Blogs & Quotes

Do You Need To Update Your Contract For 2020?

As the end of the year draws closer it’s a good time to review the different elements of your business. You can check your stock and your sales, your products and your people. In fact, there are many areas which can be analysed at the end of the year and it’s important to check you’re using your time and your resources efficiently and effectively.

Review your contract before 2020
Review your contract before 2020

By carrying out a review, you may discover what’s worked well, where you’ve found new customers, which events were worth attending, which products were popular and which services were profitable. You may also find things which didn’t go so well, and these may be areas which can be improved for next year.

One of the key things I recommend checking is your terms and conditions, your contract of business with your customers. Many people consider their terms and conditions as something they do once, they get them written and that’s it. However, if something has changed during the year, it’s really important to check your contract is still up to date.

There are 3 key times when you need to update your contract.

These are:

  • Any changes to your business structure.
  • Any changes to your location or trading name.
  • Any changes to your products and services.

You’ll also need to advise your customers and suppliers of changes to the contract. Not only could this influence their decision to use your products and services, but you may have invalidated your existing contract with them if something major has changed.

When changing the terms in your contract, it’s usual to send notifications in writing, either with the changes or directing people to your website. If using your product or service relies on the customer agreeing to any changes in your contract with them, then they will need to sign the contract again either in writing or electronically.

Updating your terms and conditions and contract doesn’t need to be scary. Contracts can still be robust and reliable without being complicated or over-wordy. In fact, having a Plain English straightforward contract is the preferred option for many customers and suppliers. Everyone knows what’s included and it makes sense.

If you’re unsure whether your current contract contains everything you need to protect yourself, your business and your customers, or if you don’t have a contract at all, please contact me on 07756 772950.

I specialise in writing terms of business for companies in many different sectors. I can look at your existing contract and make suggestions or write a new contract from scratch.

If you’re introducing new products or services in 2020, or if you’re changing your business in any way, you may need new terms written into your contract and I would be happy to help with this.

Please visit rachaelchiverton.co.uk to get started.

Are You Looking for Amazing Christmas Gifts for Your Awkward Family and Friends?

Now the Halloween parties are over, and Bonfire Night has come and gone, many of us are turning our attention to Christmas preparations. For those of us who celebrate Christmas, the month-long frenzy of buying presents, organising food, drink and accommodation can be overwhelming.

Christmas is coming
Christmas is coming

It can be worse if you have an annoying friend, or awkward partner, who has either got everything or doesn’t want anything. Yet if you don’t get them something, that will be wrong too!

My solution to this is simple. Don’t even think about trawling the shops in the rain to see what’s available. I can guarantee there will be something online to satisfy them and match their needs. Even better, I can suggest amazing gifts suitable for any member of the family, and you might find there’s something you’d like too.

It’s ok to buy a treat for yourself. I’ve been known to buy myself a small gift when shopping for other people. At Christmas there are plenty of special offers and it’s nice to be able to have a little luxury treat, especially at the end of the year.

My favourite treats come from the Arbonne Festive Collection. I’ve found amazing gifts for friends and family, even those who are the most awkward to buy for. The products are vegan and gluten free. They’re not tested on animals. They contain pure ingredients and are high quality, luxurious items, perfect for special presents at any time of the year.

So, if you have someone to buy for who is hard to please, the Arbonne range is based around botanical ingredients, scientifically tested products for a pure and healthy lifestyle.

For children, there is a fun bath-time range of hair and body washes in deliciously sounding Sugar Cookie, Snickerdoodle and Gingerbread scents. These are popular with adults too!

For ladies, there are extremely soothing hand lotions, perfect for protecting your hands in the cold weather and tempting body butters in a range of sumptuous flavours including vanilla, rose and coconut. There are candles and facials, foot care, makeup and gift sets with everything you’ll need for everyone you can think of.

There’s also a suave choice of festive products for men, even the ones who complain about pampering, there’ll be something they might like. This is the perfect One-Stop-Christmas-Shop which ties in with my philosophy of using my time efficiently and effectively, just what’s needed at this busy time of the year.

If you would like any help with your Christmas shopping, or even to have it all done for you, please get in touch as soon as possible. All I need to know is who you would like to buy for, and your budget per person, and I will make it happen for you.

