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How to Set Up Your Employees for Success

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How to Set Up Employees Success

Managing a team can be incredibly rewarding, but it’s a challenge that must be taken seriously. As a manager or team leader, it is your responsibility to set your employees and team members up for success. Their performance will reflect on your capabilities as a leader.

There are many ways for you to help your employees reach the next level, but is there a best way? That largely depends on your team and their needs. Consider implementing these ideas to help your employees be more successful than ever.

Provide Easy Access to Helpful Resources and Guides

There are so many advantages you can extend to your employees beyond a regular paycheck. To set them up for success, providing additional resources is a must. For example, many full-time employees get access to benefits packages, such as health insurance and retirement contributions, so they don’t have to seek out these things individually.

The resources you supply to your employees can go far beyond the basics. Consider making safety and training manuals easily accessible to your team. Referring to this information may help employees improve their job performance without the need for a formal training meeting or direct supervision.

Set Them Up With Project Management Software

It’s amazing how the addition of one simple tool can completely transform how your employees work. Implementing project management software may help your team increase productivity and improve efficiency. Using this program will make it so much easier for your employees to succeed every single day.

Project management software became more popular during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. With many companies shifting to a remote workforce, this tool allowed team members to effectively communicate and collaborate even when working from separate locations. The same software is helpful for teams that are hybrid or in person, too.

With project management software, you can store important documents, send instant messages to anyone within the organization, and plan out projects in detail with assigned roles, deadlines, and to-do lists. These functions will streamline so much of what your employees are already doing.

Help Them Manage Their Time

No one likes to be the person who snaps at employees to get back to work. Instead of resorting to such behavior, try teaching your team members to manage their time more effectively. Higher efficiency, due to improved time management, will allow for more lightheartedness in the office, along with many other benefits to job performance.

Team scheduling software is an easy place to start. This will make shift scheduling simple, which is especially useful for companies with numerous part-time employees and inconsistent schedules. Team calendars, scheduling links, and time management training are other measures to take into consideration.

Provide Excellent Hiring, Onboarding, and HR

Setting your employees up for success begins the day they are hired. Your hiring and onboarding process determines how quickly new hires can hit the ground running and how supported they feel right out of the gate. A good onboarding process will also help you maintain higher retention rates, allowing you to continue working with the same team long-term.

When hiring, be sure to establish fair expectations during the interview process. Be honest about the nature of the job and what you expect from the role the new hire will fill. Being transparent about your company and its operations also helps new employees be better prepared when gearing up for their first day.

Onboarding is the process of getting a new member of the organization trained and acclimated as quickly and effectively as possible. A great way to do this is to run a mentorship program. A veteran employee can take a new hire under their wing to answer their questions and teach them how to complete tasks efficiently. Mentorship also enables new team members to create friendships early on for quick team-building and camaraderie that will lead to your team’s success.

Keep in Touch

In addition to everything else you do, it’s important to check in regularly with each of your employees. Implementing weekly or monthly check-ins will help with accountability and progress reporting. It also gives you numerous opportunities to touch base with each team member and ask for their feedback on various topics.

Your employees have a pretty good idea of what they need to help them succeed and can share with you a different perspective on workplace matters. For instance, you might have no idea that the breakroom microwave needs to be replaced because you never use it. While that may be a small and silly example, the point still stands. Keeping in touch with employees will allow them to communicate these types of concerns and other more important issues.

Constant communication between management and employees is essential for success. Listening to your employees’ feedback can lead to innovative ideas that improve your business and increase the trust shared between both sides.

When your employees succeed, you succeed. Give some of these tips a try and watch how your employees grow and improve within your organization.

Image Credit: Alexander Suhorucov; Pexels; Thank you!

5 Tips for Establishing Solid Business Processes From the Start

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5 Tips Establishing Solid Business Processes

Being an entrepreneur is fulfilling and empowering, but it can also be incredibly difficult. Only 20% of startups remain in operation after their first two years. That number only gets higher over time.

There are numerous reasons why businesses fail. Sometimes it’s due to changes in supply and demand or because you were in the right place but at the wrong time. One very common reason, however, is a lack of operational efficiency.

To avoid becoming another statistic, you should do everything in your power to establish solid business processes from the inception of your startup. Here are five ways to accomplish that.

1. Lean on Software

Since you’re starting from scratch, the best approach is to establish business processes that are supported by software programs. Get these programs into place before your doors open for the first time, and your new business will be in a very good place.

For example, if you have online appointment software set up in advance, you can start booking appointments before your business officially opens. You’ll have a good influx of customers right out of the gate and a system that already works well from day one.

Software can be used to improve business processes in bookkeeping and finance, customer relationship management, and team collaboration. Just be careful when adding new software to your organization. If there are solutions that don’t integrate, they will become difficult and complicated to manage.

2. Train to Get Ahead

The bulk of your training should occur before your business gets started. If you save most of the training for later, you’ll be playing catch-up. A well-trained workforce will be much more efficient and proficient, so much so that it’s worth pushing back your business opening to make sure training is done right.

Start with those software programs you have set up for your business. Make sure that every employee is comfortable with this software before they’re asked to put it to use. With proper training for each tool, there will be fewer problems and delays in the opening stages of your business.

3. Learn From Others

You can discover a lot by analyzing the failures and successes of other businesses. You can learn from the errors they committed and take note of how they did the things that turned out well. This will provide you with a list of dos and don’ts for running your business at full capacity right from the start.

