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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.

9 Things You Need to Do Every Morning to Have a Productive Day

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Want to be in the same league as the most productive and successful people in the world? Then you need to make the most of your morning by doing these nine things. When you do, the rest of your day will be extremely productive and fruitful.

1. Plan the night before.

Because we have a limited amount of willpower and decision-making abilities, you want to eliminate as many decision-making tasks in the morning. This is why American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault ends his evenings by jotting down the three things he wants to accomplish the next day.

It also explains why Mark Zuckerberg and President Obama had limited wardrobes.

“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make,” President Obama told Vanity. Fair.

When you have fewer decisions to make your saving mental space and will have better productivity throughout the day.

2. Wake up refreshed.

You also can’t have a productive day if you don’t wake-up feeling refreshed. Think about those days when you only got 4 hours of sleep. You’re dragging the entire day.

Establish a nighttime ritual where you limit or avoid stimulates like alcohol, caffeine, and electronics right before bed. Instead, have a quiet and relaxing evening by meditating or reading. And, don’t forget to go to bed at the same time every night.

Ideally, your bedroom should be as dark and quiet as possible. It should also be a little cool. This way you’ll sleep undisturbed the entire night and will wake-up refreshed and ready to take-on the day.

3. Create a morning to focus your mind.

Claire Diaz Ortiz, a productivity expert and author of Design Your Day, says that if you want to be more productive — then you need to create a morning routine that works for you. She explains that how you start your day anchors you and ensures that you stay focused.

According to Renzo Costarella in a previous Calendar article, here’s what you should include in your morning routine:

  • Wake-up before everyone so that you’re free of distractions.
  • Drink at least one 24 oz. glass of water when you first wake-up.
  • Exercise for around 30 minutes before breakfast. If possible, do this outside since taking in that sunlight first thing in the morning lets your internal clock know it’s time to start the day.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast — that means skipping sugary cereals and pastries.
  • Read for at least 10 to 15 minutes so that you learn something new.
  • Practice mindfulness for about 10 minutes — this clears your mind and assists with focus.

My morning routine also consists of writing in my journal — hey, it’s worked for Da Vinci, Mark Twain, Oprah, and Tim Ferris.

I also make my bed every morning. It’s not that I’m a neat freak. It’s a small task that gets your day off to an excellent start.

“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day,” said U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McCraven. “It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”

4. Set a daily intention.

You know, I never really did this until I came across this article from Purple Carrot. It’s great advice, so I’ll let them explain:

“Setting your daily intention is just like paving your day ahead. In the early part of the day when things are calmer, and you have a moment to think clearly, set your intentions focusing on at least two goals that you want to accomplish for the day. Have extra time? Write these goals on post-its and bring them to work with you so you’re constantly reminded of what you want to accomplish.”

I want to emphasize that last part there. Research shows that writing down your goals enhances your goal achievement.

5. Daily affirmations.

“Affirmations are short, powerful yet simple statements intended to help you manifest a particular goal,” writes Choncé Maddox. “This is power is positive thinking and it only takes a few minutes to recite some positive affirmations.”

6. Avoid your phone.

Don’t just dive directly into emails, texts, and social media when you first wake-up. Doing so will help you lose focus. Even worse it steals your time and gives it to other people.

Instead, spend these precious first moments of the day to do something that you find relaxing, such as walking your dog, meditating, or reading, This will help set calm and positive tone for your day, as opposed to a frantic start.

This may take some discipline, but try to avoid your phone until after you’ve eaten breakfast.

7. Schedule your day.

Want to get all all of you tasks done? Then make sure that they’re scheduled into your calendar.

As entrepreneur and author Dave Kerpen explains, “If it’s not in my calendar, it won’t get done. But if it is in my calendar, it will get done.”

“I schedule out every 15 minutes of every day to conduct meetings, review materials, write, and do any activities I need to get done. And while I take meetings with just about anyone who wants to meet with me, I reserve just one hour a week for these ‘office hours.’”

Don’t forget to also schedule in breaks and your lunch.

8. Network over coffee.

Yes. Coffee is good for you. So while you’re enjoying that morning cup of Joe do a little networking. For example, you could reach out and connect with colleagues on LinkedIn or Twitter. Or, you could schedule meetings with potential business partners or investors.

9. Eat the frog.

Brian Tracy, author of “Eat the Frog,” has based his morning philosophy off of a quote from Mark Twain: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

Obviously this doesn’t mean literally eating a frog. The frog is “your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it.” As the day goes on, this doesn’t just linger over our heads, we have less energy to complete this task.

Don’t put this task off until later in the day. Tackle it first thing in the morning and get it done.

Good Leaders Don’t Surround Themselves With “Yes” People

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When you’re hiring, your initial instinct might be to build your company full of people pleasers. After all, wouldn’t it be nice to have people who are more than willing to help? You probably also like the fact that your new hire wants to explore new opportunities and they are extremely reliable.

