Alan & Simon discuss how small businesses should react and how they can adapt to new environments, especially during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. RECORDED LIVE: 18th March 2020
Note: This transcription has been generated with AI and there may be errors present.
Who’s gonna start Simon me? You?
Have we started? This is exciting, Alan. Yeah, well, I’ll start. And I think, yeah, the thoughts that have been going through my mind over the last couple of days have been that the government and Boris God bless him is doing an announcement every day to keep the public informed in this broadcast as fast becoming the antidote to all of the doom and gloom. And one thing that’s really important to pop up, since I started in 2012, has been that we just want to spread a bit of positivity here. And rather than let this thing take over and get drawn into all the things that we can’t do, I’d love us to focus on what can we do and offer as much help as we can to people that have whose jobs are at risk people that have started a business that are now figuring out how does it work? And what do we do and people that have had a small business for some time or been self employed for a while, you know, what is it that we can do to help and support and create a platform where we can share ideas, and help each other get through this in terms of, you know, entrepreneurship, starting small businesses, and, you know, adapting and innovating and so on? So, I’m absolutely delighted, Alan, that you’re here tonight, because I fumbled my way through Facebook Live last night. And yeah, it’s great that you’re here. And I know, you’ve got an interesting perspective on this from your experiences in 2008. You know, think back to 2008, when there was the financial crisis. And if there’s one person I know that will be rubbing his hands thinking I know, what’s the what’s the hardest time possible and the most ridiculous time to start a business? It would be 2008 Alan Donegan. What was your experiences? And why do you think they might be relevant now for us to hear?
Well, actually, I did not choose to start a business in a way. It wasn’t like I thought, let’s start it at the hardest possible time. I got fired from my last job. So I think it’s one of those situations where something happens to you. And that thing, whatever it is, whether it’s an economic downturn, a lockdown, you get fired from your job, things will happen to you. And it’s about how you react and respond to those things that are important. And back in a way, I got fired. And I was thinking, what am I going to do with my life? How do I want to live, I started looking for jobs, I couldn’t find a single job that I particularly wanted to do. There weren’t exactly many on the market that I couldn’t find any jobs actually wanted to do. So I decided to build my own business. And it was born out of necessity. And quite often, the toughest situations and things that are best things come out of those moments where you face adversity, and you have to do something about it. And that’s kind of where I want to go with today’s message is there is a whole host of things that are going to happen right now that you have no control of None whatsoever. I can’t control what’s happening outside, I can’t control what the government is doing. All I can control is my reaction to it. And what happens to me and I think, back in Oh, eight, I was thinking I just need to take control of my own financial destiny, rather than wait for anyone else to support me.
And I think like the question that’s triggered, because this is fascinating for me, obviously, that was around the time that we met, actually, in the the genesis of the business that we created, which is maybe we’ll get to that another time. But the bit this is the bit of the story that I’ve never asked you that we’ve never really talked about. I was wondering that when you’re surrounded by, you know, the media, newspapers, TV, you know, friends, family, former colleagues, neighbours the world around you during I remember that time very clearly because I lost my job in that time as well. What What was that like, in a sense of how do you keep yourself how did you keep yourself in a positive mindset? I know how important it is starting in businesses not in negativity around the time of the crisis. What was it? What was your strategy for getting yourself in a good place?
Well, actually, I think that’s, that’s one of the biggest challenges that I faced back then was I was surrounded by a bunch of people who were saying, the economy’s gone down, your business won’t be successful. There was A bunch of very negative people that I was surrounding myself with. And it was draining the energy out of me. So I think, let’s, let’s look at this in different ways. One is the environment and the community that is around you. And the moment we’ve locked down, that’s probably going to be a virtual community. But the people that you surround yourself with, so if you’re listening to this message, if you’re searching online, for people who want to actually actively do something about it and a positive, you’ll find that if you want to search online for the doom and gloom mongers, you’ll find that and you can happily get engaged for as long as you want about that stuff. So I think you’ve got the people that surround you. The second thing is the questions that you ask yourself on a daily basis. So if you ask yourself, if I’d have got stuck in await going, why did it happen to me? Why did I get fired? This is the worst possible time I could ever launch a business. I never going to make money. And I started asking bad questions that focused me on reasons, I would have fallen to pieces. But actually, I asked more positive questions, which were, how can I make money? What can I sell? What can I do that adds value to other people? And I asked this bunch of questions that kept me focused every day, on moving forwards. And I think that’s what I really love. If there’s one thing I could give our audience based on this, it will be, let’s come up with a bunch of questions, you can ask yourself every day, and focus yourself forwards on what you can actively do. Don’t focus on what you can’t do. Don’t focus on what’s going wrong. Focus on what’s possible for you.
Yeah, I think that’s a great message. And I think, you know, when I, when I woke up in the morning, and that we had, you know, those 10 events that were cancelled, which is a six figure impact on our business, and we’re only a small business in low, it’s took me a couple of hours. So I was drawn into what was happening. But I think what’s happened over the last couple of days with the team, and I’ve noticed lots of different attitudes and ideas. We’ve seen amongst ourselves, have been on my head in the face of super tough and easy thing. For both, I’m not gonna let this thing you know, do stuff to us and our business and my family, and so on. The focus here is what can we do, rather than what’s going to happen? What can we do? And how do we get taken out of our own destiny? So I was, there’s someone in our in our support group said today, and I unfortunately lost their job today. And I think I think there’s a whole bunch of stuff that’s happening right now. And she said, you know, is this the time to start something? Is this the time to focus on is? Is what to do? Is it like? What do you think? I got someone saying, today, it was a, it was an uninvited this.
