How to Allocate Energy to Work

It’s been a while since my last post. I can only apologize, but has been for the best of reasons. I have simply been to busy with projects, to the point where this blog has been neglected and I’ve felt bad about it every day. However, you only have so many hours in the day and you only have so much energy to allocate.

It’s very much like the little games you download on your phone, where you eventually run out of energy. You then typically have to wait 30 minutes or so for every bit of energy to reload before you can keep playing. You may never have thought about it, but this is life in a nutshell. There are 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week. No matter how badly you or someone else wants you to work all 24 hours every day, it’s not humanly possible, nor should you, even if you could!

The reason is quite simple. What differs us from apps and games is that our energy does not come exclusively from time and rest. Human beings need more. We need to socialize with other human beings, we need to enjoy life, we need to laugh and love. Sounds quite cliche, doesn’t it? Well it’s cliche for a reason. It’s true. We need to disconnect from nagging clients and customers, bosses yelling, paperwork piling up or just the computer screen we stare at for hours and hours end to end. If we don’t get to disconnect we will hit a wall, or maybe even rock bottom, sooner or later, without exception.

There is no answer to what disconnecting is. It’s different for all of us. As long as it’s something which manages to take your mind off of everything work related, then it’s right for you. To me it means cooking a nice meal with my girlfriend. Playing a game of football with good friends. Or even just laying on the couch on a Friday evening watching some of my favorite shows! Disconnecting does not have to be a grand gesture like an expensive holiday, as long as it’s something that builds you back up and restores that energy you spent earlier in the day.

Don’t let yourself fall trap to the notion that you will have to give up your life for a successful company. You’ll have to make sacrifices and work your ass off, but contrary to popular opinion, you can also disconnect and you need to do it.

Think of it this way: Scandinavian countries are experimenting with 6 hour work days. What have they discovered which so many others haven’t?

Productivity vs hours on the books. I’ll take a highly productive expert working 4 hours a day, than someone working 10 hours a day and achieving half the result. Be productive when you work and disconnect when you don’t.

Do you agree with my views? No? Let me know in the comments!

Call Centers – Should you look into one?

We’ve all been there; we get a call, from a number we don’t know, and in the spur of an adventurous moment, we decide to answer the phone. A representative on the other side tells you they promise to not take much of your time, and depending on their reason for reaching out to you they’ll tell you one of the following:

  • Are you the one responsible for recruiting in your company? (or something similar)
  • Are you aware that you can retrieve a lot of money by letting us handle your PPI claim?
  • We see here that you were in a car accident in the past three years, is this correct?
  • Are you happy with your current energy provider?
  • … and soooo much more!

    Chances are these calls have come from a call center. This means you have a bunch of people who are constantly on the phone, calling to sell or survey. If you’ve called a large company you’ve probably also called a call center where another bunch of people sit to take calls.

    Do call centers work?

    Many look down upon call centers and find it annoying to constantly get unsolicited calls because we left our number on a website three years ago. However, as someone who has actually worked in a call center, I can assure you, they work. When you’re constantly on the phone, making a few hundred calls per day, your skin hardens and the word “no” goes from annoying to synonym for “onto the next!”

    Who works in call centers?

    The call center crew is made up of resilient, ambitious individuals, with an endless pit of energy and drive. You might see them as an annoying bunch, yell at them, use them as stress-release, but the truth is, seasoned telemarketers won’t care. If you said no, they’ve moved on the moment the next number is dialing. This is what make call centers so efficient and in turn, profitable. You’re paying bottom dollar for maximum value. Of course, you need to make sure the telemarketers hired are screened, promising and that you have someone who can follow up on them to make sure they’re meeting targets.

    How Becama helps you

    Becama hosts call center capabilities where instead of having to incur overheads, recruiting and all other associated costs of setting up your call center, you can start by simply starting with one telemarketer working full-time for your company. You pay one monthly price which includes everything; phones, computers, office space, bills, you name it… When you feel it’s time, you can start expanding to more than one full time marketer, getting higher value the more marketers you choose to get for your company. You can read more about our call center management here.

    If you have any questions about call centers, or are looking into the idea, feel free to ask us anything in the comments below or get in touch with us.

