5 ways experts can help to grow your business

AM Total Business Solutions Ltd - www.angelarmorris.com

By Angela Morris

 

5 ways experts can help to grow your business

 

Running a small business has various challenges, however did you know that there are experts out there who can help grow your business?

I love working with people who know more than me! I do not see them as a threat, rather I seem them as my teachers who will help me go further and faster than I would have without them.

One of the common complaints I come across when talking to other small businesses is the fear that other people will steal your customers from you. All I can say about that is if you have made a healthy bond with your client they will remain loyal to you. If that is your reason for not collaborating or working with experts then it may take you a while to get your business up and running.   

attracting people in business

 

So what can experts do for you and your business? Here are 5 areas to consider:

  1. Social media- We all understand the need to keep on the frontline of social media for many of us this is how we keep a “presence” for potential customers. This can also be incredibly time consuming, so unless this is your money maker then maybe you could outsource it?
  2. Accounting- Why not remove the stress of having to get your finance and books straight (unless of course you a very good at this) and get some assistance with this?
  3. A Business Mentor- Go to someone you consider to be a trusted advisor (who won’t steal your clients or contacts) who can support you in keeping focused and not wandering off into unknown territory!
  4. Partnering or collaborating – this can be done for particular ventures or projects which you know you can deliver in part but not the whole thing. This could be very lucrative if you are prepared to take the risk and work with someone else.
  5. Marketing- getting together with an expert who knows their stuff and how you need to promote your particular service is like gold dust! You might just need to pay for a couple of sessions to get you off the ground.

All of this being said it is still your choice how you wish to grow your business however in my humble opinion getting support for the areas which are either too time consuming or not your strength is worth the investment. There are times to be protective over the growth of your business and there are times to attract people with strengths.

If you are a visionary leader or an entrepreneur, you will definitely need time and space to let your creativity flow (those of you in this category know exactly what I mean!) rather than getting bogged down in the nitty gritty of service delivery. Why? Because….

“Life’s Too Short!”

 

Further Reading: (which may help with your forward planning!)

Planning cartoon   

How outsourcing can help your business

What the experts have to say about business

5 reasons to stay motivated in business

5 ways experts can help to grow your business was originally published on Angela R Morris – Total Business Solutions

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3 Reasons why collaborating in business can be good for you

AM Total Business Solutions Ltd - www.angelarmorris.com

By Angela Morris

3 Reasons why collaborating in business can be good for you

Have you given any thought to collaborating in business? Did you know that this is an option you could consider if you need to give your business a boost?

              So what is “collaborating” in business all about?

A quick definition:  Collaboration enables individuals to work together to achieve a defined and common business purpose.

 

Here are 3 C’s for collaboration and how it could benefit  your business:

 

Invitation

C- Connecting. If you are able to connect with someone who has a business that compliments yours this can be helpful in terms of doing commission splits on referrals which work both ways. As a word of caution: only go with those people you feel comfortable with (irrespective of what they can offer)  and don’t be too diverse in your product/service spread. Remember this is about collaborating not feeling manipulated into doing something you are not really keen on!

C- Contribution. If you are working on a joint business venture (not the same as a legal business partnership) be clear about what each party is bringing to the party! Stay realistic. Do not offer the world, unless you really have the world to give! This will avoid any confusion or resentments when the money starts to come in. No one really complains about effort….until the pot starts filling up and then the word “effort” suddenly takes on a whole new meaning!

tug of war

 

C- Communication. Keep talking to each other. Even the best of relationships breakdown when no dialogue is taking place on a regular basis. As part of your collaborating, it is important that you take responsibility for keeping the other party informed of any important changes. Keep your expectations realistic too! This is also how you build trust between each other. Oh and if you do have “trust issues” then forget about being in business!

If you have not tried collaborating yet, why not look around for someone local who has complementary services to yours? Who knows a great collaboration may be born! Why? Because….

 

“Life’s Too Short!”

 

Further Reading

Further reading

 

 

/The12 habits of highly collaborative organizations

5 reasons why collaboration is essential in todays business-environment

3 Reasons why collaborating in business can be good for you was originally published on Angela R Morris – Total Business Solutions

Whether you are in business or not. You need to vote!

AM Total Business Solutions Ltd - www.angelarmorris.com

By Angela Morris

Whether you are in business or not. You need to vote!

