Category Archives: Business Professionalism

Client Appreciation

At Hold Everything, the virtual office company based on London’s prestigious Regent Street  we believe a ‘Thank you’ is always nice to say to those who are loyal and recommend our services.

These two words are always thrown around throughout the day, but this can be extremely influential on your clients especially in business. By showing client appreciation this helps to improve not just your working relationships but can increase client loyalty and client retention.

It is crucial to focus on your client retention as it is estimated that increasing retention rates by 5% can increase profits by 25%-95%. A key ingredient to achieving client retention is by showing appreciation to your clients which effectively means letting them know how grateful you are for their devotion to your services.

Appreciation Strategy

To implement your customer appreciation strategy, you must have all client details in one place- a CRM system which is a basically your customer database is foundation for all your further actions.

See a previous blog here about CRM https://www.hold-everything.com/benefits-using-crm-system/. The CRM system can track and record all interactions you have with your clients and can help identify their needs and behavior towards your service. Below we have put together four easy ways to show your clients how much you appreciate them:

  1. Promote your client’s business

A lot of time goes into building your own business and promoting it, but by promoting your clients along with yours can help build loyalty and create a positive performance from your clients. For example, on your website you can have a page that illustrates some your client’s profiles and how you are both benefiting from your client relationship. If you have a newsletter/use social media, you can share customer success stories, not only will your clients appreciate this personal touch, but perspective clients will be able to see how much you are more then a supplier, you are a partner and you are thankful for your clients.

  1. Contact your clients on a regular basis

A common issue is that businesses tend to forget their client once the deal is made and the contract is signed, its all about the next sale? Wrong!

You want to achieve customer loyalty as this is what gets the client coming back and re-signing for another year/buying more products (whatever your business sells), if you want your client to return you need to give them a good reason to do so. Keeping up that business – client relationship takes work and dedication so by sending out regular newsletters, updating your social media, advertising offers and day to day communication e.g. follow up emails to phone calls, can really help enhance your clients experience with your company.

  1. That VIP treatment

We all love a bit of VIP treatment so when it comes to appealing to your clients needs make them feel valued and special. Reward your clients with exclusive offers by personal email invitation, this allows your client to feel appreciated as you are wanting to give them access to these great deals before others. By doing this you are brining an element of personal care which is clever and effective tactic to improve client’s lifetime with you.

  1. Loyalty / discount cards

Offering a loyalty or discount card will always be taken as fantastic customer loyalty.

Whether it’s a free coffee from the local coffee shop after buying 10 already or a voucher to spend after spending a certain amount or a student discount offered, everyone loves the fact they got something from their favourite place to spend money.

Its proved that if you have a choice of coffee shops, the one offering a possible free coffee eventually will always get the business over the coffee shop that doesn’t. By going regularly to the same branded supermarket you know one day a voucher will appear or your card in your purse/wallet will one day give you some money off.

Buying the same make up from a major chemist brand will earn you points on your card compared to buying it from a concession in a major departmental store.

In conclusion all in all you want to keep your clients happy, making them feel and know that you care and value them. By taking care of your customers in turn they will take care of your business.

How to Survive A Hangover at Work?

At Hold Everything, the virtual office company based on London’s prestigious Regent Street  we are in the heart of London’s thriving social scene, with Soho only a few steps away, trendy Mayfair behind the office and the City a short ride away on the train – seeing the end of day drinkers spilling onto the pavements is a daily event.

Many drink late into the night, wrapping up maybe some business deals or just enjoying colleagues outside of the working environment. But how many go into work hungover.

According to a daily mail report back in 2010, over half a million people are hungover at work each day , has the number increased in the past 9 years?

 

We have all been there, getting drunk on a school night but the question is how do you deal with a hangover the next day when you’re expected to be a functioning adult with responsibilities and a job to do? You could call in sick, but that doesn’t look great on your part, especially if your colleagues know you were out late (because perhaps they were with you at happy hour too), or your boss follows you on social media platforms or you could just do your best to pull yourself together and get yourself to the office.

The latter may seem near impossible but thousands of us have been there and done it, so fear not I have put together a guide for you for surviving your work day.

Tip No.1 – Survival of the commute

Ensure you bring a big bottle of water to hydrate you during your commute, especially if you take public transportation to work and make sure you have your headphones so you can listen to music, this can help distract you from feeling nauseas, in fact it is proven that listening to your favourite songs can help to relive that sick feeling and a number of studies claim that music can improve your mood, reduce stress and decrease anxiety all symptoms of which a hungover can provide you with!