    Answering Questions vs Being Questioned

    We’ve all been there. Found ourselves in a moment of complete distrust, when you realize someone is not asking questions to learn, they’re asking questions to prove you don’t know what you’re talking about. More often than not, someone who’s an expert in their field will be able to get out of this corner at which they’ve been forcefully pushed into. However, you’ll never have the same respect for whoever put you there again. This is why, if you’re a consultant of any kind, you should not accept someone putting you there, and if you plan to ever hire a consultant in the future, you need to avoid putting anyone in that corner. I’ll gladly tell you why.

    To you as an expert

    You are a proclaimed (whether through yourself or others) expert in your field. Your input is what helps companies progress and grow as an entity, whether it’s their social media strategy or where to manufacture their hardware. They’ve reached out to you, because they have acknowledged that some advice is needed in order to best help some part of their business.

    You’ve agreed to help them and they pay the charge necessary in order to acquire your services. As you set to work, you’ll undoubtedly have the manager of whichever department requested outside help hanging over to make sure the expense for hiring you is justified. This is when you start getting questions and get into the key of this post. You need to quickly determine whether the questions are educational or simply destructive.

    If someone starts questioning your abilities with no reason for doing so, I see it as a direct insult. The moment you start questioning my abilities, maybe even before I get to work, you are either trying to tell me you’re better off doing it yourself (which makes no sense having just hired me), or that you off the bat think I’m no good for the job ahead. Here are some signs you are having your abilities questioned:

    Your manager is not the one who hired you

    Alright, this might sound a bit far-fetched, but just imagine this. You are the social media manager of a company. During a quarterly meeting the CMO decides he wants better results on the social media front and decides you need outside help. As I am sure you can imagine, there are certainly some out there who would take it as an insult, rather than an opportunity to learn and improve. Thus, when the consultant comes in, many in the social media manager’s position tend to start questioning them with the sole purpose of trying to come out on top (which just about never happens by the way, so don’t embarrass yourself in front of your company).

    Questions are not focused around a relevant topic

    This is one to look out for. You’ll notice this if someone starts asking questions, they look for the first question which receives an “uhm…” The moment they hear this, they’ll dig deeper into whatever that question revolved around, which may not have anything to do with the topic you’re actually discussing, as again, the purpose is to boost someone’s ego, rather than staying productive and on schedule.

    They think they’re ahead of you

    I know you’ve experienced this one. You’re working on something as the foremost expert and someone says “Well you might want to try this…” They say it boldly, with a bit of a snicker, making sure everyone around heard it. Though in your mind you’re thinking “I was about to get to that.” They knew you were… But now, you can’t say that because it looks like you’re following their advice, and you can’t tell him no, because you have to do it. They’re simply out to boost themselves and get the best of you in the process.

    What to do if you’re being questioned

    If you notice any of the signs, or just know someone is out to get you, rather than help you with the job you are doing, you need to stop it. If you let it go on, you will get frustrated and execute your job in a worse manner than before, which will prove them right for questioning you, which wouldn’t have happened had they not questioned you, and so on… Yea, it’s a real catch 22!

    You can’t blow up or get angry. You need to assert yourself early on. If someone tries to be tough or funny, while talking down to you in the process, cut their lifeline as early as possible. Be firm, let them know who’s the expert and don’t be afraid to let them have it, as long as you remain professional. If the questioning passed to borderline offensive, then you go directly to the person above them and let them know you’re no longer interested in working with them if this keeps up. Trust me, no company will tell you to get out. They will apologize and deal with the problem internally, where chances are, you won’t be bothered again. No one wants the reputation of failing to operate something both internally AND externally through a consultant.


    Alright, maybe I am a little harsh, or a bit biased… but I regret nothing. Having someone ask questions about what you’re doing, how you’re doing it and why can be a great thing. It can be motivating and you’re ability to provide excellent replies will greatly help your reputation. Not to mention, the best way to learn is teaching others. It will build and bring your confidence to a whole new level.

    This is why, when someone starts questioning your knowledge with no reason to do so, very often for petty things such as age, background or even gender, it’s nothing but destructive for all parts. You can’t do your job properly and your client is wasting money. Know your place, but make sure your clients know theirs as well.

