Category Archives: Business Tips

Motivation Secrets of Productive People

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Motivation Secrets of Productive People

Make no mistake about it. Motivation will increase your productivity.

“Motivation and productivity are twin concepts in organizational development,” wrote Kristina Dems for Bright Hub.

“First, motivation works as the means toward attaining productivity as an end. Another point: Motivation is the best road to follow to reach productivity as a favorable effect. Lastly, motivation is the stimulus to trigger productivity as a response.”

Think about how this effects you and effects your life. When you’re not feeling motivated, you’re not going to accomplish much. That’s because you don’t have the drive to get things done.

And, to put it lightly, that sucks.

Now you’re behind on your planned goals or a task, which means you’re going to get behind another and another. Eventually, everything starts to pile-up. With no end in sight, you become even less motivated.

That’s why the most productive people employ the following motivation secrets to guarantee that they’re always ahead of the game.

1. When plans are made, they anticipate obstacles.

Peter Gollwitzer, a professor of psychology at New York University, in New York City, conducted a study in 2009 that compared two groups of women who wanted to be more active. The groups were both provided information on how to live a healthy lifestyle.

However, the second group was also taught how to foresee obstacles by using if-then statements. For example, if they wanted to jog, but the weather is poor, then what will you do? The women would say, “if it’s snowing, then I’ll go to the gym and use the treadmill.”

Suffice it to say, the second group fared far better.

Gollwitzer concluded that those who plan for obstacles are more likely to follow through on projects. This is because they don’t have any excuses for completing the task at hand.

2. They “don’t break the chain.”

Years ago software developer Brad Isaac asked Jerry Seinfeld if he had any tips for a young comedian. Seinfeld told him that the only way to become a better comic was to create better jokes. And the only way to create better jokes was to write daily.

But, that was just scratching the surface. Ultimately, the legendary comic unveiled his unique calendar system that kept him motivated every day.

Jerry told Isaac to get a huge wall calendar “that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall.” Then, go get a red magic maker.

He told Isaac that for each day he writes to to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

“Don’t break the chain,” Seinfeld said again for emphasis.

Isaac says that this “works because it isn’t the one-shot pushes that get us where we want to go, it is the consistent daily action that builds extraordinary outcomes.” And, those daily actions build habits.

3. Live life from their calendars.

According to The Busy Person’s Guide to the Done List, by Janet Choi and Walter Chen of iDoneThis:

  • 41 percent of to-do list items are never completed.
  • 50 percent of to-do list items are completed within a day, many within the first hour of being written down.

Why is this the case when so many people swear by to-do-lists?

For starters, tasks on your to-do-lists are distinguished between those that only take a couple of minutes and those will last hours. Additionally, they emphasize the urgent instead of the important. And, they can add unnecessary stress.

Because of these reasons, highly productive people don’t use to-dos. They live from their calendars instead.

“Use a calendar and schedule your entire day into 15-minute blocks,” says Jordan Harbinger, co-founder of The Art of Charm. “It sounds like a pain, but this will set you up in the 95th percentile as far as organization goes.”

“If it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t get done. If it’s on the calendar, it gets done no matter what. Use this not just for appointments, but workouts, calls, email blocks, etc.”

4. They don’t multitask.

Despite the myths, multitasking doesn’t make you more productive. In fact, it slows you down. This is because your brain is switching tasks and focus, which means it takes you longer to complete tasks.

In order to stay productive, you need to focus on thing at a time. Due’s Miranda Marquit uses the Pomodoro Technique to stay focused on one specific task at a time. This also boosts productivity since you’re dedicating your mental energy on one specific item.

As a perk, since you’re giving this one task 110 percent, chances are that there will be fewer mistakes. This means you won’t have to back and fix your errors, you can just move onto to something else.

5. Not controlled by technology.

“I was a Division I college athlete, and I grew up with five brothers and two sisters. I’ve always been a competitor. [But] I’ve learned that productivity should not be a competitive sport. You’re never going to win,” Cathy Engelbert, CEO of Deloitte, tells Fast Company.

“I am responsible for almost 80,000 people. I prioritize people over tasks. One Note allows me to put different tasks [involving] each of my executive-team members in a tab. That way when I talk to them, I can be more effective, because the five things I want to talk to them about [are right there].”

“If I looked at email and Twitter and texts [during the day], I don’t think I would ever give my full attention to anything. You cannot be insightful if you’re deluged with information.”

Engelbert adds, “We’re all drowning in data. We all need moments of recovery. For me, that includes not going right to my phone when I wake up in the morning. I got on a plane about six months ago, and I forgot my phone. For two days, I didn’t have my phone, and nobody died.”

Her final words of advice? “Technology should help you do your job, not control your job.”

6. They use a notebook.

Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and Sheryl Sandberg all carry a notebook around. The reason? They rely on pen and paper to keep track of and remember all of their thoughts and ideas.

“I can’t tell you where I’d be if I hadn’t had a pen on hand to write down my ideas as soon as they came to me,” Branson wrote in a blog post.

“You think you’ll remember, but you won’t, and you’ll forfeit all the thoughts that flood you after you’ve freed your mind from remembering the initial spark,” adds Drew Hanson.

For Sandberg, she uses a notebook as a kind of daily planner. She jots down her to-do lists. Once she’s accomplished those items, she rips the pages out of her notebook. It’s a simple way to stay motivated for staying on track.

7. They work backwards from the future.

Steve Jobs once asked, “If today was the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?”

“If too many days passed by with the answer being ‘no,’ he’d adjust his lifestyle until he hit a consistent yes,” explains HubSpot’s Scott Tousley. “This forced Steve to define long-term goals and stay motivated.”

This may sound drab, but the most productive people “think about the end of their lives,” which helps them define their legacy.

With this in mind, they then “work backwards to achieve those goals.”

“This touches on the psychological theories and models of motivation. If we’re driven by a purpose, we’re more likely to work extra hard,” says Tousley.

But, how does starting with your purpose keep you productive and motivated?

Starting with a purpose or “personal mission statement,” leads to the creation of long-term goals. Long-term goals lead to smaller goals, which create to-do-lists.

So, if you want to productive like Steve Job, define your purpose first and everything else will fall into place.

8. They’re friends with time.

Really productive people, or RPPs as Marie Forleo calls them, are friends with time. In other words, “they don’t look at time as the enemy.”

If you do, you’ll end-up always struggling with productivity and motivation. And, this makes sense. Whenever you could something the “enemy” it’s only going to end-up being a source of pain.

