How to Deal with Difficult Customers

As much as we would always like to deal with happy, pleasant customers who pay on time, this is often far from this case. If you run your own business, you will come up against many different hurdles and one of these is dealing with awkward customers. Your ability to deal with difficult customers will help determine how successful you are and the type of customers you attract in the future. There is no pleasing everyone in business and it can often be disheartening when you need to deal with someone who isn’t quite as amiable as you might like. Unfortunately, this is an aspect of running a business which is often not transparent before you get set up, but it affects most business owners. If you come up against customers who are giving you a difficult time, these are some effective ways to deal with them.

Be Open to Changes

Although running a business would be a lot simpler if every customer was happy with the work you provide, first time; this is often not the case. It is likely that the majority of customers will accept your first submission, but it is important to be open to making changes, if necessary. Sometimes customers aren’t clear with their requirements or there may be miscommunication, but it is important to be open to change, if this is possible within your business. Those businesses who are prepared to edit work to suit their customers, are more likely to be successful than those who take it as a personal attack.

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Stay Professional

There are all sorts of issues which can arise with customers; they may be refusing to pay an invoice, they could be overly demanding or maybe there is no pleasing them, no matter what you do. Whatever the issues are, it is important to stay professional, as difficult as that may seem at the time. For instance, you have probably encountered the client who doesn’t pay or return emails/calls and it can be really difficult to stay calm, especially if you know they have read your correspondence. However, instead of allowing yourself to get into an uncontrollable rant; take time to think about what you want to say and ensure you stick to the facts at all times.

Set Processes

It is important to set processes with your clients and be clear with what you can deliver, as this is often the reason why relationships break down. For example, you should make it clear what you will deliver and the expected timeframe. You should also advise them on the payment process and when you will invoice/expect payment. If possible, it is also a good idea to send your terms and conditions to clients, so that everything is set out clearly and there is no room for confusion.

Know When to Walk Away

As a business owner, the last thing you want is to turn customers away, however, this is sometimes the only option. If a customer won’t leave you alone to get on with the job, they are not clear with their needs but are asking for constant changes or they are making you feel stressed or upset, it is not worth the struggle. Many people just don’t have the social skills to be able to deal with others in an appropriate manner and if you feel like a customer is making your life unnecessarily difficult, it may be time to end the business relationship.

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The Benefits of Networking to Develop Your Business

As it is a fresh new year, many business owners will be starting to think about their business and how they can take new steps to grow it in 2016. Whether you like it or loathe it, networking is vital for business growth and any business owner who really wants to grow their business this year, will need to get involved in it. There are many different types of networking and it is good to use a combination of these to open up your business options. You can attend formal networking events, meet up with clients on a one to one basis, use social media or even just going for a coffee and have a chat with acquaintances. If you haven’t started networking yet or are unsure whether there is any point, you will find that there are various benefits to adopting this form of business development.

Make New Connections

If you don’t get involved in networking, how will you make new connections? The main purpose of networking is to speak to people you haven’t formed a relationship with and get to know them and what their business needs are. In this way, you can look at turning your new connections into paying clients.

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Build Relationships

You need to be able to build relationships with other people, if you want to grow your business and networking is a good way to do it. For instance, if you attend the same networking event every week, you will start to get to know people, what they do and over time, you will gain a better understanding of what you have in common. This can allow you to build a rapport and develop a long lasting relationship.

Raise Profile

You may want to just hide out in the comfort of your home and get on with your work, but if you do this, how will anyone know you exist? As a business owner, you need to get yourself out there and networking is one way to do it. People need to know who you are and what you do, if they are ever going to decide to use your services.

Get Support

If you are the only one in your business, it can be difficult someone to speak to, who actually relates to your struggles. As everyone is in the same boat, networking allows you to speak to like-minded people and get support, which can prove to be invaluable for your future business growth.

Improve Confidence

There’s nothing like standing up in front of a bunch of strangers and talking about yourself to get you out your comfort zone! Yes, this is the awkward part of networking events, but you’ll soon find it a walk in the park and your confidence will increase massively as a result. Some people thrive on getting up in front of a crowd and talking about what they do, while others detest the thought of it. Over time though, it is something you will get used to.

