Tag Archives: London Virtual Office

Unexpected ‘Zoom Effects’ and Changes to Our Business Life.

work with zoom

If 2020 will be remembered for anything it will be for ‘Zoom’ and the way it moved our office lives online in one fell swoop.  For those of us who had been teetering on the edge of distance working and moving into a digital landscape, Zoom was the killer app that made it happen.  Our business life was reduced to being a thumbnail on a colleague’s laptop.  Suddenly everybody started panicking over their Zoom image.   Staff members were subjected to close facial inspection in a way that never happened in regular face to face office life.  People were ‘Zoom-shamed’ and the meme that circulated online was ‘Zoom, it’s YOU but ugly’.

This has, of course, led to a boost in enquiries for cosmetic adjustments, known as ‘Tweakments‘  which can allow you to present a more acceptable face to colleagues and, indeed, for online job interviews.

Yes, there’s a growing awareness that it’s possible to have too much of a good thing – well, at least, too many video calls. As a result, the number and length of video-based meetings will likely decline somewhat over time, but they aren’t going to disappear. They are starting to evolve, however, thanks to the immense competition among the different platforms and the critical factor that programmers who are creating these tools have to use them extensively as well. (That isn’t always the case with other applications.)

In addition to lots of new views of participants and content, we’ve started to see extremely practical benefits such as real-time audio transcription of the meeting – making it significantly easier and faster to confirm your notes, double-check what was said, or catch up on a meeting you may have missed.  The Zoom autosave and transcribe feature is extremely well crafted and you can download the transcript of your meeting minutes after the session closes.

zoom

As staff begin to return to work in dribs and drabs there will be the ‘shock of the new’ where your old workspace has changed quite dramatically into something quite unlike its pre-COVID form.  You will see plastic barriers, higher cube walls, rearranged environments and more.  Many will not want to return to embrace this ‘new normal’. Even more people may start to consider longer-term workplace alternatives – either permanent work-from-home arrangements (potentially even in other cities – as some have started to do) or a more nomadic type of work lifestyle, where people start working from a range of different locations including their homes, offices, coffee shops, and other places, just to bring a bit of variety to their everyday experience.  This is the world of the ‘virtual office’  with everything except key tasks being relocated away from the business HQ.   Your business phone line is answered in an office, your physical mail is received at an office, your courier can still be collected and delivered at a recognisable office suite but other workday functions can happen elsewhere at less cost and in more agreeable surroundings.

Software is developing quickly to meet these new challenges. Companies like Citrix are at the vanguard of change.  Their vice president Tim Minahan puts it every well when he said  “Work is no longer a place. It’s happening in kitchens and basements, in parks and on sidewalks and scaled back, socially distanced offices,”   Software such as Citrix Workspace™. The secure, intelligent, and high-performing digital workspace organizes, guides and automates everyday tasks to boost productivity and create a sense of personal accomplishment that fuels engagement and innovation – all while ensuring privacy and security.  If you combine this platform with a virtual office such as Hold Everything in central London you have a framework which is employee-friendly and future-proof.

 

 

Building a Virtual Team – How to Stop Being a One-Man-Band.

virtual team in action

a virtual team

The One-Man-Band.

Let’s discuss the one-man band syndrome. I don’t know if its a syndrome but here at Hold Everything  I see a lot of entrepreneurs struggling to grow beyond this point without adding a dozen of other stress and anxieties to their plate.

The majority of marketeers start out as a “freelance” type of marketer to customers, 1 on 1 before building an agency and then scaling to a full fledged business.

Why is that some marketers can’t seem expand beyond a one man band? In today’s post I want to shine the light on what I feel the main reasons are in hope that I can point you in the right direction for building your own virtual team.

Sometimes You Need to Go Back to Go Forward

This is a big growth curve which I really feel everybody needs to go through if they want to scale beyond themselves.

It’s based around the idea of: “You can not move beyond where you are by doing what you’ve always done”.