If you’re fortunate, as you suppose, your new hire will probably even share similar backgrounds and interests. And, you probably won’t have to worry about them causing any trouble — like questioning your leadership skills.

Sure. In theory, that sounds like a good deal. Realistically, though, only surrounding yourself with “yes” people is a terrible, no good idea.

The dangers of “yes” people.

The major drawback of people pleasers is that they have problems with time management. Because they’re willing to lend a hand or take new responsibilities they fall behind deadlines. Also, since “no” isn’t in their vocabulary, they end-up stretching themselves way too thin.

Eventually, that reliability that made them an asset is out the window — they may even become resentful of you. They’re now scrambling to catch-up. And, that’s just a one-way-ticket to Burnoutville.

What’s more, they also have difficulty maintaining a healthy relationship with work and life. Everyone, no matter who you are, needs time away from work. It’s a proven way to rest and recharge so that you can be at 100% peak productivity.

Being on all of the time may also cause problems with their personal relationships. Instead of attending a family gathering, they’re trapped in the office working on next week’s presentation. That may not seem like a bid deal, but relationships are the key to happiness — and if you’re not happy, you’re not productive.

As if that weren’t enough, they are unwilling to share with you critical feedback. As a consequence, this may prevent you from correcting workplace operations. They may also be hesitant to make suggestions on how to improve the products or services you offer.

Also, if they aren’t transparent with you, then don’t expect them to critique you. I understand that hearing constructive criticism is never easy. But, it’s essential if you want to grow as a person and leader.

The solution? Well, as industrialist and founder of Wrigley Chewing Gum Walter Wrigley Jr. once said, “When two people always agree, one of them is unnecessary.”

In other words, don’t surround yourself with “yes people.” Instead, have a diverse team that challenges you. And, you can do that by…

1. Fill in the blanks.

Take a good look at your team. What skills are lacking? How diverse is your current staff?

Answering these questions is a great starting point. Hiring someone based on specific needs is obvious. For example, if you need a coder, then you’re going to go out and find the best one available But, the second question can be tricky.

“Although you own the business, don’t be fixated on hiring people from only particular backgrounds,” recommends Choncé Maddox in a previous Calendar article. “After all, the business world is very dynamic. To ensure you are adaptable to inevitable changes, get employees from as many backgrounds as possible.”

“As much as where the concerned employee is coming from is important, it is their potential to grow with your business that really matters,” adds Choncé. “In just about five to ten years, your business is going to change. Ask yourself where the concerned employee fits in the whole picture.”

If need further assistance hiring a diverse team, here is a 6-step process from Ideal:

  • Conduct a diversity hiring audit on your current hiring process
  • Pick one metric to improve for your diversity hiring
  • Increase your diversity hiring in your candidate sourcing
  • When candidate screening, look beyond criteria like their prior company, school, or personal connection.
  • Increase your diversity hiring in your candidate shortlisting using technology to remove bias
  • Evaluate your diversity hiring metrics

2. Grant autonomy.

While there are times when you might have to micromanage your team, most of the time you need to grant autonomy. For control freaks, that can induce a panic attack. However, it’s one of the best ways for your team to learn and grow.

More importantly? Giving your peeps this type of freedom keeps them motivated and engaged. And, on your end, you’ll have less on your plate.

Simply put. Autonomy is a win for everyone from the top to the bottom. And, despite your fears, it’s easy to implement if you do the following:

  • Clearly communicate why the work they’re doing is important. Don’t forget to also frequently share your mission and vision as well.
  • Allow them to speak their minds. Solicit feedback on your performance. You could also leave room at the end of meetings for them to share their opinions. Or, you could go old school with a suggestion box.
  • Let them choose how, when, and where to work.
  • Allow them opportunities to showcase their strengths and pursue their interests.
  • Give them the right tools and resources to succeed.
  • Make sure that you’re delegating the right job to the right person.

3. Listen effectively.

“Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say” — Andy Stanley

Arguably, one of the most important traits leaders can have is to actually listen to what others are saying. Sometimes that can be as easy as speaking less and asking lots of questions. Other times you may need to utilize techniques like not going into the conversation with an agenda.

Overall though, getting back to communication basics is your best course of action. I’m talking about making eye contact, not looking at your phone, and responding accordingly. You may not like what you’re hearing, but that’s no excuse to lose your cool.

4. Let them fail.

As someone who has experienced failure, I can tell you that it’s never a pleasant experience. At the same time, failure has pushed me to become more resilient. I’d even say that it’s been the greatest teacher I’ve ever had.

With that in mind, let your team have an occasional setback. I know that just the thought of this may keep you up at night. But, it will encourage them to grow as individuals and think innovatively.

In the immortal words of Micheal Jordan, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

5. Seek out different perspectives.

Outside of work, you should also surround yourself with people who challenge you. Besides helping you embrace this at work, it will help you become a better person. And, you can do so by:

  • Joining an exercise group that pushes you and holds you accountable.
  • Attending conferences, after-hour meetups, or mastermind groups outside of your niche.
  • Finding a creative community, to learn something new or discover a new interest.
  • Networking and engaging with people who have diverse opinions on social networks.

