Tag Archives: customer service

Sales for your start-up

4 Sep

There are many ways to sell your product or service, whether that’s online, over the phone or face to face and you need to make sure you’re getting the right message across to your potential customers.

Although sometimes you may want to shy away from direct selling, it is extremely effective if you can engage them in your product. Selling and sales techniques can be found call over the internet and in various books. There is no set way to sell something though and it really does come down to you as a person and the way you interact with others. Some will choose a more pushy approach where ‘no’ will not be accepted where as others will be more laid back and let their personalities do the selling. It’s your business and therefore you choose the approach you want take.

A good way of thinking about your sales tactics is to picture the scenario if the roles were reversed. If someone approached you with this product what would grab your attention? Another approach is to think about what NOT to do. There are certain actions which can jeopardize your chances of making a sale and it would be best to avoid them.

As an alternative way of preparing your strategy we have made a quiz – where for the most part, we want you to think about the worst ways to sell and use this is a ground step for creating your sales pitch.

https://www.onlineexambuilder.com/selling-your-product-or-service/exam-35665

If you would like more information or are thinking about coming self-employed please get in touch on info@opsw.co.uk or 0800 043 2440

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Government Start-up Loans

26 Jun

Start-Up-Loans-new-logo

When starting a business you may find the start-up costs slightly daunting and may prevent you from going ahead with your idea, however there is help out there so don’t give up!

The government offer a business start-up loan service where you can borrow money to cover your start-up costs and also receive useful advice from experts. To help get your business up and running there are a few requirements:

  • You’re aged 18 or over
  • You’ve developed a business idea
  • Your business will be based in the UK
  • You are a UK resident
  • Your business has been trading between 0-24 months

The application will also require you to have produced a business plan and cash flow, which is essentially creating a more detailed plan of your business. You can find templates on their website, along with support. Alternatively you may be able to get help from one our enterprise coaches at Opportunity Plus can run through what you need.

Once you’ve been successful with your application you still get on-going support, and can pay the loan off over up to 5 years at a fixed interest rate.

Don’t think you’ll get accepted? Take a look below to see just how many businesses they’ve helped get going so far, or check out their website – https://www.startuploans.co.uk/

Don’t forget to think about how you’re going to pay the loan back, and only borrow as much as you need.

Start up loans

If you want support and guidance for starting your business then please get in touch on 0800 043 2440 or info@opsw.co.uk

What are employers really asking?

15 May

We’ve all had those moments in interviews where we are asked a question but we just can’t figure out what it means. Often interviewers will ask questions in a cryptic way, when what they’re really asking is something much simpler.

We’ve put together a quiz to see if you can work out what is meant by some of the most common interview questions!

Take our quiz below- 

Did you make it on to the leader board?  Keep an eye out for our tips and advice on answering these questions coming soon!

Work Bites

24 Apr

Whether you are considering starting your own business, want to get ahead in your career, or just need to improve your work-life balance, we offer a range of FREE “Work Bites” – short courses to introduce you to distance learning and give you the skills you need to get started.

Simply choose from the course below, and email work@opsw.co.uk letting us know which course you’re interested in. We will send you a quick and easy registration card to get you started. The courses come in one or two emails, with optional assignments for you to complete to receive feedback from our tutors.

Choose from…

– Customer Service
– Facebook for Business
– Blogging for Beginners
– Creative a CV
– Time Management
– Goal Setting

Mr P Desk

Distance learning allows you to study at your own pace and when it is convenient for you, meaning you can fit it in around work or family commitments. However, it can take time to get to grips with learning at home and by yourself. These helpful tips will ensure you make the most of your distance learning experience:

1) Create a study area for yourself. Get everything you need ready and remove anything that’s not related to your course and could cause a distraction.

2) Set yourself targets and reward yourself when you meet them. It might just be treating yourself to a cup of tea once you’ve finished a difficult question, or it could be booking a meal at your favourite restaurant after you’ve completed a tricky assignment.

3) Create a study planner – set yourself proper times for study (including breaks) and give yourself specific, achievable tasks to do each time you study.

How you can support small businesses without spending money!