So I think the key point on that is actually is there ever a right time. And there are obviously better times than others, but you timing is not something you can particularly control, you just have to get going. And if you look, historically, some of the most resilient and best businesses were formed around the Oh, eight crash. There’s an incredible number of very successful businesses that were built out of that time period. It’s gonna be tough. But the one thing that I took from it is that if I can build a business at that time period, I’m going to survive when the good times are good. So if you can launch it now, if you can start now, whilst you have time, then do it. Because if you can build it, now you are going to survive, when the times are good, and even better. And I think the one thing we do have, whilst we’re all being locked down in our rooms and our homes is time, you’ve got time. My question is, what are you going to invest in? And there are so many distractions and so many options. You could be watching Netflix, you could be watching Hulu, they’ve launched Disney plus now I could be watching endless streaming of Marvel movies continuously. Or I could my skills.
Do that and don’t do that. Like so I just want to pick up on a couple of comments that have come through on this threads. So there’s a couple of things in here which I want to draw because Brucey Brucey Ferro so we met BRUCEI in Taunton Brucey I’m so glad that you found the post and I started live streaming my posts somewhere in the ether 1000s and bad times and internet for a little while. glad you found us tonight it’s a Bruce’s comment is it’s time to reinvent yourself. And that’s really interesting because BRUCEI BRUCEI is the the most talented magician I’ve seen that boasts. So he went and saw the first three pound note out of a Snickers bar that was wrapped up. And it was my 20 pound note with the signature on it. And I stared at him blankly for about 10 minutes. How do you do that? If there’s anyone that can make a business? And then I want to talk about specifically. Any ID Hi, Amy. And then what Bruce said. Books have seen so many holidays are being hands on which can means being asked to choose my biggest earner. biggest challenges that I’m facing about like one of them is how our emotions and how to get ourselves ready. investable, diversity, what’s the thought processes that we go through? Stay in touch with a purpose and excited the challenge was the emotion or the feeling on a breakdown. There was one that is shared. I think the other issue that we’re gonna face is if your business on Tati which is in Google and so on. How do we reinvent ourselves? What’s the strategy? What is what’s the creative stuff that we need to do? That’s going to give us the power to exchange and sell and so on. Any thoughts on that?
So I think when this first happens, you’re going to have the shock as we did it pop up of holy insert expletive, our business has changed. So all of our clients, quite a large percentage of our clients immediately cancelled events. Sounds like Amy’s having lots of holidays cancelled. So people need don’t need dog sitters and dog walkers. There was another comment in there saying that people had an old person focused business and they were all quarantined, quarantined. And to start with, you’re gonna have that moment of pain. And then all of your business disappears. And then it’s the question of, Do you continually focus on it disappearing? Or do you focus on what you can do next? So I was speaking to, there’s a lady called case who came to us Swindon event, she’s a photographer, and we were having a chat earlier this week about her business and how she grows it. And I said to her challenge, which has helped her so I wanted to set the same challenge for all of the people in the support group, Amy and all the others who are having problems and actually our team. It is what we need to do is take the problem. And Simon knows all about this take the problem that people are facing, and turn it into a question that we can actually brainstorm against. So if your business is struggling, if people are cancelling all their work with you, then how do we change that to a question? And the question might be, how might I generate a new stream of income? How might I still be of service to the same customers? How my I sell the same customers series of new products or new services that would actually benefit them in this downtime? But we need to take the problem, turn into a question and then brainstorm ideas. And from there, what I asked us to do was every single day to think of five to 10 answers to that question. And what that does is train your brain to look for solutions every single day rather than looking for what’s going wrong. And that, for me is the biggest bit is where’s your focus? Is it focused on solving these problems and turning your business into a success? Or is it focused on what you’re lacking? What you’re missing and what’s going wrong in the world? Do you have any tips to help people focus on the positive and grow their business Simon?
