Article number 7 written by Andy Fraser, publisher of the Bristol Nine Magazine

In last month’s issue I gave a bit of an overview of the voyage of discovery I had undertaken with Jeanine Hamaker, life and business coach. In it I concluded that a few sessions of coaching had brought very real benefits to the way I run the Bristol Nine business. This has been through Jeanine’s perceptive questioning and positive encouragement of me to take time out to look at the business in a dispassionate way, learn about and challenge how I really work, and gain a clearer, almost forensic grasp, of the nuts and bolts of what it costs to produce the magazine.

Much of what I have learned is, with hindsight, obvious and pure common sense, but working with Jeanine has made me realise that sometimes we are just too busy / disorganised, or focussed on the detailed tasks in hand, to see the obvious and recognise what should be common sense. So none of these examples are rocket science but – assuming I’m not uniquely disorganised -I’d hazard a guess that many people, with the help of some coaching and some quality thinking time, would find similar ways in which to improve the way they work.

So, some examples of the areas of the business I’ve looked at and changes I’ve made:-

1) I now understand and appreciate the workload peaks and troughs associated with the magazine, on a month by month basis throughout the year and also on a day by day basis within the month. This has allowed me to even out the workload and become more efficient overall by being more productive in quieter periods and thus less manic in the normally hectic periods.

2) I’ve recognized where I waste time, and the causes of me not working effectively, and put in place measures to counteract this. For example I realise that I don’t need to visit the bank to pay in more than once a week (it used to be at least three times), saving myself / the business time and money. In a completely different area of work I now appreciate that having music on in the office, which I had all the time, does nothing for my concentration when performing certain activities where I need to think but helps me when doing other less thoughtful activities. So I now fire up iTunes more judiciously.

3) I now have a clear understanding of what is a cost to the business and what I can/have done to reduce it. For example, recording how many letters I send, and costing them up, has led me to realize I can save £300 a year by sending almost everything second class (I always used to just pop a first class stamp on things regardless). Similarly, encouraging advertisers to pay online rather than by cheque has saved me a similar amount per year in reduced bank charges. I’ve also reduced my printer ink, paper costs and phone charges by firstly understanding what they are and changing things accordingly.

4) Looking at the disorganized way I’ve dealt with emails, phone calls and messages in the past made me realise how inefficient I could be. So I’ve created and introduced some simple tools, using the power and simplicity of use that the computer allows, to smarten up how I work. This includes better use of folders, spreadsheets, book-keeping, e-mail flagging and note-taking systems, and the introduction of a manta of “doing something positive with every email or piece of correspondence I pick up or open.”

These are just a few “simple” tangible examples of how I’ve managed to make my working day “better” – better for me and better for the business – that have resulted from a few coaching sessions with Jeanine. I plan to have another session or two in a few months time to look again at the business, because things change all the time and there is always room for improvement. If you are serious about business improvement you could do a lot worse than booking up a few coaching sessions with Jeanine – a little investment of time and money could bring real benefit in the way it has to me.

JEH Coaching

Nederheide 16A, Woensdrecht

0652 094 311

jeanine at

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