Instead, make time your ally. You can start by ditching time-stealing habits like multitasking and procrastination. You can achieve by practicing:

  • Mindfulness. This will help you focus on one task at a time.
  • Acceptance. Concentrating only on what you can control.
  • Authenticity. This encourages self-management since it helps you decide what to do and when to do it.

9. They create theme days.

Want to know how Jack Dorsey juggles all of his obligations at Twitter and Square? He creates theme days. Here’s what Jack said about this in 2011:

“The way I found that works for me is I theme my days. On Monday, at both companies, I focus on management and running the company…Tuesday is focused on product. Wednesday is focused on marketing and communications and growth. Thursday is focused on developers and partnerships. Friday is focused on the company, the culture and recruiting. Saturday I take off, I hike. Sunday is reflection, feedback, strategy, and getting ready for the week.”

How has that schedule help Jack work eight hours at both companies?

The first reason the schedule works is that it establishes a rhythm. You know what to expect every day because you’ve created a routine to keep you focused.

Secondly, it challenges you to complete tasks on certain deadlines. If you record a podcast every Tuesday like John Lee Dumas, then you know that you have the podcast prepared by that day.

Finally, it batches similar tasks together. This keeps you productive since it streamlines activity and eliminates distractions.

10. Bring optimism and fun back into the picture.

This may sound hokey, but research shows that the key to motivation is bringing optimism and fun.

Ron Siegel, a psychology professor at Harvard University, explains:

“Our modern brains are still wired up for the ancient evolutionary purpose of surviving in a dangerous environment. Over a million years or so, we developed specialized neural structures that selectively tuned in to danger signals. The prospect of getting attacked necessarily outranked all other neurological priorities.”

And, unfortunately, we still go into that survival mode. Instead of thinking about the pleasurable and rewarding experience of conquering a task, we focus on anxiety and fear.

For example, you just started a new business. You’re probably dwelling more on the fear of failure instead of the excitement of improving your community.

The best way to overcome this? Create basic two-columned pros and cons list so you can notice that the joys outweigh any fears or anxieties. When you actually see the positive, you’ll get yourself out of the rut you’re headed into.

As Rick Steves has written, “Be fanatically positive and militantly optimistic. If something is not to your liking, change your liking.”

How to Optimize Your Videoconferencing Setup

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How to Optimize Your Videoconferencing Setup

To say that Covid-19 has changed things would be an understatement. Perhaps the biggest change we have had to make concerns our jobs. Even if you were fortunate enough to keep yours, there is a good chance you quite literally moved from the boardroom to the bedroom. While there might have been some bumps along the way— maybe involving that pesky mute button or maybe a lack of pants — by now, you probably consider yourself a videoconferencing pro. 

With the possibility that remote working will be here to stay, however, it could be time to think about things you could be doing to get more out of your setup. These six tips will help you become a videoconferencing master:

Use Better (or More) Lighting

Everybody wants to see your bright, shining face. It is essential that the room you’re in has enough light. It also needs to be in the right place. Moving a lamp closer to you or putting one behind the device or even just facing a window can make a big difference. 

Better yet, think about utilizing multiple lights in your workspace. Try placing a lamp on each side of your desk. For the best illumination, you may also want to consider buying a lighting kit.  

Improve Your Camera

The camera in your computer or other device is…fine. If your meetings are typically just brief check-ins with team members, it might be all you need. 

However, if you have to give presentations or demonstrate visuals that your team will need to see clearly, your best bet is to buy a webcam. While there are many to choose from, pick one with HDMI capabilities for high-quality video. Also, be sure that it is compatible with Zoom or whatever videoconferencing app you use. 

One more tip: Keep the camera at eye level. This is a great way to simulate real, face-to-face interaction.

Upgrade Your Mic

Like the camera in your device, the built-in mic will also probably get the job done. However, if people are constantly complaining that they can’t hear you well, it could be time for an upgrade. 

With the rise of telecommuting (not to mention all of those podcasters), there are now tons of mics available, and prices vary widely. Wearing a lavalier mic, a very affordable option, can vastly enhance your audio.

Consider Headphones

Speaking of sound, if you frequently have to ask people to repeat themselves, the problem could be you and not them. Headphones will immediately enable you to get better sound quality. Plus, if you have a noisy household — maybe you have a kid or two at home who’s learning online — they will let you tune out of the cacophony at home.

Those big, over-the-ears, Princess Leia headphones are one option. If you think they’re too obtrusive, earbuds are the much subtler choice. 

Boost Your Signal

None of the stuff mentioned above will mean much if you often have trouble connecting with your team. If your internet connection is slow or inconsistent, don’t wait to troubleshoot it. 

Try simply moving your device closer to your router. If, however, the router is old or unreliable, a new one may be in order. If getting a new router doesn’t help, try a wired connection. And if even that doesn’t help, ask your internet company to come take a look. 

Think About What’s Behind You

You may have the latest bells and whistles, excellent image quality, and audio so clear you could hear a pin drop. But what about all of the clutter on your desk or that stack of laundry behind you? 

If you have a mess in your home, you’re certainly not the only one. While you could clean it up before the meeting, just pushing it out of the frame might be your best option. Or, if you can, move your webcam to change the viewing angle. 

Whether your stint as a remote worker is winding down or just getting started, don’t wait to master virtual conferences. Even if you go back to the office, rest assured: You have many, many more videoconferences ahead of you. 

8 Tips for Cutting Down on Unnecessary Customer Emails

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8 Tips for Cutting Down on Unnecessary Customer Emails

The daily task of reading and responding to unnecessary customer emails can feel like an endless routine. You might think you’ve communicated every piece of information clearly and thoroughly. But some customers just don’t do their homework before sending an email with a question you thought you had already answered. 

Finding ways to cut down on unnecessary customer emails will decrease the amount of time you spend in your inbox and increase the amount of time you can grow your business. Here are some helpful tips for reducing unnecessary customer emails while keeping customers happy to continue working with you. 

Implement Online Scheduling

Your business may thrive on a personal touch that includes friendly small talk every time a customer calls to make an appointment. It’s more likely, however, that people want to quickly schedule, cancel, or confirm appointments as quickly as possible and move on. 

Offering an online scheduling option is a win-win for you and your customers, as it lets busy people communicate important information quickly and efficiently. Online scheduling also reduces scheduling errors, which are both frustrating for customers and costly in terms of staff time.

Better still, an online scheduling system gives customers the power to choose their preferred date and time for an appointment. This feature helps eliminate any potential back-and-forth emails and promotes a heightened sense of appointment “ownership.” Customers are far more likely to keep an appointment they set themselves.

