Here Katie Mellor from KM Virtual Office Ltd shares advice on how to introduce flexible working to your company. You can meet Katie at our Suffolk events.
How can we offer flexible working?
“Flexible working is becoming more and more popular, not only by employees wishing to have it, but by employer’s offering it!
Gone are the days when the typical 9-5 work patterns are the only way to work. By offering flexible working, you will have more engaged, enthusiastic and loyal employees which will increase your employee retention (which can only be a good thing for business!).
Research from XpertHR revealed that almost all organisations offer some sort of flexible working, such as variable start and finish times or a job share, but how can you prepare to offer flexible working if you don’t already have a scheme in place?
Start the conversation. You need to talk to your employees and discuss the opportunities of flexible working options that will work for the business, explaining any drawbacks or barriers you might face bringing this into the work place. Get the employees and managers view on what kind of flexible working would work for them. The more information you can collect, the better the scheme will be.
Make sure, once you have decided on what flexible working options you need, to get these in writing by producing the companies flexible working policy and ensuring that you provide training and support for line managers, to make sure that the scheme will be a success.
A good flexible working scheme can bring so many benefits to an organisation, but you MUST make sure that your policy is well thought out and backed by managers and those who need to implement it.
If you are thinking about implementation get in touch.”
Katie has a Golden Ticket for our Ipswich events and this means Katie can write for our BWN blog whenever Katie would like. If you would like a Golden Ticket to get the most out of networking with us, discounts on events and sponsorship and the chance to feature on our site, book online or with your local networking coordinator.
It’s a serious questions every business woman reading this should be prepared to ask themselves. Because if your business is not making sacks of cash, it’s not a business it’s a hobby, and let’s be honest most hobbies are rather expensive. And businesses are supposed to generate money not consume it!
So if you feel like your being a consumer rather than a generator here’s a wham bam Thank you Mam, quick tip guide to checking you’re on the right track to sacks of cash;
1. Ask the question “Is My business making sacks of cash?”
To do this you will need to know your accounts inside out, and every accountant on the planet will tell you how important that is. It will highlight good weeks/months, bad ones, opportunities, weaknesses and help you look out for tell tale patterns to be aware of. Assessing where you are allows you to move forward – forget this at your peril! So become best friend with your numbers.
2. Next ask yourself “What am I going to Do about it?”
Note the capital D on Do. You see procrastination is highly likely to attack your business progress if you don’t have an action plan. Remember Procrastination is destroyed by action! So what action do you intend to take? Ask yourself what has worked in the past, what has not worked in the past. And a word of caution here – if it didn’t work in the past, will it miraculously work this time, unless you make changes?
3. Say good bye to Ron
Have you met Ron? He lurks in every business woman’s psyche – “I will do it Lateron” “This is more important, I will have to leave that to lateron” Ron just loves to hear you say this. So take action on Ron. Knowing what action you intend to take is nothing without working out WHEN you are going to do it. You have probably heard the saying “working ON your business and not IN it” Every successful business needs the space to implement the new ways to ensure success.
4. Get out there!
It’s a biggy! And a pet hate of mine to hear that a wonderful business is relying on business cards and a website and maybe a spot of networking to ensure a wonderful stream of new enquiries, leads, contacts and most of all new happy customers. Even if you are mega busy you still need a multi level approach to your marketing. If you can’t list off at least 8 different things you are doing to engage with customers right now – then somewhere down the line you are going to have trouble – and highly likely to not have sacks of cash!
Okay so there are a ton of other things I could be telling you about right now, including your current customers, up-selling, side selling, multi sales, dangers of special offers, underpricing nightmares, confidence issues, your relationship with money, wrong products, wrong customers, Wow! This list truly could be endless, but you see right now nail these 4 and you WILL see results, you WILL see more of what you want in your business and less of what you don’t. So no more reading, chuck Ron out and take action!
Have you played Angry Birds? Do you realise what a great lesson it teaches you about business? (Are you now beginning to think I’ve lost the plot?!)
Angry Birds, for those of you who haven’t come across it, is a game where you fire birds with different powers out of a catapult at green pig creatures that are seeking shelter in a variety of structures. Quite what the back story is to explain why the birds are so angry and why the pig creatures must be destroyed eludes me. The game started on the iphone, spread to other touch screen phones and is now playable on Facebook. If you want an in-depth description pop over to this wikipedia article
Now what can it teach you about business? No, it’s not that you can waste a lot of time playing it. True, but not the point I want to make. There are two things you can learn.
