Networking at Workspace House

Successful inaugral event....

Night of Networking at Workspace House

 Wednesday 6th December, 2017

Read more: Networking at Workspace House

FREE TICKETS - New business network launches...

Come and attend the FREE launch of the new business network for Peterborough....

Doyennes Business Network

 

Workspace House, 28/29 Maxwell Road. PE2 7JE.                                 

Wednesday December 6th. 16:30-18:30                                                

Read more: FREE TICKETS - New business network launches...

FREE TICKETS for new business launch

 

Come and attend the FREE launch of the new business network for Peterborough....

Doyennes Business Network

 

Workspace House, 28/29 Maxwell Road. PE2 7JE.                                 

Wednesday December 6th. 16:30-18:30                                                

Read more: FREE TICKETS for new business launch

business_linkBusiness Planning - some final thoughts

One of my earliest articles for this newsletter back in 2007 covered the topic of planning in a business context.  I want to return to that theme for my final one.  Much of our work as business advisers is to challenge business owners to look at their business in a different way.  One of the ways we do this is to help owners and senior managers to put together a business plan.  All businesses should have a plan, otherwise to quote the lyrics of the George Harrison song: “if you don't know where you are going any road will take you there”. In business we can't afford to take too many wrong roads.  So what form should the business plan take?

Read more: Business Planning Final Thoughts

Last month we touched on the need for many businesses, particularly those of you selling business-to-business, to follow up on promotional / marketing activity by getting out there and selling. This month we will look at the process more closely.

There are a number of things to consider before you put yourself in a situation where you will talk to a prospective customer about buying your products and services. Anyone who has been in sales will give you their top tips on selling, and it is likely that each set of top tips will be different; here are some from me.

Read more: Selling Some More Points to Ponder

Everyone in business talks about the need to give great customer service and to achieve high levels of customer satisfaction, but what does that mean in practical terms for your business?

Some important questions:

  • What does good customer service mean to them?
  • What is your current level of customer service?
  • Superior - Good - Acceptable - Zero
  • Who is responsible for customer service within your business?

Let's look at these questions in more detail.

Read more: How Well Do You Really now Your Customers

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Yes there is a difference and, no, it's not a riddle.

Peter F Drucker (and others after him) wrote: “Management is doing things right and Leadership is doing the right things”.

This month we are going to concentrate at how you spend your time encouraging you to do the right things; I am not going to give you all the answers, but I do hope to make you think.

Why bother?

Read more: Are you doing things right as opposed to doing the right things?

Business Finance Healthchecks

I get worried when I read so many stories about the 'credit crunch' affecting small businesses. My business isn't in trouble as such, but we are being increasingly squeezed by customers paying later and poorer credit terms from suppliers. What can we do to help the situation?

This is common question at the moment and, along with my Business Link adviser colleagues, I am devoting far more time to the question of business financial health when I meet with my customers.

Read more: Business Finance Healthchecks

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I met someone at a networking event recently and we have decided that our companies should work together. Do you think that business co-operation or collaboration is a good idea?

In short: you can't be good at everything, so yes it may well be a good idea.

However, let's look at a few of the things that would be involved.

Read more: Co-operation or Collaboration

According to the media all is doom and gloom on the business front; what help is there for business? Can that help be explained? simply because it all seems so very confusing & In a nutshell yes!

Our role

Our job at Business Link is to understand what help your business needs and to check out all the possible help available to your business and to help you get access to it so you can achieve your objectives. This is a free service so make use of it.

I and my other business adviser colleagues need to find out about your business in terms of where it is now strategically and where you want it to be, so that we can find you the right support; we will work with you over the long-term as your business grows and your need for support and help changes.

Here is just some of the help that is available.

Read more: Doom & Gloom On The Business Front

...your way to more profitbusiness_link

more Supersize me!
Up-selling and cross-selling are aimed at selling more to each customer. Some examples:

Upgrading:

a customer asks for product y, but rather than simply take the order and complete the transaction the sales person questions the customer on her needs and purpose for the product. Product x costs more but has more features and will meet her needs more effectively, the sales person persuades the customer there is greater benefit in model x and completes a higher-value sale.

Read more: Up Sell & Cross Sell

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Whether the so called credit crunch will turn into a recession, or how bad things are likely to get, I have no idea; I'll leave others to speculate on that.

However, a number of my clients are feeling the effects of the slowdown; for all of them it is rising costs and for some this is coupled with falling sales. It is worth noting though that some are experiencing a lift in sales because less well managed competitors are already failing.

This is not the first economic slowdown and I doubt it will be the last. It is possible for a good business to survive, thrive and emerge stronger from difficult trading times, countless business have proved it in the past. So what is the secret? For that you will have to wait for the book to be published, but in the meantime let's look at some of the basics.

Read more: How to survive difficult times

Identify the unique quality of your business and set yourself apart from your competitors, then build and promote brand awareness.

What is your unique selling point? How do you convey that to your customers?

Usually when I ask this question, I either get a blank look followed by silence. Or, phrases such as 'we give good customer service', 'we deliver on time', or, 'we offer a personal service'.

While these are very good for your customers, none of them set you apart from almost every other business.

Read more: Great tips to promote your unique business identity

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I do in-house training with my staff, for instance showing them how to do a particular task or procedure, some of which are quite straight forward but others can be quite complex. I find that sometimes when I question them about what they've learned, sometime after the session, they have forgotten most of what they were trained on and the notes that they take are generally not much use to them. What is going wrong?

There is a difference in style and delivery between group training and instructing one or two people on how to carry out a specific task.

Here are a few simple tips to help make one-to-one instruction effective:

Read more: Tips for one to one instructions?

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