So yeah, I’m hoping that we had a couple of comments that the quality of the SAT is, is not great. I think my internet’s a bit but he’s a nice things for us. It’s getting better I’ve just come at phones screen. Everyone in my house and a lot of my kids in the cupboard that’s Kevin, everybody says also most people for coping with work from home. So I guess Yeah, I think the that sentence you get what you focus on is ringing in my ears. And I know that cares, cares, Hawkins think I think it was you cares that you put comments in the group earlier on about write down on his day. And I think it’s just thumbing what you’re talking about Alan, you know, Brian, is rather than used to focusing on the premises goodness in a good headspace. That can thing that’s on my mind is is this thing about gratitude? And I know, people are talking a lot about that in the moment. But, you know, we’ve overheads, and certainly financially, and, you know, focusing on the things that we for the recall of the day. And I think that last question, thing, suhar, for asking much better questions. I guess the third thing on my mind, and I was chatting to Angie about this today, Angie, Beast. And so the things that went through our heads today was, look, let’s make a list of all of the clients, the customers, the friends and family that we we care about. And let’s get on the phone, send text messages, make phone calls, send emails, and reach out to people without any expectation that it’s going to lead to business. But asking some questions, things like having you’ve been on my mind, I wanted to check in with you. What challenges are you facing at the moment? And how are you getting over them? What can I do to help you and I think that takes us out of our own kind of predicaments and sustain a place of, of going out of our way to help other people and solve problems. And I think if that if there’s one thing that working with you over the years has taught me, Alan, that thing about we know we’ve built a business by helping others. And as far as I’m concerned, this is business as usual for us. But the circumstances meant that, that we’ve had to put that on steroids very, very quickly. And I guess the next step is, is sort of take test age further and go, you know, what is it that I can do to help you right now? And how many of you asked a question of in last couple of days, that will help all of us whether, such as a future where you get ideas from someone some of my gift you an idea to say, Well, have you thought about this? Have you thought about that? Or actually, you know, maybe it’s just, you know, maybe it’s just the scenario which you created. I remember our very first meeting Alan, when so for those that don’t know, Alan complained about my boss in 2008. And my boss sent me to go and deal with him. The very thought it was going to be horrific meeting. And the very first thing that Allen said to me was, what can I do to help you? And it completely derailed me because I’m thinking, Well, hang on a minute, I’m here to help you, because you’re the one with the problem, pal. What are you doing asking me if you can help me and I remember sort of staring at him blankly for a good 45 seconds. And we ended up building a business from that that’s changed both of our lives and the lives of our families. So I think if you made a list of people, you know, if you had 10 people on your list, and you and you said that by the end of tomorrow, you’re going to call email, ring and text sorry. And by will pick up the phone things really happen, don’t they? You know, making the phone call and asking those correct those kind of questions. What’s going on for you right now? How can I help you? What challenges are you facing? How are you getting over them? I think that’s going to spawn a whole bunch of ideas. And it’s going to create a different set of connection, a deeper level of connection that is going to provide, you know, be fruitful for us all going forward with that kind of community spirit, you know, what do you think, Alan?
I think you’re exactly right. So let’s turn it into a practical action. What I will be saying to do and is actually what we’ve been doing pop up is pick your top 10 clients that you love working with, and call them. Don’t email, don’t text, ring them, get on the phone, call them and speak to them and ask them what’s going on? What’s happening, what you can do to help and I think chat to them. And I think the tendency, given the modern world and the tools we have with technology is to Avoid actual phone calls and text and email. And it’s the phone calls that makes things happen. This is something I was particularly scared of. When I was younger. I didn’t like ringing people I hated cold calling, but it’s the phone call. So I will be saying to the top 10 clients, I’d be ringing them up checking in asking them how they are having a chat, and then working out what I can do to help them. I think that’s a fabulous action to be taken for all small business owners tomorrow. Start straightaway.
So I’m just checking down the comments. We’ve got Suzette, from Indianapolis that came to our course, back in October, says that it was great to see your posts in the group earlier on. Suzanne is the only person on planet earth that managed to turn me into a human kangaroo for about 10 minutes, and then get some kind of video of it. Liam has actually got that footage somewhere. And I’ve threatened him with his life if it escapes. But Suzette has got a fitness business. She’s running fitness, bounce classes with these really awesome things that you strapped to your feet. And you can bounce along. The message that Suzette put in our group earlier on was that straightaway she’s been delivering her classes online. And I think I think that’s phenomenal. The speed at which you’ve been able to do that, Suzanne, and I think, you know, that is I guess the obvious thing that’s certainly something that that we’re working really hard on we closed our courses in Doncaster and Bristol yesterday are known at four o’clock and 10 o’clock this morning. We were online delivering the course with with Liam and Alex in Bristol and Jack supporting Casey in in Doncaster. So the speed at which we can adapt and change and so on for all of us is great. And I love those businesses that have done that already. But But what if, what if the online thing isn’t an option for you? What do you think on that one? Alan, do you think it’s some? Do you think we just need to find a way to do it online? Or do you think there’s other ways of doing this stuff?
I think it’s a real challenge. Because if you look in the comments, cloudier brucea, saying all their courses have been cancelled, all their events have been cancelled. And it’s a real challenge. And it’s exactly the same thing we’re facing. We had an event plan with Google in New York, it would have been game changing for us, it was cancelled, we’ve had all of our cash flow for the next three months cancelled. And all of that has gone away. And we can continue to focus on what we’ve lost. Or we can try and figure something out. And I don’t really know if it’s possible in Claudia saying she’s teachers CPR and basic first aid. They’re very hands on training with mannequins. It’s a challenge. I don’t know what the solution is, but we need to brainstorm. So the question is, are you going to do one to one training? Is there a way to do it online? Is there a way to get someone can you post them the mannequin, and then direct them over video, there’s something that you can do to build a business. I don’t know what it is, we are actually in exactly the same place right now trying to figure it out. And I think we need to figure this out together. Because there’s nothing we can do about it. You. I’m here in New Orleans, they’ve just locked us down for an entire month. I’m going to be trapped here till mid April. I can get annoyed, I can get angry, I can focus on what I’ve lost, which is quite significant currently. Or I can focus about what we can do. And I think the quicker we can change to focus on what we can do, the quicker we can make a difference in our businesses and everything else.