The General Election is upon us and I believe that everyone who can vote, should!

Being a black female and a business woman, I have a lot of reasons to ensure that I do not take for granted the ability to impact change in our nation. How? By putting my “X” in the box when polling day comes on 7th May.

 

I watched the movie “Selma” which was all about black people being opposed for wanting to vote. Well here we are, people of colour!

The story of Emily Pankhurst fighting for the rights of women to vote. Well here we are, ladies!

At one time in Britain, only people who owned land could vote this was changed and…here we all are, citizens of Britain!

vote 1

 

NO EXCUSES!!!

Please do not use “I am busy with my business” as an excuse not to cast your vote as you may regret that apathy when the new prime minister is announced!

Don’t say “It doesn’t matter!” My response to that is to tap you on the shoulder and say “Excuse me, your ignorance is showing!”

Obviously, I am not going to tell you who you should be voting for, nor am I telling you who I am voting for (that’s my business!), what I will say is if you don’t vote then don’t complain about who is in power!

Looking back over history and the story of the vote, in my opinion, it would be a travesty not to maximise our opportunity of liberty and freedom to choose who we believe would be best to help us business owners, through the next few years.

 

LOOKING FORWARD TO THE 7TH OF MAY. WHY? BECAUSE…

Life’s Too Short!

Whether you are in business or not. You need to vote! was originally published on Angela R Morris – Total Business Solutions

My meeting with a Business Woman of the Year!

AM Total Business Solutions Ltd - www.angelarmorris.com

By Angela Morris

My meeting with a……

Businesswoman of the year!

Hi All! I must say, I am thoroughly enjoying myself as an entrepreneur. The fascinating people I meet on almost a daily basis constantly has me learning new things, getting great tips and making new business connections! My latest new “business” friend is Jackie Groundsell Founder and CEO of 1230 The Women’s Company, who last year won the coveted award of Beckenham Businesswoman Star Award of the year!

Award-winning Jackie, knows only too well the challenges and pressures faced by today’s business women; meeting various personal challenges in her own life has given her great empathy with the wonderfully inspiring business women she meets and supports. “I would say my can-do attitude and ability to talk are two of my greatest personal assets. I’m always up for a challenge!” Jackie continues to run her IT training company as well as public speaking and mentoring and is constantly inspired by the business women she meets through her networks.

As always, in my meeting with Jackie, I asked her to share some tips for those of us in the world of running our own business.

Here they are:

  1. Make use of the flexibility being your own boss gives you.
  2. Get some “me” time in there, no matter how small!
  3. Network! For support, advice, expertise – business growth
  4. Listen to gut reaction and enjoy!

How is that for good, practical advice? Behind these words lie a host of stories and experiences. I don’t want to miss out any further and now, I too am a member of her prestigious networking club: 1230 The Women’s Company. Why wouldn’t I want to? Because…

“Life’s too short!”

 Jackie and IJackie Groundsell

 

To find out more 1230 The Women’s Company visit her website: http://1230.co.uk/

My meeting with a Business Woman of the Year! was originally published on Angela R Morris – Total Business Solutions

Life’s too short not to take advice from a top CEO!

 

AM Total Business Solutions Ltd - www.angelarmorris.com
By Angela Morris

Sharing some nuggets from my meeting with a top CEO!

I was taught a long time ago that whenever you come into the presence of a high profile individual, such as a CEO, if you are going to speak to them, at least have something sensible or constructive to say!

Today I was privileged to have some quality time with Mr Stephen Howard CEO of Business in the Community (BITC).

529

A lawyer by profession, Stephen joined Business in the Community in September 2005. He has brought a wealth of senior management expertise acquired in the corporate sector to Business in the Community. Stephen has held a number of different executive and non-executive roles including, Chief Executive of Cookson group plc, and Chief Executive of Novar PLC.

I heard him speak at The National Black Women’s network and had the audacity to ask for a brief meeting at his  office (well, if you don’t ask you don’t get! ) which he kindly agreed to:

I just 3 main questions… ready? (His answers are summarised in bold, though not verbatim)

  • Q1. At the NBWN conference you made a statement about “Business models evaporating overnight” what did you mean?
  • If, as a business you do not keep up with modern technology mediums you could find yourself out of date with current trends, therefore no longer relevant in the business world (by the way that includes Social Media!)
  • Q2. What is your vision for UK business in the future?
  • People (SMEs) will become more confident to do business as we climb out of the recession, however Government funding/expenditure is likely to shrink.
  •  Q3. On reflection of your business life. What, if anything, would you do differently?
  • I would focus more on what I wanted to be more, than what I wanted to get!

