I’ve been a business mentor for many years.

Shaun invited me to add some of my thoughts to the Thompson Balch website and I am delighted to do so and meet you all.  So who is this woman with the funny name and what is her take on the world? I trade as Elizabeth Toogood Insightful Business Mentor but what does that mean?

I am a businesswoman of mature years – well old really! I have been working for over 50 years having started at 12 with my mother in her wine shop. My career proper began in road transport and has spanned retail, motor retailing and consulting in both big limited companies, privately owned businesses and my own businesses. If you want to know more then get in touch and I will tell you some of the stories of crises, chutzpah, strikes and serendipitous events. I am now a business mentor helping people develop their enterprises effectively to deliver whatever outcomes they aim for.

My shorthand is this “ Helping you and your business grow. Together we find your focus and craft the plan to build your success. Together we’ll create your legend, we’ll make it a reality”.

Of course, this is different depending on the circumstances but let’s unpick this.

01234 273644 / 07968 822275

[email protected]


February, and the start of a new Lunar Year

It is February and feels more like spring than winter. Isn’t the sunshine wonderful? I am loving having daffodils and tulips in the house again. It is supposed to be the worst month but this year maybe it is going to be different. If you celebrate the Chinese new year then the year of the tiger sounds exciting. And of course half term is coming!

So what is on my mind.
Everyone said that life would never be the same again after the pandemic. Are you finding this to be so? We spoke about there being a need for more kindness and that we would use our time differently – doing more that we want to do and being less driven by others.
I am seeing more kindness on the surface but I think if you put people under any pressure they revert to being short tempered. I suspect some of this is about an underlying apprehension caused by the pandemic and still with us. Yesterday I was with a friend in a lift. All the lights went out and it stopped. Almost before we could get the torches on the lights came back and it started to move so no need to panic but my friend had pressed the emergency intercom and received no reply. All this made her very anxious and she wanted some answers when we got out. She is normally even tempered but this happening did not bring out her better side. I put that down to a level of stress which is the residual of lockdowns and virus. Do you recognise this in yourself?

Could it be that you were exercising and looking after yourself when we were in lockdown time? Now that has gone by the by and there is no where to put the stress of normal life plus the residual of Covid.
What about time? Are you using it in a different way to 2019 and before? I have taught time management and helped people with it for more years than I care to remember and can see some are sliding back into pre pandemic habits. Then yesterday I was reminded of what was possible.
The lift eventually discharged us at the right floor to see Belfast. Have you seen it yet? If not please find time to do so.
Kenneth Branagh wrote the film play during lockdown, it was made in 2021 and released in January 2022. I have never written a film so cannot imagine the amount of work, though it drew on his childhood so I imagine there was only fact checking to do rather than research. And maybe he had been thinking about it for years. OK he is Kenneth Branagh so maybe getting funding was not as hard or time consuming as it might be for others. He directed it so there was no need to look for anyone else. He had to cast it and OK most of the faces are well known and probably his friends. However he had to find a child actor to play Buddy. A boy who could carry the film whether it was at home playing , pursuing his first love (with granddad’s advice) or dealing with the horrors of the troubles erupting and then escalating. He auditioned 300 boys. He found Jude Hill who is an exceptional boy -what an amazing opportunity for him and didn’t he make the most of it. Then Ken Branagh had to make it.

Now this is what I call a lockdown project! Most of us were happy if we had turned out all our cupboards and painted the spare room. However many of us were more productive than normal and this was alongside working out how to get food, home schooling and the joys of being with our loved ones 24/7. We found time to have Zoom quizzes and dinner parties. We walked. We exercised with Joe Wicks. ANDmany of us worked from home and realised how much we could get done without office interruptions.
Now I am not suggesting that we should try to be Kenneth Branagh or overstretch ourselves as we were in the various lockdowns. However I wonder if we have reverted to previous – not so productive or satisfying – habits. Are you maintaining the lockdown habits that helped you? If so please tell me what they are.