Let’s say you’re opening up a bakery. Before you fire up the ovens on your first day, take a look at other local food establishments to see what you can learn from them. Do they all use the same point-of-sale system, and if so, what’s the reason for that? Do they use similar methods of staffing that appear to aid in productivity? Having this information up front can be incredibly valuable because it eliminates a lot of the trial and error new businesses experience.

Networking is also a valuable practice for new business owners. By speaking with experienced professionals, you can get tips on establishing solid business practices in the beginning. Not only that, but through networking, you can learn which suppliers are reliable and efficient and establish relationships with them.

4. Build Workflows and Workforces

Whether it’s creating a product or providing a service, there is a workflow that gets you and your customer from point A to point B. The more straightforward this workflow is, the more consistent and efficient the process will be as a whole. When building your preliminary workflows, try to keep them as linear as possible. More moving parts mean more room for error.

You should also be building your workforce and directing them toward efficiency. Every member of your team should have a defined role and title. This way they’ll always know what their responsibilities are and where they need to turn for help.

5. Track Data From the Start

While it’s good to be prepared, you can’t keep pushing off your grand opening until every aspect of your business model is flawless. What you can do instead is kick your business off and start tracking relevant metrics immediately.

Using real-time data, you can make small adjustments to your business as soon as you open. Examples of useful data metrics include website traffic, sales numbers, and social media engagement. The sooner you start tracking data, the quicker it can be put to use.

It’s important to take sample size into consideration as well. You should give your business at least a little bit of time to accumulate data on such things as daily customer traffic and sales. That way you can be working with averages rather than outliers. You’ll know the data you collect will represent accurate information that has been sustained over time.

The earliest stages of your business can be the most important ones. It’s important to get started on the right foot so you can hit the ground running. Implementing these tips can help your business enjoy a stellar opening and pave the way toward longevity and prosperity.

Image Credit: Anna Shvets; Pexels; Thank you!

6 Ways to Make Your Meetings More Productive

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Six Ways Make Meetings More Productive

Organizations must improve their ability to have productive meetings to become more successful. How can managers help bring meetings with a better outcome?

Meetings take up a lot of our time at work, but how much do they truly accomplish? According to Korn Ferry’s study, meetings rarely do what we set out to accomplish. Furthermore, more than two-thirds (67%) of employees report that spending too much time in meetings and on phone conversations prevented them from having an effective workday.

Organizations must improve their ability to have productive meetings to become more successful. This topic has been of much interest in the last few years. Are we getting better with our meetings and making them produce what we set out to create? So, what can leaders and managers do to help bring about better meeting results?

The Front Stage Meetings

1. Think of the meeting as the ‘front stage,’ and prepare for them by working hard on the ‘backstage.’ And don’t ignore the priorities.

“While many meetings are routine,” says Dr. Shameen Prashantham, professor of international business and strategy at China Europe International Business School and author of Gorillas Can Dance, “others feel there should still be an improvement to meetings on every level.”

2. Give yourself time to “check-in.”

We never start a meeting without ‘checking in,’ says Fiona Logan, CEO of Insights, a worldwide people development firm. Checking in with each person briefly enables participants to completely participate by discussing what’s on their minds, how they’re feeling, or what they want to gain from the meeting. Then the meeting becomes a time management situation.

Checking in, according to Logan, helps individuals understand and empathize with their colleagues, fostering connection and trust. It also allows them to change their mentality from before the meeting to where they need to be during the session.

“This promotes participant participation, which typically leads to a happy and effective meeting,” she explains. Logan also suggests scheduling 45-minute meetings instead of hour-long sessions since it keeps everyone engaged for the length of the discussion.

Productive Focus

3. Focus on results rather than updates even when considering your new software or scheduling apps.

Suppose executives evaluate the expense of bringing their colleagues together for the conference. Some believe that meetings must provide at least twice as much value as they used to. Prepare by thinking about outputs, not updates, the next time you chair a meeting and make it as output-oriented as possible so that everyone arrives at the table with their thinking hat on and not their dinner plans.

4. Distribute reports ahead of time.

“Don’t waste meeting time presenting papers,” urges Annelise Ly, an associate professor at the Norwegian School of Economics and a CEMS Global Alliance in Management Education member. Instead, ask your partners to read information ahead of time and go right into the topic when you meet. The direct approach keeps people interested and cuts down on meeting time.

5. Take command of the discussion. Know when time is being wasted.

“Deep discussion and disagreement in meetings is a critical trait for creating innovation and ensuring that teams will grow and prosper,” says David Liddle, CEO of TCM and author of Transformational Culture. However, he cautions that heated debate may quickly devolve into something harmful and dysfunctional.

Managers can no longer afford to sit back and let the argument evolve. Instead, a manager needs to lead by taking on the role of facilitator. Liddle contends that providing safe places where open, honest debate can take place, and a variety of views can be put forth, leads to better team acceptance and fosters a tighter-knit group.

“Helping our people to disagree constructively,” says Liddle, “is the goal of healthy discussion.”

6. When gathering electronically, plan and speak in short spurts.

Everyone has had ‘Zoom fatigue,” says one prominent doctor of business, Dr. Amanda Nimon-Peters of Hult International Business School in the United Kingdom. Dr. Nimon-Peters is also the author of the forthcoming book Working With Influence. She continues, “That’s because, when we stupidly approach virtual meetings as if they were real meetings, they become tiresome and unpleasant.”

While our technology has advanced to allow for distant meetings, Nimon-Peters points out that our minds have not.
We suffer subconscious discomfort because of a perceived closeness that the simulated distance between video conference participants.

