Tag Archive: marketing

Success or FailureNumerous overwhelming duties accompany being a business owner.  No matter what size the company is, the proprietor acquires certain responsibilities and obligations along with the business’s benefits and profits.  A business owner’s primary duty is to ensure success.  But to ensure the business’s success, the owner must constantly:

  • Oversee and/or carry out the business administration tasks
  • Oversee and/or perform the accounting, bookkeeping and/or recordkeeping tasks
  • Oversee and/or conduct research and development of new products and/or services
  • Oversee or conduct marketing and sales tasks on a regular basis
  • Oversee and/or carry out the production and delivery of products and/or services on a regular basis
  • Oversee and/or provide excellent telephonic customer service
  • Oversee and/or perform human resources tasks
  • Oversee and/or provide for employee healthcare, retirement and other benefits
  • Oversee and/or perform finance management and legal department tasks
  • Ensure the workplace is safe and healthy for employees, third parties and the environment
  • Make business plans, set business goals, make important business decisions, and set company policies and standards

Each of these tasks can be very time consuming.  Several of the tasks require performing work typically performed by licensed professionals, such as managing legal, financial and accounting matters.  Other tasks require having specific knowledge and a special set of skills, such as excellent communication, typing and mathematical skills.  Other tasks require having a vast amount of experience, such as in product production, marketing and sales.  With 4.6 million out of 4.8 million UK enterprises being micro businesses, it is easy to understand why the proprietors quickly become overwhelmed by having so many duties and obligations.

In many instances, owners may find themselves having to do work they have no training or experience in performing.  Due to work overload, many of the aforementioned tasks may not be done in a timely manner or on a consistent basis.  Yet, each of these factors can lead to costly mistakes being made and the eventual failure of the business venture.

Delegating Work via Outsourcing

Multitasking: Are you trying to be a One-Man Band

Multitasking: Are you trying to be a One-Man Band?

Fortunately, business proprietors can delegate most of these daunting tasks to other people, thus freeing up their time and reducing their workloads.  Delegating the work ensures that it is performed in a timely manner by qualified people. In a large company, the aforementioned tasks are mostly delegated to various employees.  However, whether you own a large, medium, or small business, it may be better to outsource this work to business support companies such as Business Visions rather than have the work done in-house.  Employees may or may not get the job done well and in a timely manner, and their services may be more costly when all the factors are considered.

For instance, Business Visions provides a wide range of business support services.  The company provides full virtual office and call answering services, thus eliminating the need to hire a secretary, receptionist or personal assistant.  Business Visions also provides other forms of business administrative support, as well as can assist you with marketing and sales tasks, accounting, bookkeeping, and transcription tasks.  They can also chase payments for you, create marketing brochures and sales presentations, design and host your website, and manage your daily appointments.

Benefits of Outsourcing

Business support companies like Business Visions can also help reduce your employees’ workload, freeing them to do the more important tasks.  They can also help carry the workload while your employees are on holiday or out on sick leave.  A business support company is especially beneficial to use when you have need of temporary or seasonal help.  Moreover, outsourcing the work can reduce a company’s overhead expenses by reducing the need to hire extra employees.  Outsourcing also reduces the need to purchase certain types of business equipment.  Thus, business support companies such as Business Visions can help a company become more efficient and profitable.  The more efficient and profitable a business is; then the more viable and successful it becomes.


The everyday cycles of upsizing and downsizing

The everyday cycles of upsizing and downsizing

The Vicious Cycles of Upsizing and Downsizing

Have you ever wondered why the upsizing and downsizing of businesses and governments make such a huge impact on the various aspects of society?  Due to all of the recent media coverage of businesses and government upsizing and downsizing, I have given quite a bit of thought to this lately.  I have come to the startling realisation that businesses and governments are mere extensions of all the private individuals that make up society.  And that as extensions, businesses and governments are simply extending the natural cycles of upsizing and downsizing that is inherent in all living creatures to the business and political realms.

