Category Archives: Business Startup

Your first steps to starting (and running a successful) small business

Start-up business concept. Businessman throw a paper plane symbolising accelerating start-up business.

The Rise of Business Startups

The rise of the second job, prominence of successful online businesses through social media feeds and the need for flexibility at home and work is creating a growing desire for wannabe entrepreneurs to set up their own small businesses.

The UK is experiencing it’s higher ever figures of people setting up in business. This is great news; more people get to create their own rules, working how and when they want, earning more than they did in employment. However, the reality of this is a little different.

People are going into business naively believing they can learn all they need to know from youtube clips, social media posts and webinars. They are spending money on a website and valuable time, energy and resources sitting behind a computer hoping for the business to take off and reach the dizzying heights of, what? Who are they comparing themselves to, they are too busy following an idealised lifestyle of a social media profile.

I recently chatted with a new business owner, through retirement and a passion towards children’s clothing had set up an online clothing company. Beautifully designed, high quality and unique items from UK and European brands. A lovely business with lots to offer the market. Clearly lots of love, time, money and resources had been poured into this business. Yet, 6 months in, it hadn’t reaped any financial return, bar purchases from friends and family.

A Clear Plan of Action

Small businesses need a plan. A plan that will help you to understand exactly what you want to achieve for you and your business.

Whether this is a 3 month plan / or long term 12 months plan. Getting clearer on what you want will get your brain working out the finer details for the ‘how’ to get it.

Set aside an hour (or more) and brain dump everything you want to achieve. No restrictions, no barriers to achieving – at this time leave all these to one side and let your mental capabilities be open to working out the how’s at a later date.

A Free One hour Business Strategy Session

To celebrate the re-brand of Meta4 Business Coaching, owner Clare is opening up 3 days in January for small business owners to book in for a free one hour strategy call to get you and your business off to a flying start in 2018.  The business strategy session will give you clarity, direction, focus and a plan for your next steps to achieving.

The final day of strategy sessions is Wednesday 31st January 2018. You can select a time that works for you by booking your one hour strategy session here.  Look out for an email with a few questions to get you focused on achieving the most from our time together.

Limited availability so book your session today.

About Clare

Clare Whalley will be celebrating 10 years in business this year. She graduated with an International degree in English and Education and went into corporate life to pursue a career outside of teaching. Successfully passing a rigorous graduate scheme into a blue chip company; working in several positions across team management, customer service and sales roles. A working trip to India helped her decide to resign, retrain and set up her own coaching and training business.

Clare now lives in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham with her two young children, Isabelle and James and her husband Rob.

Clare works with fellow business owners to help them create a business they love too. She uses strategies and tools which will help business owners get to the clients they love to work with, with more consistency and ease.

To find out more about my small business coaching programs click to download here or to have a chat with Clare to find out more about how coaching can help you and your business get in touch.

Who’s in your small business team?

Every small business owner needs a team around them. However small you believe your business to be; ‘Nothing ever great was accomplished alone’, so said Reinhold Niebuhr.

Becoming an ‘expert’ at skim reading?

It may be you are experiencing little time to focus on developing your small business and if you did you wouldn’t be confident you could service their needs due to busyness. You are starting to skim read important emails, client interactions, and not responding as you would like to, or know you should be, dropping the ball and generally not treat your clients to the high level of service you originally set your high standards to.

Carrying on in this vein will start to mean you feel like you’re always fire fighting; client issues, staffing problems, supplier challenges – they will start to appear from all angles if they aren’t already.

The entrepreneur not the technician

The E-myth, by Michael Gerber, spells this approach to running a small business perfectly. Are you the entrepreneur in your business or the technician? The one who is creative or the one who is ‘doing’ in the business?

Behind every successful small business you will find its owner managing relationships with a small but perfectly formed team of professionals who can be relied on to have challenges highlighted to and then come up with workable solutions, without too much need of the owner getting involved to any great degree. Running a small business now, even service led is about having a productive website (one that actually works for you) social media presence, a successful marketing plan and successful execution of it. How can you expect to do all this; being the Entrepreneur and the Technician and keep your clients happy with new business coming in at the same time? Build your business to flourish.

Stop asking so much of yourself, alleviate the pressure and start finding people around who can help take away some of the ‘technician’ jobs off your plate. There may be a little bit of short term pain, but the longer term you’ll be opening up your entrepreneurial side to increase bigger and better opportunities.