If you drive to work you should reconsider and grab a taxi, the effects of alcohol the next day can weaken your cognition, which results in hungover/drunk driving this is illegal – so please grab a ride from a friend or family member, go on public transport or as mentioned take taxi this is so much safer and LEGAL.

Tip No.2 – Staying awake in that morning meeting

Right you’ve made it into the office – the lights are particularly bright this morning worsening your headache and everyone and everything seems nosier then usual and to make it worse you have a morning meeting to attend, you ask yourself how am I going to get through this?!

In a hungover state it is quite difficult to be positive but remember whether your hungover or not research suggests most people dread early morning meetings, so you are not alone. So, to get through this chore, stick it out find solace in knowing you’re not alone in wishing you were any place else where, bring your notepad and a pen to jot down notes that your hungover memory won’t remember.

Tip No.3 – Keep focused with food

 

OK, you’ve made it through the meeting but now you have another seven hours or so ahead of you. You need to eat a hearty breakfast to help get your brain back working so unfortunately a greasy fry up or McDonald’s is off the cards (sorry!). A few foods that can help that hangover:

1.Banana Smoothie/Fruit Smoothie/Vegetable Smoothie – packed with nutrients to help you feel replenished.

2.Bacon and Egg sandwich – a variation of a fry up – the bacon and eggs will help to kick start your metabolism for the day and the vitamin B in the bread will help to boost your energy, this will also fill you up.

3.So, we ruled out the McDonald’s breakfast, but I get it who wants to eat healthy when you’re hungover, a compromise on this is French toast with honey and any nutritious type of topping such as avocado/bacon etc. Did you know the honey helps to break down any alcohol left in your system and one study found that in 50 adults honey increased the rate of alcohol eliminate by up to 32.4 percent!

4.Make sure you are keeping yourself hydrated, drink water and lots of it.

Tip No.4 – Making it past lunch time

Congratulations you made it through the morning its now lunch time. Take yourself on a walk to get some fresh air, and make sure you have lunch.

Once again, you’re probably going to want to have an unhealthy lunch or even get to the point in your hangover where you feel like you can’t eat but eating your greens can really help replenish tons of nutrients, have a vitamin packed wrap or sandwich that is going to help fight your hangover. Include a fruit salad into your lunch, all fruit has a high-water content which will help re-hydrate your body (especially watermelon).

Finally – the home stretch  

Once lunch time is over you only have a few hours left of the day – however this may feel like the toughest time of the day to survive, your exhausted and just want your bed, you are also probably counting down the clock. Stop looking at clock it won’t make time go faster so make yourself a coffee and have a mid-afternoon snack with some sugar to help raise those energy levels.

Do what you can to remain productive but If you can’t focus on your work get on with some simple tasks such as tiding your desk/ responding to those emails that have been cluttering your inbox, occupy yourself with small jobs that will pass the time and make tomorrow easier for yourself otherwise by trying to proceed with high importance tasks in an unfocused state will risk your performance.

So in conclusion, as an employee think before your drink too much knowing you have work the next day, or make sure you use this survival guide to get through your hungover work day.

Benefits Of Using A CRM System

At Hold Everything, the virtual office company based on London’s prestigious Regent Street  we have been using a CRM System to help run the business now for a period of time. Currently we are having our own bespoke system written to manage some areas of our business which the current system doesn’t offer.

What is a CRM system?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. This is a computer system that facilitates the collecting, organising and management of customer information which essentially creates a database for you and your company. CRM systems are designed to streamline your processes within your organisation and can be an extremely important management tool.

How can a CRM System help your business.

  1. Help Improve Customer Satisfaction

All communication with the client/customer can be recorded onto the CRM system, this will help you provide a better service for your clients as you’ll be able to quickly retrieve all activity concerning that client. Also, by using this strategy, all productions such as servicing, marketing and selling your products or services to your clients can be conducted in an organised and systemic way.

  1. Improvement of Customer Retention and Revenue

This is a golden CRM benefit, by using the data collected on your system your team can proactively address any at-risk/soon expiring accounts as well as reaching out to satisfied customer/clients to help encourage repeat purchases and upselling of existing services. You’ll be improving your customer retention rates – which should translate into increased revenue for your business.

3. Maximise your Business Performance

By using a CRM system this can help maximise your business performance by increasing your up-sell (where you are offering customers an upgrade relating to their purchase) and cross- sell (offering complementary products/services that are in the same category of their purchase) opportunities. By using both sales strategies which can be easily conducted with a CRM system you will have a complete understanding of their wants and needs as all the client information will be easily accessible and viewable and you can be prompted on when to use your sale techniques.