Successful online teams, according to Nimon-Peters, interact in bursts rather than in back-to-back, conference-length conversations. Participants must also plan ahead of time to make their time together as productive and interesting as possible.

Are all Meetings Poppycock?

Not at all. No meeting has to be futile or pointless. The key is to get to the main points of the meeting and get to it first. Be prepared ahead of time and never hesitate to redirect the conversation.

If things are not going as planned — don’t be afraid to close one door and open another — one that’s more productive. Don’t facilitate the time wasters, over-talkers, or indecisive ones. Instead, come with a plan, execute that plan — then leave on time.

Image Credit: Fauxels; Pexels; Thank you!

Six Ways to Make Your Meetings More Productive was originally published on Calendar by Hunter Meine.

Pivot to Your Successful Calendar in 2022

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Pivot Successful Calendar 2022

Only a month of the way into 2022 and this year already seems to be looking up compared to the craziness of the last two years. The COVID-19 vaccine was rolled out to reasonable success, and businesses are beginning to thrive once more. The holidays were great, and we’re moving forward, hoping summer vacations won’t be limited with Omicron, or something else. With this positive outlook in mind, it’s a prime time for personal development and achievement.

Time management is the key ingredient behind personal progression. Using a tool such as your Calendar allows you to harness your time and daily efforts to make things happen in your favor. A lot can be achieved through proper time management, but avoid the tricky mistakes that may slow you down.

During this first quarter, take the time to assess your time management skills and pivot to your best Calendar success, making this year the best ever.

Here are some things you can look for to pick up your personal success pace.

Identify Working Patterns

Kick things off by celebrating your successes. Were you able to meet your daily exercise goals through successful Calendar additions? Is your side hustle growing thanks to some successful Calendar finessing that helps you be more productive in the evenings? Whatever your successes are — pat yourself on the back.

If you’ve been a big miss, don’t let that bother you — take courage and plan out the next few months of this quarter to continue to see progress on your goals. If your new morning routine helps you make time for exercise, be sure to include that schedule in your future Calendar plans. Keep track of what works and what doesn’t.

Ditch Bad Habits

Next up, it’s time to admit defeat in certain aspects of your time management. It’s okay to recognize that you spent a lot more time watching Netflix than you should have. Now’s your chance to turn things around using your Calendar.

Identify your lousy time management habits so that you can stop them in their tracks. What can you do to break the habit if you have a late-night binge-watching problem? Plan an evening activity in your Calendar, such as reading a chapter of a book, doing a chore that you have been putting off.

Think about studying a subject or investigating a skill you have wanted to work on or think about. Creative pursuits often pull me out of a bad time management issue. Thinking in this new way will help you increase your productivity.

A bonus tip: for recognizing both successful habits and destructive tendencies, take a look at your Calendar analytics. You can’t hide from the fact, and this will give you an inside view of how you’re spending your time.

Feel free to create a few events that weren’t originally planned on your Calendar or make adjustments to make your analytics more realistic. These numbers will show you what’s going the way you want, and which areas of your schedule could use some work.

Realign Your Goals

Hopefully, you haven’t forgotten those New Year’s Resolutions already? But, even if you have, this is as good a time as any to bring them back up. Scheduling a planning session to reevaluate your goals will put you back on the right track.

If you haven’t set any goals for this year or haven’t done anything to pursue them, make plans to start afresh. Organize your Calendar in a way that focuses your efforts on the goals you want to achieve. For example, you might be putting off finding a new job. Scheduling time to review your resume and write up applications helps you be accountable to your goal and take action.

For your existing goals, it’s time to evaluate your progress. Is your goal still attainable? Did you set your sights too low or too high? Realigning your goals helps you maintain productivity instead of becoming discouraged because you set the bar too high.

Try Something New

Time management perfection is different for everyone. You can’t expect to follow the daily routine of your favorite influencer and expect the same results for yourself. Instead, you need to find what works best for you and stick with it. That’s why trying something new with your Calendar can pivot your Calendar success for the rest of the year.

As an example, take a minute to fiddle with different Calendar settings. Color-coding your events or projects using a different view makes for minor adjustments — but might just be the difference-maker you need to manage your time even a little more effectively.

Take a swing at different time management techniques such as timeboxing or the Pomodoro method in an attempt to find the best methods for your personal use.

Find Your Balance

Think about your Calendar’s strengths and weaknesses — circle back and look at how you’re balancing your time. Have you only thought about how time management will help you with your professional life? While this is very important, it’s also vital that you implement a successful Calendar skill to improve your personal life. You won’t find true success until you find your life balance.

A Groupon survey shows that 60% of Americans have difficulties finding a healthy work-life balance. This is mainly because work often seeps into your extra time, making it feel like work is a 24/7 affair.

For this first quarter of the year, attempt to schedule out more personal activities in pursuit of a better balance. But, of course, you can always check your Calendar analytics page to gauge your progress.

Conclusion

Continue using your online Calendar to hone your time management. Consider taking the time this business quarter to continue evaluating your progress and note how things are going. The more diligent you are in keeping track of your time — the more you’ll be able to accomplish, and the fuller your life will be.

Image Credit: Towfiqu Barbhuiya; Pexels; Thank you!

7 Tips to Attract Success as an Entrepreneur

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7 Tips to Attract Success as an Entrepreneur

Have you heard the old quip about overnight success taking ten or more years? Anyone who’s started a business knows it’s true. Think Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. Though they’ve reached tremendous recognition now for their business acumen, they were once everyday guys. No paparazzi were following them — and they certainly weren’t carrying tickets to space. Nevertheless, they persevered and ended up at the top of the corporate food pyramid.