Is it Time for a Fresh Start?

It is nearly that time of the year again when we start to think about what we want for the year ahead; in some cases it may be to see more of the world, to get a new job, to move away or just change your current circumstances in some way. How do you know you need a fresh start though and how do you go about changing things, especially if you are stuck in your ways?

Lack of motivation

We all struggle to get out of our bed on cold, rainy days, but if you feel a lack of motivation for your work, your social life or just anything in general, it is definitely time to make a change. A good way to work out what you want is to write a list of what you are unhappy about and how you can change these, one by one. For instance, if you are dragging yourself to work every day and dreading going back after the Christmas break, why put yourself through it any longer? Of course, this change won’t happen overnight, but you can start by applying for other jobs every week and eventually, something will turn up. Don’t be afraid to try out something different if it will make you happy in the long term. If this means going back to study or taking an evening course, it will pay off in time. If the people around you are making you feel unmotivated or down, it might be time to make a change here too.

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Same old

We should always be grateful for what we have, no matter what that may be, but if you are feeling a bit fed up with your surroundings, it might be time to make a fresh start. Maybe you want to live elsewhere for a while, spend some time travelling or even just add a new circle of friends and try different things in your current location. There is nothing wrong with looking for a change, it doesn’t make you ungrateful. Visualise where you want to be and how you can get there and make plans NOW to do it. There is no need to wait until January, February or any other month, it’s time to take action!

Worried

If there is something on your mind and you are worried about it, it can quite quickly grow arms and legs until it becomes all you think about. If something or someone is causing you to worry, work out who or what that is and make plans to change it. Worrying doesn’t lead to anything positive and is a waste of energy!

Do you have any plans for a fresh start for the New Year? I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

 

 

 

How to deal with staff shortages over Christmas

Whether it’s a delay in deliveries, long queues in shops or a lack of nurses and too many patients, staff shortages can certainly cause chaos, especially at this time of the year. With disgruntled customers and stressed workers, a lack of resources can put a huge strain on everyone. It is supposed to be the time of the year where we are relaxed and happy, looking forward to our holidays and quite often this is not the case. Whatever industry you may be in, there are steps you can take to deal with staff shortages, so that your employees don’t end up running for the nearest exit.

Give incentives to staff

It is a difficult time of the year to be working and while some people don’t mind, others want time off to spend with their friends and families. If you are struggling for cover over the festive period, why not offer incentives for staff to make it a little easier for them. For instance, paid lunches for a week, extra days off, option to work from home, casual dress code or putting on taxis if they are working until late. These are small incentives but they can go a long way to making staff feeling valued and may make them more willing to help out when the workloads are demanding.

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Take on temporary resources

Many employers don’t want the cost of temporary resources, but the truth is that over worked staff and unhappy customers is much worse. If you are in the retail industry for example, does it not make more sense to hire an extra pair of hands than have customers leaving your store unhappy and without a purchase?

Be realistic

It is important to be realistic about what you can and can’t offer to your customers with the resources you have. You have to be able to manage your customers’ expectations and ensure staff are not left overwhelmed. Don’t be frightened to tell your customers that it may take a little longer for certain things. Obviously this will depend on the sector you are in; it’s not so easy to do in social care or retail but if possible, keep the workload to a manageable level for your staff.

More breaks

This may seem like it defeats the purpose but when workloads are overwhelming, it is important to offer your staff more breaks so they can de-stress. Again, it might depend on the industry you are in but if possible, this will definitely help your staff to feel more motivated and have more energy. Many workers won’t be used to working during the festive period so beware of this and give everyone fair breaks and time to recover from the chaos!

How have you handled staff shortages in your own business? How did you overcome these?

Take a look at www.recruitwrite.com for more blogs and for information on our copywriting and bespoke HR services.

