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This is a resource created through the inspirational contributions of business professionals across the globe. It documents their experiences of 2009 and how it has helped them approach 2010 with a positive outlook. Each has an inspiring story to tell and impart some honest advice that will help anyone looking for ideas on how to make the most of a slowly recovering global economy. Please feel free to share this with someone who needs it.

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Positive Growth

Reflections on 2009

Inspiration for 2010


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Hello

The last few years have been witness to some of the most severe economic recessions in generations, and as we head towards some degree of stabilisation, businesses soldier on controlling what it can and coping with what it can’t.

The people who have graciously contributed to this resource have done so with honesty and experience to give the advice and hindsight many of us can use. Sharing personal and professional experiences from a variety of backgrounds and from a variety of countries, I am humbled by the willingness of these individuals to share their stories.

They will be an inspiration to manysince all have had the strength within to follow their hearts and keep them moving forward; even in darker times.

Take what you need from this resource and be sure to share it with others. Be part of the positive mind-set this world needs to grow.

Here’s to your future!

Susanne

Susanne Dansey is the Managing Director of Purple Cow Ideas Managementwhich helps develop real change for SMBs.

You can follow her on Twitter.


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“If only one person will get something out of this, it will be worth the efforts.”

Bart Martens


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RESPECTED

SUCCESSFUL

POSITIVE

INSPIRATION FOR 2010

EXPERIENCE FROM 2009


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SIMON MIDDLETON

Norfolk, UK

“The opportunities, more than ever, lie in imagination, in working outside the restrictions of classic corporate and commercial structures, and in creative collaboration.”

What personal experiences have you learnt from in the last year?

“Giving my energy and creativity free of charge to help people and a place I care about (Hemsby in Norfolk) has repaid my efforts many times over in terms of satisfaction, reputation, and business growth.”

What makes a business successful for the next decade?

What specifically in 2009 has given you the inspiration to grow?

“They will be more flexible, smaller, more collaborative, and geared to exploit rapid technological change and the demands of climate change, as well to respond to the emotional and values needs of people more than ever before.”

“The certain knowledge that to do anything other than to choose to grow and develop would mean choosing to diminish and decline.”

What was the worst situation you faced in 2009?

“I thought that my business might go bust. The first half of 2009 was enormously challenging financially, with potential clients very cautious about spending money, especially on conceptual issues like brand. I recovered by re-doubling my own efforts and my own marketing spend. I wrote a book called Build A Brand In 30 Days, published in April 2010 by Capstone. I co-produced, wrote and presented a TV series about branding. And I engaged a superb PR company to raise my profile. All cost time, effort and money, and all have paid dividends. I became better than I imagined I could be.”

Simon is the Founder and Principal of Brand Strategy Guru, Business Author, Broadcaster, and Entrepreneur. You can follow him on Twitter.


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What was the most difficult situation you faced last year?

MALTI PATEL

London, UK

“I left my safe 9-5pm job last year without a clue as to what I was to do next. It had all just got too much and I felt as if I was just going through the motions with life. It’s been quite scary but that’s where my meditation has really helped since it gives me a totally different perspective on life, as well as giving me the confidence to know that things will work out. I now know what I want to do and am actively pursuing this. I doubt I could have reached this stage if I’d stayed in my job.”

“Think of all the positive things in your life which you have now and realise and appreciate how much you have accomplished.”

What advice would you give to someone who has lost their momentum?

What have you learnt from last year?

“I've learnt that trusting your intuition is vitally important when you want to fulfil a goal/dream. My meditation/ spiritual practice has taught me that there's much more to life than we know and "going with the flow" is an art that can bring you what you want if you learn to trust it.”

“Think of all the positive things in your life which you have now and realise and appreciate how much you have accomplished. Think of all the goals which you achieved in the past which may have felt impossible at the time. Know that if you did it then, you can do it now.”

How will a business need to be successful in the next 10 years?

“I feel that the times are changing in that people are wanting honesty from companies. With the banking system falling over, government expense scandals, etc. people are becoming wary of putting their trust in institutions. I think that companies which put the customer first in terms of service, trust and honesty will be successful.”

