Tag Archives: business skills

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.

Avoiding Obstacles to Your Business Growth.

 

When you start up your business it is one of the most exciting moments in your life.  The future stretches out before you and you have a vision of what you might be able to achieve,  in terms of prosperity for you and your family and the freedom to pursue your own personal and career goals.  Yet building a business is not a simple matter and you will be faced with many choices along the road.  You might, for example, decide that having a business partner would lighten your load and make expansion easier.  Whilst an obvious temptation, it is not always the most effective path.  The choice of a business partner should not be taken lightly.  You need to find someone who has strengths to complement your weaknesses and will add extra dimensions to the business mix.  Very often we choose someone who we just ‘get on with’ but cannot really offer the input you need.  I would always suggest that you hold off on bringing in a partner until you have established the basic business and the search out someone who can add a complementary dynamic.  If you are essentially a ‘creative’ then you should try to find a partner who is more a detail person and vice versa.

Many new entrepreneurs get easily discouraged, they view the business as a goal in itself rather than as a journey to be taken, this means that if your business goes through inevitable periods of slack you start to worry and get despondent.   You need to remember that all businesses have their tough moments and that all successes have some failure along the way.  Always keep in mind the reason you first set up shop, let the vision that drove you to register your company and open for business be a constant guiding light in your daily work.

In this short video we remind you of these essentials business truths.  We have helped many young businesses get though their early stages by providing all the basic office services at a price that fits with the budget constraints of a new enterprise and allows them to focus on the  bigger business picture.

Benefits Of Using A CRM System

At Hold Everything, the virtual office company based on London’s prestigious Regent Street  we have been using a CRM System to help run the business now for a period of time. Currently we are having our own bespoke system written to manage some areas of our business which the current system doesn’t offer.

What is a CRM system?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. This is a computer system that facilitates the collecting, organising and management of customer information which essentially creates a database for you and your company. CRM systems are designed to streamline your processes within your organisation and can be an extremely important management tool.

How can a CRM System help your business.

  1. Help Improve Customer Satisfaction

All communication with the client/customer can be recorded onto the CRM system, this will help you provide a better service for your clients as you’ll be able to quickly retrieve all activity concerning that client. Also, by using this strategy, all productions such as servicing, marketing and selling your products or services to your clients can be conducted in an organised and systemic way.

  1. Improvement of Customer Retention and Revenue

This is a golden CRM benefit, by using the data collected on your system your team can proactively address any at-risk/soon expiring accounts as well as reaching out to satisfied customer/clients to help encourage repeat purchases and upselling of existing services. You’ll be improving your customer retention rates – which should translate into increased revenue for your business.

3. Maximise your Business Performance

By using a CRM system this can help maximise your business performance by increasing your up-sell (where you are offering customers an upgrade relating to their purchase) and cross- sell (offering complementary products/services that are in the same category of their purchase) opportunities. By using both sales strategies which can be easily conducted with a CRM system you will have a complete understanding of their wants and needs as all the client information will be easily accessible and viewable and you can be prompted on when to use your sale techniques.

  1. Improvement on Internal Communication

By having a CRM system in place this helps build up better communication within the organisation. Sharing the customer data between departments will encourage and enable you to work as team. Each employee will have access to answer the customer/client questions involving their services or products. A major benefit of this allows a healthy, functioning, well-informed team which overall will help increase the company’s efficiency and offer a better service to your customers.

  1. Optimise Your Marketing

Another brilliant CRM benefit is allowing you to optimise your market by using a more targeted and cost-efficient marketing programme. By understanding your customer/clients needs and behaviour you will be able to identify the correct time to promote new products/services and promotions. The CRM system will help you divide your customers and give you an insight into which are the profitable customer/client groups to market at. By using the data provided you will be able to set up relevant promotions for each client group and execute them at the correct time. By optimizing your marketing resources in this manner will give you the best possible chance of increasing your revenue.

  1. Valuable Insight to your Organisation

And lastly, want to know how well your organisation is doing? As a CRM system stores all information in on centralised place this makes it a lot easier to analyse your performance. By being able to pinpoint certain information e.g. revenue generated leads/new clients you will be able to generate reports which show this information in clear and precise way. By being able to report data this will help you make more effective business decisions and improve your revenue in the long run. Which surely is the aim of the game for most?!

As mentioned, you can clearly see there are range of CRM benefits that will improve your business whatever size it may be.

So where do I find a CRM System? 

A simple internet search via one of the major search engines will bring up a multitude of choices from companies such as:-

https://www.salesforce.com/uk/

https://www.act.com/en-uk/

https://www.hubspot.com/

https://www.zoho.com/

As with all internet usage there are comparison website that cover the top 10/15 CRM systems, below is one link but the internet searches brings up others options as well.

https://financesonline.com/top-15-crm-software-enterprises-analysis-leading-systems/

Alternatively, you can get a system written just for you.

Rafi Galibov of The Positronic Group says:

‘If you need a CRM, but none of the ‘off the shelf’ CRM’s do exactly what you need, you should contact a developer who can create a ‘bespoke’ CRM for you, one that does exactly what you need to start with and can grow with you and your company.’

The Positronic Group – Bespoke Database Developers using Servoy to create cross platform solutions.

So CRM or no CRM for you – off the shelf or bespoke.

9 Good Reasons Why Your Small Business Needs a Solicitor.

Yes we know they can charge seemingly outrageous fees for writing a letter or checking a contract but there are many good reasons to budget for legal advice for your SME.  Roz Gee writing in blackenterprise.com puts her finger on the 9 key issues.

1.Debt Collection: Many small businesses have trouble collecting money owed to them and can’t afford to give up a percentage of the debt to a collection agency.

2.Contract and Document Review: This is critical because of the need to be professionally advised and gain a thorough understanding before important papers or documents are signed.

