Sunday, 13 October 2019

Your Finances and The Power of Multiplication

Personal Finance
Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

Personal Finance - Budgeting


Many of us have difficulting in managing our finances.

Budgeting, of course, is essential, knowing where our money goes each month and allowing for future expenses is key to avoiding financial problems.

There is one problem that confronts most of us and that it is the subtle power of persuasion either by self or a talented salesperson.




What is the problem?


The problem is minimising the real cost. It's been done in sales for years. For example, if you were considering purchasing an expensive camera, the salesperson will often reduce the seeming cost from the total value to a monthly or daily charge. £2000 over 24 months can be reduced to £83.33 or £2.74 a day. In our minds, £2.74 a day, less than the cost of a coffee is a bargain, even if we don't buy a coffee day! If we did buy a coffee a day, we would at least have the option of cancelling that treat in return for the camera.

Small value items can also create a problem for us. Spending £5 on a magazine or £1 on a chocolate bar might not appear to be much. What happens though, when we add up all those small spends? 12 monthly magazines will become £60, 5 chocolate bars a week will be £260 for the year. This is the power of multiplication. When we are trying to save money, take a look at the real cost, not just the one-time purchase. How many times a week, month and years do you make those purchases?


Be Realistic & Honest


If we are to really manage our money well, we need to be realistic with what we actually need to buy and honest to admit what we don't really need and if necessary can do without. Better still, when we view savings in the light of the power of multiplication, we can turn those £1 a day savings into many hundreds of pounds at the end of a year.

Thank you for reading this post. Please do leave a comment in the section below.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

How Podcasting Can Promote Your Business

podcasting is easy to do for business
With today's technology we are now able to listen to podcasts whilst on the go when in the car, train, bus or out walking or jogging. Although we often hear about the power of video it's not always possible or safe to be able to watch a video but we can listen to audio. That's probably why radio has never been killed off by TV.

Not everyone can have a radio station but with the Internet, it's now possible for anyone to podcast and build an audience of avid listeners if you give them content that interests them. It need not cost you one cent to start and podcast. For example, Anchor.FM is a simple and convenient way to record your podcast with your phone or computer. Anchor FM will distribute your content to Spotify, Apple, Google and many more platforms without you having to a thing. Check it out and see how easy it is to record, add jingles and even receive recorded replies from listeners.

As mentioned above you won't need any expensive equipment, it is possible just to use your smartphone but you might wish to upgrade as you get more proficient. Remember though, it's the content that is the most important rather than having a radio quality sound. On the other hand, the quality of the sound should not be off-putting.

I could spend much more time talking about the technical side of podcasting but that is not the purpose of this post. Rather, I would like to explain the benefits of podcasting for a business, charity, sports club or any organisation that needs to to get their message out and connect with people. As an example, you can listen to the podcast that I do for Warminster Town Football Club.

Why Podcast? 

A podcast enables you to regularly update your audience. A business can share tips and advice for which their products or services can be used. A law firm can talk about advice around legal matters and invite questions from listeners to be covered in episodes. A garden centre can explain how to look after plants and discuss what is in season now and therefore have an opportunity to invite people to visit or shop online. 

If you are a sports club you can talk about your club and include interviews with players, officials, fans and more to help bond supporters with the club. This is something I have found to be very beneficial for Warminster Town Football Club.

The opportunities are endless and if you need more ideas please use the box on the right to ask me or use the contact link on my About Me page!

Your podcast can lead to new business as people will begin to trust you. People buy from the people they know, like and trust and podcasts can help you build this relationship. It's worth noting that podcasts get found on Internet searches which is a bonus. Adding your podcast to your website and embedding into a page is easy with Anchor.FM. It can be set to show the latest episode or add each individual episode into a page or blog post.

As a tip, if you wish to combine podcasting with video in one go it's possible to make a video of you speaking and extract the audio for a podcast saving you time. Of course, this only works if visuals are not required.

Keep Going

When you start to podcast be prepared to speak to no one other than your friends or through social media shares. It takes time to build an audience and you will need to produce regular content for it to work and people to subscribe. At the end of your podcast and maybe at the beginning ask your listeners to subscribe so they will be notified when a new episode is uploaded. It's also a good idea to number each episode, Anchor.FM has a section that allows you to set the series and episode number plus you can add it to the title or description. This helps with searches and also lets listeners know that you have more content they might have missed.