Make Information Available Across Multiple Channels

Pay attention to the questions that seem to require an infinite number emails from you and your staff to answer. This is perhaps the simplest way to determine what information you should be providing to the public. The channels you select to convey that information may vary — your website, social media, and/or print — but the need to do so is plain.

Not that you’re trying to cut your customers off from all human contact. You’re simply seeking to serve them by heading off frequent questions. In doing so, you make your life easier as well.

Be the Change You Want to See in the World

Of course, no business will be able to entirely dispense with email anytime soon. Given that reality, consider the following tips for sharpening your own email conduct. After all, one of the best ways to encourage the behavior you want to see in others is to model it yourself.

Send Fewer Emails

This may sound overly simplistic, but every time you send an email, you invite the recipient to click the “Reply” button. Letter writers like to say “You gotta write ’em to get ’em,” but the reverse is also true. If you want to receive fewer emails, stop sending so many yourself.

Communication theorist Marshall McLuhan famously said, “The medium is the message.” Keep his point in mind when deciding whether email is in fact the best medium for the information you need to convey. A quick phone call, Slack message, or in-person conversation might be more appropriate.

Think Twice Before Clicking ‘Reply’ or ‘Reply to All’

Have you ever been part of an endless email thread of office lunch orders? If yes, did you enjoy putting work on hold long enough to read Ben’s request for beef on rye?

There are two equal and opposite errors to avoid when considering the dreaded “Reply to All” button. The first is needlessly copying a message to tons of people who don’t need to see it. The second error is not replying to all when all parties actually need to be informed. Choosing the right mechanism probably takes less than two seconds of thought and demonstrates respect for other people’s time.

Improve Your Subject Lines

We all skim our email inboxes trying to sift for important messages. Writing clear, specific, concise subject lines will endear you to your email recipients as it enables them to prioritize reading and responding as they think best. Providing only pertinent information will serve to minimize confusion.

Best practices include limiting every email message to one topic. If your email includes multiple issues and questions, it’s likely that one or more of them will be missed in the response. Don’t drift; stick to providing details only on what you’ve highlighted in your subject line.

Get to the Point ASAP

When speaking, it’s common to include superfluous details that help illustrate your point or reference a related situation as an aside. If you compose emails the same way you talk, though, even the simplest requests can turn into a novella.

Your goal should be to minimize the amount of time required for a customer to interact with your message, not win an essay competition. Lengthy emails will fatigue your recipients and increase the likelihood of a confused response.

Keep your salutation friendly but brief. Get to the point. Use your first few words to tell your recipient why you’re reaching out, what you hope to accomplish, and the expected time frame for a response. By doing this, you’ll avoid miscommunication and head off further emails requesting clarification.

Remember when email promised to make our work lives so much easier? The daily grind of reading and responding to unnecessary messages has since ballooned into a major contributor to lost productivity. But by following these tips to cut down on unnecessary emails, you’ll soon be able to reclaim your inbox — and your sanity.

Finding Your Motivation After Startup Failure

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Finding Your Motivation After Startup Failure

The journey that entrepreneurs embark on is full of twists and turns. Sometimes you become a success overnight. Other times you have to pivot into something completely different. And, there are times when you stumble along the way and fail.

As someone who has experienced failure, I can honestly tell you that it sucks.

Not only can it lead to an empty bank account, it also makes you feel physically sick. And, even worse, it makes you never want to go through the experience again.

The thing is, failure is a big part of the journey — not just for startups and entrepreneurs –but failure is part of the journey of life. That’s why you need to find motivation after your startup has failed.

It may not be easy, but it’s possible if you follow this advice.

Remember, most startups fail.

There’s a stat that startup founders are constantly reminded; 90% of startups fail. While that’s not exactly true, some believe it’s around 79%, the fact of the matter is that failure should be expected.

In fact, the greatest of entrepreneurs have failed at some point. Prior to Microsoft Bill Gates launched the failed Traf-O-Data. Andrew Mason, the founder of Groupon, struck out with a company called The Point.

I could go on and on. The idea is that failure isn’t uncommon. It’s to be expected and is almost viewed like a rite of passage.

So, don’t beat yourself up too much over this. Take comfort in knowing that failure is just another step you have to take in order the achieve success. Pick yourself up and try again, just like Gates, Mason, and the thousands of entrepreneurs who did the same.

Take time to heal emotionally.

At the same time, I’m not going to deny that failure isn’t a heartbreaking experience. And, it’s not something that you’ll recover from overnight.

So whether if you failed on your product launch or filed for bankruptcy it’s going to take some time to get motivated again. And that’s alright. You’re going to need a little bit of time to heal.

When my first business failed my wife and I went on vacation to Disneyland. The short trip didn’t completely heal the heartbreak, but it was the start of the healing process. It still took months to recover, but I needed that time to reignite that spark.

Build a support group.

In our darkest times we turn to the advice and comfort of our support group. This could be your spouse, best friend, mentor, or fellow business owners. Essentially, it’s anyone who builds you up and doesn’t criticize you about the failure of your startup.

You’ll need the guidance and support of your support group to prepare you for your next business attempt. They’ll also be there to help you heal emotionally.

You can’t be neutral.

Being inactive isn’t good for you emotionally, mentally, and physically. While it may a challenge to pick yourself up, you have to get moving again.

Of course, this could be different for everyone. Personally, one of the first things I did after I experienced failure was to start working on my next project. It helped my focus on something other than my previous venture folding. Since that started making a little bit of cash, it helped rebuild my confidence.

This is exactly what Bill Gates and Paul Allen did following Traf-O-Data. They started working on their next business, which became a little company called Microsoft.

But, what if you’re just not ready to start a new business? You can still get active and stay active by starting to work out, reading inspirational books, or learning a new skill. All of these are effective ways in improving yourself physically and professionally so that you’re ready to conquer your next challenge.

Startup Failure doesn’t Mean You Can’t Experiment.

I absolutely love this advice from James Altucher;

“Sometimes people say Thomas Edison failed 999 times before he finally came up with the lightbulb on the 1000th try.

This is a total lie. It is normal in a lab to experiment with many many materials before coming up with the right one.

Oh! Your experiment didn’t work? OK, change something and let’s try a new experiment.”

Rehearse past successes.

You obviously experienced some sort to get your startup up and running. For example, you had an idea that was supported by your support group, investors, and customers. And, it took a lot of guts and hard work to make that idea a reality.

Even though things didn’t turn out the way you liked, you should still reflect on those past successes. Give yourself some props by speaking positive, affirming, and congratulatory words to yourself. For an extra boost, place visual reminders on a vision board to remind yourself that you’re not a failure.

