I have thought a lot about this article since the beginning of November and it has taken me 5 weeks to put it together. I wanted to make sure I included everything, worded it properly and covered every angle as much as possible. As a business owner of 40 years, I wanted to comment from a “business perspective” and also from a “Personal perspective”, and I think its important to approach everything from both of these angles.
My parents always told me – and I am sure yours did too – that there are two sides to every story. When you were bickering with your siblings, you would always be playing off against each other, and parents wanted to know both sides of every story. Over the last 21 months, since “Covid” arrived on the scene, we have only been fed one side of the story, and I am sure most of you would agree with me on this. Over many years no one has ever believed what the main stream media (MSM) have been telling us and it was always a standing joke – “How do you know when a politician is lying? – When his/her lips move”.
Advertising is very powerful – I was in advertising for 33 years – and the last 21 months have shown how so many of us are swayed by advertising messages, especially when they are pushed to us every minute of every day. We know the power of advertising when it comes to Christmas and the toys and messages that are pushed out result in increased sales for the top Christmas presents of that year.
During my business life, I went through 3 recessions – Covid would be 4 – and in the 3rd recession of 2008/2009, I remember being interviewed by a presenter on BBC Radio about the impact of the recession on the small business community. I told him that the media made it ten times worse that it ever needed to be. Of course he didn’t agree with me, but then I really didn’t expect a different result, but it is so true. We believe everything we are told in the MSM and it has a massive effect on our economy, our businesses and our mental health, or at least most people believe MSM. There are always going to be mavericks in every walk of life and thank goodness there are. Mavericks think differently, they act differently, they are exceptionally strong, I think the dictionary description of a maverick is misunderstood. To me they are unorthodox, unconventional, non conformist but all in a good way. Most business owners I would say are maverick to a degree, because they don’t do what 95% of the population do – which is work for someone else. They observe the masses and do the opposite
So – “Two sides to every story”. As the quote above says, look at both before you commit to either. So let me give you my thoughts on the last 21 months from both a business and personal perspective. This article is not aimed at any individual. I am not condemning any decisions anyone makes because we are all free – at the moment anyway – to make whatever decisions we want. I respect any decision anyone makes. I may not agree with it, but I respect it. It would not be healthy if we all thought the same way, would it? I hope I do not offend anyone by this article. This is never my intention and apologies in advance if it does, and I am always happy to chat with you, and we will always leave the conversation as friends – that is my intention anyway.
Those of you who know me get a feel for me. I am a no nonsense type of guy. As a mentor for the small business community, I will tell you what you don’t want to hear but you need to hear. I know how strong I had to be throughout my business life and I know you need to be strong to survive and thrive especially when times are tough as they are at the moment, so let’s go.
DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ OR LISTEN TO
Being a business owner means that you have to think differently, you have to act differently, you need to put your big boy pants on and do what you really don’t want to do to be successful. Part of this is to not believe everything you read – certainly from areas you don’t totally trust. I honestly believe that a big part of my business and life success is down to me connecting with a personal development programme. I read personal development books and have done for 40 years, I listen to positive upbeat motivational material on a regular basis and I am very careful with who I spend my time hanging around with. If you want to be successful, hang around with successful or success minded people. We take in messages through every sense, so be careful what you read, be careful who you listen to, and be very careful what you say because what you say to others you are saying to yourself at the same time. Self talk is really important.
Strong message – Stay strong to your beliefs.
DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ OR LISTEN TO
We have been bombarded with so much “advertising” all on one subject since the end of March 2020. I am sure we are all fed up with it no matter where our thoughts and beliefs lie. All I would say is “There are two sides to every story” and all we are seeing is one. This is not healthy to any of us, and it takes away our freedom to make a decision based on both sides of the story. When we are only given one side, it is very difficult to have a balanced view. The main reason for me closing down all of my social media accounts (with the exception of Linked in) after the posting of this article is because of the constant blocking of anything that goes against the MSM. Don’t forget this is my personal view. I don’t expect most of you to agree with this and I am certainly not going to argue with anyone over this. You believe what you want to believe and I will believe what I want to believe. Let us just make sure we all respect whatever decisions we all make and please don’t fall out over it – I have seen this happen and it really saddens me. I have heard from business contacts that clients or customers they have had for years are now refusing to conduct business due to differing beliefs. So sad and unnecessary. As my wife said it is like the government have loaded the guns and are letting us shoot each other.