The Top 5 Business Skills Your Dog Can Teach You

Having a dog can make a big difference in your life, especially if you work from home. It’s their constant presence that means you’re never alone. It’s the way he or she waits for you to return from the shops, a meeting, or even the bathroom. To your dog you are the most important person in the world, and they have much to offer in return for your affection.

Missy is my dog and together we share adventures throughout the day. I’ve noticed subtle ways she encourages me in my working day, and these are the business skills I’m sharing with you.

Missy lives in the moment, exploring everything as we should be doing in business
Missy lives in the moment, exploring everything as we should be doing in business
  1. Simple is Best

Keeping things simple is the foundation of a stress-free life. We lead complicated lives and yet if we go back to the basics and get these right then we can achieve so much more. Three of Missy’s favourite things are walks, food and sleep.

If I incorporate these three things properly into my daily routine, I find I have more energy and motivation to achieve everything I have set out to do. Missy and I walk for at least an hour every day, rain or shine. The outdoor air is refreshing and energising. It clears my mind and allows me to concentrate much better when I return to my desk. Sometimes I’ll make phone calls on our walk and this means I can use my time twice.

  1. Listen then Act

Missy is always listening. Even when she’s asleep, the slightest noise will attract her attention. She makes quick decisions whether the noise is something important or something to ignore. An example is the rattle of her lead. She knows she’s going for a walk. The doorbell rings. She barks to let me know someone’s at the door.

In business, listening is as important as speaking. Being known as a non-judgemental listener enables your staff, suppliers and customers to share with you any success or problems knowing you’ll give them your full attention, even if things have gone wrong.

  1. Training is Important

Learning new things is a great way to expand your knowledge and upgrade your skillset. In Missy’s world, she’s always learning. We started with simple skills using simple commands, such as “sit”, “heel”, “catch” and “fetch”, increasing her knowledge through listening and repetition.

These skills mean we can do more together and I know how she will respond. It’s the same for humans. Going on a course, attending a workshop or gaining an accreditation are great ways to learn new skills for personal and professional development.

  1. The Power of Play

If something is fun, we are more likely to enjoy it. If we enjoy it, we are more likely to remember it. This is the reason why the power of play is an essential component in bonding with our colleagues, suppliers, customers and family. It could be sharing a joke. It could be a teambuilding exercise. It could be having a pint after work or meeting up at the weekend.

Play promotes creativity and productivity. Missy doesn’t worry about getting muddy or not looking her best after a run around the park and it doesn’t hurt for us humans to schedule in some playtime either.

  1. Living in the Moment

Dogs are exceptionally good at living in the moment, meaning they can enjoy wholeheartedly what they are doing, while they are doing it. They aren’t thinking about the next activity, or what happened five minutes ago. If Missy is playing “catch” and drops the ball, it’s not the end of the world. She knows I’ll throw the ball again and she has the chance to catch it next time.

Missy takes her time to stop and survey her surroundings, taking everything in one sniff at a time. She’s always keen to try something new, to meet someone new, to eat something new, and loves exploring. Her endless enthusiasm encourages me to be more aware of the present and to appreciate everything that happens, as it happens.

These are the business skills we all could do with using every day of the working week and at the weekend as well. From keeping things simple, to listening, training, playing and living in the moment, these are the skills we can learn from our canine friends.

For more business tips visit getfocus.guru, or call me on 07756 772950 to discover how my training sessions will help you find more time for dog walks and the things you enjoy doing the most.

Do You Need Some Fizz In Your Business?

As we’re drawing towards the end of the year, this is the time when it’s harder to get motivated. With the nights drawing in and the darker mornings it can be more difficult to get started each day. For many of us, the change in season can be an emotional time. All those new year’s resolutions that got broken. All those goals fallen by the wayside.

But, for some of us, myself included, this is the time to get energised and focussed, to see what can be achieved by the end of the year and not worry about what has or hasn’t happened in 2019 already.

Fizz helps you focus and energise
Fizz helps you focus and energise

This is where I recommend adding fizz into your life!

I don’t mean champagne fizz, although that’s a great way to celebrate your achievements and I don’t mean the fizz from fireworks either.