Yeah, for sure. And I think like my thought processes, I was just being triggered by Bruce he’s gone. You know, plan B, maybe there’s a part time job. There’s certain industries out there that are booming at the moment for sure. And I noticed that I was impressed with Casey sent us a picture of BrewDog What a fantastic business that is. They’ve making punk hand soap instead of beer, you know, alcohol sanitizer gel, like repurposing their alcohol, which is really interesting that that pivot I didn’t see that one coming. So that’s super interesting. Like Bruce is gone. There’s a Plan B, there’s always a part time job. And I think for me, I think I’m almost unemployable. Now, in fact, I’m pretty I’m unemployable, having had the the Challenges and Opportunities and lifestyle, albeit some pretty long hours, especially at the moment of running my business. There’s no way I’m going back. I’m always looking for other opportunities. And I think in thought process A is based on what I’m currently doing is that genuinely away, if I write down five different ideas a day, if I reach out to 10 people a day and ask them the question, look, I need some help. How do I do this? So big? Beauty Therapy business? Like, as how to put a post in there? My book my business? I’m a beauty therapist, you know, it’s a hands on business. How do I turn that into an online fair another way of delivering that locally? Could I go to appointments in people’s houses? If I had a cleaning regime? Does that work? I think the indication is that could work at the moment whether that would be something that’s possible in a week or twos time, I don’t know, because this thing’s moving so fast. So my first thought process is how do I adapt what I’m doing now and turn it into something that is possible to deliver? And I know that Linda, Linda, with the upcycle, for Linda, you put a post in there, I can’t do my classes in, you know, I normally would I can’t do those online, can I? And I will be asking myself the question, how could I turn these? How might I take this idea and repurpose it and stick it online? is all like Alan said earlier on? It’s all about the question that we ask, if we asked the right question. We can get lots of ideas. He said, There’s no way I can do this thing online. What is that thing or not? If you ask the question, Am I doing an online course or an online experience on the decoration around the thing that you’re doing? And even with Florence and Florence, God bless you, Florence. Florence is amazing. She came to our course in Paddington, her business is a cat cafe. And she’s literally just had some fantastic news about literally within the last few weeks, versus eating using pot techniques to to get patients in advance. So she’s opening a cat cafe with, with cash in the bank already. And now of course, with all of this happening, I’m sure she’s concerned, and she put the comment, it’s gonna be pretty tricky to open a cat cafe online, isn’t it? Because that’s not possible, is it? And I’m going well, actually, I kind of I can imagine, I can imagine a zoom screen with, you know, nine to 12 boxes on the screen with owners bringing their cats for a social experience with other cat owners locally, and probably making some kind of donation to Florence’s business to make that happen. I still I’m definitely anything is possible, is it? We close that for a second. I’ve explored. It will Alan sign said I spent the last two weeks generating 100 ideas a day, and I still can’t come up with a way of doing this thing online, then we might go to plan B and plan B for me would be what other skills have I got? What other resources? Probably more importantly than that, what do I love doing? And let’s see if any of these things coincide with what’s possible. And get started without spending all the time that I’ve gotten so on. So Plan A is that? Am I enjoying my business enough to want to try and find a way around it to adapt it? Maybe see online find a different way? Or if not that Then what else do I love doing? What are my other skills? What other resources have got access to what customers need one or the other day? So living and turning into income? Those are those two processes for me, I talked him and I know that I’ve triggered a thought man and Martin does that face. So he’s got a there is one thing
your mind all you want to build?
So I think quite often, what happens with creativity. And you’ve seen Simon is when you start asking the questions, people will tell you everything they can’t do. And that’s we’ve seen a little bit of this in the comments here on Facebook right now is people are telling us everything that won’t work. And your ones focus is in the wrong place. Stop telling us what can’t work and let’s explore what will work. And I know that that’s challenging, because if we knew what would work instantly, we would have already said it and done it. So it’s actually going to take some time, energy, creativity and different ways of thinking to get there. But it’s the focus This. And it’s not actually going to be Simon and I coming up with the ideas for you. Although we might suggest a few things, it’s going to be you coming up with the ideas and making it happen. And I think it’s that focus bit. Carrie Barton has actually said, I’m a photographer, what can I do? And that’s an interesting question. What can you do? Where can you go? Let’s play the game. Now. Simon, you and I carry Barton photographer. What can she do? She could sell stock photos.
Yeah. I was chatting to my friend Adam earlier on. And Adams Adams, a fantastic photographer. He said, I can teach people how to use their own cameras, and I can do it online. He’s also going look, I’m really good at editing photos, people could send me their pictures, and I could edit them either for businesses or individuals or so on. And, you know, he’s also saying I could find outlets, organisations that are going to be wanting to create new marketing literature, to refresh what they’re doing to change it, and so on. There’s lots of ways of doing things. How would you choose one,
we could teach photography, we could do layouts for businesses. I feel like this lockdown, people are going to be doing a lot more online dating. So you could take profile photos for online dating, you could teach people to improve their online dating skills. And there is an idea out there that we could find if we can stay focused on the positivity, life is changing, and our existing businesses dead for the next two months. The question is, are we going to continue to focus on that, or move on to something else? That’s the real question. And we need to brainstorm ideas help each other. Your first idea isn’t going to be great, your 10th idea probably won’t be the one. It’s the one that comes later on that goes, I could do that. Whatever that is. And you need to start looking at what’s going around in the world right now to be able to do that. And I think we all have to do that is to focus on what we can do, not what we can’t do. And I think that’s the biggest part of this creative challenge. And I think I’d love to make the statement your business has changed. It’s what do we do next? That’s the key.
