'BE Fantastic' with Alan Austin-Smith

Good is not enough anymore!


We all know that critical part of BEing Fantastic and WOWing our customers is consistency - As I always say "you can't just be Fantastic on Tuesdays!"

This is a great tool that you should use every couple of months in your business to check that you are being consistent but also improving all the time - Consistent standards aren't enough, as important as they are, all they will do is keep you at the same level consistently - CONSISTENTLY STANDING STILL!

 Not what anyone means by consistency :)

Consistency today is a mix of your standards as well as a consistent development strategy. FLOW helps you do both. This is a also a great personal development tool for yourself or members of your team in one-to-ones etc.

 So how does it work - very simple..

 F stands for First Impressions - check that the first impressions people are getting about you or your business are what you want and need them to be (consistently remember!!)

 L stands for Last Impressions - arguably even more important than first impressions - It's what people leave with

 O stands for 'Ouches'Those little things that go wrong - that aren't up to standard but that can sometimes slip through the net because they are small - on their own they don't matter to much, but when you experience a few of these as a customer it can turn into a major problem - we have all experienced ourselves - a visit to a restaurant perhaps and a series of small things are going wrong - as they mount up you start to become aggravated - hardly customer delight! Do you have any small ouches that need attention?

 W stands for WOW - The holy grail and the exact opposite of the ouches - especially when you consider that often the WOW comes from little things too - but Fantastic ones. I love the story of the young 17 year old trainee hairdresser who when a client asked if they serve peach flavoured sparkling water decided to get some from the shop next door for the customer - a tiny thing which cost just 60p - but HUGE! PS - She got a £5 tip - of course she did!!

 So there you go - FLOW - make it part of your business or personal strategy - here is a quick little video about FLOW - enjoy Have fun and BE Fantastic, Alan x


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There are so many keys to BEing Fantastic all of which I discuss in my book 'Fantastic - When Good Is Not Enough, but the key to it all is Passion.

It's an overused word but what does it mean? For me it's all about the 'WHY' - it's not what we do it's why we do it that gives us the drive, perseverance and determination to do what we do. It's no good setting goals and knowing 'where' you are going, what you want to achieve if you don't know why you want it.

 I will always remember chatting to a multi millionaire I know who had been a millionaire twice before and lost it - TWICE!!

He clearly had a talent for making money but not keeping it. I asked him what was the difference this time, how had he managed to keep it and grow it to a level where he has become a wonderful philanthropist.

 He didn't hesitate. "I know WHY I want the money this time - previously I just wanted to be rich and do all the stuff rich people do - which is why I blew it - this time I knew exactly why I wanted the money and it was a powerful, passionate and emotional why that meant so much to me. I help so many people now I could never go back to the old 'rich' me"

Don't just set goals for yourself and your business, that's only half the story - you have to stop and ask yourself 'WHY' you want to achieve it and that why had better be a powerful one because it's what is going to ensure you stick to it when the going gets tough.

 Passion is about the why - the reason you do what you do - not what you do. o next time you have lost the passion, just press the pause the button and ask yourself what you are focusing on - I guarantee it will be what you are doing rather than why you are doing it - switch focus to the 'WHY' & the passion will come back!


I have always believed that we can all do it right! We can all be fantastic at whatever it is we want to do – the difference between the successful people and everyone else is that they do it right – they are fantastic – CONSISTENTLY.

But how? Are they sub-human – somehow different to the rest of us?

Maybe they don’t get sick, feel tired, have hangovers, relationship problems or bad moods?
Or, are they exactly they same as everyone else, having the same stuff happening in their lives as everyone else, but just dealing with it differently?

Successful people take ‘fantastic’ action consistently by performing. They understand that the world is a stage and they need to be performers on it. We all have off days, but when you understand the importance of consistency, you quickly learn to perform – to act. This is not living a lie, it’s simply making a decision to get on with it. We all have a choice – I can decide to spend the day with a hangover, or decide not to have it. I’m human like anybody and sometimes I decide to have it! But, only if it doesn’t affect me being fantastic at work or as a dad, husband or friend.