I mean FIZZ.

Fizz is the energy, the zest, that burst of ideas so powerful that things get done quickly and efficiently. We all have fizz, otherwise nothing would get done. But, if you’re feeling tired, demotivated or bored, then maybe you need a little more fizz.

Fizz is the power of concentration, the ability to use your time twice to achieve more tasks. Fizz helps you stay positive, even when things go wrong. It is something we can all use to give us a boost and stay on track at home and at work.

I believe we can be in control of our lives in many ways. From what we eat and drink, to how much we exercise, how we look after our bodies and minds manifests itself into our productivity, our positivity and our performance overall.

From speaking with people from all walks of life at networking events and with my clients, there is a common theme that we all want more energy and more time. I believe these are 100% interlinked.

With more energy we can use our time to better effect. With more time we have more energy to use on other activities. To quote the phrase, we want to “work smarter, not harder”, and that is where having more fizz means more energy and more energy means more time becomes available.

If you’re in the Macclesfield area, come and join me at my New Product Launch event at The Park Tavern on Tuesday 8th of October between 4:30 and 6 or Friday the 18th of October between 2pm and 3:30pm. I’ll be talking about how you can add some fizz into your life to get more energy to do the things you enjoy the most.

New Product Launch

Tuesday 8th October

4:30 pm to 6pm

The Park Tavern, Macclesfield

OR

Friday the 18th of October

2pm to 3:30pm

The Park Tavern, Macclesfield

I’ll be sharing business and lifestyle tips which you can use at home and at work to add some fizz into your life. There will also be products for sale to help you gain more energy and fizz, which can help you achieve more tasks in less time. This is a free event and everyone’s welcome. For more information please contact me on 07756 772950.

Do you rely on “the last minute” to get things done?

There’s the saying, “if it wasn’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done”, and I wonder how many of us rely on that “last minute” every day.

If you’re honest with yourself, are you guilty of racing around? Are you desperately trying to finish the tasks you could have done, or should have done, earlier in the day? Do you rely on the “last minute” before meeting a deadline?

Last Minute jobs take more time if left until the last minute!
Last Minute jobs take more time if left until the last minute!

Perhaps you genuinely have taken on too much. If your diary is crammed full of client meetings during the day, then school-runs, after school clubs, evening socials, networking and other activities, maybe there isn’t enough time to do everything. Maybe you need that “last minute”.

But if you constantly use the “last minute” you’re not allowing time for anything to go wrong. There’s no safety buffer for unexpected delays, hold-ups or problems. If you rely on those extra sixty seconds too many times, you could find yourself under extra stress and extra pressure and the potential for making mistakes increases.

But it’s not all bad news.

I work with clients on a practical level. I can’t add hours to the day, but I can show you in three steps how to streamline your everyday tasks and processes to use your time twice. I can help you prioritise your tasks, so you’re on top of things. You won’t need the “last minute” because everything has been done in an organised, manageable and stress-free way.

The Three Steps:

  • Your Goals – Chatting through the tasks you want to achieve.
  • Your Time – Analysing how you currently spend your time.
  • Your Tools – Implementing the solutions to make your life easier.

One of the key benefits of working with me is the accountability I offer. When setting out your goals, I become your accountability partner. I am someone impartial who knows what you want to achieve and keeps you on track on your journey.

An example of this is helping a client find the equivalent of an extra two working days in the month with the time he saved by making one simple lifestyle change. That’s right, two whole days each month have been recovered!

Does this sound hard to believe?

He thought so.

But through chatting with me, initially by phone, then face to face, we broke down his task into micro-components. When each component was written down it became obvious where time could be saved.

Then, when he added up how much time this task was taking, it totalled 1.5 hours from start to finish. He mentioned he carried out this task three times every week. That’s 4.5 hours each week. It’s 18 hours each month just for this one task.

He was stuck in a set routine, spending 18 hours each month carrying out a task which, after our meeting, he made a simple lifestyle change. This change freed up that time, those 18 hours, for anything else he wants to do.

By changing that set routine he now spends the time working, or with his family, or both. He has the choice of how to spend this time. He can do the things he wants to do, not just the things he needs to do.