Common sense I know but most marketers are trying so hard to hold onto what they are doing whilst also trying to scale. Something must give.

In this case you need to go backwards initially before you can go ahead into a new pathway.

In this particular instance, you need to decrease and slow the speed of your business down which yes, may mean you might be earning less for a few weeks or even months before you accelerate by adding a virtual team to your business and getting them up to speed as a production line.

Finding The Right Talent For Your Team.

virtual team in action

There is also a lot of confusion about where to find talent for your virtual team. Should you employ A-Players? (the reply is no) Should you ask inside Facebook groups? How about Fivver or oDesk or People Per Hour or even Legiit?

The truth is that it matters not where you commence hiring and building a virtual team from, provided that you kick off building them.

Progress forward is better than no progress at all. However, personally, I have a lot of success using Odesk.  You need to write very specific job postings and a take time to filter through talent to find out the right people for the job.

But Can I Afford to Build a Virtual Team?

I could answer this with the most annoying response possible which would be, “You cant afford to NOT afford to build a virtual team”. As corny as that sounds, there is a lot of truth to this.

Building a virtual team and building your production line should be your number 1 priority alongside closing sales and serving clients.

It’s not the action of building a crew that is what you’re chasing but rather what comes at the tail end of having a virtual team. Speed of service, more predictable and steady results for customers and a general surge in your sales volume.

However there comes a moment when ever marketer must make the and leap and decide that this month, they’re really going to begin developing their own dream team.

Best of all, when you adhere to a “production line” mentally to building your team its generally easier and a lot more lucrative. It’s not unheard of to have a virtual team that costs $6 per hour generate the same quality as a $120 p/h contractor.

What If they walk off with my clients?

This is a big argument I hear from new marketers who are trying to get their heads around developing a team.

They are stressed that the contractors, freelancers and the virtual team they build are simply going to turn around and steal their clients.

This may be a feasible case when you only work with A-Players who are all round problem solvers and creative geniuses. However, when your business and the clients results are built on strategies and an assembly line process– No single specialist or team member can take your client.

Your client’s results are not dependable on an individual contractor instead they are dependable on the system you have developed, your production line, not your team.

The second reason why this is extremely unlikely is that if a contractor wanted to have their OWN clients, they wouldn’t be working for you. Simple as that. A contractor desires to do what they are efficient at without the drama of managing clients.

Sorry You Are Not the Only Genius.

you need a virtual team

I’m sorry to break it to you but you are not the only genius around.

You are not the only “best’ professional at your craft as a marketer, if that be e-Commerce, head-hunting or sales.  For some reason marketers tend to think that nobody else in the whole world could ever be comparable them OR will they ever find someone who is capable to produce the same top-notch results that they can for a their clients.

But when you begin to build a team around your system you will realise  hat your virtual team will be able to get the exact same result because you have made the effort to build a predicable production line that allows anybody from any country, to step in, press a few buttons and generate the same result as though you had done it personally.

There are many reasons why marketers get stuck being a one man band. It may be because of growing too quickly where they were suddenly booked out all at once with no time to think about building a team.

Or it may be because they have a hard time saying no.

The above reasons are a lot deeper than what simply scratches the surface.

The truth of the matter is that all marketer seriously need to think about building support mechanism around them in the context of a virtual team.

The quicker a team is put in place the quicker the business can begin to scale and the less the marketer becomes a one-man band. Remember that building a team is even easier if you are controlling it from a hub such as Hold Everything.

Virtual Office? Yes, Our Moment Has Come.

virtual offiice concept

We have all heard the expression that ‘destiny can tap you on the shoulder’.  Well, here at Hold Everything virtual office we are feeling that tap right now.  If anything changes from our Corona Virus lockdown it will be the concept of what an office is and whether it needs to be an actual space we travel to every day often for several hours at a time.   Rod Liddle, the leading Sunday Times columnist has a fine knack for sensing trends, listen to what he has to say.. ‘

What on earth is the point of the office any more?