As an entrepreneur, you might feel like a decade’s a long time to finally get some respect from your peers. Plus, by the time you’re ten years older, you may not be any closer to success than you were. That’s a fair assessment and fear. However, the years will pass whether you take some risks or not. So you might as well reach for your dreams.

In the process, though, you don’t want to leave your likelihood of hitting the jackpot to chance. Instead, you’ll want to put yourself in a position to attract success like a magnet. How? Incorporate these strategies into your work and personal life.

1. Gain mastery of your mind.

Author and serial entrepreneur Mark Lachance talks about the idea of luck being a powerful force that you can harness in The Lucky Formula. Indeed, luck is a terrific asset to have if you’re bent on being successful. But as Lachance explains, it doesn’t happen until you master both your internal and external conditions. I especially want to focus on the former.

Too many founders allow other people to get into their heads. Those people could be well-meaning naysayers, like a spouse. Or they could be envious or spiteful, such as an angry ex-coworker. When you let other people control your thoughts and feelings, you have less ability to make clear, pragmatic choices.

Lachance writes that people who allow themselves to be influenced by others rarely experience luck — or success. How, though, do you stop giving other people rent-free space in your brain? It takes effort to start thinking for yourself. First, you have to know your goals and gather all the information you can about subjects you learn. Next, you need to stay flexible on most topics with a willingness to be firm on others. Finally, you have to practice the art again and again. Over time, you’ll find that you’re able to tap into your intelligence more easily and confidently.

2. Hire talented professionals and let them do their thing.

Just about all of us have been under the thumb of a boss who couldn’t delegate. As a TLNT piece reveals, nearly 60% of workers admit that they’d had the type of manager who just couldn’t let go. So even though you might claim you’d never micromanage, you might be surprised at how fast you can change your mind.

For instance, at the first sign of danger to your business, you might want to jump in and take over. After all, you assume that your people — even the high performers you respect and admire — couldn’t have the same passion as you. That’s where you’re wrong. If you empower and trust the people you’ve put on the payroll, you have a better chance of weathering ups and downs.

Is it tough to sit back and watch when you feel like you should be doing something? You can bet on it. However, your business will succeed if you act like a mentor instead of an ogre. If you’re not sure how to make a move to a coaching mentality, Gallup has some ideas. These include giving ongoing feedback, explaining why something should be done, and handing over ownership of projects. In time, your employees and peers will appreciate that you have faith in them, and many will exceed your expectations.

3. Take care of your physical and mental health.

Burnout is a real problem, especially among business leaders and owners. A Wall Street Journal piece written in early 2021 suggests around one-third of workers may suffer or have suffered from the condition. You can’t afford to let yourself get to the point of experiencing so much stress that you burn out completely in your position.

Remember, though, that burnout isn’t just having a few stressful days or even weeks. It’s a consistent, nagging state that presents itself differently in different people. Some become incredibly depressed. Others just “check out.” Plenty will struggle to check off even the most mundane items on their daily to-do lists.

To be sure, you’re going to be a busy person as a founder. That doesn’t give you carte blanche to destroy your health, however. Additionally, when your team sees you never take a day off, they get anxious: Should they do likewise? Are you modeling behaviors you expect them to follow? This can lead to serious communications disconnects within your organization.

Consequently, your best bet is to work hard but do good for your health. The main staples for good health that you must not skip are eating right, sleeping right, and exercising. Go on family vacations. You’ll be more refreshed and ready when you return to the grind.

4. Look for the silver lining.

Failures happen. Some are small. Some are big. Some are earth-shattering. After they occur, you can’t change the past. Nevertheless, you can learn from it. You can also use it as a teachable moment to help your team members see how to make different choices in the future.

Don’t worry: You don’t have to wear rose-colored glasses or do your best Pollyanna impersonation. It’s reasonable to be brought down by mistakes. You can show your disappointment and anger. The trick is not to dwell on it.

When bad things come your way, deal with them and then have a retrospective. Take a tip from agile project management principles that encourage constant review of everything. And never assume that what seems like a failure today couldn’t lead to an “Aha!” tomorrow. Most successful business people can talk about long lines of failures from their past. Their ability to move beyond backslides helped them reach their goals and find success.

5. Establish a strong, well-defined work culture.

When you build a business from your vision, you get a rare opportunity to build the culture you want. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs just assume that culture will build itself. It will — but it probably won’t be the nirvana that you envisioned when you opened your doors.

Right now, employers everywhere are having trouble finding and keeping superstars. A strong, attractive workplace culture will help you court and acquire top candidates. But, of course, what the culture looks like is up to you and maybe your executive team members. Yet you should know that recent studies show nearly half of all professionals want to work at a place where they can be themselves.

Are you worried that your culture is already heading into toxic territory? You can pull out of a nosedive fast. Start by gathering feedback from your current team members. Find out how they feel about their workplace environment. Then, use their responses to make improvements. Success is almost impossible if your workers don’t want to come to the office or log onto their computers. On the other hand, if your culture is irresistible, your employees will rave online, to customers, and to their friends.

6. Do right by your customers.

The customer doesn’t always have to be right for you to “do right” by the customer. Without customers, you couldn’t stay in business. Therefore, treat your buyers like gold. Anticipate their needs. Smooth out your clunky sales processes. Create loyalty programs that are something special.

Need some inspiration to rev up your customer-centricity? A couple of years ago, Forbes pulled together a piece on 100 companies that get customer service right every time. The list reads like a who’s who of successful brands: Warby Parker. Best Buy. Hilton. In each case, the company has invested tons of time and effort into wowing buyers through and through.