Why Some Customers Are Hesitant to Book Appointments

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As you fill up your bookings each day, you might be puzzled that some customers are reluctant to commit to appointments. Why, given that scheduling appointments benefits both sides, won’t they play along?

It’s a perplexing, frustrating problem. But understanding why these customers hesitate to book appointments will help you serve them better. By providing clarity and comfort, you’ll be able to address the eight reasons customers balk at booking appointments with you:

1. Their schedules are unpredictable.

Some customers shy away from set-in-stone appointments because they simply can’t commit to a day or time. The nature of either their job or their lifestyle makes every day unpredictable. They’re afraid to book an appointment on the off chance that something will come up, causing them to cancel (and potentially incur a cancellation fee).

A busy schedule can be just as problematic as an unpredictable one. Customers who aren’t sure they can find time for an appointment in their schedule won’t even bother. They might stop by if they happen to free up the time, but nothing is guaranteed. 

Consider leaving some cushion in your schedule for walk-ins so you can accommodate these free spirits. They will be grateful for your flexibility and feel more inclined to schedule appointments when they know they’re able. 

2. Your scheduling system is confusing.

Businesses that rely on an online scheduling system should make it as user-friendly as possible. Otherwise, potential customers might bail when the going gets tough. 

Streamlining your scheduling process as much as you can. How many steps does your scheduling process take from beginning to end? Just the sight of numerous hoops to jump through would cause anyone to hesitate.

Do bookers need to create a user account? Think up — and remember — yet another password? Look at your online appointment software through the eyes of a visitor and make note of anything that might cause them to turn away.

3. They’re wary of your cancellation policy.

What if you were to book an appointment only to have something urgent come up and need to cancel? This is a very real fear for many customers, especially when a service provider has a daunting cancellation policy. If they book an appointment, that cancellation fee will be hanging over their heads until the appointment is completed.

Take a moment to review your cancellation policy. Is it perhaps a little too harsh? Consider lowering your cancellation fee or being more flexible about advance notice (e.g., 12 hours versus 24 hours).

Excusing a client’s first violation — but only the first — will demonstrate that you’re accommodating but not a pushover. While a cancellation policy is important for keeping customers accountable, being too strict can stop people from committing at all. 

4. You haven’t convinced them to commit to your business.

If you haven’t completely sold your services to the customer, they might not feel inclined to book an appointment. They may think there are better or more affordable options elsewhere. Consequently, they won’t want to lock into an appointment with you before searching for superior options.

What about your business is causing this hesitation? Perhaps your prices are too steep, or the quality of your service is no better than your competitors’. Look for ways to stand out, and customers will be more likely to commit to appointments with you.

5. They don’t see the need.

If there’s no need to book an appointment, why bother? Customers who don’t see a clear requirement to reserve a time slot will likely skip it altogether. In their mind, an appointment is more of an inconvenience than a necessity.

Explain to your customers why booking an appointment is important. Your time is limited, so they need to make an appointment to guarantee their place in line. You can get this point across on well-worded signs, your business card, and your social media feeds. The clearer you make this argument, the more likely customers will get it and act accordingly.

Besides not seeing a need, customers might also lack incentives for booking an appointment — so it’s up to you to provide them. Point out that making an appointment will result in shorter wait times. You might even offer discounted rates for scheduling appointments or incentives for booking several of them in advance. This is a great way to secure a steady flow of customers. 

6. They don’t want to — or can’t — prepay.

If you require a deposit or full payment in order to book an appointment, some customers will start looking for other businesses that offer walk-ins or make fewer demands. The inability to prepay is a more common problem than you might think.

Some customers simply prefer to pay in cash, making it impossible for them to prepay online. Others may need their next paycheck to arrive before they can fit an appointment with you into their budget. The need to prepay will cause them to hesitate before pulling the trigger.

7. They decided to drop in at the last minute.

An unexpected walk-in might be just as surprising to the customer as it is to you. Some people aren’t planning to stop by your business until the last minute. They had extra time in their lunch hour and decided to drop in, or a situation arose that prompted them to stop by that day.

Understanding that some customers show up without planning to beforehand should help you be more patient with them. After all, if you make a good impression when they walk in, you could convert them to repeat customers who set their appointments in advance. 

8. They have safety concerns.

In normal times, safety concerns wouldn’t be a reason to forgo appointments. But these aren’t normal times. The risk of exposure to COVID-19 is a real one, and businesses should take this concern seriously. 

Start by providing masks and rearranging your waiting room to enable social distancing. Then inform customers of these changes via your website, through social media, and at the front door.

Making customers aware of the safety precautions you’ve implemented will put them at ease and encourage them to book appointments in your facility.

When you understand why some customers are hesitant to make appointments, you can work to overcome those objections and serve your customers better. By displaying empathy and addressing their concerns, you can encourage them to show up on schedule and develop a lasting relationship with your business.