Malti Patel is a personal coach and owner of EnlightOne


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Gardening

Scuba Diving

Meditation

Gym

Hugging my children

Baseball

Astronomy

Reading

Golf

Movies

4WD

Camping

Theatre

Singing

Hobbies and Pastimes

Hockey

Swimming

of our contributors

Walking

Thinking

Food

Sailing

Running

Writing

Entertaining Friends

Baking

Sewing

Cycling

Photography

Travel

Underwater Hockey


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RICHARD TUBB

West Midlands, UK

  • What advice would you give to someone who has lost their momentum moving into 2010?

Where should ICT businesses focus in 2010?

“Stop doing, and start planning. Lots of people fool themselves that they are busy, but they are simply fire-fighting – always fighting to remain stationary and making excuses for why they can’t stop. Take a moment to step back, take a deep breath and think about your goals and how you are going to achieve them. Write those goals down and measure your progress against them regularly. After doing this, even at a subconscious level you’ll start to focus on the more important things and begin to make progress again.”

“I see one of the biggest opportunities for IT businesses in 2010 in Cloud Computing. There is a new generation of young business owners who are already used to working in The Cloud – Google Mail, Facebook, VoIP – and will be seeking partners who can help them work this way. I see many IT companies bemoaning the fact that there is no “margin” in selling Cloud services, but what they are missing is that more and more individuals are happy with “good enough” services like Google Docs and Skype that are totally free to use, and therefore if they as IT providers don’t offer cloud solutions then they are simply handing those clients directly to Google and similar competitors. Better to maintain a long term relationship with a client and look for Value-Add services during the lifetime of that relationship than simply let the client walk away.”

“Try not to concern yourself with what others think about you. Most of the time they are not thinking about you anyway, and you can waste an awful lot of time and energy trying to please everyone. Distance yourself from negative people both personally and professionally, and don’t let the haters drag you down! Easier said than done, but try anyway.”

  • What will make organisations in the next decade successful?

“I believe the most successful businesses will focus on specialising in a specific area of business or a vertical market, and then becoming the best company to serve in that field. It is no longer enough to be a generalist – the world is a much smaller place than ten years ago, and outsourcing and off shoring mean you’re either highly skilled and valuable, or you’re treated like a commodity and therefore battling to be the cheapest in a world where there is always somebody who will work cheaper.”

Richard is the Operations Director of NetLink IT. You can follow him on Twitter.


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DAVID SOBEL

Virginia, US

“2009 was a particularly rough year. For me, the inspiration came from my peers. Sharing with my peers is a major motivator for me, knowing that the situations I face are not ones I face alone, and that there is a collective experience to be leveraged and built upon. Every time I share and give, I get back ten fold, and I’ve been driven to continue to press forward by encouragement from my peers.”

  • Where do you see the biggest opportunities for businesses in 2010?

David Sobel

“I’ve long laughed that my crystal ball is both cracked and filled with grey smoke, but anticipating trends is part of being a good business owner.  

I think the biggest opportunity in 2010 is the ability to leverage data within an organization. Business intelligence, and the ability to make decisions based on data provided in real time, is ever important. With more and more data available to decision makers, from sources both internal and external, the ability to filter and aggregate date to make effective decisions is more and more key.    

Being provided data in real time to make key decisions is an amazing opportunity to have a competitive advantage.”

David Sobel

  • How will the successful companies of the next 10 years differ from those of the previous decade?

“Successful companies in the next 10 years will be those that embrace open communications. The world has changed even more dramatically than expected in terms of the ability for a single voice to be heard. The days of organizations being able to control their message completely are gone. Customers openly review and respond to organizations, and can be heard from anywhere. 

Successful companies will embrace this, giving their customers the tools and ability to share their experiences and respond to those communications. Companies that fight this trend will suffer as companies will be propelled by their customers enthusiasm.”

David is the CEO of Evolve Technologies. You can follow him on Twitter.


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Who inspires you?

