Category Archives: Business Conflict

I’m too busy – a message from Richard Cooper

virtual office visionary

If you are too busy to read this then please scroll to the last paragraph of this blog:

Have you ever been on the end of a conversation where the other person is just constantly “too busy”?  Are you constantly chasing a client who is too busy to email, speak or contact you?

In business we are taught specifically not to say “business is quiet”.  It is perceived we are not successful as a business and have too much time on our hands.   So surely then we have to be perceived as being “busy busy busy” all of the time?    A busy company is a successful company isn’t it?

Well not always it seems.  Being busy to the extent that your company looks effective and maybe has to call a client back or book a few days in advance is great, however here are three warning signs that your company MAY be portraying a “too busy” image that could be doing more harm than good.

 

1)      Refusing meetings with a client because they are not worth the time:  On the face of it you may be shocked that a company would do this?   However many companies use email/phone or another medium to avoid having to see a client because they are just TOO busy or at least want to give that perception.

How does the client see it? Many clients will feel that they are not valuable and that if you are too busy for their business then maybe you don’t need it. There’s a difference between a small client who genuinely needs help and “energy vampires” who would have you in their office on tap if they could.  I’m not saying spend all of your time going out and meeting every client but do be careful how it looks.

What to do?   Can someone from your office meet the client on your behalf – especially if it’s a smaller client who needs reassurance? It doesn’t always have to be YOU.   Can they come to your office?  Can you Skype?  There is always an answer and you never know when that small client will suddenly hit the big time!

 

2)      I’m too busy to go networking:  Many businesses say this all of the time.   “I have enough business” is another line which I hear often.  The thing is that we all use word of mouth as a way to gain new business.  Not being part of your community will isolate you in the long term.  There are groups for every budget but you must be involved.

How does the client see it?   Whilst they may feel that you are concentrating on them, how about your OTHER clients – your suppliers, connections and contractors – remember these people are ALL customers to you.   They may see it that you are happy to take business but not make the effort to go out and build relationships on your doorstep.

What to do? Can you send someone from your business?  Can you go to one close to your business which isn’t commitment based.   Look at your calendar and MAKE an hour a month at least to meet others local to you.  Don’t judge a group by what others say, go and make your own decisions.

 

3)      I’m JUST TOO Busy!  Full stop:  Really??  You seriously are too busy to be in business?  Where are you spending most of your time?  Is it with the people who pay you the most?  Or is it on the small day to day stuff.

How does the client see it?  That you are too busy for them, that you are ineffective and have poor time management skills.  They may also see that you will place quantity over quality.  That’s not a bad thing necessarily, but DO be sure that this is your business goal and that you have a very clear strategy on it if this is your vision.

What to do?  STOP…… NOW….. Look around at where you should be growing your business.  Hint:  It’s not from doing everything yourself.  You don’t need a big budget to outsource calls to a virtual answer service or to hire someone part time / commission based or even an apprentice.  If you are too busy full stop then you must take action.  Source someone to take the pressure off and seek a life coach ……..  but if you feel like you cannot continue then it will eventually destroy you and your business.

 

Think about it.  If you have taken the time to read this blog, you have already committed to changing your business.  Even if you have scrolled down from the top, it has been enough to interest you.    SO what action can you take NOW….. so that you DO have more time to grow your business successfully?

 

Until next time
Richard Cooper – Virtual office visionary
Follow me @holdeverything1

Who you gonna call? A message from Richard Cooper

Who you gonna call?

No not Ghostbusters, but seriously, who do you, call when you need support?

In business there is a perception that you need to be tough, and persevere alone in order to be successful.  Just reading autobiographies from successful business owners who have made it big, (think Richard Branson, Duncan Bannatyne etc.) there are times when they went out on a limb and took a risk to make it big.

To an extent, owning and operating any business takes risk, determination and many leaps of faith. However you don’t have to do this alone.  In the course of my businesses I meet many start-up businesses who believe that if they aren’t alone and “doing it for themselves”, that they won’t be successful.

Over time this belief starts to evolve and some business owners will take on the services of a business coach, or attend networking events, or business “clubs”.   Many of my clients have told me very excitedly about what they are doing.

My answer to this question is simple.  You know WHAT you are doing, but who are you doing it with?  What I mean by this is, that it’s all fine and well to be attending certain events and business activities, but it means nothing if you don’t have quality people around you.

I strongly believe that every business owner should have at least two business mentors.  Who do you aspire to be like?  Who do you currently go to when you need advice on finance, business dilemmas, people issues and so on?

Put the right people around you.  One of my clients has a “life board”.  She hasn’t had an official conversation with these people – but has identified seven or eight business people who she knows and trusts.  Each person has invaluable support and information that she can draw upon.  Whatever the issue, be it people, finance – she goes to the person who she knows has the most experience in this area.

So my question to you this week is, who do you go to when you need advice?  Who CAN you go to and how can they help you to accelerate your business growth?

You don’t have to be alone in business and you most certainly don’t have to know it all.  You just need the right people around you.  Network and build your activity around this goal.    And in the words of Will Smith, people can’t expect to be part of your success if they can’t be there during your struggles.

Until next week

Richard Cooper – virtual office visionary

Follow me @holdeverything1

A message from Richard Cooper – Is Social Media destroying your business?

 Social Media is bad for your business?

I personally believe that Social Media, used properly can be and IS extremely powerful for a business.