That’s when I have to ‘act’ – but the amazing thing is that when I make the decision to act better – I start to feel better!

Do people trust you?

You need people to trust you – your customers, colleagues, friends and family. Why? Because whatever you may think, you can’t do it on your own – we all need people, but to get help, support and respect from people, they need to trust you.

How do we earn that trust? By acting consistently!



The simple step? Well it should be, but it obviously isn't otherwise we would all be doing it! So what is it?


Let's look at sky diving - you can learn how to do it, develop your skills, prepare properly, get all the right equipment, get on the plane, take off and reach the right altitude etc etc etc. However with all of that work and preparation nothing is going to happen until you JUMP!!

It doesn't matter what you want to achieve in life - it doesn't matter how prepared you are - all that matters is the action that you take.

Remember - if you want change - you have to change something

What is stopping you 'just doing it'? Identify what you need to do in order to push the limits of your comfort zone - to break free - and then ask yourself what you are fearing - in  my experience most of those fears are groundless and even if they are real they are short lived.

I have a real fear when i step into a plunge pool after a sauna - I hesitate- I imagine how cold it's going to be, I think about the shock to my system etc. All of which is true - so these aren't made up fears - they are real - but they will be over in seconds and I know that I will survive it. So all that needs to happen is to take a deep breath and JUST DO IT!!

Whether your fears are real or imaginary there is only one way to push through your boundaries and find out what is waiting for you in the other side - TAKE ACTION!!




If it’s to be – it’s up to me

This is such a cliché – I normally try and avoid the more obvious ones but this one is so true it made it’s way into my book.There are so many people who are not achieving what they want and have every excuse or reason under the sun why. But how many times do we feel humbled by people who are starting off with less than us, or with greater challenges than we have, but are still achieving great things.

To be fantastic, we have to start looking at ourselves. It’s the foundation of the success pyramid – take responsibility. It is important that you understand the difference between responsibility and blame, or fault. Of course sometimes you are taking responsibility for the blame – “it was my fault.” But there is a difference between the two.

Many people say to me that their ‘boss’ doesn’t respect them, doesn't communicate well, or doesn’t have any time for them. Or I hear that their partner in life doesn't give them the love and affection that they would like. Often these people are saying it’s not my fault. Maybe it isn't but my question is always the same: “Do you want it to change?” If the answer is yes, then it is your responsibility to do something about it, even if it’s not your fault.

If you want change, change something.

The fly test

Picture a sunny day. You’re in the kitchen and the back door is open. A fly flies into your kitchen and as it buzzes around, it sees through the window – blue sky, trees and grass. That’s what I'm looking for it thinks, and heads straight for it.

Now you may be surprised to know that flies have no perception of glass! SMACK! It must be quite a shock. However, the fly seems to recover quite well and continues buzzing around until again, it sees through the window – blue sky, trees and grass and SMACK! They don’t learn too well these flies. In fact it will carry on doing this for hours if you let it.

The fly keeps repeating the behaviour that is getting it nowhere. If only it would just go in a different direction, it would achieve the desired result – the back door is open!

So that’s the fly test – repeating a behaviour that is getting us nowhere, over and over and over again. We all need to take a fly test sometimes in our life. How many people do you know that want changes in their life but are not prepared to change anything? People who want to stop smoking, but continue to put cigarettes in their mouth.

People who want to lose weight, but continue to eat too much. People who want to get fit, but don’t go to the gym. People who want to save money, but continue to spend more than they earn. If you want change, change something. Fantastic people understand that they have to take responsibility.

There are people standing beside the road of life with their thumb out waiting to be taken to where they want to go, whilst others are already driving there!


When you look at many of the new companies that are success stories today, you see a very loose leadership style. Lots of empowerment, self responsibility, teamwork etc. Apple, Google, 37 Signals, Innocents Smoothies and so on, are all companies where you will see this 'new' way of working.