In Angry Birds you have a limited number of birds and you can’t change the order the birds are fired. This can be frustrating if you want a bomber bird and all you have is the ones that split into three. So lesson one is that sometimes you just have to work with you what with you’ve got. No good saying “if only…” If only isn’t going to happen.
Lesson two is that plans sometimes need to be changed.
When you start a new level in Angry Birds, you quickly form a plan of how you are going to attack the structure. I was playing yesterday and I was convinced that I knew how to do it. As I failed on the first time I thought, oh maybe I just need to aim a smidge higher. Or maybe I need to zap the speed on a bit sooner. So I keep on trying, doing pretty much the same thing and not really accomplishing anything. Then I remembered what Einstein said.
Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.
So so true, and I wonder why I forgot this. As soon as I took a different approach, my results improved DRAMATICALLY.
Doing the same thing and expecting different results is something that I sadly see too many people repeating in business. It can be hard to get out of rut – if you’ve been doing something that used to work and no longer does it can be hard to accept that you need to change tact. Taking that leap can be scary. After all, it’s not attacking computer generated green pigs we’re tallking here, it could be the survival of your business that’s at stake.
But if what you’re doing isn’t working then you need to do something else. Ask an expert for advice. Try in small scale. If you have our Premier Pack, use the Focus and Feedback slot to test your idea so you get get confidential feedback. Sealed box that everyone is able to place their feedback in & only you get to see it (not even the events organiser if you wish!) (See BPP for more details)
Don’t be afraid of change
As Isaac Asimov said (though he himself took part of the quote from Heraclitus a 500BC, Greek philosopher.)
The only constant is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.
So that’s Angry Bird, Eistein, Isaac Asimov and Greek Philospher Heraclitus teaching us about business. Talk about a stellar line up.
What lessons do you have to share?
Bridget Greenwood, our Norfolk co-ordinator, shares this from her own blog
Richard Denny shares his top ten tips and when a man who has won praise from the BBC claiming”Richard is a legend on the international speaking circuit”, the Daily Telegraph describing him as “The UK’s guru of motivation” whilst the Times says he is “The master of professional salesmanship”, it’s worth taking note.
Richard Denny Top Ten Tips
1- Look the part – your appearance should apply to your product/service
2- Don’t sit in receptions – (why? – because you want to meet someone at the same level, not with you sitting and them standing. By not taking a seat, reception thinks you’re terribly important). You feel much more significant – so don’t sit in reception areas)
3- Decide your payment terms
4- Results on your business cards – how you achieve the results on the reverse
5- Really listen – what is said and what is not said
6- Build your database of every contact, our market place is people – Richard’s biggest guilt is that he has not captured all the names of the people that he has worked with through out the years
7- Negotiate a deal – if someone asks for a discount, reply with do you mind if I ask you why do you want a discount? Always exchange don’t do a price crumble
8- Welcome a complaint – be enthusiastic about receiving complaints, we all get them from time to time. Great opportunity to turn them into an ambassador, a business shows it’s real strength on how it rectifies it’s problems
9- Provide a guarantee
10- Say thank you
For more great posts from Bridget Greenwood, check out her blog
Are you one of the group of sceptics who thinks that social media is a waste of time and that it has no place in business?
If so, you are going to get left behind. Using social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook can help you find new customers in a low cost way and new customers means more money.
(Note I don’t suggest it is free as there is of course a time consideration but using the tools that are out there mean that your time expense is minimised)
In my role as The IT Fairy I’ve written two articles that illustrate how two quite different businesses used Twitter to find new clients.
One is an UK based insurance company and the other is tourist attraction in the US.
And if you’d like to take your social media to the next level, then let us know as it’s something we use a lot and we’d love to teach you how you can too.
So yesterday a client says to me thats its hard work sending out individual emails to everyone and what results do they get anyway? Thus I mentioned Mailchimp – its free, I can keep in touch with clients/potential clients/ and business women looking to grow their business effectively, knowing who reads it, how often and if they open the links I included and even automatically share on my social media too – great right?
Here’s a taster 5 minute video to help you get going;
Get started, pause the video as you and do send us your finished results.
If you missed our most recent newsletter then you missed Jill Poet from Organisation for Responsible Business Owners talking about how to stand out from the crowd and care for your community, the environment and it all be good for your business (that includes your bottom line.)
Thanks for sharing Jill…..
Will you stand out from the crowd in 2012?