There are a number of businesses who claim to be Social Media “Gurus” and many businesses will use them.  Other businesses don’t see the point.  I’m one of the middle people.  I greatly see and benefit from the value of social media.  I work with businesses who support my strategy, however there are certain tasks I keep “in – house”.   Why am I sharing this?

Well this week I saw a comment on a Facebook page that has done damage to their business. The sad thing is, they probably don’t realise it.

Virtual Office - Steps for Succes

A friend of my contact put a comment on their wall enquiring about some work they needed doing.  In my book if someone is going public with a desire to do business from you, it’s a massive buying signal.

Instead of taking the conversation off line to negotiate – the response I (and probably the 600+ friends this person has on Facebook) saw was along the lines of.

“Yes that’s fine, if I can be bothered to contact you, and if you can wait until I’m ready, it’s your call”

It wasn’t this word for word; it actually came across a little sharper.  This is, however, how I read it. I wonder how their other contacts saw it.

I met up with one of these contacts a couple of days later and interestingly enough the comment came up in conversation.  Shockingly he had decided after that comment to no longer do business with this person.   He said he never wanted to be treated like that!

Is this hasty or is this the way that real-time business has now become?  I would strongly suggest that how we portray ourselves online – especially on sites such as Facebook where personal meets professional.

Do they have any idea?  Should I tell them?  Are they a business person and do they have ANY idea the damage they have done?

My top tips for this week are based on social media.

1)      Stay professional, as the saying goes “Face it, don’t Facebook it”.  Even with friends and family, the words you write stay forever.

2)      Remember how you write something, is not necessarily how it will be seen by others.

3)      Never EVER underestimate how a “bad moment” could turn your business on its head.

 

Whether there was history behind this relationship, or an “in joke”, business has been lost.  Think about how YOU want to be seen.

Until next time

Richard Cooper – virtual office visionary

Follow me @holdeverything1

 

 

A Festive message from Richard Cooper

Putting up the lights?

How are your Christmas plans coming along?   Have you put up your lights yet?   The man in this picture isn’t actually putting up his but taking them down.  And it was in the last couple of weeks.

Someone doesn’t like them!   This is a market town in Norfolk about 20 miles from the city of Norwich.    Read HERE  for the full article.

I’m not entirely sure what to say on this one really.   Being in the centre of London, our lights go up every year with tens of thousands of people coming along to get into the spirit of Christmas.  We’re on Regent Street just off Oxford Street so it is a different world in some respects.

However I really think that the principles are the same .   We live in a multi- faceted, multicultural society so not everyone celebrates Christmas or wants to.  However does this mean that we should stop those who do?

Did Mark Bunning – the business owner asked to remove the lights go out of his way to annoy his fellow businesses?  I very much doubt it.   Did those who complain about a local business owner taking his own time (at his own cost) to put up lights and cheer up his town, think for one minute that  he did it because he has the community at heart,  or was it just easier to criticise?

I was chatting to a couple of my clients about this and one of them sadly lost her mum over Christmas.  What were her  thoughts?  Here’s what she said:

“ When my mum passed away and we went to the solicitors, to sort out probate, it was a time of joy and happiness for most families.  Of course I didn’t want to be involved but at the time, honestly, if there had been naked dancers in the windows or real reindeer flying around I wouldn’t have noticed.  I was grieving . I wouldn’t begrudge anyone Christmas cheer and never did”.

So think about this over the festive season.  What can you do to make life easier for your business neighbours.  How can you HELP them and do you really know your clients.

And as for these lights….  Why would anyone knock a business person trying to do good.  Whether it was right or wrong – at least the thought and effort were there.

Until next time

Richard Cooper – Virtual Office Visionary.

Follow us @holdeverything1

More Perspective?

Many of our clients are small businesses and something that I feel particularly passionate about is perspective.

Whilst we have an established team here are Hold Everything HQ, many business owners work alone and the thing about this is that often, there is a different level of perspective.

I remember when I was starting out alone in business. It was me against the world.  My business was my life (and in many ways still is!).  The trouble was that because I worked only with one part time member of staff,  sometimes the pressure of everything all at once felt a little bit too much.   I would feel alone and that there wasn’t anyone I could turn to.  

As the business has grown, this has become less of an issue, however when I speak to a client who is wound up about something that really isn’t as bad as they think it is, I remember being there.

My top tips for you if you ever find that things are getting a little too much are:

1) Take a five minute break.  Sounds obvious?  Sometimes just moving about and taking a deep breath can make that difference. Ask yourself “in the great scheme of things is this really as bad as it seems.

2) If you have received a “bad” email, message or voicemail – wait 24 hours before responding. Your replies are permanent. Don’t do damage by biting back, no matter HOW tempting.

3) Find other businesses in your position.  I met numerous great businesses through business networking.   If you’re just starting out there are many that are free to go along to.   Having others to talk to really helped me to realise that things aren’t as bad as I sometimes thought.

If you are a bigger business dealing with smaller companies:

1) Remember that just because something that isn’t important to you, it doesn’t mean that it’s not essential to someone else.

2) Can YOU take five minutes to listen to a small business? What are your business doing to support start up mentoring?

3) Stay professional at all times regardless of how someone else is behaving to you and if you have been in that position, remember how it felt.

There are so many terrible events going on in the world and sometimes we need to step out and see the bigger picture.  Theres always an answer.

This week our thoughts go out to those affected by the awful events in the USA.

Until next time

Richard Cooper – Hold Everything
Follow us @holdeverything1