However I wonder if there is a missed message sometimes. I have watched small business try to copy this 'loose' style and in many cases seen it fail because of the hidden part of the 'loose' strategy. the bit you rarely see or hear from the companies that advocate this approach in the workplace.

I know I have suffered from not fully understanding this in this past in my own business.

I call it the loose/tight paradox - simply that for a loose strategy to work, it actually has to be really tight! If you don't have the systems and procedures nailed (please still keep them simple - I am not talking about huge manuals that no one looks at) then all you have is 'loose' and that won't work.

A tight strategy where nothing happens without 5 meetings just isn't viable in this fast moving world, however just having a loose strategy will end up with no action being taken - we need both!

A loose/tight strategy!!


Who motivates you, who inspires you, who do you want to be like? It might be a famous person, a company or someone you know, but we all have people that we can look at and say "I wish I was more like that". However that's where most of us stop - just wishing!

Stop wishing start acting - identify 3 people/businesses that you admire and then ask yourself why you chose them, because that is what you want more of. Then you can start to identify how they operate differently to what you are doing and then start to develop yourself to be the same. (click to read more)

For example you might know someone who seems to pack so much more into their life than you do. Study them, ask them how they manage their time and I guarantee you will learn something that you can do to get more control of your own time.

Or is there someone at work who seems to be more successful than you - don't be jealous, learn from them! They are doing something different from you which might help you to have more success if you learnt it.

If it's a famous person then look for biographies or interviews on line, but look specifically for knowledge, skills and attitudes that you can adopt to be more like them.

I learnt from Richard Branson to surround myself with people who are good at the stuff that I'm not.

Finally look at the companies that you love, why do you love them and what are they doing that makes them different?

If you are an Apple fan, ask yourself why and then ask yourself if you can bring any of that stuff into your own business or yourself.

Have Fun and BE Fantastic!


Being fantastic at what you do all starts with a simple step. Decide to BE Fantastic at what ever you do - right now. Of course there is still loads to change, lots of things to take action on. But it all starts with a decision - a decision to BE Fantastic at what you do. 

Identify three things now that you are good at - that's right - good at!

You probably expected me to say 'weaknesses' but actually the first change I always recommend is to take what you are good at and become fantastic at it. It's far more motivating than beating yourself over the head with all the things you can't do!!

When you start enjoying change, enjoying the effect that being fantastic can have with everything you do,  it gives you the momentum to start to tackle the other stuff that needs to change.

BEing Fantastic starts in a nanosecond - the moment you decide to BE Fantastic rather than just good at what you do is when it all starts - Have Fun!

How to increase your salon profit instantly without having to grow your client base, your marketing budget or de-motivating your team… GUARANTEED!!



On these first steps of your journey to BEing Fantastic, let's be clear about something I call the Positive Attitude Myth.

We all know that a positive attitude is important - of course it is and I'm certainly not suggesting any different. However, I feel there is a myth peddled that 'all you need' is a positive attitude, belief, goals/focus etc. Put it out into the universe and it will come back etc. I'm not pouring cold water over these ideas - I love it all and have seen evidence myself of how it works. 

However, it seems to me that so many of the books and speakers in these areas seem to miss the critical 'fantastic' factor - ACTION!

Set your goals, be positive, believe, put it out into the universe etc. But don't just then sit there waiting for it to happen!! It simply doesn't work like that - every inspirational story I have ever listened to is always about action - positive action with a belief that it will work and that the universe will give you what you want - but action nonetheless.

I fear for a generation growing up being inspired to want wonderful things and truly believing that they can have them, but not taking the action to get the results they want and therefore ending up disheartened and losing their belief because it's not happening.

'The Positive Attitude Myth' - It's a myth that 'all' you have to do is be positive - you have to take action too if you want to BE Fantastic!

Choose something - anything - to start taking action on TODAY that will start moving you towards BEing Fantastic - stop thinking it and start doing it!! Have Fun!

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