Tag Archives: Virtual Office London

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

 

 

Happy New Year from Richard Cooper….

I hope you had an amazing festive season.

As we begin a new year I am pleased to announce (for anyone who doesn’t know) that I married in December.   A day I will remember for the rest of my life.

It’s fair to say that in the run up to the big day, there was a huge amount to plan and it was a very stressful time for both of us and even our families.   But the day went perfectly, and we enjoyed an amazing honeymoon in Thailand.  For anyone who hasn’t visited Thailand, I highly recommend it.

The thing about being on a break is that I usually have my best business ideas when I finally stop to relax.  This break was no different, but that isn’t what I want to share today.

What I found in Thailand was an extremely service orientated culture.   Nothing was too much trouble. There wasn’t one person I met who didn’t go out of their way to make sure my break was the very best it can be.    The people I met weren’t cash rich or money orientated which surprised me even more.  I spent a lot of time thinking about how they do this, because it looked so effortless.      I really wondered how they managed this balance, and genuinely meant their kindness.

I met  with one of my suppliers on my return and was explaining this to her.  I asked her if she had any ideas as to how such a calm outlook on life, and business could be achieved, even when it was clear that in some areas, they lead a life that some of us would look at and consider very simple, possibly even underprivileged.    She looked at me and said “Maybe they don’t sweat the small stuff – and you know, it’s ALL small stuff”.

Asking where on earth she got this phrase from, she shared that she had read a book entitled exactly that.  “Don’t sweat the small stuff – and it’s all small stuff”. By Richard Carlson. I have now started to read this book.

It’s based on simple ways to stop the little things taking over your life.  My supplier was right.  The people I was privileged to meet didn’t sweat the small stuff!  They didn’t “sweat” anything!  They seemed to have this understanding that life is more than profit, money, and stress. Ironically they had a profitable life as a result.  The culture, the relaxed atmosphere and the impeccable service was perfectly balanced.

My goal for 2013 is to learn from the Thai culture and build this into my business. I truly believe that business can profit and also be laid back.  If you had told me this before I went on honeymoon I would never have believed you.  Now I can see the vision.   How about you?

 

Read this book, enjoy and make your business better for it.

Happy New Year

 

From Richard Cooper – virtual office visionary

Follow me @holdeverything1

 

A Festive message from Richard Cooper

Putting up the lights?

How are your Christmas plans coming along?   Have you put up your lights yet?   The man in this picture isn’t actually putting up his but taking them down.  And it was in the last couple of weeks.

Someone doesn’t like them!   This is a market town in Norfolk about 20 miles from the city of Norwich.    Read HERE  for the full article.

I’m not entirely sure what to say on this one really.   Being in the centre of London, our lights go up every year with tens of thousands of people coming along to get into the spirit of Christmas.  We’re on Regent Street just off Oxford Street so it is a different world in some respects.

However I really think that the principles are the same .   We live in a multi- faceted, multicultural society so not everyone celebrates Christmas or wants to.  However does this mean that we should stop those who do?

Did Mark Bunning – the business owner asked to remove the lights go out of his way to annoy his fellow businesses?  I very much doubt it.   Did those who complain about a local business owner taking his own time (at his own cost) to put up lights and cheer up his town, think for one minute that  he did it because he has the community at heart,  or was it just easier to criticise?

I was chatting to a couple of my clients about this and one of them sadly lost her mum over Christmas.  What were her  thoughts?  Here’s what she said:

“ When my mum passed away and we went to the solicitors, to sort out probate, it was a time of joy and happiness for most families.  Of course I didn’t want to be involved but at the time, honestly, if there had been naked dancers in the windows or real reindeer flying around I wouldn’t have noticed.  I was grieving . I wouldn’t begrudge anyone Christmas cheer and never did”.

So think about this over the festive season.  What can you do to make life easier for your business neighbours.  How can you HELP them and do you really know your clients.

And as for these lights….  Why would anyone knock a business person trying to do good.  Whether it was right or wrong – at least the thought and effort were there.

Until next time

Richard Cooper – Virtual Office Visionary.

Follow us @holdeverything1

A message from Richard Cooper – Virtual Office Visionary

 

On Yer bike Pt2….

Welcome to part two of this blog.  Last week (see my last blog entry) I shared with you my biggest challenge yet.  A super –  cycle ride from the Hertfordshire to Paris and back again.

Many of us will take on a challenge, achieve it and say “OK I’ve done that now, back to business”.   It would have been very easy to do this myself.  After all I have completed the cycle ride two years in a row having never ridden a cycle before.  I have stretched my mental and physical stamina to the max.

I know that no one would blame me if I hung up my trainers and decided to call it a day.  The odd charity bike ride locally?  Maybe something in a few years?  After all I am getting married soon and am extremely busy.

However next year I will be doing it again with an additional twist.   To make it even more challenging I am going to cycle from Radelett  (near St Albans, Hertfordshire) to Dover. Take the ferry to Calais then cycle to Paris.

I will be updating you regularly on my training progress and when my sponsorship page goes live.   The reason I haven’t stopped in 2012 is because when I achieve one challenge, I move onto the next.  The same approach goes for my business too.   Having a new challenge keeps my mind focused both in my life and business.

Do you do the same?  If you don’t and I can help, just send me a message through the website anytime and I will be happy to share some tips that have supported my success.  As always keep an eye on my blog too for great hints and tips on how to make small steps to success in your business.

Until next time

Richard Cooper @ Hold everything

Follow us @holdeverything1

A message from Richard Cooper – Virtual office visionary

ON YER BIKE PT 1

What do you do when you want a challenge?

Well this year I cycled to Paris with my good friend Bern Gilbey and returned the same way but as part of a 42 strong team of riders to raise money for Crohn’s research.

Bern & I started from Radlett in Hertfordshire (near St Albans) cycled to Newhaven and then got the evening ferry to Dieppe. A few hours additional sleep and we set off early to Paris.

We then rode back from Paris as a team of 42 riders in aid of “Guts in Motion”.   I personally raised £3.5k , however collectively all riders raised over £100k.  My personal journey was a 380 mile round trip.

Why on earth did I do it?  Firstly I wanted a challenge and this was a fantastic one.  However the other big challenge was that I had never ridden a bicycle until last year. Yes, in 2011 I bought my first ever bike and in July 2011 completed Paris to London cycle ride with no experience of this kind of event.

I’m not the type of person to do things by halves, and I knew that if I was going to do this then I was going to do it properly.  No half hearted attempt and an hours cycling here and there.  It was all or nothing.  So that’s what I did.

Having seen a dear friend of mine suffer with Crohn’s Disease and the effect it had on their quality of life – this cycle ride was something which I was determined to do.   It’s this attitude that I carry with me everywhere.  It’s who I am and I feel a massive factor into why my business enjoys the success that it does.

Always remember that your personal values will determine the type of business owner that you are. Do you set yourself challenges? What can you do that sets you apart from the rest and makes you stand out?

In Pt 2  I will be sharing my challenge for 2013.

Until next time

Richard Cooper – Virtual Office Visionary

Follow us @holdeverything1