How to Start a Plumbing Business

So, you want to start a plumbing business. This could be a terrific decision, or, it could be the worst idea ever. Starting a plumbing business, or any business really, involves a certain amount of structured thinking to put everything in place, and making sure that you have thought of everything. By following this strategy planning process, you will have covered all the important aspects of getting your planning and strategy in the right place, and this will make the starting of your own plumbing business some 450% more successful.

The Strategy Required to Start Any Business

Starting a plumbing business, a bakery, or a high-tech company all requires the same basic thinking strategy. To remember it best, use the EASI acronym. In this case, E stands for emotion, A for achieving a win, S for simple and straightforward and I for the implementation.

Everybody wanting to start a business should be aware that it is going to involve plenty of challenges, hardships, stress, worry, and a multitude of other issues. The process of starting a business has often been likened to jumping off a cliff, and building an aeroplane on the way down. It will mean sleepless nights, long working hours and the unwavering support of family and friends around you. This is real, and the reason so many start-up businesses fail.

The first step, therefore, is to examine the reasons that you want to start the business in the first place. This involves an examination of the emotions, or feeling behind the rationale of starting your own plumbing business. Everyone will have their own reasons for wanting to start their business. It may be as a last resort as they are unable to find employment in the field, it may be that they hate having a boss, it may be that they want to become extraordinarily wealthy. Whatever the reason, it is essential that the owners of the business, if there are more than one, are aware of the strength of their emotions regarding the venture. This will determine the power of the motivation, the real forces behind the venture, and, with the aid of a skilled consultant, allow the prospective business owners to determine if their vessel will survive the storms on the ocean, or if there needs to be some additional emotional management included.

The second item speaks to the vision, or goal of the organisation. A prospective plumbing business may have as its goal to be a loss leader and therefore a tax write-off. It may be that achieving a win with the business would be familial survival, or putting children through school. Either way, all the owners need to be able, collaboratively, to understand what the goal is and to have a combined vision of the business that everyone can buy into. Without this shared vision, any subsequent planning and strategizing will ultimately be negated and sporadic, with everyone involved having different goals and aims, instead of pulling together in the right direction.

Keep Things Simple and Straightforward

It does not take any real skill to make things more complex. The real genius in any situation is to make things more simple. This line of thinking is propagated by all the top entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk. Albert Einstein often used to say that if you couldn’t explain a thing to a six-year-old, you didn’t understand it yourself. In light of this strategic thinking, the next piece of advice is to keep all your plans and strategies simple and straightforward. Set a goal that everyone involved, all the stakeholders, can buy into. See where you currently are, and plan a way to get to that goal that all concerned can understand, appreciate, and take ownership of.

The final step in setting up a new plumbing business is to implement the strategy. Without a rigorous implementation strategy and plan, all the goal-setting and personal examination of business vision and motivation will just become a distant wish. Implementation plans fall into five basic categories; overall business strategy, financial planning, human resources and communications, sales and marketing, and project management. All businesses must be able to conduct planning with respect to these five regions of business expertise in order to be successful.

Implementing Your Plumbing Business Strategy

The first step in initiating the plan within all the five sectors that need examination is to complete a real, practical, and genuine business plan. Having gone through the initial strategic thinking process as outlined above, compiling an overall business plan should be relatively easy. Nevertheless, failing to spend sufficient time aligning a business plan to the strategy will mean that the business is also likely to fail, because one of the well-known factors in determining business success is that more than 80% of successful businesses have determined their overall strategy in detail, aligned the business plan, gone into each aspect of the business plan in detail, and repeat this strategic thinking process regularly amongst all the stakeholders.

Once the business plan has been compiled in detail, with all the necessary inputs being not only realistic but pragmatic as well, then the detailed considerations in each of the five business aspects can begin. This should dovetail with the business plan, but expand on the details simply stated in the plan to some extent. In the case of a plumbing business as we are considering here, some of the parameters in these five aspects of the business will be examined. Not in an attempt to intimidate any prospective plumbing entrepreneurs, but rather in an attempt to illustrate the importance of this strategic thinking process, and the reasons why it should be conducted in detail, and why utilising effective and experienced business consultants will not only increase the chances of success, but probably save substantial money in the medium to long term.