Promote your podcast on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and wherever your potential audience might be found. Let everyone know when you publish a new episode and as you build a library of episodes you can promote older ones that are relevant at the time.

Above all, enjoy yourself! Let me know how you get on.

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Good Customer Service

Most of you, no doubt, are like me in that you expect businesses to give you a realistic level of customer service. It takes very little in time or cost for a business to do this and if done right will increase the levels of business and profits. It should make good business sense.

The bare minimum that I expect, as far as customer service goes, is as follows.
  • To be greeted pleasantly and politely. 
  • To be thanked when leaving in a pleasant way. 
  • To be treated in a respectful and friendly way during the transaction.  
  • To be given honest information in answer to questions, and for staff to have a good knowledge to answer those questions, or if more difficult to be able to find the answer.  
  • Promises, such as phone calls to be returned are kept, and goods delivered on time. To be kept informed if there are any problems that might impact on those promises or expectations.  
The above are very basic principles. It surely is within the capabilities of anyone running a business to provide this level of service.

When I go into a store, visit a restaurant or stay in a hotel, I watch how the staff not only interact with me but also with other customers. I find it fascinating to watch how businesses are run and which ones get it right and those that don’t.

What about you? Have you any examples of good or really bad customer service that you have experienced? Please leave a comment below. I would like to hear from you.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Listen to the Rhythm of the Pouring Rain

Many of our memories are connected to sounds. These sounds can evoke in us very different feelings stretching from sadness to joy and from peace to anger. What one sound can mean to you can be greatly different in someone else.

I love to hear the sound of rain. It takes me back to my childhood when we used to take family holidays staying in caravans on the east coast of England. With British weather being what it is, we would often have rain which could confine us at times to staying inside the caravan listening to the patter of rain on the roof. The memories this evokes though are of the happy times playing family games and chatting with each other. There were no mobile phones and Internet in those days to make us so insular!

Another sound is that of the birds singing, particularly in the spring as life wakens up after winter. There are some birds who’s raucous call, such as gulls can at certain times be annoying, especially at 5am!

Music of course, brings back memories and creates feelings of different moods. It has been used for millennia to inspire people into battle or raise their spiritual feelings. The TV and movie industry use music constantly to create the mood of what is on the screen. We all have our favourite pieces of music and songs and some that we just hate!

It is said that, “you can never judge a book by its cover” and you can never tell what type of music people like or loathe unless you get to know them. The most unlikely person based on appearances I have met, told me how he loved Baroque music but when looking at him with his dreadlocks you might have guessed reggae or rap!

I am sure that we all have hundreds of sounds locked into our minds that will bring back memories with many more still to be developed. Research into dementia is showing the value of music to help sufferers have a better quality of life and bring back happy feelings showing just how deep inside us sounds are stored.

I would love to hear your thoughts, so please do leave a comment below. 

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Evernote - What is it?

For a few years now, I have been using Evernote. I started with the free basic version but soon decided it was so good that I would upgrade to Premium. Before I tell you more about any differences, let me, first of all, explain what Evernote is.

Evernote, as you might guess from the name, is a note-taking system but with many more powerful features added. You create a note which if you wish can store in a notebook that you create. It works on and offline. You can download to Mac or PC, and it has an excellent smartphone app. Evernote is currently doing a lot of work to make all the features work on the app as well as on computers. They are also working to make the user experience the same across all platforms.

Evernote an easy way to store notes online and more
Evernote as seen in Google Chrome

Each note can be tagged with words that you would like to use to search for the note in the future and also you can search through the notes with a word or phrase search. If you store .pdf files then very cleverly Evernote can search the text in these as well.

Within a note, you can store photos, pdf files, create an audio file, and you can scan documents directly to a note. You can also use a Gmail plugin to add an email to a note or forward an email to a note using the email address that Evernote gives you. There is still more than this though!

Evernote lets you use a tool, Web Clipper in your Google browser to clip web pages to a note. This can appear as it is or simplified to text only, bookmarked, in article form or a screenshot. There is so much versatility that this blog post will never do it justice.

