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a blog by Chris Barrow

Life on the road

My annual spend on hotels and conference suites is enormous – into 6 figures. The majority of that investment is on good quality conferencing for our delegates – there is little point in conducting workshops focused on customer service and quality in lousy places. Similarly – when I travel, I stay in 4 or 5-star accomodation. It’s not that I’m bathing in goat’s milk – just that £150 a night buys me a very comfortable room and access to excellent food, drink and leisure facilities – as well as great customer service. When I invest £100 a night (or less) I end up sleeping badly, eating rubbish and writing blog posts about poor service – no doubt you have read some of them! When I invest £150 a night – I sit in bars and restuarants surrounded by successful people with manners. At £100 I’m often sat with chain-smoking reps, drinking pints, eating stodge and complaining loudly about their jobs and their lives. So the extra few pounds buys a world of difference – isn’t that always the way? And isn’t it the difference in your own profession as well? If a client reduces their investment in fees by, say, a third – I’ll bet they reduce their investment in quality and care by much more. There’s probably a “rule” out there – or maybe we should invent one. Barrow’s Law – 33% less invested creates 66% less received – something like that. My Lancashire ancestors were tellng us that a century ago – “you don’t get ‘owt for nowt lad.” Yesterday I invested the extra – and spent the day at the Thorpe Park hotel in Leeds (location of our Leeds workshop for years now – and one of the best conference hotels we use). I had no client meetings or calls – but an ENORMOUS back-log of reports, articles, musings, stuff to do with my team – a classic Buffer Day as Dan Sullivan would call them. So I used two locations for my work. First my hotel room:

Second, the conference suite at the hotel.

And aided by excellent customer service, copious cups of tea, a nice lunch of mushroom soup, a 90-minute sauna and swim at 4.30pm and a lovely dinner, the long working day was a productive pleasure. It pays dividends to invest in your environment – whether its a home office, a business location or just a pit stop on a Northern tour. Perhaps Barrow’s Law should be switched around to give a more positive focus: 33% more investment creates 66% more value. Or perhaps a more qualitative approach: A few extra pounds creates a world of difference.

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