Five Business Areas to Conduct Planning

These five business areas, as related to a plumbing business, are strategy, financial, sales and marketing, human resources and communications, and projects. Overall strategy has been discussed in some detail, and following the above instructions will guarantee success in this regard.

The financial planning aspect when starting a plumbing business is of crucial importance. A detailed understanding of potential income, and expenditures related to the running of the business need to be examined. Whereas these are obviously tied in the overall strategy, the practical aspects of a plumbing business will need to be added by the stakeholders, using their experience and knowledge of the field. Office premises, the maintenance of stock and supplies, transport, and the ability to survive until the income exceeds the costs needs to be determined. All potential financial considerations, such as stakeholder input, the possibility of generating loans and financial support and receiving up-front payments all need to be planned in great detail.

Income of a plumbing business is directly related to the amount of work undertaken and the charges levied on this work. In an overall sense, the amount of income must exceed the costs of the business, and the aim of any sales and marketing plan is to ensure that this is, in fact, the case. With the advent of social media and the internet, the avenues available to market a business have increased exponentially. The starting point for any plumbing business, like any service related business, is to determine in as much detail as possible who exactly the people are that would be providing the business with revenue. These people, as a whole, are called the buying persona of the business. A plumbing business may, for instance, decide to stay small and provide after-hours services to family and friends, or it may target large corporate projects and tenders. Or anything in between. The better any prospective plumbing organisation understands exactly the behaviour, like, needs, wants, and aims of their prospective market the better they will fare. The example here is that a plumber who caters to the lower end of the economic market would use more print media and posters to advertise the business, while a plumber catering to an upper market segment may elect to use social media more since richer people have smartphones and will be reachable using digital platforms.

Human resources and communications requires detailed planning on its own too. Depending on the structure of the plumbing organisation, and their unique selling points, there may be a customer service department required, or a marketing department if this is the determining factor of achieving business. Planning and structuring the organisation accordingly will depend on the overall aims and vision, but will need to take the entire business plan into consideration.

Plumbing services generally will require on-site operations and the effective management of these operations as individual projects. Good project management is key to any service industry and the basic principles of project management is going to be essential. Once again, though, project management should not be seen as a complex and difficult issue, but rather a simplified and straightforward way of dealing, and communicating with all the stakeholders involved in every project.

The Required Starting Blocks of a Plumbing Business

These steps, as outlined above, if conducted thoroughly and efficiently, with the businesses core vision in mind and a positive collaborative mindset as a starting point, will ensure that the business has a better than 80% chance of success. However, as stated numerous times during this discussion piece, this is not a 5-minute exercise. This is a detailed strategic thinking process that will require honesty and commitment. There are certain things, therefore, that should be borne in mind before even embarking on the strategy process.

The first is an audit of the emotional intelligence of the stakeholders in the plumbing business. Like any service industry, plumbing involves hard work and much on-site work where things can easily go wrong. A high emotional intelligence score amongst the business owners is the best possible indicator of success. Emotional intelligence means being able to cope and manage the stresses and challenges involved, it means training your mind to find solutions in the midst of chaos happening all around you, and it means being able to be an effective leadership team who can steer a business through uncertain times. On the other hand, it does not mean someone who succumbs to the influences of anger or vindictiveness. Emotional intelligence can be learned and improved upon, so it certainly can be developed, but it is key that this quality be determined before initiating any business.

Secondly, there needs to be an understanding that knowledge is vital. The prognosis for a baker who wakes up one morning and sees a plumber friend making lots of money and then decides to start a plumbing business is unfortunately not very good. Plumbing, in order to be successful, needs to be done well. In a highly competitive business environment such as there is today all over the world, any business needs to actually be good at their job to be successful. It is for this reason that it is a prerequisite of starting a plumbing business that the stakeholders at the very least have access to high quality plumbing services. This includes knowing all aspects of the work, the market potential, and the survival rates of their competition. Without this core knowledge, no matter how good the strategizing process and the plans that come out of it, there is no chance of success.