Some other features worthy of note is the ability to use templates for notes, either to create your own or one that someone else has done so that you can have things such as tables already laid out for each new note. When you have a note that you would like to work on a set time, you can set a reminder to let you know when you need to give attention to it.

Here's a neat trick or two you can use on the app. You can set up a post-it notes scan. When you scan a post-it note of a certain colour, it will be stored in a particular notebook of your choice. Attach a notebook to each of the colours and each scan will be automatically stored in the correct notebook.

When someone gives you a business card, open the Evernote app, scan it and it will not only keep a copy of the card but extract the details from it such as the person's name, job title, business, phone number and address.

Something I haven't used is Presentation Mode where you can project notes to a screen, perfect for those of you that have to do such presentations. Notes can also be worked on with those who you share them with either just to view or edit. You can also share a note online creating a mini-website, although if you want to create a blog/website with Evernote do take a look at Postach.io.

I use Evernote for many things, storing receipts, invoices and statements for both home and business.
I store emails that I would like to keep away from my Inbox and work on later, photos of plants that I have bought with instructions on how to care for them. I write notes to prepare for podcasts and blog posts. It's easy to store researched items in a note for use later on including as mentioned earlier web pages. My list could go on and on, but I won't overburden you with ideas. You can use Evernote however you like.

Evernote comes in 3 options:

FREE - very basic features and notes
PREMIUM - all the features an individual will need - click the link below for a free trial.
BUSINESS - for those larger businesses that want teams to use all the features.

Disclaimer: I did not write this post to make any money from Evernote. If you would like to try Evernote here is a link to give you a free trial. If you purchase Evernote, I will receive a small payment. Try Evernote today!












Friday, 27 September 2019

Live-streaming - Connecting With The World

Periscope Mobile App Warminster Town Football Club
Periscope Mobile App
Technology, as we know, has improved massively over the last decade and particularly with the advancement of smartphones connected to social media.

The high-quality cameras found in smartphones along with mobile broadband has allowed live-streaming to be freely available to all using such apps as Facebook, Instagram, Periscope, Twitter and YouTube. Anyone can now broadcast live using such apps to potentially millions of viewers all around the world. This is wonderful news not just for businesses who can communicate with their customers but also for private individuals who have something to say or share their interests with others.

With forthcoming 5G this is only going to get even better.


A Word of Warning 
Of course, as in other parts of the online world, this technology can be used for good or bad. Terrorists, scammers, paedophiles, the weird and wacky can all avail themselves of this technology, and so caution needs to be exercised. If you have children be very careful, for one thing, it attracts paedophiles and secondly many of the online services used for live broadcasting can show an exact location too if the settings allow it.
Live-streaming can of course just be used for fun, education, news reports, sports events, promoting a business and much more. I use it for streaming football (soccer) matches for my team, Warminster Town Football Club. This has enabled supporters who can't get to games to be able to keep up to date with the match and enjoy the game on their screens. However, it has done much more than that. It has opened up the club to people that have never heard of the club before and has attracted individuals from all over the world. Some have made the journey to come to a game in Warminster. This is great for a lowly amateur football club.

The various platforms have varying quality of video stream and of course, your Internet connection will also make a difference. The best quality for me is YouTube but to broadcast live from a mobile device you must have 1000 subscribers. Facebook live is also good. Periscope and Twitter has a more limited bandwidth quality but for most broadcasts is adequate and can in my experience reach more people. Linkedin is good if you're a business to business company and you have to apply to Linkedin to livestream.

It's best to start using a platform that you are already using for social media as you will already have built an audience and of some of whom who will share your broadcasts. As a tip, when you are about to broadcast make sure the title contains good keywords and use hashtags so that others interested in your subject might find it. My live broadcasts are saved and can be viewed as replays and for most broadcasts I recommend that you set this as a standard. For my football club broadcasts over a short period of time more people watch the replay than the live match.

You can create anticipation for your live-stream by sharing a link to your platform in advance building an audience ahead of time. You can set up a message or email to be broadcast with say 15 minutes to go to remind people to be ready for you going live. If you intend to broadcast on a set day, then it would be good to stick to that day and time, making sure the time is suitable for the maximum viewing from your followers. This might take a little testing to get it right but it will be worth it.