Alan, you triggered a couple of thoughts in my mind. The first one is every man woman and their dog and their cat Florence are doing on conferences and slides. And I was listening to and watching when are with foreign counsel, they were getting involved in the next few months, and even half hour notation boilies councils need some help some times slide decks more interesting. And, you know, businesses organisations doing lots and lots of presentations all the time. Maybe that’s an opportunity for a photographer to give them some disadvantages to have a lot about the presentation. There’s only so many boys. My main concern now is to check Lima. So, Elaine has she been teaching people English online, she’s got an Instagram channel, which is got 1000s of followers on 15 or 16,000. We met Halima in September last year in in central London. And I think I think there’s two things that I’ve learned from Halima. The first thing is that positive positivity is just the way forward this is exactly the way to go. But there’s a specific idea that you mentioned it reminded me of a business in Brighton that so he miss said, the Pay It Forward kind of option. And this is exactly what a restaurant so one of bright I think Bryson’s restaurant. It’s called engine. They actually kind of John and Corinne as well. What engines doing is that they are selling gift vouchers by the bucket load. So this kind of pay it forward to get cash in now. Wouldn’t that be a lovely thing if you have if you had a business like Hannah’s business like a beauty therapy business? And you reached out to your friends and family and said look, I’m you know, I’m facing a challenge at the moment because my business is an in person kind of business. Please, can you help me I need to reach my target of selling 10 Beauty Therapy sessions in advance for gift vouchers for when the bounce happens and I know we hopefully we get the chance to talk about the bounce and what bounce might look and feel like and when it might happen, but, you know, get getting that Pay It Forward initiative, and leveraging friends and families and customers and so on and say, Look, when when the world returns to normal again, and hopefully it’ll be fairly soon. And wouldn’t it be great if you could buy one of my beauty therapy sessions. So that sort of stuff goes through my mind as well. Allen should talk about the bounce.
Just before we talk about the bounce, there’s a little bit here, probably too late to talk about this now. But it’s a very important one that people won’t need to have in their mind for next time. Steven Murray says, I’m sure many businesses are really hurting for immediate cash flow right now. But don’t forget to add value first. And Carrie Barton says, the photographer says thank you worrying time I was due to open a studio. And I think there’s an element here of the reason that we pop up. We’re reacting very quickly to this. But we’re not too scared because we’re saving business. And we’ve been saving as much money as we can for all the years. So there’s no, we have about a year’s runway at our current spend rate to be able to survive. Most businesses aren’t saving businesses, and they don’t have that runway, you need to react even quicker than we do, and cut the costs. Stop spending where you can, and then go out and sell as much as you can. And cash flow is the biggest killer of small businesses. And this is what you need to have in mind immediately is where you can cut the costs and start to sell more, if you don’t do that, there’s going to be trouble. And we might have a year’s runway, but I’ll tell you what, that will go quickly. And I don’t really want to blow the entire cash stockpile that Simon I’ve worked so hard to build up just because of the virus. I want to keep growing the business, keep growing that so that we are safe, and we can continue to do the mission and help people. And I think that’s what we all need to do is focus on that stuff. So Carrie Barton, do not open a studio right now and take on a monthly release. Actually, you should be going back to them and saying can I have the building free for six months. And starting there. So that when that bounce that Simon spoke about happens, then we are in a place to go from there, because there is going to be a bounce. And if there’s not well, we’re all screwed anyway, nevermind. But if there is the bounce, then we just need to get ourselves in that position ready to take advantage of it. Because after every winter, there is always a spring where green shoots come and growth comes back. I don’t know how long the winters gonna last. But there are green shoots coming. And it’s being in that position ready for that. The challenge is when you’re in the deepest, darkest parts of winter, doesn’t feel like springs actually ever going to come. But I guarantee it always does, always does.
So the thought that you just triggered in my mind. Now I’ve got a call with a guy called Jamie Jamie smart, who’s a Sunday Times bestselling author. He’s written a book called Clarity and another book called results. The stuff that Jamie talks about is based on three principles. And it’s really, really interesting because it just helps people just to breathe and go, look if I if I can get rid of the fog here and just breathe and just relax and rest and just quiet the mind down for a minute. We are built for creativity. We are built to come up with new ideas. What we need to do is to be kind enough to ourselves to allow the headspace to make it happen. And I think there’s a little reframe that that I just realised that I did on Monday afternoon to change my mindset. As our events business was a house of cards on Monday afternoon. The reframe that I did was I flipped from Oh no, what’s all this stuff that’s happening? This is really really scary. Blimey, what does that mean for AI business? That was my first my first reaction. And then within a couple of hours, I was saying to myself, Oh, wow, what a fantastic opportunity. I think we can come up with some ideas. I think it can be great our business, I think we can do this and do that. area. Nothing in the local change. If anything, it was a little worse. The mystery shifted. And that’s what gave me the confidence generating ideas. So I think there’s something in there about reframing what’s going on. And rather than saying that this is a nightmare and getting sucked into people’s noses, I hear the words unprecedented one more time. You know, I fact I think I need to speak to Jack I think I’ve got a Coronavirus bingo sheet idea, which we’re gonna create tomorrow and put out on social media and, you know, we can wallow in that suffer is for me, it’s about reframing and being okay, the world shifted, it’s probably gonna be, again, I could not I got a chance to be in, I want three months to an unlimited number of training courses, opportunities, customers and ideas online. You know, if we haven’t built another website by the end of the week, or figured out how to do it, then hopefully we’ve paid someone else to do it for us, you know, now is the time we think about it.
