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A message from Richard Cooper – Virtual Office Visionary

 

On Yer bike Pt2….

Welcome to part two of this blog.  Last week (see my last blog entry) I shared with you my biggest challenge yet.  A super –  cycle ride from the Hertfordshire to Paris and back again.

Many of us will take on a challenge, achieve it and say “OK I’ve done that now, back to business”.   It would have been very easy to do this myself.  After all I have completed the cycle ride two years in a row having never ridden a cycle before.  I have stretched my mental and physical stamina to the max.

I know that no one would blame me if I hung up my trainers and decided to call it a day.  The odd charity bike ride locally?  Maybe something in a few years?  After all I am getting married soon and am extremely busy.

However next year I will be doing it again with an additional twist.   To make it even more challenging I am going to cycle from Radelett  (near St Albans, Hertfordshire) to Dover. Take the ferry to Calais then cycle to Paris.

I will be updating you regularly on my training progress and when my sponsorship page goes live.   The reason I haven’t stopped in 2012 is because when I achieve one challenge, I move onto the next.  The same approach goes for my business too.   Having a new challenge keeps my mind focused both in my life and business.

Do you do the same?  If you don’t and I can help, just send me a message through the website anytime and I will be happy to share some tips that have supported my success.  As always keep an eye on my blog too for great hints and tips on how to make small steps to success in your business.

Until next time

Richard Cooper @ Hold everything

Follow us @holdeverything1

More Perspective?

Many of our clients are small businesses and something that I feel particularly passionate about is perspective.

Whilst we have an established team here are Hold Everything HQ, many business owners work alone and the thing about this is that often, there is a different level of perspective.

I remember when I was starting out alone in business. It was me against the world.  My business was my life (and in many ways still is!).  The trouble was that because I worked only with one part time member of staff,  sometimes the pressure of everything all at once felt a little bit too much.   I would feel alone and that there wasn’t anyone I could turn to.  

As the business has grown, this has become less of an issue, however when I speak to a client who is wound up about something that really isn’t as bad as they think it is, I remember being there.

My top tips for you if you ever find that things are getting a little too much are:

1) Take a five minute break.  Sounds obvious?  Sometimes just moving about and taking a deep breath can make that difference. Ask yourself “in the great scheme of things is this really as bad as it seems.

2) If you have received a “bad” email, message or voicemail – wait 24 hours before responding. Your replies are permanent. Don’t do damage by biting back, no matter HOW tempting.

3) Find other businesses in your position.  I met numerous great businesses through business networking.   If you’re just starting out there are many that are free to go along to.   Having others to talk to really helped me to realise that things aren’t as bad as I sometimes thought.

If you are a bigger business dealing with smaller companies:

1) Remember that just because something that isn’t important to you, it doesn’t mean that it’s not essential to someone else.

2) Can YOU take five minutes to listen to a small business? What are your business doing to support start up mentoring?

3) Stay professional at all times regardless of how someone else is behaving to you and if you have been in that position, remember how it felt.

There are so many terrible events going on in the world and sometimes we need to step out and see the bigger picture.  Theres always an answer.

This week our thoughts go out to those affected by the awful events in the USA.

Until next time

Richard Cooper – Hold Everything
Follow us @holdeverything1

 

Get a Job!

I have had a very interesting week.  When you do what I do, you deal with a variety of business people and sometimes become a sounding board for their challenges.  Sometimes even an agony uncle!

I learn so much about my clients when I listen to their challenges and they are surprised when they learn that I’ve often experienced the issues and feelings that they have.   Like many of my fellow experienced entrepreneurs, we have seen a lot.   This week was no different.  One of my clients was speaking about the economic times and her business associates changing.

She was down about the fact that a number of her close business colleagues were back in full time or part time jobs with what she described as “more financial security “ and felt dreadful that she was a little bit jealous of the new successes that they were having.  Where she used to be one of their first and foremost trusted contacts, suddenly she wasn’t. The goalposts had changed.

Things in business are always changing and the skill of handling and positively managing that change is essential.   When asked what it was that made my client feel the way she did, it came down to the fact that it was a massive change for the dynamics of her business.  She felt she couldn’t say anything for fear of how it would be seen.

So when faced with such a situation, what can you do?   Here are three quick tips!

1)      When faced with a change (which sometimes manifests itself as some kind of feeling of jealousy or unease) – ask yourself what it is exactly that you have the challenge with. What is it that you’re feeling?

2)      What’s the benefit?  It’s easy to focus on the negatives of a situation, but remember the positives too.  As I said to my client, how about the new contacts she can make?  The new conversations?

3)      Talk about it:  Speak to someone you trust and know.  It’s important to speak to a sounding board.  I have been in the situation of change more times than I can remember.  You may be surprised at the experience around you.

So what happened with my client?   Well she sat down with her colleague and they worked it out.  The real issue was that then the colleague closed their business, she felt like they took away part of hers.   Always remember to have business plans and strategy to fill any gaps for essential services you offer.

On that point remember, that change happens all of the time, but never ever underestimate the power that your decisions can have on others.  Be aware, be courteous and be kind!

Have a great week.

Richard Cooper – Hold Everything

I don’t give a Hoot!

Something that always interests me about the business people I meet, is the approach that they have to their company and those around them.

Now, whether you believe in Karma or not, I personally see an unwritten code of conduct that businesses tend to follow. Examples of this include:

  • Acting with honesty and integrity
  • Treating fellow businesses with respect
  • Good manners
  • Assertiveness without aggressiveness.
  • Basic dignity and respect as a minimum.

All pretty standard? So one would think!

Increasingly I am seeing more and more business behaviour which has an edge to it that isn’t necessarily positive.

From non negotiation to nothing more than playground bullying and games. Not talking to each other (especially business partners) and even worse, taking issues to social media to air them in public are acts I see more and more regularly.

Clients usually come to us because they want a defined barrier between their home and business life. Who wouldn’t want this?

However when businesses start attacking each other and using online tactics to put each other down, what can you do?

Marie Coles – founder of Business Connections and all round social media superstar shares the following quick tips on how to handle the “playground antics”:

1) If it’s a business partner who is taking their issues to air with facebook/twitter etc, then arrange a face to face meeting. Consider a professional mediator. The cost of their services may save you a serious amount of money in the long run. Do NOT engage with any online debates or arguments. It will damage your reputation more.

2) If it’s a competitor or business relationship gone wrong, try your best to ignore them. Most of them go away in time. However if it’s blatant slander or reputation damage, seek legal or where necessary police advice.

3) Always remember that even bullying online is still bullying. Act assertively and protect your business but always remember good ethics and manners. Don’t be afraid of the “block” button on social media.

Marie x

These tips are extremely valuable. Are you involved in any arguments or issues? Are they really necessary and are you acting like a good business should? My tip for the week is to step back from your business for an hour. Look at it and walk around your premises if you have them. Ask yourself “am I facing the issues I need to” – because if as a business manager or owner the answer is no, then you need to look at all of the people affected by it. Making changes to your business, your staff and their responsibilities isn’t easy, but its much easier than losing good business contacts and staff because you don’t. Just be wise and know your allies as well as your enemies.

Until next time

Richard Cooper