Anti-Social Media – Alan Stevens’ Advice

From the weekly “must-read” newsletter produced by Alan Stevens The Media Coach.


With all the attention paid to Social Media, there’s been little focus on its related discipline, anti-social media. Here are a few tips to make sure that you know how to use anti-social media for no gain and scant profit:

  1. Promote yourself relentlessly, at all times. Make sure that every message is a selling one, so that your friends and followers understand what you are really about
  2. Re-send messages from experts, to give the impression that you have the same thoughts. Occasionally “forget” to mention their name to reinforce this impression
  3. Try to get as many people to follow you as possible, but ignore them completely. They are just your potential customers, so they have nothing to offer you
  4. Cut and paste articles and pretend that you wrote them (or at least hint at it by making it hard to spot the name of the original author)
  5. Insult and abuse others, to damage their reputations and reduce their chance of getting work.
  6. Constantly promote money-making schemes that you don’t use yourself (because they don’t work)

There you go. If you follow these rules on a daily basis, your business will change dramatically, but not in the right direction. You may even end up with an ASMO (Anti-Social Media Order).

“This information was written by Alan Stevens, and originally appeared in “The MediaCoach”, his free weekly ezine, available at”

….how did I do Alan?

The Monday Morning Quote #57

In memory of Maura Rees 8th August 1924 – 27th September 2009

For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

May you rest in peace Mum.

Let’s Smile & Move ™

Great link from Michael Bungay Stanier

How Science Reporting Works


Seven habits of highly organised entrepreneurs

Succinct reminder of good habits from businesszone

Economic recovery is now in sight but the pressure is still on to create equity and drive profit, and every minute counts in the life of an entrepreneur. Can being better organised really hold the key to being more profitable? Sue Reeve, founder of lifestyle management company Consider it Done, thinks so and highlights the key things to focus on.

Being organised is about keeping processes and cash flow healthy, while at the same time allowing business owners the freedom to focus on their customers and new business generation. Operating efficiently also helps reduce stress levels, letting entrepreneurs perform even more effectively.

1. Invest time in tomorrow
Successful entrepreneurs plan and commit to the most important things to get done each day. Give everyday a schedule, even if it’s rough. Without a plan it’s easy to let unproductive activity lead you into avenues where you serve the loudest voice, rather than dealing with the biggest priority for your business. Schedule time for housekeeping; emails, files or de-cluttering paperwork. Importantly, schedule time for business or financial planning, and ideas generation. Put up a whiteboard on the wall, keep a dedicated notebook for the purpose, or use the notepad tool in your iPod or PDA. Whatever you need to give you somewhere to record your thoughts as they come to you. Use waiting or travelling time to think and scribble.

2. Manage distractions
Don’t let them manage you. Turn off the continuous email notification if it stops you from constantly checking your inbox, and make a point of learning more of the functions of your mobile phone to help you manage calls by filtering or diverting them for a period of time. Allocate time for responding to messages, and prioritise call backs. Commit to handling each email or piece of paper only once. Become aware of where time leaks from your day – dealing with junk email, or looking for things – and take steps to improve your operation to reduce it.

3. Schedule regular cost saving reviews
The investment made in shopping around properly for stationery, software or marketing materials could shave your cost base. It’s simple to set up an account with providers and see how their prices compare to your current sources. Check the best fuel prices at nearby petrol stations before a long business trip at Utility and telecoms suppliers change tariffs constantly, so plan to review them every quarter. If time pressure is in the way, find an independent consultant who will audit the business, and handle all the switchovers to the best possible rates. They can build their fees into your savings, so the review costs your business nothing.

4. Make your diary work harder
Computerised calendars such as the one in Outlook, are everywhere, and it takes seconds to set up a reminder. Use them for absolutely everything where time is a factor, and you’ll stay on the front foot. Contract renewal dates; meeting preparation; report generation; customer reminders; or, break up big projects (the ones you keep putting off) into component parts and diarise them to make them more likely to happen. Use the meeting function to invite others into your task management or reminder system.