Be honest with yourself: Are your customer interactions as impressive as they could be? Do your team members have the authority to make decisions (within financial and operational parameters) to serve customers? Making any improvements will get your organization far. Who knows? The next time a 100-list is completed, your business could be on it.

7. Keep upskilling.

You founded a company because you were an expert in something. Bicycle making. Digital marketing. Veterinary medicine. Though you should keep driving hard to become an expert in your industry, you can’t be afraid to branch out. Branching out will keep you agile. It may also reveal ways you can evolve your company in exciting ways.

Imagine someone who started a business in 2000 and refused to learn anything about social media or online advertising. That person wouldn’t be running a successful company. Try, then, to stay on top of the newest aspects of the business. Although you don’t have to become super-knowledgeable about everything, you should have a working understanding of emerging technologies, competitors’ news, and possibilities.

Of course, you shouldn’t keep upskilling and reskilling to yourself. Instead, make learning a team sport by offering training to your team. Employees appreciate it when they get paid to develop their skill sets and build out their resumes. With the experience they gain, they can bring concepts to the table and fuel your brand’s momentum.

Success isn’t something that can only happen to everyone else. It’s within your reach. You just have to stretch a bit to grab it and bring it to you and your company.

10 Entrepreneurs That Will Inspire You to Define Success on Your Own Terms

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Entrepreneurs That Will Inspire You to Define Success on Your Own Terms

Success as an entrepreneur is difficult to explain. While we immediately think of it as making a tremendous amount of wealth, success doesn’t always mean that. Rather it comes down to defining it on your own terms and directing your life to live by those principles.

Below are 10 entrepreneurs who you might not have heard of, but have achieved their own versions of success and inspire you to do the same.

To me, this list of entrepreneurs represents a number of things:

  • Their views of success are very different from traditional views of success.
  • They remove all the glitz and glamour and focus on key values and principles that have pulled them through to the other side.
  • They are honest about their own stories and admit when things weren’t as good or that they made mistakes.

These reasons amongst many others are why I think these are inspiring entrepreneurs.

1. Leon Ho, Founder & CEO of Lifehack

Leon is the CEO and founder of Lifehack. His story is how he went from living a typical lifestyle to running a successful business and helping people re-prioritize life and focus on what’s most important.

For years he spent his life expanding his career thinking that in order to succeed, you’d have to sacrifice certain aspects to live it. After hitting a low point from that way of thinking, he realized what’s so wrong with that logic.

He began re-prioritizing his lifestyle and is living a happier and more successful life on his own terms. He is now even sharing all his experiences and skills he has learned throughout his journey with the Full Life Framework Course.

2. Laurel Egan Kenny, Founder of Turningpoint Communications

Laurel Egan Kenny is the founder of Turningpoint Communications and attributes a lot of her success to the relationships she’s made. While there were definitely some that were bad – such as former employees using her own training material for their own purposes – there were several good ones. Those relationships pushed her business to new heights and has shaped how she approaches clients and her staff.

3. Ameet Khabra, Owner of Hopskipmedia

Ameet Khabra is the owner of Hopskipmedia. He defines success as being able to balance work and life. Many entrepreneurs devote their entire being into a business and that can sometimes backfire. Similar to Leon, before he changed, people spend so much time on one thing that other areas of their life start to slip.

Success to Ameet isn’t always about having a massive and thriving business at the cost of your own sanity. It’s all about balancing everything.

4. Andrei Vasilescu, Founder of DontPayFull

Andrei Vasilescu, founder of DontPayFull, thinks that success is defined by how many ideas you come up with that actually work or exceed expectations. While performance is relative to one person, a simple metric of determining if you’re making a profit or not is a good baseline.

Even though that’s success in essence, looking at the number of ideas that turned profit is a good measurement of whether you’re making it or not.

5. Kevin Tucker, Founder of SOLitude Lake Management

Delving more on the performance-based success, Kevin Tucker believes success comes down to looking after four things well. He is the founder of SOLitude Lake Management and attributes looking after employees, clients, community, and environment as crucial measurements of success.

By looking over those four areas well, his business has been growing over time year after year with no issues.

6. Stephen Alred Jr., Founder of KnowCap IO

According to Stephen Alred Jr., founder of KnowCap IO, success goes beyond the surface level of making enough money to stay in business. Success is defined by the quality of life too. If you’re working long hours and barely making any money, that’s not genuine success.

What’s essential is that the money you’re making is letting you afford to change your lifestyle in such a way that you can live a more ideal life.

7. Tim Brown, Founder of Hook Agency

Founder of Hook Agency, Tim Brown is one of the inspiring entrepreneurs who thinks in a similar fashion to Stephen Alred Jr – being able to do what you wish to do. While Stephen Alred Jr focused on life in general, Tim Brown’s success comes from being able to move his business in the direction he wants to.

That kind of thinking is powerful as even though the journey has ups and downs, he is still thriving thanks to being able to move his business how he wants to without much worry.

8. Sue Duris, Founder of M4 Communications

Sue Duris is the founder of M4 Communications and has built her success around customer retention. Of course, being able to retain and gain more customers will have an increase in your revenue over time.

However it’s still shocking how this concept isn’t always applied. After all, there are some businesses out there that thrive simply because they have carved out most of that market and are the only option.

When you prioritize looking after the clients you do have, success will come and Sue Duris’s company is an example of that.