About Clare

Clare Whalley will be celebrating 10 years in business this year. She graduated with an International degree in English and Education and went into corporate life to pursue a career outside of teaching. Successfully passing a rigorous graduate scheme into a blue chip company; working in several positions across team management, customer service and sales roles. A working trip to India helped her decide to resign, retrain and set up her own coaching and training business.

60 minute business boostersClare now lives in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham with her two young children, Isabelle and James and her husband Rob.

Clare works with fellow business owners to help them create a business they love too. She uses strategies and tools which will help business owners get to the clients they love to work with, with more consistency and ease.

To find out more about my small business coaching programs click to download here or to have a chat with Clare to find out more about how coaching can help you and your business get in touch.


Is there a formula for running a successful small business?

Confession – I used to think no; hard work, dedication and passion were all that were required. However, as any small business owner will know, whilst these attributes are key to small business success following certain formulas and actions will also reap you your just rewards too. Keep repeating them and voila! What a lot of business owners do is find something that works and then promptly stop doing it. We seem to be more inclined to keep plugging away at what doesn’t work!? 

Follow the clear signs

In the last 3 to 4 years of running my coaching business there have been a number of activities that have been followed with consistency that clearly point to ‘yes’ there are formulas which followed will equal business success. Sometimes running a small business can feel like an uphill battle, a struggle, a complete roller coaster ride… But it doesn’t have to be this mysterious cryptic puzzle. Stop ignoring all the signs, be brave – you’ve already taken the leap into running your own small business, so follow through on your original plans and start running the business you set out for.  What have you done in the past which has got your business results? Pick it up again and schedule the time to always do/practice that thing.

What results do your customers want?

Think about what your ideal customers really want from you. How do they want to feel, what results do they want and how do they want to receive those lovely results? Ask them, do a survey and once you’ve really found the answers to those questions put together 3 choices of how your customer can buy from you with 3 different levels of investment and commitment. Remember the confused mind never buys; so think about the last service you purchased – perhaps a new phone, TV package – were you given choices of which would suit you best? Do the same for your customers, make it easy for them to choose your small business services.

Keep Connected

When did you last speak or reconnect with the good people you used to work with? As an ex BT employee – ‘It’s good to talk’. Lots of people are getting tired or shut down from digital media and whilst it’s a huge growth market, it’s good to remember as human beings we like physical contact and to be thought of by others – grab a coffee, network, send a letter to your good contacts, people you’ve enjoyed working with or being connected to…Generally find more human ways of connecting with new and reconnecting with old or existing customers stick with them, with consistency and integrity. It will provide much needed motivation and keep you in love with your small business and your customers!

About Clare

Clare Whalley will be celebrating 10 years in business this year. She graduated with an International degree in English and Education and went into corporate life to pursue a career outside of teaching. Successfully passing a rigorous graduate scheme into a blue chip company; working in several positions across team management, customer service and sales roles. A working trip to India helped her decide to resign, retrain and set up her own coaching and training business.

60 minute business boostersClare now lives in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham with her two young children, Isabelle and James and her husband Rob.

Clare works with fellow business owners to help them create a business they love too. She uses strategies and tools which will help business owners get to the clients they love to work with, with more consistency and ease.

To find out more about my small business coaching programs click to download here or to have a chat with Clare to find out more about how coaching can help you and your business get in touch.

6 Signs You’d Benefit from Working with a Business Coach

Business coachYou keep revamping your website

A little change here, a bigger change there, new images etc. All this serves to tell you that you are unsure about who you are, what your business does and more importantly who will be attracted to work with you once they stumble upon you. A Business Coach will ensure you develop the best format, create the right image and shape your language to suit those exact needs of your ideal client once they seek you out and land straight on your pages.

You keep changing your main offering

You’ve gone through more changes than Superman with your service offering. It’s seen you change from one thing to another without giving any offering the chance to be really tried and tested. A Business Coach will help you decide on what you really want to offer based on your skills, strengths and passion and challenge you with all the right questions as to whom you really want to work with and why and what you want to offer them.

Your confidence levels are low

Your scatter gun approach to your business is keeping your head above water, but only just. Which means it’s having an impact on how you feel about your business; your stress levels are quite high and you’re pretty exhausted with the level of effort you’re expending on delivery of your services without experiencing the same level of return. This in turn is impacting on your confidence, which becomes a vicious circle. A Business Coach will help you to pick your way through the rubble and create more structure and direction.

You are in your head way too much

Sounds like an odd one, but is so true! The employed get to talk through challenges with their colleagues, bosses and even friends. For the self-employed even the latter are unlikely to be able to help – who understands what it’s like to run a business but other self-employed people and when you’re running a business it can be hard to share with others when you’re struggling. Stiff upper lip and all that! A Business Coach provides an objective sounding board and an ability to ask the right questions to generate solutions which create actions for successful outcomes.