In conclusion, therefore, starting a plumbing business is easy. Starting a plumbing business that is successful and over the short, medium, and long term can deliver on the aims and requirements of the owners is less much less easy. The key differentiator here is having a good, well thought out and innovative strategy, and using this strategy to generate and compile effective implementation plans in the right areas. JFK always used to say that efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction, and so it is with many things, and starting a plumbing business is one of those things.

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10 Reasons Why You Should Start An Online Business

Whether you are attracted to an internet business because you hate your current job, want to improve your circumstances, or would like a more flexible lifestyle, the internet offers all these opportunities.

Why An Internet Business?

1- Flexibility

Many people come to find themselves with an internet business through necessity rather than deliberate creation. For me, I needed a flexible job which I could work around contract work. It didn’t come in often but when the phone rang, I needed to take the work. This presented all kinds of problems. Normal work didn’t pay as well and employers didn’t want me taking large chunks of time off when the other work came in!

I tried juggling several jobs over a number of years but nothing seemed to fit. At around the same time I was attempting to use e-bay to buy and sell for a bit of extra money. It wasn’t until later that I discovered affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing, for those who don’t know is a kind of referral selling. You point links from your website to other people’s goods and services. The link is tracked so that when you make a sale you are rewarded for it with a commission.

Once you know how to do this you can set up links from your online content to other people’s products and services. You can also use paid advertising to find people all over the world to sell to. This was perfect for my work because I could take my laptop anywhere with me and as long as I had an internet connection I could work. It didn’t interfere with the work when it came up, I had no boss to answer to so it was the perfect solution.

2 – Automation

There’s also a number of other reasons why I chose an internet business – and why you should too! The flexibility of the business was my primary concern. I wanted to be able to choose my own hours so I could take work when it came without any complications. But the other reason I chose this particular model was the ability to use technology to ‘leverage’ my time and income.

Once I had a website and content up and running, it kept going and I was able to make sales and deliver products without being physically present. This is the ‘magic’ of an online business. The automation involved with an online business means that you can do the work once and let that work keep running in the background. You can make sales and deliver products over and over through the same piece of content or advert, which can run an virtual autopilot 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.

Each piece of content you create can send people to a landing page and sell a product. By creating many pieces of content and sharing them online you can build multiple sources of income which can all run continually, working as your own ‘automated sales team’.

3 – Ability To Scale

Along with this amazing automation is the ability to scale your business. Because there is no human intervention in the ‘sales loop’, multiple sales can happen instantaneously through the same platforms. Your content and advertising can be grown over time and scaled instantly (in the case of paid advertising). As your content gets more shares and more people flow through your website and content, your sales grow as a result. If you use paid advertising you can also scale a profitable campaign up easily by increasing your daily budget.

The automation of an online business makes it very easy to scale. In the case of a physical business this often means more staff, sales tools, larger office space and a whole lot more expense and hassle. With an online business everything is already in place. You simply need to send more customers through the automated sales systems with content and/or paid advertising methods.

4 – Low Startup Costs

When I started an online business I did it from my own pocket. I didn’t need a massive loan and I worked at a level which suited my budget. An internet business is very cost effective and you can start from scratch from pretty much any budget. If you have more to invest you can grow it faster with paid advertising. But, if you are on a budget like I was when I got started, you can get started easily and cheaply.

With a regular ‘bricks and mortar’ business there are many overheads to consider. Your costs include a business premises, staff, hardware and stock. Then there’s advertising and delivery costs. With an online business you just need a laptop and an internet connection – two things many people already have. Your main cost is getting the right education and learning the best strategy to build on.

5 – Simplicity

Technology has made it much easier than was previously possible to set up your own website and learn how to use simple online platforms to connect people to products and services. Advertising and content creation is now available for anyone to use. Websites can be set up with a few clicks and anyone with an email can learn to use the tools and strategies of online marketers.

Whereas previously website building was the domain of the tech savvy programmer, now anyone can use simple user friendly platforms and programs. An online business sounds like something for a technical person, but anyone can now learn the skills needed to build their own online business.

