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Chairman’s Blog Thursday 17th October 2013
Very disappointing numbers this week. 18 in all with 2 guests Jennifer Pritchard from Barclays PLC and Chris Taylor, Brayside Chicken Hotel.
16 Members missing which was disappointing in itself and doubly disappointing was the fact that we only had 7 apologies for absence.
It was with low expectations therefore that I rose to open the meeting, but almost from the moment I stood up it was clear those present were going to make it a very good meeting.
Having a guest who runs a chicken hotel was always going to help those of us who enjoy puns.
The Education Slot, delivered by our Education and Development Officer himself, explored the mysteries of the activity slip with particular emphasis on the recording of monies earned by way of the thank you section on the aforementioned form.
A theme was set for the meeting by this very excellent contribution. The importance of keeping track of our clients, where they come from and what we learn from them is both essential to EBF itself and also to its members who are all trying to run an effective business. This was the first of several contributions by David Plumley that made him the star of the show. Mercifully he did not even have time to explore the boundaries of what amounts to a joke and what does not.
We hit the 60 seconds with Kim Redwood-Lee taking up the theme of measuring our performance, our businesses and in particular our sources of work. She was followed by Alan Shaw who agreed!… although I am not quite sure exactly what he agreed with, but anyway he did. He then went on to explain about a Coach House he had been involved with , which presumably was being refurbished and he described working on it as “working backwards”. Sort of “putting the coach before the horse”. I am now quite keen to read one of his feasibility studies. I suspect it will be best read from back to front.
Mike Rogers certainly knew where his work is currently coming from, namely the stimulus that the housing market is receiving from the second phase of the “Help to Buy Scheme”. This view was supported by Dean Caldon from his stand point is as an Estate Agent.
Michael Adelizzi was the unlikely source of the saying of the week, he has just completed a bathroom fit out in relation to which he had to remove tiles from tiles and then more and even found a gas pipe under the bath. “…no problems just; just solutions…” was his call to arms. The gas pipe was clearly a surprise that he coped with but you wonder whether the owner had not seen bubbles in the bath. Even if he did he presumably attributed them to something else…
Graham Thurston returned us to our theme. He records details of every customer who telephones.
Richard Reed is still “peddling” cruises. If I have chosen an inappropriate verb to describe what he was doing with cruises, I can only comment that they seem to be exceedingly good ones. He also managed to introduce diversity into our proceedings, something to do with Formula 1… did not quite follow it myself.
Kevin Brooks described the quotation process and thinking that he had lost out when after the customer had asked him to “…tweak it about a bit…”. Apparently after had performed this mystifying ceremony the customer accepted his quote. It might be worth all of us checking our exactly how Kevin “tweaks it about” and employ it in our own businesses. It clearly works.
Jason Nortey explained why he could be considered a good bank manager and apparently this is not because he rings people up and gives them “cuddles”. Thank goodness for that, I knew there was more to this banking lark.
Brian Painter stood up, a hush descended over the room, then a collective sigh of relief when he embarked upon his usual tirade against smokers. It is not that there is anything comforting about spending £3,000 a year on cigarettes, nor that is likely to give you angina, a stroke or coronary thrombosis and in addition mean that you do not draw on the pension that you have worked so hard for in your retirement. It’s just that as a non smoker I am quite keen to know what I am missing and it’s the nearest anyone’s 60 second contribution could be described as a comfort blanket.
Scott Griffiths was awarded the Oscar for describing his involvement with “Digital Analytics Fundamentals”. It clearly made sense to Graham Thurston, who was awarding the Oscar, so I can only bow to his judgement and say …”hear hear”.
Any thought of a comfort blanket was rudely whipped away from all of us as David Pulley embarked upon a 10 minute slot that sent Brian Painter scurrying to the Loo and several of us looking white. David stepped into the breach in Howard Bullock’s absence and produced something of a public service dissertation on Ransom Ware, something to do with Encryption Locking. Normally jargon makes a lot of the more senior members of the group drop off. Nothing was further from the truth today. He managed to successfully put the wind up the rest of us by explaining how we could get locked out of our system completely and not be able to retrieve any of our data. The first we would know about it, is if somebody contacted us and asked for a sum of money by way of ransom. Apparently if anybody does that to you, you are finished…
David was eloquence personified and held all of our attentions, from IT nerd to IT luddite. It was a great performance and very useful. I know it was not his direct intention to do anything other than to produce an important warning to his fellow members but as a piece of selling it wasn’t too bad either. When Scott Griffiths gave him a referral it should be sufficient warning to us all to make sure he checks us all out. It also comforts me to think that there is someone who is able to let us have the information in a sensible and coherent way whose job it is to put these things right and or ensure that we do not run the risk of attracting the dreaded ransom note. I suspect Scott might consider some extra points in the performance league for Davis’s contribution today.
Although small in number the meeting continued to prosper in the referrals and testimonials round, belated referrals produced almost 20 and monies recorded was £11,400.00 which, given a membership attendance of 16, represented a really good effort. Another 2 weeks to go and I am confident we can break the £100,000.00 barrier for the month.
Finally there are 2 or 3 items I must mention before ending this Blog.
Today was the day of the “dreadful tie” and it was nice to see the majority of the members (at least the blokes) participating. Terry Maylin won the competition with a Mickey Mouse number.
The announcements produced a final warning from Terry Maylin to notify him of your attendance at the Christmas Dinner or indeed confirm non attendance. He will be dealing with bookings before next week’s meeting. Remember £10.00 deposit and watch our for his email dealing with this.
Finally, just when we thought we had experienced all the excitement possible in one meeting, Brian Painter, fresh from his dire warnings on smoking and a trip to the gents emerged to model 2 dresses that will be available for wear by any of you who do not produce a guest during October. Although he modelled them very well I would personally rather see you all bring guests than indulge some of the rather off beat fantasies of some of our members.
All in all a surprisingly amusing but very effective and instructive meeting. Those of you who did not attend missed one of the better meetings that I have attended.
I hope next week we can have a much fuller attendance and let’s see if we can have a large guest list as well.