So actually, that reframe, I learned a lesson very early on, I was a photocopier salesman, and I hated doing it. I felt like, well, that’s a whole nother story. I was a photocopier salesman. And when you first joined as a photocopier salesman, they give you the bad accounts that no one else wants to get you started. So I got given all these bad accounts, who had all the problems and hated our company, and told to fix them. And then I’m there going, Okay, I really don’t want to do this. Every time I run one of them, they were angry at me. And my manager at the time said to me, you do realise that the biggest opportunities lie in the biggest problems. And I looked at him and when No, they don’t, the biggest amount of hassle lies in the biggest problems. All I’m getting is crap and shouted at. I don’t believe you. He said, well, here, I’ll show you. So we booked an appointment, we went together to this meeting, we listened to this lady’s problems. We apologised for what had happened before. And we actually did a deal to sell her a new photocopier that actually did what she wanted, and get rid of the old one. And we had to listen to a lot of stuff. We had to go through a lot of problems, but there was a massive opportunity. And that then made me think, oh, angry customers can become your biggest fans. The biggest problems are where the biggest opportunity and money is available to you. And it really shifted my mindset. And ever since then, every time there’s a challenge or problem, it probably takes me about five minutes of winching about the problem to then be able to go, Okay, there’s something here for us. And sunlight. were brainstorming yesterday, I think there is an opportunity for pop up right now to change the game of how we teach entrepreneurship, to bring in more online to start doing more of this. Who knows what it is, but there is a huge opportunity. And I think what I’d like everyone to who’s watching, Heather, Angie, Hannah, Carrie, all of the people that are watching Chris, I want you to think there is an opportunity right now, for you. Somewhere in this. It is a shit show. But there is an opportunity for you. We just need to find it. And I think that reframe from that photocopier manager has stuck with me ever since.
So there you go. You heard it on the pop up business school live with Alan and Simon photocopiers and shit shows. That sounds to me like an album title. Should we? Can we make that album?
You just go back to being a musician Simon.
I might grow my hair again. Yeah, I did have a text with the guys tonight. I think we should just write songs. And actually, that reminds me, Carrie carries just put a post in there, which is, um, he’s gonna write a book with a number of exclamation marks. And you know what I know there is that old saying isn’t there. There’s a book in all of us. And I went to a book launch recently of someone you know very well. And so. So John Carter has written a book about how to make a company famous, and John and Corrine to some incredible work for us. And their business is all about storytelling. And I was chatting to one of our clients up in Bolton yesterday. And we were talking about every single person that comes to our course, you know, we meet so many different people from lots of different walks of life, and many of you guys are in here in this thread. You’ve all got brilliant stories. We’ve all got brilliant stories. And actually, I bet any one of us could sit down. And even if we’re not great with grammar, there’s apps to help us do that. There’s Theresa who messaged me tonight who spotted lots of spelling mistakes and typos in a couple of our blogs articles as people like to read her out there that are fantastic at this stuff. You know you can use these The button on the phone which Alan and I use all the time for voice typing, just click that button and start talking, start telling your story, and then send it to someone with good grammar to edit it, and hey, presto, you’ve got an e book within a few days. You know, I actually think this is a really cool idea. And I’ve been thinking that too, once we’ve got our head above water over the shit show that Alan described over the next couple of weeks, you know, here on you and I have been talking about writing a book for ages. I think this is the I think, wouldn’t it be fun if we over the next couple of months, and then we blogged about the process and what we learn along the way, I think that might be quite fun to do. I recognise that I’ve said this out loud now, which means that we have to do it. And a couple of other things, Francesco Francesco, I hopefully you’re still watching from that Francesco is one of Aberdeen’s most entrepreneurial people. And it was fantastic to meet him. And I’m hoping you’re doing okay up there, Francesco. You’re involved in food, businesses, and so on. So no doubt, you’re trying to figure out what, what to do. And looking at some of the folks on here, there’s some brilliant ideas buried in here, you just have to go through this thread, and look at these comments and go, Oh, what could that mean for my business? And I just My favourite thing so far is the world’s first cat Conference, which I think Florence, let’s talk about that. I’m sure we can help you figure that one out. And people would say, you know, Peter Peters, got a really good comment, a couple of similar comments around the winter, you know, that’s so the seeds Vicki’s put that in there as well. Oh, Pete has mentioned that there is potential grants for small businesses coming out. And I know what’s as part of that package of measures, the government have released some loans, and some grants. And it’s, you know, to support to support people, I think it was one thing that so grateful for is that don’t have to service any loans in pop up that you know, that everything that we’ve created is through sales. So I know it’s tough times. But for those grants, I think the date was the 20th of March. So we will post something on our website. As soon as we find out what the eligibility criteria for those are going to be. Because maybe there’s a cash, a cash incentive that we can go and grab hold of that might ease some of the pain. So Alan, it’s, it’s 10 to 10. I think we plan to finish at 10. Should we just talk for a few minutes about I’d love to get your views on the bounce? And what the bounce means.
