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News for small business advice on Monday 26 Sep 2016

Use Your Leaflets to Present You and Your Business Well (Lifestyle Therapy)

Susan Leigh is a long established Counsellor and Hypnotherapist. She works with business clients to provide support for the health and motivational levels of individuals and teams, as well as de-stressing and guidance to business owners. For more information see www.lifestyletherapy.net.


Leaflets can be used in a myriad of ways, from a random house drop to specifically targeting individual clients. They are an opportunity to inform people, whilst being read at their leisure. An interesting, informative leaflet may well be kept for backup support and referred to whenever needed. As a business coach, I work with clients to help them appreciate how valuable a good quality leaflet can be.

A good leaflet will often be used as a point of reference for people, as increasingly goods and services are being outsourced to external suppliers. Many people rely on having an efficient database of suppliers and consultants that they can turn to when they need specialist input into their business. Detailing clearly and concisely all that you have to offer can make you a crucial part of someone's support mechanism. It is important to make the most of that opportunity. Use your shop window well.

So think about the size and shape of your leaflet. How many sections are there to your business ? Do you have many key personnel, products, locations, skill sets ? Do they all need to be individually promoted or would some be okay as part of a sub-section ? Pretend to be your own potential client. What would you want or need in order to come to you and your business ? Focus on the key skills and benefits of your business and then endeavour to promote those areas as professionally as possible.

Use your leaflet as a way of encouraging people to contact you further. They need to enter the 'shop' and discuss their requirements. So it is important to focus on the main aspects to promote and how best to present them.
  • Make your leaflet part of your company brand. Use a colour, logo, slogan, style that identifies you from the rest. Keep that theme on all your company promotional material so that you establish a recognisable brand identity.

  • The front page of the leaflet has to have impact, something that catches a person eye so that they choose to pick up and keep your leaflet rather than the others on offer.

  • Good quality paper, print and artwork all add to a professional appearance. A good graphic designer and printer are assets at this time.

  • Make it easy to read and understand. Pithy bullet points are useful as points of reference.

  • Detail individual skill sets, training, areas of expertise if relevant. Maybe an example of a success story.

  • Contact details, business locations, how to order, trading hours, discounts are all important information to include.

  • Pictures, imagery, humour are all worth considering.

  • Keep your leaflet up-to-date. Times change, markets move on, so scrutinise your leaflet from time to time. Is it still up to date and relevant, or would it benefit from a face lift ? Brands do move on and evolve. Stay with the times and use a re-print as an opportunity to evaluate where you are in your business sector. Decide if that is still okay or are you looking to expand or widen your client base ? Your leaflet is a way of spreading that message.


For further information: Use Your Leaflets to Present You and Your Business Well

Lifestyle Therapy
3 Alstone Drive
Oldfield Brow
Altrincham
Cheshire
WA14 4LD
United Kingdom
Website http://www.lifestyletherapy.net
Telephone 0161 928 7880
News Ref:1903


Dress to Create the Right Impression (Lifestyle Therapy)

Susan Leigh is Counsellor and Coach who works with individuals and with business clients, to help with confidence, managing stress and achieving their goals. See www.lifestyletherapy.net for more information.

As the cliché goes, you have one chance to make a first impression, and that is very true. People make up their minds within a short time span of meeting us and it can take a long time to correct that impression if it is the wrong one.

Many factors contribute to that impression. Of course dress and grooming are important. Clean and smart is more important than expensive clothes in most peoples' minds. And there is no excuse for dishevelled, unless you have been caught in a rainstorm or had an accident !

The choice of outfit depends on the situation you are going into. However, just because they dress down at the office you are visiting does not necessarily mean that they expect you to do so. As a Counsellor and Business Coach I always wear a suit or a smart dress and shoes so that I convey to my clients that I take them and their business seriously. Personally I think that it demonstrates respect: respect for them, respect for myself and my reputation and respect for the work that we are doing together. I could do exactly the same work in jeans and flip-flops but I am certain that it conveys more gravitas and importance when I dress smartly.

In the early days of multi-millionaire, Richard Branson building his empire from a canal barge on the River Thames, it is widely reported that he and his team had one business suit that they kept especially for meetings. The rest of the time they wore jeans and t-shirts, but felt that it was important to convey a professional impression at client meetings.