9. Nate Masterson, Founder of Maple Holistics

Founder of Maple Holistics, Nate Materson has gotten a name for himself by doing what other successful entrepreneurs have done. Taking a page from Kevin Tucker, he too looked after those four key aspects. He kept an eye on himself while looking after his staff, the community, the customers, and the environment.

Even though this success story is similar to others, it goes to show that simple methods are often the answers to thriving and being successful.

10. Erin Paruszewski, Founder & CEO of Alkalign Studios

The final of the inspiring entrepreneurs is Erin Paruszewski. Her success story of Alkalign Studios is a reminder that just putting in the effort doesn’t guarantee success. When working for someone, the payoffs are very clear – exchange your time for money. But when going into business, you’re putting a lot of risk that it might not work out.

That aspect alone drove Erin to grow a business into something that she can be proud of. Behind the scenes, careful planning and taking risks that she considered worth it brought her to a business that’s made her successful.

Final Thoughts

Even though success is about making enough money to make something of it, there are different ways to get there. It’s not always big and flashy but rather success can be something more simple. And these inspiring entrepreneurs show that to us every single day.

You don’t need a million-dollar idea to kick off. Rather you need a certain mindset and have particular values you can follow through that can drive you to success.

7 Tips for Making the Best Use of Your Resources

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7 Tips for Making the Best Use of Your Resources

Just as there aren’t a lot of shortcuts to success, there’s no foolproof formula for driving your particular business ahead. Establishing your brand and business presence will take time.

This is especially the case when you’re up against established competitors. Business growth and development will be an ongoing process. To succeed, you must consistently put in your best effort and remain focused on your business goals.

While there’s no secret path for surpassing other businesses, there are several proven methods for reaching growth milestones and moving on to your next level of success. One of the best ways of achieving this is to make optimal use of all your existing resources. Listed below are seven strategies that can help.

1. Put the right people in the right places.

Connecting the right person to the right position can have many positive outcomes. It can boost performance, enhance employee value, and ensure consistent, high-quality output.

Far too many companies don’t do a great job with this simple process. To determine the right person for the right job, managers must accurately assess employee skills and compare them to overall company goals. They must then make the best possible use of those skills by placing that employee in a position where opportunities to excel exist.

It’s important to maintain focus on your company’s goals as you seek to achieve better productivity throughout the organization. Before that can happen, you must put together a solid team with the necessary skills to help you achieve those long-term goals.

2. Focus available resources on customer experience.

Every now and then, we all need a reminder that our customers are the reason why we’re in business. The way they perceive your business can make or break your hoped-for future. Customer experience is one area where you must maximize your focus.

Marshall the resources you do have to remain committed to delivering great experiences in terms of quality and service. Over time, your customers will place your brand on a social media pedestal. Falter in this critical area, and they can pull down your brand in no time.

A quick look at the strategies of the most successful businesses will reveal that they all have customer service as the topmost priority. They keep customers happy by offering new and innovative products and services. They make sure customer complaints are addressed quickly and satisfactorily. This helps achieve brand loyalty and long-term customer relationships.

Going one step further, engaging with your social media audience is also helpful. Personalizing their brand experience can ensure a strong bond and repeat business.

3. Avoid waste by developing your ability to adapt quickly.

Successful companies typically embrace the trait of adapting quickly to market demands and responding to change successfully. The ability to switch directions without missing a beat — or losing a customer — represents a huge win. Assuming anyone ever was skeptical of the value of a quick pivot, 2020 served to erase those doubts entirely.

Test different approaches to your audience and then compare various efforts to the resulting analytics. Put numbers to all of your campaigns. Give your team freedom to explore new ideas as a way to discover what works best for your market. At times, you may fail. However, an agile approach will help you pick yourself back up again and keep going.

4. Conduct adequate research on your competition.

Competitor research is one resource you must leverage with a high degree of accuracy. You absolutely must know what your primary competitors are up to. Failing that, it will be incredibly difficult to create a clear marketing strategy for your business.

Identify your competitors. Seek to find what has worked for them. After that, work out how your business can chart a different course. Doing so will help you identify, develop, and implement a different strategy. Competitor research typically leads to a more productive business strategy which, in turn, can lead to better sales and profitability.

5. Practice corporate social responsibility.

Consumers today not only look at businesses as commercial enterprises but often as social platforms as well. They are demonstrating an increased preference for businesses that are passionate about social causes. This frequently goes way beyond “reduce, reuse, recycle.”

Make a habit of practicing corporate social responsibility. Making meaningful contributions to your local community and lending support to causes that make the world a better place are good for your bottom line. They improve your image and earn customer respect.

Express your support publicly. Seek out underserved communities, retirement homes, the physically challenged, environmental causes, and others. You can find many ways of being a socially responsible business. Find and focus on a few that all your employees can affirm.

6. Host community events.

Attending and actively participating in local events can be a great way of growing your network. However, hosting your own events within the community can have a more profound impact on your reputation and brand visibility.

Whether managing a fundraiser or sponsoring a local event, put your best foot forward in an agenda-free fashion. Doing so will help create a better awareness of your business. More importantly, it can create a unique and personalized experience for your customers. The likely outcome will be fostering more personal relationships with your target audience.

7. Participate in (and host) networking events.

Nowadays, networking is one of the most important and influential methods for driving your business prospects. You’ll need to do it regularly to build long-term relationships with customers, vendors, and experts. Your presence at industry-specific events can not only help you learn new things but can also prove to be fertile ground for generating new ideas.

Networking provides the perfect platform for learning from others and sharing your views with industry leaders. Every business needs a solid support system to help sustain and surpass benchmarks. Networking can help you build and maintain that support system.