Stephen Howard CEO and I 530

 

  • There was more to the dialogue than this, however for the purpose of this blog I would like you to contemplate on what 3 questions would you ask someone who could impact how you do business?  You never know who you’re going to end up meeting on your business or life journey
  • Oh and for the record, I think I am on the right track! Which is encouraging. Why? Because…

 

Life’s too short!

 

Further Reading:

http://www.bitc.org

Stephen Howard  My Predictions For 2014

Life’s too short not to take advice from a top CEO! was originally published on Angela R Morris – Total Business Solutions

My meeting with a PR Queen! So what does she do….?

AM Total Business Solutions Ltd - www.angelarmorris.com

By Angela Morris

What are the benefits of working with a PR team to promote your business?

Before I go into that part. What is “PR”? I won’t lie I wasn’t really sure! Lol! :)

PR (Public relations) is the practice of managing the spread of information between an individual or an organisation and the public”

In my meeting with Evadney Campbell MBE, it was a real eye-opener to understand how PR works. As the CEO of Shiloh PR Agency, Evadney has extensive experience of working in the PR and music industries in addition to TV, online and radio roles for the BBC and commercial broadcast outlets, the Shiloh PR team specialises in public relations, media training and event publicity.

I now understand, from my time spent with her, how  invaluable could be to  either start-up or growing business. It’s not as expensive as you think, but more importantly there are some things you need to know before engaging with a PR firm.

1)      You must establish what connections they have in the media world – there is no point calling yourself a PR company if you are not very well connected!

2)      You must give them time to “spin” your story – do not expect them to effectively promote you or your event with a month’s notice. To do a good job they need about 3 months.

3)      Tell them your story and life experience’s – using this information they can make you relevant to current affairs and trends and relate them to both you and your business

4)       This is not a free service! – Have a budget for it and they will let you know what they can do for your money.

5)      PR is NOT the same as Marketing – the role of marketing is place an advert, the role of PR is promote who you and/or your business in the public arena.

Here is the lovely Evadney  (PR Queen) and a link to her site… evadney-1 (1)

Check out her website and get media savvy! Why? Because…

“Life’s too short!”

 Further reading:

 http://www.shilohpr.com

hows stuffs works.com-public-relations

My meeting with a PR Queen! So what does she do….? was originally published on Angela R Morris – Total Business Solutions

Get Networking but go with a plan in mind!

AM Total Business Solutions Ltd - www.angelarmorris.com

By Angela Morris

Get networking!

 

Go to the networking meeting with a plan in mind!

 

When sharing knowledge or information, I love to keep things on a practical level! I enjoy taking the “fear” factor out of what initially seems scary. Now… about this matter of networking it is not as grand as it sounds but it is very, very effective when you are building your business!

IN ORDER TO NETWORK YOU WILL HAVE TO DO SOME WORK!

One of the UK’s queen of networking is Sonia Brown MBE. Having spoken to her on several occasions what is incredible about her is that she is able to remember not only who people are but what they do! In my personal opinion, the reason Sonia excels in this area is because she is not afraid to put herself out there to connect with people.

Ask yourself this question: How will you get business if you just rely on the people you know? (especially if they are not into what you do!). One of the comments I made when I was at City Hall a couple of weeks ago was that being “broke was a great way to become resourceful!” this is very true but actually networking is a very resourceful and economical tool to use. You can build a contact database very quickly and more importantly there is that chance of picking “the low hanging fruit” from it.

So here some practical tips you can do before you go to a meeting:

1)      *Try and found out who else is attending the meeting

2)      *Do some research on the ones you specifically want to speak to

3)     * Be prepared to tell them what you do in your business

4)      *Make sure you have business cards to exchange (or at least   phone numbers)

Last but not least put on your smiling face! distractions

So now it’s time to get out there and do your thing because….

 

Life’s too short!

 

Finally, I would like to inform you about some of Sonia’s events. Please see link(s) below:

EvolveBusinessGrowthProgramme 19/05/2014e

 www.sistatalk.co.uk

 www.wearethecity.com

 

 

Get Networking but go with a plan in mind! was originally published on Angela R Morris – Total Business Solutions

Life’s too short not to do your marketing!