One thought about the impression you convey to others is to consider how you look when you are dressed for business. When did you last update your image ? Is it still studentlike and bohemian or does it need to be more professional ? Maybe have a photograph taken and see yourself as others see you. Or ask friends for honest feedback. Personal shoppers can also be very helpful at times like this. They do not know you but can help with putting together the look that you want and take into account your style and how you present yourself to them. They can help you decide how to pull together the best look for you and your requirements. Knowing that you are dressed well for the situation is a good investment in terms of confidence and self esteem. It reinforces your determination to do well.

Some companies use uniforms to create a corporate and brand identity . This allows staff to assume an identity and role as company representatives. Even wearing a jacket with a company logo means that each individual is representing the company and its reputation, and so should be aware of the impression that their behaviour creates.

Body language is another factor to consider. Take time to breathe calmly and relax before you enter the room prior to an interview or meeting. Then pause on entering, look around and quickly get the layout of the room. Taking a few extra seconds to get your bearings is hardly noticeable to others, but gives you the time to feel clear about where you are going to move next. Relax your shoulders, smile and if necessary 'act as if' you are feeling good about this opportunity to present yourself. Surprisingly, the nerves often abate as the pretense becomes more natural.

Remember that most situations are going to be a two way exchange of information. You want to know about the people and the situation that you are entering, and they want to know about you. So, from an interview situation, to a meeting or presentation, it is a joint learning situation. Remember that, stay calm and do not be afraid of pauses. Many people speak too quickly when they are stressed. By being well dressed you boost your own personal confidence levels and can feel calmer knowing that you are creating a good impression to others. This enables you to take better control of the situation and feel positive about yourself and how you come across to others.

For further information: ss to Create the Right Impression

Lifestyle Therapy
3 Alstone Drive
Oldfield Brow
Altrincham
Cheshire
WA14 4LD
United Kingdom
Website http://www.lifestyletherapy.net
Telephone 0161 928 7880
News Ref:1858


How to Cope Successfully with the Office Christmas Party (Lifestyle Therapy)

Susan Leigh is a Counsellor and Hypnotherapist. See www.lifestyletherapy.net for more information about her practice.

As Christmas fast approaches, the notorious office party is getting into full swing. For some, it's time to enjoy a drink, a dance and a bit of office networking. But, over-indulgence in the festive season will cost British firms around £110 million as people take me off to recover.

There are other risks. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents warns people not to sit on photocopiers and copy their bottoms, as it could lead to serious injury.

Office parties are a way to relax, let your hair down and get to know colleagues better, in a different way from the usual day-to-day interaction. However, it is important to remember that tomorrow is another day and things have a habit of getting back to normal pretty quickly, with some peoples' behaviour becoming the subject of idle gossip. Let us look at better ways of enjoying the assorted seasonal events without becoming the talk of tomorrow’s coffee breaks.

Remember that behind the festive celebrations is the reality that you are socialising with colleagues, co-workers, suppliers, customers, under the eye of various managers. Join in the camaraderie and indulge in the Christmas spirit, but know where to draw the line. Keep an eye on how quickly others are drinking and pace yourself accordingly. Maybe alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks. Apart from anything else, drinking water keeps you hydrated and helps avoid a hangover the next day.

The office party is the perfect place to impress. The barriers are down and there is an opportunity to talk to those hard to reach people, but avoid being desperate and sycophantic. Circulate and socialise, but keep it upbeat and general. Some people regard the office party as an extension of work; they treat it as a way of networking and introducing themselves to different people in a relaxed, informal way. It can be a valuable way of making new connections, if it is done subtly. Ask about family, children and holidays, maybe their plans over the Christmas break. Avoid politics, money and sex.

The proximity of office life is a breeding ground for gossip, but do not spread rumours or confess sins. Grievances are aired and discussed, attractions are explored and peoples' true personalities are revealed. Be aware of the people who turn nasty when they have had a drink. And remember that the invisible line dividing real friends and colleagues can become blurred after too much mulled wine.

A little harmless flirting can oil the social wheels, but keep it light. Steer clear of mistletoe and dirty dancing. Keep goodnight kisses innocent and aim to wake up alone. If romance is on the cards take it off-site and pick it up at another more suitable, discreet time.

Remember the boozing basics. Avoid shots, eat well, alternate drinks with water. Have fun, but do not be the casualty everyone is talking about the next day. If things start to feel dangerously fuzzy, call it a night. Ensure in advance that you have organised the means to get home, a lift arranged or the phone number and money for a taxi, your mobile phone charged and handy. Keep yourself safe.