Summing Up

Businesses must constantly innovate and improve their processes to remain relevant and competitive in their niche. While you might wish you had an unlimited budget for pursuing all these tips with abandon, you live in the real world. You can start small with these ideas and then expand on them as your efforts gain traction.

Making the best use of your available resources is vital for maximizing your ROI. There are many other ways of improving your business prospects, but you have to work with what you have. Keep looking for opportunities, then act on them quickly … before your competitors do.

Instilling Generosity Into Your Leadership Can Help Your Company Succeed

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Instilling Generosity Into Your Leadership Can Help Your Company Succeed

Bad bosses foster bad blood throughout the whole team. That’s not just theoretical, either — it’s been proven again and again. For instance, a Gallup study showed lousy managers contributed to about half of their organizations’ resignations. But to be honest, not all supervisors belong in a Dilbert cartoon.

Take you, as an example. You’re reading an article on moving your leadership level up a notch. So you’re not exactly shying away from self-improvement. But, at the same time, you might not be aware of one attribute that could ratchet up your ability to lead: generosity.

Instilling Generosity Into Your Leadership

What makes generosity such a powerful force when used by leaders? For one, it’s unexpected in a delightful way. When most people describe their bosses, the word “generous” doesn’t spill from their lips. Maybe they say “kind” or “driven” or “smart,” but they rarely talk about a team leader’s or executive’s generosity. This shows how much of a unicorn trait it can be.

Secondly, generosity tends to promote a ton of goodwill. There isn’t an in-person or remote office on the planet that couldn’t use an extra dash of positivity. In fact, infusing a spirit of generosity into a workforce can create a domino effect. As workers experience generosity from their leaders, they tend to pass it around, too.

Finally—and on a personal level—being generous is good for your health. One psychological study on volunteerism found a correlation between generosity and a longer life span. Consequently, practicing generosity regularly could allow you to lead more people toward their dreams and goals over your lifetime.

But how do you put generosity into action? To help your company succeed, you’ll need to make more than just a few small changes. Like most behavioral changes, you need to practice some patience and diligence.

Help your company succeed by forging ahead with a few steps.

1. Redefine your idea of generosity

First thing’s first: To become more generous, you have to know what generosity is.

For example, many leaders would call themselves generous because they hand out year-end bonuses. Yet, according to Jason Jaggard, founder of executive coaching firm Novus Global, wealth can be broken down into different vehicles. The vehicles include energy, knowledge, and opportunity, and they can have just as much (or more) impact than spreading cash.

It’s important to open your mind to thinking of generosity from all angles. For example, when you mentor a struggling coworker, you’re generous. When you’re introducing a neighbor to someone who is looking for a worker with the neighbor’s skills, you’re generous. These actions might not seem extraordinary, but they indicate your willingness to serve.

2. Put a premium on listening

Generous leaders listen. In fact, they listen often, and they listen well. They don’t just hear the words others are saying, but they look for context and opportunities to help. At this point, 83% of workers want their bosses to provide more input. An excellent way to help others is by listening to them carefully and then responding with kindness, honesty, and thoughtfulness.

Listening helps reveal your generosity to your employees.

What does listening show your employees? First, it tells them they’re valued. You actually care. Secondly, it proves that you’re open to learning something, too. Third, it builds your relationship with your people. And that relationship may mean the difference between them staying for years or moving on to a different employer.

3. Go beyond being commonly empathetic to becoming high-level empathetic

We’ve all heard a lot about the importance of empathy in the workplace, especially after the 2020 pandemic. Empathy doesn’t end with just understanding others’ emotional states, though. You can use your emotional intelligence as a springboard to transform someone’s personal or professional life.

Let’s say you have a salesperson who’s been underperforming for about a month. You know that something’s happening, but you don’t know what. So, therefore, you talk with the salesperson and find out he’s going through a divorce and is trying to move out.

Rather than just offer some extra PTO or the ability to work remotely, head down a more generous route. With his permission, you could put out feelers with friends who are landlords or need long-term house sitters. This is a way to be generous through your network. It shows your empathy doesn’t end with the words, “That’s too bad.”

4. Hand over the reins

One thing about leaders, particularly entrepreneurs, is that they tend to be selfish when it comes to leading. After all, they’re leaders by trade. It’s who they are, and they like being at the front of the line. Yet taking up the spotlight isn’t very generous, is it?

Quite honestly, much leadership in business causes others to shrink up and lose initiative — which will surely hurt innovation, morale, and employee engagement. In addition, when you injure anything in your employees, it doesn’t help your team succeed; it’s also not going to help your company succeed either.

When appropriate, give people the chance to lead. This doesn’t mean anointing them as CEOs for the day, though. Instead, hand out projects and delegate key responsibilities. To be sure, sometimes your employees will falter or even fail at their assignments. You have to be okay with that.

Your overarching objective isn’t for them to be perfect, but for talented workers to have the chance to wow the world. So don’t be surprised if this type of generosity allows you to unearth some potential future executives among your personnel.

5. Act protectively with your people

It’s funny how often corporate leaders will stick up for their services and products, but not do the same for their high-performance workers. Ouch. Don’t be “that boss” who throws employees under the bus.

Stick up for your team members when it’s appropriate, even if that means that you’re going to have to go out on a limb. In other words, extend your generosity like a blanket that offers security, and shows that you aren’t a fairweather founder.

Will there be times when you don’t agree with something a staffer has said or done? Absolutely. And you may need to make difficult choices. However, you don’t have to allow angry customers to trash your employees just to make a sale.