    If you have any questions on this or have a topic you’d like me to write about, don’t be afraid to let me know in the comments.


    What Do Motivation, Targets and Race Cars Have in Common?

    It’s always interesting to ask someone “Which of these does your company prioritize first, motivation or targets?” Because this seems to vary quite a bit, and there’s a perfectly rational explanation for it, as well as for why only one of them is correct.

    When you’re managing a sales team, you want everyone to be on the phone, meeting with potential clients, networking and just about anything in between to drum up new business, as well as retain existing customers. After all, you as a manager have targets to meet and investors, managers or even just yourself to satisfy. What many companies seem to think is that targets spark motivation. The idea that you sit with your team, go over the targets for this quarter and consequently every salesperson in the room will feel the adrenaline rush and gust of motivation needed to hit those targets! Right? Wrong… Let me put it this way, if you focus on targets before motivation, you’ll have neither. If you focus on motivation before targets you’ll have both.

    Motivation Always Comes First

    Let me give you an analogy to put it in perspective. Imagine a race car representing your company. Your company’s targets are the engine that goes in the car. It’s meant to boost growth and accelerate your company. It’s what makes your car go fast enough to win the race. There is only one problem, and you may have guessed it… the race car itself is your team’s motivation. I could even go so far as to say there are various degrees of motivation which would in turn decide if that car war was a Fiat Panda or a McLaren F1! But I’ll leave that for another time. Right now just imagine motivation as something which either is, or isn’t. Which means, if you have all your targets set, you have the biggest, fastest, meanest beast of an engine ever built, how do you intend to win the race without a car to put it in?

    Many might say “well the analogy could just be inverted; the car could be targets and the engine could be the motivation.” Let’s use the same analogy to show why this is not the case. You have the same car, the motivation is there, but you have yet to fit an engine. No matter what engine you bring, as long as it fits in the car, it will make it go around the track. It may not be the best engine for the car, but at least you will eventually reach the finish line. On the other hand, if you don’t have the car, but the engine is ready, no matter how small or insignificant it is, it will not go around a race track on its own.

    Don't be the same, be better

    In Conclusion

    Targets cannot exist without motivation, whereas motivation can exist without targets. If you are an entrepreneur trying to set targets for yourself, make sure you have a proper car to fit that engine in first! If you manage a sales team and would like to dominate the market and win the race, make sure you have the baddest car of them all to handle that engine! (By that I mean you need to make a significant investment in motivating your team)

    That’s all about race cars for now, but be sure to check out my other posts and let me know in the comments if you agree/disagree. If you have a business and would like me to cover a topic in one of my blogs, contact me directly or let me know in the comments. Don’t forget to subscribe and follow for all the most recent updates and tips.

    You’ve Got Consulting All Wrong

    People often look at the wrong side of the coin when it comes to consultants – They’re reluctant to bring in outside help because they think it’s a sign of weakness. What kind of leader are you if you can’t even take care of your own social media, create your own marketing strategy, or even implement a CRM for your business?

    But the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. There is nothing weak about getting a consultant to provide their expertise in order to grow your business. Before I get into the specifics of why, let’s first all be clear on what a consultant actually is.

    What is consulting

    What is a Consultant?

    The term “consultant” has, for some reason, developed a somewhat negative connotation over the years. Often when I talk to people about hiring a consultant, it’s as if I was waving a string of garlic in front of Dracula himself.

    The truth is, just about everyone has acted as a consultant in one way or another at some point in their lives by providing their expertise. The only thing separating you from someone making a living from consulting is getting paid for your advice. That’s all a consultant is – someone who has a greater level of expertise than the average person. Experience which can come from education, self-teaching, but perhaps most commonly, from having worked in that field and done well.

    That’s it. That’s all a consultant is. Someone who gets paid to provide their expertise. So, why should more companies look at hiring consultants?

    Economics: Specialize and Trade

    When I started Becama, I began consulting in sales, marketing and business development. But I’m an economist by education, which I am eternally grateful for as it has given me a different perspective on a lot of things, consulting being one of them.

