1) Control your cash flow
It doesn’t matter how great a business is, how good the design, how fantastic the service, even if your order book is full to bursting, unless you have complete control over your cash flow your business will fail. So, start by forecasting where you will be in terms of your finances in 18 months’ time. We have a five-year forecast, which we update on a monthly basis. It’s even more important for a start-up business, as they are likely to have even bigger cash pressures than an established company or business.
2) Success isn’t all about gut instinct
However, much we may like to think it, running a successful fashion business isn’t just about sketching out ideas and then buying the fabrics that you love. It is the combination of solid numerical analysis and great design that makes any business a success. I would never buy stock without looking at the previous sales figures, because you really need to study what has been popular with customers before. What has sold in the past is the key to your future success.
3) It isn’t easy
As a working mother there is no point kidding yourself that it is. But if you’re willing to sacrifice ‘me time’, to be low maintenance, to forfeit the cinema trip and the time at the hairdressers, and to survive on not much sleep then you really can do it. As for the children, I spend a lot of time working from home, so they understand that I need to work for them to eat.
Credit: Laura Tenison's
1. Focus. Focus. Focus.
Many first-time entrepreneurs feel the need to jump at every “opportunity” they come across. Opportunities are often wolves in sheep’s clothing. Avoid getting side-tracked. Juggling multiple ventures will spread you thin and limit both your effectiveness and productivity. Do one thing perfectly, not 10 things poorly. If you feel the need to jump onto another project, that might mean something about your original concept.
2. Know what you do. Do what you know.
Don’t start a business simply because it seems sexy or boasts large hypothetical profit margins and returns. Do what you love.
Businesses built around your strengths and talents will have a greater chance of success. It’s not only important to create a profitable business, it’s also important that you’re happy managing and growing it day in and day out. If your heart isn’t in it, you will not be successful.
3. Say it in 30 seconds or don’t say it at all.
From a chance encounter with an investor to a curious customer, always be ready to pitch your business. State your mission, service and goals in a clear and concise manner. Fit the pitch to the person. Less is always more.
4. Know what you know, what you don’t know and who knows what you don’t.
No one knows everything, so don’t come off as a know-it-all. Surround yourself with advisors and mentors who will nurture you to become a better leader and businessman. Find successful, knowledgeable individuals with whom you share common interests and mutual business goals that see value in working with you for the long-term.
5. Act like a startup.
Forget about fancy offices, fast cars and fat expense accounts. Your wallet is your company’s life-blood. Practice and perfect the art of being frugal. Watch every dollar and triple-check every expense. Maintain a low overhead and manage your cash flow effectively.
So, you’ve decided to outsource your telemarketing to a call center.
The first thing that you need to know before you even start the process of picking a center is that call centers do not need to be geographically close to serve its clients. Sure, proximity might have its benefits, but a good call center is structured to be able to serve clients locally, nationally and internationally.
There are lots of factors to consider when you are looking at how to find the right call center in the United States.
Centers in Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles often require evaluating these four factors:
- Call center technology
The best call centers have built their business with people like you in mind and all of these factors are important in order for them to deliver the best possible services to you and your company.
Pay Attention to Call Center Technology
Call center technology is a critical part of being able to handle client needs nationwide. Call centers are built to handle multiple clients at the same time. This requires the ability to handle a large inbound and outbound call volume. Things like dialing technology, IVR systems, reporting, network infrastructure and compliance should all be taken into consideration as you are choosing your call center.
Questions you can ask:
1. What kind of technology does your call center use?
2. What is inbound/outbound call blending?
3. Does your system provide inbound/outbound call blending?
Consider the Services
It’s always good to know a call center’s capabilities, in case there is a service they offer that you may want but weren’t aware of.
Make sure you understand the various call center services available to you, and that the call center will be able to accommodate your needs.
If you are looking to expand your customer base, you probably need some form of outbound telemarketing. If you are experiencing a high inbound call volume then you should be looking for a call center that has inbound telemarketing capabilities.
