Tag Archives: Virtual Office

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

Who you gonna call? A message from Richard Cooper

Who you gonna call?

No not Ghostbusters, but seriously, who do you, call when you need support?

In business there is a perception that you need to be tough, and persevere alone in order to be successful.  Just reading autobiographies from successful business owners who have made it big, (think Richard Branson, Duncan Bannatyne etc.) there are times when they went out on a limb and took a risk to make it big.

To an extent, owning and operating any business takes risk, determination and many leaps of faith. However you don’t have to do this alone.  In the course of my businesses I meet many start-up businesses who believe that if they aren’t alone and “doing it for themselves”, that they won’t be successful.

Over time this belief starts to evolve and some business owners will take on the services of a business coach, or attend networking events, or business “clubs”.   Many of my clients have told me very excitedly about what they are doing.

My answer to this question is simple.  You know WHAT you are doing, but who are you doing it with?  What I mean by this is, that it’s all fine and well to be attending certain events and business activities, but it means nothing if you don’t have quality people around you.

I strongly believe that every business owner should have at least two business mentors.  Who do you aspire to be like?  Who do you currently go to when you need advice on finance, business dilemmas, people issues and so on?

Put the right people around you.  One of my clients has a “life board”.  She hasn’t had an official conversation with these people – but has identified seven or eight business people who she knows and trusts.  Each person has invaluable support and information that she can draw upon.  Whatever the issue, be it people, finance – she goes to the person who she knows has the most experience in this area.

So my question to you this week is, who do you go to when you need advice?  Who CAN you go to and how can they help you to accelerate your business growth?

You don’t have to be alone in business and you most certainly don’t have to know it all.  You just need the right people around you.  Network and build your activity around this goal.    And in the words of Will Smith, people can’t expect to be part of your success if they can’t be there during your struggles.

Until next week

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

 

 

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

 

What does your business address say about your business?

Your business address is not just a place where you work; it is part of your brand, it can help define the image of your business and it can be the difference between you and a similar company.

Not all businesses require the same things to form their image. For instance, if you are working in finance you may opt for a virtual office in Canary Wharf, which will look much more professional than if your address was your personal address or if you were working on an industrial estate as this would not reassure your clients that you were the right company to go for and it probably wouldn’t match up with the brand identity that you had in mind.
But if you were a tradesman, an industrial estate or a personal address is probably what is expected from your clients and would be the ideal location.
Why use a London virtual address to create the perfect image?
A financial advisor doesn’t necessarily need an office in Canary Wharf to do their job, they can easily do the job at home. The address doesn’t change the actual work that they are doing; it just changes the perception of the company. That’s why it is cheaper and easier to opt for a London virtual office, where you can have the dream address for your business, whilst keeping costs low and avoiding the time consuming commute.

If you are interested in a London virtual office, contact Hold Everything.