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10Sep 2014
Ajg Direct | Who Moved my Cheese

The best business books contain pearls of wisdom that can help both new entrepreneurs, and people who have spent decades running their own business. One of the most successful business books of recent years is ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ by Spencer Johnson, and published by Vermilion. Here, AJG Direct review this motivational manual, and look at how important its underlying message is to businesses today.

“As a businessman I’m always willing to learn new ideas, and discover new ways of addressing some of the challenges that commerce brings”, said Paul Gillett, director of AJG Direct. “Reading business books can be a great way to do this. Who Moved My Cheese is one of the most successful books in recent years, and it deals with something that everyone in business faces at recurring points in their working lives: how to deal effectively with change.”

The full title of the book is: ‘Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way To Deal With Change In Your Work And In Your Life.’ The title itself gets to the heart of one of the most important aspects of such books, that the lessons within them can be just as useful in your personal life as they can be in your business life. Since its launch in 1998, Spencer Johnson’s book has gone on to be a publishing phenomenon, selling more than 26 million copies globally, and being available in 37 different countries. So successful was it, that a follow up was launched specifically aimed at teenage readers to teach them how to cope with the changes occurring in their lives.

One of the great assets of this book is that it teaches important lessons through the use of humour. It centres around two mice who have to adapt and find new strategies when they find that their supply of cheese has gone. These are the central lessons at the heart of the book: accept that change happens, anticipate and be ready for the change, monitor and assess the change, be flexible and adapt to change quickly, enjoy the change, be ready for further change and prepare to enjoy that as well.

“Whether in business or in life, we all find that our cheese moves from time to time, so it’s important that we’re ready to move with it”, said Paul Gillett. “I recommend this book to anyone who runs a business, or is thinking of starting one. It’s a best seller for a reason, and one of the best lessons it teaches is that it’s important to embrace and enjoy change. That’s just what I do when AJG Direct take on new clients, and each one brings a new and exciting opportunity.”

AJG Direct are experts in marketing solutions that grow brand awareness and attract new customers, if you’re looking to change the fortunes of your business, they can help.

11Aug 2014
AJG Direct | Leeds Transport

The HS2 high speed rail link has been the centrepiece of this government’s transport policy, but is still decades away from completion. Major cities in the north have been calling for more immediate attention to their transport infrastructure. A report by the BBC reveals how five northern cities have called on George Osborne to create a radical new transport system across the north of England. Here, AJG Direct review this report and assess the impact that the One North link could make.

“The north of England has a huge amount to offer businesses”, said Paul Gillett, director of AJG Direct. “There are large numbers of skilled workers, innovators, and a ready consumer basis. Yet still, many entrepreneurs are choosing to base their businesses in London and the south east. Improved transport links could help to reverse this brain drain.”

The One North report has been put together by civic leaders and transport planners from Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool and Newcastle. It proposes creating a faster and more joined up rail system between the five cities. The main points that the report calls for are a 125mph cross-Pennine link, and better connectivity to Newcastle and Manchester Airport. It’s estimated that the total cost of the project would be around £15 billion, and that it would take approximately 15 years to complete.

George Osborne has welcomed the report, and indicated that he will announce plans to back the scheme during his Autumn statement. He believes that by improving the transport links between these northern powerhouses, it can create a business hub that will rival that of Greater London. The scheme is already being dubbed HS3, but if it comes to fruition, alongside the HS2 routes leading to Leeds and Manchester, it will revolutionise travel across the north.

“It’s important that ambitious transport schemes like this get the backing they deserve”, said Paul Gillett. “By reducing intercity commuting time, these cities become much more attractive to both business leaders and workers. Jobs will be created during the building of the rail links, but we are also likely to see a boom in the number of northern businesses after the scheme’s completion.”

Start-up businesses need all the help they can get, whether they’re based in the north or the south. AJG Direct is proud to help new entrepreneurs grow their business and acquire new customers, thanks to their sales and marketing expertise.

24Jul 2014
AJG Direct | Google Glass

We’re becoming an increasingly technology loving country, and advances in smart phone technology and mobile computing are snapped up by UK consumers. Occasionally, however, something comes along that is truly innovative and ground-breaking. The BBC have reported how A Google Glass modification now allows brainwave control. Here, AJG Direct review this report, and assess the impact of innovation on United Kingdom businesses.

“We are seeing technology that would have been science fiction just ten years ago, made into a reality”, said Paul Gillett, manager of AJG Direct. “These innovations are just the tip of the iceberg that could transform the way we live our lives and interact with others. It will also transform the way that people make purchases, so businesses need to be flexible enough to take advantage of the opportunities that the future holds.”

This new app, called MindRDR, wasn’t designed by Google itself, but by a UK technology start up by This Place. Google, already under pressure because of privacy concerns of both the Glass project and its search engine, has distanced itself from the project, but secretly it must be enthused by how its new technology is already being taken in exciting new directions.

The MindRDR application works by combing an EEG headset with the Google Glass hardware. The headset can measure increases in electrical activity generated by specific areas of the brain. The software measures this increase in technology and when a peak level is reached it takes a picture. When the level is reached again, it shares the picture on social media. The designers have stressed that this is the only the start of the potential that EEG connectivity can bring. It could help people with disabilities communicate with the outside world, and could also be useful in stressful fields of activity such as surgery.

“Businesses can learn an important lesson from this start-up company”, said Paul Gillett. “The public loves innovation, so businesses must be prepared to take a risk, and try something completely new. This technology could eventually be used to make the way we do business, and communicate, more efficiently. It could also be used to create exciting new ways for consumers to interact with businesses.”

