Want your business to succeed? Don’t focus on you!

It’s understandable that you want your business to do well. After all, you started it to fulfil a need or solve a problem you had. Whether that need was to be your own boss or your problem was childcare costs or redundancy, your initial drive to start your business was something YOU were looking to fulfil.

However, if you want your business to be successful moving forward, you need to change where your motivation or focus is. In short – your business focus needs to be on your CLIENTS. Continue reading “Want your business to succeed? Don’t focus on you!”

How to get past your to-do list and on with running your business

We all want to be an awesome business owner. Often though, when it comes down to the reality of running a business, the day-to-day stuff on our to-do list can kind of get in the way of that awesomeness!

We go into business with an idea – but find the reality contains a lot more!

This is especially relevant for sole-preneurs and work-from-home mums, regardless of the type of business you’re in. We go into business with the dream of doing the ‘thing’ we’re good at – such as coaching, mentoring, writing etc., but find that, in order to have a business doing that ‘thing’, we need to learn a whole host of new, unrelated things too! Continue reading “How to get past your to-do list and on with running your business”

The benefits of a discovery session in business

Discovery sessions are regularly used in service-based businesses – and is it any wonder? They’re easy to implement, non-salesy and beneficial for both the potential client and you. But what exactly makes a discovery session so good for you, your potential client and your business?

Firstly, what a discovery session is – and isn’t

Mention discovery sessions and there are some people who immediately think ‘sales’, ‘hard sell’ and ‘free coaching’ – but they’d be wrong. A discovery session isn’t any of those things. Continue reading “The benefits of a discovery session in business”

Productivity hacks to help you remain in control of your business and sanity

As a work-from-home mum, I appreciate that it can be difficult, juggling work and home. You start out with the best intentions, but we all have off days and things that just get in the way and take our time and attention.  In your situation you may not be a work-from-home mum but instead, you might be juggling another job, a hobby, supporting a charity – these productivity hacks are just as relevant for you as they are me.

Here are 10 simple productivity hacks to help you remain in control of your business and your sanity!

1.     Have a morning routine

According to studies, you’re most productive in the first two hours after waking up – so make the most of this time. Look to get up early and stop hitting that snooze button! Review what’s on your agenda for today and get your mind-set right, before you start work.

2.      Focus on one thing at a time

You’re only able to truly give your all to one thing at a time – so stop multitasking! Decide instead, to focus on one task at a time and give it your all.

3.     Set clear boundaries

You’ll achieve more if you set clear boundaries, so make sure everyone knows not to disturb you whilst you’re working.

4.     Opt for peace and quiet

You’ll get more done if you can totally focus on the task at hand, so turn off all notifications – both on your laptop and mobile phone.

5.     Take regular breaks

Studies have shown that you can achieve more, if you take regular breaks – 15 minute breaks after every 46-60 minutes of work. You’ll stay more alert and feel better if you use these break times to go outside and stretch your muscles – so opt for a quick walk in the fresh air.

6.     Break goals down into manageable chunks

Having a big future-based goal is great, but it can also lead to overwhelm and disappointment, especially if you feel you’re taking too long to get to that desired end result. Look to break all of your goals down into small manageable chunks, so you can easily reach them and celebrate those smaller achievements.

7.     Take stock regularly

It can be easy to get so focused on work, you forget to take the time to acknowledge how far you’ve come, so look to take stock regularly. Not only will this give you the chance to celebrate what you’ve achieved, it’s also the perfect time to check you’re in the right direction and make any necessary tweaks to keep you on course.

8.     End the day by preparing for tomorrow

Spend 15 minutes at the end of each day, preparing your task list for tomorrow. This helps you to make sure anything that needs carrying over is remembered, plus it helps you switch off at the end of each day.

9.     Stop trying to be a superhero

You don’t have to do everything yourself – whether it’s home or work related. Ideally, you’ll want to be left with only those tasks and projects you either love and/or are your key strengths. So give yourself a breather and…

10.    Get comfortable with delegating and outsourcing

If you want your business to grow, you really do need to start delegating and outsourcing. Not only does it help prevent you burning out, it gives you access to additional skills and talents you would otherwise have to learn yourself – and it means you can get the job done faster and often, more efficiently than going it alone.

What’s your best productivity hack for staying in control of your business and sanity? Have we already listed it above or is it something you want to add to our list? Why not share your hints, tips and hacks in the comments box below!

Mid-Year Review – are you making the most of your VA?

We’re nearly halfway through this year, so let me ask you – how’s business? Are you going in the right direction? Are you making headway on your business goals? Have you started implementing all those goals you set yourself at the beginning of the year – and by the way, are you making the most of your VA?

I thought I’d throw that last question in there, as your VA is an essential part of your business success. You’ve invested in a VA, so are you making the most of them?

We’re now past the May bank holiday and still have a little time before the kids are off for the summer holidays, or your clients start taking their summer holidays. This means now is the perfect time, to carry out a mid-year review on your business and to make sure you’re utilising every means at your disposal, in order to help you reach your business goals.