Before we do that, can we talk about before the bounce just for a moment? Well, talk I’m going to talk about we talk
about that horse, that giant horse with a naked person riding it behind your head. Let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about before the bounce.
Chad actually wrote in the comments, hi, Chad, that it’s about weathering the storm. And I think if you think about this in seasons, as we said earlier, this is the winter period. And I’m going to use lots of metaphors and analogies, because hopefully it’ll make sense. During this period, I think it’s about preparing for what comes next. So let’s say we’ve done all the brainstorming all the work, we can’t actually figure out how to make our business grow now, it’s about preparing for that bounce. So what skills can we improve? What can we do? What can we learn? What can we grow? How can we get ready for the next part? And I think I’m not sure how many of the people listening have heard of the analogy of sharpening the store saw from Stephen Covey’s book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. But this is the time to sharpen your store. And what that means is he talks about two woodsmen in the forest, one is continuously soaring his logs and continually saw in the logs. The other is sat there and he spends most of his time sharpening the saw and then goes over to the log and soars through it really quickly. And I think that is if you’ve got time right now, spend it sharpening your saw. How can you learn negotiation skills, sales skills, can you chew up your website and get that to a level that when that bounce hits, you are the company that’s out there doing it? And I think I want to sharpen my sword and our business sore so that when the bounce comes back up and that wood is there in front of us, we can go out and chop it. And I think that’s the bit we’ve got time. Most education is unbelievably free online now. There’s our stuff. There’s a huge amount out there. Books are cheap. Matt Easley says he’s sharpening so many swords right now that you have a woodworking business. That’s an inappropriate joke.
Why is it that as soon as you start talking about chopping wood, then Matt esli arrives on the thread? That’s perfect. Man, Matt.
Yes, let’s not have too many word jokes right now. has
eight word has just replied, you couldn’t make this up. Okay,
hate, I am promising. But cases said she’s doing an excellent internet marketing course Centre of Excellence are offering all their courses cheap. There are so many skills you could learn. The question I would be answering is, what skills are going to be important for me to build the life I want and take advantage of the bounce that is coming?
Beautiful. I don’t want to talk about the bounce anymore. You put me oh,
well, I think so. Why would can we actually encourage our audience now the people who are listening right now write down that question. What skills do I need to develop to create the life I want? And take advantage of the bounce when it comes? And I would like you to actually start journaling about this and writing about it, and work out what skills though they are. Because I think one of the things that makes me different than a lot of people is when I read a book, I copy out the questions, follow the exercise and do the work. Most people don’t do that. So what I really want people to do is write down that question, journal about it, come up with the top skills and take action. Sometimes it’s great to listen to me and Simon and be inspired and have some energy and feel positive. But if you don’t do anything about this afterwards, nothing changes. My challenge to you is write down that question now and start working on it.
Beautiful, I love that as a couple of comments that have come in. So I think pizza wants to sharpen the chisel instead of the saw, I think you’re gonna have to have a conversation with Matt about that you can have a chisel off or a wood off, if that’s
think is how to sharpen Mac’s most successful video.
I think that’s brilliant. And perhaps Peter, you can get involved in that too. Stephens asked a really generous question. Yeah, that’s great, such as Steven Steven Murray. Thank you, Steven. He said, Alan and Simon, what can everyone watching do day to help pop up? And I think you know that their mission of the mission of pop up has always been to change the way that businesses tour. And we need to get the message out there. And I think what’s happened over the last couple of days is, is suddenly we’ve all realised that blimey people need help more than ever, don’t they? I think there’s two things that I would love. Number one is what is it that you need from us? Like tell us you know, keep keep the conversations going. Keep asking us questions, keep giving us ideas about how we could continue to support everybody, and share and share with those people that you think might benefit from, you know, a different way of thinking at the moment. And I think, you know, we’ve got some really exciting stuff planned. But the fundamental reason that we’re doing it is that we just want to help. And we know that we’re facing the challenges. We’re inventing it in real time. And if anyone saw my facebook live yesterday, you’ll know that that was being invented in real time. I don’t particularly enjoy this stuff. Alan’s been trying to get me to do videos for years, and I sort of did a few. I remember the very first video that Alan made me do and yes, they did make me do it. It was to promote our very first event in western Super Mare in 2012. He made me sit on his old cream leather sofa, and we sat next to each other, he stuck his camera, or video camera, I think we were we’re showing off in those days, we had a video camera. And we looked a little bit like the odd couple. And you know, the video that I did last night and the one before and I’ve got a couple of videos for the team that is way out of my comfort zone personally. And you know, i i Over the years I’ve not particularly enjoyed that stuff. But I think what I’m doing now is recognising that the world has changed and things are different. And if we want to, if we want to change the way that you make money, if you want to protect the way that we make money, we’ve got to change the way that we think and if it feels a bit scary, that’s good because it means you’re doing it right keep doing more of that. And I think that that would be my sort of closing thoughts on what what’s on your mind. What are your closing thoughts?