    One of the most basic principles of economics is the idea of specialising in what you’re good at. If you’re the best designer the world has ever seen, don’t lose valuable time by trying to also make homemade hamburgers on the side to sell. Instead, let Bob sell his signature hamburgers, which he’s had tremendous success with. If you need burgers, you go to him, just as he’ll come to you if he needs that 30-year-old sign replaced with something more modern.

    If you think about it, this is something we do all the time, but if it’s not our industry, we don’t think about it. We go to restaurants for a nice meal, we go to the bank for someone to handle our money, the car dealership for a vehicle, and so on…

    If you look at it, as an individual or as a company, there is very little we do in-house. But that’s easy for me to say, because who would build their own car to drive around in? Right? Not to mention the costs associated with building your own car, both monetary and time-wise.

    Specialize and Trade

    Why is hiring a consultant any different?

    It’s not. Someone who already has the expertise and experience will not only save you time and money, they’ll greatly help your business (depending on the quality of your consultant, that is). If you run your own business, there is nothing more important for that business than you getting to spend your time doing what you do best, rather than spending time trying to do something you feel you don’t have a grasp of.

    You wouldn’t perform surgery on yourself, so if you’re a developer with no prior sales experience, why are you trying to also market and sell the product? Just like a marketer would come to you for development, you go to them to get your name out there.

    What if I Can’t Afford a Consultant?

    When you’re just getting started with your business, the reason you do a bit of everything is simply because you can’t afford paying anyone for their help. Believe me, I completely understand this and I am not telling you that you should hire someone for their expertise if you can’t afford it.

    If you’re in the situation I just explained, I’m happy to announce that Becama has been working on a project which will provide consulting completely free to start-ups. The “BecamAccelerator” will give you the opportunity to strategize with industry experts to help grow your business. I know what it’s like trying to build something with nothing. The BecamAccelerator is simply an attempt to give back to the community which has given me so much over the years.

    Rethink Consulting

    You may have noticed that this as Becama’s slogan, but what does it mean? Rethink Consulting… It means it’s time to see that getting help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Focus on what you do best, let others do the same and work together to grow a truly successful enterprise.

    Consulting and making a deal

    If you’re looking for some expert advice for your business, Becama is always here to help. Ask questions in the comments if you’d like some help in growing your business or if you’d like me to highlight something in particular in my next blog.

    Why a Woman Can Never Be a Businessman

    It’s March the 8th and the International Women’s day. Thus I felt the need, as many others, to share my views and opinions to honor the women of our time as well as those from the past (and even those in the future). Yes, that’s right – honor them. If you read the title of the blog post, felt some rage build up, cracking your knuckles as you got ready to read this post and write a response to my generally chauvinistic views, then I salute you. The world needs more people like you, as it shows you care about twisted views towards women which still exist to a great extent.

    If you smiled when you saw the title and clicked to see someone finally agree to your opinions about women, then sorry – that’s just not what you’re going to get. To be honest, your ego will likely take a pretty big hit if you read on, so I’d suggest you just stop here.


    Now, where were we…

    Right, so for what I wanted to write about, exactly what my title says; why a woman can never be a businessman. The title might suggest I am saying “why a woman can never be at a man’s level in business,” when what I actually mean is “women will always be one step ahead of men in business, simply because their (women’s) way of thinking and connecting dots are far superior to ours (men).” I’ll elaborate on this in the summary, so feel free to skip down there right away.

    In other words, I would like to take today to write about some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from female influencers so far into adulthood. So here we go…

    3 Things Women Have Taught Me

    Having done sports growing up, worked as an instructor in the Air Force, gone to college in America with more sports, worked in New York, San Francisco and London, I can assure you that female authorities have crossed my path many times. Just as with male authorities, some were great, some I didn’t like and some I hated until I realized, years later, that they were actually quite right…

    Overcoming Difficulties

    If you’ve ever been part of a minority, picked on in school, felt frozen out of society, then you’ll know what I am about to talk about. Because I have personally never seen anyone tougher than the women I am honored to know (and those I do not), who have gone through bootcamp, followed by years in the military, without a penis.

