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How to successfully set goals for your business

This summer I set myself a personal goal, to complete my longest cycle ride to date. Travelling from Paris to Brussels and eventually arriving back home in London. A journey totalling in 380 miles of burnt rubber!

And Yes! I’m pleased to announce that it was a success – not to say it wasn’t tough and certainly had its challenging moments and ‘uphill climbs’. But the sense of achievement has been fantastic, both personally for myself and also for my chosen charity which helps to fund the prevention and treatment of Crohns and Colitis in childhood, so far raising £1,435!

This experience got me thinking about the importance of setting both personal goals and business goals alike. As a business it is key to always be aiming ahead. Goals (the right goals that is!) need to be set, met and achieved to keep a business motivated. Well chosen objectives can point a new business in the right direction and keep an established company on track. So here is my advice to setting goals, keeping motivated and ultimately, succeeding!

Don’t start with the Tour de France!

When looking to set a goal, the first question to ask should be, is it achievable? It’s all good setting a target but if there is no chance of ever getting there you will find yourself demotivated and feeling like you have failed. I am a keen cyclist and year on year give myself a slightly more challenging ride to complete, but I always make sure that given the correct training and diet, I feel confident I can succeed! Give your company a chance and find a goal that with the right mental attitude and hard work you hope to achieve!

2. You won’t get far pedalling backwards…

Now that being said… if your goal is too easy there is no point to setting it in the first place. Whether it is a personal goal for work, team goals for your employees or a whole company target. Reaching that goal should be a big achievement and something that will give you pride in what you have done, so make sure it is challenging enough to make you sweat!

3. If your bike is a bike, take it for a ride! (make it relevant)

A key goal for one company will be different from another. When choosing your goal make sure it goes in parallel to the companies overall mission. Rather than just a financial target, think about how you want to get there, and making your goal personal to your own company. Everyone wants to make money and be successful, but a goal should be tailored to the process as well as the outcome.

 

3. Don’t forget to train

So you’ve chosen your goal – what’s next? You need to create a structured programme for how to achieve your goal. Business is all about being prepared, keep yourself and your employees on track with mini-targets. These well chosen objectives help you edge towards  your end goal. This keeps everyone involved motivated, and morale high, as well as allowing you to keep an eye on your progress and make sure you are continually heading in the right direction.

 

So in summary… 

Be optimistic, yet realistic. 

Be specific. 

Be prepared. 

 

By setting up goals and objectives you can give each task a sense of purpose, keep your company on track, as well as ‘keeping track’ on progress and inevitably create a fantastic sense of achievement when you reach your goal! Goals are important to every business be it a small start up company, or a large established business, just follow these easy steps and you’ll be as pleased as I was when my feet touched down in London!

 

Find out more about my bike ride and my chosen charity here… http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=Richardcooper42

 

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

Cutting Costs?? A message from Richard Cooper

virtual office business advice

Need to reduce overheads??

In the current climate businesses and start-ups are looking for ways to reduce business overhead costs while still being efficient.  I have seen a lot of businesses do this very efficiently but have also seen what can happen if this goes wrong.  Ifs well known that if you want to increase your profit, one of the fastest ways to do this is reduce overheads.

My business is one of the most popular ways that companies stay professional whilst keeping their overheads low, so I have a vast experience in this.  It is one of many ways.

So how else can you do this effectively without cutting corners and affecting your service.  Here are my three top tips to help cut over

1.    Track where the money goes – While this is not always possible, especially when your business grows, it is important to understand how and where money is being spent. Knowing you figures will allow you to really get to grip with where you can save.    It may take some time to understand by persevere.  It’s the biggest way you will know how your business is growing, or not.

2.    Outsourcing – This can work very well in  reducing overhead costs  but ensure that its quality and professional outsourcing you use.  Outsourcing can provide great savings on necessary services such as your office,  IT and accountant, and it’s always very beneficial to surround yourself with professionals.  Always satisfy yourself however that you are receiving value for money.

3.    Hire employees consideratly–  If you have employees, this will be a large part of your outgoings.  It’s really important to ensure that you take on the right employees with a clear description of their roles, and also to review these roles regularly to ensure that your business needs are being met.   Multi training your employees may increase flexibility too.

Make sure you schedule regular overhead reviews that examine all your businesses expenses. You may be surprised to find a considerable amount of savings each time you do

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