When speaking with clients, it’s surprising how many people are in set routines. They say they do what they do because that’s the way it’s always been done. But so often, the way it’s always been done isn’t necessarily the most cost-effective or time-effective way of doing a task anymore.

If you struggle to finish tasks or run out of time, don’t leave it to the “last minute”, please give me a call and I will be happy to find the extra time in your day so you can do the things you want to do, not just the things you need to do.

Lessons from Formula 1 – How to spot warning signs of burnout and how you can help yourself and others.

It’s often the last person we expect who burns out and comes crashing down, their mental and physical health pushed to the limit and causing a breakdown in their personal or professional life. It can happen to anyone at any time. It could be your boss, co-worker, a supplier, best friend, son, daughter, partner, but what if it’s you?

There’s nothing wrong with being busy and juggling lots of tasks. As humans, we thrive on mental and physical activity. We perform our best when we are happy and fulfilled. We can take on a variety of different things at once, but if we don’t allow ourselves the capacity to rest, relax and recover, we can miss the warning signs of burnout and become detached, withdrawn and potentially seriously ill.

The good thing is if we can spot those signs early, in ourselves or other people, the better prepared we can be and the more positive steps we can take. Just as you would carry out a service and MOT on your car, it’s important to do the same for yourself.

If you think of your mind and body as a high-performance Formula 1 car, you’ll know choosing the right fuel is as important as choosing the right parts, the right tyres and the right people to have in your team. These are key ingredients to long term success, finishing the race and taking home the trophies and prizes.

Don't get burnt out before you've time out
Don’t get burnt out before you’ve time out

Top 3 Causes of Burnout

Just as in motor racing, our lives run on time, money and energy. If we’re low on any, or all of these we can suffer. Perhaps it will only be for a short term, but if the problems with time, money or energy are prolonged, they can compound, and become harder to solve as your resources are depleted and eventually run out.

Symptoms of Burnout

Going back to spotting the warning signs of burnout, do you feel more tired than usual? Are you sleeping well? Do you have frequent colds, or loss of appetite? Have you lost a lot of weight, or gained a lot of weight? Do you feel trapped, hopeless or helpless? Have you cancelled plans with friends, or lost interest in a favourite hobby? Do you dread answering the telephone, checking your email, or even going into the office?

On their own, these symptoms can be easily overlooked or dismissed as “not a problem” or “something to deal with later”, “I’ll be ok”, or “everyone goes through this”, but this isn’t true. Unlike a car, you won’t have a bulb light-up on your dash to say something needs fixing, however learning to spot the symptoms and warning signs is the first step to getting back on track.

Effects of Burnout

As well as your own mental and physical wellbeing, burnout can affect those around you, perhaps even without you realising. You may feel more cynical or critical than usual. You may be sarcastic, irritable or quick tempered, raising your voice, becoming angry or violent. Feeling detached and withdrawn is equally common. Cancelling plans. Arriving late, or not at all. General apathy towards yourself and others.

Even the simple act of closing your office door or screening yourself from co-workers with paperwork or desk debris, can be the beginning of cutting yourself off from others, including those who haven’t already given up asking you to join their activities.

Tips To Avoid Burning Out

Keeping track of your time, money and energy are three effective ways to look after yourself and can greatly reduce the time you are “off the road” or out of action. Just as in Formula 1, always check the warning signs on your dash, take the time for regular pit stops, and make time for repairs earlier rather than later. Find the best people to be on your team, those who will have your back and those who want you to succeed.

These are things I help my clients with every day. Working with you on an individual basis I can help analyse your time and tasks and make recommendations for software and processes to give you more time, more money and more energy to be in pole position for success.

If you’d like to find out how this works, please book a 15-minute exploration call with me and I’ll get you to the front of the grid.

What Habits Do You Need To Change Today?

Over the last few months I’ve been writing about habits, how to create good habits and how consistently practising good habits will help you run your business more efficiently and effectively.

It’s all very well creating new habits, but what about the bad habits? Are there things you need to change?

When I chat with clients, one of the recurring themes is time management, how to make more time, how to save time, how to get more done in less time, and so on. The end result always comes back to the choices they make and the actions they take, which are largely dictated by the habits each person has formed during their lifetime.