You’re allowing procrastination to take over

See above! Due to the above issue, you’re constantly going back on forth on ideas, plans and strategies for how you will grow your business, but never seeming to take action on anything that will really help you get there and if you do, you’re so full of self-doubt that no real positive outcome is likely to happen anyway. Having a Business Coach on your side will help you to create the right actions and then have the accountability to make those actions happen and with the best outcomes.

You are scared about marketing your business

You know what you should be doing to market your business, but… you’re not sure what you have to say, if anything at all and if you are, you’re embarrassed as to who will read it, if anyone at all! You’re full of contradictions, excuses, indecision and therefore little to no marketing is taking place. A business coach will help you to gain clarity and confidence on what your marketing message is, who it needs to be seen by and how.

I don’t need to tell you all that chopping and changing costs you money, in real terms, not to mention in your valuable time and energy. Weigh that up with the investment and return with a Business Coach and you’ll soon see where you’re better concentrating your efforts.

About Clare

Clare Whalley will be celebrating 10 years in business this year. She graduated with an International degree in English and Education and went into corporate life to pursue a career outside of teaching. Successfully passing a rigorous graduate scheme into a blue chip company; working in several positions across team management, customer service and sales roles. A working trip to India helped her decide to resign, retrain and set up her own coaching and training business.

60 minute business boostersClare now lives in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham with her two young children, Isabelle and James and her husband Rob.

Clare works with fellow business owners to help them create a business they love too. She uses strategies and tools which will help business owners get to the clients they love to work with, with more consistency and ease.

To find out more about my small business coaching programs click to download here or to have a chat with Clare to find out more about how coaching can help you and your business get in touch.

Career Change: 5 Simple Steps

Be Your Own Coach

My Story – Hospitalisation or Resignation?

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Taking a Leap of FaithIn 2007, I knew and had known for a long time; professionally I needed to be doing something else. Graduating with an International degree in English & Education and working in management in a corporate environment just weren’t fulfilling my dreams.  Not that I knew what my dreams were! I was working hard, stressed most of the time, unfulfilled and unhappy and at some points feeling pretty desperate. I turned 30 and knew something had to change.

1st Steps…

I approached a Life Coach. I didn’t know anything about what ‘they’ did at that time. However, at that point I felt out of options. It was a brilliant, liberating and a frankly luxurious experience. I was able to be completely honest about who I was, what I wanted, REALLY wanted, and how I thought I could make it happen. And this was all done without judgment, presumptions or second guessing or making bizarre suggestions about possible career options; which I’d had a lot of until this point.

There and then I knew I would be resigning from my well-paid, comfortable, secure job with all the trimmings; car, pension, phones, laptop, yearly salary increments and a rewarding share scheme. I’d got quite a big mortgage, a self-employed husband and no savings. Arrgh! Most people thought I was mad, some people brave, whilst others, I think, just stood back and watched, waiting for it all to go horribly wrong. It never did. Deep down I knew if all else failed that job would still be there, ok in a different guise and different company, but essentially a job. But, I didn’t want any job. The coaching had made me see I wanted to be self-employed; running my own business, working with people I loved working with, helping them to achieve their own successful business too. So, I retrained and embarked on running my own coaching and training business.


Nine years into my own business I now earn more than I ever could have working full time in a job. I work 4 days a week, have flexibility, generate money for amazing adventures for my family and do all the best things life has to offer. All whilst running a business that completely fulfills me, helping others do exactly the same achieve their own dream business.

We carry around a belief that we don’t have choices, that we’re trapped in jobs because of bills to pay, children to maintain etc. They’re only the trappings we allow ourselves to get into. Release the chains! Make choices that work better for you and the people you want to surround yours. To quote a favourite: ‘Life isn’t too short; it’s too long to be unhappy.’ If you want to create a business that you’ve always dreamed of get in touch now.

Want to make that same leap of faith? Get in touch to find out how you can do it too.

Birmingham: a hot-spot for Business Start-Ups

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Birmingham, UK is a thriving city for Business Start-Ups, featuring in the news in recent years for all the right reasons. So, if you’re looking for some convincers to start-up your own business in Birmingham; look no further: ‘Midlands’ beauty businesses booming’, ‘new entrepreneurs threaten established order in West Midlands’, ‘Birmingham bucks the UK retail trend’, ‘Birmingham named as the start-up hotspot’. All stories point to thriving entrepreneurialism and a hot bed for career changers to business start-ups.