Tap into your intrinsic motivation.

Harvard leadership expert and best-selling author Bill George argues that entrepreneurs should chase their intrinsic motivation instead of extrinsic motivations. This is usually done by aligning your strengths with your intrinsic motivations.

For example, Bill Gates was driven by making a difference in the world. Guy Kawasaki focused on meaning instead of making money. Steve Jobs was motivated by doing great work.

Other entrepreneurs have been motivated through personal growth and accomplishment. And, others such as Elon Musk, found motivation by helping others achieve their goals.

Before you can stage your comeback, think about what you’re passionate about. What do you enjoy doing? What do you find interesting?

Focusing on your intrinsic motivation will encourage you to pick yourself up so that you can move mountains.

Shift your focus.

Have you purchased something like a new wardrobe or car and then noticed everyone else wearing the same jacket or car? You have your Reticular Activating System(RAS) to thank.

Kris Hallbom and Tim Hallbom explain that the “RAS is the part of your brain that serves as a filter between your conscious mind and your subconscious mind. The RAS, which is located in the core of your brain stem, takes instructions from your conscious mind, and passes them on to your subconscious mind.”

In other words, RAS regulates your attention.

As the Hallbom’s further explain, “Setting your intent plays a key role in encouraging your subconscious mind to bring forth a desired goal, as well the most optimal future.”

So, instead of focusing on past failure, think about your next endeavor. This will guide you in finding the necessary resources, actions, and ideas to make your next startup a success.

For me, when I founded my other company Due, my goal was to have one of the best invoicing platforms for small businesses. My intent, however, was to provide a platform that could help freelancers and small businesses grow. We’ve been able to do this by continuing to add new features and publish daily content that assists businesses in improving their business.

Sounds simple. But shifting my focus keeps me motivated each and every day to reach my future goals. As a such, the failure I experienced in the past is now just a distant memory.

How to Tell Challenging Customers the Truth

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How to Tell Challenging Customers the Truth

It goes against every professional instinct to disappoint the person signing the checks, but the truth is, the customer is not always right. 

If a client has you working around the clock, rearranging your online calendar around their needs, or scrambling to provide services you don’t usually offer, it’s time to have a conversation. Can you reasonably meet their expectations?

Perhaps not. Sometimes, you’ll need to push back on challenging customers without hurting your relationship or losing business. 

Threading that needle is not easy, much less enjoyable. Here are some tips to help you have constructive conversations that reinforce your boundaries and prevent client relationships from deteriorating:

1. Go Back to the Contract

A lot of client overreach is born not out of entitlement, but out of the fact that the client has simply forgotten the scope of work. This is why it’s so important to establish clear expectations at the beginning of a client relationship, and to put those expectations in writing. If you don’t, you will have a much more difficult time telling a pushy client why something can’t be done.

Moreover, pointing to a contract is a respectful way to turn down a request, and one few reasonable people will argue against. If the client still wants you to perform extra work, you can offer to renegotiate their contract — and find opportunities to upsell them in the process. 

2. Take Time to Listen

When a client makes a demand that sounds unreasonable, it’s easy to assume they’re disrespecting you and your time. But it’s possible that they’re facing extenuating circumstances you don’t know about: Perhaps they’re under immense pressure from their own boss, or perhaps they simply don’t understand how much time and effort their request would require. 

Before saying “no,” schedule a meeting to talk through their request. Ask clarifying questions, and practice active listening when they answer. Fully understanding their needs will help you brainstorm a solution that works for both of you. And if you do still need to turn them down, the respect and consideration you showed them will soften the blow. 

3. Pick Your Battles

Being flexible without becoming a pushover is a difficult balance to strike, but an important one to master. If a task is technically out of scope but wouldn’t significantly strain your resources, consider the pros and cons of taking it on. If your contract allows you five business days to complete your deliverables, but the client’s CEO wants it on their desk in four days, it’s likely in your best interest to make an exception. 

In these situations, it’s helpful to make sure your client is fully aware that you’re pushing the bounds of the contract. Tell them, “While we usually prefer five business days to complete this task, we’re happy to expedite the process in this particular circumstance.” This reminds them what the norm is while highlighting the fact that you’re going above and beyond for them.

4. Be Specific

This should go without saying, but just saying “no” without an explanation won’t do much for your customer retention. The more clarity you offer your client, the more likely you are to end the disagreement amicably.

When explaining why a request can’t be met, point to specific aspects of the client’s request that are misaligned with what’s in their contract. This gives the client more clarity into what you can and cannot do. Plus, it emphasizes the fact that your denial is due to business needs, not your personal feelings. 

5. Remove Emotion from the Equation

When dealing with pushy clients, it’s easy to feel frustrated, angry, or insulted. But it’s important to remember that the matter probably isn’t personal for your client; it doesn’t have to be personal for you, either.  

When speaking with the difficult client, take a mental step back. Think of yourselves not as two individuals having a disagreement, but as two business representatives trying to work out the most mutually beneficial business deal. Speak in a calm tone, explain the situation with professional precision, and avoid getting into arguments.

There’s little you can do if your client behaves rudely. But if you make an effort to avoid retaliating in kind, you can prevent the conflict from getting worse. 

6. Consider Matching Their Request 

In some situations, you may be able to get some concessions from the client that make their request a little fairer. Just be sure you don’t insult them in the process.

“If the client asks for something outrageous,” Shortpress’s Sam McKeith suggests, “it can sometimes pay off to deflect with something equally as impossible.” 

Say a client asks for a massive discount. You could say that discount is available if they lock into a two-year contract or if they refer you to their own clients. This way, you can turn an extreme request into an opportunity for new business. 

7. Keep the End Goal in Mind 

Clients can often have you running around in circles as you try to meet their every whim. What they forget is that their own actions are delaying completion of their project. 

It’s your responsibility to keep the end goal in focus. Avoid letting them sidetrack you with irrelevant requests. Remind your client what you’re there for, and emphasize that it’s in their best interest to focus your joint energies on that end goal. 

8. If All Else Fails, End the Partnership

“Firing” a client can and should be a last resort. After all, they’re the one who initially hired you. But a client relationship that isn’t mutually beneficial isn’t worth maintaining. 

Remember that your company is in the business of making money, not providing charity to your clients. If an overbearing client is costing more in terms of manpower and morale than what they pay you, it may be time to end the relationship. 

Keep opportunity costs in mind. Your team could better use its time serving the clients that value their relationship with you. Your efforts could improve retention, generate more upsells, and create a healthier business in the long run. 