Take the dog for a walk - best habit
Take the dog for a walk – best habit as fresh air, exercise and companionship

Setting an Alarm

For example, setting an alarm clock to wake you each morning is a habit many of us do. This habit makes sure you’re awake on time and can start your day. It’s perhaps something you learned in childhood which made sure you were on time for school. As an adult, continuing this habit, either with your alarm clock or setting an alarm on your phone, makes sure you’re on time for work, for networking, for meetings and other appointments.

Coffee and Emails

Another example is the habit of having a coffee and checking emails as soon as you arrive in the office. This habit can take ten minutes, or most of the morning, depending on your workload. It can be a good habit to divide emails into categories of importance and priority. If you struggle with this, I can recommend my Time Intensity Grid to help with prioritising your messages and putting systems in place to respond quickly to new tasks.

Fifteen Minute Slots

If you find you’re chasing around with low intensity messages and tasks, it’s worth analysing your time over the course of a day. Simply break your day down into fifteen-minute slots and make a brief note about what’s happened in each slot on a piece of paper or in a spreadsheet.

This makes it easy to identify bottlenecks and deadtime. If you continue this analysis over the course of a week or a month you can spot patterns and behaviours in yourself and your staff. This gives you the ammunition you need to make changes and create new habits.

Create a New Habit

Something I’ve just put into place is to have my food shopping delivered. It’s not something I’ve done before, but it’s saved me the time (and fuel) not driving to and from the supermarket. It’s saved time not hunting for the ingredients I don’t normally buy. Shopping online has saved time not queueing at the checkout. And, it’s also saved me time unloading the car as the shopping is brought to my front door.

Adding this up, this change in habit has probably saved me at least two hours a week.

That’s two extra hours I can spend with my family and friends.

The time has always existed, it’s not new hours in the day. There’s no magic trick. I don’t have a time machine either. The difference is how I’m choosing to use those hours. I can choose whether I spend the extra hours working, or whether I assign the time to house chores, or spend it with my family.

Making small changes to my daily habits is how I’m saving time and making more time for the things I want to do. I can show you how to do this too.

If you’d like to find out more simply book a 15-minute exploration call with me and I’ll help you find the time to create great habits at work and at home.

Summer Holiday Advice – Using Your Time Twice

Running a business in the summer holidays can be quite daunting for many of us. With the sun shining outside and temperatures rising, it can be hard to get motivated to get the work done. Sometimes we even drag out the tasks in an act of self-sabotage. We dawdle and faff about when we could be focussed and efficient.

Summer Holiday Advice - Using Your Time Twice
Summer Holiday Advice – Using Your Time Twice

The summer heat seems to have an effect on us, both physically and mentally. The warm air seems to slow things down. It can make life sluggish and lull us into feeling that time is going slower. Perhaps that’s why things seem to take longer than they should.

However, whether we like it or not, clients still need work finished and bills still need to be paid. Given the choice of staying inside working, or spending the day at the beach, I guarantee most of us would prefer the latter.

So, how do we fix this? We all have the same 24 hours in the day.

The answer is simple.

We must use our time twice.

We can’t magic 48 hours in a day, so therefore we must make the hours that we have count and take positive actions to be as productive as possible.

One of the key examples of using your time twice came up in a recent conversation with a client. They mentioned their frustration at losing time travelling to and from appointments. Sometimes this added up to hours at a time. Over the course of a month, it turned out that a whole day had been consumed by travelling hours.

We came back to this later in the conversation and I asked what they did while travelling, was it listening to music, or a podcast, or the radio?

I suggested using this time to connect with clients, to phone them informally and see how they are getting on. The phone call could just be to check in and see if they need anything, but also extending this to a genuine interest in them individually and personally. How is life going for them? Are they ok? Then listening with full attention and responding appropriately.

This is a great example of using the same time twice.

By making a point of scheduling these phone calls into driving time and calling existing clients on a regular basis often proves to have many far-reaching benefits.