It’s important that companies keep up to date with advances in technology, and changes in the way that their consumers communicate. Direct marketing should be targeted at these new platforms, to attract new customers. AJG Direct are specialists in innovative marketing campaigns that produce substantial benefits.

09Jul 2014
AJG Direct | Google Investment

Starting a successful business can take an initial injection of capital, but finding suitable investors can be difficult for companies who, as yet, don’t have a track record of success. The BBC has reported on a new venture capital scheme launched by Google, with the aim of helping technology based start-ups across Europe. Here, AJG Direct review this report and look at the impact it can have for new businesses.

“By launching this fund, Google are showing their confidence in the ability of European businesses to deliver exciting and innovative new products”, said Paul Gillett, manager of AJG Direct. “Investment at the outset, especially from such a big brand, can make the difference between success and failure for a new entrepreneur.”

Google already administer a similar, and highly successful scheme in the United States that has provided funds to over 250 companies in 5 years, including Uber, the company who are transforming taxi services. This new scheme will be open for bids by companies across Europe, and the fund stands at $100 million, approximately £58 million.

Google’s Bill Marris, the managing partner at Google Ventures, explained that it was the success of United Kingdom start-ups that had convinced them to create this fund. Companies such as Spotify, Soundcloud, and Supercell have made an immediate impact, and Marris believes that there are many more gems waiting to be discovered. The operation will be based in the Silicon Roundabout area of East London, one of the foremost creative hubs in Europe. Google have made clear, however, that the fund represents an investment for them, and they are looking for businesses that are likely to offer them a real return on investment.

“An investment from a company like Google, can be so helpful to a start up business”, said Paul Gillett. “It can be used to fund essential functions such as market research, or to initiate a direct marketing campaign that can help a company create a brand presence in the vital early days. I know how hard it is to take an idea on paper and turn it into a company, but investment and expert advice can go a long way.”

Even if your business isn’t eligible for the Google fund, you can still increase your chances of success by creating a supply of good quality customers. That’s where AJG Direct can prove invaluable, whatever sector of business you’re in.

29May 2014
AJG Direct | Leeds

Starting a business is often a brave move, but when carried out with the right planning and a strong strategy, it can be a very exciting and positive thing. Direct marketing specialists AJG Direct have recently opened up in Leeds, and are already seeing great results, with their clients reporting that they are giving them the highest averages in the country. Managing director Paul Gillett comes from a strong marketing background in London, and here, he discusses some of the reasons why he believes the first months in business for AJG Direct have been so positive:

‘One of the very basic things we have relied on is a strong work ethic within our office. Building a new businesses and getting it to perform at its best is not something that happens by magic, and everyone was aware from the start that it was going to require a lot of hard work over a sustained period. We made sure we had the right people on board to put in everything it took to hit the ground running and make AJG Direct an attractive company for our clients to work with from the very start.’ Paul Gillett began.

‘We also have a very targeted strategy. We specialise in working with clients in the telecommunications sector, something I have a lot of experience with, so we were looking at a market we truly understand. It is vital to be able to talk to clients in their own terms and to know what really works and doesn’t work in their industry, and this is something we are able to offer by specialising in this field rather than aiming to provide the kind of solutions we do to a massively diverse range of businesses.’

‘There was also a lot of planning before we opened our doors here in Leeds. We wanted to make sure we knew exactly what we were doing and what our initial objectives were going to be. We needed to establish our culture and our identity as a company so we could drive things in the right direction in these early days.’ he continued.

‘So far, we are really delighted with how things are going and we feel like our hard work to date has paid off. But this, if anything, means we have to work even harder. We certainly won’t be taking our foot off of the accelerator at any point. We will be looking to grow what we have and keep on providing our clients with the best possible solutions.’

10May 2014
AJG Direct | Leeds

For a true professional, every role offers some useful experience that can be taken on to future jobs or business ventures. The same can certainly be said for locations. Every city has its own business culture, and when relocating, wise professionals try to consider what they can bring from previous working environments to help in their new position. Paul Gillet is a highly experienced senior executive, and is the managing director of AJG Direct, a new direct marketing company who have been seeing very impressive results from their first few months in business. AJG Direct are based in Leeds, however Paul Gillett gained his wealth of industry and business experience in the London market. 

Here, he talks about why he believes his experiences in London have helped at AJG Direct:

‘There is no doubt that the business culture in London is unique in the UK. It is probably unique in the whole world, in reality. You are in a hugely competitive environment, both in company and individual terms. Every business has to fight very hard to gain and keep its share of the market, and every person needs to continuously prove their worth to their employer. This competition also means that when you do find great talent, you have to work hard to keep them.’ Paul Gillett explained.

‘Working in this kind of environment makes you highly aware of your industry, and very focussed on your own performance. It is the companies who have their finger on the pulse who thrive, and people with a strong work ethic who reap the benefits of this kind of culture. It may sound horribly stressful, but actually, a lot of people and companies really thrive on working at this kind of pace and intensity. It is exciting, it keeps you motivated, and you can achieve a lot.’

‘Leeds is a much smaller market, yet holds just as much potential as other emerging cities around the UK.  AJG Direct don’t only do business within the local market, so it is important to employ a lot of the same attitudes that are typical in London to gain an edge in any location. London is a highly competitive market, to survive you have to be hard working, innovative and truly understand your market, and those are all values we really want associated with our company. I love Leeds and looking forward to making it my home for now. I think Leeds as a city has it’s own personality and potential. The people of Leeds definitely make it special place and a city I am proud to call my home.’

London and Leeds may be very different cities, but Paul Gillett believes his background in London is a real asset in guiding AJG toward success.