Richard Branson has the answer! As he says: “Screw Business as Usual – Doing Good is Good for Business!”
The Organisation for Responsible Businesses is delighted to announce that Certified ORB Auditors across the UK are able to take businesses through The Responsible Business Standard. This auditable certification, validated by Anglia Ruskin University, is designed specifically for small businesses who want to demonstrate they are socially and environmentally responsible.
If you want to stand out from the crowd by demonstrating that you operate a “Good Business,” visit www.ResponsibleBusinessstandard.org.uk for more information.
Would you like your business showcased here?
Got some great news to share? A great idea? A solution that all women in business should know about?
If you have the Business Premier Pack then send us your blog articles anytime – lovely pictures to support your story are always great – and we will be happy to share with The Business Womans Network world.
There seems to be this new breed of people – the procrastinators (sounds like something out of Star Trek doesn’t it?) A lot of business women describe themselves as procrastinators and search for ideas and ways to deal with what they procrastinate about because of the impact it can have on their business success.
If you find yourself exploring the realms of “procrastinator” what can you do to ensure it doesn’t get in the way of what you wish to achieve?
Firstly even procrastinators do not procrastinate about everything. They successfully get up and get dressed and drive a car to arrive at meetings, shops etc. This proves that they do not procrastinate about everything, just certain areas of their life.
What areas of your life do you procrastinate about?
What areas of your life do you always get on and achieve what you wish to?
If you can become aware of this you can start to address the obstacles that are there.
Be aware of the way you think. When we procrastinate we constantly reinforce what our mind has already said to us. “That job is going to take ages and is going to be a real headache” our mind tells us, and we allow it to increase these feelings by reinforcing them. So be aware of this and stop them in their tracks.
Do you even want it? Another reason that we put things off is because in actual fact it’s something that we do not even want. There are many external influences on our lives, from friends and family to media and the internet, it can be hard to listen to our internal voice. How many times have you thought something would be great and you have been shot down by someone and then gone on to dismiss it all together? Before you ask other people what they think debate the pros and cons with yourself and find out what you really want.
Are you procrastinating or are you subconsciously listening to your gut instinct?
Remember the sticker charts you gave your kids, or were given yourself? Ever thought about why they are so successful and popular? They work!
Visual stimulation works a treat with procrastination. If you know the area that you procrastinate in create your own sticker chart. (You don’t need to show anyone. You can stick it to the inside of your wardrobe.) Make it fun, if it makes you laugh when you stick a smiley face sticker (or our personal favourite the all hallowed Gold Star) on your chart when you actually do it, you are more likely to do it again. You are creating a subconscious link to being happy with getting the job done, and every sticker reinforces that.
Lastly when you succeed over the procrastinator in you, however small the accomplishment acknowledge it. Revel in your successes. These will reinforce that you can beat procrastination and achieve what you wish to.
Let us know how you get on and if you wish to discuss more ways to help you beat the procrastinators get in touch.
Okay so I’m no copywriter (although I did once gain a client out of a copywriter who noticed grammatical errors on my website and emailed me!) But I do know, writing great blogs and fabulous web content is pretty pointless unless you are directing people to it.
Recently I was running a BWN workshop on Blogging For Business and this topic came up. “I am writing a blog, but no one is reading it, what do I do?”
Well here’s the thing, unless you find an effective way to market your blog, you might as well go and talk to the tree at the end of your garden. The tree will apparently feel good (he enjoys your carbon dioxide) but doubtful it’s liable to buy anything from you – if it does now THAT one would be easy to market!
You see you need to interact to the right people.
In the right way.
At the right time of day.
Saying the right kind of things that hook people in to wanting to know more.
That is useful and relevant.
And most importantly make it easy for them to find it again, and again, and again.
It could sound daunting but if you get it right, you will have people interacting with you, visiting your website regularly, appreciating you as an expert in your field and starting to love you and all that you do.
And pretty soon amazing things can happen thanks to blogging.
I personally include, new customers, speakers engagements and press opportunities but my personal fave to date, is having @StephenFry say “Great Blog” and when I DM’d him and asked if I could quote him, he said “go ahead.”
Sigh world’s best Tweeter thinks I’m great – Love it!
What could it do for you?
I am now running Business Clinics once a month at HSBC Business Banking Centre in Colchester through The Business Womans Network, for your chance to be one of just 10 business women at that table – get in touch.
The next one in October is be social media and a second one on Marketing- Creating & Actioning Your Plan. (24th October).