9 Sep

It’s becoming increasingly fashionable to shun the big corporations and support local businesses where we can.  It can be easier said than done though, we are all pushed for time, and it’s so easy to nip to the supermarket or go straight to Amazon to buy everything we need in one hit.  When I went on maternity leave, one of the things I was most looking forward to was simply having time to buy fresh bread from the local bakery instead of getting supermarket bread!  And for the first few weeks it was great, I bought my bread from the bakery, had a vegetable box delivered by a local farm, bought lovely handmade cards and gifts from the small shops in my local town… but then my little baby who slept all the time became a big boisterous boy and I discovered the wonders of online shopping!

I still try to buy local where I can, and through my role of Enterprise Coach with Opportunity Plus, I am forever meeting entrepreneurs who make lovely things that I want to buy!  But spending money isn’t the only way you can support a small, local business (though it certainly helps!!).  Here are some ways that you can support small businesses, without having to spend money!

1 – Interact with them on social media.  Getting a new like on Facebook can brighten a small business owner’s day, and only takes you a second to do.   But likes aren’t everything.  Commenting on and sharing posts helps to increase a page’s “reach”, meaning that more people see what they have got to say.  If you have bought something from them, post a picture of you using it, or let them know how much your friend loved their gift.

2 – Write a review.  This could simply be a recommendation on their Facebook page, or a post on their wall; but if you write a blog, why not write about a positive experience you’ve had with the business, or about the great product you bought from them.  If they like what you have to say, it’s likely they will link to it themselves, bringing you more readers too.  Win-win!

3 – Tell y0ur friends.  Your real life friends and family that is.  Often we share our bad experiences of customer service, but how often do we tell the story of a good experience?  Not the times when something out of the ordinary happened, just the simple friendly greeting when you entered the shop, or the time they spent with you helping you find the right gift for a friend?

4 – Have a chat.  If you can see the owner is looking a little bored behind their friendly customer service smile, have a chat with them.  Even if you’re not intending to buy anything, you can give them an indication of the products you like and don’t like – it’s all market research for the owner.  (I buy in slings for my business and have to choose between about 50 fabrics each time, it’s impossible!  So I appreciate people telling me their favourites, even if I know they aren’t planning to buy one.)

5 – Follow links!  If you see a mention to a business on a blog or elsewhere, click on the link and follow it to their website.  As well as increasing their website traffic, it shows the search engines that this is a website that people want to visit, which can help their website move up the rankings.

Easy!  Just don’t forget to use the small business yourself when you need something they sell!!

What small businesses would you like to show support to?  Comment below and tell us about a good experience that you’ve had with a small business, and don’t forget to put a link to their website.

Interview with a Travel Counsellor

19 Nov

“Travel agent” might not be the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about self employment, but Travel Counsellors have made it possible for Travel Agents to work on a self employed basis for a company – the best of both worlds!  Below is an interview with Helen Birtwistle, who has been working as a Travel Counsellor for 18 months.

WHAT IS TRAVEL COUNSELLORS?

Travel Counsellors is an Independent Travel Agency.   All their Travel Agents are home based and work on a self-employed basis.  We have offices in the UK, Belgium, Ireland, Australia, Canada, South Africa and the United Emirates.  There are over 1000 Travel Counsellors around the world.

HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT THEM?

I have been in the Travel Industry for over 25 years and I have known about Travel Counsellors for many years, as it is one of the most highly regarded companies within the Industry.

WHY DID TRAVEL COUNSELLORS APPEAL TO YOU?

I wanted to provide my clients with a highly professional and personalised service, which I felt had been lost within the high street agencies, but it is the main ethos within Travel Counsellors. I also liked the idea of having the security of working for a company but on a self-employed basis.  It gives me the flexibility and freedom I craved.

HOW DO YOU MARKET YOUR BUSINESS?

I have advertised in the local newspapers. I attend regular Business Network Meetings, this is where local business people get together to promote their businesses. I have my own website and promote through Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.  The biggest contributor for business growth is       referrals and personal recommendations.  On every booking and enquiry, I ask clients to refer me to their family and friends.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING SELF EMPLOYED?

I love the freedom and flexibility of being self-employed.  I like being in charge of my own destiny. It is hard work, but I reap all the rewards.

WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT THING ABOUT BEING  SELF EMPLOYED?

You must always remain focused, disciplined & motivated.  There will be busy and quiet moments, especially when you first start out, but you must always remain positive.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?

I have only been working with Travel Counsellors for 18 months.  My future plan is to build up and establish a good client base, that will come to me year after year.

http://www.travelcounsellors.co.uk/helen.b

https://www.facebook.com/#!/HelenBirtwistleDevonTravelCouncellors?fref=ts