    Having been an Air Force instructor, despite only being in the Air Force for 2 years, I’ve seen most of what it had to offer; grown men fall to their knees, cry, completely lose it in anger, beg, give up and just disappearing completely from their own mind. A lot of this applied to me as well when I was a student at the officers academy. Yet, I have never seen this in women. Not once… I’ve had arguments with other guys my size about not wanting to carry a small metal canister to boil water in (150 grams in weight, I’d think), on top of the 50 kg (110 lbs) we already had. Never seen this quarrel come up between women.

    This doesn’t even begin the cover the open, and even weirdly accepted, harassment including jokes, patronizing and the constant “oh look, she’s trying, how cute.” No, I saw women power through this every year, despite often being only 1 or 2 in a troop of 24. It’s as if they managed to harness the negative energy and use it to get them through the day. Because they kicked ass day in and day out, and though I am no longer there, I can assure you they continue to do so.

    Female Soldier with child


    Over to a completely different area. The regular working environment in the private sector. Though much more accepting to women overall, the men vs women attitude generally comes down to individual company culture. When I worked in NYC I was working in a company which wasn’t openly undermining women in any way, but when you took a look at their executives you’d see a 100% male population.

    Personally, I am the type of guy used to get upset, raise my voice and march into someone’s office if I felt I was being treated unfairly. However, as you can imagine, this never really yielded any positive results. That was until I met a handful of women who seemed to share the most amazing sense of patience. They all spoke about being patient in the same way, without ever having met one another. Their lessons had all been learned the hard way. Trying to stand up to someone, and similar to the Air Force example, instead of being taken seriously, receiving a “it’s so cute when they get angry” (or similar).

    Their patience and silence in crucial moment was surely more intimidating than any decibel my voice could ever reach. Playing it cool also had a clear impact on their authority; keeping the cards close to their chest was terrifying to those around. They could no longer be “read” and “predicted.” If you were getting away with something, it was because the women let you get away with it, and you knew it. You also knew that if you stepped too far off the line of acceptance, playing too close to the edge, there would be a woman there who had taken your **** for way too long, ready to push you over.

    (But you know what, even then, they wouldn’t, because by that time, the women had already won and everyone knew it. How’s THAT for patience.)


    During my time in a business environment, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered petty competitions basically revolving around measuring… you get the point. It’s something that happened years ago, but is still going on. Kind of like the two neighboring families who fought for generations until no one really knew why. It’s because men carry grudges. They carry them with them at all times, not because something was hurtful, but because even a grudge becomes a competition in a man’s head! “I can’t believe he did that to me. How can I do him one up back?”

    Some of the most successful female leaders I’ve met have not only taught me, but shown me how much more powerful it is to forgive. Forgive, right and left. Forgive anything from a petty comment to the worst time someone screwed you over. But you do not forget.

    Women are absolute masters of this and because of men’s caveman, competitive instinct, it’s something which just doesn’t fall natural for us, and it severely weakens us in any arena!

    William golding on women


    I am not writing this post to attack men. I’d be attacking myself, and I don’t like attacking myself! Do I think all men are sexist chauvinists who catcalls on a daily basis? of course not. Do I think men can never be as successful as women in business? no, of course they can.

    What I am saying is, ladies, that after having worked around the world in business settings, I thank and salute you because you will never be a businessman, in the typical sense of the word. Because “businessman” is currently used interchangeably and it simply does not do the beautiful women of our world justice. Women and their natural instincts are simply superior to the instincts of a man. I’d even bet some of the most successful male entrepreneurs who have ever lived would agree with me when I say, we would all be much better off if we learned a thing or two from our female counterpart. So for this day, I’d like my contribution to be a small advocacy of making the term “Business” as synonymous to businesswomen as it is for businessmen.

    Before I end this post, despite the length, I have to honor the two women who have had the greatest impact on my life to date, my mother, Nina and beautiful girlfriend, Tonia. Without you I would have been living under a bridge somewhere! Not just today, but every day I live I dedicate to you with love and care! Thank you!

    Tonia Pontiki


     Kent smiling and enjoying a beer


    Nina Helle


    Would love to hear your thoughts and comments. Am I way off? Should I tone it down? Or am I not being harsh enough?

