Archive for April, 2018

00The piece highlights Goddard’s volunteer hours policy, in which employees have paid time off/flexible work hours to engage in volunteer projects.

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Time is something that most leaders don’t seem to have enough of. It’s something leaders will confess to be chasing quite often. Despite all the time management tips and practices that can help you be more productive, you find it hard to make enough time to get things done. If it’s not the time spent traveling, then it’s the time you spend on calls with business associates. And worst of all, you end up spending a lot of time in meetings.

While meetings can take up a lot of your time it’s an evil that’s necessary, particularly for you as the leader of an organization. Meetings are essential to the work you do because of their ability to draw people closer and share information. Also, meetings can help you synergize and align your team with your vision and purpose. It’s a great way to mentor your talent and understand what drives their passion. Basically, even if you’re tired of all the meetings you can’t avoid them. You simply have to put up with them.

However, meetings don’t have to be such a drag. In the age of exponential growth and digital revolution, the business world is moving fast, and so should you. Getting trapped in hour-long meetings (if not longer) can seriously hamper your ability to get multiple things done. And believe me, the times today necessitate the need to get multiple things done in the least amount of time.

So how do you go about attending all necessary meetings in your busy day and find the time to strategize, brainstorm and do everything else that a leader needs to do to ensure their business succeeds? Here are some guidelines that can help your meetings be more brisk.

1. Drastically Shortened

Small talk and chatting can take up a lot of time. Sure they’re great tools to break the ice, connect with your team members and even as a warm up to the more serious conversations, however, they just take up too much time. This is the time you can save and instead spend on the more meaningful discussion that serves the meeting’s purpose. Limit all meetings that you attend to a maximum of 30 minutes. This’ll force you to address all the important, pressing matters first and get it off your plate. Restrict conversations to the agenda at hand and if you have time to spare, engage in some light talk to connect with your team.

2. Leave Other Matters Out

Have you noticed that sometimes discussions in meetings can take a dramatic turn into a completely different tangent that’s not related to the agenda? These can drag a perfectly well planned meeting into the realm of tiresome and often needless debate and argument. Avoid this trap by reminding everyone to stick to the topic of discussion. Losing focus is easy, however, maintaining it is pivotal to get the most of your meetings and the limited time you have. Sure, you’ll find plenty of meetings that identify other issues during discussions. Try to park them for now and address them in a later meeting.

3. Balance Your Time

Being a leader means you’re generally a busy person. Your team will constantly be on the lookout to grab your attention. You’re going to be pulled in every direction and it’s tough to balance everyone and everything you need to do. So how do you manage? Set a weekly schedule that covers everyone that’s directly and closely working with you. This way you’ll be able to allocate your time in a balanced way and ensure no one is left out. You’ll be able to give everyone your attention, mentor them when required and address several company matters during these sessions with your leadership team.

4. Be Prepared

If meetings were to commence with everyone being briefed on why they’re there and what the purpose of the meeting is, then you’ll waste precious time bringing everyone up to speed. Being prepared for every meeting is essential. Make sure everyone who is attending knows the agenda before they arrive. So all the reading materials, reports, documents, etc. that will be talked about is shared preemptively with the attendees. This way you’ll definitely get the most out of the meeting within the stipulated time.

5. Focused Group

Ever been in a meeting where some of the attendees just huddle up in a corner listening and taking notes (if that even)? These people often don’t contribute much wisdom to the meetings and I find myself wondering why they’re there in the first place. As an exponential leader, you know you want to be surrounded by talented individuals, right? To curb this, make sure only those people attend meetings that are relevant, know what it’s all about and who will contribute to the discussions. This way, you’ll be locked in a meeting room with the true talent and brains in your company and be able to extract the most of their expertise during discussions.

6. Speak Last

Leaders often have the most to say in meetings. They steer it, drive it, and often feel their say is the most important out of everyone else that’s in the meeting. Sure, you have the most vested in the company, there’s no denying that. However, by speaking too much you’re alluding others to have a say. Plus, if you’re serious about building capacity in your company you need to ensure you have a talented group of individuals around you. Test them out. Hear what they have to say. Let them make mistakes, learn, grow in confidence, and be better future leaders. Your job as the leader isn’t to drive every meeting that takes place in the company, it’s to guide and coach your talent.

