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Watch this space………….

As a Sussex Business Consultant I travel around to many networking events, some as a member, some as a guest  and some which are a splendid mix of business and social.

One such networking group is the Business Builder Club which takes place in Horsham once a month……..SHHH. don’t tell anyone though as they may want to attend!

As an experienced writer and business author, my expert articles are regularly featured in the regional Sussex and local media and on various online business websites. This is a fantastic compliment to my work and I love sharing my knowledge with every reader.

So as a member of the Business Builder Club  I was delighted to be invited as a regular online contributor to their website. Thanks guys. Have a look  here and  why not join me at the next event to share in the best Business Social in town.

Watch this space for more top tips too!.

Need focussed and insightful business advice, then contact me at Janette Whitney & Associates

Think about what makes you really happy………

Relax........

 
 
Let’s talk about reducing stress – it gets to us all at times and we need to know how to cope.
 
Stress is the perception that you are unable to cope with the demands being made on you.
 
 
 
Sharing your worries can give you a sense of release, and spending time with friends and family can also help take your mind off things. You may also like to consider the following tips:
 
 
 5 Top tips to reduce stress
 
  1. Exercise  It may be the last thing you feel like doing when you are stressed, but it really does help. As well as producing endorphins, the body’s ‘happy hormones’, it uses up stress hormones and helps relax tense muscles.
  2. Balance your life- Stress often comes from being emotionally invested in one thing, so try to balance your life- family, friends, work, hobbies etc. Think about what makes you really happy and challenge yourself to build on the areas that need work.
  3. Take care of yourself- As well as being physically exhausting, stress can temporarily weaken your immune system. Try to eat a healthy balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables and resist ‘bad’ food cravings – thats NO Chocolate!
  4. Change your thinking-  A good way to cope with stress is to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. This is part of cognitive behavioural therapy. For example instead of thinking ‘I’m worthless’ think ‘I’m a good person’. 
  5. Let go of things- Instead of tolerating the things that cause you stress, confront them. If your messy office is driving you crazy, tidy it up!. Challenging yourself often feels risky, but it may also give you an opportunity to grow.

 

So RELAX ……..THINK HAPPY THOUGHTS ………. AND LEARN TO SAY ‘NO’,

 so you don’t take on more than you can handle.

 

If you are more concerned about the health of your business than your own state of mind then consider my Business Health Check – a 2 hour impartial  and professional review of your business.

 

For professional & independant business advice contact  Janette Whitney at Award Winning Business Consultants, Janette Whitney & Associates on 01403 733671 or email jw@whitneyassocs.co.uk.  

 

 

NETWORKERS BEWARE!- What your handshake says about you

 

Networkers Beware!

 More than just physical contact, a handshake conveys a wealth of psychological information.

We walk away from a handshake saying things like, “You know, I just felt really comfortable with her” or “I don’t know why, but I simply don’t trust that guy”.

 

Most people don’t spend time probing the depths of this unconscious communication; they just have a ‘feeling’ or a sense that their intuition is telling them something. However, there are things we can use in our sales effort by looking a little more closely at the experience.

Top 5 Handshakes and what they reveal about you or your client:

 

 1. Sweaty Palms – When a person is nervous their sympathetic nervous system often becomes overactive, sometimes resulting in sweaty palms. Do what you can to put this individual at ease.

2. Dead Fish– Indifferent handshakes that feel like the person has no bones in their hand often indicate a passive or reserved personality. This handshake ranks as the number two least favoured. Individuals with this type of clasp are generally not people-focused. Knowing this, you can tailor your conversation to de-emphasize the people aspect and focus more on the mechanical or thing focused benefits.

3. Brush off – This handshake type is a quick grasp and then a release that feels like your hand being shoved aside. This handshake is a statement of ‘it’s my turf and my agenda that matters, yours doesn’t’. Listen first to what the person wants before talking about your ideas for them.

4 Controller– You feel your hand being pulled toward the person or strongly guided in a different direction, perhaps towards a chair. People who do this are controllers. This means they want to dominate any inanimate or animate object in the room ( and that would include you). If your goals are different to theirs there may be challenges ahead. Do more listening than talking and see if you can find common ground so these individuals can control the situation toward your desired objective.

5. Politician– Your hand is firmly grasped as in a normal handshake. However, their other hand may cover yours or be placed on your forearm or shoulder. Unless the two of you are good friends, this is a form of false sincerity. The person is attempting to communicate that the two of you have a deeper relationship than you actually have. After receiving this kind of handshake, I recommend you check your pockets or purse to see if anything is missing. Similarly, be cautious about relying on this person’s word for anything and be attentive in your dealings with them. 

