Category Archives: Integrity

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 – 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

A message from Richard Cooper – Virtual office visionary

ON YER BIKE PT 1

What do you do when you want a challenge?

Well this year I cycled to Paris with my good friend Bern Gilbey and returned the same way but as part of a 42 strong team of riders to raise money for Crohn’s research.

Bern & I started from Radlett in Hertfordshire (near St Albans) cycled to Newhaven and then got the evening ferry to Dieppe. A few hours additional sleep and we set off early to Paris.

We then rode back from Paris as a team of 42 riders in aid of “Guts in Motion”.   I personally raised £3.5k , however collectively all riders raised over £100k.  My personal journey was a 380 mile round trip.

Why on earth did I do it?  Firstly I wanted a challenge and this was a fantastic one.  However the other big challenge was that I had never ridden a bicycle until last year. Yes, in 2011 I bought my first ever bike and in July 2011 completed Paris to London cycle ride with no experience of this kind of event.

I’m not the type of person to do things by halves, and I knew that if I was going to do this then I was going to do it properly.  No half hearted attempt and an hours cycling here and there.  It was all or nothing.  So that’s what I did.

Having seen a dear friend of mine suffer with Crohn’s Disease and the effect it had on their quality of life – this cycle ride was something which I was determined to do.   It’s this attitude that I carry with me everywhere.  It’s who I am and I feel a massive factor into why my business enjoys the success that it does.

Always remember that your personal values will determine the type of business owner that you are. Do you set yourself challenges? What can you do that sets you apart from the rest and makes you stand out?

In Pt 2  I will be sharing my challenge for 2013.

Until next time

Richard Cooper – Virtual Office Visionary

Follow us @holdeverything1

EXCLUSIVITY !

Christmas Lights on Oxford Street

As London begins its Christmas lights switch on this week – Monday saw the switch on of Oxford Street lights.  What was different this year was that it was a ticket only event.  The organisers have taken a public street, sealed it off and issued tickets.   Now before you all comment about profiteering, money making and the like, these tickets are free!

So why bother with all of the hassle?   Well, think about it.  They are creating an exclusive event.   Anyone can attend but only if they have a ticket.    It doesn’t have a monetary value, but yet it has created a desirable event and by the looks of the forums practically begging for tickets… its worked!

Similarly someone I know has recently had a break at Center Parcs.   They have taken the concept of creating value and exclusivity and applied it to their business fantastically.   The prices for their accommodation are not budget but one thing that is practically guaranteed is exclusivity.  I had a really good look at their website and through networking also know a client who has worked with them.

You can’t just walk onto a Center Parcs village and you can’t even visit for a day (unless you pay and you are visiting someone who is on holiday there).  They don’t hold public open days and even their fireworks display is strictly for their customers on site only.   They have themes such as “winter wonderland” and events to tie in with the time of year such as Halloween, Bonfire Night and so on.

That’s why they can charge what they do and why people return year after year because they have the exclusivity and have created a product of value.

So, think about your business.  Do you have a product launch or an event?   Are you networking like crazy to get people through the door to buy your service or product?

My advice this week is to create exclusivity in your business.  What do you do that you can make exclusive.   I have a client who has completely changed one of her business models that she will only take on recommended clients and if you aren’t recommended directly by another client, then she won’t take your business.   Sound crazy?   That business is the most profitable it has been in five years!  It’s also Financial Services, which is extremely competitive.

It may take some thinking.  Many business mentors and coaches can support you with this, but if you are looking to grow your business, maybe its time to think “exclusive”.

Until next week

Richard Cooper and the team at Hold Everything

Follow us @holdeverything1