  • You’ll find chatting makes the journey seem to go faster.
  • It gives a client the opportunity to compliment you on your products or services.
  • Equally, it gives a client the opportunity to complain or raise their concerns.
  • Chatting regularly enables you to reinforce your position as a key supplier they can trust.
  • It offers a forum to discuss new projects and come up with new ways of working together.
  • If they’re busy, phone calls can lead to face-to-face meetings and “coffee catch-ups”.
  • If you have similar interests, it can lead to social opportunities as well.

Although the phone calls can still be carried out when travelling by bus, taxi or train, the background noise and/or client confidentiality may prevent some topics being discussed. However, this leads to a great opportunity for you to make a quick call to arrange a face-to-face meeting.

This is just one example of how doubling up your activities and using your time twice can increase your efficiency and your effectiveness. On a regular basis, using your time twice can save many hours in the long run. It can free up your day so you can spend more time with your friends and family as well.

If you’d like to find out how you could use your time twice, the answer is simple. Book a 15-minute exploration call with me and I’ll help find those extra hours to help you achieve more.

Long lazy Summer Holidays, can these actually happen when your in business?

It’s that time of year again. Schools are have broken up for the long summer holiday and it can be easy to lose control of your time with the overnight changes to your daily routine.

I remember, as a child, this was the best time of the year. Days of unbroken sunshine. No lessons. No homework. Just days and days of playing outside. Exploring. Making friends. Learning skills. Watching hours of TV and playing games for weeks on end.

Long lazy Summer Holidays, can these actually happen when your in business?
Long lazy Summer Holidays, can these actually happen when your in business?

But for working parents, especially those with toddlers and young children, the summer holiday can have a significant impact at home and at work. That “quiet time” after the school run has gone. The “quiet time” while homework is being done has gone. Even the “quiet time” doesn’t feel like “quiet time” as you’re on alert for the next argument, breakage, injury, or other incident.

Even with independent activities such as TV, films, online games and instant messaging, to occupy and entertain young minds, there’s still the feeling of guilt and peer pressure that you’re not spending enough quality time with your children or that your business will suffer if you do.

This is where positive time management skills help you to control your time.

  • If you can control your time, it can feel like you’ve made more time in the day.
  • If you can control your time, you will use your time better and achieve more.

I can help you take back control of your time.

There’s no need to re-invent the wheel. I can’t stop time or magic more hours in the day. But I can work with you to create a positive time management strategy so you can fit your work goals and your personal goals into the time you have available.

Time waits for no one, so it makes sense to make the best use of your time every day. I can help you make taking control of your time a habit and a lifestyle choice.

They say there’s no time like the present, so these are some of my top tips for controlling your time in the summer holidays.

  • Activities

Create a list of indoor and outdoor activities which can be enjoyed with or without you. This can include sports, clubs, TV, films, online games and messaging.

  • Work Hours

Discuss your work hours with your family. Make sure they know when it is ok to interrupt and when you need to concentrate. A key example of this is when you’re on the phone.

  • Liaise With Others

Can you ask your partner to look after the children for a few hours? Or a grandparent, or other friend or relative? Liaising with other parents can give you hours of uninterrupted work time and your children can enjoy hours of play time with their friends.

There’s no reason why you can’t be Super-Mum or Super-Dad this summer. You can keep on top of your workload. You don’t need to lose any clients or put anyone off working with you. You can be chief organiser and chief entertainer, planning exciting activities and outings.

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to have fun during the summer. It certainly doesn’t have to impact on your business. You can make time for everyone and everything you want.

If you’re struggling to control your time this summer, let’s have a chat.

I can show you how positive time management can help you take control and make the best use of your time. The clock is always ticking, but time doesn’t have to run away with you. Please phone me on 07756 772950 and let’s get started on your summer time strategy.

“Perfection has to do with the end product, but excellence has to do with the process.”

Perfection has to do with the end product, but excellence has to do with the process.”

(Jerry Moran, American politician, 1954 – )

“Perfection has to do with the end product, but excellence has to do with the process.”
“Perfection has to do with the end product, but excellence has to do with the process.”

Is your process delivering excellence?

Does your end product deliver perfection?

I specialise in processes and procedures. I learn about your business then research the most appropriate systems and help you implement them so you achieve excellence in what you deliver.

Book your call with me today.