In most cases, though, consulting your contract, listening to your client, and communicating openly is enough to ease client challenges. Either way, professionalism and honesty go a long way toward encouraging clients to better respect your time. 

How Much Does Your Workspace Affect Your Productivity?

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How Much Does Your Workspace Affect Your Productivity?

Our physical environments have a major impact on our well-being. If you fall asleep in your bedroom with the lights on and the TV blasting do you think you’ll have a good night’s rest?

The same can be said about your workspace. If it’s filthy, cluttered and located in a dreary basement with no light — the likelihood of a highly productive day won’t be possible.

You want a place that gives off  happy, creative, and productive vibes. An office spot that inspires you. Simply put, your workspace needs to be optimized so that you can be more efficient and productive.

With that in mind, here’s a closer look at how your workplace can affect your productivity. You can make the appropriate changes.

Desk Clutter

While a little clutter may encourage creativity, the fact of the matter is that cluttered workspaces are threatening your productivity.

For starters, when we have a messy and disorganized workplace it’s much harder to find items when you need them. For example, if you wrote down an important phone number on a post-it and it’s somewhere in a pile of papers, how much time will waste looking for it? Even worse, there’s a good possibility that it’s gone for good.

In case you’re curious, the average American spends 2.5 days annually looking for misplaced items. It also costs households a whooping $2.7 billion a year in replacement costs.

Secondly, neuroscientists at Princeton University have found that physical clutter negatively affects your focus and ability to process information. That’s because instead of focusing on the task at hand that workspace clutter is distracting you. What’s more, clutter like multitasking forces you to shift focus, overload your senses, reduces creative thinking, and makes you feel more stressed.

This doesn’t mean that your workspace needs to be Mr. Clean approved every day. It just means that it should be tidy and organized so that you can easily locate items when needed and eliminate being distracted.

If this is a challenge, here’s a couple of ways to get started:

  • File your documents and properly identify them using folders.
  • Trash any documents you no longer need.
  • Group notes by priority and chuck any notes pertaining to completed tasks.
  • Keep frequently used items nearby.
  • Give everything a home and return them when not being used.
  • Label items so that you can locate them when needed.

Background Noise

Unless you’re in solitude, there’s most likely going to be background noise from others talking. It could be your spouse on the phone while you’re working at home, a couple chit chatting next to you at the coffee shop, or co-workers gossiping next to your desk.

This isn’t just annoying and distracting, it’s also the hardest noise to tune out.

Here’s where this harms your productivity. You spend a lot of energy attempting to filter out this type of background noise. As a result, you deplete your executive functions faster and have to work harder than you have to. That’s definitely not good.

To block out background noise from others, try to find a quiet space when working on your most important and challenging tasks. If that’s not an option, then you might want to invest in some noise-cancelling headphones and download an app like Noisli or White Noise.

Lighting and Color

Did you know that Americans on average spend 90 percent of their time indoors? That’s not just depressing, it also proves that we need more access to natural light.

Alan Hedge, a professor in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University, conducted a study that found that “workers in daylit office environments reported an 84 percent drop in symptoms of eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision symptoms, which can detract from productivity.”

Additionally, the study found that employees sitting next to a window reported a two percent increase in productivity.

“The study found that optimizing the amount of natural light in an office significantly improves health and wellness among workers, leading to gains in productivity,” said Hedge. “As companies increasingly look to empower their employees to work better and be healthier, it is clear that placing them in office spaces with optimal natural light should be one of their first considerations.”

If you don’t have access to natural light work under “blue-enriched” light bulbs that are 17,000K. These bulbs can boost work performance by supporting mental acuity, vitality, and alertness. Researchers at the University of Greenwich discovered that those working under “blue-enriched light bulbs” reported feeling “happier, more alert and had less eye strain.”

Besides proper lighting, choose the right color for your job. For instance, since red is stimulating it’s a great fit for those in physically-demanding jobs. Blue and green are calming and aids in concentration so it’s ideal for office workers. Yellow is perfect for innovators and entrepreneurs because it sparks creativity.

Add Plants and Artwork

One of the simplest, and most effective ways to optimize your workspace is by surrounding yourself with a plant or two. Researchshows that office plants can reduce stress, improve attention capacity, and help employees recover from demanding activities.

On top of surrounding yourself with plants, bring-in some artwork as well.

As Karen Higginbottom writes in Forbes, “Research by Exeter University’s School of Psychology found that employees who have control over the design and layout of their workspace are not only happier and healthier — they’re also up to 32 percent more productive.”

Temperature

There was another study conducted by Cornell that found when employees are cold they make more mistakes, while warmer workers perform better.

To find this out, researchers recorded the amount of time employees in an insurance office keyboarded and the amount of time they spent correcting errors. For this specific study they used an environmental variable; temperature.

“At 77 degrees Fahrenheit, the workers were keyboarding 100 percent of the time with a 10 percent error rate, but at 68 degrees, their keying rate went down to 54 percent of the time with a 25 percent error rate,” said our friend Alan Hedge.

“Temperature is certainly a key variable that can impact performance.”

Ergonomics

“One of the surprising factors that can affect productivity is workplace ergonomics,” writes Kayla Sloan in a previous Calendar article. “Not everyone buys into the concept, but it truly does have an impact.”

This actually makes a lot of sense since ergonomics can help reduce health risks. Poorly designed workstations can definitely affect your back, hands, wrists, and joints. As a result you feel drained and are focused on how much you ache. Productivity can drop if you have little aches here and there. When this happens — you may not even know it’s pain because you have gotten so used to b being uncomfortable.

Here’s a couple of ways that you can change the ergonomic environments around in your office — even your home office:

  • Invest in an ergonomic chair.
  • Position your computer screen correctly by using a screen or laptop support.
  • Use a palm rest on your chair can help keep everything aligned when you are typing.
  • Keep your hand, wrist, and forearm aligned when using your mouse — the palm rest can help with this situation as well.
  • Use footrests so that you can rest your feet naturally. Much of the ergonomic sense is according to your height and weight.

Air Quality

Finally, after a 10 year study researchers at Columbia, the University of Southern California, and the University of California, San Diego found that air pollution like dust in the air, carbon emissions, and forest fires can lower productivity.

Plants and air filters can help improve the air quality in your workspace. However, if there is a pollutant that you can’t reduce, you may have to set-up shop in a location that has better air quality.

8 Best Employee Perks on a Budget

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8 Best Employee Perks on a Budget

When business is good, your employees should share some of the reward for the work they do every day. One obvious way to keep your workers motivated and encouraged is to provide a good benefits package. Tossing an extra perk or two into the mix could well prove a deciding factor in your ability to attract and retain hard-working employees.