6 – Control

An internet business gives you control over your life. Of course it takes time to build up to a stage where it can replace your current income. But the flexibility of an internet business means you can work it around your existing employment until you can make this happen.
Once your income is beyond that of your employment, you are in a very good position to take charge of your life. You don’t have to do the daily commute, or put up with an uncomfortable working situation. If you don’t like your job you can quit. Don’t like your boss? Fire him/her!
One of the very best things about an internet based business is the control it gives you over your life. You can also build your work around your lifestyle, rather than the other way round. Most people are forced to put work first in everything they do. Family time, holidays and hobbies all tend to depend and evolve around work. An internet business allows you to prioritize the things in your life which mean the most. It can put you back in the driving seat of your life, both in terms of what you earn and how you spend your time.

7 – Work From Anywhere

Not only does an internet business offer great flexibility in terms of working hours but it also offers you the choice to work from anywhere globally. This appeals to many people who would otherwise be more trapped by conventional work in a localized workplace.
For me, it was the flexibility of being able to choose my own hours and not have a boss. But for many the ability to travel anywhere globally is the most important factor to owning their own online business.
Take your laptop anywhere with an internet connection and work while abroad and travelling.

8 – Learn Life Skills

The skills I have learned from building my own internet business also make me much more employable. I also worked for an internet based company with the skills I learned from my laptop while sitting at home!

Being able to reach people globally and target specific types of people is a great skill and very desirable in business too. I was also able to use the knowledge I learned online to build one of my other physical businesses much more quickly by using both my website building skills and paid advertising.

The internet is a fantastic opportunity for anyone to be able to improve themselves, learn new skills and build another source of income. Skills learned are yours for life, whether or not you continue down the path of building an online business.

9 – Independence

We might believe ourselves to be independent but many of us are very dependent on our work for income. As such, our employers tell us how much we can earn, how much holiday we can take and what we will be doing while at work. Financial independence is the ultimate freedom.

When we are financially independent we can take a holiday whenever we please and work in our own time and on our own agenda. An online business gives you the automation and independence to live life on your terms, without the agenda of an employer running your life.

10 – Sovereignty

Being an owner gives you sovereignty. The ability to call the shots in your business is what many entrepreneurs aspire to. As a business owner your actions determine whether you make a success of your business or not.

Having a successful online business gives you the kind of freedom which most people will never see in their lifetime. The ability to create your own life on your terms is the reward of having worked hard on your business and on yourself.

Not having a boss, choosing your own working hours and choosing who you spend time with are all luxuries which are earned from working hard on your own business.

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What You’re Doing Wrong As An Entrepreneur Or In Your Small Business

Business owners and entrepreneurs are not always good at asking for help. Be honest, when did you last reach out to someone? Perhaps this is the reason why they are entrepreneurs in the first place. Business owners are self motivated and self reliant. But if you’re operating a business in this way, it could be the one thing which stands in the way of progress.

Entrepreneurs are hard workers too and will work hard in areas which many people wouldn’t consider. They look forward to the long term effects of their actions rather than for immediate rewards. Often business owners have built up their businesses over many years of difficulties and sacrifice.

However, thinking into the cause and effects of all this work there is one thing in common: you. As the ‘owner’ of a business it can be easy to become complacent. Perhaps business growth isn’t what it should be? You are always the limiting factor in your life. Unless you are growing, your business isn’t.

If you keep operating from the belief that you know everything, you will always keep getting the same results in your business, and in your life. Growing in awareness and developing your self along with your business is what smart entrepreneurs do.

Working Hard And Smart

It can be easy to run things ‘as you’ve always run things’. You can get stuck in a mode of operation, especially if you’re largely on your own. But working hard and working smart are not the same things. You need to get smart about working hard if you are to make any progress. Don’t become a ‘busy fool’ doing those things which you have always done, just because it’s always been that way.

Smart business owners know this, and work hard at learning what the best activities are to move their business forward. This ‘trap’ of working as a ‘technician’ in the role of an entrepreneur is easy to fall into. This is especially true if you have recently ‘graduated’ from a role as an employee to that of an ‘owner’.

