Category Archives: Uncategorized

Some Top Tips For Your New Start Up Business

We are living in changing times and change always brings opportunities. To day we look at just a handful of business suggestions that would reflect huge moves in our society this year. You certainly would have noticed how many restaurants are now promoting Vegan food and how sections of your local Tesco are giving shelf space to milk that comes from oats rather than cows. We have seen our streets brought to a standstill by Extinction Rebellion protestors and school children ‘bunking off’ to protest about climate change. There is certainly money to be made in all this.

Maybe you have seen the new style perfume shops blending petals and spices to create ‘bespoke’ aromas to bring out your personality or skin care products that have been genetically engineered to work miracles on your complexion. We have seen ‘disruption’ in public transport from Uber and in accomodation from Air BnB  – fortunes are being made in these new sectors.  Watch our short video to get some inspiration to make 2019 the year you hit the entrepreneurial big time.

Tips to Avoid Legal Problems in Your Small Business.

We all know that law firms make lots of money from litigation and one of the most profitable areas is business law. This ranges from everything from libel suits (defaming a competitor) to mishandling customer data. Fortunately most of this expensive problems can be mitigated by a combination of common sense and correct insurance cover.

Follow our tips to avoid expensive legal costs.

Here at Hold Everything on Regent Street we have heard many stories over the years from companies who have fallen foul of legal guidelines, be it HMRC or for data protection failure. Even simple things like GDPR compliance need taking seriously to avoid costly solicitor’s letters.

If you are setting up a new business it is well worthing appointing a business solicitor to be on call for any troubles that might arise, prevention is an excellent strategy in this area. We are always here to discuss business problems with our clients and if we don’t know the answer ourselves we can certainly put you in the right direction.

8 Top Tips For Working With a Virtual Assistant

When you are used to running a busy virtual office in central London the concept of ‘being virtual’ is a very seductive one.  For many small businesses and start ups the natural progression from having virtual office is to have virtual assistants (VAs) scattered in low income countries.  Used correctly, this type of support staff can provide a big plus for your business and allow you to delegate many routine tasks such as research and data cleaning.

So how do you find a VA?   This is the easiest part as there are websites that let you find and employ a limitless number of experienced part time staff who will charge you an hourly rate way below their counterparts in the UK.  The easiest site to go looking on is Upwork which has a well organised sysstem for locating the part time staff of your dreams.   In a later blog post I will give tips on how to advertise for a vA and how to go through the virtual interview procedure with them.  In this short post I want to show you a video I made that sets out my top tips for working effectively with a VA based on the other side of the world.   In my experience the key to successfully dealing with virtual staff is to be friendly and considerate to them.   Just because they live far away and your contact is on skype or email you should be as polite as if they were in the next office.  The worst thing you can do is take a tone of ‘western superiority’ which will ensure you get the minimum return from your investment.   Treat them as you would any loyal office colleague and you will understand why virtual is best.

Reasons Why Coffee Can Improve Your Work Day

At Hold Everything, the virtual office company based on London’s prestigious Regent Street, we are blessed with the choice of many different coffee shops.

Mornings always start with coffee and the usual saying ‘Let’s grab a coffee’.

This little saying is used globally, whether used for professionals to engage in an informal business meeting or plucking up the courage and asking someone out on a date, coffee is the middle man for all you coffee lovers out there. Plus it is packed with scientifically proven facts of why and how it is good for your mind, body and soul.

 Make You More Productive…

Richard Cooper, Director of Hold Everything encourages regular coffee runs to any of the major chain coffee shops nearby and in fact cafe culture has risen to 80% of people who visit coffee shops do so at least once a week and 16% visit on a daily basis.

 

Whether it is a double shot of coffee first thing in the morning to wake us or a skinny cappuccino mid-afternoon, we are all reliant on the caffeine spike. But how does it work?

The caffeine blocks the inhibitive neurotransmitter which is part of our nervous system found in our brain. An advantage of this is brightening your mood, as the caffeine stimulates the nervous system it boosts the production of hormones such as serotonin and dopamine which are our mood elevators. Your energy levels are increase due to the caffeine which causes a stimulated effect making us more alert and focused = more productivity, thus why we fully encourage coffee consumption in our office.

 Good For Your Health…

We all have those days where it goes from bad to worse; a simple solution to de-stress is by having a cup of coffee.

How does this work? Coffee decreases the blood pressure which reduces the risk of having a heart attack or stroke and increases the blood supply to the brain.

The components in coffee contain high levels of antioxidants which can minimise the risk of Diabetes, Cancer and Alzheimer’s.

In addition, coffee can help boost your metabolic rate and increase fat burning. It is known many people try to cut back on caffeine due to health concerns but according to experts around three to five cups per day for most people can contribute to a healthy, balanced diet. In a published study which explored the dietary habits of more than 93,000 people who drank coffee, showed they had a lower risk of obesity and reduced risk of type two diabetes!