Your business might be dealing with a tighter budget these days due to the recent pandemic, or perhaps you’re managing a new startup without a lot of wiggle room. It is possible, though, to offer your employees a few perks without breaking the bank. Here are just a few ideas:

1. Offer a Flexible Schedule

Time is everyone’s most valuable asset; it’s the one thing that can’t possibly be replaced. Consider allowing your employees to spend their time the way they’d prefer.

Of course, every employee will need to put in a certain number of hours every week, but allowing at least some flexibility can provide a boost to morale. You might even be surprised to find that this perk increases productivity.

As long as deadlines are met, an employee coming in a little late or leaving early shouldn’t be a huge cause for concern. Pushing this idea one step further, consider offering remote work options that allow trusted employees to transition away from the office to home as needed. Being allowed to finish projects at home allows workers to stay connected to family and keep office stress levels to a minimum.

2. Keep It Casual … Within Reason

When employees need to be in the office, allow casual clothing as long as it stays appropriate and is not a distraction. Giving employees some leeway to decorate their own offices increases their comfort. This sort of freedom is greatly appreciated and can be implemented without any additional bottom-line cost.

Be aware that you might need to enforce an occasional upgrade to employee dress code on days when potential client meetings are held on site. Be clear with all of your employees about what you expect on special days and the impression you wish to make. Casual wear can be great for spurring creativity, but it might not be the best choice when courting investors.

3. Offer Employee Discounts

Whenever possible, extend an employee discount on your products and services. This can be a welcome bonus if your product is highly desirable or your service is needed on a regular basis. If you run a cleaning company, say, provide a discounted price for employees requesting the service or a discount on supplies they can take home.

Maybe your company doesn’t offer products or services employees need. A worker at a marketing firm won’t have much call for those services unless they’re launching a business of their own. In this case, get creative as you look for partnerships with other companies. Maybe your company could offer in-kind services to a local restaurant. Offer to run a marketing campaign for them in exchange for food vouchers you can distribute to your team.

4. Invest in Wellness Programs

The health of your employees should be a top priority. Many companies already offer some form of health insurance, but expanding on those plans can be cost-prohibitive. Fortunately, there are other health and wellness perks you can offer in the meantime.

For example, some gym memberships cost as little as $10 a month, and they will enable your employees to manage their health more effectively. Vouchers for spas, physical therapy, or massage studios are another wellness perk you can offer your team.

5. Consider Expanding Paid Time Off

Everyone appreciates getting a day off with pay. While you can’t be expected to pay your team to do nothing continuously, offering an extra day off every so often will score huge points. You send a strong signal to your employees that you value them as human beings and see them as more than productivity machines. An extra Friday off gives employees a chance to plan a short-term vacation without worrying about lost income.

Even better, giving employees the option to either take a paid day off or accept those hours as additional pay puts them in control of your largesse. Hopefully, you have at least a few employees who love what they do and would be grateful to get a little extra cash instead.

6. Provide Opportunities for Professional Development

Take an active interest in your team members’ career goals. Check in with them regularly to ask how they’d like to expand their skill sets. Your company will benefit as your employees expand their network and take advantage of opportunities to advance their career. You don’t want to become known as an employer that holds people back.

As appropriate, send your employees to conferences, speaking engagements, and networking events as they become available. If possible, offer assistance for any college courses or online classes employees are taking to hone new skills. As you invest in their future, you’re likely to benefit from improved work performance — and greater loyalty.

7. Promote Ride-Sharing and Office Commute Assistance

Most employees have to commute to the office every day. Managers can look for ways to make drive time a bit more bearable by offering fuel credits or bus cards as an alternative. Once the pandemic passes, organizing an office carpool would help employees save money and appeal to those who want to minimize their environmental impact.

Some companies are even offering a fleet of office bicycles as a clean alternative to cars. When the weather permits, employees living relatively close to the office can choose to leave their car in the lot overnight and get a little fitness time as well.

8. Host Informal, Upbeat Company Activities

Holding some after-hours activities is a great way to bring your team closer together. Company activities can be a nice employee perk as long as the events are properly planned and you make it clear that participation is 100% optional.

If your budget allows for it, look into discounted group tickets for athletic events, movies, or other entertainment. You might even think about offsetting the cost of babysitters or otherwise helping those with families enjoy a worry-free night out.

Take some time to see what your company can reasonably offer without sacrificing its stability. Offering your team one perk is better than nothing, and you want to be able to offer something without regretting it later. Perks are best offered with an open hand and a sincere heart.

7 Valentine’s Day Celebrations for Your Remote Team

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7 Valentine’s Day Celebrations for Your Remote Team

Love might be in the air, but so is the coronavirus. With a record number of employees working from home, it can be difficult to maintain much emotional connection — let alone affection — by gazing longingly into a Zoom meeting.

Ask any member of your remote team; it’s been difficult to build strong relationships when you spend all day working from home. The upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday might provide a fun opportunity for concerned managers to playfully disrupt the usual routine. 

Remote work highlights the need for increased creativity when it comes to planning online get-togethers. Here are a few thoughts for leveraging the technology many of us are using anyway to take a unique approach to celebrating Valentine’s Day:

1. Send Virtual Valentine’s Day Cards

Bring back fond elementary school memories by sending humorous Valentine’s Day cards to all your team members. Sending virtual cards is inexpensive, but it still makes the point that you are thinking of your employees even though they aren’t in the office.

Personalize your messages using inside jokes and company flair. If you have photo editing skills, have fun swapping a manager’s face with the Mona Lisa or put your accountant on the back of a love-crazed velociraptor. Stay workplace-appropriate, though; you should assume everyone will see every card you create.

2. Have Special Lunches Delivered

Brush up on your logistics expertise and host multisite lunch. If you’re really brave, you could even schedule a meeting with your remote team and attempt to coordinate food delivery for 15-30 minutes after the start time. By doing so, you turn a routine meeting into a surprise virtual meal together.

Food delivery services have been going full throttle since COVID-19 struck, so you should be able to coordinate lunch delivery for everyone. Providing a free lunch might not sound like a big deal, but this is an opportunity for you to level up your management game. Start by discovering each employee’s preferences. They’re certain to feel valued when they go to the front door to find their favorite dish from their favorite restaurant. 

3. Introduce Employee Spotlights

Do you regularly highlight positive things about your employees? If not, consider using Valentine’s Day to launch a new weekly spotlight feature. How you shine the spotlight is up to you — special email, verbal praise, whatever works best. 