Here are 5 reasons why Birmingham is the best city for your business start-up to thrive:

1)       Birmingham is not only the second city, but it’s also the second largest economy in the UK: ‘a major engine of UK growth outside of London’.

2)      Business networking groups in Birmingham are ubiquitous. They consist of a variety of different formats to suit all attendees; always well attended, sometimes free and business always being passed.

3)      From Birmingham you can access over 98% of the UK’s market – consumer and business, all within a 4 hour travel time. Real easy opportunities for you to expand your start-up reach.

4)      Birmingham has a huge number of famous brands – this tells you that it’s a place that businesses thrive. They were all start-ups once:- Birds Custard, Typhoo Tea, Brylcream, Cadbury’s, HP to name a few.

5)      With nearly 2 million people in Birmingham, it’s big enough to offer a plenitude of business opportunities to explore, but small enough that it’s easy to get to know the rest of the local, friendly business community; where knowledge, advice and expertise is readily shared and offered around.

Still need convincing? Check out my ‘Be Your Own Boss’ workshop that will give you even more reason and motivations for you to get your start-up business off the ground.

Springboard your Business with Dazzling Results

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Never one to run out of ideas on how to grow and keep growing my coaching business, here’s the top 5 actions I have taken this year that have reaped the most success. In no particular order:

1) Give your customers choice – The rule of 3. I have always advertised that i offer coaching in three different options; however, that’s not to say this has always been shared and proffered within a coaching consultation. Something was clearly holding me back; lack of confidence in the packages. This year I have re-branded my three coaching packages: Breakthrough, Mastery and Utopia, all showing what can be achieved via each program including a clear and transparent pricing structure. What product or service can you package up and offer so that your customer is given choices?

2) Gratitude Ritual – Don’t think me strange, just always open to new ways of thinking. I read a short excerpt in Red magazine two weeks ago and have been practicing it ever since with great results! Here’s how it works:

  • Spend 5 minutes last thing at night or 1st thing in the morning, (I do it in bed) lie back and close your eyes, bring your attention inward and upward to your third eye centre, the meditation point on the brow between your eyes.
  • List 5 things you are grateful for.
  • Next, tell yourself, ‘tomorrow (or today) will be a great day. I can feel it.’ List the things you want to happen, then turn the possibility over to the universe.

Since, I’ve been practising this, some amazing things have been happening. I’ll share them with you once you share yours with me! Go on; what are your grateful for and what do you want to happen?

3) Website Focus – Invest time focussing on your website and its content. For the past 3 months, having set a goal in January in increase the coaching enquiries I received through my website this is what I’ve done, with the results now being realised:

  • Create and add a promotional video showcasing what results and benefits your customers can expect to receive by using your products and services. Phil Arkinstall at Ark Media comes highly recommended for Promotional Videos. Check out his work.
  • Add a few case studies about what difference your customers have experienced through using your products and services
  • Check Google Analytics – the information provided via Google about what your website has been up to month to month.

What changes, updates and refreshes does your website need? Take a look at your website from your customer’s point of view.

4)  New Product Offering Being a business owner is today’s fast-paced, technologically and innovative market means you have to keep your products and services fresh, ahead of the competition and deliverable in an efficient, timely and fresh way too. Think about the current market, is there anything going on associated with your offering that you could enhance and deliver to help your customers further. For me it was developing an ‘Outplacement Services’ Career Coaching Program, to companies who are making redundancies or down-sizing or want to offer coaching to managers and directors to help them achieve more in the company. What new product of service offering can you develop to keep evolving your business?

5) Networking – anyone who knows me, knows that I love networking. Networking DOES work! Find the right networking group for you and it’ll work wonders for your personal development and should bring you a great return for your business too. There are loads out there and more groups and events opening up near you each month. Good sign eh!? If done right, networking will keep you on your toes, keep you ahead of your competition, keep your growing your business and instil you with focus, motivation and inspiration and keep you loving your work. What new networking event can you attend this month?

Want to discuss any of the business growth areas above get in touch with Clare.


March into Action!

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March is an ideal time to reflect on your year so far. January and February have gone in the blink of an eye. So, those goals you set for your personal and your professional life, back in January; how are you achieving against them?

If you find yourself constantly setting goals, thinking about things you want, could, should be achieving, but never actually do; then here are 3 simple tips to get you coaching yourself.

1)      Purchase a Notebook. One you can carry around or have in your car. Jot down a list of your achievements in the last month, either as you go or at the end of every month. This simple coaching technique will act as a great motivator – you will not want an empty list! It will focus your mind, give you momentum and keep you thinking about and taking action on what’s next to achieve.