The British Coffee Association shows us that today’s UK’s daily coffee consumption is on average at 95 million cups of coffee per day whereas in 2008 it was 70 million, that’s an increase of 25 million cups overs the past ten years!

So now you have no excuses – go and have a coffee and enjoy.

 

 

 

Six Top Tips to Telephone Answering

At some point or other, whatever your job title, your phone is going to ring and you’re going to have to answer it. For some people, answering the phone comes naturally, and they sound so pleased to hear from you. For others, it is a complete nuisance, and you can hear the reluctance in their voice. However you feel about it, the telephone remains one of the best ways to stay connected to your clients, even in this digital age of emails and social media. Therefore, the way in which you answer the phone can make or break your business.

I just want to speak to a human!

So why is telephone communication still so prevalent today despite the popularity of the internet and the rise in other forms of communication? For me personally, as much as I love the ease of doing business online, sometimes I just want – need – to speak to someone. It’s all well and good for a chat bot to pop up while I’m on an organisation’s website, offering to help me with whatever query I might have today. But it really can’t compare to that one-to-one personal interaction you get with another human being.

And this is where you come in: the human that can solve all of your clients’ problems and make everything better.

But, like any form of communication, there’s a preferred way and, well, a less than ideal way to answer the telephone. Let’s take a look.

Focus, focus, focus

First off, when the phone rings, drop everything you’re doing and shift your focus. This might be easier said than done, what with your ever growing to-do list and overflowing in-tray. It seems that every time you get settled into tackling that job that was due last week, the phone rings, rupturing your concentration, rudely and without apology. At this point, it can be hugely tempting to continue what you’re doing and answer the phone at the same time. But I guarantee that the caller will sense your distraction, and most likely will not be reassured by it.

I am guilty of multitasking while on the telephone. And I can attest to barely remembering a single word of what was said during those conversations. Being on the other end of that call isn’t fun either. Have you ever called a business, and had a mounting sense of dread as you spoke to the person on the line? The sense that they were so preoccupied, they didn’t hear a word you said?

So, as fun as juggling is, please, take a breath, shift your focus, and only then should you answer the phone.

A garbled message

As our workloads have swelled, we are now more likely to eat at our desk while multitasking. This can prove tricky if you find yourself chewing into a sandwich when the phone suddenly rings. Do you gobble it down quickly, risking possible choking, or tuck the offending morsel into your cheek? Needless to say, you want the caller to be able to understand you, and a mouthful of food can seriously impact on that goal. So chew wisely.

Three strikes and you’re out

How quickly you answer the phone is also an important consideration. Answer on the first ring, and you risk startling your customer. Take your sweet time, and you could lose your customer altogether. Everyone’s time is precious, and no one wants to sit on the phone listening to it ring out. So what’s a happy medium?

The three-ring rule seems to be an agreed business standard. Three rings gives you enough time to compose yourself, while allowing the caller to collect their thoughts.

What if you’re on the opposite side of the room when the phone rings, and you need to make a mad dash to get to it within three rings? In these cases, it might be best to take a few moments to catch your breath before picking up the phone, even if it means the phone rings four, five or six times. You don’t want your customer misinterpreting your heavy breathing.

Manners are cool

So you’ve finally picked up the phone. Obviously, you, as the person being called, should speak first. It might be a bit creepy if you were to answer the phone and then sit there silently. But what to say?

Even if caller ID lets you know who is calling, it’s best to pretend otherwise. Answering with a “Howdy Tom, how’s it hangin’?” might be a bit too familiar, even if you’re best buddies with your client.

So err on the side of caution. No matter who your clients are, they want to be spoken to with respect. Manners never go out of style.

Keep it simple on Telephone Answering

Like any form of communication, simplicity and clarity are key.

Begin with a simple greeting like “hello”. “Good morning” and “good afternoon” work well too.

In this moment, you are your organisation’s ambassador, so it’s good to identify the name of your business. Follow this up by stating your name, and perhaps even an offer of assistance.

A good example might be:

“Good morning, ABC Workspace. This is Jane. How may I help you?”

Here we have all the elements of a polite and respectful greeting that tells the caller who they’re talking to, and explicitly lets them know that you’re ready and willing to help.

Tone it down

The final point to consider when answering the phone is how you say it. On the phone, and in the absence of all other non-verbal cues, your tone of voice can give the whole game away.

One of the easiest ways to sound friendly and approachable is to smile as you pick up the phone. As cheesy as it sounds, it really does work. Because when you smile, your voice changes. It’s hard to sound snarky when you’re smiling (unless, of course, you’re smiling through gritted teeth).

And that’s all there is to it: breathe, swallow, wait three rings, smile, and say hello.

Here at holdeverything we pride ourselves on always answering your business calls with professionalism so you can be sure that your clients always get the right impression.

Author note:  David Miller blogs on a range of business and social topics.