On most broadcasts, you will be able to read comments from your viewers but be careful. I have watched some broadcasts where the host spends too much time deviating to say hello to viewers as they join the broadcast. When you start your livestream, by all means, take time to welcome guests but set a short period at the start to do this. Tell people you will welcome questions and answer them when you can. For new broadcasters, this isn't such a big issue until you start getting lots of viewers who start bonding with you and want to chat.

Before you start to broadcast test out your platform and get used to it. Most are very simple to operate with nothing more than your smartphone. The next level can include Bluetooth or radio microphones and lighting but start with the basics and work your way up. As long as the viewers can see and hear they are not too worried about anything else if the content you produce is interesting to them.

I look forward to hearing from you about your live-streams. You are welcome to tell me about them in the comments and add a link to your channel.

If you're a business, sports club, community group or charity I would recommend you learn how to make it work for you. It can make a huge difference in the results you hope for. If you have any questions or are looking for ideas feel free to get in touch using the contact form on the right.

Please feel free to leave comments and questions in the box below.


Thursday, 26 September 2019

The Benefits of Public Speaking

Michael Trigg the Presentation Maestro.
Michael Trigg
The thought of speaking in front of an audience terrifies most of us. In fact, it is said that people can be more afraid of public speaking than death!

In reality, public speaking is a skill that can be learned and nerves overcome. I was delighted when The Presentation Maestro, Michael Trigg agreed to be interviewed on Time to Talk.

Michael has a wealth of experience in helping others to be able to confidently speak in public.

Please listen to this podcast and learn some excellent tips on public speaking and overcoming nerves.






For more information about Michael visit his website, The Presentation Maestro Also check out the free App for your smartphone!

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

How to Overcome Anxiety

Nick Elston Talking Anxiety
Nick Elston
In today's frantic and pressurised world we often hear about those who are suffering from anxiety issues.

Mental health here in the UK has thankfully become more readily talked about and I was delighted when Nick Elston took the time to talk about anxiety on my podcast, Time to Talk.

Nick copes with anxiety and has been able to spend time talking to many groups about it.

Please listen to the podcast and hear what Nick has to say.



You can find out more about Nick by visiting his website NickElston.com


Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Cowards Die a Thousand Deaths

William Shakespeare in Julius Ceasar Act 2 Scene 2 where Ceasar said,

"Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once."
Now, I am not a Shakespearean expert or indeed reader of his works. I first came across these words in a slightly changed form at the end of one of the old Magnificent 7 movies, and it made me think. There are times in life that we have to stand up to a person, situation or group of people. It could be a very frightening time, but if we were to back off and not stand up, our lives could be made miserable.

For example, imagine that you are faced with a bully. Bullies thrive on control and the feeling of power and when someone gives in to them the more they bully and are likely to increase the intensity of their bad behaviour. What though about the people who make a stand? Well, as Shakespeare wrote they might physically die, but at least they fought, and a failure to do so would have resulted in them effectively dying many times over as the bully repeated their sick actions over and over again.

Please don't assume that if your life is threatened, it's better to fight and not run! There might be a time when bravery could be stupidity and getting away from the situation is the best course of action.

Creating fear is a weapon of choice for many who are themselves weak in some way. Bullies are usually in some way inept. This could be that kid at school or your boss at work. When these bullies are faced with someone who is resolute and firmly and assertively says no, will usually back down. To give in will inevitably mean you have to go through more grief over and over again.

There is a good principle in William Shakespeare's words and they resonated with me many years ago when I watched that old western movie and have come in very useful on a number of occasions.

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment in the box below.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Where is the G?

Have you noticed how many now have started to change the way they say something and nothing? The letter g seems to have been replaced with k.

Here is a little video I made to remind us all that we need the poor old G!

Let's save our G!

What are your thoughts? Please leave a comment below.

Time to Talk Podcast

I have a podcast, Time To Talk which has the theme, "Speak Up, Speak Out, Speak Easy". During the coming months, I will be spending more time on the podcast and increase the number of episodes for my listeners.