2)      Use positive affirmations.  If it’s good enough for Lady Gaga, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Jay-Z, Michael Phelps etc, it’s good enough for you! Visualising the end result of you achieving your goal alongside powerful positive thinking and personal coaching techniques make it possible for you to achieve what you want. Create 3 affirmations, write them down, say them out loud and share them with like-minded trusted people. Coach yourself to positive success. Here’s an example from one of my current clients: ‘I am running an extremely successful business that brings me £3k per month, whilst also providing high degrees of flexibility, personal satisfaction and personal freedom’.

3)      Be open to all opportunities…That come your way. If it sounds scary and exciting, looks scary and exciting, feels scary and exciting – it’s worth getting involved in! Great things are achieved when you step outside your comfort zone. As I’ve been writing this, I received a call from the YMCA, Sutton Coldfield. I shall now be getting involved in their Sleep Easy Campaign (sleeping rough!) in Sutton Coldfield town centre on Friday 28th March, 7pm to 7am to raise money for youth homelessness. Outside of my comfort zone – absolutely! Coach yourself to more positive success.

Good luck. If you want help setting your goals and you know having a coach on your side would help you achieve, get in touch to find out more.


Spreading February Love

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February will see me giving away; yes, giving away, a 5 session Coaching Break-through block!! All you have to do to win is contact me, tweet me, facebook me in 140 characters or less, by February 26th, as to why you should win. So, what do you win and why would you want to win it? The what: Breakthrough Blocks are designed to do just that: ensure you have a major breakthrough on solving a Life or Business issue. Whether it’s changing your career, finding career direction, starting up in business or developing an existing business. Maybe you’re asking yourself the question ‘what should I do with my life?’ or you ‘need to make more money, gain more clients’. The why: Coaching will help you achieve your goals by questionning what it is you want to achieve and why, and by getting you to put the steps in place to getting you closer. Coaching gives you accountability.

The coaching sessions are designed to challenge your thinking, get you the results you’re aiming for, and overall be a fun and engaging experience. You can expect the sessions to take place every 3-4 weeks and be very action orientated. You will be the one taking action! So, if coaching appeals to you, get in touch with me, describing in 140 characters or less why you should win this fantastic coaching prize worth over £600! Be bold, be daring, be risky, be intriguing, be surprising. Most of all GRAB my attention!

Closing date for your chance to win a 5 Session Coaching Break-through Block is Wednesday 26th February 5pm.

5 Reasons to use a Life & Business Coach

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There will be some people whose eye light up, and they’re immediately engaged when I say I’m a Life and Business Coach. Others return my statement with a blank stare and a look that says ‘what the heck does one of those do!’ So, here are 5 reasons why you would choose to use the services of a Life and Business Coach; in no particular order:

1) You’re in a career that is leaving you completely unfulfilled, unhappy and lost at the thought of what you want to spend your future doing. Working with a coach will give you the time and space to help you understand what makes you tick, understand your key skills and strengths and will enable you to map out what resources you need in order to make career change happen.

2) A great coach will equip you with the skills you need to address development areas that are getting in the way of achieving your goals. This could be confidence building, presentation skills, stress, anxiety, self-belief techniques – removing those obstacles will mean you can get on and achieve what you want to.

3) With so much going on in our lives, it’s really easy to lose focus, motivation and become generally lack lustre. Life Coaching will help you put your life back into its natural order, focussing your mind on the areas that have slipped; whether it’s your health, wealth, leisure activities, personal growth or family; coaching will challenge you to think about what makes you happy, what’s important to you and inspire you to put the steps in place to restore the equilibrium.

4) Coaching will help you work out what you want to achieve for your future. Setting goals of what you want to achieve and working out the steps you need to put in place will ensure you’re on the right road to making change happen. Coaching will challenge your ideas and make sure that your future goals are a) compelling enough for you to achieve and b) that they’re in line with all areas of your life, that are equally important to you.

5) Overall, Life & Business Coaching will give you the luxury of time devoted to you. How often is it we get to focus purely on ourselves? Our once day-dreaming selves now spend that time flicking through social media pages. Grab this time back to: talk about, and take action on what you want to achieve. Coaching gives you accountability, life-changing tools and your control back.

Becoming a Life Coach

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Many people ask me: ‘How to go about becoming a Life Coach’. Here’s a few helpful tips and information to get you started.