“My wife, always”

Simon Middleton

“My beautiful wife (Vivienne) and adorable kids (Reece & Brittany). They inspire me to be the best man/husband/dad I can be and to provide a better world for them.”

“The woman I met who has fostered over 700 children in her lifetime; those people who doggedly carry on when they have lost a partner or a child or who face illness and disability with courage. My children.”

Dean Calvert

Jill Cochrane

“My friend JoAnn in Seattle.  She’s survived a double mastectomy, chemo, radiotherapy, a brain biopsy, epilepsy depression, MS and several career changes.  She is the most positive, chirpy and cheerful person I know who thanks each day she’s here.  And she’s thriving.  And her positive outlook on life, over the 8 years I’ve known her have contributed to her drug cocktail being reduced and reduced until she’s on 10% of the amount she used to take.  She’s a true inspiration.”

“My biggest inspiration comes from God.  Mentors in my life include Chris Brogan, Bob Burg and Jeffrey Gitomer.”

Stuart R. Crawford

Eileen Brown

“Innocent, truthful people with energy”

Bryn McNeill

“Anyone who wins out against the odds.”

“My Aunty Amy, who at 95 is still positive, takes every day as it comes and has no regrets.”

Malti Patel

Linda Ockwell-Jenner


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DEAN CALVERT

SA, Australia

How will the successful companies of the next 10 years differ from those of the previous decade?

Where do you see the biggest opportunities for businesses in 2010?

  • “There will be gaping holes left in the business world as other companies shutdown, leaving opportunities for other companies to take over their workload, but doing it better. Technologically we’ll see further adoption of virtualisation for both DR and consolidation purposes. Businesses that can be both green and lean will do well both operationally as well as how they are perceived by the public.”

“Those businesses that can remain nimble, acting quickly on opportunities, prepared to take a calculated risk without freezing like a rabbit in a car’s headlights. These businesses also need to be forward looking, identifying opportunities that are coming and preparing to take advantage of them before the “followers” do.”

What personal experience(s) have you learnt from in the last year?

“To anyone looking to grow and develop their business, or perhaps considering rebuilding their business, they should read “Good To Great” by Jim Collins. Reading this in 2008 prepared me for 2009 which has been a great foundation for 2010 and beyond. If you only read one book this year, let this be it.”

  • “In late January 2010 I took my first holiday in over three years – I went camping in the Australian outback with my son. It was a wonderful time together and rediscovering what it was like to take time out. I am convicted to take more time to live, to love and to share with my family and to let my business have its own live separate from me, not consuming me as it has done in the past. We have already planned our next family holiday and it gives us an exciting personal goal to work towards rather than just working toward business goals at the expense of life.”

Dean is the Managing Director for Calvert Technologies. You can follow in him Twitter.


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How will the successful companies of the next 10 years differ from those of the previous decade?

STUART R. CRAWFORD

Alberta, Canada

“It really comes down to service. This is what will be the deal breaker for many organizations. How we communicate with those in the community, how we interact with competitors and how we serve our clients. 10 years ago we could be called professional order takers, now we need to be professional communicators. This is important at all levels of business.  Clients today do not accept "lack of communication" as an excuse.”

Where do you see the biggest opportunities for businesses in 2010?

“The biggest opportunity I see in 2010 is around "corporate communications". Once thought as purely a marketing activity, Social Media is now an integral part of today's communication strategy for any size of business.  This also includes marketing, sales, customer service and client retention.  Organizations need to be aware of entire picture including what is being said about them online as well. This is where I see the biggest opportunities in 2010, sitting down with business and helping them understand their entire corporate communications strategy and the role technology may play.”

  • What specifically in 2009 has given you inspiration to grow?  

“Follow your heart, this is what finally persuaded me to make the career change from being a technology partner to a communication and online marketing strategist.  It is all about making an impact in today's globally connected, margin decreasing and instant feedback world.  I am now fulfilled knowing that I am helping businesses win in the marketplace, communicate better with their clients and play a critical role in their communities.”

What personal experience(s) have you learnt from in the last year?

What was the worst situation you faced last year?

“Nice short answer, if you are not doing what you love, why are you doing it and don't be afraid to wear pink.”