5. Don’t wing it with IT
IT issues can stop a business running in its tracks. IT support doesn’t have to cost a fortune and some technology companies can work on low monthly retainer fees tailored to a business’ needs. Work with them to build in plans for equipment replacement, to avoid being forced into big outlays during an IT crisis. It’s good practice to have an online back-up system, so that if your office equipment was stolen or damaged, your business data isn’t lost.

6. Be available for your clients
Missing a call from a client or prospect could leave you missing earning opportunities. A cost effective way to getting this right is by contracting a dedicated call answering service, so that there will always be someone answering the phone professionally. You’ll be able to respond to the important calls, and filter the time wasters. Factor in a cost of between £30 and £90 a month based on the volume of calls you need answering. Gain one more piece of business as a result of a call you didn’t miss, and the payback could easily show returns in multiples.

7. Delegation = freedom

Stay asset-light, and by-pass the responsibilities of being an employer by finding a quality organising service that can provide the resource you need, when you need it. Small businesses in particular may only need adhoc or occasional part time help, which would make all the difference, but doesn’t warrant an extra head on the team. While you are out of the office securing a new contract, you can stay focused, knowing that someone is managing the office, chasing outstanding invoices, dealing with IT problems, researching, dealing with correspondence or tracking budgets and expenses.

It takes unrelenting tenacity and energy to make a business successful, but by adopting smart working principles, and finding quality support, it’s possible to reach your goals faster. You have it within your power to bring the midas touch of good organisation to what you do.

Sue Reeve is the founder and managing director of Consider it Done, a lifestyle management company offering organisation and PA support to businesses and individuals.

Got an NHS Dental Contract? Watch your back.

I keep a watchful eye on what happens in General Medical Practice and medicine generally. I often wonder whether they are ahead or behind the changes that are happening in dentistry. I gather that the changes to the GDC are in advance of those in the GMC. What concerns me in this article is that “Trusts are clamping down…in advance of validation”.

I find it ironic that the GMC is missing its own time targets, will they censure themselves I wonder?

Last years the number of Doctors reported to the GMC rose by 30%.

The GMC has seen a huge rise this year in the number of doctors being reported to it with concerns over their fitness-to-practise.

The monthly rise in cases this year is up 30% on 2008.

The rise may signal that trusts are clamping down on poorly performing doctors in advance of revalidation.

‘The referrals are coming mainly from the NHS and they are not trivial,’ said GMC chairman Professor Peter Rubin.

‘It’s likely to be a precursor to the introduction of revalidation. Employers are beginning to take stock,’ he explained.

The increase is so great that doctors up before the GMC are waiting longer for investigations and hearings.

The GMC admits that it has missed its own targets of nine months for hearings to be concluded and six months for investigations to be completed.

In July almost one third of cases missed the GMC’s self-imposed target of nine months from referral to adjudication hearing.

In 11 cases, doctors waited longer than nine months for their adjudication hearing to start.

In the same month, 50 out of 391 doctors saw their investigation drag on beyond six months.

The council said it expected to be back on track by the end of the year.

Take a look at the full article here.

Fast in Fast out. Beware! The Early Adopters are Fickle

From Seth Godin’s blog in June this year but just re-read.

It turns out that a fast-growing trend is also likely to become a fast-fading trend. My analysis: the people who jump on a fast-moving trend are fickle early adopters. This group is most likely to race on to the next thing, and is also least likely to want to sign up for something that feels tired.

Another way to look at it: if you want to stick around for a while, you need to make the difficult sales to the middle of the market or have a ready supply of new stuff ready to entertain the never-satisfied early adopters.

That sounds pretty obvious as I write it, but I wonder why marketers everywhere ignore it? We say we’re eager to build a brand for the ages, but we spend all our time and money launching it to the early adopters instead of patiently earning the trust of the middle.

So keep constantly ahead of the guy down the road or work on being the business that the middle ground uses. Where are you really more comfortable?