What is even more startling is the realisation that most humans are not aware they are participating in the cycles of upsizing and downsizing on a daily basis.  Nor are most people aware that they are making a significant impact on society via their participation in these somewhat vicious cycles.  Yet, it is the daily upsizing and downsizing decisions made by individual consumers and citizens that eventually lead to the upsizing and downsizing of businesses and governments.

What is upsizing and downsizing?

In order to understand how humans have an inherent tendency to upsize and downsize, you first have to know what those terms mean.  According to the Oxford dictionary, the term “upsize” means to increase the size, extent or complexity of something or to undergo an increase in size, extent or complexity.  The Oxford dictionary defines “downsize” as making something smaller or to make a company smaller by shedding staff.  However, we all know that downsizing a business means much more than just shedding staff.  A company downsize entails a complete reorganisation of that company and its entire business operations. Nevertheless, since all humans make decisions whether to increase or decrease the size, extent or complexity of something, then all humans are involved with upsizing and downsizing to some degree.

An Average Person’s Cycle

Most of the upsizing and downsizing decisions humans make start out as subconscious choices.  They are made as instinctive reactions meant to satisfy physical, emotional or mental needs, without much actual thought given to the options.  For instance, a newborn baby may upsize the amount of food intake when it is hungry.  The same baby may choose to increase his or her sleep while decreasing the amount of food intake when the child is not as hungry.

As the child grows up, he or she starts making more conscious, more complex upsizing and downsizing decisions.  The individual chooses which foods and drinks to upsize and downsize, based on personal preferences, health condition, cost, and the extent of hunger and thirst. As the child passes through various stages of life, he or she also starts making upsizing and downsizing decisions more frequently.

The cycle becomes a natural part of life, as the individual applies this principle to every aspect of their lifestyle. The person may choose to increase of decrease the amount spent on clothing, transportation, food, shelter, education, healthcare, and/or entertainment.  The person’s choices of employment are also affected by decisions to upsize or downsize his or her income and other benefits.  For instance, the person may choose to increase his or her income by upsizing the amount of pay for employment.  Or perhaps, he or she decides to decrease the income by retiring or changing jobs.  The individual continues the cycle with every purchase, every lifestyle change, and as every need and desire is sated or a new one arises.

How the Upsizing and Downsizing Cycle Becomes Vicious

When properly planned, upsizing and downsizing may have numerous benefits, whether it is an individual, family, business or government entity performing the upsize or downsize.  However, if the upsizing or downsizing is forced upon a person, business or government, then it can have severe negative effects.  Unfortunately, most of the downsizing of businesses and governments are forced occurrences.  And once one part of the linked chain of consumer, business and government is forced to take any drastic action, then the rest are forced to react to the changed set of circumstances too.  So the cycle may start out with a group of consumers changing their preferred diet.  This lessened demand for the food they were eating makes the producers of foods for the old diet have to downsize, possibly making it impossible for the business to stay afloat.  In the meantime, the increased demand may make another business upsize at a time when it was not prepared to do so.  The company may go into a huge amount of debt, which forces it to lose its ability to stay competitive.  Both companies may end up having to raise the prices of their products, passing the cost on to the consumers.  The additional cost of the products makes the consumers and other businesses that rely on those products to have to find ways of reducing their spending or else increase their own income.  Those who are not able to do either may end up going bankrupt, which in turn sets off another chain reaction.

How to Break the Vicious Cycle

Success or Failure

Success or Failure

Now that the vicious cycle has caused such a huge downturn of the global economy, the only way to right it is for everyone to pull together.  Consumers, businesses and government entities must remember that they are all links in one chain and do have an effect on each other.   Consumers must be willing to spend money in order for businesses to exist.  Businesses and governments need to exist in order to provide employment, products and services to the consumers, thus providing consumers the money to spend.

If the negative impacts are going to be turned into positive ones, then someone has to stop the chain reactions by making some planned upsizing and downsizing decisions that will benefit the consumer, the business and the government.  For instance, a company that has to downsize could lessen the negative impact on the local community and government by outsourcing some work to other local businesses.  Consumers can also help lessen the negative effects by making a more conscious effort to help support the local businesses.  Consumers, businesses and governments can form networks that help each other out.  These networks can work together to adequately plan out any upsizing or downsizing so no one is forced into making an upsize or downsize at the wrong time. And most importantly, larger companies can network with smaller companies to help each other upsize and downsize in a way that does not create a huge amount of unemployment among the consumers.