If you are a parent of school age children, you’ll want to spend some quality time with your kids during their summer break. Maybe you’ve even planned a summer break away with them, so prior to that, get your hustle on to ensure that it can happen and you can take some guilt-free time away.

Take the time now, to review what you’ve already achieved, start finishing off those projects that are on the home stretch and to begin planning for the rest of this year. The work you put in now can set you up for the rest of this year – and it can make sure you’re utilising your VA to the full.

Apart from the usual task you hand over to your VA, there are various other tasks you can hand over to them, in order to free up your time now and to ensure you can switch off and recharge whilst you’re away during the summer – and ensure you hit the ground running, when you get back. These include:

  • Researching and compiling product material, presentations etc.
  • Planning your launch schedules and sequences
  • Researching and creating batches of content (such as blog posts and social media postings) for the months ahead
  • Updating your social media accounts and profiles
  • Clearing and archiving files and emails on your computer

So why not take the time now, to review your progress so far this year, reassess where you’re headed and work out how best your VA can help you achieve those goals?

Have you carried out your mid-year review yet? What tasks, above and beyond the usual ones you outsource to them, have you decided to assign to your VA? Why not share your opinions and task ideas in the comments box below!

Are you exploring the true worth of your VA?

It’s a well-known fact that hiring a Virtual Assistant can free up your time. They can also be passed tasks that you either don’t have time to do or, for whatever reasons, are not inclined to do. However these really are the basic, surface-level benefits of hiring a VA. There’s also a wealth of hidden benefits available to you, that make a VA truly worth their weight in gold to you and your business – if you decide to look a bit deeper! Continue reading “Are you exploring the true worth of your VA?”

The art of good listening

Communication is the keystone of any successful business. You need to be able to effectively listen and understand the differing needs of your clients and potential clients, in order to accurately and effectively help them.

This is especially important when you’re in a service-based business, such as that of a Virtual Assistant, as you need to not only hear and understand what your clients are asking you to do, you also need to ascertain what they’re not saying AND find ways to implement those requests. Continue reading “The art of good listening”

Boost your confidence with these assertiveness tips

Assertiveness and confidence often go hand-in-hand; the person who struggles with their confidence levels also tends to be the person who is quite timid too. This can play havoc in the business arena, as it stops them putting themselves forward for new contracts and promoting themselves and their services to new clients.

This leads many to spend time working on their confidence levels and this can take time. But if assertiveness and confidence go hand-in-hand – why not implement some quick assertiveness tips into your daily practice, in order to immediately start improving your confidence levels? Continue reading “Boost your confidence with these assertiveness tips”

Do you know what your business standards are?

Business standards, they’re what set you apart from your competitors, instil confidence in your business and can help improve your bottom line, but what exactly are business standards and how can you set some up in your business?

What are business standards?

A business standard is an agreed way of doing something. It’s the rules and guidelines you put in place to ensure you’re running your business to the best of your abilities and for best possible outcome for your customers. Business standards therefore, can cover a huge range of activities and procedures and can help you keep uniformity, safety and reliability on a consistent level.

Typical examples of business standards

So what sort of business standards can you set up in your business? Typical examples can include:

  • Health and safety requirements
  • Code of conduct and staff uniform
  • Environmental and ethical standards

Another common standard that is set up in smaller business is that of customer service. It sets up the quality benchmarks for customer service – such as how you deal with complaints, usual timescales for replying to emails and phone calls, how courteousness you and your staff will be with customers and even how the telephone is answered.

How to set up your standards for business

When it comes to setting up your standards for business, there are certain criteria you need to adhere to, in order to correctly set them up:

  • Standards need to be documented
  • They need to be part of your staff training (or given to your associates to use)
  • Standards are designed to empower, rather than inhibit team members
  • They should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis

Do you advertise your standards or are they private?

That really does depend on the type of business standards you are setting up. Some standards are just for you and your staff – others need to be shared, if you’d like to set yourself apart from the competitors.

Think about how your standards will improve your relationship with your potential clients – especially when it comes to sharing things such as how you only use environmentally friendly materials in your products, how you use UK suppliers or contribute 20% of all your earnings to a specific charity.

Another useful standard to share with the wider audience is those things that directly involve them. This includes customer service-related standards, such as how quickly you’ll reply to emails, your promise to use straight-forward language on your website and how you are only interested in being open and honest with everyone you interact with. These standards make great additions to your website -especially if they’re woven into your business story and about pages.

What standards do you currently have set up in your business and what are you planning to implement? Have you decided on the usual standards or have you implement a more off-the-wall standard, one that is REALLY setting you apart from your competitors? Why not share your thoughts and ideas in the comments box below.

Image courtesy of tashatuvango/Dollar Photo Club

Why ethics in business are so important

Ethics. They’re what drive your business forward and highlight what you’re about. They dictate what type of conscience you have, both as a business owner and an individual person. So what are your ethics saying about you?

Take a company that values honesty and integrity. Would you expect them to lie to you and work in an underhand way? No, because if they did, it would feel wrong for them and for you, as you’d feel an incongruency between their words and their actions. If you had a Fairtrade company paying workers less than minimum wage or using child labour, you’d be up in arms. Continue reading “Why ethics in business are so important”