The FA should do their homework

With Sam Allardyce leaving his post as England Manager some people think the Daily Telegraph was wrong to engineer a situation where no crime had been committed until their involvement.

Personally I think they were right to expose someone they suspected of being open to corruption and it is no different from the vigilante groups who expose paedophiles by luring them in with fake social media profiles – the intention to commit the crime is there.

Either way it is a sad situation that the England FA are now looking for another manager, with Allardyce lasting 67 days since being appointed.

Surely the way to try to remedy the situation going forward will be for the FA to undertake more thorough due diligence on all future candidates for the job, especially the one they plan on offering the position to.

It is something all football clubs should do with players and managers and this episode goes to show it is not just useful for when they are signing an obscure young player from abroad.

Possibly because Sam Allardyce is well known in these parts that assumptions are made (wrongly) that we know all there is about someone who has been in the game for so many years as both a player and manager.

There was of course a 2006 BBC Panorama expose linking him and his son Craig Allardyce – in addition to other agents, players and managers – with illegal bungs for signing certain players. Allardyce denied the allegations and nothing was ever proven so he was able to continue his career within football.

So as well as doing a thorough investigation on the employee, the FA should also require the manager to undertake an initial compliance assessment, reminding him (or her) of the importance of the position and how they may now be subject to many more meeting requests by parties with vested interests.

I am not saying it is all down to the FA and Allardyce is blameless but there will be cases where the job is too big for the person and the right sort of pre-emptive action will help.

It might be wise to check for any skeletons in the closet and deal with them before making any jobs offers which would avoid a whole heap of embarrassment down the line and continue to have these compliance meetings to keep any potential issues at bay and reaffirm what’s acceptable by the England manager before greed kicks in again.

Perhaps the lofty position went to his head and he was flattered by the attention he received as England’s Head Coach but we’ll see whether any further action will be taken or if Allardyce just has to wait for the dust to settle before accepting his next job in the game.



Personal Development, Uncategorized

Five Quotes For Perfectionists To Get On With It Already

Five Quotes for Perfectionists To Get On With It Already


It’s not quite ready, the timings not right, the economy’s too fragile, the weather too cold, I’ve not got a customer yet.

All of these are reasons why people delay in launching their product, service or business.

If everyone waited for their product to be absolutely perfect as well as the timing, market-place, customers, suppliers, most ventures would never see light of day.

So whether they are perfectionists or just procrastinators here are FIVE quotes to make sure you don’t delay!

  • Good enough is good enough. Perfect will make you a big fat mess every time – Rebecca Wells
  • Done is better than Perfect – Sheryl Sandberg
  • If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late – Reid Hoffman, Founder, LinkedIn
  • Every Master Was Once a Disaster – T Harv Eker
  • You don’t have to be great to start but you do have to start to be great – Zig Ziglar

Which quote resonates with you the most or is your favourite?

Networking, Uncategorized

Preparing for Your Networking Event

Many people receive invitation to a networking event and promptly confirm their place, put it in their diary and then turn up on the day.

Yet having made a conscious decision to go out and network, they don’t give that networking opportunity any further thought until they are walking through the doors, usually ten minutes after the meeting start time.

And herein lies the problem with so many networkers today.

Whilst on occasion they might stumble into the one person who could help them most, usually by not having a networking plan, it will end up being a waste of the well-intentioned networker’s time.

So firstly make sure before you set off on the day you have two pens (one to use and a spare) and enough business cards to give out should anyone ask you for one.

Ahead of the event it would be useful to study the delegate list. If one isn’t automatically made available (some on-line registrations allow you to see who else is registered from your social media profiles) ask the organiser who might be happy to share it.

Chances are there will only be a few really useful contacts at any particular event so if you can establish who is attending, highlight those people and make it your priority to meet them.

If there is no delegate list it is even more important to arrive early. Arriving early for a networking meeting has two benefits; firstly you can meet the organisers and ask them to introduce you to the previously-identified priority attendees. It’s in their interests to make this happen as if you make some really useful contacts at one of their events you are more likely to recommend their events and return to future ones.

Secondly you can offer to help the organisers in setting up (they will be even more likely to help you meet your top targets now!) and even act as an unofficial host yourself. It’s far easier to meet and greet people as the host than just another visitor.

Most people are not naturally comfortable walking into a room of strangers so by welcoming them and offering to help them they will be grateful to you and you will find your targets quicker and easier.

Factors such as the type of business you are representing, the size and type of event and the number of delegates, will all determine how many useful contacts you can expect to meet. But remember you should not go expecting to sell; most people do turn up looking to promote themselves, sell their services (I have even had a full laptop presentation thrust on me when asking a fellow delegate about his business) so be prepared to be more interested than interesting.

Your agenda should be about meeting those top-target contacts and simply engaging in conversation with a view to setting up a meeting at a later date.

So make sure you are prepared for each and every networking event you plan on attending.

Networking, Personal Development, Uncategorized

What is Business Networking

Some people are naturally good at meeting people and engaging in conversation.

They can quite quickly establish what the other person does for a living and who their target clients are – and perhaps just as importantly ensure the other person knows the same about them.

Such people find it easy to do this whether in the dentist waiting room, in the queue at the supermarket or in their children’s school playground.

This may be social networking but plenty of business deals and relationships start from such social encounters.

However for many people it is uncomfortable, daunting and even scary to talk to people (after all we are brought up being advised not to talk to strangers) despite them knowing it is necessary to develop new contacts.