They had a use once, these desolate areas of parched pot plants and plywood cubicles, patrolled by willy-waving middle managers forever calling fatuous meetings, often involving PowerPoint presentations, in order to ameliorate their own crushing insecurities — but, surely, no longer.

If, instead of the elderly, we could pin the notice “do not resuscitate” on the door of almost every office in the land, we would be an immediately better, happier and more profitable place for big business, employees and society in general. There is almost no downside. Abolish the office, everybody gains.

virtual office at home

Liddle continues to make several important points:

Home-working (or co-working) employees are considerably more productive than those who work in the office.

An American workplace survey showed that the more workers were out of the office, the more innovative and successful the company.

A Swedish study suggested that people who commute more than 45 minutes a day each way were 40% more likely to divorce.

Liddle makes many other points in his diatribe against the traditional office environment, but he also makes a quite brilliant suggestion that the discarded office premises could be converted into dwellings to solve our burgeoning housing shortage.  He sees apartments coming out from old office space as the riverside landscape was transformed by warehouses becoming loft apartments.

Philip Johnston writing in the Telegraph sees the trend but feels the transformation depends on a robust internet structure.

Will home working prove to be a temporary expedient or will it usher in an entirely new way of working for millions, fulfilling the early promise offered by the internet? The arrival of 5G with its greater opportunities for streaming, video conferencing and the rest should make remote working much more feasible.”

vitual office in action

I believe  that we are well on the way to creating a sustainable digital structure that will allow companies to gradually abandon an expensive and utilised office space in a central location and move elegantly to distant working whilst keeping a traditional central business address with the facilities of a virtual office such as Hold Everything.   Imagine, you have an address for receiving your business mail which can be speedily forwarded to you wherever you are in the world. This address will be on London’s most well known road, Regent Street for as little as £24.00 a month, no more than a 2 minute stroll to Oxford Circus and near Apple & Hamley’s, so that you have a legitimate,  prestigious address.   The mail can also be opened and ‘actioned’ on your instructions by a skilled, discreet secretarial team.  Should you wish to actually meet a client at the office a luxurious boardroom awaits you at an hourly or daily rate.

Your central London landline rings, it is answered by a skilled receptionist and the call is either passed to you at your current location or a message is taken and transmitted on to you.   For years many businesses have been wondering about the reality and practicality of working remotely and abandoning paradigms from the 1980’s.  Now, at a stroke, Coronavirus has reset the business world. We know there can be no turning back.  A central London virtual office is your solution and we are there to fulfil our destiny.

Networking: Great Tips For Long Term Business Partnerships

1. Always be networking.

networking session

Social media makes it so simple to connect. Social media is amazing, but it’s not that easy to build long-lasting business relationships, especially with a person who has an extensive network of contacts. How make yourself stand out so you can develop a deeper connection with ideal contacts?

It seems to me that  a good starting point is to attend live events to network with the right people in person. Let them see the person behind the Linkedin and Twitter profile photo.  That way you can connect with the movers and shakers in your niche and actually get deals done.  If you atten

I always make it a point to attend the big speeches at conferences so you can get a feel for what issues the organisers belive will resonate.  You can always mail the keynote speakers after a conference and refer to their speeches and points you felt you connected on.

In order to develop a positive relationship with someone you meet at a conference it is good to focus on 3 or  4 key points where you think your interests intertwine.

2. Nurture Relationships Without an Agenda.

Don’t focus primarily on what you can get from a new contact, abruptly asking for what you want. If you are seeking financing for startup or expansion you should take a more rounded approach.  Seek help and information rather than instant investment.  Develop contacts as friends rather than as 2-legged banks.

Entrepreneurs should seek out the ways they can provide additional value to potential partners or investors by simply being naturally curious. A great question to ask might be something like: Who would be an ideal referral for your business, and how would you like me to introduce you?