  • What advice would you give to someone who has lost their momentum moving into 2010?

“My worst situation in the last year was just about caving in.  Doing something because someone else wanted me to do it.  This really drained my energy tank and got me to start doubting who I was.  Never, ever do something because someone else wants you to do it, do it because you want to do it...then surround yourself with a great team of professionals and friends who will be there for you.”

“Dream.  Take some time by yourself and figure out what you truly want.  I did this in November and it was the best two days of my life.  I am now aligned with what my true purpose is in life.  It is to serve, it is to help those around me and it is to take care of my family. If you have lost your momentum this past year, figure out what motivates you, what inspires you and go for it.”

Stuart is Senior Advisor and Partner of Ulistic Inc.

You can follow him on Twitter.


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BART MARTENS

The Netherlands

  • How will the successful companies differ from those of the previous decade?

  • What should business be doing in 2010?

“Most discussions right now in small and large firms are about the next steps in the ICT landscape. Companies are in a need for guidance on the best guesses and choices for the next 3-5 years. We see that Telecom and IT are coming together via Unified Communications. Social Media is getting hot in the consumer market and being requested by the younger generation(s). The discussions between fully managed devices like laptops and mobile phones versus working out of the cloud with your own device and last but not least private live and working live are getting mixed more and more. Companies who are able to adapt these major changes will be able to use the momentum after the credit crisis.”

“Companies have adapted a long term strategy in their business and gained trust from their employees. There is no focus on short term quarterly result-driven targets; management is rewarded for a 3 to 5 year strategy and not for maximizing shareholder value quarter by quarter. The basis for the company is now a steady, healthy and natural growth combined with a good working place for the employees. Furthermore they have embraced new technologies together with the new type of employees who are social active and have mixed personal and professional lives. And last but not least communication now really happens between all levels.”

  • What specifically in 2009 has given you inspiration to grow?

“I have noticed that the only person who can make a change is me. The blind spot of my own behavior has suddenly become visible when the credit crisis did hit my own company very hard. Working day and night was not the solution but a drastic change of my own attitude was.”

“Thinking too far ahead will not let you live today and too much control of the future will only make it fail.”

Bart is the Senior ICT Consultant for Innervate. You can follow him on Twitter.


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JILL differ from those of the previous decade? COCHRANE

London, UK

What specifically in 2009 has given you the inspiration to grow?

What was the worst situation you faced last year?

“Hunger to be the best, to over-deliver, to help people communicate more effectively. Effective communication is the primary tool of all business interaction and we so often see it go wrong.

We need to know: how to write emails and letters, how to interact on teleconferencing and face-to-face; to speak at conferences; to cope with potential confrontation; to communicate with one’s peers and at interview and to cope with the Press.”

“Not for sharing. The secret of success is only tell people what you want them to hear. My own sadness' and failures are for my own, many sleepless nights. As a trainer, coach and mentor my own problems only help to understand other peoples and therefore empathize, connect and help other people move forward.”

Where do you see the

The Training model is a challenge as businesses in the UK hold back on this. However, good communication is more important than it has ever been and now is the time to up-skill. While the UK holds back, opportunity is going to be in the Middle East and the Far East where companies are hungry to communicate across the globe.

biggest opportunities for businesses in 2010?

“The Training model is a challenge as businesses in the UK hold back on this. However, good communication is more important than it has ever been and now is the time to up-skill. While the UK holds back, opportunity is going to be in the Middle East and the Far East where companies are hungry to communicate across the globe.”

Kent Ambassador

Chairman of Governors,

Wellington Primary School, Bow

Chairman ITV Regional Advisory Group

(South and South East)

Board member “Women of the Year”

Board member New Crane Wharf Freehold Association

Chair of Judging panel for International Visual Communications Association

How will successful companies over the next 10 years differ from those of the previous decade?

“We have to be braver, sharper, and less risk averse. Technology has to be updated and aggressive marketing will eventually win in competition. That means working on backroom projects for nothing in the initial stages. Winning Global contracts will entail working across different time zones in order to fulfil customer needs. We will have to be faster afoot.”