10 Deliberate Sacrifices You Must Make if You Want to be Successful

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10 Deliberate Sacrifices You Must Make if You Want to be Successful

Despite the negative connotations, we all make sacrifices. For example, reflect on the years you spent in college. You might have gone out with your friends on Friday night — but never during finals week. Here are ten deliberate sacrifices you must make if you want to be successful.

Fast forward to being an adult. If you want to purchase a new vehicle or home, you need to make some financial sacrifices, like skipping an exotic vacation. When starting a new business, you may not see your friends or family as much.

Here’s the thing though, these were deliberate choices to reach your goals. While not exactly fun, you’re probably not in pain over this.

“Not all pain and suffering, however, amount to sacrifice,” explains Gianpiero Petriglieri is an HBR piece. “The difference is not just philosophical,” but also is practical. “Sacrifice might be hurtful and exhausting, but it is a conscious choice.”

“Suffering is the result of feeling that we cannot slow down or else we will be shamed and lose control,” adds Petriglieri. “Sacrifice makes us who we are. Suffering keeps us captive.”

“When putting our bodies through hell at work, at least for a while, is worth the rewards we get and the contribution we make, it is sacrifice,” he states. “But if you can come up with many reasons for hurting at work, but see little purpose in it, then it is not.”

Moreover, these sacrifices are usually temporary. They will also change to align with your priorities over time. And, even though not pleasant, they can also help you build confidence, resilience and maintain your motivation.

With that in mind, here are 10 sacrifices that you will make at some point in your life if you want to be successful and productive.

1. Sleep

I am in no way advocating that you surpass sleep. Your mind and body need a good night’s rest to recover and recharge. In fact, a lack of sleep will destroy your productivity.

I am saying that sometimes you aren’t going to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep. If you’re a parent, then you’re well aware of this fact. But, you also know that it’s temporary, and you will eventually get back to a somewhat normal sleep routine.

The same is true when it comes to your work life. You will have tasks or projects that require you to put in 12 hour days. You will definitely stay awake at night thinking about your next move like your a Bobby Fisher level chess player.

So, while sleep should be a priority, you also have to be real. There will be some long nights when you’re only going to get a couple of hours.

2. Relationships

Bear with me here as this might seem like a broad topic. If you’re married or have children, then I’m a firm believer in a family comes first. Simultaneously, you might have to scrap a two-week vacation and replace it will a long weekend instead.

But, I’m really talking about those relationships outside of your inner circle. It would be great to catch-up with a friend from college. But, if you already have a packed calendar, that might have to go on the back burner until you have the availability.

Networking is obviously a proven way to grow your business. However, if that’s preventing you from reaching your goals, you might have to scale back. For instance, instead of weekly get-togethers, make it a monthly occurrence or focus on online networking.

And, above everything else, remove toxic individuals from your life. You know who I’m talking about. These are the folks who drag your down or aren’t respectful of your time.

3. Evil Urges

Get your mind out of the gutter! These are unhealthy habits that are holding you back. For instance, you can look at your phone whenever you receive a notification or stay way pat happy hour with your colleagues.

I’ll be honest. We’re all guilty of slipping up every now and then. And I don’t think that you should be too hard on yourself when you do. But, that’s different than making this a recurring issue.

If you want to be productive and successful, then you need to take care of your health. You need to decline those late night functions. You need to ditch mentally unhealthy habits like perfectionism, comparisons, catastrophizing the future, and blaming others.

4. Fear

Being afraid isn’t always a bad thing. Fear, after all, can keep us safe, force us to live in the present, and can even be exciting. However, when left unchecked, it can interfere with your happiness and paralyze you.

While it’s natural to be afraid, like when taking the leap to start your own business, you need to overcome it. There are several ways to go about this, like understanding and embracing your fear. Others have found visualization, role-playing, or questioning the fear to be helpful.

If you’re really struggling with this, I strongly suggest you reach out for help. You could speak with your support system or seek out a mentor. There’s also no shame in working with a mental health professional as well.

5. Stress

Stress just won’t prevent you from reaching your true potential. It can also literally kill you. No wonder it’s been dubbed the silent killer.

As with fear, stress is a natural part of life. But, you can’t let widely grow out of control. Instead, you need to maintain your stress by using techniques like properly:

  • Regular physical activity.
  • Spending time with close family or friends.
  • Offloading some of your workloads.
  • Breathing exercises.
  • Identifying triggers and eliminating them.
  • Using essential oils.
  • Slowing down and celebrating your accomplishments.

What does that have to do with sacrifice? Well, when you feel like you’re on the edge of burnout, you might need to take a personal day. Work will have to wait until you attend to your own well-being.

6. Hobbies

“Before 2008, I was playing golf three times a week,” writes entrepreneur and best-selling author Grant Cardone. “What was I thinking spending time on the golf course, or anything for that matter, when I could have been spending time getting my financial house in order. I had gotten distracted and entitled, had started to rest on my laurels, and put my family at risk.”