Common Business Mistakes

How common mistakes may make businesses lose money and waste other valuable resources

Did you throw away your money due to making common business mistakes?

Sometimes it may seem like that is all you are succeeding at when you own or manage a business.For no matter what size business it is or how much expertise you have, you will make some costly mistakes once in awhile. Unfortunately, many proprietors and managers are completely unaware that they have made or are in the process of making costly errors. Thus, they may not know they are wasting or losing money, valuable resources or good business opportunities. This is especially true during the start-up stage, but can also occur at any stage of the enterprise’s development.

To demonstrate my point, I will present real-life scenarios utilising a fictional business with a fictional sole trader proprietor. Although the scenarios describe a small to medium sized business with a sole trader proprietor, these same errors apply to all business owners or managers of any size company. To make reading the article more enjoyable, see if you can spot all of Mr. Blunderhead’s mistakes before I reveal them at the end of the story.

Mr. Blunderhead’s Handy Handcrafts Shoppe

Start-up Stage:

William Blunderhead lost his job when the local brewery closed its doors a year ago. Unable to find new employment within easy commuting distance, Mr. Blunderhead began doing paid odd jobs for family, friends and neighbours. In his spare time, William indulged in his hobby of making handcrafted items. He mostly used whatever scraps he could find lying around his property, so it did not cost much to craft the items.

His wife, Martha Blunderhead, started using the items as gifts due to being short on funds for purchasing new items. Wanting to help young couple out, many of their relatives, friends and neighbours began buying the handcrafted bird feeders, bird houses and picture frames that William made. They paid outrageous prices despite knowing that the products were made from inferior materials and were of low quality compared to similar items made by more expert craftsmen. However, these friends, relatives and neighbours never let on that they were only purchasing the items to help the couple out. They all made a big fuss over the handcrafted items and praised William for his craftsmanship.

This success selling items to people he knew gave Mr. Blunderhead the idea that he should turn his hobby into an official money-making activity. He decided to use the last of his savings to purchase the raw materials to craft a small variety of items. After spending many hours crafting several items, William took them to the local car-boot market to sell. He set the same outrageous prices for the products as he had received from his relatives, friends and neighbours for similar items.

At first, Mr. Blunderhead only succeeded at selling one or two lower-priced items. Then he noticed that his rivals were selling similar factory-made products at a lesser price than he was charging for the handcrafted items. Seeing his competitors were making more sales than he was, William decided to lower his products’ prices. Due to the lower prices and spending an entire weekend at the car-boot peddling his wares, he managed to sell his entire inventory.

First Expansion:

After a few more successful weekends of selling his handcrafts at the local car-boot market, Mr. Blunderhead decided it was time to expand his business. He borrowed money from a relative to purchase a small travel trailer and more raw materials. William then increased the amount of items and variety of products. He started selling the handcrafts at a variety of venues, including art and craft festivals, car-boot markets, and on consignment in local shops. William based his product pricing on whatever similar factory-made products were currently selling for, no matter which venue or location he was at. Yet, despite his good intentions to run a business, Mr. Blunderhead still spent the majority of his time earning income from odd jobs for family, friends and neighbours. He did not consistently put crafts on consignment in shops. Nor did William consistently attend the festivals and car-booth events to sell his products.

Second Expansion:

After eight months of random self-employment and successfully randomly selling handcrafted items, William decided to officially become a business owner. He applied for the necessary permits and licenses, took out a small business loan, and rented a small shop close to his home. Then Mr. Blunderhead bought a previously-owned computer system to help with the administrative tasks. Thus, William became the sole proprietor of Blunderhead’s Handy Handcrafts Shoppe.

Not being used to being a full-time entrepreneur, Mr. Blunderhead sometimes found it hard to say focused on the handcrafting business. William made a few sales during the first month, but did not earn enough income to meet his personal and business needs. He also discovered that he disliked doing lots of paperwork and accounting.