How to find the right qualification

This really depends on what it is you want to achieve as a Life Coach and with your future clients. What problems or issues do you want to help them solve; fears, phobias, career direction etc. There are so many different qualifications and specialism’s out there. Which direction do you want to take? Follow your heart, after all it’s your passion and enthusiasm that will get to where you ultimately want to be. Research local, national coaches you admire and see what qualifications they hold. NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) is a great qualification, as it enables you to have major breakthroughs, which in turn will enable you to help clients do the same with their obstacles.

How to get started

Other than the all important qualifications, the only other major initial outlay should be invested in a website, that; firstly, reflects your values, engages with your potential Life Coaching clients, advising them how you can help them through coaching and should more importantly be found by your potential clients. Be confident in the look, feel and content of your website; it’s the first port of call for your customer. Invest in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Do your homework, there are lots of great SEO companies out there, who will help get your site found more easily.

Getting to your clients

The great news is there are so many different and accessible (and free!) routes to market: your clients. A quick and comprehensive Top 5 list: 1) Networking – this will build your confidence in your product and service more quickly than any other marketing method, will get you quickly establishing yourself  within the business arena and will enable you to build the relationships and trust necessary to getting your coaching business off the ground. 2) Have a website that you’re proud of, and will be found. 3) Run workshops, talks on your specialist subject; engage with the public and showcase how you can help. Do this for free to start with, so you can establish what works and where. 4)  Use Social Media to get your message out there. The great thing about Social media is its free, just takes your time, which in the initial stages you’ll have plenty of. 5) Get some testimonials together; practice your new skills and techniques on friends and family who want coaching. Use their feedback as the grounding for your showcasing your experience.

So, what are you waiting for, Life Coaching is fulfilling and rewarding career choice.






Business Networking Awards 2014

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This is the second year running I will be a Judge and Sponsor for the Business Networking Awards.
Being a judge is a great accolade; imagine being a Business Award Winner!?
The award ceremony celebrates businesses that network across Sutton Coldfield, Tamworth and Lichfield in the West Midlands.

There are 10 Award categories:
Professional Business of the Year – Sponsored by Roar Marketing
Trades Business of the Year – Sponsored by Pickerings Solicitors
Promotions/Events Business of the Year – Sponsored by Kimberley-Jane Designs
Networker of the Year – Sponsored by DK Electrical
Service Business of the Year – Sponsored by April UK
Best Employer of the Year – Sponsored by Northwood Lettings
Best Start-Up Business (under 2 years old) – Sponsored by Design Pit
Best Established Business of the Year – Sponsored by Meta4 Coaching & Training
Entrepreneur of the Year – Sponsored by Q&A Quality Management
Special Recognition of the Year – Sponsored by Four Oaks Financial Services

If you would like to see your Business name up in lights on Saturday March 1st at Drayton Manor, and you network in the 3 local West Midlands areas;
speak to your customers, clients, suppliers and ask them to nominate your business.

Last year’s winners have seen their businesses grow from the ceremony, through: great PR, confidence, credibility and great social media and publicity ‘fodder’.

So, what are you waiting for, get nominated and get nominating!

Dreaming of Your Own Business?

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Even in this tough economic climate, more and more people are realising their dreams and setting up their own business. Whilst some people have a clear idea of what business they want to own, others are trapped by the fear of the unknown? Here’s how one entrepreneur has found and followed her dream…

Abigail approached me some time ago as she was unhappy in her career; she was well paid, successful, yet unfulfilled. Sound familiar? At a major cross roads in her life Abi knew she didn’t want to continue in what she was doing, but with no idea about what she wanted to do, like many people she contacted life coach, Clare Whalley at Meta4.

The first and most important step to implementing any major life change is to explore your values. Your values are your rules for how your life is run. Research shows that successful people are successful because their values are completely aligned with the work they do. Once you have prioritised your Top 10 values, you will quickly see why your current role is not fulfilling you and will help you get one step closer to working out your perfect career path. Abigail found that her values of: creativity, positive attitude and spirit in life were being controlled by her restrictive and highly political office role.

Remind yourself of tasks or projects you’ve completed in the past that left you feeling completely rewarded. Write about the goal, the constraints, the final result and then sum up in a quantifiable statement as to why it was such a success. Once you have explored several stories you will start to notice a pattern with regards to your skills; are you geared toward mental tasks; i.e. gathering, creating, researching or the physical or people orientated tasks: referring, guiding or negotiating.

The most exciting step of all is to wave that magic wand! The wand has been waved: there are no financial restrictions, you have all the necessary skills, and you can be whoever and do whatever you want to. What does your life look like? Draw a picture, cut out images and words from magazines that you are drawn to.