“I know life is not just about work and money but notice how many people are not having much of a life because of work and money,” adds Cardone. “I decided to master my work and my money, and if my golf game or social status suffer, so be it.” As he concludes, “It’s all right if you sacrifice fun today for freedom tomorrow.”

At the same time, hobbies can help you hustle. The reason? They are non-work activities that can improve your mood, help you find inspiration, and develop problem-solving skills. The key is striking a balance.

In other words, if golf is your passion, hitting the links three times a week when you’re trying to start a business won’t gel. But, you could cut back to just once a week. Or, you could get a putting mat and practice your short game during a short break.

7. Other People’s Opinions

Asking for advice and feedback can come in handy. Both can be used to help you gain fresh perspectives and ideas. At the same time, don’t harp too much on what others think.

As Richard P. Feynman said, “You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It’s their mistake, not my failing.”

8. Time-Wasters

Last weekend it was cool and rainy. Needless to say, I wasn’t getting much time outside. What’s more, I had a hectic week and just needed a day to veg.

I don’t do this frequently. Sometimes you just need a day to lay on the couch and watch Netflix. But, I also admit that this is a huge time-waster.

On a day-to-day basis, you should avoid these time thieves. In addition to television, other time-wasters would be getting sucked into social media feeds, unnecessary meetings, and bulky to-do-lists. Determine what wastes your time and avoid them as much as possible.

9. Pride

By all means, be proud of your accomplishments. After all, you’ve earned it. At the same time, don’t pride consume you.

You still need to hold yourself accountable when you slip-up. In my experience, failure is one of the best ways to learn and grow. And, more importantly, sometimes, that means doing things that are beneath you.

For example, you might have to pick up a side gig until your business takes off. Even then, there might be tedious takes that you dread. I’m talking about responding to emails, bookkeeping, or literally cleaning-up your workspace. You might be responsible for these tasks until you have the resources to delegate or outsource them.

Until then, you need to squeeze them into your packed schedule. One simple way to do this would be through batching. In this case, you would set aside a small block of time each day to clean out your inbox or declutter your work area.

10. Worrying About Being Productive 24/7

Wait. Isn’t this counterproductive? Absolutely not.

As opposed to obsessing about productivity, you should focus on being intentional. In other words, instead of maximizing every minute and working 80-hours a week, focus on the vital few. When you do, you’re dedicating your time and energy to what’s truly important instead of the unnecessary.

The Importance of Giving Up – to Soar

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Should You Offer Unlimited Vacation Time?

Way back in the day, I came home from little league. My mom asked me how it was. Without hesitation, I told her that I wanted to quit. She asked me why? I told her I was sick of the coach letting his son pitch because the son was so awful. Then, when the game was nearly lost — Coach would put me in as pitcher — and he’d expect me to win the game — no matter what had to be done.

If I couldn’t pull out the win — Coach would rant and scream at me and the whole team. I wanted to quit. If I complained, Coach would stick me in the outfield swatting away at flies. I didn’t mind if I was playing first base like Frank Thomas or Jeff Bagwell. My mom told me that I’d never get as much training as I would receive pitching under that kind of pressure.

It was then that my mom threw a Vince Lombardi quote in my direction. “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.” And, in case I forgot, there were also some pretty amazing outfielders I could emulate like Ken Griffey Jr., Tony Gwenn, and Mickey Mantle.

I gave up on my dream of being the starting pitcher for every game — I stopped resenting the coaches’ son. Instead, I focused on what I was good at — hitting and running, and I tried to make sure I helped pull out a win under stressful circumstances. And, in hindsight, that was a win-win.

I gave up on my dream of being a major league baseball pitcher.

That’s not to say it was easy to switch my mindset. No one likes giving up on their dreams. But, this taught me a valuable lesson. There are times in life when throwing in the towel is important.

The Scientific Case for Giving Up

“Realizing that an attempt to achieve something is not accomplishing its goal, and then stopping that behavior, can actually be beneficial,” writes Claudia Lopez-Lloreda for Inverse. “When confronted with a difficult challenge or obstacle, animals often ‘give up’ to conserve energy between attempts or to identify other strategies to succeed — or reassess if the effort is even worth it.”

A research group led by Misha Ahrens at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute was responsible for this finding. But, Ahrens is far from the only researcher to scientifically prove the benefits of giving up.

“A laser-like focus on one goal (like a promotion) often prevents us from seeking out new opportunities for learning and growth,” writes Jennifer Gueringer on the NetCredit blog. “In fact, a survey of Stanford Business school alumni found that those who held five or more positions in 15 years were nine times more likely to reach senior management than those with fewer roles.”

“The effects are physical, too,” adds Gueringer. “A Concordia University found that teenage girls who were unable to disengage from difficult goals exhibited increased levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory molecule linked to diabetes, heart disease and early aging in adults.”

You’ll Accomplish More

I know that sounds counterproductive. But, bear with me for a second.

