creative thinking

Creative Thinking

Think differently!


Creative thinking matters now more than ever. Ever since computers were first invented, we have all been told that the world is changing very fast. This is true, and never more so than now.

The pandemic means that we are facing huge upheavals to our businesses. It is absolutely crucial if we are to succeed in the future that we recognise these changes and build them into our thinking.

I am a great advocate of strategic thinking and I believe that right now is probably the most important time in our business career to do some of that strategic thinking and planning.

This cuts across most areas of our businesses. Just to pick a few examples:

HR and staffing

We need to adapt to new ways of working, (working from home is just one example). It is vitally important to involve staff in working out how best to work in the future – including the use of office space.

IT and AI

In order to work in different ways we need different IT. Every single business should be considering it’s IT strategy right now.

AI and algorithm driven decisions are now embedded in our daily lives, across almost everything we do. How should we take account of this in our business decisions?

The environment

Everything we do must take account of our environmental impact. This cuts across everything from how we build our houses, to travel, to use of plastics, to food wastage and use of fossil fuels. If your business does not have this as a central feature of your thinking then you will probably not survive.

Sales & marketing

We need to think of different ways of getting our products to our customers. This is not just the packaging it is in but also how we get our messages across. This is linked closely with the use of AI. Buying decisions are often made now on the basis of what the computer recommends rather than what a human thinks.


We need to be agile. We need to be creative in our thinking. We need to think outside the box. We need to change, and we need to learn how to change. It is all too easy to try to carry on as before. This simply won’t work any more.

The businesses with the new and innovative ways of working will be the stars of the future. I implore every business to put some time into this, and change.

courtesy in business


Common business courtesy

This is actually a very simple subject, but one that will make a huge difference to the success of your business. First of all, let us identify some of the common problems:

The problems

  • You send a text and get no response or acknowledgement;
  • You ring and leave a message, they don’t get back to you;
  • You email, but don’t get any response;
  • You arrange a meeting, and people turn up late;
  • You arrange a meeting and attendees are un-prepared;
  • The list goes on…..

Why does it matter?

For me, the main reason it matters is that it is just plain rude. I accept that people do not have the time to deal with my query immediately. However, if I am a potential customer then I expect the company to care about whether they sell to me. I do not want to deal with someone who cannot be bothered to get back to me. If I am looking to buy, I will very quickly move on to an alternative if I get no response.

A business leader I used to work for many years ago always insisted that if the phone rang then it must be answered within 3 rings. This applied even if it was someone else’s phone and they were away from their desk. His logic was “that person wants to give you a £1m order. If you don’t answer the phone they will give it to someone else”.

The Solution

It is very simple, here are some suggestions:

  • You receive a text, answer within 5 minutes “Hi, thanks for that, I’ll get back to you ASAP”
  • Check your phone voice messages often – and RING THEM BACK
  • You receive an email, within a couple of hours or so, reply “Thanks for that, I will get back to you”
  • DO NOT turn up late for meetings
  • PREPARE before the meeting

These are just simple, common courtesies, but they will give the right message to your customers and colleagues. You actually do care. They matter.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility is a very wide subject area. It covers everything from how you treat your staff, equal opportunities, supporting your local community, ethical business practise and  supporting charity through to caring for the environment.

For this article I would like to focus on the environment as it is today’s hot topic.

I am a hypocrite

I believe that we should be doing more for our environment and yet….

  • I drive a gas guzzling car – and I like it;
  • I use my car for most journeys of more than half a mile or so;
  • Most of the “things” I buy, I buy on-line and a gas guzzling van delivers them;
  • I have a bad habit of printing documents when I needn’t;
  • Most things I buy in supermarkets come with plastic in some form;
  • I leave lights on when I shouldn’t;
  • I fly abroad for holidays.

If I sit and think then I could come up with many more bad habits.

In business

If you are a small business then you should also be thinking about your bad habits and trying to do something about them. Some examples might include:

  • Have you swapped out your light bulbs for LEDs?
  • Have you considered buying your energy from a green energy supplier?
  • When staff need to travel for work, do you encourage them to use public transport where they can?
  • If you have lease vehicles for business use – are they green?
  • Could you install a vehicle charging point at your offices?
  • Do you actively look to source your supplies from ethical sources?
  • How good are you at managing your waste?
  • Have you thought about doing all your orders, invoices, remittances etc. electronically? You don’t need to print them.
  • Do you supply water in plastic bottles for your staff and/or visitors?
  • How good are you at switching lights and other equipment off when not in use?
  • Have you looked at more working from home, rather than your staff having to commute?

Depending on what type of business you are in, there are likely to be many more opportunities for you to do your bit and be a little bit more Socially Responsible.

We small businesses are not going to be able to save the planet all on our own, but that is no excuse for not being better than we are.

The current environmental issues are as much about mindset as anything else. We need to change, but first we need to WANT to change. This is the really hard part.

I hope this little article has inspired you to at least think about it, and make some changes.