 

Tips for making the move from cold calling to social media for market research

A recent conversation with someone got me thinking about social media and how it can be used for market research purposes. He had endured the awful experience of starting a job which turned out to be a market research role, phoning people at home and asking them questions from a survey. It surprised me that companies are still using the old fashioned method of ripping pages out the phone book and cold calling customers. In this day and age, does anyone really use the phone that much for calls any more and more importantly, do most of us even have a landline? Is there anyone who doesn’t really just find these calls a nuisance? Surely social media is a much more current and relevant way of conducting research and as a business, it would make more sense to ask new starts to use this method, rather than cold calling. They would be much more likely to be interested in it, engaged in the job and it would save going through the process of constantly hiring new people, without much results! If your business is one which conducts market research, these tips might help you move away from the traditional to the more current methods and get better results in the process.

Follow Target Market

With any surveys, there is usually a particular niche you are looking for; i.e. specific interests and rather than wasting the time trying to find the right people through hundreds of phone calls, you can utilise social media by searching for specific interests, location etc. You can use the advanced search on Twitter to bring up the specifics and then only follow these people who will be useful for the purpose of your market research.

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Online Survey

An online survey is far more appealing than one which is taken over the phone. People can do it at their own leisure and will be much more willing to get involved. If you use your target market to approach with the survey, you are far more likely to get interest, rather than approaching those who have no relevance, which will inevitably happen through random phone calls! Add images to your surveys to make them seem a little more interesting, even if the content is a bit boring.

Offer Incentives

Another appeal of using social media for market research is that you can offer incentives to encourage interest. For example, the 100th person to complete the survey will get a prize and make sure the prize is one which will be of interest; it doesn’t need to be expensive. Many people will me more willing to get involved and it will be certain to drive extra interest to your market research. This is something you can’t do by conducting research over phone calls.

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Use Trends

Facebook and Twitter both having the facility for finding out what people are talking about and the current trends of topics at the moment. You can analyse this data for the purpose of market research.

Why headhunting can be more beneficial for recruiting than traditional methods

The way we recruit has changed over the years and unlike before, it is not enough just to advertise on a job site and wait for responses. Traditional methods still have a place and can be useful, particularly if they are used in conjunction with more up-to-date methods, however a more focused approach can offer a lot of benefits. This is particularly the case for senior and specialised roles, which can be notoriously difficult to fill. It is also a preferential method for SME’s, who don’t want the time or costs associated with recruitment and would rather outsource it to a dedicated head-hunter. There are many benefits to choosing headhunting, rather than other traditional methods of recruitment.

Passive Audience

The main benefit of headhunting is that you are tapping into an audience of candidates who aren’t actively looking for a job and this can be really effective. Most people who are working full time, do not have the energy to start looking for a new job when they get home, even if they are not particularly enjoying their current job. However, most are more than willing to listen to new opportunities and you may find that you catch them just at the right time.

It’s Flattering!

When you headhunt, you are effectively hand picking those candidates you believe are the best for the job and this can be very flattering for the candidates. This aspect alone can make them more willing to sit up and take notice of the opportunities.

 

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Saves Time

Advertising on a job board takes a huge amount of time. You will usually have to advertise the vacancy for at least a month, then you have the time of sifting through the applications, many of which will be completely unsuitable for the job. With headhunting, you are taking that ‘headache’ away, as you are only dealing with candidates who fit the bill or at least fit most of the bill. If you have ever been involved in recruitment, you will understand the frustration of sifting through applications which have absolutely no relevance whatsoever to the job.

More Cost Effective

You may be put off at the possible costs associated with headhunting, but it can actually be much more expensive to advertise on job boards. There is not just the actual costs of advertising, but the cost of taking time out to screen applications and organise interviews etc.

Dedicated Approach

There is more of a dedicated approach with headhunting, as you are focusing on and looking for candidates with specific experience and qualifications, rather than just waiting for applications to arrive.

At Recruit Write, we offer a headhunting service which is based on day rates, rather than a % fee, which makes it less expensive that many other methods. Contact us to find out more.

Are you Maximising Your Social Media Efforts?