Strong message – Respect others’ decisions.
BE CONSISTENT – (Business perspective)
Now this is a really important message. If you are not consistent in what you do and how you do it, you will really confuse staff, customers and suppliers and no one will know where you stand or where they stand. If you don’t want to lose respect from these people who really matter in your business you must have a consistent message. The power in Advertising is making sure the right message gets through to the right people and it is the same with your business message. Don’t confuse people with your 60 second elevator pitch at a networking event. Please don’t be one of these people who have an “Idea of the week”. It is so confusing. Don’t keep changing your online or offline marketing message. Of course you can promote different services you offer but please just make sure the main messaging is constant.
Strong message – Make sure your message is consistent
BE CONSISTENT – (personal perspective)
Now I don’t know about you but so much of what the government has pushed out over the last 21 months is so confusing, I wonder how anybody really knows what is happening. You can do this one minute, and then you must do something else the next minute. Its creating a STOP GO, OPEN SHUT, CAN CAN’T, DO DON’T culture and I know from so many people I talk to its really really confusing. How can anybody really get on with their lives with this cloud over the top of us. Because I think I am totally consistent in what I do, everyone knows where they stand with me. What really confuses me is that so many people have even totally confused themselves. They are acting so irrationally at times. People are scared from the constant negative media messaging. I understand it, and no matter what I would say, it will make no difference and as someone said to me many years ago, “A person convinced against their will is of the same opinion still”. Don’t try to convince others they are right or wrong. We are all free to make our own decisions and we need to respect this and if those decisions or beliefs do not match with ours please just be tolerant with others.
Strong message – Be tolerant
DON’T FOLLOW THE MASSES TO BE PART OF THE CROWD
(Business perspective )
Being a business owners and breaking out from the masses takes courage. Most of us sit in this bubble of mediocrity and when we try and break out of it, there are a number of people grabbing hold of us and trying to pull us back in. There is safety in numbers and our friends want to see us achieve and be successful so long as we are not more successful than them. For every one person cheering us on and saying “You can do it” there are 10 saying we must be careful and why are we risking our jobs to venture into the unknown. It takes courage to be a small business owner, and most that take that jump will never regret it. The challenge is that we are all great “technicians” in whatever it is we do, but that does not make us a great business owner because now we need to know about everything. This is why I am always saying to the small business community that we need to stop being all things to all people and get help for the stuff we are not good at. Over the last 21 months, I have seen so many businesses struggle mentally, physically and financially that they have almost fallen into the treading water zone. The impact on the small business owner has been massive. All I would say to all those reading this article is keep going, get help, speak to someone you trust – speak with me if you want. Keep believing in yourself and as tough as it is, keep working, keep looking for opportunities, keep building relationships.
Strong message – ensure you stay courageous
DON’T FOLLOW THE MASSES TO BE PART OF THE CROWD
Whether on a personal or business level, to not be part of the crowd takes courage, masses of it, and probably more on a personal level when probably 9 out of every 10 of your friends and family will think differently from you. We have to be strong, and that for some is tough. Go and find someone to be on your team and be strong together. I have never followed the masses and don’t intend to start now at the age of 64. In fact mentally I am probably stronger than I ever have been as I have more time to think and time for myself than I have ever had before. A good book – whether you are in business or not – is “Who moved my cheese”. It’s all about change and how we must adapt to changes in our lives and we have gone through a massive amount of change in the last 21 months. To be different, you have to think differently, you have to act differently, you have to really work hard to maintain that strength and mentality, or it would be very easy to change sides. Remember for every one person pulling you out of that bubble of mediocrity, there are 10 trying to pull you back in. Have courage.
Just remember this is my personal perspective. I am not about to force my beliefs on anyone, let us all just respect different opinions and perspectives without falling out over it
Strong message – Dont be led by others
RELATIONSHIPS – WHY THEY ARE SO IMPORTANT – (Business perspective)
For me and throughout my whole business life, strong trusting relationships are everything. I am not one who goes by traditional selling techniques. All of my business sales have come from developing relationships. People do business with people they know, like and trust – always have and always will. No matter how much technology changes things, this will always be the case. I am a firm believer that there is too much reliance on technology and it has become very poisonous over the last 21 months – in my opinion. I always preferred to walk away from a sale and maintain a relationship if I felt that whatever I was promoting to a client would not work for them or give them value for money. I always put myself in their shoes, and from a message given to me many years ago, I took my eyes off myself and put them on others, and helped then get what they wanted. I knew as a by product this would help me get what I wanted. Give in order to get. I never ever sold anything to line my own pocket and would strongly advise against doing business with anyone who lives their lives this way.