Life’s too short! (part 11)

AM Total Business Solutions Ltd - www.angelarmorris.com

By Angela Morris

Marketing! Marketing! and more marketing!

Some things will never change in business and this is one of them. You must do marketing to make your business grow! I wish I could give you some shortcuts but not on this occasion!

Being a small business, you will really need get the word out about what you do. Unless you are able to afford TV or radio advertising!

Believe it or not there are lots of innovative ways to conduct marketing for your business which will cost you very little depending on your budget.

 

  1. You can attend networking event- Check out what’s happening in your local area for small businesses and book yourself in. Many are free and all you need to do is make sure you have lots of business cards ready!
  2.  Create your own Event- There are no rules to say that you cannot put on your own event but make sure you choose a nice venue to hold it and give enough notice. Remember first impressions count!
  3.  Produce a nifty giveaway It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) make sure it’s something tasteful which you would like to receive if it were given to you.  Again do what you can afford!
  4. Send out marketing emailsIt won’t cost you a penny other than your time and what is your time if you are not making any money! Say what you’d say in person when you write it.
  5. Use your website to create credibility – What are Credibility pages? These pages are titled “About Us”, “Testimonials”, and even “Contact Us” pages can give your potential customers the confidence to deal with you, so make sure they give all the information they can.
  6. LinkedIn Connections-There is no point being connected if nothing comes out of it! Join some groups and endorse skills for other people. It could pay dividends!
  7. Facebook– Upload pictures of your products /website/blogs or conduct special promotional offers. Keep reminding people that you’re there!
  8. Twitter My personal “favourite”! (get it? :)) On a serious note I consider this to be more about creating international brand awareness than making sales. I now have a following of 16.4K and did not buy any of them!
  9. InstagramThere are now free apps to help you gain more likes and follows
  10. Every single ad you run should at least pay for itself! 

 

Remember you are not selling your product or service. You are selling what it does for the customer!

When you have tried the marketing method that works for you this will enable you to a) get more clients or customers b) increase the average value of an order or invoice and c) get your clients buying from you more often (repeat business).

So come on, what are you waiting for? Because…….

 “Life’s too short!”

 

Life’s too short not to do your marketing! was originally published on Angela R Morris – Total Business Solutions

Life’s too short! (part 10) What, no discounts?

AM Total Business Solutions Ltd - www.angelarmorris.com

b By Angela Morris

 

She said…… “No! I don’t do discounts!”

 

It can be hard to stand your ground when you are a start-up business but I learned an excellent business lesson from my niece, Jo Lennon who is running a very successful cake business. I am not above being taught by anyone who talks sense!

 

When Jo was working from her tiny kitchen she created a price list for her products (novelty cakes and cupcakes) and circulated them on her website and on her flyers. Typically there would always be one (you know, that one! Not you of course!) who would ask her if she would give them a discount.

Her bold reply was “The price list is there so that you know the prices, if it was going to be cheaper, then why have a price list?”  I personally thought this response was absolutely priceless! :)

 

When she moved from her kitchen to her shop would you believe people came in openly complaining about her prices that they were too expensive (by the way who does that?) Her response was “you might want to go to the supermarket instead”. I am amazed at how she remained calm, I am not sure I would be the same!

As you start out there will always be those who want to:

1)      Negotiate you down from your prices. Don’t let them do it (unless you want to charge “mates rates” for close friends and family members you get on with)

2)      Tell you they can get it cheaper elsewhere! So why are we still talking, you need to go  over there!

3)      Try and make you feel guilty because you have only just started out. But you need to start as you mean to go on or you might regret it later!

 

You have to be mentally strong and have a robustness, if you want a successful business as opposed to continually struggling because there will always be someone who doesn’t value your efforts, time and talents.

The end result is they want you on the cheap! Of course all their friends will come running but you will be run ragged with little fruit as your reward!

If you missed the last blog here she is again……Jo Lennon

If you’re going to do it, do it right! So stay calm (note to self!) but

 don’t compromise, don’t give discounts and don’t get bullied because………..

“Life’s too short!”

 

http://www.justbeautifulcupcakes.com

http://www.croydon guardian press release for Jo

Life’s too short! (part 10) What, no discounts? was originally published on Angela R Morris – Total Business Solutions