The Law of Reciprocity Amongst Business Owners

The Law of Reciprocity Amongst Business Owners

No-one likes the feeling of being indebted to someone. Like, for example, when a friend or colleague buys you lunch. No matter how generous and selfless the intention,  you can’t help but feel that at some point, you need to buy them one back. Think back; When did you last feel compelled to do something for others who have helped you along the way – even if they haven’t asked you to? That’s because, there’s something very powerful and deep rooted at play here. Social psychologists call this deep-rooted, psychological feeling The Law of Reciprocity – When a person does something nice for you, giving you the urge to do something nice in return. In business, reciprocity is a fantastic way to help build networks and market your business. Of course, not everyone likes feeling indebted. Over to you, Sheldon… You can apply this when starting or growing a small business as it can leverage the strengths of those involved in the relationship to grow both of their businesses. It’s so easy too at little or no cost. All that’s needed is an attitude of selflessness and wanting to help others by sharing resources, knowledge, and contacts with them. Remember, you’re doing this to help others, not because you’re after something in return. That reciprocal act is a benefit – an unexpected reward – not a key part of the process. It’s also true that reciprocity and growing your business can go together like bees and honey, but don’t expect reciprocation on its own to increase sales. The onus is on you to build trust with your peers, to create deep routed professional relationships, and,...
How Working From Home Could Be Holding Your Business Back

How Working From Home Could Be Holding Your Business Back

Working for yourself can be quite lonely. It can, of course, be brilliant at the same time, because you don’t have to worry about running ideas past other people, you choose your own hours, and you’re in absolute control. Working for yourself also means you can focus on what you’re great at. But… You’re not great at everything. Sorry about that. Although, if it helps, no-one is. Not only are you running a business by doing what you enjoy, what you’re good at, and what makes you money, you are also now the Head of Customer Service, Head of Marketing, Head of Finance, Head of IT… I think you get the picture. Still, all these jobs – Head of Support, Head of Sales – are now your jobs. Yes, there are books you can read, search engines to help find answers, but often it’s a struggle to find the empathy you need from the right people. Or those answers are from people who are so far removed from your business that it’s difficult to relate to them. Also, books, blogs, etc talk to you. Who’s listening to your voice? If there is one thing that I want you to take away from this post, it is that: Working for yourself doesn’t mean you have to work by yourself. Get yourself out into an environment where there are other people who are working for themselves. It absolutely doesn’t matter what industry they’re in either. You could be a Web Designer chatting with an Accountant. You could be a Plumber talking with an Events Organiser. Ultimately, the service they provide isn’t...
Where To Start? The First Steps of a New Business

Where To Start? The First Steps of a New Business

Take yourself back to the very day that you decided to become a freelancer? You’ve given yourself the green light and now it’s time for action, but where do you start? With the business cards? Writing a business plan? Or working on a website?  This was a dilemma for one attendee of my Business Owners’ Mastermind Group in St Ives. Having just decided what to do, she openly admitted to not having a clue of where to start. A situation felt by so many others, once they’ve made the decision. If this is you, here are the first steps from other freelance businesses owners, to help you make the decision of where to start: “I was made redundant with no notice (company folded) and, as I had to complete a few client’s projects, the first thing I did was buy a Mac from John Lewis and load it with all the software I needed so I could continue working on a freelance basis. It was an extremely busy couple of days!” – Karen Cann, Karen Cann Video “I went out and found my first contract. Necessity being the mother of all invention and all that. Googled grants to write training. Phoned up the place. The website was out of date, but got talking and have been delivering project management and innovation skills there ever since – 5 years in. Phew.” – Caroline Broad, Catalyst Bio “I was made redundant on the Friday, bought a laptop and built a website and social media profiles over the weekend, then launched on the Monday when I also registered with HMRC, opened my business bank account...
The Art of Planning Your Weeks

The Art of Planning Your Weeks

When working for yourself, there are so many hats to wear that it can make it difficult to know which one to wear and when.  From what I see, freelancers and business owners have different orientations to time and work. We work to different hours and locations, and can often blur the line between at work and not. saying that, there’s a lot of pressure to get projects done, week by week. Therefore, time is often not the primary consideration – the work that needs to be done is To help understand the different techniques better, I recently posed the question – How do you plan and prioritise your list of tasks each week? – to a group of business owners on the Freelance Heroes FB Group. here are a selection of responses: “I recently changed how I do this… having a number of different clients, I now allocate them a day and do all their regular tasks on that day. Then when I’ve finished I fill the rest of the day with other stuff that’s come in randomly, and if anything urgent comes in on a certain day then I make sure that gets done too. It works quite well… in general my VA clients get priority over my author clients.” – Jo Harrison, Virtual Assistant “I have a rolling To Do list which I constantly update as I complete each task. More important tasks on the list are in bold text.” – Les Howard, VAT Advice “Schedule absolutely everything including breaks, personal tasks, emails etc. and review at the end of each day so I know what my focus...