Tag Archives: Business Consultant

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

Does business networking work? – A Message from Richard Cooper

 

It’s currently an amazing time here at Hold everything.   I have had some amazing encounters from suppliers and customers, and also learnt a couple of good lessons along the way, especially recently.  

If I asked a room full business people whether they used word of mouth to grow their business, most of them would say yes.  

We all use this phrase “word of mouth” but how do we make it profitable?   Business Networking is an excellent way to do this.  If you Google the term “Business Networking” followed by your locality however, you will often find that there are hundreds of different groups to choose from and beware, not ALL networks are the same!

So how do you choose a networking group and how can you tell if it’s any good?   Here are my top five tips!

1)      Have you visited ? The number of people I speak to who won’t visit  “XYZA” networking  because they were told it was no good/too regimented/ not serious enough or any other reason,  is ridiculous!   Make your OWN choices and decide for yourself. Good groups will have many members often nationwide and worldwide and will know through experience about what makes networking work!  The newer groups are not to be sniffed at either?  If there is a buzz on the grapevine that they are good – GET THERE and give it a go!

2)      Is there a structure?  In my experience the strong, ethical, networking groups have some form of structure or agenda which they STICK to.  I love meeting new people but for networking to work for me, it’s got to be about business and not just a cuppa and a gossip. My time is valuable

3)      Can you MEASURE it?   No matter how complicated or frightening it may be, if you are serious about making your business successful then you need to measure it.  Measuring just the money is a good start, but remember the contacts and the support too.  Have you met with a professional in the group who gave you advice?  Would you have ordinarily paid for it?   Then measure the savings and support too. 

4)     Will they support you when things go wrong? Will they miss you?  Many new networkers assume that companies and networking groups will be sympathetic if something happens that is exceptional or unexpected.  I have seen just how AMAZING companies can be.  I have also seen how unhelpful and hard some can be too.    It isn’t unreasonable for any networking group to ask you to commit for 3 months, a year or maybe two, however CHECK carefully and ASK what would happen if you couldn’t meet your commitments in an emergency either short OR long term.   A good networking group will do everything in their power to help regardless of the circumstances.   Most groups are set up to support small businesses, sadly they don’t always act in this manner so DO ask the question and satisfy yourself that the owners and leaders of the group reflect YOUR’s and YOUR COMPANY’s culture.

5)      Are YOU ready to make an effort to make it happen?  Networking and just “turning up” won’t make it happen for you.  You have GOT to be prepared to do some work too.    Great groups have a structure again to show you how from additional workshops, to 121 support.  When you join your group, don’t gripe about it, GRAB IT and take the opportunities available. 

Go with what works for you and where you feel right.  Measure it and LEARN from some of the best in the business… but DO please watch out for the snakes …….

Until next week

Richard Cooper – Virtual Office Visionary
follow me @holdeverything1

 

 

How do you manage? A message from Richard Cooper

 

How do you manage your teams as a business owner or leader?

I will guess that you are in your current position because you are efficient, good at what you do and have a degree of success in your industry?

Do you manage people the same way?  Is that the right way?  Where am I going with this?  Well, I have had an increasing number of conversations from people starting up in business who have left “jobs” because of overbearing and “stuff based” management.

What I mean by “stuff based” is that we seem to be going back to the era of the Yuppies in the 80’ ( who remembers that term? ) – sharp, money motivated managers who have a background in how to manage property, buildings and items, but don’t really have the people skills to manage a diverse range of people.

How do you identify someone like this?   In my experience, they usually manage buildings, telecommunications, ordering and facilities, with the graze and ease of a true professional.  Their conversations with people will start with  “I know” , and they may be dismissive of staff feelings, interrupt with their “position”.   In short great managers of “stuff” but dismissive of people.

Considering the alternative may be scary to some bosses and companies however. Someone who doesn’t have great technical skill in running their business but who works on an intuitive level?  Gets involved with staff issues, and is much more of a people person.  Surely this would be a nightmare, as nothing would get done effectively and there would be so much to train and teach?

I personally believe that if you need someone in your business with people skills, you can have the best “stuff manager” in the world but you will struggle to develop their tact and diplomacy skills.  They won’t see emotion how their staff do and most likely wont care either!   However if you have someone with the right “people skills” you can show them how “stuff” works.  There are manuals for that.

In my businesses there I times when I have to “tell” my team “stuff”.  It isn’t negotiable and has to be done – such as legal compliance.  However where I can I am learning that the people are the most important asset to my business.  Fobbing them off, being fake and trying to be their best friend will never work if it’s not genuine and meant.  It’s the most dangerous form of management and one thing is for sure, it WILL end in a mess.

So my message this week is:   If you have the right people person, they will pick up the facts as they learn.  Remember people are not facilities, they have feelings which whilst you don’t HAVE to account for, a good manager will always consider.   And finally, never ever try to take someone’s dignity, it means nothing to you but will mean everything to them.

Until next time

Richard Cooper – Virtual Office Visionary

Follow me @holdeverything1

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