  1. Improvement on Internal Communication

By having a CRM system in place this helps build up better communication within the organisation. Sharing the customer data between departments will encourage and enable you to work as team. Each employee will have access to answer the customer/client questions involving their services or products. A major benefit of this allows a healthy, functioning, well-informed team which overall will help increase the company’s efficiency and offer a better service to your customers.

  1. Optimise Your Marketing

Another brilliant CRM benefit is allowing you to optimise your market by using a more targeted and cost-efficient marketing programme. By understanding your customer/clients needs and behaviour you will be able to identify the correct time to promote new products/services and promotions. The CRM system will help you divide your customers and give you an insight into which are the profitable customer/client groups to market at. By using the data provided you will be able to set up relevant promotions for each client group and execute them at the correct time. By optimizing your marketing resources in this manner will give you the best possible chance of increasing your revenue.

  1. Valuable Insight to your Organisation

And lastly, want to know how well your organisation is doing? As a CRM system stores all information in on centralised place this makes it a lot easier to analyse your performance. By being able to pinpoint certain information e.g. revenue generated leads/new clients you will be able to generate reports which show this information in clear and precise way. By being able to report data this will help you make more effective business decisions and improve your revenue in the long run. Which surely is the aim of the game for most?!

As mentioned, you can clearly see there are range of CRM benefits that will improve your business whatever size it may be.

So where do I find a CRM System? 

A simple internet search via one of the major search engines will bring up a multitude of choices from companies such as:-

https://www.salesforce.com/uk/

https://www.act.com/en-uk/

https://www.hubspot.com/

https://www.zoho.com/

As with all internet usage there are comparison website that cover the top 10/15 CRM systems, below is one link but the internet searches brings up others options as well.

https://financesonline.com/top-15-crm-software-enterprises-analysis-leading-systems/

Alternatively, you can get a system written just for you.

Rafi Galibov of The Positronic Group says:

‘If you need a CRM, but none of the ‘off the shelf’ CRM’s do exactly what you need, you should contact a developer who can create a ‘bespoke’ CRM for you, one that does exactly what you need to start with and can grow with you and your company.’

The Positronic Group – Bespoke Database Developers using Servoy to create cross platform solutions.

So CRM or no CRM for you – off the shelf or bespoke.

Venture Capital V Private Equity – A Guide for the Entrepreneur.

hold everything overseas clients

As a leading London business base  for entrepreneurs, we are often asked “what is the difference between venture capital and private equity?”  An interesting question that many may not readily appreciate if you haven’t been to Harvard Business School or LSE.  One of the clearest discussions on this topic was recently published in Forbes magazine with an excellent article by  Alejandro Cremades.  Here is what he says.

Startup Fundraising

Whether you are still juggling a startup idea or already have data and revenues and are ready to scale, it’s vital to understand who the investors are that will take you to the next level, and what your following milestone or exit is likely to be.

Fundraising and navigating potential exits can be incredibly time consuming and stressful. It can be confusing. The lines have certainly blurred. Far more so in the last couple of years. Different capital sources are playing a larger role in the startup ecosystem. Various players are stretching how and at what stage they will participate.

So, what are the differences between between VCs and PE firms? Who else is providing capital to this space? Who are the leaders that startup founders should be focusing on?

Private Equity

This space has become a little cloudier, with private equity firms diving into all types of new channels like single family rental homes and mortgage lending through conduits. Yet, in their most traditional forms, private equity firms are consider those who buy or get involve with more mature companies.

This means they are looking for established companies that already have established revenues. In some cases these are companies that may have even peaked and need new management to be optimized. Think classical music, farms and assembly lines in contrast with the typical jazz, disruption, or street art style of fast growth startups. They prefer predictability and lower risk. Even if that means lower returns.

This space is also differentiated by leveraged buyouts, in which PE firms utilize debt to complement their equity to acquire more corporate ‘real estate’. These firms are best known for taking majority stakes, if not full buyouts.

According to rankings from Private Equity International top private equity firms include:

Private equity is more likely to be your end game, or at least a large part of your exit as a startup founder, rather than an early investor. Though these firms may flow down debt that can be used for some ventures.

Venture Capital Firms

In contrast, venture capital firms are equity investors at an earlier stage in the lifecycle of a startup. Just not as early as most think.

For the most part VCs are funding startups at their latest stages in their businesses. This is changing some. More are participating in earlier funding rounds as they gain experience and competition grows for returns and opportunities. You may find them involved at Series A through D fundraising rounds. Or perhaps even at the seed stage.

VC firms will typically take much smaller portions of companies than their private equity counterparts. They are still investing at a much riskier stage and mostly try to spread their bets as wide as possible.