Most of all what Abigail did was take action. By completing all these steps and stepping outside of her comfort zone she has now realised her dream of setting up her own Interior Styling business and will be featuring soon on Sky Bio’s Lorraine’s Big Fat Challenge as an Interior expert. She has also appeared in the Independent, the Metro and in Grand Designs Magazine. Here’s what Abigail has to say now of her new life: ‘I found raising up through the ranks of a corporate organisation fulfilling on some level as there was always a new challenge but I knew the environment and culture fundamentally didn’t ‘fit’ me and therefore there was no long term future for me in that company or industry. Having taken the time to step away from my working life and look at it objectively I was able to work out my values and understand how I achieved the most and was the happiest when using my strengths and working doing something I actually cared about!

Because I built my business off my strength and underpinned by my values I do what I choose to every day. I build relationships which are genuine and with a foundation of passion for design and honesty (things which I found lacking in my industry – and something which in the past stopped me working in it). I have achieved more self development, self understanding and arguably have grown up, ten times more in short time I’ve run my business than the entire time I worked as an employee in an unfulfilling industry. I am now reaping the rewards for this growth, professionally, financially and most of all personally. There are two lines from a poem by William Ernest Henley which sum up how I feel now:

'I am the captain of my fate, [&] I am the captain of my soul.’

Get a (new) Life in 2013!

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Are you like the old me? Desperate to get out of your unfulfilling job, wanting to wake up excited about working, constantly stressed and overworked? Then, you need to STOP procrastinating and make a change that will get you out of the frantic, anxious and stressful existence to a more fulfilling, happier and calmer place. Life is not too short; it’s too long to be unhappy!

Here’s what I did: I went to see a life coach and within the first 45 minutes I’d decided to resign; which immediately made me feel infinitely better, happy that I’d finally been able to make a decision, taking me in the right direction. That was January 2007.

I was so passionate about the steps I took to make my dreams a reality I started my own business working with individuals who were also getting the Sunday night feeling on a Friday night: the dread of Monday morning. It’s important to remember we have choices. What life are you choosing?
Now, five years on, my business has gone from strength to strength. Here’s how:

To me, there are many golden rules on being a successful business owner, but first and foremost you must have passion and desire for the work you do; otherwise you might as well stay in bed! Those two single words are what keep your drive, motivation and inspiration intact: the tools you absolutely need to pursue and make your dream a reality and keep it a reality.

In business you have to be open to new opportunities; hence, you’re seeing this post requested by Start up Princess, a business I recently followed through recently joining twitter, who asked me to write about my passion and expertise! You never know where that piece of writing might end up or who it may get through to? I worked with a client in 2009 on a volunteer basis, we’ve been friends ever since, she wrote a glowing testimonial on LinkedIn and two years on she’s signed up for 12 paid coaching sessions with me to enhance and grow her existing business. So, keeping your eyes and ears open at all times is key, keep up to date with changes in technology and make sure your marketing material reflects this. Make it as easy as possible for people to do business with you.

Networking, useful or useless? Useful! Imperative, even. I remember my very first networking event. 7am, 90% grey suits and a board room table. Daunting, and totally against my values of work being fun, in fact I don’t even think of it as ‘work’. The key to networking is to try out lots of groups and at different times in the day. You’d be surprised at the difference in the outlook of people attending, variety of businesses, not to mention the food and drink on offer! At first daunted by the whole experience, I now chair and jointly-run a women’s networking group and have made some firm friends and excellent business contacts where we regularly share ideas, support one another and most importantly pass business.

My final piece of advice is to set your goals. Where do you want to be in 12 months time? What do you want to achieve? And how will it look, sound and feel to you? Visualise it and try it on for size. Once you have that firmly in place, write it down, and attach pictures to it – anything that will make it feel more real. Then, put the smaller steps in place that will start getting you closer and closer…

Growing and developing a business is like a stair case, only this is a stair case just like the one in Mary Poppins, y’know the one she makes out of soot. Your business is ever evolving and is there for you to be having fun with. Otherwise, what’s the point in being your own boss!?

So, what are you waiting for…?

I Want To Change My Career

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Are you finding that you are becoming increasingly bored of your work? Are you thinking about looking for a new job or even considering a complete career change?, Now is as good a time as any for you to make the very important step in your life. There really isn’t a great deal worse than being stuck in a job that you hate, watching the clock tick by, getting frustrated with office politics and waiting for your weekend to arrive. It’s a very common scenario – you may desperately want to change your career or find a new job but you simply don’t know where to start.