The role of an employee is to listen to your boss and do the best for them. You are paid by the hour, or for work done. An owner on the other hand isn’t paid for their time. They get paid when the business makes a profit. As such this is an entirely different role. Ask yourself whether you are playing a ‘technician’ role in your business. Should you be doing things differently? Can someone else be employed to do what you are doing? If so the answer should seem obvious. Your role should be the ‘driving engine’ of the business, the overseer and the planner.

Smart Advertising

Advertising is the ‘engine’ of your business. If cash is the ‘life blood’ of your business, advertising is the heart beat. Without a successful and progressive advertising campaign, your business will at best stand still. If you’re standing still while other competing businesses move forward, you’re effectively moving backwards.

Today we are lucky to have the internet as a source of advertising. We can reach anyone globally and target them down to their preferences, intent and geographical location. Platforms like Google’s AdWords and Facebook advertising let us ‘follow’ our potential customers around the internet. Should someone land on our website and not purchase, we can remind them of our business later on. The advertising available to business owners today is very clever, and we should definitely be capitalizing on it.

Pay Per Click Advertising

Pay per click advertising is one of the best things to come out of the internet for business owners. Many owners doubt the effectiveness of pay per click advertising, but this is only because they don’t understand it properly, or it’s potential to massively change their business.

Initially pay per click should be tested and measured. Only by testing and measuring each element of an advertising campaign can you effectively ‘tweek’ it and learn which elements work best for your customers. If you run a campaign but don’t measure it, how can you know if it brought you any customers?

The ROI

Knowing the return on investment (ROI) of any advertising campaign is a game changer. Many owners get this wrong because they only look at the initial sale. But once you can effectively determine the long term return on investment, you will start to see why it is so important to use paid advertising.

Paid advertising is effectively buying new customers. If your business model lets you earn again and again from each customer, your long term gain from a loyal customer is far more than you might spend to attain that customer. By altering your paid for advertising to reduce your cost and increase your ROI over time, you can find yourself in the nice position of being able to scale up.

Working Against Yourself

We are predisposed to think that spending is wasteful. In terms of ‘smart’ advertising the opposite is true. Of course you don’t start out by spending huge amounts on your pay per click campaign. You start small and only increase your budget when you see tangible results and profitable ones at that.

But the main sticking point is the contrasting viewpoint that we need to ‘cut back’ while at the same time wanting to expand our businesses. This is a contradiction and although this is based in safety and reasonableness, your long term goal should be to be spending more and more on advertising as your business grows.

How do you feel about that? Most likely you want to spend less and less over the course of time. However, with pay per click advertising, once you have developed your adverts to pay out double what you put in, the only reasonable decision is to increase the budget.

So initially you might tentatively spend some money on advertising, see some results and then stop your adverts. This is especially true if you don’t see any tangible benefit of advertising. Most people will give up too early.

Start small with a budget you can afford to lose. Test your adverts with several different strategies, keywords, images and landing pages. By cross testing adverts you can more effectively determine which ones work the best.

Once you have done this for long enough, you will see the power of pay per click. This puts you in charge of your business. Once you have one profitable campaign set up, you can simply leave it running. Then you can move on to another one and another one. This of course takes time but this strategy puts you in the driving seat of your business and eventually will mean you can grow your business more effectively.

This is smart work. This should be the focus of your time if you intend to grow your business.

Relying on free advertising methods or ‘word of mouth’ advertising doesn’t put you in control, however valuable those methods might be.

Being a ‘technician’ in your business should be the work of a manager or an employee, not the business owner. As an owner, your job is to grow your business.

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3 Surefire Ways to Know If You’re Ready to Hire an Online Business Manager

Are you a woman entrepreneur who’s frustrated in your 6-7 figure business?

Are you feeling overwhelmed, over-stressed, and not sure where to turn?

Are you so busy doing everything in your business that you never have time to focus on those high level tasks that will truly bring direct growth to your business?

Your business may be ready to hire an Online Business Manager (OBM).

