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Robert Craven

The Directors' Centre

Keynote speaker, author and MD

39

Contributions

The Directors' Centre

1 The High Street, Woolley


Bath
BA1 8AR

About the company

The Directors' Centre offers brighter, gutsier, business consulting from 'been there, done it' advisers - straight talking, honest, practical people who will help you take your business to the next level. Free of business school BS, they focus on significantly improving sales, profit and shareholder value.

About Robert Craven

Robert is a man who has been there and done it, having set up his first business at the age of 21. Having run restaurants, sound recording studios and training companies, he went on to become Director of Entrepreneurial Business at Warwick Business School. He is now the Managing Director of The Directors' Centre, a management consultancy for fast-growing businesses. Robert works with ambitious directors who feel that they could be doing even better. The Financial Times recently cited Robert as the 'entrepreneurship guru' - this is a man who is known for his no-nonsense practical approach to growing businesses. As a keynote speaker his style is challenging, honest and goading; free of business school hyperbole, he makes his audience think. Robert is the author of Kick-Start Your Business, with a foreword by Sir Richard Branson, and his latest book is Beating the Credit Crunch.

ROBERT'S CONTRIBUTIONS

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A Truly Remarkable Business - One Worth Talking About

Where there’s a great experience then there’s probably great care....

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A hotel in Cornwall to name and shame

The receptionist made me feel as if I had been lying about the offered discount....

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A very different version of success

When your fast-growing business is on a winning streak, life is great. When things go wrong - it doesn't feel so good....

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Airline food

Recently travelled economy class (airline not relevant) to Joburg with knees up under my chin and elbows digging into my neighbour. Sounds like I am getting too old. But… my point…......

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Be different: Put your customer ahead of profits

OPINION, OR MAYBE EVEN A FACT!: You must be different from the rest....

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Be disruptive

Being disruptive pays. Following the pack does not. At least not for most people....

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Companies lose half their customers every 5 years

According to a recent Harvard Business Review study, US companies lose half of their customers every five years, with two-thirds of them citing inadequate customer care as their primary reason for leaving......

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Do you suffer from corporate myopia? - losing customers because you can't see the wood for the trees.

I am building up a portfolio of corporate myopia stories. The standard story goes as follows:......

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Frogs are not small crocodiles - and small firms are not little big companies

Governments and blue chips think they're talking and marketing to smaller or owner-managed businesses, but they're not. They don't know how to talk to owner-managed businesses. They don't even realise that small businesses have a separate language and way of being....

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Has your business got 'five-year-old-itis'?

About 95 per cent of businesses I see at the moment have what I call “five-year-old-itis”....

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How To Avoid Going Bust In 2014

What can we learn from what is going on around us?......

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How to keep your business's head above water

I ask every audience I talk in front of one key question: “What’s the most important thing to measure if you want to find out how well your business is doing?”......

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How to make your product buzz buzz buzz

How do you know if your product is creating a buzz? While the following list is far from definitive, it suggests key factors that determine the level of buzz about your product/service. It should be most of the following:......

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In a world where everyone tries to delight us, why are we not so very delighted?

Companies lose customers because they go elsewhere. And the reason that customers go elsewhere is that the people who serve them are indifferent to their needs. Here are ten ways to keep your customers happy. ......

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Is digital actually a threat to your business?

One should not confuse the pervasiveness of digital with its importance to business....

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Is the customer king? Tired old cliché or still as relevant as ever?

“You cannot say ‘the customer is king' in this day and age...” That was the feedback I was given recently. “It’s so 1985.”......

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Leadership = Results

The one thing we don’t need is any more leadership courses. We’ve all been there....

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Lousy rotten customers

The pompously named “customer/client relationship teams” just don’t get it. In fact, the majority of the marketing team don’t get it. That certainly applies to many corporates but it could equally apply to small firms like yours — so read on....

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Nine sales and customer care facts

No summary or body text...

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Quick fix Vs proper fix

I would love to think that the world has finally had enough of get-rich-quick, instant-gratification programmes that promise instant painless solutions at the click of a credit card payment — solutions to what are, in effect, deep-seated issues we have in our businesses, (eg have we got the rig......

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Roadkill

As I said to a potential consultancy client last week (she asked for honest feedback)....

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Success = ?

What some recent clients had missed:......

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Ten things big businesses envy in smaller businesses

Big businesses often bemoan their own lack of essential vitality and wonder what they could take away from smaller, more entrepreneurial business and incorporate into their own culture....

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Thank you!

We do not say “thank you” enough. Therefore we take people for granted. If people feel taken for granted they become less loyal. Is that what you want?I don’t know why people don’t say “thank you” so much these days. Maybe it just isn’t cool to be seen to be thankf......

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The business benefits of a weekly sort-out

Part of the job of running your own business is figuring out how you can get ahead of the game. You need to have processes or systems that can focus on you finding cuter/smarter/cleverer ways of doing things. You must find ways that are cuter/smarter/cleverer than the way your competitors do things....

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The customer is king!

Professional advisers still need to learn that customer is king....

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The secret of high-performing service firms

There is a group of professional service firms (PSFs) that grow nine times faster than the average. They are 50 per cent more profitable than the average. Doing the research for the new Grow Your Service Firm book, it was easy to see that high-performing service firms are the ones that have clients......

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The secret to making your service firm stand out from the crowd

When most firms in your industry look pretty similar (actually almost identical) then why should people bother to buy from you when they can buy from the competition?......

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The truth about marketing to women

Marketing expert Robert Craven believes firms which don’t change their approach to marketing to women will get left behind. But not everyone agrees....

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Two ways to add to experiences through communication

To heighten an experience you can create expectations and/or you can condition the experience....

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What separates the successful from the failures?

Spring 2008 saw the completion of the Magic Million survey, a report examining how successful businesses break through the million pound turnover barrier. There were certain key characteristics that these businesses exhibited that separated them out from those that never got that far....

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Why business owners should go to the casino and save us all a lot of trouble

I have just read an article claiming that 10% of companies that America’s top ten venture capital firms or VCs [ie private equity firms] invest in actually succeed. This correlates exactly with the yardstick that VCs and seed corn capitalists I know use. 10%!......

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Why should people buy from you? Is customer service the silver bullet?

FACT: If you are the same as the rest then why should customers bother to buy from you?......

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Why social media is anti-social

Why do they call it social media? It is anything but social. It is antisocial....

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Why two is the only thing that matters

1.  There seem to be two stereotypes of “entrepreneur” co-existing in the world (yet they are treated as one homogenous group):......

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Why you are not paid what you are worth

If you are not getting paid what YOU think you are worth then I suspect that there are a number of possible reasons....

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Why you sometimes have to reinvent yourself if your business is to stay alive

Three brief case studies. Three businesses that had to ‘wake up and smell the coffee’, or go bust! Knowing what to do is not the same as taking the necessary action....

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Work deeper with few, or shallower with many?

Is it better to work with more businesses (in a relatively shallow way) or is it better to work with fewer but in a more intense way (and therefore with more long-term benefit)?When working in Africa my preference was to work longer and deeper with fewer people - by handing over the tools I was able......