    Let me know! And don’t forget to #BeBoldForChange

    “How Dare You Reach Out to a CEO?”

    If you’ve ever been in sales where part of your job is “bringing in new business” (as you’ll see any job description tell you), then the headline of this blog is something you’ve either told yourself or heard from others in some form or another. CEO, Board Member, Executive – you name it. The larger the company, the more taboo it is to try and dig up the CEOs contact information. The reasons vary; CEOs don’t have time for this, their information is impossible to find, they have people checking and filtering their emails and so on. Well… I’m here to tell you this is simply not the case. To show you why, let me break down the three reasons above with a specific example for each based on my own experience.


    CEOs Don’t Have Time For You

    Though an understandable point of view, don’t you find this a bit counter intuitive? Certainly, if you’re selling encyclopedias to anyone willing to listen, this falls true, but in that case Becama’s blog is not for you. However, if you do your homework and find prospects where you are convinced you can provide value to their business, why wouldn’t a CEO have time for you? Whether the CEO started the company or not, isn’t the whole reason someone occupies the position of Chief Executive Officer that they’re considered the most equipped to lead their respective company to prosperity?

    While doing work for a client, I once reached out to the CEO of one of Northern Europe’s largest banks. I did my usual research, found and verified the email address and started sending emails. I knew I had value to provide and saw from day one my emails were opened (let me know if you want more information on email tracking). A couple of follow-ups later I heard back from one of the top-executives. She had received my details from the CEO and they were interested in learning more.

    In short, if you provide value, even CEOs of large companies have time for you. That’s what they are there for. Whether you hear back from them directly or not, they will at least consider what you are proposing, if you do so correctly.


    Their Information is Impossible to Find

    Yes and no. Their information is certainly not impossible to find, though if you want to target someone like Tim Cook or any other CEOs of global companies who are seen a lot in the media, you’d probably struggle to find the correct email address. Otherwise, executives and managers are just as, if not even more dependent on their emails as you are, which means they need to have an address which people recognize and are able to use. Sometimes you can get lucky with these free CEO email websites, but more often than not you won’t. However, there are certain hacks which can be used to figure all of these things out, which Becama offers, so get in touch if you’d like the latest on how to find the people you are looking for (sorry, had to insert a little plug for our prospecting guide here).

    When digging around for direct sellers, I decided to try and reach out to one of the largest multi-level marketing companies in the world. One of those where they play around with both the left and the right side of the @ in their email format. However, after doing some research it turns out, though a different format than most others, the CEOs actual email address was as normal as can be, provided you find the right email domain, for which a website didn’t exist. It might require some work, but it’s not impossible!


    CEOs Have A Team Filtering Out Irrelevant Emails

    This one is just about never the case. Large companies like Barclays will have a “CEO’s Office” where there is someone in charge of filtering some emails, but the accounts they monitor is not the CEO’s “direct line” if you will. They are looking for any relevant emails which may have been sent to one of the distractions. If you are good enough to dig out the direct line, you can reach just about anyone.

    Another important point here is that the individual who is filtering the incoming emails will be trained to quickly dispose of irrelevant ones, but is still obligated to actually look at any personal looking emails in order to determine their relevancy. This means, if you can optimize your email and personalise to a point where it catches their interest, then you may be able to get them to report your email directly to the CEO as one of the relevant ones. Lastly, this requires you to follow up more than once, I can assure you! Have a look at my post which explains why you need to make sure you’re not coming off as someone trying to sell for a bit of extra juice on this topic.

    As en example here, I actually did reach out to Jes Staley many moons ago, now CEO of Barclays. After 3-4 follow-ups I got in touch with his office and things became interesting from there. Goes to show with the right email templates and optimization, your reach is endless.

    In Summary

    I hope by now you’ve realised I used CEOs as an extreme. These points are applicable to several levels of management, anything from directors and department heads, to mid-level managers; both in the public and private sector.

    Never be afraid or think they don’t have time for you. Managers are managers for a reason, they (usually) are good at what they do. Which means, if you are genuine about providing them with value, they will listen.

    Until next time! Please leave any questions or comments in the section below and I’ll do my best to answer.