The day after the part still counts, so be at your desk on time and make sure that your work does not suffer. Crawling in hung over and late, even when you are the boss, or worse still, pulling a sickie, is unforgiveably unprofessional. And if you have been a little tipsy or indiscreet, remember, many people were in the same state as you. Being hung over does make one feel a little jaded and downbeat the next day. However no one is likely to remember the exact details of what was said or done so shrug or laugh it off, if possible. Or, if necessary, apologise straight away and move on. Resolve to be more responsible next time !

For further information: How to Cope Successfully with the Office Christmas Party

Lifestyle Therapy
3 Alstone Drive
Oldfield Brow
Altrincham
Cheshire
WA14 4LD
United Kingdom
Website http://www.lifestyletherapy.net
Telephone 0161 928 7880
News Ref:1768


The Value of Effective Networking (Lifestyle Therapy)

Networking is the cornerstone of all relationship building, whether it be done in a formal or informal capacity. Much official networking, done in a businesslike format, is built on the premise that every person has about 250 contacts, people who they know well enough to become a potential customer or business lead.

Building relationships with this innercore of personal friends and associates will have been done over a reasonable period of time. Exposing ones close contacts to a stranger or to someone who we hardly know is not really an option. There would be the risk of damaging both the relationship and our own reputation if we were to introduce them to someone who is unreliable.

Networking is about building good relationships in a more formalised way. The key to being an effective networker is to see a relationships' progression as more of a slow burn, rather than walking into a group and seeing who is instantly available to sell your goods or services to.

Some people choose to go into a networking meeting for the sole purpose of collecting lots of business cards. They then proceed to 'spam' these people with mail shots. This is the equivalent of junk mail from a stranger. People will hardly remember who the sender is. There may be some small immediate benefit to doing this, but more often, sustained business relationships, built over time on a basis of mutual respect are far more profitable and enduring. When two people have built a loyal relationship they are more likely to stick with each other through good and bad times, be more understanding if mistakes occur and be less easily poached by the competition.

The key to effective networking is to see what you can do for the other person. The most effective networkers are the people who are genuinely on the lookout for their fellow group members. By establishing how you can help the other person, without looking for anything in return, enables your fellow networkers to feel confident about your integrity. The person who is generous in this way will stay in people’s minds as someone to be trusted and valued.

Having follow up emails and meetings with associated service providers after networking meetings is a useful way to maintain the continuity. These meetings can be relatively short, say an hour in length, but are a good way for business people to discover if there are ways that they can support each other. This provides a win/win situation as one person gets some business and the other is able to offer a more comprehensive service to their clients, and so appear more professional.

Staying in peoples' minds means that it is important to attend meetings regularly. Some network groups require a membership commitment and this entails an annual subscription fee. Other groups are more informal and allow people to visit as and when they choose, paying an attendance fee for each visit. If you are a member of a group it is important to maintain the continuity of your presence. It strengthens the group dynamics and it also enables you to be seen as someone who is committed to your business and the group as a whole. If you cannot attend then arrange for a substitute to stand in for you. This is especially important if your group has an exclusivity clause which allows only one person from each profession to attend. It could be that another member has a lead which they feel unable or reluctant to pass on if a representative is not actually at the meeting.

Also, some networking groups have websites that allow members to contribute their articles or join forums or discussion groups. All these are opportunities to introduce yourself and to spread the word, sometimes to a worldwide audience, and establish yourself as someone who is experienced and knowledgeable in your field. This enables other networkers and potential clients to understand more about what you do. It is a further way to reinforce the relationship and peoples' confidence levels in you and your skills. It is a way to give yourself an edge, something for potential customers to see as making you special from the competition, a reason to choose you.

Asking for warm leads is important. If someone does have a recommendation for you, ensure that the potential client knows who you are and is expecting your call. Maybe even arrange a meeting where you are able to be introduced properly. This strengthens the confidence that the potential client has in you. After all, we are all more positive about buying from someone who comes warmly recommended.

All it takes are one or two really good leads to make all the effort worth while. These could be the leads that really set your business on its feet and sustain it over the years.

For further information: The Value of Effective Networking

Lifestyle Therapy
3 Alstone Drive
Oldfield Brow
Altrincham
Cheshire
WA14 4LD
United Kingdom
Website http://www.lifestyletherapy.net
Telephone 0161 928 7880
News Ref:1654



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