Recall a time when you were procrastinating. Maybe you were dreading the task, just not feeling it, or didn’t have the skills or knowledge to complete it. Regardless of the exact reason — you stubbornly kept trying to tackle this task.

What happened next? You may have originally blocked out two hours of time to get this thing done. Now you’re approaching three or four hours. And, before you know it, you’ve screwed up your entire schedule for not just the day, but the entire week. The reason? What you have planned to do today gets moved to tomorrow and so forth.

Also, even if you were able to cross this item off your list, you’ve spent way more energy on it then you should have. As a result, you’re too drained to focus on anything else that’s of importance.

The better option here would be to move on to something else that you can actually do well. You may even want to delegate or outsource to someone else.

You’ll Be Happier and More Creative

As Raj Raghunathan Ph.D. writes in Psychology Today, there is something called ego depletion which suggests that “willpower is a limited resource.” If you’re obsessed with achieving a goal, that means you’re sacrificing other goals “whose achievement also depends on the same pool of willpower.”

There’s also hyperopia. It’s similar to the above where you “sacrifice your present-day enjoyment for the sake of a future that may never really arrive.” What does that mean? Well, “it may be more important to give up on goals that take too much out of us than to pursue them at all cost.”

Speaking of goals, if a goal is tied to a reward — it may sometimes hinder creativity and problem-solving.

“Rewards can perform a weird sort of behavioral alchemy: they can transform an interesting task into a drudge,” Daniel Pink wrote in his book Drive. “They can turn the play into work,” Pink adds. “And by diminishing intrinsic motivation, they can send performance, creativity, and even upstanding behavior toppling like dominoes.”

Besides goals, here are some other things that you should give up if you want to be happy and successful:

  • Perfection. You already know that perfectionism is unrealistic, stressful, and prevents you from finding new opportunities.
  • FOMO. The so-called, Fear Of Missing Out can cause you to spread yourself too thin and it diverts your attention away from your priorities.
  • Negative self-talk. If you engage in negative self-talk, it holds you back from achieving your dreams — and it can do other weird things to you too. Just watch someone who loves this awful habit — you hate to be around them, huh?
  • Comparing yourself to others. Comparing yourself to anyone but yourself is unproductive and self-destructive.
  • Toxic relationships. Spend time with people you love and who love you back. Toxic people are a waste of time, energy, and will only drag you down.
  • The fear of failure. Everyone fails. Accept that fact, and learn from each experience — or don’t learn from it — just get past it.

The End is the Beginning is The End

Do you need one final reason for quitting? How about it gives a clean slate to live the life you want?

Yes — quitting at anything is usually easier said than done. But, take that leap of faith and ditch the things that are holding you back and causing you distress. For example, if you’re miserable because you feel like you’re in a dead-end job, quit and launch your own business.

Quitting a job may not be in your future and it’s going to be hard and scary. But, this type of quitting is a better option than being stuck in a situation that is depriving you of living the life that you want. Remember, life is short. So, use your life, and spend this valuable resource however you want.

How to Know When It’s Time to Give Up

There isn’t an exact answer to whether it’s time to give up. But, Cloris Kylie Stock from Tiny Buddha has put together five signs that may help you decide if now is the time to quit — or if it’s time to buckle down and win.

  • You aren’t enjoying life to the fullest because your quest to solve a problem as taken over your life.
  • No matter how hard you try, you can’t visualize a positive outcome.
  • You start to feel poorly about yourself.
  • Even though a goal involved others, you’re the only person who has an interest.
  • When you wake-up in the morning, you think about giving up.

Remember to analyze the pros and cons of what and when to give up. The “give-up” should come rarely in your life, and it should only be deployed when it will be for your greater good. Plan carefully — make your give-up a win-win.

5 Small Habits That Can Make or Break Your Productivity

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If you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, it can feel like your whole day got turned upside down. Why? Because your first 90 minutes set the stage for the rest of your day. 

Pivotal habits, such as eating breakfast and journaling, can significantly change the trajectory of your productivity. They give you a better outlook on the day and clarify your work intentions. 

What small hacks can keep you motivated and productive throughout the day? These five are key:


  •  Defining your ‘why’


Get used to it: You won’t enjoy every task you have to do in a day. Nobody gets inspired by things like taking out the trash or sorting through emails.

That’s why you need to establish your “why.” It’s never a smart idea to rely on willpower alone to get you through menial work. 

Simon Sinek, author of “Start With Why,” suggests treating your “why” as your root. Yours might be different than someone else’s, and that’s OK. What’s important is that your goals and your tasks logically grow out of it. 

Ask yourself: What do you ultimately want out of your productivity? To enjoy leisure time? To live out your potential? 

Make your goal something greater than paying the bills. For example, you could think of it as: “providing a secure life for my family and children.” When you have a clear direction for what you’re doing, it’s easier to get through rough times. 


  •  Mapping out your week on Sunday 


If you want to be more productive, you have to plan your week out on Sunday.