The key is to provide as much value as you can without expectation. In the end, it’s usually worth it, as reciprocity is one of the critical components in creating influence, according to Robert Cialdini in his bestselling book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. During his research, Cialdini found that if you do something for someone first, they are more likely to reciprocate. He also learned the favours don’t have to be equivalent in value, so sometimes a small favour can beget a bigger one in return. If you continue to provide value within your relationships without the expectation of a quid pro quo, it establishes trust and creates a natural bond.  In fact, this approach is remarkably similar to what relationship therapists would suggest in couples counselling.

Reciprocity is a very strong instict that lies at the basis of many business relationships.  This is why marketeers are keen to give prospects something ‘free’ that is of some value to establish a chain of reciprocity right from the start.

3. Ask, But in a Subtle Manner. 

If you’ve appropriately nurtured a relationship, you can naturally align interests that can provide synergy to the deal. So when you believe the time is right, you can make your request. However, the context of how you ask is just as critical as what you ask. Rather than directly asking about partnering on a project, it’s better to ask in a way that lets the other party initiate the move to a deal.

For example, schedule a time to talk with your potential business partner and position your ask as follows: “Can I get your advice on something? I’m looking to partner on a business project with someone and wanted to see if there’s anyone in your network you can recommend.”

This strategy gives your potential partner the option to express interest and learn more if they are curious. If not, you are giving them an easy way to defer. Either way, you can take a step in the right direction without harming your relationship, and you gain the opportunity to share your vision.

When you are talking with our team here at Hold Everything please feel free to ask us if we have other clients who might want to network or partner with you.  Our clients are very entrepreneurial and open to new projects.  We might just be able to do a bit of business ‘matchmaking’ for you.

 

How to Create a Powerful Business Strategy for 2020

business strategy

business strategist in virtual office

Evaluating Your Business Strategy

A new year, a new business quarter. This is a great time to look forward and develop your business strategy for the months ahead.  Management thinking suggests that you start by examining your key strengths.  Obviously, these are basic factors that have got you safely through to 2020 so spend a moment examine them critically.   Perhaps you are great at customer relationships and that you outgun your competitors in responding to customer queries and complaints.  Perhaps your key strength is market awareness or keen prices.  A successful key strategy is something that is reliant on you and your resources and not on something that you depend on elsewhere.  This is often the case in internet marketing where your strength depends on your affiliate relationship to another company entirely.  It might make you money but the key strength does not ultimately lie in your hands.

Grab Your Opportunities

Second, the best strategies seize one of your biggest opportunities and play into it.  Seizing a key opportunity is the attack strategy that lets you score points and win the game.  This may be investing heavily into a specific product or a market niche.  This is the idea of feeding your winners and starving your lowers. The secret is that any winning strategy must help you seize a key opportunity that has genuine potential to yield significant results and help you scale up..   For example, if you are exporting to a region like Italy, perhaps you should look at the opportunity to set up your own distribution on the ground in that marketplace rather than us an agent.  It night cost money in the short term but if a realistic opportunity arises then maybe you should grab it and run with it.

Lessen Your Business Threats

Third, the finest strategies reduce or make irrelevant  one’s  gravest business threats. For instance, if you sense a threat in that 65% of your turnover is with just one client, then by following the first 2 strategies I mention, it will help you grow other customer fulfilling relationships so that you have some safety net from the loss or diminishment of this giant customer. Certainly this is one of the hardest areas for many business owners to look at, since we don’t wish to acknowledge our flaws or shortcomings, but by identifying our achilles heels.  However, by doing this, we can then develop a path  to overcome them or lessen their impact on our future development .

So as you plan out the year ahead take a  look at your strengths, weaknesses and opportunities and try sketch out a careful plan to achieve your goals and reach the next goal within your business plan. Remember our team of experts are here to help you grow your business.