The podcast is available on many platforms including Apple, Spotify and Google. I use Anchor.FM to record and distribute the podcast and if you're looking for a good way to produce your own podcast free of charge then I highly recommend it.

Latest Episode



I would like to invite you to subscribe to Time to Talk on your preferred podcast platform and always feel free to comment or put yourself forward for an interview!

Click here to visit my Anchor.FM page.

Friday, 20 September 2019

Non-League Football Clubs - Success with Social Media

For around 20 months as I write this, I have been using social media to help Warminster Town Football Club get more attention. This is a story of how a club can increase attendance and create a feeling of well-being for the players and supporters through the power of social media.

In the Beginning


Around 3 years ago, I started attending a few games at Warminster with my nephew and liked the spirit of non-league football. A good crowd was about 70 or 80 which in the Toolstation Western League, Division 1 was quite good. I noticed that nothing was being done with social media and the website domain looked as though it had expired and taken over by someone chancing their luck. The holding page saying that Versace's Lawyers had shut the site down for promoting fake goods.

I, therefore, did 2 things. The first was to create a Twitter account @WTFCSupporter to use to draw attention when matches were being played. The second was to create a blog to write up match reports for the games I saw myself (at that time it was mostly home games). 

This drew some attention, and I was invited in at the end of the 2018/18 season to the local radio station WCR FM to review the year from a supporter's view. At the end of 2018, I was asked to take over a relatively newly created club website that was set up due to the original one still being stuck with the Versace notice. Also, I was asked to take on Instagram and manage the Facebook Page. I was also asked to write the match reports for The Warminster Journal as now I was travelling to the majority of away games.

For some time, I have also been live-streaming the matches, firstly via YouTube and more recently Periscope. We had to switch to Periscope as YouTube has a policy of requiring 1000 subscribers to go live from a mobile device and as yet we don't have that many.

This meant that I could now tie in much of the social media. Social media tends to link well from one platform to another, generating more interest. A couple of the players resurrected the original Twitter account, @WarminsterTnFC and they manage that today. It takes time to look after the accounts, but not as much as people might think. In fact, a few minutes a day can go a long way. The most time is spent on writing content for the website, uploading it, organising interviews for the weekly podcast, and sorting out photos from our photographer, optimising them for the Internet and making promotional videos.

Results


The results of social media have been incredible. The attendance has gone up with a poor gate being 110 and we are moving to a point where we expect 120 plus and have gone over 200. The players love being featured on social media and seeing themselves play in the matches, which they can watch back on replay. You only need a smartphone to broadcast live although I have invested in a DJI Osmo Gimbal which makes for very smooth viewing without the limitations of a tripod. 

We have people around the world who have seen our social media messages and watched live football. Some have gone on to travel many miles across the UK to watch a match at Warminster. Others across the world have asked about buying the team kit and getting badges or souvenirs. All of this for a small non-league club in rural Wiltshire! I have received emails from Italy, Poland and messages from India, the USA and South American Countries from people all showing their support for Warminster Town Football Club.

How You Can Succeed


Firstly you need to open social media accounts for the club and have someone to manage the accounts properly. The points below will help you to make sure you do this right. If you have a website, make sure it is up to date. The vast majority of non-league football club websites I visit are months or even years out of date!

Make sure that you control any official accounts and have rules who can post, what sort of messages can be posted and that a signed agreement to use it properly is completed. 

The Bio in any account needs to be informative and precise. Spend time on your bio and write it and add your website link. Be prepared to change it from time to time to keep it relevant.

Suggested Accounts 

Make sure you have at least the following accounts as a minimum to have social media success.
  • Twitter
  • Facebook Page
  • Instagram
If you can do more then look at YouTube, Podcasting and Livestreaming. Pinterest is also another option. However, unless you can do it consistently and well keep don't sign up for accounts that you can't give the appropriate attention to.

Be Consistent 

Post regularly. Don't allow weeks to go by without adding some content. Daily is best, especially for Twitter. Find good photos from the matches to add to all your accounts along with any video clips. I make graphics (Google Slides is suitable for this) and short videos using Apple Clips to advertise the next match.