3.Contractor or Supplier Disputes: It’s good when relationships are working well and functional, but when things go awry, it’s better to have the right representation if or when your company has contractor, vendor, or supplier conflicts that surface.

4. Internet Security Breaches: With the rising increase of sophisticated system hacking and data compromising, your company needs to be protected against internet predators and hijackers.

5.Product Liability Issues: The marketplace is no stranger to rapid product recalls and other issues that affect the functionality and operation of products. Having skilled attorneys could prevent unnecessary hassles and headaches as well as protect your brand.

6. Insurance Disputes: This is to safeguard your business against those insurance companies who deny or dispute claims of businesses or their properties.

7.Employee Theft: Unfortunately, no business owner wants to ever deal with major internal thievery whether intellectual property, monetary, or proprietary assets. But the reality is, employee theft happens even when the best processes are enforced.

8. Tax Audits: Although you may have a CPA, sometimes things still fall through the cracks, which may require an audit. You need to know that you have access to the right legal representation to help you navigate these potential pitfalls.

9. Threats of Customer Lawsuits: With the proliferation of lawsuits that continue to mount in this country alone, it’s assuring to have peace of mind of knowing you can defer to a legal professional who is actually on your team.

The Law Society can advise you of a suitable lawyer for your small business.

Venture Capital V Private Equity – A Guide for the Entrepreneur.

hold everything overseas clients

As a leading London business base  for entrepreneurs, we are often asked “what is the difference between venture capital and private equity?”  An interesting question that many may not readily appreciate if you haven’t been to Harvard Business School or LSE.  One of the clearest discussions on this topic was recently published in Forbes magazine with an excellent article by  Alejandro Cremades.  Here is what he says.

Startup Fundraising

Whether you are still juggling a startup idea or already have data and revenues and are ready to scale, it’s vital to understand who the investors are that will take you to the next level, and what your following milestone or exit is likely to be.

Fundraising and navigating potential exits can be incredibly time consuming and stressful. It can be confusing. The lines have certainly blurred. Far more so in the last couple of years. Different capital sources are playing a larger role in the startup ecosystem. Various players are stretching how and at what stage they will participate.

So, what are the differences between between VCs and PE firms? Who else is providing capital to this space? Who are the leaders that startup founders should be focusing on?

Private Equity

This space has become a little cloudier, with private equity firms diving into all types of new channels like single family rental homes and mortgage lending through conduits. Yet, in their most traditional forms, private equity firms are consider those who buy or get involve with more mature companies.

This means they are looking for established companies that already have established revenues. In some cases these are companies that may have even peaked and need new management to be optimized. Think classical music, farms and assembly lines in contrast with the typical jazz, disruption, or street art style of fast growth startups. They prefer predictability and lower risk. Even if that means lower returns.

This space is also differentiated by leveraged buyouts, in which PE firms utilize debt to complement their equity to acquire more corporate ‘real estate’. These firms are best known for taking majority stakes, if not full buyouts.

According to rankings from Private Equity International top private equity firms include:

Private equity is more likely to be your end game, or at least a large part of your exit as a startup founder, rather than an early investor. Though these firms may flow down debt that can be used for some ventures.

Venture Capital Firms

In contrast, venture capital firms are equity investors at an earlier stage in the lifecycle of a startup. Just not as early as most think.

For the most part VCs are funding startups at their latest stages in their businesses. This is changing some. More are participating in earlier funding rounds as they gain experience and competition grows for returns and opportunities. You may find them involved at Series A through D fundraising rounds. Or perhaps even at the seed stage.

VC firms will typically take much smaller portions of companies than their private equity counterparts. They are still investing at a much riskier stage and mostly try to spread their bets as wide as possible.

This demonstrates more crossover between traditional private equity and the VC world. Though before you go waltzing into one of these firms in your pajamas, know that they still expect a good amount of solid data and due diligence to make a decision on. They aren’t going to be your first investors on day one.

VCs are also typically looking for a shorter term exit. They have deadlines on their funds, and need to get results quickly. They are often going to push you hard to deliver on their promises to their own investors.

PE is more about numbers while VCs are more about people. However, with both PE and VCs everything starts with a solid pitch deck where the story of the company is told in 15 to 20 slides. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash. Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400 million .

Angel Investors

Angel investors are a much more likely funding partner for most startup founders. Angels are getting better funded, are grouping together, and are making more investments.

Angels are willing to participate in the earliest rounds of fundraising. They are typically basing their investment as you the entrepreneur and the idea, versus any data or profits. Expect to be raising from angels for a round or two before you even approach any VCs. PEs are probably four or five rounds of financing away at this point.

Other Startup Investors

Startup accelerators and incubators are another rising form of early funding. They may invest anywhere from $10,000 to over $100,000 and offer an array of intensive programs, resources and training opportunities. These include names like The Founder Institute, Angel Pad, Y Combinator and 500 Startups. They can get you going if it is a good fit and you can get in. Then help you show off your startup to other investors.

Family offices are increasingly investing in startups as well. They don’t want to miss out on the game that VCs and big private equity firms are enjoying. Though they often like the advantage of investing directly, rather than losing returns to middlemen.

Family offices can be quite different when it comes to what they want and their future expectations though. They may be more likely to offer patient capital or to seek cashflow than other types of investors.

Corporate investors are playing a bigger role in the startup ecosystem today too. They are setting up their own accelerators and are making more strategic investments in startups that can propel their growth and extend their reach.

Despite the confusion and ambiguity out there, there can be distinct differences between private equity and venture capital when it comes to raising money and exiting a startup. There are many more options for fundraising and exiting than there used to be too.

I hope that this clarifies some key points in the whole topic of business fundraising – problems you might face when building your London business empire at Hold Everything Virtual office.