Strong message – People do business with people they know, like and trust
RELATIONSHIPS – WHY THEY ARE SO IMPORTANT – (Personal perspective)
Being around my family and close friends means everything to me. We don’t always agree on everything but this will never affect the relationships. I learned a very early lesson in my childhood when my parents fell out with my grandparents and my Aunt and Uncle. It meant that I did not see my grandparents (on my dads side) for many years. In fact I never saw my grandfather again, as the rift was never healed until after his death. I didn’t see my Aunt and Uncle and my cousins for a large part of my childhood, but now my cousin Chris – although we don’t see each other on a regular basis – is one of my closest friends and I love him and his family to bits. I swore that after the rift caused by my parents that this would never happen again within the family while I was on this planet, and if ever I see anything brewing I make sure it is sorted before it goes too far. Quality time with family and friends – and don’t forget family does not have to be blood related – is so vitally important for our mental health, so no matter what happens, be with them and hug them regularly. Make sure you spend time with your family this Christmas, and hug them often.
Strong message – A family is a circle of strength and love
BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO CHANGE YOUR MIND – (Business perspective)
Sometimes in business we need to be brave enough to change our minds. If what we are doing is not working or we are not getting the response we are expecting, we have to change it in some way. We have to look at business trends, we have to look at what our competition is doing not to follow them but to see if we can do something different that will make us stand out from the crowd. We have to be setting the path for others to follow and not playing catch up – or it could be too late. DO NOT look at changing your mind as a failure. In my 33 years of running my Advertising business, we had to shift direction a number of times as the industry was changing. Success never runs in a straight line, so be prepared and watch out for those forks in the road or the 90 degree bends.
Strong message – If you can’t change your mind, then you are not using it
BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO CHANGE YOUR MIND – (Personal perspective)
This is an interesting one from a personal perspective and – for those of you who know me well – you will know how strong I am in my beliefs and it is very hard to convince me to change my mind. I don’t make decisions lightly or without checking things very carefully. For me to trust someone or something completely, I will always check out what I am told by many sources to confirm what I have been told is correct. Now I am not for one minute saying I am always right – far from it – but as I have said decisions are not made lightly. If I am wrong, I will admit it. I am also not afraid if I am the only person who thinks the way I do. We have to be firm with our beliefs, right? The last 21 months have been probably the most testing any of us have ever been through and I know I don’t think the same as the majority of the population, but it really doesn’t bother me. I know there are millions who think the same as me, and sometimes I like being the underdog.
Strong message – Sometimes you change your mind and sometimes your mind changes you
This will be my last weekly article. I have written 102 since I started back in January 2020. From now on, I think I am going to repurpose those articles a bit and use them as Linked in posts. Within a week of this article being posted, I am going to remove all my profiles from all social media channels with the exception of Linkedin. Thankfully Linkedin has remained totally professional and I feel that so many of the other channels have become very poisonous in so many ways. For those of you who want to get in touch with me, my email and mobile phone number are on my linked in profile – https://www.linkedin.com/in/richardlionheartknight/
For those of you who have read my articles on LinkedIn, I hope you have enjoyed them and got something from them. The writing of these articles has helped me mentally and has also helped me pen my experiences and knowledge gained over the last 40 years. For those of you connected to me on facebook, you are probably glad I am removing my profile. You know I use this to really let people know what is on my mind, and I am certainly not backward in coming forward.
No matter what you go through for the rest of your lives, stay strong to your beliefs, spend time with people who lift you up and not drag you down. Spend time with real people and not “facebook friends”. I am always here for a chat or a beer or a coffee if you ever need it. Look after yourselves.
I am now going to take the next 4 weeks off all social media and business meetings – other than those I have already arranged. I will still post positive thoughts for the day and comment on as many articles as I can to help you spread the word