Don’t look back on your life and wish that you had made the leap sooner. If you want to change your career, stop putting it off and get the wheels in motion today. Life is for living; grasp the day and embrace all opportunities that are presented to you.

Making a change to your life can be daunting, there’s no doubt about it, but if you have a positive and motivating life coach to help you along your journey, you can make self improvement an enjoyable and life changing experience. Stop spending each morning dreading your daily wake up alarm – by making a change to your career now you can look forward to achieving, not only your career goals, but improving your life as a whole.

Top ten tips for running a sustainable and successful business

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Sometimes you can be so busy working IN your business – doing all those hands-on, practical day-to-day tasks – that you forget the importance of working ON your business. To have a successful and sustainable business you need to keep the clients you have already AND find new ones. This means that you can't just be 'the do-er' – you need to be your own sales and marketing specialist too. Getting and keeping customers is the most important role at any company – without customers there's obviously no business. That's why a lot of my top ten tips for running a successful and sustainable business are about reminding your customers to do business with you while reaching out to the new clients who will secure the future of your business.

1. Keep in touch with your customers – Ask them if you can add their email to an occasional newsletter where you provide special offers, showcase your expertise and highlight success stories; offer a free six-monthly check-up; connect and interact with them on social media.

2. Find, and stay in touch with, the influencers who can help you build your business – Local face-to-face networking and online networking are both ways to meet people who can evangelise about your business; establish a trusted coaching group with other business owners where you can give and take advice and support each other.

3. Offer something for nothing – Giving out top tips via your website or blog, offering free consultation and perhaps an open surgery wins trust and showcases your expertise and experience making potential customers more likely to choose YOU.

4. Make sure your customer service is better than your competition – Whatever your product or service there's always another business your customer could choose. Make sure your exceptional customer service is the reason they come back to you.

5. Reward customers and clients for referrals – If someone wins business for you offer them a gift or a discount off your products/services as a tangible way of saying 'thank you'. What others say about you is many times more powerful than what you say about yourself.

6. Spend at least 10% of your working week on developing your business – Diary regular slots when you ignore emails and other jobs and work on some of these tips. If your business is still in its early stages you need to devote more hours to growing your client base, planning for future growth and measuring the success of things you try.

7. Ensure your promotional material is professional and compelling – Review the content and images on your website, business cards, brochures, leaflets and social media platforms regularly. Is everything consistent and conveying the image you want to project?

8. ALWAYS set business goals for the next 12 months – They should be SMART – Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Targeted. Don't put them away in a drawer. Keep them in sight, adding images to fix them in your mind; measure your progress towards your goals.

9. Understand how your customers find you now – You should always know how every part of your marketing is working. A spreadsheet can be tagged or colour coded to show how customers found you; measure the return on any investment (time as well as money) that you have made; identify where you want your customers to come from and adjust your plans accordingly.

10. Your enthusiasm for what you do is infectious – If you still have pride and passion in what you do, your customers will be impressed and confident in your ability to deliver. If you have fallen out of love a little bit with what you do it might be time to invest in some coaching to get you back on track – or to help you decide to make changes.

If you want any more information about bringing about positive change in your life and your business, contact me for a free initial consultation on 07739 196896.

Taking The Leap into Starting Your Own Business

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Starting your own business can be one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences life has to offer.

But taking that first step into self-employment can sometimes seem like a giant leap into the unknown.

Some people take the plunge and become their own bosses without a backward glance: They relish the freedom and flexibility, thrive on the hard work and responsibility and love being masters of their own destiny.

But for others, fear and uncertainty can make them hesitate – even when their heart tells them they have a great business idea and the talent to make it happen.

If this sounds like you, or someone you know, then coaching can be the way to make that transition less stressful and increase your chances of growing a successful and sustainable business.

I can help you set short term and long term goals making it easier for you to see the road ahead and understand what the future looks like and feels like for you.

Coaching can also give you greater confidence and self-belief – if those are the barriers holding you back.

Planning for your own business will also involve you looking at other aspects of your life such as your values and your objectives – both for business and your private life. If these all complement each other you will have every chance of achieving happiness and fulfillment as well as financial stability.

If you love what you do, have the drive to succeed, and a dedicated work ethic, life as a business owner can be a dream come true.

All my training and coaching is bespoke, and as individual as you, your business idea and your circumstances.

I wouldn't be the first coach to tell you that you can either make money, or you can make excuses – but not both. If you don't want to spend a life time wondering what might have been if you'd been brave enough to follow your dream and start your own business – maybe it's time to stop procrastinating and take that leap of faith.

You can read my top ten tips for starting your own business here.