This week I have been greatly inspired by a lady called Jo Fairley. She spoke for the ‘Business and IP’ Liverpool region at Sefton palm house. I did not recognise who she was when she entered the palm house, but complimented her on those funky shoes (as you can see in the picture). The green and black outfit also gave it away if I was paying proper attention. If you have not heard of Jo before, you would have heard of ‘Green & Blacks’ chocolate. Jo founded this organic chocolate product.

As you all know my food is my medicine, but I don’t cut everything out, I just improve the quality. So I always go for a dark chocolate that is as close as I can get to 70-80% cocoa or more and that way you don’t want to eat it all and just have a strip. One of my favourites in the ‘Green and Blacks’ range is ginger. This is because it is a vegetable that is used very much in Indian cookery and the chocolate has that spice kick.

Processed, convenience and poor-quality food are full of additives and preservatives that are addictive on purpose. It keeps us buying more and more and keeps us closer to dis-ease. When you eat high quality food (and yes this can be more expensive and take more time to prep), you actually eat less and don’t tend to snack if you get your macro/micro-nutrients right. This is because the body is satiated. Anything which says low fat, skimmed or diet will leave you depleted, inflamed and nutritionally deficient. You also have to look at the soil in which the food is grown and the environment that the animals are fed and reared on. The soil association gives a good insight into this. If you come to see me as a chronic pain or back pain client, the first thing we do is look at ways of upgrading your diet and lifestyle by looking at the habits that don’t serve you.

I am always getting questions about how to start a small business up or to promote other people’s products or services. This is the thing: nothing happens until you take action, and no one can do the work for you – you have to get up and do it yourself and learn by mistakes. You have to be prepared to research.

I was the first and only group Pilates reformer and tower studio to start in the Northwest. I had to take risk. I learnt through trial and error. I am still learning; we always should be challenging ourselves to be problem solving. Human beings are designed to have purpose and solve problems. By having purpose you are always using your brain. If we don’t have a dream, goal or legacy you will create drama and ill health, in other words live in a cortisol or fight or flight response. Gandhi’s ashrams taught the skills of weaving, spinning and pottery so that everyone in the village including the blind, deaf and dumb could contribute. That way we are all part of the tribe and not carrying each other.

You have to work on yourself first in any business. That is spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. It is my belief that we all have a responsibility in life to be the best version of ourselves. This always requires discomfort, because staying where we are does not change anything. So whether you want to lose weight, tone your body, train for a marathon, get rid of pain, improve your bank balance, end a relationship, start a new hobby or learn a language, what you resist will persist!

My 15 takeaways from Jo

  1. Give customers outstanding value and that bit extra.
  2. Reverse mentoring – Learn from the young who are coming in with new ideas.
  3. Believe in what you do. If your relationships (family, work, social group) don’t support you, find like-minded people that do. So in other words find people who are bettering themselves rather than gossiping. “Our genes load the gun; the environment pulls the trigger”.
  4. When you start out in business don’t go for flash. The flash office, studio and car are all well and good, but it’s better to start out from the cupboard under the stairs and get the bus and build slowly. People will invest in you, so walk your walk and talk your talk.
  5. You will attract customers that either have or share similar core values. The movement concept and depth of knowledge of my studios simply shows in itself.
  6. If someone says ‘No’, it’s not ‘No’ for ever, it may be just ‘No’ right now. Many scoffed at the idea of dark chocolate in British supermarkets when Jo approached them, but of course big names took it on, and it has worked.
  7. Establish your core values! What is important to you and your business? What are you prepared to do to change the situation you are in?
  8. The recession can be an optimal time to start new things and new ideas while others are sitting on the fence waiting to start.
  9. The lockdown has been an essential time to establish ‘critical thinking’. Is what I am doing working???
  10. A free gift of some sort is always a great incentive to engage with customers. This can be an E-book, podcasts, video, online taster session or a sample product.
  11. There is huge power in generosity and giving. What are you contributing to the community and the planet? Are you consuming or contributing? If you are only consuming, you are in a state of survival (a useless eater). Consuming is everything from what we eat, watch and listen to.
  12. Charge what your service or product is worth. Not everyone is your customer, and don’t expect them to be. When someone is asking for a price reduction, this result is a poorer quality ingredient or service. This is a reflection of their value of your product or service and you don’t have to take it on.
  13. Use testimonials both written and visual, this incites enquiry and curiosity.
  14. Look after yourself by your nutrition, hydration, sleep, mindset, breathing and movement.Once you are coming from a healthy place you can look after the planet and others.

“The most powerful force on the planet is the soul that has to be awakened to its purpose”. – LR Knost

Starting your own business?

The business and IP centre are an amazing resource that run across various UK libraries including Manchester and Liverpool. They provide free business support to start-up business owners, entrepreneurs, and inventors. You can bounce ideas off them, and they have plenty of FREE resources and introductions to help you fathom your way.