Pay attention to your club website! It needs to have regular information added, so forthcoming matches and match reports are an excellent way to keep people interested in your website and search engines are also going to look more favourably on it too.

Have a Social Media Policy

Make sure that whoever posts, does so respectfully. Do not use your football accounts to offend rival supporters, referees, the Football Association or get involved in other subjects, such as politics. Your club should have a social media policy that warns those managing the accounts of the consequences of any breach in the way the accounts are used. The club will be responsible in law for any official accounts that are not managed correctly, for example, racism.

Build a Community

Always remember that this is Social Media, the emphasis is on the word 'social'. Make sure you welcome new followers and reply to comments. Follow accounts that are relevant not just because they follow you. On Twitter, you can set up lists to see what those you don't wish to follow are saying, If you follow too many, you can't engage with everyone. 

Share other posts and tweets with your followers where they would be of interest to them. This creates a bond between your club and those accounts that you also help in this way. They, in turn, are more likely to share your posts from time to time.

Use Hashtags

Hashtags '#' are a good way to help people find your posts. When people search for a hashtag, for example, #football it will show either as the most popular post or the lastest which contain that hashtag. Viewers choose which to see on some platforms. Instagram will help you find many more followers when you use them. However, don't cheat! Only used words that are relevant. Include the name of your team, your opponents, the town, county, the name of the football competition etc. Here are some ideas from some that I use. #Warminster #Wiltshire #FAVase #FACup #warminstertownfc  #nonleaguefootball #nonleague Check out our Instagram account! 

Tools to Help You

You can manage your accounts from a smartphone using the official apps for Twitter, Facebook, Facebook Page, Instagram, and so on. For a laptop or desktop when it comes to Twitter, I recommend Tweetdeck, which is owned by Twitter and is free. You can set up searches, lists and schedule tweets, all of which are really useful.

Learn How

There is always something new to learn with social media. The various platforms are continually being changed, and new features added. Make sure you play around with them and go to the 'Help' sections they provide along with recent Youtube videos made by people who know how to use them. Be careful about looking at older videos and blogs as they might confuse you. If you search for help from third parties on Google or Youtube, use the search facility to make the most recent results appear first. 

Above all, enjoy what you do! 

If you would like to ask more questions please leave a comment in the box below.


Monday, 16 September 2019

WANTED - 1000 Subscribers

Youtube has a rule about live streaming from a mobile device. They require that the channel has 1000 subscribers. Warminster Town FC needs more subscribers so that I can broadcast matches live for the supporters who can't make it to the ground.

Can you help?


I would like to ask a favour. Can you please click on this link to take you to the Warminster Town Football Club Youtube Channel and subscribe. It is free. All you need do is click on the subscribe button and follow the instructions if you're not signed in to YouTube.

Thank you!

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

The Desire to Be Liked

Most normal people have a desire to be liked by others. It’s natural. I have been thinking recently about this and thought that I should write a blog post about it. So here it is!

There are, it seems to me, two sides to this desire, a good side and a bad one.

The Good Side of wanting to be liked

It's true to say that we are drawn to people who display good manners, are pleasant to us and who stick to the rules in society. We tend to dislike those who are rude, break the law and mistreat people. The need to be liked by others helps people to focus on being what could be described as, a good citizen. It helps to keep our society a reasonable place to live. This leads me to write about the wrong side of wanting to be liked.

The Bad Side of wanting to be liked

"One bad apple can spoil the bunch" is a saying that we are familiar with and in life, this is so true. Just as a rotting apple can spread the bacteria that breaks down the fruit, so too can the attitudes of other people infect those around them.

Many young people who feel the need to be liked can be drawn into gangs. Rather than worrying about what most people in society think about them, the desire to fit in with the criminal element and their attitudes is greater due to being in their presence.

The desire to be liked is a powerful part of our psyche and one that we need to be aware of in our society and that it can be for good or bad. Those working with young people who can be drawn into gangs realise this. Parents and others need to make sure they help their children to integrate with the 'good apples', not an easy task, and to give their children the love and attention they crave. Sadly, so many young people today are left to find their own way in life at an early age, and often the easiest path is one that leads to problems.

I always welcome your thoughts and would be delighted if you would kindly leave a comment in the box below.