Feeling pressured to make a more reliable income, Mr. Blunderhead once again turned to doing odd jobs. Since William was the sole employee of Blunderhead’s Handy Handcraft Shoppe, the shop was frequently closed whenever he was too busy with other projects. And he failed to set up a call service to field calls when he was too busy or away and could not answer the phone.

Third Expansion:

Eventually, Martha took over managing the shop so William could focus on making the bigger crafted items and doing odd jobs. She started adding in her own small handcrafted items and taking in consignments from other craft persons. Under Martha’s diligent care, Blunderhead’s Handy Handcrafts became a flourishing business.

Fourth Expansion:

Once the business became viable, William decided that they could double their income if they just had a way of speeding up the crafting process so they could maintain a bigger inventory. He also decided that it was time to start promoting the business, so he took out adverts in the local newspaper and set up a website. For the website, he chose to design his own site, utilising the free online web hosting and web design tools. He created a nice looking website and then sat back, waiting for all the new orders to arrive from people flocking to his website.

Expecting there to be a big influx in orders due to the new website and newspaper ads, William also hired two new employees. He’s planning on relocating Blunderhead’s Handy Handcrafts Shoppe to an empty shop on London’s High Street next year, if everything goes as planned. William thinks that if he can sell a few products at a higher price to London’s most elite citizens, then he and Martha will no longer have to work such long hours as they are currently working.

Mr. Blunderhead’s Mistakes

Mr. Blunderhead has made several errors that are common amongst business start-ups. However, he also made some that occur in well-established enterprises, as well as some that occur in much larger businesses. Were you able to find all of William’s errors?

Here’s a list of the errors he has made:

  • Reaction vs. planned action – Mr. Blunderhead did not carefully plan out his entire business operation prior to start-up. Instead, he was merely reacting to his circumstances. A successful entrepreneur takes time to plan out the various phases of the business, and prepares for the various possible consequences of all actions. He or she also sets attainable goals and reasonable deadlines for achieving them, and then re-evaluates the goals and business plan frequently. He or she then makes any necessary changes to the business operation or goals to fit his or her current and future needs and lifestyle. William also failed to take into consideration his lack of commitment, dedication, knowledge, training, and skills for being the owner of a handcrafting business. He should have found ways to compensate for these prior to opening the business.
  • Market research – Mr. Blunderhead did not conduct any market research prior to producing or pricing the products. He did not bother to find out what the current demand was or what his potential customers had a need for. William also did not research the true value of his products prior to pricing them.
  • One-size-fits-all, did not select a target market for each product – Mr. Blunderhead assumed that his products and prices were suited to everyone and did not select a specific target market for his sales pitch campaigns. He simply tried to sell his products to the whole world, or at least to everyone he came in contact with. He also mistakenly assumed that the customers who shop in High Street shops would want the same type of crafts as those who shop at car-boot markets. A successful entrepreneur focuses attention on a specific group of potential customers and gears the entire business towards satisfying that specific group’s needs and desires. Each individual is a unique being and likes to be treated as one. Not every person in the world needs each and every product or service, so it is a waste of resources to try to sell everyone those products and services. Nor is every person in the world willing to pay the same price for any particular product. Some customers are willing to pay higher prices while others will demand lower prices due to their particular life circumstances and how much value they place on the product.
  • Liability insurance – Mr. Blunderhead did not purchase adequate amounts of public and product liability insurance prior to selling his very first handcrafted items. He made himself and his family vulnerable to law suits, which could cost them everything they own. It could also cost him future assets as well.
  • Upsized too soon – Mr. Blunderhead opened a business and went into a large amount of debt without first considering all of the consequences of his actions. He did not take into consideration possible failure or the amount of time (usually at least two years) and effort it takes to establish a profitable business. Mr. Blunderhead also upsized at times when he was short on funds and ill-prepared for taking more orders for his products. He also placed himself in the position of needing to hire someone else at a time when he could not afford to do so. Moreover, Mr. Blunderhead upsized his business based off of pure hope instead of facts. He based it off the hope of having more customers rather than off the fact of actually having those customers. So if he fails to acquire more customers, then he has also placed himself in the position of facing a forced downsizing.
  • Lack of dedication and commitment – Mr. Blunderhead was not fully dedicated or fully committed to his business. He failed to be consistent in his hours of operation, and in his work ethics. Having erratic business hours drives away potential customers as well as establishes a poor reputation. It certainly creates a bad impression, especially if it is the first impression. A successful entrepreneur finds reasons to stay motivated, to stick to a routine work schedule, and to love his or her business on a daily basis. A successful entrepreneur also learns how to balance personal and business routines so that one does not interfere with the other.
  • Poor customer service, lack of communication – Mr. Blunderhead failed to give his customers, suppliers and other businesses a way to communicate with him. Old and potential new customers could not place orders or obtain information. Nor could they give positive feedback or express their dissatisfaction with a product. Suppliers could not ask questions about his orders or let him know when there was a problem with the order he had placed. And other businesses could not contact him with offers to network or outsource work orders to him. Even when he was in the shop, Mr. Blunderhead could miss some of these important calls if he happened to be too busy to answer the phone in a timely manner or was tied up on another line. A successful entrepreneur always makes it easy for customers, suppliers and other businesses to contact him or her via phone calls, emails, text messages and/or in-person visits.
  • Utilising used equipment vs. new equipment – Mr. Blunderhead failed to properly determine which tools and equipment he should purchase brand new and which to purchase as previously-owned. Although he could probably safely buy a used scroll saw, Mr. Blunderhead should not have bought an outdated computer system that did not come with a minimum warranty and tech support. William does not have enough computer skills, training or knowledge to repair the system or the funds to pay for repairs if the computer crashes. He should have also ensured the computer came with all the correct programs and applications installed that he required for his business use, since he did not have that much computer knowledge.
  • Methods of promoting business – William did not carefully select the methods for promoting his business. He did not think of a specific target market when advertising. Nor did William fully understand how to set up and use a website for commercial purposes. He did not understand the need for proper website maintenance, nor did he understand how search engine optimization plays into the website’s ranking in search results. He allowed his website to become stagnant over time. He also failed to take advantage of low-cost marketing strategies, such as utilising press releases.