The Monday Morning Quote #56

Nothing on earth can stop the man with the right mental attitude from reaching his goal.

Nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.

Thomas Jefferson


Seen in Bristol City Centre, what a great idea.


Should we pay more for dentistry?

Interesting piece by Prof Jimmy Steele on the BBC website.

Professor Jimmy Steele, author of the Government’s last dental review, says the over 40s are straining the NHS dentistry budget.
Many of the complex procedures they want, like root canal and crowns, are not really “needed” and higher patient charges may allow the NHS to provide a more extensive service to a larger number of people.
So what does NHS dentistry do for you?

“Not enough” might be the response, both from aspiring NHS patients and some NHS dentists.
Health planners might take a different tack and answer “too much of the wrong sort of stuff”.
Lets ask the question again, in a different way.
What does NHS dentistry do for the citizen?
For those who choose to and can access services, it provides free dentistry, for some, and a slightly subsidised service for the rest.
The service is not truly comprehensive, but when delivered in the spirit of the dental contract it can still cover a wide range of care.
So far so good, but it does something else which is much less obvious.
By setting both the prices for consumers and the pay rates for dentists it keeps the lid on costs and prices.

Much of the strain on the system comes from those of us aged over 40 (myself included).
You may beg to differ, but check out some private rates for crowns or root treatments, or for that matter the cost of care or insurance amongst many of our comparator countries.
Some people would argue that this control of price is at the cost of quality.
So we may be cheap, but could we be more cheerful?
The problem is this.
If NHS dentistry is to be available to all who want it (which is the aspiration if not always the reality) and if it is even to approach being “comprehensive”, there has to be enough money to spread around.
There is more spending on NHS dentistry than ever before, but if the money going in (£2.3bn from the taxpayer for England, plus around £0.5bn from patients) gets too thinly spread, the attempt to provide everything to everybody fails as both dentists and patients move out of the service or new technologies are not adopted.
For example, implant care has never really been adopted by the NHS, whilst access to other complex treatments is sometimes restricted by the dentist at the point of delivery, particularly if the incentives are deemed inappropriate.
Much of the strain on the system comes from those of us aged over 40 (myself included).
We are a demanding but technologically aware bunch of ageing baby boomers.
Our high disease, high treatment (courtesy of the NHS) past is catching us up, our maintenance costs rise every year and we would quite happily consume everything that the taxpayer could throw at us to save our progressively damaged dentitions from failure and our collective horror at the prospect of dentures.
As we age there are some tough choices about the filling of the inevitable and growing financial cavity, excavated by a combination of demographics, expectation, technological possibility and a limited budget.

So that leaves us with the rather awkward prospect of higher patient charges within the NHS as a way of keeping a broad dental healthcare system viable.
Tighter controls and more efficient incentives are essential, but in the long run may not be enough to preserve the principles of universality and comprehensiveness which are under strain.
We could restrict access to the service or the range of services provided.
This would be obvious and easy, but unfettered health markets don’t work well for the citizen, as President Barack Obama would testify.
Turning parts of our previously managed dentistry out to the entirely free market might be good for dentists pockets, but the experience of other systems would suggest it could be divisive and very expensive for the citizen – not really a vote winner.
By keeping to a tight budget it may cost a lot elsewhere.
So that leaves us with the rather awkward prospect of higher patient charges within the NHS as a way of keeping a broad dental healthcare system viable.
Higher costs for prevention and dental disease management, a basic part of health, may not be good for the nation’s health either.
But the concept of need is tricky in dentistry.
Many of the more complex procedures such as root treatments and crowns are not really “needed”, you can survive and function without them, and they are subject to big variations in personal valuation.
What would you be prepared to pay to save a tooth if the alternative is extraction?
Higher NHS patient charges applied selectively may allow the NHS to provide a more extensive service to a larger number of people.
They would be unlikely to approach private fees and may be the lesser and least costly of several competing evils.
First we need to tighten up what we have, but if we can get that right there may still be tough decisions.

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