Archives For October 2013

Memories are important

Sharing memories and stories are important for our children

I know this sounds incredibly fatalistic and morbid of me, but I have written a letter to my daughters, just in case I should die.

I am not dying, thankfully I am healthy and happy.

My mother died when I was seven and because of this I feel like I have grown up with a gap of understanding.  Sometimes it feels like half of me is missing.  Since having daughters of my own, my mortality, and its affect on them, hit me hard.  I don’t want my daughters to grow up not really knowing me, even if I die of old age.  I want a book to write my thoughts, dreams, stories and memories.  To collate and display precious photos with explanations.  To write about watching my daughter’s life journey unfold. I wanted something they could keep and read and maybe understand me a little more.

As I talked about this with my friends I realised they wanted the same.  So two years later we have the Me & You Book.  A legacy book for mothers to write a keepsake journal for their daughters.  To talk about the things we don’t have time to talk about.  To remember the funny stories along the way.  To share our tears and heartache.  To show our love for them is undying.  To ensure our daughters have us forever in this book, no matter what happens.

I don’t think this is morbid.  I wish I had a letter and a book like this from my mother.  I am going to do things differently with my girls.

My first entry into the Me & You Book.

To my daughter, Hannah

Me & You Book - a special keepsake for mothers and daughters

Me & You Book – a special keepsake for mothers and daughters

In your hands you hold a precious gift from me.

You are incredibly special to me, so I’ve written this legacy about me and you.  It celebrates my memories of you and the special people, places and events that have shaped your life.

This family heirloom will also uncover more about your heritage, your nanny and poppy, grandparents, and of course more about me, daddy and Ava.  You have these memories, stories and hopes in my handwriting.  These words show how treasured you are to your family.

This book allows you to take a trip down memory lane.  Whenever you want to whisk yourself away to another time and place and be with me, you can.  You now have a record of our life together, specially for you.  This journal is filled with love.  As some things in life can fade, know that through this book, our memories and our love will never fade – it is with you forever.

You are my shining star, with an abundance of individual gifts and talents.  You have a generous, caring nature full of kindness and laughter.  You are sensitive (I love that) and want to understand the detail of how things tick.  I love every moment of our journey together.  You and Ava are my greatest success.

My only advice is to listen to yourself.  Follow your heart and mind, combined there is no greater strength.  Your life is filled with opportunity and choice.  You can be and do whatever you want.  Know whatever you chose, my only wish for you, is you live your life with inner strength, happiness and an abundance of love.

It is hard to describe the kind of love I have for you, my daughter.  This book shares the joys, tears, laughter and love you have brought to my life.

This is the way I can be with you forever and how I can show the depth of my love for you. 

You are part of my heart.  I will watch over and love you – always.

Love your Mum

Nicolle's daughters Ava (left) and Hannah (right)

Nicolle’s daughters Ava (left) and Hannah (right)


Me & You Book Author. Nicolle Jenkins showing the book to daughters Ava and Hannah (and husband Dugald)

I could easily give you the six secrets to SME success, and right now you are probably thinking, oh yeah that sounds great! I admit I love those articles too, the ones listing the top tips for ultimate and far-reaching success. Let’s face it, most of those articles are written by people who have never owned a SME business.

Come on… we need to get real. There are so many of these articles floating around on the internet nowadays. While they are usually a nice read and a good reminder of what we should be doing, how many of us have actually actioned anything after reading them?

So before we go any further – I need to be honest with you because as a SME business owner, I know you are busy. (Deep breath)… there are no six secret to SME success. I just said that so you would start reading this article, BUT stick with me, because what I am going to write could save your business – or make your business even more successful. Yes – I am that confident.

If you don’t have a coffee, tea or bubbly in front of you, I think you should stop reading… get one… and come back with a notepad, ready to take action.

What I am going to write about is going to help you build your business, no matter the industry and no matter whether you sell a product or a service.

The greatest business danger
For our businesses to survive, we need to change our mindset on how business works. Humour me. Get up out of the chair and physically step back out of your business – look at it critically from an external perspective (that is, remove any emotion) and ask yourself. Is your way of doing business dying? Most of us (if we are being honest with ourselves) should answer yes.

I know it is scary, it’s ok, it is only me listening right now, but the sooner you are honest with yourself, the sooner you can start saving the business you have carefully nurtured and built. For those who have owned your business for more than 10 years, you will find this process more difficult.

We live in a changing world and change is coming quicker than ever before, BUT I firmly believe that with every change comes opportunity. First, we need to stop thrashing our existing business model when it is clearly suffering a slow death. Secondly, stop blaming others; the economy, online sales and cheaper providers – we need to take control back. We need to adapt, evolve, move and modify our business, to take advantage of new technologies, systems, relationships, connections and products.

Are you ready?
Recently at a business conference, researcher and author, Jim Collins said “The greatest danger for business is not failure. The greatest danger for business is to be successful without understanding how you became successful.” Collins went on to add “Arrogance and success can be the enemy for any business because you miss the early warning signs.”

Are you ‘that’ business? Are you missing the warning signs?

Collins said developing ‘a bit of paranoia’ in business can keep you sharp. So how can we create a healthy amount of paranoia in our business? I suggest you start with your customers. Are you losing them? Are they going elsewhere? Do you know why? Do you know who your customers are? What they like and don’t like about your business? Can you honestly answer these questions? Many can’t, because it takes courage to listen and be ready to change. It takes courage to build a business not about you, rather build a business for your customers.

If you are not close to your customers; and know what they want and how they want it – you are losing relevance with them and your bottom-line is suffering because of it.

We all know (or should know) that being agile and moving with your customers is the key to this rollercoaster ride we call business success. Reinforcing your relevance with your customers by knowing what they want and delivering it – are the two key ingredients to thriving in today’s moving global economy.

The key advantage for SME’s is that we are (or should) be able to evolve and be agile much faster than bigger business – this can be a source of competitive advantage for our survival.

Are you open to change?
Are you ready to ask your customers what they want from you and truly listen to their opinions?
Are you ready to potentially turn your business model on its head and consider new ways of operating to keep your relevance, fight off competitors and deliver what your customers actually want?

If you are, (awesome!) my next article will help you in this new era of customer engagement.

If you are not… just keep drinking the bubbly…

(This article was first featured on the Australian Business Advisory website