Tag Archives: business skills

First Impressions Count

At Hold Everything, the virtual office company based on London’s prestigious Regent Street, we are very much aware of what first impressions can do for your business from various marketing mediums such as websites, magazine advertising, social media sites and you as person.

We live in a world where people use search engines to lookup  any relevant information they need, because of this, you want your first impression to be the best it can be, starting with your website –  Your ‘shop window’.

It is quoted that you only have 7 seconds to make an impression and some online accounts even less than a second. 

In the pre Internet days, yes there was days before the Internet your physical shop window was one of the keys to a successful business, you would ensure your shop front had an impressive display to attract your consumers and with this you were a step closer to converting lookers into customers. This rule is exactly the same for your ‘virtual’ shop window- your website.

Today many businesses work predominantly and even entirely online – hence the need for a Virtual Office because regardless a website should display an address where the company is located. But the concept of the ‘shop front’ is still extremely important. Whatever industry category your business comes under, your website needs to attract enough traffic on the relevant search engines, otherwise you will be missing out on perspective customers/clients as your competitors also appear, so the ‘shop window’ has to be well presented.

To ensure you start off on a good foot attracting customers the website needs to be ‘on brand’ and conveys the right image for what your company stands for and represents, one way this this can be done is through the use of colour. There is a very small time window to capture your visitors attention so you need to make sure your website knows what it needs to say and delivers that message clearly showcasing the information about what you do and why you can attend to your customers’ needs and solve their problems the better than any other company.

Whether it is yourself who comes up with the design or you hire a website designer, your site needs innovation and imagination; after all you, want your website to stand out from the crowd.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization. The importance of this vital ingredient for your business to do well is the success of the website. Behind this word lays the tools and strategies that you need to help boost your ratings in the search engine results. Once the visitor is on your website a ‘call to action’ response which is simply converting your visitor into a customer by the visitor clicking a trigger or button that allows them to purchase your service or product or a click through to another page.

Either way it is highly essential that you make this move as simple and obvious for them as possible, Do not forget, when it comes to your website, first impressions count.

Lunch at the Desk and Onboarding Strategy.

Over the past 2 weeks we have been looking at various aspects of office life in our weekly news report on our YouTube channel.  It led me to thinking about how the results of different surveys could in some way be connected in the way human resources function in small businesses today.   In a video report the other week we looked at poor practices in ‘Onboarding’ for new employees.   Onboarding is the process of getting new hires adjusted to the social and performance aspects of their new jobs quickly and smoothly. It is the process through which new hires learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviours required to function effectively within an organisation.

Studies have indicated that many companies fail at the very first step in onboarding process by not following up after the job offer has been made and accepted.   The jobs market is quite competitive at the moment so if a company does manage to find the talent they need and spend time and money doing so they should make the new sign up feel a part of the company culture as quickly as possible.  Often this does not happen and HR departments sit hopefully waiting for the new employee to turn up on the day specified without any problems at all.  Then they are shocked to find that he/she has been pilfered away by a competitor before they even arrive for their first morning.    Even if the employee does turn up, many companies make a hash of the whole integration procedure leaving the employee feeling unwanted/neglected or just downright confused over their role in the organisation.  This can waste a lot of money and put the HR department back to square one.

This brings me to my second point which we outline in our latest news report.   Here we look at a survey where more than half UK employees remain stuck at their desks through the lunch hour.  Some of them, certainly, are enjoying social media or reading the news but the majority are simply working when they should be stretching their legs and getting nourishing food to activate their brains for the second half of the day.

You only have to contrast this with way companies such as Google or Facebook treat their employees.   You can see the sorts of companies that top the list in Glassdoors list of best companies to work for.  Google, Facebook, Anglian Water etc.. you can be certain that thesae companies are absolutely brilliant at onboarding new recruits and making them feel at home from the moment the job offer is accepted.  Google is famous for its great catering and recreation facilities – this is a business strategy designed to entice and retain worthwhile talent.  Whilst it is not always possible for a small company to provide ‘Google’ style facilities I am certain that a small move in this direction could pay enormous dividends in staff loyalty and efficiency.

Upgrading Business Technology is an Ongoing Process.

supporting a virtual office

Many companies hesitate to make major changes to their existing business infrastructure.  I know of many otherwise astute organisations who procrastinate about changing methods that are time-honoured and familiar.  It must be remembered, however, that the world is moving forward at a startling pace and systems that worked well and felt cutting edge back in 2008 are no longer so effective or agile in 2018.

The most important change in office tech during the last decade has been the development of ‘Cloud software’ that moves the software from your own hard drive into a shared server in cyber space.  This has been driven by moves forwards by two important acronyms – ERP and saas, namely ‘enterprise resource software’ and ‘software as a service’.    Both of these systems are normal based in the cloud and are therefore updated on a continual basis and provide the level of enterprise redundancy that would have been unattainable 15 years ago.   This factor, combined with economies of scale  have driven many companies to move onto a cloud platform for all their regular business tasks.

We have accompanied this post with a video showing how these upgrades can work to enhance your business and link in smoothly with remote workforces and virtual offices.   We will shortly produce a video on how you can upgrade your CRM to better serve your customer base.

 

Why Using a Virtual office in London Makes Good Business Sense.

One would imagine that in this virtual world you never had clients meetings face to face.  Vendors of software such as gotomeeting.com would certainly say that.   But for all our virtual advances there are still times when you have to welcome a client to your place of work. That real life meeting is a good opportunity to show you and your business to its best advantage.   But what if your office is a branch of Starbucks or your brother’s garage?  You will not look as smart or as cool as your website or brochure.

Luckily, you have a virtual office package with us on Regent Street and as part of that package you have use of our boardroom/meeting room whenever you need it.  You just book and turn up.  The receptionist and secretarial will treat you with the respect accorded to a serious business client and will make sure that you and your associates have all you need for your meeting.

If you are giving a presentation then you can turn up with just your laptop because we will provide the overhead projector and the whiteboard and, of course, a fast secure connection.   Your client will see you as a serious business executive and this will increase trust – the basis of any business relationship.

So, as you can see, Hold Everything is more than just a mailbox or a phone answering service it is a full service basis for everything you wish to achieve in your business life.

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