedented ‘triple dip’ recession, following the ‘double dip’ at the start of 2012 and the initial – much sharper – fall in output in 2008/09. Courtesy of

    Though it is important not to assume that the economy will be as it was pre 2009 we should none the less take heart in the fact that trade does seem to be increasing, so we need to be ready and plan ahead.

    We know that working hard as an entrepreneur comes with the territory, and work-life balance isn’t a luxury most young entrepreneurs can afford. But you can take it too far and wear yourself out, which won’t do you or your business any favours. So in terms of planning you need to take into account the hard work that is necessary to build your business, while allowing free time for recharging when necessary.

    When you are not worn out all of the time you can enjoy what you are doing more.  Getting enjoyment and fulfilment out of your business should be at the top of your priority list, as a lot of other pieces fall into place when that’s taken care of. Plus one of the other unexpected benefits will be that you will run your business better.

    When you’re exhausted, you think you’re making good decisions, but your thought processes can be skewed. Taking time out of the business will give you more clarity, help you to focus on long term business planning and even improve your relationships with staff, vendors and customers.

    So it is important to take time out and enjoy the sunshine making the most of it when you can.  Another feel good factor is to be around like minded people to share your successes and concerns.

    Amanda Murrell

  • International Women’s Day

    As we approach International Women’s Day, March 8th, it makes me think about all of the very successful women there are in business.  But according to recent research, women in business still tend to be at a distinct disadvantage when securing funding for their business (it does not say why or what funding), it also found that women tend to be charged higher rates of interest when taking out loans – an average of 2.9%, substantially more than the 1.9% average charged to men.  Despite these statistics (statistics don’t always reflect the true picture) the UK now houses a thriving female entrepreneurial community.

    According to Daniel Goleman the author of “The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights” one of the reasons why women are effective leaders is because on average they outdo men when it comes to sensing a person’s feelings in the moment and more attuned to Emotional Intelligence (the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions).

    Psychology Today recently featured Meg Whitman, former CEO of ebay and current CEO of HP for leading with emotional intelligence. During her eight years with ebay it was the fastest growing company in history. In her book The Power of Many, she writes: “I believe that being willing and able to actively listen is a vital skill for any leader. Not only is listening the right thing to, an antidote to arrogance, it also leads to all sorts of competitive advantages.”

    Use your Emotional Intelligence to develop “perspective” – patterns of recognition combined with experience – within your company. (Doctors do it all the time by building up case histories and finding patterns of symptoms.) People without perspective see the world from their own limited viewpoint and keep pushing that viewpoint. When you have perspective, you can step outside your own worldview and acknowledge other perspectives – your customers’, your colleagues’, your direct reports’, and your boss’s.

    It makes sense that today’s organizations will struggle to survive, much less thrive, if they are simply a collection of IQ skills – finance, statistics, information systems, product development, technology, manufacturing, delivery, marketing, etc.

    IQ skills need to be balanced with elements of Emotional Intelligence – honesty, trust, integrity, intuition, imagination, resilience, purpose, commitment, influence, motivation, sensitivity, empathy, humour, courage, conscience and humility.

    Use feedback from your heart, not just your head. It’s what ignites creative genius, keeps us honest with ourselves, shapes trusting relationships, provides an inner compass for our business lives and careers, guides us to unexpected possibilities, and may even save us or our company from disaster. As Emotional Intelligence is more and more frequently linked to success and profitability, it is gaining legitimacy – even among some of its sceptics.

    Amanda Murrell