When your business has grown to multiple 6-7-figures, it will require that you begin to step into a CEO and Visionary role to lead your business to higher levels of growth. The business now has a life of its own and if you stay in the doing role too long, you will lose control of your vision.

If you’re like most women business owners, you started your business for some or all of the following reasons:

You wanted control over your time and the money you make
You wanted your work to have an impact in the world
Sick of the 9-5 grind
Have a business you can schedule around your family and personal goals
Commit to something bigger than yourself
Create financial and time freedom
If you have a multiple 6-7-figure business, it may be time to step out of the tasks of day-to-day operations and management. You’re the only one who can lead your company to the next levels. You alone know how to move your business forward. Time and focus are now in high demand for you to lead your company to the next level.
The result of not stepping up will be that the business will begin to stagnate – you’ll hit the ceiling in ability to grow any further. You’ll need to stop trying to do and manage everything on your own because it’s simply not sustainable. You need help in business. At this phase in your business, you have a team that executes tasks.

Now the role you’ll want to hire will be an Online Business Manager, an Integrator, who can take your dreams and goals and make them a reality. You need someone who can effectively step in and manage your team, manage your day-to-day operations and marketing management, manage projects, and analyze and report metrics to determine what’s working – and what’s not.

If you can’t get out from behind the manager’s desk, frustration will overwhelm you… if it hasn’t already. You’ll struggle with “hitting the ceiling” and “feeling stuck” – if you aren’t already. Your life and relationships will suffer because you’re working a crazy number of hours every day just to keep things going. You cannot keep up this pace, and eventually something will give. You’ll burn out. I’ve seen it countless times.

While reading all this article, you may be wondering if it’s time for you to hire an Online Business Manager.

Here are three ways to know you’re ready.

Financial Readiness

Hiring an Online Business Manager is a long-term investment. An OBM does not replace a team of people who are responsible for executing tasks – you can hire any number of virtual assistants for task completion. An Online Business Manager runs your business while you step into the CEO and leadership role.

Psychological Readiness

You’re ready to turn loose a certain amount of control in your business to someone you trust. You know you need help in business, and you don’t want to be the only one in charge anymore. You understand it may be uncomfortable to turn over some control to someone else, but you’re willing to do it because deep down, you know it’s time. And you’re ready to let go of what you don’t truly enjoy to return to using your unique gifts to grow the business.

Lifestyle Readiness

You’re ready to have balance and get your life back. You’re ready to feel a renewed sense of passion for what you do, and you’re looking forward to having the time to create and strategize. As you let loose of the manager’s role, you’ll feel refreshed and energetic, and you’ll step into focusing ONLY on what you can do to grow the business.

If you can’t get out from behind the “manager’s desk” in your business it may be time to hire an Online Business Manager. Life’s too short to be frustrated and over-stressed in your business.

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Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7

Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7
My Dad repaired most of our shoes believe it or not, I can hardly believe it myself now. With 7 pairs of shoes always needing repairs I think he was quite clever to learn how to “Keep us in shoe Leather” to coin a phrase!

He bought several different sizes of cast iron cobbler’s “lasts”. Last, the old English “Laest” meaning footprint. Lasts were holding devices shaped like a human foot. I have no idea where he would have bought the shoe leather. Only that it was a beautiful creamy, shiny colour and the smell was lovely.

But I do remember our shoes turned upside down on and fitted into these lasts, my Dad cutting the leather around the shape of the shoe, and then hammering nails, into the leather shape. Sometimes we’d feel one or 2 of those nails poking through the insides of our shoes, but our dad always fixed it.

Hiking and Swimming Galas
Dad was a very outdoorsy type, unlike my mother, who was probably too busy indoors. She also enjoyed the peace and quiet when he took us off for the day!

Anyway, he often took us hiking in the mountains where we’d have a picnic of sandwiches and flasks of tea. And more often than not we went by steam train.

We loved poking our heads out of the window until our eyes hurt like mad from a blast of soot blowing back from the engine. But sore, bloodshot eyes never dampened our enthusiasm.

Dad was an avid swimmer and water polo player, and he used to take us to swimming galas, as they were called back then. He often took part in these galas. And again we always travelled by steam train.

