Mummy & Daddy Go Out-Out – Love Fridays

The Mr and I have been a bit wild of late – we actually went out 3 times in one week last week. I know. We are crazy. And, one night was proper out-out, you know where you get moderately dressed up, try to look cool rather than over-excited about going to the now-not-so-new bar in town before staggering home far too late and facing the disapproving looks of the babysitters due to your excessive exploits on a ‘school night’. But we did have fun.

The first night out was to the not known to me at all Robin Hood Theatre in Newark. Now as someone who is not a fan of either theatre in general (I know I’m an ignoramus) nor musicals (see earlier bracketed comment), I didn’t have great hopes for the night. But I was in for a treat as not only was I going along with my lovely gorgeous antenatal crew but one of our flock was in fact playing the lead role. And she was actually really good. And I’m not just saying that because she’s a really good friend – the whole cast were excellent and for bit of something different for a night out (and also for a good price) I would totally recommend going along to this charming theatre and have a look at what this talented group of dedicated actors can do as I for one had a fantastic time.

2nd outing of the week was a much needed date night out with the Hubster. As our respective parents share the childcare of our toddler terrorist for part of the week, we tend to be a little stuck for babysitting passes and therefore nights out together these days are a few a far between. So we made the most of it. Possibly a little too much. We started with a fantastic and civilised meal at La Bottega Delitalia which is a brilliant little independent Italian restaurant in Lincoln. They have an authentic and rustic style to their cooking with fantastic service which never disappoints. They are also one of the few unlicensed eateries in the city which is actually quite quirky. Although we did forget this and the Mr did have to make a quick sprint to the local Tesco around the corner to ensure we were suitably refreshed with red wine during our meal. We then went on to the Optimist Wine Bar for a little taster of the red wine they had on offer (bit better than the earlier Tesco one I’d say!). Again, another independent business recently opened by a husband and wife team with such passion for what they do it was a pleasure to spend time not only in the beautiful surroundings of the bar, but in their company. We then went on to the Cardinals Hat for prosecco and then to the Strait & Narrow for more prosecco. Oh but don’t worry, we didn’t stop there, we then went home and had a ‘night cap’. What were we thinking?? Well, I can confirm we were not thinking at all clearly on Friday morning when the small one woke up at 6am. Yeowch.

Our final outing of the trio for the week was to a friends house for a lovely dinner and yes, more red wine and presecco. We had a fab night in their lovely newly renovated house and came back buzzing with interior ideas for our own place. We also came back with a belly full of alcohol that meant another less than fresh start the next day. When we had to go to my nephews 5th birthday party. It was a test of hangover endurance.

Whilst not exactly a wild week for some, it was just so nice to meet up with friends and, of course, spend some proper grown up time together as Husband and Wife rather than Mummy & Daddy which we so rarely do these days. Haven’t missed those hangovers this week though. Eurgh x

Building Business Resilience – Working Wednesdays

Building business resilience is not always at the forefront of our minds as we find ourselves in the final quarter of the year (yes folks, it really is October) in the midst of the last big push at what, for some businesses anyway, is an unpredictable time of the year and it can be quite frankly, exhausting.

Unless you are fortunate to be in an industry for which Christmas time means a constantly ringing cash register (good for you if you are!) it can actually be a pretty tough time for those businesses not able to clamber on the festive train to boundless gold, frankincense and myrrh. Those of us in many service sectors actually find December particularly a pretty tough month……….so lets look at what we can do before we jump off the commercial bridge and hunker down!

I’ve been reading a few articles recently about why resilient people are generally more successful than their less resilient counterparts. Whilst the principle of the previous sentence of course makes some sense, for me its been about understanding what ‘being resilient’ means in the broadest sense – clearly it will vary depending upon individuals and their individual situations.

But generally speaking (and according to clever types such as those at HBR) having a critical sense of perspective and an acceptance of reality are pretty much the foundations of managing that familiar feeling of overwhelm. With a deep belief that life is meaningful and with strong values systems, its said that resilient people have the ability to make do with whatever is at hand and to improvise. This concept reminds me of that old adage that if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll always get the same results – if something isn’t working then we need to change it……..ahem, because change is so easy right? We’ll get on to change in another post!

Back to resilience, one particular sentence really resonated with me in terms of how successful people simply keep on going (after all, its bloody hard work being in business) and that is, they create an inner psychological space protecting intrusions from others. They keep hold of that deep rooted belief in themselves and their business idea that gave them the rocket fuel to get started in the first place.

So what do we need to keep in mind as we embark on the final quarter of the year? We should embrace the challenge

  • With Confidence
  • With Purpose
  • With Social Support from those close to us
  • With Adaptability

Let me know how you get on! x

Am I a People Pleaser or a Pragmatist?