This demonstrates more crossover between traditional private equity and the VC world. Though before you go waltzing into one of these firms in your pajamas, know that they still expect a good amount of solid data and due diligence to make a decision on. They aren’t going to be your first investors on day one.

VCs are also typically looking for a shorter term exit. They have deadlines on their funds, and need to get results quickly. They are often going to push you hard to deliver on their promises to their own investors.

PE is more about numbers while VCs are more about people. However, with both PE and VCs everything starts with a solid pitch deck where the story of the company is told in 15 to 20 slides. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash. Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400 million .

Angel Investors

Angel investors are a much more likely funding partner for most startup founders. Angels are getting better funded, are grouping together, and are making more investments.

Angels are willing to participate in the earliest rounds of fundraising. They are typically basing their investment as you the entrepreneur and the idea, versus any data or profits. Expect to be raising from angels for a round or two before you even approach any VCs. PEs are probably four or five rounds of financing away at this point.

Other Startup Investors

Startup accelerators and incubators are another rising form of early funding. They may invest anywhere from $10,000 to over $100,000 and offer an array of intensive programs, resources and training opportunities. These include names like The Founder Institute, Angel Pad, Y Combinator and 500 Startups. They can get you going if it is a good fit and you can get in. Then help you show off your startup to other investors.

Family offices are increasingly investing in startups as well. They don’t want to miss out on the game that VCs and big private equity firms are enjoying. Though they often like the advantage of investing directly, rather than losing returns to middlemen.

Family offices can be quite different when it comes to what they want and their future expectations though. They may be more likely to offer patient capital or to seek cashflow than other types of investors.

Corporate investors are playing a bigger role in the startup ecosystem today too. They are setting up their own accelerators and are making more strategic investments in startups that can propel their growth and extend their reach.

Despite the confusion and ambiguity out there, there can be distinct differences between private equity and venture capital when it comes to raising money and exiting a startup. There are many more options for fundraising and exiting than there used to be too.

I hope that this clarifies some key points in the whole topic of business fundraising – problems you might face when building your London business empire at Hold Everything Virtual office.

Squatters

At Hold Everything, the virtual office company based on London’s prestigious Regent Street we covered the almost a year old GPDR rules and how as an industry we take our KYC checks extremely seriously by requesting and obtaining certain documents on our clients to ensure we help to prevent any fraudulent movements. ALL customers of a virtual office are subject to rigorous security checks when opening a service at a virtual office- these are similar to opening a bank account. This may sound quite dramatic but as discussed in last week’s blog it is to protect you as a client and you as a consumer.

‘‘The most important thing is to know who you’re working with and who’s using yours services’’- Simon Cowie, Chairman of Mail Boxes Etc

This week we are addressing another industry issue.

Squatting

Squatting is the action of occupying an abandoned or unoccupied area of land or a building, usually residential,[1] that the squatter does not own, rent or otherwise have lawful permission to use.

In the virtual office industry the term squatting is used when either a person or companies or in fact any organisations displays or uses our address without having paid for the service, or sometimes after their services have expired.

So where is our address showing?

Our address is used on a number of different mediums, such as Google, Companies House, HMRC registers, and local directories as well as displayed on their correspondence materials such as websites, business cards, and letterheads etc.

How do we establish their squatting?

We only establish whether a company or person is squatting at our address after normally receipt of mail. We cross check the name using our CRM System to check they are an active account.

Occasionally we receive a visitor at the office enquiring about a company and after checking the relevant website can then investigate if we don’t know of their existence.

What do we do about it?

At Hold Everything one of London’s leading virtual office providers we are determined to prevent fraudsters and squatters who use our services for illegal purposes or without our consent. We take a number of procedures and steps to attain the companies who are ‘squatting’ at our address and have all details of theirs documented to ensure we follow and chase leads on their movements.

We regularly communicate with Companies House advising them of the situation and they in turn have systems in place to assist with the industry situation. Furthermore we search the internet for connections to any individuals whom we can connect to the company using search systems such as 192.com, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and any other social network.

Consequences of squatting

If a person or company is displaying our address to squatter at, obviously we will not to able to forward to them the relevant communication from any source including government letters from HMRC or Companies House. After a lengthy period of usage and due to nonattendance to those time sensitive letters from organisations such as Companies House systems are instigated by the Registrar of Companies for England & Wales which will eventually result in Companies House ordering a compulsory strike off.

The strike off request is then published in The Gazette; this is then recorded on the company register as a First Gazette notice. Once published anyone can object to the application or else the company will be eventually struck off the register, assuming no one objects the company will go into dissolution which takes at least three months to officially dissolve – depending on the size of the company.

So if you think you will use our or any other virtual office address to squat at – think again, the industry talks to one another and names are circulated around.