With these 6 guidelines, you’ll be able to get the most of your time from all the meetings you attend. This way you’ll guarantee yourself the ability to keep up with the rapidly changing business world around you and ensure your company moves forward at the same (if not faster) pace.

This article originally appeared in Paul Keijzer.

This article was written by Paul Keijzer from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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Whether you’re just starting out or thinking of ways to further your ability to succeed with your business, you will certainly benefit from getting into an informed position and learning as much as you can about boosting your business. It means that, with any luck, you can increase your sales and revenue. Boosting your business performance will take time, resources and effort but it’s well worth the investment. It is far easier than you might at first expect, all you need is the know-how to do so and the desire to achieve. If your business performance often slips and slides, then you need to be focused on trying to find a strategy that reliably works for you and keep your business consistently achieving and growing towards further expansion.

  1. Review Business Processes

Business processes are structured activities that help the everyday running of your business, and they’re hugely important. These can include maintaining customer relationships, weekly emails of company updates, checking stock reserves and using a warehouse inventory system to help you know exactly what stock you have and where they’re going. If your business includes a warehouse, then it needs to run like clockwork, and you cannot afford for mismanagement where product and delivery is concerned. Business processes are subject to aging, and it’s important to remember that they will not stay new forever. They need regular review to see if, and where, they could benefit from a change.

  1. Use Best Companies

In order to earn your place among the best, you must work and interact with the best. If you want to boost your business, then you need to make sure you’re working with other companies that are reliable and have a good reputation. You should be able to benefit each other mutually by doing business together, so wherever you can, try and purchase and connect with the local businesses. When it comes to deliveries, make sure that you do business with those that can promise a high standard and that your goods can be with you in time. Do some research and find out which companies have a great reputation for service and excellence. You cannot afford to waste your time on companies that cannot promise brilliance.

  1. Have a Great Work Environment

Your environment needs to be conducive to work for both yourself and your team. A happy and contented team is a productive team, so to boost your business, you’ll need to pay attention to the conditions of where your employees work and spend their time. You need to be providing a bright, clean and clear space where they can work calmly. Surfaces need to be clear from clutter, and efficient and timesaving technology should be installed. If your business processes cannot be carried out at speed, then you’re losing time and therefore money and resources. The office space is far more important than you might have realized, so pay attention to it. If you’re unsure about how to go about brightening up the work premises, conduct some further research or (better yet) interview your staff and ask for their opinions and suggestions.

  1. Maintain Customer Relationships

Booting your business involves increasing how many clients and customers you work with, that’s clear. However what is not so clear, is that you need to maintain the customer relationships you have already been able to form. Customers like to know they’re appreciated and valued, so don’t shirk on your responsibility of letting them know how important and fundamental their custom is to the success of your business. Consider getting customers on an emailing list and updating them of company news such as new and improved products, an increase in company revenue, and other anecdotal pieces of information that let your customers know you’re thinking of them. Strike up a meaningful relationship with customers and ask for their advice on matters too. Find out exactly what the customer wants and work out how you intend on bringing it to them.

  1. Utilize the Power of Social Media

Social media can be the difference between failure and success, so make sure you are harnessing the full force of its power to boost your business. Social media is used by millions of people worldwide, so it’s important that you’re active on it. If you’re going to ramp up your business and sales prospects, then you must rival the competition. Let’s face it, there’s going to be many other companies just like yours that sell similar products and services so you must make yours stand out from the crowd, and the internet is a great place to get started. Make sure your product stands out by using marketing skills such as SEO copywriting, using attractive graphics and video, and adding share buttons to allow your content to be more widely distributed.

  1. Boost Management Skills

As the manager, you’re largely responsible for how the company performs, so working on your ability to lead a team to success is going to boost business performance. Learning how to manage a team expertly comes with time and experience, however, if you don’t have this time to spare, then you should consider attending lessons, workshop, and programs to help you go from strength to strength. Managerial skills have a significant impact on how well a business runs, and you must be up to date with technological advancements and knowledge of how to improve staff morale for example, as well as how to deal with conflict, lateness and maintaining customer relationships. Always be interacting with impartial business professionals and ask for tips and tricks and pose questions.