Take time as a company leader to highlight each individual and say why your company loves them. Doing this in an online forum provides an opportunity for all employees to learn more about each other as human beings, not just co-workers. 

4. Host an Online Karaoke Competition

Keeping your introverts in mind, consider hosting a quirky event that allows everyone to participate without feeling overwhelmed. Hosting a karaoke event online allows your showboats to strut their stuff while letting your more self-conscious employees join in on the laughter without feeling pressured to perform.

Hosting a karaoke event using video conferencing software is typically simple. Use screen sharing to post lyrics and have one of your team members take primary responsibility for supplying the music feed. Whether or not you record the event is up to you. 

5. Schedule a Virtual Wine, Chocolate, or Food Tasting

Here’s another unique event that managers can use to demonstrate how much they know and appreciate their employees. Not every employee drinks wine, of course, and some are doing their best to avoid sweets. By creating a list of your employees and jotting down the treats you know they enjoy, you promote team spirit and signal that you are paying attention.

The key to any food-themed virtual event will be making sure that everyone receives their special treat in time to participate. You can also encourage your employees to take fun photos and upload them to social media using a special hashtag tied to the event theme. You’ll get bonus points if you take time to curate those images and put together a creative collage for the office.

6. Hold a ‘Secret Valentine’ Event

You’ve heard of Secret Santa. This year, why not try a Secret Valentine gift exchange? Randomly assign each remote team member a co-worker for whom to be a Secret Valentine. Set a price limit on what can be purchased (remembering to include shipping) and offer to provide ideas for each recipient. Set a deadline for delivery so every employee will be sure to receive their Secret Valentine gift on the day.

7. Play a Valentine-Themed Game

Schedule a game that can be played virtually and put a Valentine’s Day spin on it. A game of Jeopardy! featuring questions about love and relationships can provide a lot of laughter. Just be sure to keep questions pitched at a PG-13 level or below. Offer gift cards for the first, second, and third prize winners.

Other games to consider include Pictionary, Charades, and 20 Questions. Choose activities you know your team will enjoy and plan them out in advance so they run smoothly. Have a Plan B close at hand should technology fail you at a crucial moment.

Everyone had a tough time of it in 2020. In 2021, go the extra mile on Valentine’s Day to let your employees know that you care about them.

Small Business Owners and Social Media: How Much Time to Spend Online

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Small Business Owners and Social Media: How Much Time to Spend Online

Are you running a small business or offering freelance services? One thing you’ve probably heard by now is to establish a strong social media presence and start marketing yourself online.

It’s true, many entrepreneurs have been able to make a name for themselves and grow their customers and client list by effectively utilizing social media. Social media is free, but it can also cost you quite a bit in terms of your time. Social media was designed to help people connect online, but its algorithms today are often geared toward keeping people scrolling mindlessly all day long. So how much time should small business owners spend on social media truly?

Are you spending too much or not enough time on social platforms or do you even need social media at all? Here’s how to consider the right amount of social media for you.

Setting Social Media Goals

If you’re going to get on social media for your small business, it’s important to set clear goals that you’d like to achieve as a result. For example, most people just go online to see what they can find or gain some new followers. However, you’ll need to get more specific than that if you want to make the most of your time.

Do you want to post 5 promotions per month for your products or services? Do you want to gain 500 followers organically during the first 90 days? Is your goal to build yourself up as an authority figure and lead people back to your website to do business with you?

Narrow down what your true goals for social media are and how they contribute to the success of your business. Having a clear focus can help you eliminate time wasted browsing on social media or getting stumped on what to share.

Decide Which Platform You’ll Start On

I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t try to be on every social media platform if it doesn’t serve a purpose for your business. If you’re selling clothes, you may not find a ton of value on Twitter but find that Instagram helps you communicate with your target audience.

Look at the type of business you have and the services you offer. See how certain social media platforms might fit in with your offering and goals is key. If you’re wondering how much time small business owners already spend on social media, a Vertical Response survey indicated that 43% spend 6 hours per week on social media marketing.

If this fits in with your schedule then great, if not or you find you’re spending a ton of hours on social media, try to limit the numbers of platforms you’re on to only the ones that serve you best.

Allow Extra Time to Implement a Launch Plan

Realize that actually getting established on social media may take up more time than maintaining your profile and scheduling posts. Allow extra room in your schedule to complete and optimize your social media profile(s) and create some cohesive branding.

For Facebook, you may want to create an offer or make sure your phone number and address are added to your page details. For Instagram, you may want to create a bio link that leads to some of your top content, advice, or service pages on your website. With Pinterest, you’ll have to set aside time to create images for your content and write all your board descriptions.

That said, small business owners may spend much more time on social media in the beginning stages until an effective strategy is determined.

Spend Less Time With a Social Media Strategy

So now you know the good is that you don’t have to spend more than 1 hour per day on social media if you don’t want to. Yet, you can still get some great results from having a social presence. Small business owners don’t even have to get on social media each day if it’s not the main driver of profit for the business.

Instead, develop a proven strategy based on your goals and what works. Find out who your ideal follower or customer is and what they’d like to see on your social profile. Track analytics to see how much traffic or business you’re already getting from social media, then make tweaks and test out new strategies.

One thing I enjoy doing to save time is scheduling out my posts on social media in advance. This helps me stay active on the platform and continue to provide value to others without spending too much unnecessary time on social media.

Allocate Time Fairly Among Other Marketing Efforts

Small business owners and social media can be a great mix but realize that social media is often just one aspect of a marketing plan. Sure, adding social media to your marketing tasks may help you save money, but you should always diversify your marketing and test out other strategies.

If you’re marketing in several places, you won’t be limiting yourself to certain clients or customers who will find your business another way. Take email marketing for example. Some people are actually more responsive to emails than they are on social media. In fact, email marketing converts better for some business genres and unlike social media, you actually own your list and can’t get kicked off the platform.

Summary: Small Business and Social Media

In summary, I wouldn’t spend too much time on social media unless it’s returning sizeable profits for your business. Even 5 hours per week is 260 hours per year. If you calculate the value social media has added to your business, you’ll have to determine if that time is worth it to you. I would ramp up social media efforts as business leads and profits grow as a result, but get clear on your goals and narrow down a specific strategy first.

Find ways to work smart while establishing your social presence and don’t neglect other forms of marketing as well.

10 Reasons You Should Have a Calendar Cancellation Policy

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10 Reasons You Should Have a Calendar Cancellation Policy

Let me first start by saying, you should have a calendar cancellation policy.

Whether you use your calendar to book appointments with customers or schedule meetings with your team, last minute cancellations aren’t just frustrating. They’re also costly, time-consuming, and can throw your entire schedule out-of-whack. But, that’s just scratching the surface.