As in any sales situation, the more you know about your prospects and clients, the better you can communicate with them. So create a strong first impression by being aware of your own handshake and understand the hidden messages in your clients.

For professional, Impartial advice & Solutions contact me at Janette Whitney & Associates on 01403 733671 .Award Winning Business Consultants & Business Growth Specialists.

 

 

How To Convert More Leads Into Sales

Are your sales increasing?

 

One of the biggest sales and marketing problems businesses can face is getting people whom seem interested in buying something to actually take the plunge and hand over their money.

 

 

Because let’s be honest, it’s actually pretty easy to attract attention to your business and meet prospective customers these days. The internet has made it simple to give your business a marketing presence (your website) and drive people to it (online advertising and search engine optimisation).

The key then to a successful business is not just one which attracts prospects, but one which has fail-safe systems to convert them into revenue.

 

Here are 5 tips to improve the prospect conversion rates for your business

 

1. Track and measure- First you need to know how your business currently performs. Set up simple systems to monitor the number of leads your business gets and where they have come from, then compare these figures to your sales figures.

2. Identify target audience and focus on it – You need to know who your most likely buyers are. Don’t just say ‘everyone’- even if anyone can buy what you sell, your business will perform better if you focus on a specific target audience.

3. Don’t over promise – Review your marketing materials to see if they promise things your business cannot really deliver. Low conversion rates can be an indication that prospects are being attracted by marketing materials, but when they chat to your sales team just don’t believe the business can live up to its promises.

4. Make sure sales staff know how to present – Another possibility is that your sales team aren’t presenting the business properly. Do they really understand the benefits of the business and how to communicate them to buyers? Are they making it easy for potential customers to say ‘yes’?

5. Ask for the business – Finally, ensure that you are actually asking the potential customer to buy from you. So many businesses forget to do this!  Ask questions about their needs, work out how you can fulfil these needs, and then ask if they want to buy.

.

Contact me at Award Winning Business Consultants  Janette Whitney & Associates on 01403 733671, for impartial business advice & solutions.     

 

The Importance of Business Planning

   

SO WHY IS BUSINESS PLANNING SO IMPORTANT?     

 

where is my business going?

.No-one sets off on a journey without knowing where they are going and having a pretty good idea of how to get there. 

 Business is the same.

 

 You need to plan in the first place, but you also need to check constantly that you are on course. 

There are 3 simple questions that many businesses don’t ask themselves – but should  

1.  Do you really know what your business is good at?  

2.  Do you have a good idea of where you want to be in 3 yrs time?  

3.  Do you know if you are doing well enough to get there?  

 One of the reasons why many business owners fail to plan properly is that they are too close to their business – you are all emotionally involved and your time is taken up with solving the day to day problems.  

As a result you may not have time to step back from the business and take a long look at it.- that’s where an impartial adviser can help you most.  

We’ve all said it – “I have more important things to do than plan”  

But people who say that end up working longer hours for the same profit,  

They chase sales in the belief that turnover is the key to success.  

You know if you are in this trap if your turnover rises and your profit are static or falling.  

  

   Remember Turnover is vanity profit is sanity 

     

Your aim should be to improve profitability by at least at the same level as turnover.  

 You will only be able to do this by planning ahead, analysing your performance and keeping your finger on the pulse of the business.  

 

 So to recap 5 key tips to remember 

   

  1.  If you don’t know where your business is going, any road will do – (so  set yourself some goals)
  2. Be proactive in your planning, not reactive – ( plan longer term not just day to day- business is a marathon not a sprint)
  3. Implementation is key – (a plan in isolation is worthless – put it into action and not in a drawer!)
  4. Monitor performance and effectiveness – in terms of financial/sales/people/ your happiness factor
  5. Adjust your plan as necessary –it’s not set in stone, if markets change then the plan has to change, Seek advisers help.

   

To summarise why Business Planning is vital  

   

A good business owner wants to control the business rather than be controlled by it.  

  If your focus is short-term then you are being controlled by your business.  

  By taking a longer view and having a direction, you have a better chance of controlling your own destiny.  

Regularly ask yourself  

  • Where am I now?
  • Where do I want to be?
  • How am I going to get there?
  • What might get in my way?

   

It is better to use the help of an IMPARTIAL ADVISER to help you answer these questions to give you an objective picture of your business- which means you have to be forward thinking enough to ask for help. Are you?  