Jill is the Managing Director of Vertex Training International.



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KARL to read it!PALACHUK

California, US

“Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.”

Virginia Satir

Where do you see the biggest opportunities for businesses in 2010?

“By far the biggest opportunities are in cloud-based services and other businesses that allow companies to get more done with a smaller investment. As we emerge from the recession, people want to take action without making large investments. Help them do that and you’ll do well.”

How will the successful companies of the next 10 years differ from those of the previous decade?

“Most small businesses will be less reliant on physical offices going forward. That means they’ll to figure out how to create and sustain a culture – and the personal touch – with a lot less daily contact. My guess is that the Social Media will expand to make this easier. As a result, companies that understand and use Social Media effectively will do quite well.”

What was the worst situation you faced last year?

“After 18 years of marriage and 21 years together, my wife left me. There was no big event or breakup. She just left me, our daughter, and her family behind. The greatest help to me in all of this has been my life coach. There are some things in life that you can’t get through quickly, you can’t avoid, and you can’t experience less than 100%. A life coach is extremely helpful in such cases.”

Continued…

Karl is the owner of KPEnterprises Business Consulting and the Great Little Book Publishing Company.


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What specifically in 2009 has given you inspiration to grow?

“In this recession we’ve had several clients come to us with their hand out and head down looking for a break. In every case we saw the human behind the business. We’ve cut rates where necessary and helped our clients in what little way we can. It has brought to light for me the humanity of doing business. We’re all in this together.”

What personal experience(s) have you learnt from in the last year?

“Unfortunately, I’ve learned to be nimble in downsizing. That means laying people off in order to stay alive. It’s a very difficult lesson to learn after 15 years in business. Even though we’ve grown, you can’t survive if you don’t make needed cuts in a timely manner.”

What advice would you give to someone who has lost their momentum moving into 2010?

“Technology businesses get to re-invent themselves all the time because everything changes so quickly. It’s pretty easy to start over when there are important technologies didn’t even exist when the recession began. Other businesses should embrace the technical side of their industry and become experts in what’s new.”

“Time is our most subtle friend. With time we look around and see that all of our other friends have gathered around to help us make it through.

Some of us are going through the same thing together. Others are just there to assist as needed. The reality without the veneer seemed so foreign at first. But over time our friends help us to build a new home there.”

You can follow Karl on Twitter.


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BRYN McNEILL

London, UK

Where do you see the biggest opportunities for businesses in 2010?

“In the Government funded sector getting involved with efforts to get the country up and running again.

Getting involved in the business opportunities resulting from the Fibre cabling push currently underway from exchanges to street cabs.”

“Keep moving forward, do not stop, do not look back, do not think in circles, do something physical and wait for the ideas and energy to return...”

How will the successful companies of the next 10 years differ from those of the previous decade?

“Much more open and intelligent management running smaller more agile companies that fit into big frameworks.”

What was the worst situation you faced last year?

“Facing a lot of business change issues while dealing with ageing family and making sure they are safe and well cared for, in spite of the systems in place. Very draining on two fronts at the same time but you get it sorted and move on. Keep moving, keep smiling and look for the next good thing to do.”

Bryn is Managing Director of CYM Consulting.


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LINDA to read it!OCKWELL-JENNER

Ontario, Canada

What specifically in 2009 has given you inspiration to grow?

“By helping others, whether it is through seminars or networking, my business prospered and so did the people I helped. This inspired me to offer more products and services to help even more people.”

What personal experience(s) have you learnt from in the last year?

“Not to partner with anyone without ensuring everyone is aware of the guidelines and can work well together.”

What advice would you give to someone who has lost their momentum moving into 2010?

“Look back over your past achievements, remember why you started your business in the first place and rediscover your passion.”

What hobbies/pastimes do you have?

“I walk with my husband it keeps us fit and we enjoy each other’s company, I love to garden and enjoy the fresh air, and play Wii which makes me laugh at lot and laughing is good for us all.”

Linda is President of Motivational Steps and founder of a small business community network in Canada. You can follow her on Twitter.


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INSPIRATION to read it!