Questions you can ask:
1. What different services does your call center offer?
2. Which services would you recommend for my company when (insert service here) is what we are trying to accomplish?
3. Does your company offer inbound AND outbound marketing?
Remember that the call center that you choose is going to become an extension of your business and will be making lasting impressions with your customers. It is important that they have had proper professional training and are also educated about your brand. Agents need to be able to answer as many questions about your brand as possible.
Questions you can ask:
1. Does your call center treat training as a continuous process?
2. How do you train your employees?
3. Are agents being provided constant coaching, feedback and skills related to performance?
Culture is Everything
A company’s culture will dictate what they do and how they behave in certain instances. This is hugely important because call centers need to learn every aspect of your businesses, and communicate with your customer base.
Make sure that the call center that you choose values your clients’ business and takes the time to truly learn about it. This means involving you in the training, and learning every aspect of what you do.
Questions you can ask:
1. How do I know that your call center can align with my brand?
2. How are you sure that your agents are following procedures and company policies?
3. How do you hold employees accountable?
4. How do you motivate your employees so that they deliver exceptional results?
Taking It All In
All of these factors are important when it comes to finding the right call center so make sure that you do your homework. Let us know if you are looking for the right call center for you.
Written by: Amy Schiller
“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.”
- Marissa Mayer
Marissa Mayer, a former CEO, resigned from Yahoo today as Verizon closed $4.5B acquisition of the company.
In her goodbye letter, Marissa says, “It's been my great honor and privilege to be a part of this team for the last 5 years. Together, we have rebuilt, reinvented, strengthened, and modernized our products, our business, and our company.” She also goes on to talk about the challenges, twists and turns that Yahoo confronted throughout her 5 years at the company.
There is no question that being a CEO or owning, controlling and operating a business is a difficult and life-changing task. No woman, or person, takes on such a demanding position without setbacks, failure and hopefully success.
These businesswomen have revealed what it takes to see that success.
1. Businesswomen Have Persistence
If you want to be a strong and successful businesswoman your work ethic must show it. Giving up should never be an option, even in difficulty or opposition.
A successful businesswoman will take the challenges and learn from them. Instead of “I give up,” she will say, “what is next?” She will understand that failure is necessary in order to see success.
If you want to be successful, you must be relentless. Do not let anybody tell you that you are not good enough or strong enough for a task. Have the power to prove them wrong and yourself right because that is when you will come out on top.
Successful women continue to fight even when the world gives them every reason not to.
2. Businesswomen are Optimistic
We all know that some days are better than others. At the end of the day it is important to let go of the setbacks, and in the morning it is important to take on the next challenge.
A strong and successful business woman will wake up in the morning and ask herself what she can do to improve the business that day. The setbacks of yesterday will be put aside and she will only concentrate on the future.
3. Businesswomen Embrace Change
There is a lot that can hold women back today.
Setbacks can be anything from political factors to women not believing that they are in a great enough position to succeed.
If you find every reason to believe you do not have enough in your favor to succeed then you never will. On the other hand, if you embrace change and celebrate the small victories you will succeed.
Women that work in business understand that circumstances do not matter. It does not matter if you are a woman or a man. You can succeed if you are determined.
Make the most of what you have and never let anybody tell you that because you are a woman, you cannot be successful.
4. Businesswomen Overcome Obstacles
We all have dreams but some of us are scared of actually pursuing them.
For the brave ones, the ones who productively work towards their dreams, they run into obstacles. This is when they are presented with two options.
Option one: Give up and move on.
Option two: Work through the obstacles and make dreams come true.
Successful business women do not make excuses for themselves. They work hard on the best days and even harder on the worst. Anybody can give up but it is the successful women who choose not to.
If you want to be successful, do not let the obstacles bring you down. Instead, learn from obstacles and use them for growth.
5. Businesswomen Conquer Fears
It is often that successful businesswomen are given tasks that they see as a challenge or fearful. At first it can be uncomfortable but eventually, the difficult tasks will turn into everyday ones.