There are probably a million things you would rather do on Sunday, but you only have to spend 30 minutes to plan out the rest of your week. Then you can go to the beach or catch up on your favorite television show. 

Here’s how you can map out your week on Sunday: 

  • Write everything down that needs to get done.
  • Separate main priorities from what can wait. 
  • Add main priorities to your calendar. Stick to three or fewer per day.
  • Add sub-priorities to your main priorities. If you want to landscape your yard, for example, you may need to make a trip to the hardware store. 
  • For to-do items that can wait, schedule them during leftover availability.

Now you have a weekly schedule. Review it and make sure it truly reflects what you have to get done. Also ensure that you don’t have any events conflicting with each other. You wouldn’t want to schedule a client visit the same time you have to conduct employee training. 

With your remaining time on Sunday, take care of housekeeping items. Prepare meals, do laundry, and clean up. This ensures you can keep your focus on more important things during the week than what you’ll be eating for lunch the next day. 


  •  Having a morning routine 


Is your go-to morning routine hitting snooze on your phone several times and throwing your wrinkled clothes on? Habits like that ruin the rest of your day. You set the stage for hurriedness and laziness from the moment you open your eyes. 

Some tasks you might consider including in a morning routine:


  • Reviewing your goals


Are the goals you set out for yourself on Sunday still valid. Focus on finishing those first. Once your priorities are done, work on the ones that are not as pressing. 


  • Making your bed 


Making your bed is a small task that can make you feel like you accomplished something big. It takes less than five minutes and builds your confidence.


  • Exercising


Did you know that experts say mornings are the best time to exercise? Exercise wakes you up by getting your blood flowing bright and early. 


  • Implementing a get-out-the-door routine 


Getting out the door on time helps you feel ready for work. This means having your clothes ironed and ready to put on the night before. Have essential items — like your laptop bag and lunch box — packed and in a specific spot. Place pre-planned meals in the fridge and ready to pack.  


  •  Decluttering your workspace 


Have you ever tried getting work done when your desk is full of junk: pencils that don’t work, papers you don’t use, knick knacks that are collecting dust?

It can feel impossible to work in that environment. Clutter makes it difficult for you to focus, and hard to relax. It also reminds you of all the cleaning you should have done but haven’t.

Take a few minutes to clean your workspace, starting with your desk. Put items in a box that you don’t need. Get rid of the paper agendas from old meetings. Return books that belong to another department.

Then, clean up your computer. Delete old files, and archive your emails. Organize the documents you actually need into folders.  

Finally, take care of the area around your work station. Vacuum the carpet. Clean out your filing cabinet. 


  •  Working smarter, not harder


There’s no point in discovering your why, having a schedule, morning routine, and decluttering your workspace — if you’re overworked. Why grind it out when you can find alternative ways of working?

Working smarter might mean outsourcing data entry tasks to a digital assistant. It could mean listening to your favorite podcast on your walk instead of when you’re trying to meet a deadline. 

Working smarter helps you focus on priority tasks. It also shows you the value of delegating appropriate tasks, allowing your time to be better spent elsewhere. Working smarter allows you to get tasks done quicker, which lets you use the leftover time to relax. 

To get the big things done, start small. Know what you need to get done, take care of yourself (and your workspace), and find efficiencies where you can. That’s all there is to it. 

6 Tips for Working Through the Winter Blues

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How to Kick Yourself Out of a Slump

Winter is a tough time of year. Leaving the house is hard enough; running a business can feel downright impossible.

For some people, the winter blues get so bad that they’re diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder. But even if your energy levels are only a bit lower in the winter, your company could suffer. As the leader, you set the tone for your entire team.

Don’t let that happen. Take these tips to stay productive and keep your spirits up during the long, cold days:

1. Keep it warm and bright.

Studies have shown that cold, dark environments have negative effects on cognition and mood. Work is already demanding, and a chilly or dim office will make it that much more difficult. 

Don’t wait until you’re shivering to throw on those additional layers. Keep the overhead lights on, and get a lamp for your desk if you’re still struggling to make out text or other small details. Grab a cup of hot coffee or hot cocoa to sip on while you work.

2. Prioritize friends and family.

One of the most important lessons entrepreneurs can learn from holiday traditions is to stay in touch with loved ones throughout the year. They can provide motivation, someone to vent to, and a much-needed break from work. Even if you think you can tough it out, you’ll have an easier time if you stay connected.

Schedule at least one social event each week. Invite your siblings over for dinner. Go to happy hour with your former co-workers. Catch up over coffee with a friend from college.

3. Take care of yourself.

As tempting as it is to indulge in comfort foods, it’s crucial to pay attention to your health during winter. Minimize processed foods, and eat plenty of protein and healthy fats. Take a vitamin D supplement, which can ward off depression, if you do not spend much time in the sun. 

Also consider joining a gym, especially if you do not have exercise equipment at home. Exercising outside is tough in the cold and snow, and cardiovascular exercise has massive benefits for mental health. If motivation is an issue, hire a trainer to push you through your workouts. 