In simple term business networking is about leveraging your relationships with business and personal contacts to refer their connections to you on a regular basis.

So networking involves farming; establishing new and nurturing existing relationships to increase your business.

It’s not just about meeting new people and it’s certainly not a case of attending events just because they are advertised as networking events – chances are you’ve been to these and come back having given out a few business cards and collected several more (watch out for the spam emails that will undoubtedly follow!)

Networking also has several other benefits but more of them another time.

Business networking is a pro-active exercise that should a fixed part of your business or marketing plan.

In fact, whether you already incorporate networking into your current role or are planning to do so, you should have a specific networking plan with clearly defined goals.

Anyone else have any other definitions of business networking?


Don’t Wish It Were Easier

Everyone faces difficulties. Face it, it’s a fact.

It’s these problems that arise, whether monthly, weekly daily or even several times a day, that actually help us – and here’s why.

If everything came easily, nothing we did would be particularly special.

We learn more by being challenged – after all necessity is the mother of invention – so the more obstacles we face, the more resilient, adaptable and creative we become.

Many people, many businesses will fall at the first hurdle so overcoming adversity separates the one’s who will survive and thrive.

Jim Rohn said it best:

”Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better”

He was absolutely right; we don’t want less problems because anyone can handle an easy life. We should want more wisdom to solve challenges.

I would love to hear about any major or minor obstacles you overcame that you initially felt were insurmountable?


Do you have an interest only mortgage?

There are thousands of people like you on an interest only mortgage. Before the recession began, these types of mortgages were very popular as their monthly costs are lower than that of capital repayment mortgages. By 2007 in the height of the boom, 33% of all mortgages were interest only* and a vast majority had no specific repayment plan.

An interest only mortgage means you are only paying off the interest every month and the full loan amount will need to be paid back at the end of the term. If the value of your house falls or you took out a mortgage in excess of 100% of the property value, the amount you owe could be greater than the value you would receive if you sold the property.

Many lenders now have changed their criteria on interest only mortgages and their acceptable repayment vehicles. Many lenders now require a higher equity amount within a property if you have an interest-only mortgage, alongside stringent requirements for particular repayment vehicles to be in place.

If you currently have an interest only mortgage and do not have a repayment vehicle in place you are at risk. It is always advisable to review your current mortgage and ensure it is the right choice for you. By switching to a repayment mortgage you would be paying off the loan as well as the interest, meaning you would not owe anything at the end of the mortgage term and would no longer be at risk.

The monthly payments on a repayment mortgage would however be higher than that of an interest only mortgage so it is important to review your finances to see what you can afford to pay.

Another option which would not increase your monthly payments by as much would be a part repayment, part interest only loan. This type of mortgage means you would be paying off some of the capital and would therefore owe less at the end of the mortgage term.

Existing interest-only borrowers will also need to think about the impact of the criteria changes will have on them and their future. There may be limited options available when re-mortgaging or moving house, so it is always best to get advice now to avoid being unable to move forward with your plans in the future.

Thankfully here at Gardner Finance Ltd we can offer a full mortgage advice service and can look at all the options available to you and discuss the best solutions for you. There are many things to take into consideration when taking out a mortgage such as general insurance and protection; thankfully we also offer a full service in insurance so why not contact us today?
*Figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgages. A fee may apply which we estimate to be £1,000. Commission from the lender will be used to offset this amount.


Some Handy Tips On Flood Protection

With Amber Weather Warnings from the Met Office due to a month’s worth of rain set to fall in one day in many parts of the country here are some useful tips if you are in an area prone to flooding.

• Keep a stock of filled sandbags handy to help seal your doors – your local council may provide these.
• Flood damage could wipe your computer’s hard drive. Make sure you back up your computer to avoid the loss of any sentimental material, such as family photos.
• Make sure that all valuables and copies of important documents (for example, your insurance policies and bank details) are stored safely, preferably in a waterproof container kept on an upper floor.
• Obtain temporary flood protection equipment, such as removable covers for air bricks and other vents to help protect vulnerable windows and doors.
• Prepare a home emergency kit containing:
– A first aid kit
– A torch
– A portable radio
– Spare batteries
– Bottled water and canned food
– Portable cooking equipment and utensils
– Blankets, waterproof clothing and rubber boots
– A list of local emergency numbers (e.g. the council)
– Your insurance details.

Home maintenance
When carrying out home maintenance keep flood protection in mind. Use flood resilient materials, for example consider tiles instead of carpets, and keep units and electrical sockets above ground level where possible. Use a local directory to find specialist companies that can install flood protection measures in your home.
In the event of extreme weather
If you believe your home could be at risk of flooding:
• listen out for flood warnings on the local radio.
• if possible, roll up carpets and take them upstairs.
• move as many items as you can upstairs, such as furniture, family heirlooms and important documents.
• move your car to higher ground.
• lift curtains and secure them over the rails to keep them away from the floor.
• block the external doors with sandbags.
• turn off water, electricity and gas at the mains.
• always put your own safety first and evacuate the property if there is an imminent risk that it could flood.

Help and advice
For help and advice during a flood, call the Environment Agency’s Floodline on 0845 988 1188, tune into a local radio station or check the Met Office and Environment Agency’s websites which carry comprehensive flood information. If the authorities advise evacuation, follow any instructions they give leaving your home as secure as possible