Here are the 10 reasons why should have a calendar cancellation policy and how to get started.

1. Protects your valuable time (and income).

Protecting your time is the main reason why you have any cancellation policy. Whenever someone cancels a meeting or appointment at the last minute that’s wasting your time. The actual block of time set aside for the event is essential, but you will also need time to prep and make sure your technology is ready for a virtual meeting. How infuriating is it to find out the meeting was canceled while you’re preparing to meet with them — and you weren’t informed?

Additionally, cancellations eat into your income. You would have spent this time working on work factors, like marketing and networking. That commute, if it was not a virtual meeting, has now eaten into your profit. If you’re in the service industry, you now have an open time slot where you’re not bringing in any money.

While emergencies happen, and they’re often unpredictable, they are rare. Cancellation policies encourage others to follow through with their commitments to you. For example, you could charge a fee for anyone who cancels within 24 hours. While this doesn’t address emergencies, this policy will help drastically reduce no-shows. Even if someone does have to cancel — at least you can recoup some time and it’s not a complete loss.

2. Reduces late arrivals.

Canceling a meeting or appointment is costly. However, so too are late arrivals since they’ve just pushed everything else on your calendar back. For instance, if a customer arrives 30 minutes late, that means all of your other customers are forced to wait. Tardiness will impact you, other clients and all of their schedules.

You could have an option where if the other party is late — let’s say by 10 minutes — then their time slot will be forfeited to someone else. If an employee is running late to a meeting, then they could be charged cash, budgets, or bonuses. Or, you could remove them from the meeting invite and proceed as planned. While you may be able to share the minutes with them, they could be missing out on crucial information and discussions — it also doesn’t give them the appearance of being a team player.

3. Gives you a chance to plug holes in your schedule.

The sooner someone cancels an appointment or meeting, the more opportunities you have to fill that time slot. For instance, you could generate a waiting list so that if a customer cancels the day before an appointment, you have someone that can be booked into that slot. Doing so is another way to protect your time and money.

What if you can’t fill the time slot? You could then rearrange your schedule so that you can finally get around to tasks that you’ve been putting off. Maybe you could use this time to clean out your inbox, organize your workplace, or do a little networking on social media. Even though you no longer have an appointment or meeting, at least your calendar can be filled with productive activities.

4. Holds everyone accountable.

When everyone knows that there are repercussions for missing a session or meeting, then they’re less likely to cancel at the last minute. These consequences could make accountability through cancellation fees. Another option would be a loss of privileges. For example, if a team member has rescheduled a meeting on several different occasions, they could be taken off the calendar invite.

In short, having a calendar cancellation policy keeps you, your employees, and customers on-track.

5. Establishes mutual respect.

In a perfect world, everyone who requests your time would honor that obligation. Unfortunately, we don’t live in such a world. While not always the norm some people believe that their time is more valuable than yours. As a result, they have no qualms in backing out on a meeting or appointment as they see fit.

Establishing a cancellation policy clearly sets expectations and lets them know that your time is just as precious as theirs. It informs them that you’re a professional whose expertise, knowledge and time should be respected. What’s more, it also lets them know that you will follow through with the commitment and are respectful of their time. As a consequence, this creates mutual respect and builds trust.

6. Allows you to vet others.

Whenever you add events to your calendar, you’re creating a document that you can refer to for future scheduling. For instance, you can generate recurring team meetings or appointments with customers. Even better, smart calendars that harness machine learning can automatically add these repeating events to your schedule.

However, there’s an added benefit. It maintains a record of canceling and rescheduling appointments. If you are aware that you have a client, customer, or employee who has a track record of rescinding appointments, then you can choose to no longer conduct business with them.

7. Lets you incentive regular attendance.

On the flip side, you can reward those who always honor their appointments with you. For example, if you have a customer who has never canceled a meeting then you could thank them with a discount on future services.

Not only will this show your gratitude, and reward them for their excellent behavior, but it will also encourage them to continue supporting your business. You may even notice that they schedule even more appointments than anticipated.

8. Adds flexibility.

We’ve all had one of these days when everything that could go wrong does. Instead of punishing people for something that was entirely out of their hands, you could be more empathetic.

Let’s say that a client got a flat tire while on their way to meet with you. You could have it in your policy that if there if is availability on the same they can book that time slot with you without any consequence. They’ll not only appropriate this courtesy, which builds rapport, but it also ensures that you’re still maintaining cash flow for that day.

9. Controls how others can share calendar information.

Using a shared calendar keeps everyone on the same page, avoids surprises, boosts productivity and manages workload, deadlines, tasks, and milestones. But, what if that shared calendar is no longer relevant?

For instance, your team just completed a project, or a team member is no longer with your organization? You can then remove their access to the shared calendar. It’s a simple way to avoid sharing the wrong information with the wrong people and controlling who has access to the information included in the calendar. Additionally, it eliminates any confusion regarding the shared calendar.

10. Ensures that you keep control of your schedule.

Finally, whenever someone commits to following your specific scheduling rules, you’re able to take full control of your schedule. That may not sound all that important. But, when you permit others to take charge of your time, it prevents you from addressing your priorities.

Setting your calendar cancellation policy.

If you’ve never created such a procedure, here’s what you should keep in mind when establishing your calendar cancellation policy:

Understand why and when most people cancel.

  • If someone cancels because of an emergency at the last minute, a fee will only make them more upset. At the same time, if people are missing a lot of appointments then consider if it’s on your end. A simple resolution could be sending them SMS or email reminders. I would track when people cancel so that you can identify patterns. Maybe a 24-hour reminder isn’t enough of a notice. In this situation, you start issuing reminder 2 or 3 days in advance.

Determine protocols.

  • Figure out if you will charge a cancellation fee and how much. Also, determine how much notice is required for a cancellation and rescheduling time slots.

Clearly state your policy.

  • It should be short, easy to understand, and include relevant information like a timeframe for cancellation and preferred communication methods.

Make sure the policy is visible.

  • Post your cancellation policy in your office and website. Include it in all documents. And, attach the policy to the reminders that you send.

Communicate the policy with your team.

  • You want to make sure that there is consistency. When your team isn’t on the same page, this can create confusion within your organization and customers.

Is your calendar public or private?

  • Regardless if you’re using an online calendar or appointment scheduling software or not — you can determine if you want your calendar to be shared publicly or privately. What’s more, you can control how much information you want to share. For example, there’s probably no need for everyone to know what your schedule is like outside of work. In this case, you would only want to share your work calendar.
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