Rowing Over To Ireland’s Eye
That’s what we did back then, we had to go by rowboat, the only way to get to Ireland’s eye, which is 15 minutes from mainland Howth. From there we could see Malahide, Lambay Island and Howth Head of course. These days you can take a Round Trip Cruise on a small cruise ship!

But we thoroughly enjoyed rowing and once there we couldn’t wait to climb the rocks, and have a swim. We picnicked and watched the friendly seals doing their thing and showing off.

Not to mention all kinds of birdlife including the Puffin.The Martello Tower was also interesting but a bit dangerous to attempt entering. I’m getting lost in the past as I write, and have to drag myself back to the present.

Fun Outings with The camera Club
Dad was also a very keen amateur photographer, and was a member of a camera Club. There were many Sunday photography outings and along with us came other kids of the members of the club.

And we always had great fun while the adults busied themselves taking photos of everything and anything, it seemed to us. Dad was so serious about his photography that he set up a dark room where he developed and printed his photographs.

All black and white at the time. He and his camera club entered many of their favourites in exhibitions throughout Europe. I’m quite proud to say that many cups and medals were won by Dad. They have been shared amongst all his grandchildren which I find quite special.

He liked taking portraits of us kids too, mostly when we were in a state of untidiness, usually during play. Dad always preferred the natural look of messy hair and clothes in the photos of his children.

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What Are The Greatest Changes In Shopping In Your Lifetime

What are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime? So asked my 9 year old grandson.

As I thought of the question the local Green Grocer came to mind. Because that is what the greatest change in shopping in my lifetime is.

That was the first place to start with the question of what are the greatest changes in shopping in your lifetime.

Our local green grocer was the most important change in shopping in my lifetime. Beside him was our butcher, a hairdresser and a chemist.

Looking back, we were well catered for as we had quite a few in our suburb. And yes, the greatest changes in shopping in my lifetime were with the small family owned businesses.

Entertainment While Shopping Has Changed
Buying butter was an entertainment in itself.
My sister and I often had to go to a favourite family grocer close by. We were always polite as we asked for a pound or two of butter and other small items.

Out came a big block of wet butter wrapped in grease-proof paper. Brought from the back of the shop, placed on a huge counter top and included two grooved pates.

That was a big change in our shopping in my lifetime… you don’t come across butter bashing nowadays.

Our old friendly Mr. Mahon with the moustache, would cut a square of butter. Lift it to another piece of greaseproof paper with his pates. On it went to the weighing scales, a bit sliced off or added here and there.

Our old grocer would then bash it with gusto, turning it over and over. Upside down and sideways it went, so that it had grooves from the pates, splashes going everywhere, including our faces.

My sister and I thought this was great fun and it always cracked us up. We loved it, as we loved Mahon’s, on the corner, our very favourite grocery shop.

Grocery Shopping
Further afield, we often had to go to another of my mother’s favourite, not so local, green grocer’s. Mr. McKessie, ( spelt phonetically) would take our list, gather the groceries and put them all in a big cardboard box.

And because we were good customers he always delivered them to our house free of charge. But he wasn’t nearly as much fun as old Mr. Mahon. Even so, he was a nice man.

All Things Fresh
So there were very many common services such as home deliveries like:

• Farm eggs

• Fresh vegetables

• Cow’s milk

• Freshly baked bread

• Coal for our open fires

Delivery Services
A man used to come to our house a couple of times a week with farm fresh eggs.

Another used to come every day with fresh vegetables, although my father loved growing his own.

Our milk, topped with beautiful cream, was delivered to our doorstep every single morning.

Unbelievably, come think of it now, our bread came to us in a huge van driven by our “bread-man” named Jerry who became a family friend.

My parents always invited Jerry and his wife to their parties, and there were many during the summer months. Kids and adults all thoroughly enjoyed these times. Alcohol was never included, my parents were teetotallers. Lemonade was a treat, with home made sandwiches and cakes.

The coal-man was another who delivered bags of coal for our open fires. I can still see his sooty face under his tweed cap but I can’t remember his name. We knew them all by name but most of them escape me now.