There are numerous other mistakes that are commonly made by businesses of all sizes. Some of them are made due to not seeking expert advice and others are made from following the advice from other people. Many are made by overestimating or underestimating a person’s skills, knowledge, talents and capabilities. For instance, Mr. Blunderhead overestimated his business management abilities and underestimated his wife’s abilities, talents and knowledge.

Biggest Mistake Business People Make

However, one of the biggest mistakes that are made, yet seldom recognized is simply failing to perceive the situation through the other person’s eyes. All people tend to cope with any given situation by drawing upon their own perspectives of the situation and what they believe is the truth.  And no two people perceive anything in an identical manner, including absolute truths.

For instance, say a customer claims that a chair that Mr. Blunderhead crafted had fell apart when she sat down, without there being any mitigating circumstances. Mr. Blunderhead does not believe the customer’s claim, since he had crafted the chair to hold a large, heavy person and this customer was very petite. He insists there must have been some type of mitigating circumstances, which may have voided the product’s warranty.

The truth is that a supplier had provided Mr. Blunderhead with defective waterproofing sealants. Not realising the sealant was defective; William had coated the chair with the sealant and claimed it was safe to leave the chair outdoors. The customer had then purchased the chair and placed the allegedly waterproof chair in her garden. After repeatedly being exposed to rain showers, the moisture seeped through and began to weaken the wood. Eventually, the wood was weakened enough that the chair fell apart when the customer sat down. So as far as the customer knows, there were no mitigating circumstances. She truly believes the chair fell apart merely due to her sitting down in it.

As Mr. Blunderhead keeps trying to negate her claims, the customer becomes angry and threatens to file a lawsuit if Mr. Blunderhead does not honour the warranty. They have reached a standoff due to each person believing they are right and the other one must be wrong.