  1. Be on Hand to Answer Queries

Make sure you’re not a distant manager who fails to interact with staff. Your team will look to you for guidance, advice, and inspiration so make sure you’re in the best position to inspire and impact the wisdom you have down to others. Think about holding an office hour once or twice to a week to discuss matters and points of interest with colleagues and your team. Always be seen to be helpful and to genuinely care about the welfare of both the company and also your workforce.

 


The views expressed in content distributed by Newstex and its re-distributors (collectively, “Newstex Authoritative Content”) are solely those of the respective author(s) and not necessarily the views of Newstex et al. It is provided as general information only on an “AS IS” basis, without warranties and conferring no rights, which should not be relied upon as professional advice. Newstex et al. make no claims, promises or guarantees regarding its accuracy or completeness, nor as to the quality of the opinions and commentary contained therein.

This article was written by SmallBizViewpoints from Small Biz Viewpoints and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Raise your hand if you feel like work-life balance is a myth. When you’re freelancing or running your own business, your job demands a lot. You are all the things: the public relations department, the marketing department, and the one who does the work.

Study after study shows that one of the best things you can do for your productivity and to increase your happiness levels is actually take a break from work. That might feel impossible if you’re a one person show, but it’s all the more crucial. Burn out is very real, and it can derail your career if you let things get too bad.

Setting boundaries on your work is a proven method to create more work life balance. With boundaries on your work, you’ll feel less anxiety and more productive. Increase your happiness with our tips.

Create Work and Play Hours

When you’re a freelancer or working from your own home, it’s very easy to let the lines between work and play blur. You might find yourself running errands at noon on a Tuesday, and then working on the weekend to make up for those hours.

While a flexible schedule is one of the biggest perks of working for yourself, having a regular schedule is also one of the best ways to get things done and still reserve time outside of work.

Your schedule can be whatever you want; maybe you start work at 11am and go until 8pm every day. Just makes sure that once 8pm comes, you put down the work and engage in the rest of your life. Boundaries are important.

Take A Real Vacation

Unplugging is crucial to that work life balance. Trying to sneak in a few hours of work while you’re on vacation can be a slippery slope, and it can create the anxiety and stress you’re supposed to be walking away from.

Americans are some of the most over worked people on the planet. Taking a vacation can restore your creative energy and give both your body and mind the break it needs. Take a few days away from hunching over the computer.

Pursue Hobbies

When you’re not working, what do you do? If the first words that come to your mind are along the lines of ‘cit and watch tv’, maybe you need to pick up a hobby.

Hobbies are ways to truly disengage with your work. When you’re focusing on painting a new piece of art, or knitting a sweater for your puppy, your brain is engaged at the task at hand. There’s no space to worry about work or to reach for your phone to check your social media feeds.

Drawing a line between work and the rest of your life is a favor that you do for yourself. It’s important not to lose yourself in your work. You’re a complete person; increase your happiness by celebrating your life outside of work.

This article originally appeared in Due.

 

This article was written by Kara Perez from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Regardless of your role, having great communication skills only improves your ability to lead. It helps you better motivate your team, create a culture of open and honest feedback, and keep people organized and on the right track.

As someone who works in public relations (and loves language), I spend a significant amount of time figuring out the most effective ways to convey messages. I’ve noticed some of the bad habits people adopt in the workplace, and the impact that changing these habits has on both the outcomes of conversations and leaders’ credibility and confidence.

Here are three you can fix today to be a stronger leader at work:

 

1. Use “Don’t” Instead of “Can’t” When Turning Down Projects

 

communication habits

 

For many people, saying “no” can be one of the most difficult skills to master—and yet the most important. How you say it is almost as crucial as saying it at all.

Most people often use can’t or don’t when turning opportunities down, but one of the two is exponentially better than the other.

When people say they can’t do something, it shows limitations to their abilities. By using don’t, it expresses power in the choice.

For example, if you’re presented with a new business opportunity that serves an audience not in line with your target demographic, instead of saying, “I appreciate the opportunity, but we can’t take on this project now,” say, “We appreciate the opportunity, but don’t serve clients outside the entertainment industry.”