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  • “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense.” Sir Winston Churchill

“Vision without execution is hallucination” Thomas Edison

“When the wind blows, the grass bends.” Confucius

"How you do anything is how you do everything" T. HarvEker

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

“Always be willing to help and expect nothing in return.”

"Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration." Thomas Edison

“Everything will be alright in the end. If its not, then it's not the end.”


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PETER HAYNES

Surrey, UK

What technologies will assist businesses in 2010?

“Green Data Centre Initiatives; whether it is through centralising storage, server, desktops or even the networked resources. More and more organisations are consolidating and virtualising because of the soft cost benefits to them. “

How will successful companies in the next decade differ from those previous?

“Taking calculated risks and daring to be different. How can I do differently what people are doing today and how can I sustain and apply that using new technology and methodologies.”

What specifically in 2009 has given you the inspiration to grow?

“Change. Change of job; change of country (from Australia to the UK); and a change of mentality to achieve as part of a smaller business organisation.”

“Try and remember why you started what you did in the first place, get that fireback and think positively. Positive thoughts breed positive behaviour and therefore positive outcomes.”

Peter is the Virtualisation Specialist for Nebulas Solutions Group, You can follow him on Twitter.


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JAMES SENIOR

WA, US

  • Where do you see the biggest opportunities for businesses in 2010?

  • What advice would you give to someone who has lost their momentum moving into 2010?

“A global perspective is invaluable.”

“Scalable pricing and flexible business models that are setup for the economic up-turn in 2010-11. Embracing technology trends that help to keep costs down whilst increasing opportunity for revenue growth.”

“Now is a great time to be gaining momentum so you can catch the wave of 2010-11 as the economy recovers.”

What was the worst situation you faced last year?

  • How will the successful companies of the next 10 years differ from those of the previous decade?

“Moving countries.  It was hard leaving friends and family behind and walking into a big unknown.  I used people I knew in the local area and also family in California to provide an initial support network and also threw myself into my work.”

“They will be more nimble when it comes to adopting new technology and be able to switch service providers more easily as data becomes more portable.”

Favourite quote:

“Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today.”

James Dean

James is Web Evangelist for Microsoft. You can follow him on Twitter.


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“Starting to read it!Amastra was a huge change for me.  I’d always worked in industry since I left schools.  The first few clients made me believe that I could be successful.  Having enough work to keep the whole team engaged full time is my goal, and I’m a couple of steps along that path already.”

EILEEN BROWN

Essex, UK

What should businesses be looking to do in 2010?

“Businesses need to take advantage of their mobile workforce.  Offering flexibility for their workers will see a huge step change in productivity.  Managers who need to see their workers actually in their places at work need to be re-educated to get them into a trusting mindset.”

How will the successful companies differ from those of the previous decade?

“They will be agile, see the pace of change, not be hidebound with process and will focus on customers – not their internal politics and restrictive practices.”

What was the worst situation you faced last year?

  • “My mother died the day before I was due to fly to Berlin to deliver my biggest client contract.  I made the decision to fly there and execute on the contract – I was a key part of the project.  I found strength there that I didn’t know I had.  It’s truly amazing what you have in you when you are tested to the limit.  I executed on the week long contract, came home and went to pieces in private.  No one knew...”

Eileen is CEO for Amstra. You can follow her on Twitter.


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“The most comfortable place to be in, is your own shoes. Don’t try and be something else, that space is already taken.“

Alec Sandeman, Director ofAPT Consulting Group in NSW, Australia.


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CREDITS

EILEEN BROWN

LINDA OCKWELL-JENNER

DEAN CALVERT

KARL PALACHUK

JILL COCHRANE

MALTI PATEL

STUART CRAWFORD

ALEC SANDEMAN

SUSANNE DANSEY

JAMES SENIOR

PETER HAYNES

DAVID SOBEL

BART MARTENS

RICHARD TUBB

BRYN MCNEILL

SIMON MIDDLETON

All author contributions generously given by their creators.

Conceived, edited, and co-ordinated by PURPLE COW IDEAS MANAGEMENT.

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