Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Latest 'Connections' hitting intrays across Europe

The latest copy of 'Connections' - Badenoch & Clark's B2B publication is now out. It has reached its 11th issue, and I've written the bulk of it since the start. You can read it online here. I think there's some pretty good material in there this time round.

One of my targets for 2010 is more regular publication work - online or in print. It's something I still really enjoy doing. So, I'm on the lookout for opportunities.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A good morning so far

It's only just 9am on Monday morning and already I've had a three-feature pitch accepted by a magazine and had a case study cleared off at source. Things are looking up!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's snow good

I live in maritime climes on an island not known for its extremities of weather. We assume that, throughout the year, trains will run, roads will be passable, power supplies will be consistent. The last eight days have rather thrown all of that into a cocked hat - and the knock on effect for Britain's fragile business recovery will probably take some time to gauge.

The middle of last week was a write-off business-wise. It should have been the first week back for most people after the long Christmas break, but just a day in, we were faced with the worst snowfall since 1963. all the schools closed round here, if you hadn't got a 4 x 4 the roads were a no-go area and public transport ground to a halt.

By Monday, all the kids were back to school and normality should have been returning - there was even a slight thaw. I was set up for a day of case study work, followed by the last workings on a 70-page piece of marketing capability development communication with the prospect of the rest of the week being devoted to a project kick-off and all the actions that would flow from yesterday's planned meeting.

But it snowed again. One of my two case study contributors saw his university campus close for the day Monday - leaving him with a 12 mile walk home. Things were no better yesterday. I did manage to speak to the other people I needed, so at least have one case study in the bag.

I waited for the big report to arrive - I needed a hard copy to mark up and it was being biked to me. It arrived 26 hours after it was expected. I spent the next five hours working through my end of the project but had no way of getting it back to the agency until yesterday. Then, yesterday morning my contact phoned: stuck in the snow, miles from his place of work. I finally dropped in my marked-up copy at 1pm - having driven across the Chilterns at about 25 miles an hour. My contact still hadn't made it to his office.

I should, of course, have been in London - but that meeting was cancelled too. Some participants couldn't get to London, others couldn't even get into the UK. I'd planned an agency meeting on the back of my trip to London with the intention of warming up a slow-burning relationship that has been fitfully fruitful over the last decade or so. Needless to say, that face-to-face was replaced by a brief telephone conversation.

At my end of the business food chain, the impact of a freezing week and an amount of snow that would seem negligible if we were in the Alps or Canada, say, has been significant. The work hasn't gone away, but has been delayed to the point where my nicely planned week will crash into other upcoming activities once the white stuff's finally gone. My cashflow's fragile enough at the moment, and delays like this don't help - not do the 'empty' days that any micro business can expect, but that none of us relish.

We did have the snowball fights and the bracing walks last week; I was able to get some university work done and catch up on the boring business admin (which largely involved writing cheques for my accountant and the taxman), but I really wanted to start 2010 with some business momentum.

I sensed a fragile optimism as we headed into the New Year - I hope the stuffing's not been knocked out of it by a dose of Siberian conditions hitting our temperate shores.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Weather 1 UK 0

Once again a few inches of snow has brought Britain to its knees. It's actually snowing quite heavily out here in the Chilterns - we've got five or six inches on the ground and the only things moving on the roads are 4 x 4s. All the kids' schools are closed , as is Jac's office. I struggled into work...down the stairs and through the kitchen - but my clients in Bucks and Berks are conspicuously quiet this morning. Still, it makes for a few nice pictures! I won't be using my outdoor 'pondering' seat this morning - and I may pass on a swing too.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Let's get rolling

Odd day today. I've been back at my desk since 8.30am, but the three kids are all still in the house, with their respective school terms not starting until tomorrow. So today feels like a bit of a false start. I carried over one project from before Christmas, and am doing some artful tarting on that this morning, but chasing down contacts for another live project seems to be a fruitless task so far - I'm sure first day back for corporate bods means a lot of internal meetings and clearing a backlog of hundreds of emails - I know I've already got rid of many invitations to purchase viagra, hook up with hot girls and invest in Nigerian mining operations already this morning.

Still I hope the year begins on a livelier note than 2009 - that became scarier and scarier as January remained dead. Last year I left it too late to react: this year my resolution is to be far more proactive. Nothing happens if you're not making it happen.