Nevertheless, if Mr. Blunderhead wants to save his business and reputation, he must act as if he believed the customer’s claim is true. Otherwise, the miffed customer may indeed follow through on her threat to sue. At the very least, she will spread the word that Mr. Blunderhead does not keep his word. She will spread her version of the truth to whoever will listen to her, who in turn will spread the rumours to everyone they know. This will most likely cause Mr. Blunderhead to lose potential customers and many sales.

However, this principle applies to all the various aspects of business operations and not just the customer care aspect. It should be applied when conducting market research, advertising, developing products, managing employees, and networking with suppliers and other businesses. Nevertheless, this principle does not apply to making mistakes. It really does not matter whether someone else thinks you are wasting valuable resources or throwing away your money. Only you can determine whether you are wasting these resources or throwing away your money due to making common business mistakes.

Multitasking: Are you trying to be a One-Man Band

Multitasking: Are you trying to be a One-Man Band?

Multitasking: Are you trying to be a One-Man Band?

Have you ever stopped to consider why employers highly value employees who are very adept at multitasking? If you have ever seen a one-man band, then you may understand why.  For you see, one-man bands may present perfect examples of how people attempted to multitask in the workplace as far back as the thirteenth century.

Most likely, some forms of multitasking have been around from the beginning of human existence.  Nonetheless, as it is with numerous other basic human abilities, most people remain inept at multitasking, especially when in the workplace. Thus, there is a high value placed upon those who can adequately multitask. However, not only do the one-man bands exemplify antiquated efforts at multitasking in the work place, they also demonstrate why most modern day people are still inept at multitasking.

What it Takes to be a One-Man Band

In order to be a successful one-man band, a musician must be very adept at playing several instruments well and have a thorough knowledge of music.  To play any musical instrument well, an individual must be proficient at listening, maintaining a steady pace, diaphragm breathing, interpreting verbal and non-verbal messages, and have great eye-to hand coordination. The person must be detail-oriented, as well as be able to adapt to changes quickly.  The person must also be able to engage both sides of his or her brain simultaneously.

Moreover, the musician must be able to produce the precise sound at just the right moment, for the specific length, and in the correct order.  He or she may also have to turn pages of a music book while playing the instrument, as well as memorize numerous songs.  The person must also have a thorough knowledge of where to place his or her hands and the positioning of lips or other body parts while producing each sound.

For an individual to be a successful one-person band, he or she must be able to do all the aforementioned things for each and every instrument that the individual opts to use for the “band”.  For example, if the person chose to use a guitar, drum, and harmonica, then the individual would have to know how to produce the proper notes on all three instruments.  He or she would have to transpose the music into a key that was compatible for all three instruments, and would have to know which instrument to use to play each of the harmonized parts.  The musician would simultaneously have to be able to keep beating the drum at exactly the right pace while strumming chords on the guitar and playing the melody on the harmonica.  Some of the songs or instruments may require the musician to read music in both, bass and treble clef simultaneously. If the individual is not extremely adept at multitasking or playing each instrument, then he or she only succeeds in creating raucous noises.  He or she fails to produce any pleasant, recognizable music, thus driving away the audience.

What it takes to be Successful at Multitasking

Just as it takes a certain set of skills to be a successful one-man band, it takes certain skills to be good at multitasking in general.  The person must be able to divide his or her attention while performing several actions simultaneously.  Therefore, the person must be able to use both sides of the brain simultaneously.  The person must be proficient in time management, stress management, crisis management, communication skills, and very detailed-oriented.  Like the musician, the individual must be able to perform actions instinctively and via memorization while using conscious thoughts and various body parts to perform other actions. He or she must be good at problem-solving, as well as be very decisive.  The person must be able to see the entire situation while dealing with each smaller detail in a proper, timely manner.

Multitasking vs. Rapid Task Switching

As one can see, it takes a very special type of person to truly multitask.  In most instances, humans simply rapidly switch between several tasks, making it seem as if they are doing all the tasks simultaneously.  Even most computers do not truly multitask, despite having the term “multitasking” be coined by computer science literature.  Some psychologists think that multitasking is humanly impossible while others think that doing so would harm the brain in some ways.  Yet, there are a few jobs that do require the human to actually multitask and not just rapidly task switch.  Transcriptionists, receptionists, surgeons, musicians and chefs all must be efficient at multitasking to some degree in order to be successful. Law enforcement officers, combat soldiers, parents, teachers and childcare providers must also multitask to some degree.