Remember to fail to plan is to plan to fail

   

   

contact me at Award Winning Business Consultants Janette Whitney & Associates”    

   

  

   

 

Boost your Business in 2010 ……….or Bust?

Boost your Business Results

With 2010 fast approaching and the recession still biting, ensuring your business is set for recovery has never been more important. 

 For some 2010 will still be make or break so to ensure your business is on the road to recovery here are some key questions  you should be asking yourself.

1. Look at your Business Plan. Consider your vision or long-term goal for your business. Is it still relevant for the challenges you are likely to face in 2010? Do you have a vision? Do you really need to do business the way you do, or is there a better, faster, leaner way for you to achieve the same objectives?

2. Are you selling what your customers need today, not what they needed yesterday? Have you kept up with the changes and advancements in your industry or sector? If not then what do you need to do to get back on track?

3.When did you last take a long hard look at your costs? Are you missing possible savings on utility bills because you have not shopped around? Make sure you get 3 quotes for any large purchase and be prepared to negotiate.

4. Are you spending enough on marketing? This can be an easy expense to reduce but research shows that companies which spend more in the long-term do better than their competitors.

5. If you employ people do you employ too many or too few? Have you become complacent in the way you recognise and reward them? Are you doing enough to ensure they don’t walk to your nearest competitor?

Take time out to work on your business, not in it- get help in the form of an independent strategic review from an experienced professional adviser. It will probably take you longer and cost you more in terms of lost revenue if you try and do it on your own.

To kick start your business in 2010 with guaranteed results invest in a ’Business Health Check’ with me. – A strategic business review that will show you exactly what you need to do to drive up your profits and sales and put your business firmly on the road to recovery.

 

 For Professional , impartial business advice Contact me at Award Winning Business Consultants, Janette Whitney & Associates 

            Tel: 01403 733671         E: jw@whitneyassocs.co.uk

           Making Your Business Work Harder For You

 

Business plan re-think for RBS

We all know we should have a business plan to guide our business along the route which we want to take and which will deliver the returns that we /the owners need over the medium term – at least 3 years.

Obviously Royal Bank of Scotland’s Chief Executive Stephen Hester forgot  to take account of market forces and undertake a robust S.W.O.T analysis before finalising his Business strategy as he is having to re think his Business plan for RBS only 8mths after it was formulated!

– But then this has been one of the problems which helped cause the Banking crisis – short term thinking and quick gains rather than looking at the longer term with prudent planning.

This article from the Guardian Newspaper  says it all.

What do you think as a small business, especially if you are trying to raise finance  for business development?  Comments please.

 

Contact me at Janette whitney & Associates, Business Consultants for professional  impartial  advice & solutions.

 

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Growing in the Recession

Which direction ?

Running a successful business in a recession requires an appreciation of two distinct roles, managing the day to day operations and building for the future. Every business person needs to know the importance of both ‘hats’- and when they are wearing each one.

Some companies do well, both in good times and bad. They not only withstand the onslaught of economic recession, but they emerge stronger and fitter. Unsurprisingly, they also make the right choices when economies are growing.

HOW DO THEY DO IT?

 Irrespective of the state of the economy, companies which regularly beat the competition have an ingrained ability to do two conflicting things at the same time. They run the day job effectively and efficiently and they make the right choices on how to grow. These require different, conflicting management styles: relentless detailed operational control, as well as having an eye for the main opportunity. Being great at both things is essential to long-term managed success.

Without clear growth management, companies often end up doing the urgent and forgetting the important. This is most true in a recession, when the extra focus on cash drives aggressive cost control and revenue chasing. But while there is a major focus on running the day job, successful companies also know how to build for the future.

Retaining an eye for the opportunity in the good times is relatively easy; keeping it when it gets tough is vastly more difficult.

Successful companies operate with two ‘hats’. One hat – the operational hat- focuses on delivering immediate needs, driving revenues, costs and margins to meet cash and profit targets. The focus is on the known- we know what the market is, what customers want, what competitors offer. The other hat – the strategic hat– focuses on growth, driving long term sustainable business that predicts and responds to customer trends and opportunities. Here the management style tends to be openness and analysis of opportunities.

Critically, running the day job and delivering sustainable growth requires that both these different styles of capability and approach co-exist in the same organisation. In essence a succesful business must be able to wear these 2 hats comfortably.

The challenge comes when you are a small business and you are the sole owner/director and have the skills & aptitude of one of the ‘hats’ but not necessarily the other- this is when the input of a professional adviser is vital to help give you the perspective of the other ‘hat’.