By phrasing your response in an empowering way, you reinforce the value of both yourself and your business.

 

2. Stop Writing “Sorry for the Delay” in Emails



In 2016, journalist Marissa Miller tweeted, “Adulthood is emailing ‘sorry for the delayed response!’ back and forth until one of you dies.”

Since then, tens of thousands have liked, retweeted, and shared her post across other social media platforms. To say it resonated would be an understatement.

I’ve had people apologize to me for a delayed response within the same day of receiving my initial message. Crazy, right?

Why are we so eager to apologize for being a reasonable communicator? It ultimately makes people sound weak and undermines their authority.

Let’s ban the phrase. Instead of writing, “Sorry for the delay,” say, “Thank you for your patience.” You can even elaborate, if appropriate, to include why you were delayed in responding: “Thank you for your patience while I gathered the information required to provide you with clear next steps.”

This one small change will enhance your perception as a competent, confident leader.

 

3. Tell People You’re “Focused” Instead of “Busy”

 

communication habits

 

How often do you hear colleagues talk about their busy schedules?

While I don’t anticipate that changing anytime soon, we can improve the way we characterize our activities so our language honors our priorities.

When people say they’re busy, it sounds like their lives are out of control and they don’t know how to manage their time.

Instead of saying you’re busy, clearly state your priorities. That means “I’m so busy” or “Work is crazy right now” becomes “I’m traveling for an event” or “I’m focused on developing two new client proposals.”

Putting yourself back in the driver’s seat immediately makes you feel calmer and more in control.

People often don’t realize how the seemingly trivial things we say can significantly impact the way others perceive us. Making these small changes will increase your capacity to effectively lead others as well as work alongside them. Let’s start empowering ourselves and, in turn, those around us by honoring our intentions, priorities, and full lives.

 

This article was written by Julia Bonner from The Daily Muse and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

An increasing number of consumers are going online to try and find businesses who can provide a service that they need. They’ll use Google to find a local electrician or plumber, check out Facebook or Instagram when deciding on which restaurant to go to and take into account recommendations they read online.

It’s estimated that at least one in four Americans make at least one online purchase per week while the average smartphone users will pick up their phone 1,500 times a week. That is without taking into account all the time we spend on social media!

Our lives and the world are moving online at an increasing rate, and it means that, for your business to succeed in the current climate, you need to be able to take advantage of that.

Here are the best ways to market your business in an ever-growing online world.

Embrace social media

The big change in our lives over the past decade has been the growth of social media. Ten years ago, how many of us had heard of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, let alone had an account with them? Facebook now has 2.2 billion monthly users, Twitter 330 million and Instagram 800 million. That is a lot of potential clients to entice to your business with savvy marketing.

There are so many ways you can use social media to your advantage. Take Facebook for example. Setting up a page for your business means you can communicate directly with those people who ‘Like’ you. If those people who like you share your posts, then your business becomes visible to their friends on Facebook who may in turn like you, and this isn’t the only way to expand your reach either. You can advertise on the site for a pretty nominal fee compared to traditional media, or you can take out a Sponsored Post which inserts a post of your choice into the news feeds of the friends of people who already like you, all of which increase your visibility.

That’s just Facebook. On Twitter you can produce short, sharp comments to get your name out there on a range of issues going on in the world and use hashtags to get yourself found by potential clients who had never previously heard of you. Likewise, Instagram; take a photo of your work, upload it to the social networking site and watch it pick up likes from people around the world who, intrigued by what you do, will go through the rest of your feed and possibly head on over to your website.

With 30% of millennials saying that they engage with a brand at least once a month on social media, it is a form of new technology you can embrace cheaply and easily, but can be hugely beneficial to the prosperity of your business.

Build a professional network on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is slightly different from the other social media sites in that it is more of a professional network. It had nearly 467 million members and is a great way to advertise your skills and services as an individual.

One of the most helpful functions on LinkedIn is the groups. These are a great way for connecting with others within your industry or area which can help spread your message. You can promote content or services through these groups to other professionals who may have a need for your services while also picking up ideas from others in how you can improve your own business.