If you believe your employees are in the right, say so. You’ll be amazed at the loyalty you can foster by moving to the same side of the table as your crew. Furthermore, fostering a company culture of true teamwork will also help your company succeed in the long run.

6. Spotlight generosity when you see it –and aim to imitate it

When you hear about another leader doing something generous, talk about it in glowing terms. The same goes for any act of generosity you spot among your workers. By communicating your appreciation for generous decisions, you’ll show just how important you place generosity.

In time, you’ll probably start to see people make more generous moves as a result, which will ultimately help your company succeed.

At the same time, be sure to model the generous behavior that moves you deeply. For example, if a colleague volunteers at a shelter, you may want to see if the shelter needs additional help. Of course, you don’t want to step on (or try to “one-up”) your coworker’s generosity, but you should be open to helping.

Generosity in the workplace is kind of like one of those beautiful weeds in your yard that you can’t help but admire. It sprouts, spreads and reseeds at a high-paced level if you let it. To start a new era of generous habits among your team right now by auditing and augmenting your own generosity as a leader.

Video Credit: nik fowler-hainen; prezi; thank you!

Image Credit: fauxels; pexels; thank you!

Host a Successful Yard Sale With Your Online Calendar

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Host a Successful Yard Sale With Your Online Calendar

We’re back in the office and we need to dejunk to get a fresh start. Most homes need a little dejunking too. Yard sales are an American staple. They’re a fun way to get rid of some excess belongings while turning a quick profit. However, yard sales are hard work and require a fair amount of time and effort to pull off.

Using an online calendar makes organizing a yard or garage sale that much easier. Planning things out will help them run more smoothly, leading to a more successful experience. This guide will help you put together the best yard sale in town:

1. Schedule Your Dates

The first step toward a successful yard sale is pinning down your dates. This will get your plans in motion under a set time parameter. Everything else will be so much easier if you know exactly when your yard sale will be.

Weekends are generally the best time for yard sales because more people are free to come and visit. The summer months have a little more flexibility, as families with kids out of school will be looking for extra activities through the week to fill their time. Once you’ve selected the days and times you want, it’s time to move to the next step.

2. Organize a WorkForce

You need manpower to run a successful yard sale. The larger the sale, the more help you’ll need. Using an online calendar you can schedule shifts for friends and family to help make sales and manage merchandise for your own little pop-up shop.

For those outside of your household or your office team who are pitching in to help, you can share your online calendar. Your Calendar will let them know the exact times of the yard sale and when you’re hoping they can come help out. With an online calendar, your scheduling is a smooth operation.

3. Leverage Social Media

Getting the word out about your yard sale is key to its success. After all, without customers, your efforts will be in vain. In today’s world, one of the easiest ways to reach people is through social media.

Use your online calendar to plan out a content calendar for social media posts advertising your yard sale. Schedule posts throughout each day of the sale to maximize exposure over as many platforms as possible. People scrolling through news feeds will see your post and be prompted to make a visit.

4. Include the Neighbors

To ramp up the scale of your yard sale, ask your neighbors if they’d like to be included. Even if they only have a few items to contribute, they can provide an extra set of hands and can further spread the word about the event. The bigger and better the event is, the more worthwhile it is for customers to stop in.

Once again, you can share that online calendar to sync schedules with anyone who’s interested. Even just making them aware of the yard sale can be of benefit, as word of mouth can lure in more prospective buyers.

5. Allow for Prep Time

A yard sale doesn’t set itself up. Before you open your doors, or lawn, to the public, everything needs to be in its proper place. Otherwise, the early birds who select you as their first stop of the day won’t be able to fully participate in your yard sale.

Schedule preparation time in your online calendar. You can prepare a lot of things in the days leading up to the sale, and will also need some time the day of to get everything arranged. Decide how much time you need and use your online calendar to make it happen.

6. Plan a Cleaning Day

You might already have a pile of stuff dedicated to your yard sale. If not, or if you want to expand your inventory, plan a deep cleaning day. Throughout this clean, look for other items you don’t mind letting go of to add to the pile.

Periodic deep cleans get rid of the clutter that so frequently fills American homes and offices. This will not only help your current yard sale efforts, but it will also help you feel like your home and office are much more open and clean, making it a more comfortable living and working space.

7. Provide Refreshments

For the most memorable yard sale experience, provide refreshments to all your guests. You can offer some simple free beverages, or let the kids set up a lemonade stand or snack shop to earn a little change themselves.

Providing refreshments will require some prep of its own. Make sure you have all the ingredients you need for whatever you supply. Then, use your online calendar to remind you to restock throughout the yard sale so there’s always something available for customers.

8. Scope Out Other Yard Sales

If you’re still looking for a way to set yourself apart, scope out some other sales happening in your area. You can look for postings in the newspaper and online to find places to go. Seeing a yard sale from the perspective of a customer will help you know what you should include in your own.

Plan a day or two to go sale hopping. Add the times and locations of sales into your online calendar so you can make time for the trip and plot the best route. You can learn a lot from what you see, so be sure to take notes.

9. Schedule a Day to Donate

When it’s all said and done, you probably won’t have sold every single item from your yard sale. Instead of packing these things back into storage to sit for another year or throwing them out, seriously consider donating them to charity. There are plenty of individuals and families that would be grateful for such a gift.

Research local charities and organizations in your area. Once you’ve selected one, plan a day in your online calendar to drop off the remaining items from your yard sale. This will be the perfect end to your hard work and efforts.

A successful yard sale will depend on the work you put into it. Follow these tips and get excited for a great time and you won’t be disappointed.

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.

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