Research has proven that actual multitasking can save a person money and time, if done to an adequate degree.  On the other hand, according to Wikipedia (Human Multitasking) rapid task switching has been proven to end up costing the person more time and money due to the lack of focusing on any task sufficiently. Most people make mistakes when they cannot focus their full attention on what they are doing.  So the experts at Forbes (Multitasking: Good or Bad?) recommend that people should multitask whenever possible, but avoid rapid task switching by having more than one person performing the tasks that must be done simultaneously.

So if you are trying to imitate a one-man band and do everything yourself, you may want to consider outsourcing some of the administrative tasks to a virtual office or personal assistant.  If you watch the one-man bands closely, you will see most of them are merely rapidly switching between the various instruments and seldom play the instruments simultaneously.  Listening closely to that one-man band is sufficient evidence as to why it does not pay to be chinky when it comes to delegating tasks to other people.


Outsourcing – the secret to working smarter, not harder for business success! – focus your energy and skills on what you do best.

Working smarter not harder

Start working smarter not harder for business success

Ask anyone who has fulfilled their ambition to grow a thriving and healthy business what their secret is and they will tell you that they focused their energies and skills on what they do best!

Why many business owners fail is because they try to do everything for themselves. They run themselves ragged sorting out their website; organising advertising; figuring out their daily bookkeeping, sending out invoices and chasing payment; fielding phone calls; spending hours if not days on administration. They spend their precious time on necessary, but very time consuming and energy sapping tasks that could actually be done by someone else!

Smart successful business owners learn NOT to get swamped by all these jobs.

Instead, they spend their time doing what they are best at, using their specific talents to grow their business, engage with clients and take their business forward.

So, how is this possible?

Well, they outsource the jobs that get in the way of progress. They use a telephone answering service to free up their time and ensure that every prospective customer enquiry is answered professionally; get bookkeeping support to keep their accounts up-to-date, and they hire the services of a brilliant PA to keep them organised and deal with the day-to-day administration.

“Oh!” you say, “but this sounds expensive”. Well, actually it is not. Because these days you do not need to employ an office full of staff. The smart solution is to outsource the tasks you can off-load, by buying just the specific support you need.

So, the choice is easy… continue to spend all your energy making the wheels just keep turning in your business, or are you going to take the clever route and forge ahead in the direction you really want to go whilst someone else gets to grips with all those other jobs?

Many great Virtual PA’s and business support companies offer cost effective and efficient ‘virtual’ or ‘cloud’ services, so consider contacting one to see how they can assist your company.

For more information on some of the services click here or contact us, we would love to hear from you.

7 Simple Ways to Generate More Enquiries for your Business – These 7 powerful principles have transformed the fortunes of many local businesses.

Take a minute to read through each one and consider how they could benefit your business. They may seem obvious at first glance, but ask yourself… do you actually apply them on a regular basis?

BE PERSONAL… Stop hiding behind your logo… ‘people do business with people’! When showcasing your business, introduce the people behind your brand – it builds a huge amount of trust, brings your company to life and makes your potential customers feel at ease when making contact with you.

BE KNOWN… Most business opportunities come as a direct result of people knowing each other. Get yourself known personally by those who can refer business to you, build mutually-beneficial relationships and pro-actively generate ongoing ‘word of mouth’ opportunities.

BE FOUND… Make sure that when potential customers are searching for information relating to your specific services they end up with your business in front of them. These people are looking to do business with someone… make sure they find YOU.

BE INTERESTING… Potential customers like lots of useful and interesting information but only if it’s well written and simple to understand. Give your potential customers the information they want to know in a clear and easy to read format.

BE CREDIBLE… People are less trusting than ever. Make sure that potential customers perceive you to be an expert in your field and give lots of supporting evidence to back up your reliability and quality of service.

BE IN TOUCH… People’s circumstances change all the time. Have a system in place to keep in contact with your potential customers on a regular basis… you never know when they will need your services.