4. Take your time.

Although there’s nothing wrong with wanting to achieve your New Year’s resolutions, remember to pace yourself. If you’re feeling stressed, slow down. Take a 15-minute break to go on a walk, meditate, or eat a snack.

What if you can’t seem to shake the stress? Give yourself some more time away. Vacation season is over until summer for most people, meaning you’ll be able to find deals on everything from airfare to hotels. Your wellbeing is worth it. 

5. Look forward.

Setting goals is incredibly motivating, and right after the new year is a perfect time to do so. Think about what you want to achieve in 2020, and share those goals with your team.

Use the SMART goal system:

  • Specific: Don’t say you just want to grow your revenue. By how much? Over what time frame? Through what means?
  • Measurable: Be sure that you have a system for checking progress on your goals. If you can’t put a number to it, then what outcome would indicate that you’ve met your objective?
  • Achievable: Is your goal realistic? You may want to make a million dollars tomorrow, but that probably isn’t going to happen.
  • Relevant: If you’re a startup founder looking to grow your company, don’t worry about whether you can hire fifty people in a month. Focus on hiring a single great employee instead.
  • Time-bounded: Goals are just dreams if they don’t have a timeline attached to them. Remember to be realistic about the amount of time that the associated tasks take.

6. Practice gratefulness.

Do not underestimate the power of gratefulness. Research suggests that gratitude has health benefits ranging from greater life satisfaction to a stronger immune system to reduced anxiety. Keep in mind the only difference in the tested individuals was their mindset.

Be grateful for what you have and the position that you’re in. Meditate on your gifts, and share them with others. Take time each morning to journal on the positive parts of your life. 

Start the new year off with a mindset of self-care and abundance. When you surround yourself with the right people and practice healthy habits, winter doesn’t stand a chance.

Stumped By High Turnover? 4 Steps to Find Out Why It’s Happening

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Stumped By High Turnover? 4 Steps to Find Out Why It's Happening

In a strong economy, employees know they have options. Sooner or later, workers who aren’t satisfied with their jobs start searching for opportunities with other companies. 

Although this is good news for employees, it can be a problem for employers that are unaccustomed to an employee-driven market. 

Companies that do not understand (or are unwilling to make) the necessary adjustments inevitably pay the price in turnover. According to one study, employee turnover in 2018 cost US companies $615 billion. Of that, an estimated $469 billion was voluntary turnover that could’ve been avoided.

How Turnover Happens

Although inadequate salary or benefits are common reasons for leaving a company, they aren’t the only ones. Other reasons include:

  • Unclear or unreasonable job duties: Turnover is a two-way street. Employers who don’t provide accurate job descriptions, hire over- or under qualified candidates, or put too many obligations on their employees’ plates set themselves up to lose talent.
  • Unpleasant work environment: Bad management is a big reason behind turnover. Aside from poor leadership, companies with outdated equipment, poor morale, or office tensions set themselves up for retention issues. 
  • Inadequate career development: More than nine in 10 employees say they’d stay longer at a company if it invested in their careers. Workers need to feel like they’re advancing in their professional lives, or they’ll go somewhere that they do. 
  • Work-life imbalance: Nobody can work all the time. Employers who insist that workers put in more hours than they agreed to, provide little or no time off for family events, or give minimal vacation time won’t keep workers around for long.

Turnover happens for all sorts of reasons. Whatever the cause, there are a few steps you can take to reduce it.

Solving Steep Turnover

To boost your company’s retention rate:

1. Ask for (and listen to) feedback.

Talk to employees who are leaving your company as well as those who intend to stay. Keep an ear out for trends: Are the leavers all upset about your company’s vacation policy? Do the people who are staying love your office environment? Make clear that there are no wrong answers, and thank the respondents for their honesty. 

2. Get HR and management on the same page. 

Once you’ve learned what’s pushing people away from your company, take that information to your HR and management teams. Schedule a meeting with each group to chat through it: Chances are, they have questions about your findings. Suggest action steps as well as affordable ways to reward employees for their work. 

3. Decide how aggressively to fight it. 

Your HR leaders and managers know turnover is an issue, and you’ve given them some ideas about how to handle it. The next step is to decide together how much disruption you’re willing to put up with.

Say you’ve heard a couple of names come up again and again in those exit interviews. You could fire the people who are bringing down the office culture, or you could put them on a performance improvement plan. Every situation is unique, so use your best judgment based on the gravity of the issue and the individuals involved. 

4. Keep it up. 

Turnover issues are not solved overnight. As an employer, you have to commit to the people you hire. Give team members ways to talk about issues before they boil over: Set up an anonymous comment box, and read submissions publicly.

Make retention a regular topic at leadership meetings. Measure month-by-month changes to your turnover rate, checking whether investments in retention result in dips or spikes.

Rarely does turnover happen for just one reason. The sooner you get to the root of those reasons — and the more seriously you take them — the better. 

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