Friday, July 27, 2007


Coaching my son's 11th grade soccer team has taught me more than I could ever teach them.

When I put my hand up to coach them I felt pressure for them to win games, until I was taught their main reason for player soccer was to have fun. Winning was important, just not the most important, not even in the top 5. So I made sure they had fun. We won some games too which was nice.

Last weekend the team were beaten 3 nil. It didn't seem important. In fact, coming off the field we didn't seem to care about the score. You see, one of the team lost his mother during the week. Somehow losing a game of soccer didn't seem that bad when you put it in perspective.

8 years ago my sister-in-law passed away after battling breast cancer at the far too young age of 29, leaving a husband and young son. Her ashes sit in a small casket on my china cabinet by my front door.

When I step outside each morning, no matter what the weather is doing, or if things go wrong during the day, when I put it in perspective, life is pretty good.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Paying for loyalty

Today I was told that I will need to pay $10 a year to retain my Whitcoulls loyalty card.

This seems like a really short-sighted decision, asking loyal customers to pay to be loyal!

Shouldn't Whitcoulls be paying me to be loyal to them?

I guess the penny-pinchers are trying to save some money - but at the cost of loyal customers ...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Having an effective trade stand

I recently attended a Small Business expo, showcasing the services and products available to small business owners.

I was very interested in the diverse range of stands offering their wares. Some stands stood out from others and it was interesting reflecting on why. For exhibitors that do it well, they can expect a journey PAVED with gold!

Some stands had excellent people who were able to engage easily with visitors. They usually started with a relevant open-ended question that was easy to answer like: "What business are you in?".

Those stands that were popular had a draw card. These could be giveaways, prize draws or information packs. I believe a stand must be able to grab a visitors attention within 3 seconds. Sometimes this can be achieved by having an original or popular theme.

Successful stands gave visitors a view of what they offered and why you would deal with them. They made it easy to get information in a clear and logical space without any clutter.

Outstanding exhibitors were able to evaluate the needs and/ or wants of the visitor and recommend an acceptable solution.

Finally, the exhibitor does the deal. For some this will be getting your contact details to follow up after the show. For others it will be a commitment to an agreed action. Some will actually sell their product or service.

It's important that exhibitors and visitors think about the outcomes they are looking for before attending a show.

Exhibitors should develop a success plan that includes measure that will enable them to judge the success of their investment at the show.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

#8 Wire

New Zealand's early pioneers used number 8 fencing wire for their paddocks and also used it for a variety of other uses like gate latches, hooks, fixing cars and a variety of other uses.

New Zealanders today also embrace the number 8 wire mentality by being innovative and inventive. Coming up with new ideas using the tools at hand.

I love to embrace this mentality and making use and making do with what we have.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Love over gold

It's interesting how songs have new meanings at different times.

I really love this Dire Straits album, but never really got into the song of the same name, until I actually thought about which I would choose ... Love ... or ... Gold ... ?

Like Mark Knopfler, I would choose Love over Gold.

I don't hear of too many people who found love through their pursuit of wealth, although I do know people who have found wealth in their pursuit of love.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Smart or dumb?

Some time ago I worked out there are 2 types of people that I know.

The dumbest people I know think they know everything.

The smartest people I know realise how little they know.

Which are you?

As John Wooden, a basketball coach said:

"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts"

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Return on investment

Working in the financial services industry, it's easy to calculate a return on investment.

Sometimes it's harder to measure the return on investment in other areas of my life.

Having spent a small fortune on our kitten, his "love" does seem stronger and somehow more rewarding. Although I'll never see a monetary return on my "investment" in his care, already the return on the "investment" feels extremely profitable.

The experience also taught me to appreciate what I have, rather than waiting until it is lost.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Who needs insurance?

When the vet told me that I was looking at a bill between $600 and $1,200 for our $65 kitten I had to consider my options.

Smudge had survived a dog attack with a punctured lung, punctured diaphragm and broken ribs. Being a confident little guy, he probably didn't appreciate the danger he was in.

Even though we hadn't owned him for long he was a lovable member of the family and the thought of putting him down wasn't pleasant - I'd probably have to spend thousands paying for my family to have grief therapy, and then when that didn't work, it would be thousands more at the drug & alcohol rehabilitation centres (just kidding)!

So we got him fixed up.

With hindsight, I wondered whether we should have considered pet insurance. I'm in the insurance business, so you would think it would be top of mind - but it wasn't. Insurance is rarely bought - it's normally 'sold'.

The pet shop that sold me the kitten didn't mention insurance & the vet hadn't previously mentioned insurance when Smudge had vaccinations or got neutered.

With the advances in veterinary care, animals have a greater chance of survival - often at great cost though, so insurance for pets should at least be recommended.

I know I should've bought it - but hindsight is a wonderful thing!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Goal + Plan = Success

According to Brian Tracy we need to be goal (not wish) orientated.
The plan to achieve your goals is:
  1. Decide exactly what you want.
  2. Write it down & make it measurable.
  3. Set a dead-line.
  4. Make a list of everything you could do to achieve goals.
  5. Organise the list.
  6. Take action on your goal ASAP.
  7. Do something everyday on your major goal.

Monday, July 2, 2007

3 activities for sales people

Brian Tracy told the audience that sales professionals should be doing 3 things at all times:
  1. Prospecting
  2. Presenting
  3. Closing

He said that we must be very good at these 3 activities to be successful.

He called the above diagram the "Iron Triangle of Selling"

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Goal setting

Brian Tracy had some excellent thoughts on goal setting, including the importance of clarity.
A goal must be able to be measured & it must have some action.
Brian suggested that a child should be able to tell whether a goal has been achieved.