Mr. Higgins, a service man from the Hoover Company always came to our house to replace our old vacuum cleaner with an updated model.

Our insurance company even sent a man to collect the weekly premium.

People then only paid for their shopping with cash. This in itself has been a huge change in shopping in my lifetime.

In some department stores there was a system whereby the money from the cash registers was transported in a small cylinder on a moving wire track to the central office.

Some Of The Bigger Changes
Some of the bigger changes in shopping were the opening of supermarkets.

• Supermarkets replaced many individual smaller grocery shops. Cash and bank cheques have given way to credit and key cards.

• Internet shopping… the latest trend, but in many minds, doing more harm, to book shops.

• Not many written shopping lists, because mobile phones have taken over.

On a more optimistic note, I hear that book shops are popular again after a decline.

Personal Service Has Most Definitely Changed
So, no one really has to leave home, to purchase almost anything, technology makes it so easy to do online.
And we have a much bigger range of products now, to choose from, and credit cards have given us the greatest ease of payment.

We have longer shopping hours, and weekend shopping. But we have lost the personal service that we oldies had taken for granted and also appreciated.

Because of their frenetic lifestyles, I have heard people say they find shopping very stressful, that is grocery shopping. I’m sure it is when you have to dash home and cook dinner after a days work. I often think there has to be a better, less stressful way.

My mother had the best of both worlds, in the services she had at her disposal. With a full time job looking after 9 people, 7 children plus her and my dad, she was very lucky. Lucky too that she did not have 2 jobs.

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What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

The results of this past election proved once again that the Democrats had a golden opportunity to capitalize on the failings of the Trump Presidency but, fell short of a nation wide mandate. A mandate to seize the gauntlet of the progressive movement that Senator Sanders through down a little over four years ago. The opportunities were there from the very beginning even before this pandemic struck. In their failing to educate the public of the consequences of continued Congressional gridlock, conservatism, and what National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation would do led to the results that are playing out today.. More Congressional gridlock, more conservatism and more suffering of millions of Americans are the direct consequences of the Democrats failure to communicate and educate the public. Educate the public that a progressive agenda is necessary to pull the United States out of this Pandemic, and restore this nations health and vitality.

It was the DNC’s intent in this election to only focus on the Trump Administration. They failed to grasp the urgency of the times. They also failed to communicate with the public about the dire conditions millions have been and still are facing even before the Pandemic. The billions of dollars funneled into campaign coffers should have been used to educate the voting public that creating a unified coalition would bring sweeping reforms that are so desperately needed. The reality of what transpired in a year and a half of political campaigning those billions of dollars only created more animosity and division polarizing one extreme over another.

One can remember back in 1992 Ross Perot used his own funds to go on national TV to educate the public on the dire ramifications of not addressing our national debt. That same approach should have been used during this election cycle. By using the medium of television to communicate and educate the public is the most effective way in communicating and educating the public. Had the Biden campaign and the DNC used their resources in this way the results we ae seeing today would have not created the potential for more gridlock in our government. The opportunity was there to educate the public of safety protocols during the siege of this pandemic and how National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation provides the necessary progressive reforms that will propel the United States out of the abyss of debt and restore our economy. Restoring our economy so that every American will have the means and the availability of financial and economic security.

The failure of the Democratic party since 2016 has been recruiting a Presidential Candidate who many felt was questionable and more conservative signals that the results of today has not met with the desired results the Democratic party wanted. Then again? By not fully communicating and not educating the public on the merits of a unified progressive platform has left the United States transfixed in our greatest divides since the Civil War. This writers support of Senator Bernie Sanders is well documented. Since 2015 he has laid the groundwork for progressive reforms. He also has the foundations on which these reforms can deliver the goods as they say. But, what did the DNC do, they purposely went out of their way to engineer a candidate who was more in tune with the status-quo of the DNC. They failed to communicate to the public in educating all of us on the ways our lives would be better served with a progressive agenda that was the benchmark of Senators Sanders Presidential campaign and his Our Revolution movement. And this is way there is still really no progress in creating a less toxic environment in Washington and around the country.

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