I’ve been reading quite a few blog posts over the last few days about the issues around being a people pleaser. We’ve all done it;

“Don’t worry, after I’ve given my son his breakfast, broke away from his cling on cuddles when I drop him at nursery and open the office to make sure the landlord can change that entrance lightbulb to an energy saving one; I’ll pop round and we’ll have a chat about the breastfeeding Pamela Anderson boob situation you’ve got going on”

Too many balls that are spinning, plates you are juggling……..everything gets a bit confusing when everyone seemingly needs a piece of you. It’s said that characteristics of a people pleaser are

  • Avoiding conflict or disapproval by acquiescing to the wishes of others
  • You never want to hurt anyone else’s feelings even at your own expense
  • You have a hard time making decisions, often deferring to others
  • You have a hard time relaxing and doing nothing

You can find a longer list here. There’s certainly something to be said when some of these characteristic, like any, get a little too extreme. Too much of most things is generally not a good thing if that makes sense, you know, alcohol, sugar………the good stuff. But sometimes I wonder if calling some of this stuff out as ‘dependency tendencies’ or  ‘inauthenticity’ makes us ever more insular?

As humans, we thrive on engagement and interaction. Like it or not, social inclusion and the feeling of belonging is important to all of us and, yes sometimes, it does drive our behaviours. Now, I agree wholeheartedly that we should all stand up and make ourselves heard sometimes. We all have something important to say or contribute and sometimes that does have to be placed ahead of other peoples imminent needs. But overall, isn’t people pleasing part of me-pleasing (cue inappropriate tagging of this post to other ‘types’ of me pleasing) ? We all feel so much better when we’ve lent our friend who’s perhaps recently become a mummy an ear about the hell that is breastfeeding. Or when you really don’t mind if you have red or white wine on date night with the husband (just order any bloody wine and quick!). And bloody hell, life is a whole lot easier when you’re not being unnecessarily argumentative with even the Sainsburys checkout operator to express your ‘voice’. Any extreme of any behaviour – too much people pleasing and too much selfish behaviour isn’t always a good thing. But then, who am I to judge, I’m not sure any of us have reached that utopia of ‘balance’ that we all strive for.  To sum up, the following quote really stood out to me today;

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around” (Leo Buscaglia)

x

Working Wednesdays – Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Check out the super-serious title to this post – sounds rather formal doesn’t it! Well, I’ve been reading a lot about promoting your business as I work within a small family business myself and we tend to find ourselves in something of a cycle. We pitch and promote for business, get super busy, forget about the promotional bit, go quiet and then start marketing again.

‘Peaks and troughs’ is an understatement! So I’ve been having a look at some of the top tips that are out there in cyberspace and the key one for me is continuity and consistency. If our marketing activity is inconsistent, how can we expect our business to be anything but?

I also found the following great points on www.businesszone.co.uk

  1. Use Integrated Marketing

Jolly good, what’s that then? Well, if you only write letters to your customers, try hooking up with them on social media and tweeting as well. There’s no single recipe for success so vary your communication tactics.

2.  Send a second offer to your customers immediately after a purchase

If your customer has just purchased an item/service from you, seize the moment and send them a note (a letter or email) thanking them for their business and informing them that they can take advantage of a special discount on their next purchase.
3. Send newsletters
Finding new customers is great, but what about keeping existing customers? Use newsletters to focus your marketing on past customers. If printed newsletters are too expensive, consider an e-mail newsletter sent to people who subscribe at your website.
4.  Get blogging
You know the drill with this one, its a low cost way of re-engaging existing clients as well as attracting new ones.
5. Update your website
We did this one for our business earlier this year and it certainly caught the attention of our core market. In fact this very blog itself will be getting a makeover in November so watch this space.
Its a tough old world in business and sometimes you just need to hold your nerve and think logically – ask yourself, why would I buy something from my business?
I would love to hear about what has worked when marketing your businesses and why!

Well Hello there, Its been a while!

Howdy world, its been a while…….well about 3 months since my last post to be exact but hey, who’s counting?!

So I keep picking up this blog and putting it down, not quite sure what direction to take it in in an effort to find ‘my voice’ (almost sound like I know what I’m talking about there) but I’ve decided to try and make a concerted effort to commit to writing. After all, I find it both cathartic and fulfilling so I’m deprioritising all the ‘important’ things that have distracted me and am making a commitment to  regularly post. Just to clarify, the important things that suck up my time in the evening include surfing YouTube incessantly, trying to work out Pinterest etc. Don’t worry, I’m not unrealistic enough to believe that the washing, cooking, out of hours work will be shelved whilst a while away a few hours on here!

This is in part fuelled by some work I’m starting to do with a new Mummy app (more about that coming soon) but I’ve found that consistency and structure has always been the key with me – whether it be when studying, exercising or working. My names Amy and I’m a Planner. There, I said it. I need a plan, a structure, a goal – all of these things in order to get things done. If not, well I become a bit of an unsatisfied drifter.

So, starting as I mean to go on, I’m commissioned a person much cleverer than me to give this site a bit of revamp over the next month or two. I’ll come up with a post plan so you know what you going to get and when and (now we’re really pushing the boat out) I might try and get a bit more fancy on the photo front and commandeer the husbands fancy camera to pretty it all up.

Let’s give it a go!

x