Tag Archives: Professionalism

When Is Your Next Meeting?

Need space for a meeting?

By having a virtual office, it is more than likely that your business is running from an out of London location.

Your location base appears as London, perhaps even your telephone lines appear as an inner London location this can often become a problem when client’s want to meet with you face to face.

Our solution…

The Regent Street office offers a prestigious boardroom within ‘your’ London office. This way you are sure never to miss an important meeting while holding up the foundation of your Central London presence.

Located less than a 2 minute walk from Oxford Circus station which is accessable via three different underground lines, our office is easily accessible and has lift facilities for disabled access.

So what we offer…

  • A 10 capacity boardroom that is self-contained with blinds for extra confidentiality comes complete with WIFI/PROJECTOR/FLIPCHART (on site scanner & printer facilities are also available).
  • Tea, coffee, water & other selected refreshments are available
  • Our meeting room is available from 9am-5pm Monday – Friday (other times are available at special request)

Make the benefits of having your virtual office work for you, without the cost and time consumption of renting an actual office.

To discuss more details contact the Regent Street team on 020 7580 4242

Taking a break …… a message from Richard Cooper!

As the sunnier weather finally arrives, many of us start to look to our summer breaks and holidays.  One of the big reasons I became self employed was to  be able to take holiday and time off as and when I wanted without the restrictions of a boss or having to ask permission.

As many of you will undoubtedly know, in practice this isn’t necessarily as easy.  If you are the sole owner of the business its not always easy to take a break. When you live breathe and love your business its very difficult to leave it.  So how DO you take a break without breaking your business?

Here are my top tips:

1)      Plan a break – it sounds obvious but make sure you plan some of your holiday time at the beginning of your year.  New to business?  Plan some time now.  It will allow you to communicate to your clients if you will be away.

2)      Use a virtual assistant – even if you are on a beach, your client calls will be answered.  DIVERT your mobile to them – it will save you money when they call and reassure your clients that your business can be contacted when you are away.

3)      Be contactable by your VA (virtual assistant) / Friends and family on a LOCAL sim number.  By using such a service you can save money, be contactable and keep in touch without having to spend all of your break IN your business

4)      Screen your emails.  Some of the most efficient business owners I know screen their emails but don’t respond unless it’s a dire emergency.  Set your email out of office to reflect that you will be picking up emails but only periodically.

Our company provide overseas phone facilities and they are proving extremely popular to our clients.  One of the biggest benefits is the low cost way to keep in touch.

The biggest thing is not to feel bad taking a break.  This is part of the reason many of us started our own ventures, and its really important to enjoy the fruits of your labour.

If your clients don’t like it?  Then maybe you need to review the type of client that you have. Remember that YOU run your business NOT  your clients.

So go on…. Book that break today or at the very minimum write time in the diary to be away fro your business. Some of my best ideas come when I take a break.  I still keep in touch, but not at the cost of my family/home time.

Until next time….

Richard Cooper – Virtual office visionary
Follow us @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

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