Category Archives: Business Value

Deal or no deal? A message from Richard Cooper

I don’t often stop to watch TV, but in the background the other evening the TV show “deal or no deal” caught my eye.

For those of you not familiar with the show – a contestant picks a box from random.  There are 14 other contestants who have boxes too. One by one the contestant chooses a box to open. They range in value from 1p to £250k – the jackpot.

The aim of the game is to open 3 boxes at a time and eliminate the smaller amounts of money. There is a banker who will make offers along the way to stop the game and at this point the contestant can choose to “Deal or no deal!”   The contestant’s box is the last one to be opened.   If they have “dealt” with an amount offered by the banker during the show, the ideal result is that the contestant’s box is worth a lot less than they dealt at.

However they can continue all the way through and take their chances that their box has the bigger sum in it.  It’s a game of chance. 

The contestant this evening was a lady who just wanted a new car. She played the first round.  Her offer from the banker was £3000.  She declined the offer. The next round went well too, and she had some very high amounts left.  She was offered £7500.  She carried on and again the next offer was £14000 from the banker.   By this time although there were a couple of large cash sums she could win, there were many many smaller amounts of £50, £750 etc.

This lady was on a mission.  She was focused, and even the “banker” commented on her calculation.  She knew exactly what she was doing.  She kept saying, I have a big sum of money in here.  She believed it!

She was offered £24000 in the fourth round.   She took the deal and then carried on playing to see where the game went.   She was left in the final round with £750 and £100k – one of those was in her box.

It was the £100k!  She said she had a large sum in her box yet stopped at £24k!   Who else would have done this?  It’s very easy in hindsight to say that I would have carried on, but when REAL money is on the table, would I have done?  REALLY?  I really don’t know.

In business however, it’s this that sets aside the successful from those who don’t quite ever make it.  They play the game, take the risks, won’t be distracted and go to the very end of a project.  Sometimes they win, and sometimes they lose.

How determined are you?  If your instincts tell you that something is worth it, no matter how crazy, would you follow them even if a better offer came along?   Would you sell out for a £24k job and some short term security or will you stick it out.  It’s not for you to answer to me, but ultimately to yourself.

What’s YOUR call? Are you in business?  Deal or no deal?

Until next time

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 message from richard Cooper – Treat me how I want to be treated, right?

Virtual Office - Customer Service Image

Treat your  customers how you would like to be treated.  That’s right isn’t it?  After all we all want to be treated well when we buy products and services from others.

I have always lived by this philosophy and found that I have been extremely successful in business as a result.   In my last blog I spoke about my Honeymoon in Thailand and the difference in the culture and approach that I experienced.

I began to think about their concept of customer service.  It was somehow different.  They treated my new wife and I exceptionally well but I wondered if they were treating us how THEY would like to be treated themselves.   From my observations, their culture and lifestyle wasn’t based on the same materialism that we take so seriously here.  So what was it that made their service different?

Then it dawned on me.  Some of the best companies I know all over the world DON’T treat their customers how they would like to be treated themselves.  They treat their clients how the CLIENT would like to be treated.   I felt special because I was treated in accordance with MY expectations not the perceptions of the person I was buying from.

I remember a long time ago – at least five years – at a conference hearing a speaker talk of this and to be honest, it went in one ear and out of the other.   After all I was providing great service and it was working.

What I now realise is that whilst my service was and is still one of the best in the virtual office industry, there are no limits to the way in which we can take our business to the next level by adopting the principle of treating the customer how THEY would like to be treated.

In your business, it’s likely that you will want to grow and build a company.  This will mean adding to your team of employees or, indeed, taking on your first member of staff.  How much simpler will it be to coach them to listen, empathise and treat the client how the client wants to be treated.

We are all different and the way that my team want to be treated as customers will often be very different to mine as will the expectations of our clients.  Therefore one of our company goals this year is to treat our clients just how THEY would like to be treated.

If you “get “this, then I know it’s something that you will see as amazing value to your business.  If you don’t it’s OK.  Sometimes these concepts take time.  Come back to this particular blog in around three months, it may be the right time for you then.   Remember I first heard this concept over five years ago.  That’s how long it’s taken me to understand the true value in this concept, and it was at a time when I least expected it.

As always if I can ever be of any help in relation to anything you read on my blogs then just contact me through this site.  I am happy to help you achieve your goals.

Have a great week.

Richard Cooper -Virtual Office Visionary

Follow me @holdeverything1

Happy New Year from Richard Cooper….

I hope you had an amazing festive season.

As we begin a new year I am pleased to announce (for anyone who doesn’t know) that I married in December.   A day I will remember for the rest of my life.

It’s fair to say that in the run up to the big day, there was a huge amount to plan and it was a very stressful time for both of us and even our families.   But the day went perfectly, and we enjoyed an amazing honeymoon in Thailand.  For anyone who hasn’t visited Thailand, I highly recommend it.

The thing about being on a break is that I usually have my best business ideas when I finally stop to relax.  This break was no different, but that isn’t what I want to share today.

What I found in Thailand was an extremely service orientated culture.   Nothing was too much trouble. There wasn’t one person I met who didn’t go out of their way to make sure my break was the very best it can be.    The people I met weren’t cash rich or money orientated which surprised me even more.  I spent a lot of time thinking about how they do this, because it looked so effortless.      I really wondered how they managed this balance, and genuinely meant their kindness.

I met  with one of my suppliers on my return and was explaining this to her.  I asked her if she had any ideas as to how such a calm outlook on life, and business could be achieved, even when it was clear that in some areas, they lead a life that some of us would look at and consider very simple, possibly even underprivileged.    She looked at me and said “Maybe they don’t sweat the small stuff – and you know, it’s ALL small stuff”.

Asking where on earth she got this phrase from, she shared that she had read a book entitled exactly that.  “Don’t sweat the small stuff – and it’s all small stuff”. By Richard Carlson. I have now started to read this book.

It’s based on simple ways to stop the little things taking over your life.  My supplier was right.  The people I was privileged to meet didn’t sweat the small stuff!  They didn’t “sweat” anything!  They seemed to have this understanding that life is more than profit, money, and stress. Ironically they had a profitable life as a result.  The culture, the relaxed atmosphere and the impeccable service was perfectly balanced.

My goal for 2013 is to learn from the Thai culture and build this into my business. I truly believe that business can profit and also be laid back.  If you had told me this before I went on honeymoon I would never have believed you.  Now I can see the vision.   How about you?

 

Read this book, enjoy and make your business better for it.

Happy New Year

 

From 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