Picking up the phone and calling someone to sell them on a business idea or tactic can be scary. Stepping on stage to speak in front of hundreds of people can be stressful.
Successful women recognize that these tasks will improve the future of their business.
You will not grow and neither will your business unless you step outside of your comfort zone. Fear can always be conquered with confidence.
6. Businesswomen are Powerful
Some people are going to tell you no or that you cannot succeed in something. Successful business women do not waste their time with the argument. Instead, they go out there and they show those people that they are capable of anything they set their mind to.
Nobody is going to hand power over to you. You have to be strong enough to fight for it. You have to prove that you deserve power.
Having power does not mean that you will have the ability to control people. Successful women lead by example.
They do not tell others that they have power instead they guide, influence and encourage.
7. Businesswomen have a Strong Sense of Self
There are times when we all doubt ourselves. We start to wonder if we are in the right industry, if we spend too much time at work and not enough time with our family, and we even begin to doubt the strenuous work that we put into a business.
A successful and strong business woman realizes that sometimes doubt is hard to dodge but those are the moments that will push them further.
Although some days there may be doubt, strong women still believe in themselves and the business that they are doing.
Successful and strong business women realize that the worst days are what makes the great days so great. They learn from mistakes and develop a strong sense of self.
You must be excited to move forward and improve yourself. Embrace who you are and your flaws so that others can embrace who you are, too.
The next time you are having a rough day, week, month or even year, remember these ladies and what they represent to the business world.
QCSS is a women-owned business and officially certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).
QCSS would not be the business that it is today without our two outstanding women founders. The certification continues to motivate QCSS as a company to have persistence, remain optimistic, embrace change, overcome obstacles, conquer fears, remain powerful and develop a strong sense of self.
As if the certification was not enough of an honor, having women like Marissa Mayer and Barbara Corcoran to lead the way for women in the business world makes us even more proud to be women-owned.
Find out more about our executive team here.
Learn more about our WBENC Certification here.
Written by: Amy Schiller
This is nothing new, but consumers are continuing to hold companies to a higher standard. No, I’m not referring to the necessary customer service to keep a company up and running. Consumers are holding companies to a particular social standard.
Corporate social responsibility is taking over the business world. Eighty-four percent of global consumers said they seek out responsible products whenever possible. (Source)
Both consumers and employees are drawn to companies who prove to give back to society and make a difference in the community. That’s why it doesn’t come as a shock that companies are beginning to see how much social responsibility matters.
Companies are stepping up and #AnsweringTheCallfrom consumers and employees. Missions and values of companies are changing all across the nation in order to meet expectations.
REI - Force of Nature
REI Co-op claims 2017 as a possible landmark year for gender equity in the outdoors. On April 2, REI Co-op announced a public effort called Force of Nature. The effort builds on decades of work that REI has been doing within the co-op to advance gender equity.
Throughout the article, author Jerry Stritzke talks about the plan REI has put together to level the playing field. Some of the plan includes partnering with Outside magazine on their first-ever all-women’s issue, increasing focus on building world-class gear designed for women, and the creation of 1,000 events designed to get women outside. (Source)
Changing the business world
REI is such a great example of how a brand is changing the business world by committing to make such a difference in a community. Not to mention, a much larger community that some consumers may not agree with.
After reading the article, I took it upon myself to read some of the comments. A lot of the comments were from people praising that company for making such a bold decision. Some comments from people who were upset that the company was shifting their target market.
Let’s take a moment to acknowledge how uplifting this choice was to businesses all over. When QCSS talks about #AnsweringTheCall, we talk about fighting for what you believe in, being a leader and believing in others. Three things that REI has shown they are not afraid to do.
Take a stand
REI is fighting for what they believe in by acknowledging that women aren’t on the same playing field as men when it comes to the outdoors. The article mentions how it’s easy to recognize that not many females have other females to look up to in the industry. After the company noticed this, they decided that they wanted to go ahead and do something about it which is outstanding.