Are you more focused because you have learnt that focus gets things done and gives you more time for other things? Are you better at working every day but not all day because work does not need to expand to fill a working day? Are you taking on new things and improving the balance in your life?
We all said we would use Zoom for the short meetings, the 1:2:1s, those that had to be done but where there was no time for travel. Are you sticking with that?
And what about travel? Fuel prices are soaring. Zoom works. Are you getting the balance right? Honestly how many of you have forgotten to factor travel time in and had to grovel? I think it must have happened to most of us at least once!
So the big question is are you more productive than you were? Are you more focused on what you want to achieve? Are you happier with your working life?
If not then perhaps we should talk. If as you read this it resonates with you or someone you might know; if you like my ideas and values; if you want to develop your business or yourself; then please give me a call. I love speaking with people, off the meter, to help them explore possibilities and whether/how to take them forward. If you want an objective view of how things are in your business pick up the phone now and let’s have a chat.

GDPR and Privacy Policy

European Union GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations)

The EU GDPR is designed to help all of us have more control over our personal data, and how is it used.

Who does the information GDPR apply to?

Data subjects, being all visitors and users of any website who are members of the European Union, and therefore who submit personal data. Thompson Balch  is the data processor and data controller of this site. You can find out more about this law here.

Privacy Policy

Effective from 25th May, 2018

This Privacy Policy sets out how we use and protect information that you may provide when you use this website.  Your privacy is protected and important to us. If you provide identifiable personal information it will only be used to help us fulfil your project requirements.

Thompson Balch is the company who collects any personal data submitted through this website.

We may update this policy periodically, please check this page to ensure that you are in agreement with any changes.

What We Collect

Personal information, basically any data that can be used to identify or contact you is collected so we can service your requirements.  This could include your name, business name, address details, email, telephone numbers, or information pertaining to your exhibition stand requirements. You may also at times be asked to leave a message about your enquiry or project brief. Websites also collect your IP address through the use of Cookies (find out more about cookies below).

If you opted-in to our mailing list, you may receive occasional emails on important updates or service information. You have the right to opt-out or and have any personal details removed at any time, please email us.

What We Do With The Information We Collect

Information is saved until the enquiry is dealt with and then archived with the project or on cloud-based systems if you are an ongoing client. We also retain your contact details and information in the emails you have sent, but you can request to have your personal details deleted at any time.

We will not sell, distribute, or lease your personal information to third parties unless we have your express permission, or are required by law to do so. We may use your personal information to send you relevant information about the services we offer, or information you need as part of the services we offer.

Data Security

In our continued commitment to ensuring that your information is secure and to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, we have suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures in place to safeguard and secure the information we collect online.

  • Data is stored on a secure cloud-based server or on a secure, password-protected computer with limited user access.
  • Sending information over the internet is generally not completely secure, and we can’t guarantee the security of your data while it’s in transit. Any data you send is at your own risk.
  • We have procedures including 2FA, passwords, restricted access and other security features in place to keep your data secure once we receive it.
  • Thompson Balch will NEVER pass on your personal data to third parties without first getting your explicit consent.

Controlling your personal information

You may choose to restrict the collection or use of your personal information in the following ways:

  • Whenever you are asked to fill in a form on the website, look for the box that you can click to indicate that you do not want the information to be used for direct marketing purposes
  • If you have previously opted-in to a mailing list or provided other information, you can find out what information we hold, and ask us to remove or not to use any of it, by writing to, or emailing [replace email address]
  • You may request details of personal information which we hold about you.
  • If you believe that any information we are holding on you is incorrect or incomplete, please write to, or email us as soon as possible.  We will promptly correct any information.

Google Analytics

User and Event Data Retention

User-level and event-level data associated with Google Analytics cookies is retained for 14 months and then automatically deleted.

IP Anonymization

I have implemented IP Anonymization, simply put, the last three digits of your IP address are set to zeros in memory shortly after being sent to the Analytics Collection Network. The full IP address is never retained, or written to disk.


This site also uses Cookies, find out more or manage them here.