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We all know the importance of social media these days, after all, most people spend hours each day trawling through Twitter, Facebook and other platforms. Most businesses know that they should be doing more to promote themselves on social media, but don’t really know where to start or how long to dedicate to the process. There are various social media marketing steps you can take to ensure you don’t fall behind with your social media campaign.

Connect

The main purpose of social media is to connect with like-minded people and share ideas, opinions and laughs. Whether on a personal or business level, you need to have the right connections to make social media worthwhile. If you want to promote your business on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram, you need to make the right business connections. You should connect with your target market; those who may be interested in your products or services. For example, if you are a small business offering accountancy services, you will be looking at making contact with other small businesses who probably won’t have a finance department. Start the process by connecting with people in your local area and even suggest meeting for a coffee to discuss how you may be able to help. As you get used to it, you may want to expand your market and location. Be prepared to travel to visit those businesses in other areas, as this is the way you will get more business.

Interact

If you want to attract more ‘likes’, followers and generally more attention to your business, you need to interact and engage with other people. This doesn’t mean commenting on everything anyone in your network says, as this could easily get annoying (and also seems very disingenuous), but try to engage with posts that you like or that you feel offer something to you.

Content

You will never attract other people or businesses to your social media page if you don’t post any content. You should aim to post some content on a daily basis on all your social media platforms and to mix the content up. Take a look at interesting articles related to your industry (or that of your competitors), add some humour and self-marketing to let people know what you are offering. Good content can also attract more visitors to your website.

Keep it Regular

There is no doubt that an effective social media marketing campaign can be time consuming and needs attention on a daily basis but it is definitely worthwhile. It is very off putting to visit a business page and to see that their last content was posted back in 2013. It makes them look like they aren’t really a forward-thinking or professional business. The more effort you put into your social media campaign, the more you will get back from it.

At Recruit Write, we can provide a tailored package for your social media marketing, at affordable prices. Contact us today to find out more.

5 Ways to Keep the Door Open for Returning Employees

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It is a tough fact, but no matter how efficiently you run your business, employees are always going to leave for new opportunities. This can happen for all sorts of reasons; including a complete change of career, change of scenery, better money or wider opportunities. You may offer enticing reasons for employees to stay within the company, but this may not be enough to change their mind. Although you may feel a sense of anger that you have trained up an employee and they are now leaving, you should always put yourself in their shoes and see it from their point of view. You should also take steps to ensure you leave the door open for them to return, and there are various ways to do this.

Make Them Feel Valued

Always ensure they leave on a good note and make them feel valued. On the day they leave, make sure you do something special for them, such as presenting them with a gift or a leaving night. If you don’t do this, they will feel as if they were unimportant and probably won’t be too happy to return, should the option arise.

Tell Them

Take time to tell them that the door is open for them to return. If they are talented and great at their job, you can always create a position for them at some point. If you don’t tell them, they’ll never know and may be apprehensive to return, if things don’t work out in their new job.

Stay in Touch

There are many ways to keep in touch with previous employees, including social media platforms such as LinkedIn. If you ask them how they are every so often, you will stay in their head and it will make them more likely to return to you in the future.

Good Reference

Although you may be tempted to provide a bad reference and keep your employee where they are, you should do the opposite and give them a great reference. This will leave them with a good impression and they will be thankful for your help.

Advise on New Opportunities

When new suitable opportunities arise which you think may entice your previous employee, reach out and let them know. You never know what their frame of mind may be and they may be apprehensive to ask directly, but may snap up the opportunity.

Interview with D & G Candleboys

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David and Greg started their PartyLite career many years ago as hosts, they loved the products so much that they held several parties a year which were always a great success! They got engaged in 2008 still hosting parties but never once considered (seriously) that they could ever make money being a consultant instead of a host! They decided to join PartyLite as consultants and on October 30th 2010 D&G PartyLite Consultants was born.

To find out more, visit https://dg.partylite.co.uk/MySuccess

Hello D&G, thanks for taking the time to do this interview.

Can you tell me about the business you are in?

