Farther Flexmas

Memories are made of this…

The Bournemouth TBN Christmas meeting was memorable, merry, and magical… and a testament to the flexibility of members, organisers, and presenters!

You can cut the power, but you can’t cut the energy!

A power-cut that took out a sizeable portion of Bournemouth for more than the usual moments triggered a degree of adaptability that I really value in our network.  Whilst many businesses and homes would have been in the dark for what seemed like half an hour, we were in the dark for only moments – thanks to the quick thinking of members and MC Jay Rachet.  Jay quipped:

“Can you see me?”

…and any tension dissipated with the accompanying laughter.  Instead, what was a nuisance was transformed into a magical, memorable experience.  On went our Smartphone-Torches, and suddenly the room was ambiently lit – uplighting the faces of members who were clearly uplifted by the unusual.

Before I share the usual summary of the content of our meeting, I would like to celebrate the psychology that makes events like this one stick in our minds forever.  In popular neurology there is a saying:

“Neurons that fire together, wire together.”

If you remember the famous Pavlov’s dogs experiment – feeding became associated with the ringing of a bell.  Fascinatingly, whatever happens at the same time as any networking gets hard-wired into our neural-network.  In other words, the fact that we had the power-cut and a positive response will help us remember everything else that happened at that one meeting!  If I say to you, “Do you remember that event where we had that long power-cut?”  Without any effort, your memory will not only dish up the recall of the power-cut but also whom you were sitting next to, who presented, what you had for breakfast.  The more unusual the experience, the more powerful the memory.  I suspect the Christmas luncheon will be very memorable!!!

Farther Flexmas

That unusual heading sounds better if you say it out loud.  With flexibility, adaptability, and improvisation – we can go farther and further!  From Jay’s Mastering of Ceremonies through to the flexing of Sharon Canning and Neill Shurville, our presenters, the challenge brought out that entrepreneurial spirit that I relish being in the presence of.  Neill wasn’t at all phased by tech failure – rather going on to deliver an engaging account of how a young entrepreneur finds opportunity everywhere.  Sharon showed how someone with years of knowledge and experience in an Industry can adapt to changes in legislation, taking them in their stride, and open up new channels of revenue, keeping pace with an evolving market.

Bottom line (generalisation), employees might be tempted to down-tools when the power goes out; entrepreneurial small business owners and team members grab whatever resources can be adapted and take action!

Adversity or Opportunity?

Sharon’s message was an excellent example of flexibility – adapting to changing market and technologies.  Owner of Move On Sales and Lettings for many successful years, Sharon is no stranger to property.  However, anyone who has ever done a SWOT analysis (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) will know that the Opportunities and Threats come from outside our control.  When the law changes (150 new aspects of legislation is what Sharon highlighted), taxes shift (mortgage relief being phased out for landlords), and technology evolves… shift happens!

The threats of higher tax and fiercer punishment for infringements of the laws affecting landlords will drive many less dedicated landlords out of the market.  Where they see adversity, Sharon sees this as a huge opportunity, and she’s here to help members.

For me, I felt Sharon’s new venture with Airbnb is of great relevance to most members.  One of the greatest expenses we can have is our home.  For those with capacity, our home can be transformed from a financial liability into an asset – generating an income stream.  Sharon hasn’t opened her home, though, she’s changed the nature of one of her existing properties (an even better option!)  Airbnb has given Sharon the data necessary to be flexible with her pricing, and the certainty that there will be an excellent flow of bookings well into the future… especially with the five star ratings she’s regularly receiving.

Like the development of any asset or business, opening up an additional stream of income like this can thrive with the right education, support, and connection – and Sharon was crystal clear that she’s here to deliver exactly that.

You can catch Sharon’s presentation here:

The Entrepreneurial Spirit and The Hotdog Guy

What do you do when you are too young to buy a van, but see an opportunity to create and grow a new business?  The answer is, you adapt and call in some favours…

I find Neill’s entrepreneurial drive exciting to be around.  He sees hunger in the midst of the smoking area of an Oxford nightclub and suggests to the owner that he sets up a hotdog stand!  This is not about loving hotdogs or smelling of onions – though they have a strange power to attract a girlfriend – or so we learn!  Entrepreneurialism clearly has some additional benefits!  No, entrepreneurialism is about recognising the opportunity and taking massive action.

The entrepreneurial bug is never satisfied, but I’m waffling here… From hotdogs, Neill ‘upgraded’ to Waffles, gathering a team around him on the journey and getting these folks, who were previously strangers to one another, to work with passion and dedication.

Sharing details from the stories of his own progress in growing business after business, Neill makes it clear that have clear systems and processes can free up our time to focus on what we choose, rather than in fire-fighting a thousand questions.  Put the right team in place, establish systems that work, and keep an eye out for opportunities… and the path ahead may not always be smooth but it will always be exciting.  Of course, being a part of a great network can help with that team aspect!

You can catch Neill’s presentation here:

An Aide Memoire Can Catalyse Action

Do you ever have a pile of cards collected from one of our meetings?  Your intention is to follow-up every one of them, but somehow you don’t get around to it?  Piles of cards are like piles of pine needles – they can achieve the results they could if they were organised in a clear structure.  For a pine tree, this means a trunk, branch, and twig structure so that every needle can be seen (and thus tap into the energy of the Sun.)  Is it possible to organise our response to each meeting so that all our intended actions can stay in sight, in mind rather than out of sight, out of mind?

It’s rare for anyone to get excited about ‘Mind Mapping’ before realising what the technique can do to grow their business.  As a quick demonstration, I created a ‘thought-catcher’ – a mind map template – for each table member in the second round.  It was a delight to have a chat with Mark Cooper afterwards, and to discover that having this kind of dashboard – where every good intention and piece of information could be seen on one sheet of paper – would prove to be of value to Mark.

Mind Mapping has been a cornerstone of my business processes since 1985.  In fact, learning to teach mind mapping is what brought me to move to Dorset in 1999 (and visits before!) to work with Vanda North of Buzan Centres – then based in Poole.  It is the single most useful business tool I’ve ever learned, and I love it so much I trained to be a Master Trainer of the technique.  Of course, it’s only for you when you see the value, and that can take some explaining!  My hope is that, like Mark, you got an inkling of how useful it could be as a catalyst for action.

As a taster, I’m going to run a session from 9.30am to 11.30am at Hotel du Vin in Poole, on 22nd of January.  The group is likely to be just 8 folks, so if you’re interested message either Jacqui or myself and we’ll guarantee your place.


My concluding thanks go to all of you!  A most unusual event became a most memorable and enjoyable event because of that pioneering, flexible spirit that is typical of members of The Boardroom Network!

I look forward to more memorable moments throughout 2019… and most definitely at the White Christmas Luncheon next week!