Everything you want In life is outside your comfort zone. Everything, I don’t care what it is, if you want to build a successful business, if you want to earn money, if you want to survive, all of this stuff is outside your comfort zone. And Simon, half thanks to him for it and half is not thankful for it when I push him outside his comfort zone. And I’m constantly pushing myself outside my comfort zone in different ways to grow and learn. And this stuff is going to be uncomfortable for you all. All I want to say is, let’s be uncomfortable together. Because if we all acknowledge it and go through it together, life is better. And I know that sounds weird, looking at you all out there and saying I’d like to get uncomfortable with you. But I think and I think we’ll actually make progress if we do that. Chris Jones says Simon loves to strike stuff on stage, but he’s scared of a video camera. We all have our weak mind was making phone calls. And I’ve had to overcome that. And everything you want in life is outside your comfort zone. You just got to work out what it is. What’s making you uncomfortable, and let’s get uncomfortable together baby.
I don’t quite know what to say after that. I’m very glad that that Kim Hi, Kim in Bolton, you by the way, the support that you’ve been giving people in group Kim has been phenomenal. So please keep doing that. It’s absolutely brilliant. You’ve been encouraging people and you know, giving some advice and sharing some of your own experiences. And that’s what this stuff is all about. For sure. You know, Kim’s put two emojis of frogs. It’s definitely about, you know, eating the frog. Because if you think in I think about BRUCEI for a second Brucey I know that you weren’t that excited about making a website when you came to pop up a couple of years ago. But you know, your magic stuff is just phenomenal. And there’s absolutely no reason why close up magic on Instagram, for example, or tick tock would absolutely fly at the moment because you’ve got you know, you’re phenomenal in front of a camera and every single one of us in this group could turn our hand to this stuff. But for many of us, it’s a bit scary. But as Alan said, sharpening the sword now’s the time to learn those skills. So So look, it’s been, it’s been exciting. Halima hate selling on the phone, we’re going to deal with that Halima Allen. Look at Alan’s face. Now, Alan was I can remember, I can remember Alan really down in the early days when I first met him about people putting the phone down on him and selling and so on. And we’ve got a really cool reframe about that. That’s going to make you excited to pick up the phone, and what a impact that’s going to have on your business for sure. So we’ve got lots more stuff coming where we’re getting a head above water, we’re finishing up courses in Doncaster in Bristol this week. And by the end of this week, we’ll have much more of a plan in place. Actually, you know, some of the team have been selling today. You know, James has been on the phone today, I think I can get you get James to talk to you Halima, I think you’ll learn a lot from him about picking up the phone. He’s been sending emails and calling people today. And that’s already having a massive impact. And I’m excited to announce something next week, fingers crossed, we get something over the line. But over the coming days and weeks we’re going to be posting much more content is going to be much more joined up and specifically solving the problems and challenges. Giving people inspiration, information and practical help get through this periods together. We have all the aspects that we’ve written ourselves, we’d like it to start constellation. Exciting, is here. Thank you very much everybody for joining us, and making us feel like it’s it’s been worthwhile doing. I don’t know about you, but I’m hugely inspired. From seeing the comments and having this conversation tonight.
I am hugely inspired as well, especially as Chad says, Let’s get uncomfortable together is definitely a song title. Simon, if you could produce that for our next Facebook Live. I think you should bring your guitar on and start singing let’s get uncomfortable together. That’s definitely it. Jack. Jack Marsh says when are we going to go live again? Yeah, I think so. For me, the request from all the people watching right now is we want you to drive the content. What do you want from us? What are your biggest challenges? What can we do? Please send those to us. We’ll make a list and we’ll go live again. Are we committing to do this again in a couple of days, Simon?
Yeah, definitely. Let’s do another live session by the end of the week. I think we may be doing one on Instagram as well. But let’s definitely do a Facebook Live before the end of the week. Welcome Everybody post something on the page and in our groups to let everyone know when that is that some super entrepreneurial people in this group I’ve just seen, Danny. So Danny lives up the road from us. He’s got Carter’s cafe in Lutterworth. He says, he’s turning this car back into the drive thru. He’s a delivery service. It’s that sort of entrepreneurial spirit and, you know, quick turnaround that every single one of us can learn from and be inspired on. So, Danny looking forward to ordering lunch from you this week? Yes, let’s do another Facebook Live.
Call. Russell Mullen says any marketing books to read? Read the Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes. It’s phenomenal. And last door, get out there and do it. Just if there’s one thing we could ask get outside of your comfort zone. Make it happen. This is the time to take action. We love you all. Send us some messages. And we will keep broadcasting from Lutterworth from Simon and New Orleans from me with the random horse people in the background. Tell us what you need. We are here to help you. And yeah, I love your state.
I love this so yeah, thank you very much to Jack as well who’s Jack hailing has been behind the scenes making all this possible and helping me do it. Thank you everyone. Stay safe. For me photocopiers and shit show will be my main take out from this and look forward to speaking soon.
My knees let’s get uncomfortable together.