BE CONTACTABLE… It sounds obvious but… make it as easy as possible for potential customers to get in touch with you.

Dave Sharpe

What should be your free giveaway?

It’s very interesting how opinions have changed over the last few years in marketing about what your free giveaway should be. I don’t mean the format it should take (i.e. report, e-book, newsletter etc), but what the topic should be and the type of people it should attract.

I know I have certainly changed my opinion.

For the last few years in my business, I’ve been giving away 50 free ways to promote your business and you know what, it’s got results. I’ve attracted lots and lots of new contacts to my business and they’ve all been very happy to give me their contact details.

The theory then goes that once they’ve given you their contact details and therefore expressed interest in what you do, they should go onto buy from you, right?

Well no actually. Not necessarily.

The chances are actually much higher that they’ll grab your free giveaway with both hands and you’ll never hear from them again.

Now I’m not saying that offering a free giveaway is the wrong thing to do, but you must be very careful with what information you give away in order to attract the right people to your business.

If I offer 50 free ways to promote your business, who am I attracting with this information?

I’m attracting people who DON’T WANT to spend any money on marketing.

Is that who I want to attract? Well, no not really.

Who I want to attract are small business owners who want some help with their marketing AND who are willing to pay for someone to help them with it.

Could I change my free offering to attract these sorts of people? Absolutely! While I may not as many people signing up, they would be much more qualified and therefore much more likely to turn into clients.

While this doesn’t mean that I’m not going to give these people free information, what they do get will a) much more tailored and personalised to them and b) much more likely to result in sales.

So if you currently offer something free to your contacts in order to get them to sign up for something, make sure that what you’re offering appeals the right set of customers that you’re trying to attract.

Think carefully about your offer and make sure you are attracting the right people to your business.

Ed: Thanks to Helen Dowling for another great blog.


If I ask most small business owners, they will tell me how brilliant they are at sales. All they need to do (they will tell me) is get in front of the perfect client and they’ll turn them into a sale.

I can tell you from working with many, many small business owners over the years, that there is rarely such a thing as sitting down in front of the perfect client. In reality, a small business owner will need some degree of sales skills in order to turn a potential client into an actual client.

So my question today is what should be in your sales kit so that no matter what the potential client throws at you, you have all the tools in your arsenal in order to deal with it.

A good sales kit doesn’t necessarily need to be materials that you take along with you but ideally you should have thought these through and be prepared before you go along to a sales meeting.

In my sales kit I have the following:

  • A good pen and some sort of good notepad so I can record what was said
  • Sales literature such as brochures, flyers, business cards etc
  • A list of frequently asked questions so that I know that no matter what the question is I can answer it
  • Diagrams and exercises so that I can demonstrate a technique or idea to a potential client
  • Active listening skills so that I really hear what a potential client is telling me
  • Proposal templates so that I can quickly get a proposal back to a potential client
  • Ways to close the sale or ask what the next step is
  • Always having a chat on the phone first to properly qualify the potential client – is it worth my time going to meet them?

The fact is, when I first started my business, I was really rubbish at sales. I didn’t listen to the potential client and just sat there and told them how we could help rather than listen to what they wanted.

It was only after a good deal of lost sales and opportunities that I realised that clients would very often tell you what they wanted if only you would listen to it.

Once I started to do this, and put together great ways of answering the questions they asked. Believe me answering the question “why did you study Psychology at Luton University?” with “Because I didn’t do as well in my A levels as I wanted to” does not impress a potential client. I know as that’s what I once said.

Now I have ‘political correct’ answers – answers that sound great and can really sell my products and services no matter what is thrown at me.

I have also developed diagrams and exercises so that I can visually explain to a client what we do. Although I don’t have these formally created (as I want to keep the meeting informal), I do have these in my head and can bring them out at any moment to explain a difficult concept to a client.

So do you have all of these tools in your sales kit and how good are you at using them?

A good question to ask yourself is: if you had 10 potential clients, how many of them (being really honest) would you turn into clients? If your answer is anything below 8 out of 10, there is definitely room for improvement.

Thank you to Exceptional Thinking for this blog.

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