 Would your business benefit from a Professional  business review? Then contact me at Award Winning Business Consultants, Janette Whitney & Associates ,jw@whitneyassocs.co.uk

 

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How To Create The Network You Want

How strong is your network?

As the saying goes ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’ so how can you widen your network of contacts to create the network that is important to your business.

Here are 10 tips to help you create the network you want face to face.

 

1, Be alert for opportunities to meet new people

Everyone is connected. The typical person knows about 250 other people. Each time one new person feels they know, like and trust you; potentially another 250 people may also come too.

2, Be open to people knowing you

It’s not just about whom you know, it’s more about who knows you. Share something of yourself, allow people to get to know you. You will be more memorable.

3. Find new ways to meet people

It’s always easier to meet new people when you share an experience .Most schools & universities have alumni organisations containing people in a wide range of occupations. Whatever you do, there will be a relevant professional organisation where you can meet other people in your field. More importantly, get invitations to meetings held by institutes and trade bodies where your clients are.

4. Don’t be too choosy

Consider all invitations to events even if they don’t initially interest you. Such events can still often turn out to offer valuable networking opportunities and that is what you are there for. You never know who’s going to be there. If you have time, go along,

5. Carry distinctive business cards

Make sure you have plenty of business cards and don’t be shy about passing them out. Be distinctive. Have something about you (clothes, accessories, tie) that people will remember and associate with your card.

6. Follow up with personalised notes

Follow up meeting new contacts with a handwritten note saying how much you enjoyed meeting them. Takes a little longer than an email, but gives a really good impression and cements you in the person’s memory banks.

7. Create a brief ‘script’ you can use at events.

To stop you fumbling for answers when you meet new people, jot down your brief reply to ‘what you do’, what your company does, and what makes you and your company unique. Then practice it!!

8. Find out that you’re great

Think about all the people you know and identify one fan, a person who thinks you’re interesting or fun. Ask him or her to tell you what makes you good company. It will help you to feel less inhibited when talking to strangers. At least one person thinks you are great!

9. Show a genuine interest in people

Start by first listening to the other people. If nothing else, it helps you to relax. Ask them questions about themselves and really listen to the replies. Listen well, respond promptly, and maintain eye contact.

10. Keep a key people list

Make and maintain a list of everybody you know who has some relevance to your work. Use either a CRM software system or create your own excel spreadsheet/manual card system- whatever works best for you. Regularly (at least weekly) select one person for a ‘hello, how are you?’ call. Update your contact details with what you learn from meeting people.

For Professional & impartial business advice contact Janette Whitney at Award Winning Business Consultants, Janette Whitney & Associates on 01403 733671 or email jw@whitneyassocs.co.uk

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How successful are your phone calls?

 Sales Success!! 

Making important telephone calls as opposed to a face to face conversation can be difficult and sometimes more unnerving. You can’t assess the other person eyeball to eyeball, you can’t see their body language and facial expressions, all of which makes it more difficult for you to gauge the success or otherwise of what you are trying to achieve.

 

 So here are 5 tips to help increase the odds in your favour:

1.      Get off on the right foot and ask if it’s a convenient time to talk.

 How often have you been in an interview with someone, the phone rings and they stop to pick it up? Yes, it’s rude and disrespectful to you and yet it’s the caller who gets the sharp ‘YES?’, as if it’s their fault!

So to ensure you don’t unnecessarily start off a phone conversation on a poor note, ask if it’s a good time talk. Give them the chance to say no. At least you have shown some consideration by giving him the opportunity to continue or not.

2.      Immediately build rapport.

 

To start immediately building rapport greet the person by their name. You are less likely to do this during a face to face meeting, but it’s essential during a phone conversation.

3. Keep the rapport going.

 

Keep the rapport going, by liberally using their name during the call and use it more frequently than you would normally do. Use of someone’s name replaces that feeling of closeness which comes naturally during a face to face meeting.

4. Smile with your voice.

 

Most people come across as plain bored when speaking on the phone, which again is a reaction to the lack of physical contact. Make a conscious effort to sound bright and breezy.

5. Finally, draw to a natural conclusion

 

Some people find it hard to finish a phone call, not wanting to interrupt the other person in full flow. Always try to lead the close by agreeing the next action –‘I will call you next week to discuss this point….’ AND most importantly stand up when you say your concluding phrase, as this naturally changes the tone of your voice which signals the end of the call without having to make excuses to hang up.

 Try these ideas next time you have an important phone call to make and see your success rate soar. Let me know how you get on.- all comments welcome

 

For professional & impartial business advice contact  Janette Whitney & Associates, Business Consultants on 01403 733671.

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