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Fresh Thinking

At Fresh, we bring together the best of business theory, good practice and real world experience to help people know more, achieve together and work smarter.

We think that life is complicated enough without advice and learning that is loaded with theory and jargon. We don’t always need to reinvent the wheel, just make it easier for people to use. For some useful documents and other stuff click here otherwise read on for some thought-provoking ideas.

So why not draw on the experience and wisdom of others? It is all around us, from successful leaders like Richard Branson, great scientists like Isaac Newton and the larger-than-life people who entertain us.

If you are open to new ideas and enjoy a fresh take on old ones, here is a selection of witty and wise thoughts that we think are insightful and inspiring.

Contact us with others that have inspired you!

On empathy

‘’Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes……. After that, who cares? He’s a mile away and you’ve got his shoes.’’ Billy Connolly

The first part of the quotation is a familiar appeal for empathy. It is good advice in business: thinking about the circumstances and motives of an employee, customer, supplier or investor can help you manage the relationship better.

However, Billy’s twist on the theme is also important: sometimes you just have to make the tough decisions!

On strategy

‘’It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, it is the one that is the most adaptable to change.’’ Charles Darwin interpreted

This famous adaptation of Charles Darwin’s ideas pops up regularly in business books. History tells us that big corporations (and empires) can fail: scale is no guarantee of continued success. People who spot new market opportunities and respond with commitment and speed regularly thrive, even in a fiercely competitive market.

The pace of change in our society and the economy is relentless. Even the best business plan should be reviewed regularly as the organisation’s environment changes around it.

On risk

‘’Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new’’Albert Einstein

Nothing in life or business is risk-free.

Even the best-informed decisions may prove to be wrong with time. Accept this: learning from our mistakes helps make us better leaders and managers. Accepting that employees will make mistakes when they try something new will remove a barrier to innovation and benefit everyone.

On leadership

‘’If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.’’ Isaac Newton

In his research Newton looked at the work of others and he took it further and into new areas of science. In this statement, he acknowledges the importance of others in shaping his own work.

Good leaders are open-minded and reflect on the experiences of others. Like Newton, we have much to learn from their successes and mistakes. There is plenty of material out there: the number of autobiographies in the book stores reflects the extent to which people are willing to share their experiences, good and bad.

A piece of useful pub quiz trivia: look for this quote on the edge of the £2 coin!

On business

‘’A business has to be involving, it has to be fun and it has to exercise your creative instincts.’’ Richard Branson

He is ubiquitous, adventurous and engaging…it is hard to imagine Richard Branson sitting through a dull board meeting!

Not everyone will achieve what he has but the quote applies equally to managers and their employees in businesses, big and small. People who enjoy their work and have the opportunity to use their creative instincts, even in a small way, will be more motivated and more likely to stay.

On cost control

‘’My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.’’ Errol Flynn

Errol Flynn has not featured in many business books but this is a great one-liner and it would be a shame not to use it here!

Cost control is high on the business agenda at this time of recession. Review supply contracts regularly. If times are tough speak to your suppliers. A problem shared is still a problem but there may be opportunities to take cost out for everyone’s benefit.

On finance management

‘’Money isn’t everything but it sure keeps you in touch with your children.’’ J. Paul Getty

Some people, particularly in smaller businesses, are so absorbed by the creative tasks that they neglect financial management. The history of business failures tells us that cash flow is just as important as the flow of ideas.

Financial management is not rocket science! Do it well and there will be time and resources to focus on growing the business further. Do it badly and it can derail the business and create unnecessary tension with the suppliers, employees and investors that are essential to future success.

On marketing

‘’Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.’’ Bo Derek

People have diverse interests, needs and circumstances. As consumers we even behave in different ways at different times of the week and this introduces huge complexity for businesses trying to understand market trends.

Market researchers try to group consumers by their broad behaviour patterns and this helps businesses understand the market more. Bo Derek’s quip is a reminder that we are all different and that there is always a market opportunity for the right product at the right time, place and price.

‘’There is no such thing as fun for all the family.’’ Jerry Seinfeld

This brings to mind Bank holiday trips with the children and the disappointment of the attractions that never quite lived up to the billing.

Make sure you can deliver on the promise in your marketing materials! Don’t dilute your product or service by trying too hard to please everyone. Focus on the market you want to serve and the best product for it. Happy customers will come back for more.