We are Independent PartyLite Consultants aka #Candleboys. PartyLite is a party plan business selling fragrance candles and accessories and is the number 1 direct seller of candles in the world and been on the go for over 40 years! There is no start up cost, no sales targets, unlimited income potential and fantastic training and incentives

How long have you been doing this?

We joined PartyLite in 2010 to help pay for our Wedding. David had his eye on a light up dance floor and there just wasn’t enough money in our budget, so PartyLite paid for the dance floor as well as lot of extras!

What are your favourite/least favourite aspects of it?

The favourite part of our job is introducing new people to world of PartyLite, meeting wonderful hostesses and party guests. We love the incentives the company puts on, the freebies, the trips and of course the fragrance candles.

Do you do your business full time and if not, do you plan to in the future?

We both have full time jobs.  Gregor works for drinks wholesale company in telesales and David is a support worker for a large charity.  PartyLite fits in perfectly with our 9-5 jobs. PartyLite is our fun time and doesn’t feel like work, We really do get paid to PARTY!!!

What other interests do you have?

We both love spending time with our family especially our nieces and nephew, who are always keeping us on our toes. David is always redecorating some part of the house. We both love to go on holiday, especially Florida (PartyLite pays for this too) and we enjoy socialising with friends and a good bottle of vino.

Have you any plans to get involved in any other businesses?

Not at the moment.

What methods do you use for promoting your business? Which are the most effective for your business?

Talking to people, at work, in the shops, at our parties and of course online, we use all media platforms, email, facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram and we have our corporate business website dg.partylite.co.uk. The company do a great job of promoting our business on our behalf via email communication and our website and personal online shop.

How has the business benefited you?

PartyLite has changed our lives, it has given us financial freedom, the ability to treat family and friends, it pays for our holidays, cars, as well as any DIY around the house. We have also met some fantastic people on our PartyLite journey, our hostesses and party guests, our PartyLite colleagues, a lot of whom have become great friends!

Do you have any tips you would give other people starting out in business?

Set yourself a goal, either financial or material, talk about your business and don’t be scared to ask for help, always aim high.

That’s the end of the interview. Thanks for your time today!

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways to Finance Your Business

When you make a decision to start working for yourself, it can often be difficult to find the finances to get you off the ground and this can sometimes even prevent you from following your dream. No matter what kind of business you are in, you will need some finances to get you started. If you are an artist, you’ll need materials, if you decide to write a novel, you’ll need the cash to cover the cost of living. With any business, you’ll need a website, business cards and other materials to help with marketing.

Funding and Grants

There are a lot of different types of grants and funding available for start-up businesses, including those specific for websites and other materials. An organisation like Business Gateway will be able to advise you on what is available for starting your business. Many grants are only available to businesses which have just started up, so get in quickly if you want to get some cash!

Investors

If you have an idea and need the funding to get it from paper to product, you may want to speak to investors. You will need to have a good business plan in place before they will even look at your proposal, so be prepared to conduct thorough research into your competitors and where you see your business in the future.

Loans

It can be risky to take out a loan when you first start your business, but if you are certain there is a demand for your product or service, it may be worthwhile. As long as you can afford to make the payments and won’t put yourself into a difficult situation, you may want to try this type of finance. You will need to work out your income though, as the bank or lending agent will want to be sure that you can afford to pay it back.

Deposits

If you are offering a service, you should ask for a deposit upfront. This is good practice even if you don’t need the finances, as you can never be sure that clients will pay. In my experience, I’ve known many freelancers who haven’t taken a deposit, have completed the work, only to receive no payment. Without a deposit you have nothing to fall back on and there is nothing more soul destroying than chasing payments. A good idea is to ask for half upfront and the rest when you complete the job. If you need materials to do the job, make sure you take this into account when pricing it up.

Friends and Family

It may be a more viable option to ask friends and family to support you with a loan to help get your business off the ground. You should choose wisely though, don’t ask someone who doesn’t have the cash, otherwise you are putting them in an awkward position. Only do this if you can eventually pay it back as you don’t want to wreck your personal relationships.