An industry leader
REI proves that they are an industry leader and they believe in others. An industry leader does something to make a difference. As mentioned, it was bold for REI to do this because they know that a lot of their target market is men but they did it anyways. That’s what a leader looks like.
It’s also clear that the company believes in others considering they dedicated the rest of 2017 to women.
Sure, one could say that REI is abandoning a target market, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think what REI is doing is going to make a huge impact on the community. They aren’t refusing service to men they are just promising to deliver better service to women than they have in the past. That’s Empowering.
REI proves that corporate social responsibility doesn’t have to completely change the game. CSR is about finding things that your company believes in and making a difference. #AnsweringTheCall the call can be fun and so can CSR which is what REI has shown us.
#AnsweringTheCallmeans many different things to different people, as we have mentioned in our posts before.
The mission at QCSS has always been to help build the local and national economy. In 2017, QCSS is added to that mission. For each new piece of business QCSS receives this year, we will also be giving back to not-for-profits and charities.
Find out what #AnsweringTheCall means to you and your company. If you have the power to make a difference, do it. The world is at your fingertips, use it.
QCSS chose the #AnsweringTheCall theme because we understand that it has many different meanings. There will never be one definition to express what stepping up and answering the call represents to QCSS and the organizations that we’ve partnered with.
Answering the call means to us, what it means to you. Every organization and every person will answer the call in their own way.
At QCSS, "Where the only call that matters is yours" every time the phone rings, we answer seamlessly as your company promptly to give the customer the attention they demand and deserve.
For more information, visit www.qcssinc.com or call (888) 229-7046.
Have you ever taken a moment to notice how hypocritical it is to point your finger at someone? Go ahead and try it. Point your finger at something. It doesn’t have to be a person. It can be at your computer screen or your phone.
Did you notice that when you went to point your finger, three other fingers were pointing right back at you?
It’s something that can easily go unnoticed. When we’re so busy blaming things on other people, we don’t take a second to realize that maybe what they’re doing isn’t the issue.
If your business isn’t growing, who’re the first people that you point your finger at? Is it your employees or people that are working underneath you? Is it someone who works above you? Maybe you point the finger at yourself. Regardless, one person should never be blamed for an entire situation.
That’s why I am going to encourage you to take a minute and reflect on how you can improve yourself which will hopefully lead to business growth.
1. Quit putting yourself first
With some of the other things I’ve talked about before, this may sound like a contradiction but in order to grow, you have to stop putting yourself first.
In the business world, we must learn how to make sacrifices and look for ways to improve ourselves. This may mean that we have to put others before us in order to get to where we want to go.
If somebody asks you for a favor but it’s a little inconvenient to you, do it anyways because who knows the next time you may need a favor from them that they don’t find convenient.
If your boss asks you to stay a couple hours after work to help them on a project, do it even if you did have plans with a co-worker. Your boss may have asked you to stay to work on the project because they think that you’re the best for the job. If you say no, maybe it’ll lead them to believe otherwise.
There are going to be times when we don’t want to do something because it’s inconvenient. Evaluate the situation and take the time to recognize that maybe you have to put other people first before you can put yourself first.
Sure, a drink after work with a co-worker sounds a lot more fun than helping your boss finish up a project but the drink is going to mean nothing to you once it’s gone. The big project could lead to a new client and a possible promotion.
Think about which opportunities are worth it and which you can pass on. Don’t be afraid to put yourself first occasionally and remember that you can’t get to where you want to go by always being comfortable.
2. Allow yourself to continue to grow
Every morning, I try to find time to research trends in the industry. I’ll also find time to catch up on emails that I’m subscribed to because sometimes they get my mind running and in work mode.
Don’t allow yourself to believe that you know everything that’s happening in your industry. Take time to read about new trends and how you can improve your work. Every day, I make a promise to allow myself to learn something new and you should too.