LinkedIn provides a great way of contacting those you might have a mutual connection with. You can message any other member in a group without being connected which can be a huge asset depending on the circumstances. Share updates often, stay in the spotlight and make yourself well known to those around you.

Use SEO to help customers find your business

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of rules and guidelines that can be followed by website owners to optimize their websites in order to improve their search rankings, making them more easily found by search engines.

SEO has become increasingly important as more and more people turn to search engines to find a business or company that can carry out the services they require, whether that’s an online shoe retailer or a local plumber. Take Google for example. Google processes 40,000 searches worldwide per second – that’s 3.5 billion searches per day or 1.2 trillion per year.

Research suggests that the majority of search engine users are likely to click one of the top five suggestions on their results page and very few ventures off the first page at all. It means that if you can get your website onto that front page for the search results of the services you offer in your area, you’ll have a much greater chance of picking up customers than if you are lagging behind on page four or five.

The basics of SEO are easy enough to implement to give your website a boost, and there are plenty of guides to get you started available online. The more seriously you take it, the more chance of rising through the search rankings you’ll have and for that reason, consulting a company that specializes in SEO such as 180fusion can he hugely beneficial.

Use listing services

It isn’t just SEO that can help give your business a boost on Google, but their listing services as well. Using Google My Business or one of the equivalent listing services offered by the likes of Yahoo! or Bing will allow your company to be found more easily, as it will then show up on map services for businesses nearby.

So, in the instance that a person’s car breaks down in a town they have never visited before and they desperately need to take it to a mechanic. If they Google a nearby mechanic, your business would be shown to them based on their location rather than just a generic search of the area. The listing includes your contact number, a rating and reviews of your business which will help drive a potential client or customer your way.

It’s free to get listed; all you have to do is register your business via a form and go through Google’s confirmation process that will verify you exist and do what you say you do. Google Maps passed the mark of 1 billion users in 2017, and as more and more people turn towards it as a navigation tool, it can drastically help drive more people towards your business.

Start a blog

A blog is a great way to drive traffic to your website as well as helping you engage with your customers. By writing fun and informative articles on the issues surrounding the industry you are in, you can get people visiting your site, and from your blog they may end up looking at your services, becoming new clients along the way! The best articles to write are topical ones as they will get people talking, as well as cementing you as an expert in your field.

Readers will be interested in what you have to say, and if you can position yourself as an expert, they will be impressed by your authority on the subject. They might even share the article if they agree or learn something from your position. If they do share it, this ,in turn, will increase traffic to your website and increase your visibility, which can only be good for business.

The other type of articles that people like is lists. If you run an interior design company, posting blogs such as “10 ways to improve your home on a budget” will not only get people onto your website but will also a publicize your products or services by subtly mentioning a couple that you can provide within the blog.

If you go down the blog route, just make sure to have a regular stream of posts that will keep people coming back. A dormant, abandoned blog is worth nothing. It’s key to post consistently, often on a set day or time, perhaps that’s twice a week, weekly or even monthly.

Use email marketing

Email marketing isn’t easy; how many of us see an email from a company we once bought a product from or ticked a box to receive details of offers from and instantly decide to delete it? In fact, very few people will even bother to open it. To succeed with email marketing, you need to give something away whether that is a discount code, a buy-one-get-one-free offer on the stock you need to be cleared or a special item only available to those on the mailing list.

If a consumer knows that every time an email drops into their inbox from your business, there is going to be something of value to them contained inside it, they’ll read it. Sending them mere details of products or updates is all very well and good, but the real way to turn those emails into sales is by ensuring that you are sending the client something worthwhile.

 


The views expressed in content distributed by Newstex and its re-distributors (collectively, “Newstex Authoritative Content”) are solely those of the respective author(s) and not necessarily the views of Newstex et al. It is provided as general information only on an “AS IS” basis, without warranties and conferring no rights, which should not be relied upon as professional advice. Newstex et al. make no claims, promises or guarantees regarding its accuracy or completeness, nor as to the quality of the opinions and commentary contained therein.

This article was written by SmallBizViewpoints from Small Biz Viewpoints and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.