The internet gives us so many opportunities to continue to learn. It gives us the chance to take advice from people who we never thought we could receive advice from.
If you don’t allow yourself to learn new information then at some point your company or business is going to be so behind that it’ll be difficult to catch up. It’s important to realize that this can be avoided.
The internet isn’t the only thing that is going to help you learn. Pick up a new book or sit down and talk with an industry leader. Allowing yourself to have an open mind and continue to learn is a great quality to have. Plus, allowing yourself to grow will allow your business to grow too.
3. Learn to network and not only on LinkedIn
You’re probably thinking to yourself, “I already know how to network.”
When was the last time you reached out to a loose connection?
When was the last time you offered your services to somebody else?
When was the last time you held an informational interview with somebody starting out in the industry?
It’s time to step out of your comfort zone and network with people you don’t usually network with. You should stop thinking that you don’t have enough time for an informational interview with someone who is trying to get their foot in the door.
What you should think is about all the things that this person can do for you. They can provide new insights and help you step away from your work for a little to free your brain of clutter.
Maybe, this person knows something about the industry that you don’t. Allow yourself to help others and it may just lead you to answers that you didn’t know you were looking for.
That’s why it’s time to learn how to network. Don’t allow yourself to think that you already know everybody you need to know. LinkedIn isn’t the only way to network. Face to face interactions are great and it allows other people to see who you are and what your business represents.
Networking is a great way to grow a business. Networking leads to references, references will lead to leads, and leads will lead to sales.
Remember that it’s not about who you know, it’s about who knows you.
4. Define your own success
It’s simple to look at other people and see how successful they are.
How did they get there?
What can I do to be as great as they are?
It’s going to take everything in you, but stop comparing yourself to others. Quit letting the success of others define your success because they aren’t you and you will never be them.
Acknowledge the work that these people have done to get to where they are. If it’s your friend, be happy for them. If it’s someone that you look up to, follow their lead and continue to work on yourself.
Live the life that you want to live and do things that make you happy. Set goals for yourself and work on accomplishing them.
What does success look like to you? What does it mean to you?
Write down the answers to these questions. Make it a goal to remind yourself every day to focus on yourself and not others. Watch yourself and your business grow.
5. Remember the past and learn from it, but don’t let it bring you down
Know that bad things happen to everybody. You aren’t always going to land the sale or get five leads in one day. Some days are going to be better than others.
Let’s take a look at recent incidents that have happened. Pepsi rolled out a commercial that a lot of people didn’t agree with. United Airlines has a lot of unhappy consumers from an incident that happened over the weekend.
Do we think that Pepsi and United Airlines are going to go out of business because of what happened? No, probably not.
Do we think that they learned from what happened? I would certainly hope so.
What’s my point? Stuff happens. Things are out of our control sometimes but we have to get over it.
As much as people try to bring you down, don’t let them. The only person who has control of your future is yourself. Don’t allow anybody to let you think any differently. Bad things are going to happen but you have to move forward. If you don’t then your business won’t either.
Last week, QCSS published an article about a new campaign that we launched which is based around the idea of #AnsweringTheCall. As I mentioned in the article, answering the call means to us, what it means to you. Every person is going to have their own vision of what answering the call means.
This week we wanted to ask you one question pertaining to the post. If you haven’t read it or don’t have the time, to QCSS, answering the call means:
• Having the motivation to become better at what you do every single day
• Remaining competitive in whatever you choose to do
• Fighting for what you believe in
• Setting goals and never giving up
• Believing in yourself
• Being a leader and believing in others
When was the last time:
That you put somebody else before you?
That you learned about something new?
That you made an effort to genuinely network with someone?
That you defined what success means to you?
That you allowed yourself to learn from the past instead of holding you back?
The most important question is:
When was that last time you answered the call?
This time, I’m pointing the finger at you. At QCSS, we make an effort and encourage each other to answer the call every single day. We’re doing our part but are you doing yours?