11 Sentences to avoid saying to your boss at all costs

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Business 101: Resourcefulness Made Simple

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In the fierce world of modern business, over three in four new companies crash and burn. Those statistics can be quite scary, but it’s fair to say that a large percentage of those failed startups bring it on themselves. And a lack of resourcefulness is the chief reason.

Learning to make the most of yours won’t guarantee business success by any means. Nonetheless, it will put you on a far smoother path, which should enhance your chances. So what are the key elements that require the most attention? Let’s take a closer inspection of the most vital factors.

Money

 First and foremost, it’s imperative that your new business makes its money work harder. From utilizing modern staffing to finding cheaper deals on energy rates, increased value for money is the answer. This will maximize your profit margins, buy you more time, and encourage even faster growth.

Keeping an eye on expenses shouldn’t be the only concern, though. It’s equally vital that you know where you stand at any given time with more careful monitoring. A plethora of smartphone Apps can offer easier tracking to help you make smarter decisions going forward. Meanwhile, a professional accountant will often save you a lot of money when it comes to filing accounts.

Time

 It’s the oldest phrase in the book, but time is money. Therefore, it’s imperative that you use yours more wisely. As the manager of a team, the most important step to achieving this goal is to employ greater communication.

This could range from using team messaging Apps to making team meetings shorter. Meanwhile, investing in the right facilities to enable team members should be high on the agenda too. Increased productivity will put you in a far better position for long-term success as well as immediate gains.

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Space

 As a small business, it’s fair to assume that your resources will be limited in the early stages. This is especially true when it comes to commercial spaces. Mezzanine floors can double the space of your warehouses, shop floors, and other areas. Essentially, this can increase your opportunities too.

In today’s environment, it’s equally important to embrace digital opportunities. Finding the best colocating pricing can instantly allow you to make better use of your offices by emigrating certain aspects. Likewise, remote freelancers can often be used to increase workloads without the need for a bigger workspace. Frankly, these ideas can even be useful later down the line.

You

You are the company’s biggest USP. The business is an extension of yourself, and you can do a lot to boost the brand. From adding a blog to improving the customer care game, those improvements can make a world of difference.

Branding is essentially what will build your company’s personality and reputation. By being the best possible version of you, you should also influence the staff. Ultimately, that should result in a far stronger company image as well as better customer experiences. If that doesn’t generate greater success for the business, I don’t know what will.

Don’t Let Your Weaknesses Bring Your Business Down

We all have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to our skillset. After all, it makes us human! But a lot of people make the mistake of attempting to do everything when it comes to their business. But while you might be great at thinking of an idea, or talking the talk when it comes to meeting clients, there might be areas that you struggle with. And if you do attempt to take over these areas, it might be the reason why the business fails. However, there is a lot of things you can do when there are areas of the business you are struggling with. In fact, here are some ways you can ensure your weaknesses don’t bring down your business.

You are not great at pitching

For a lot of people, they can feel nervous when they have to do any form of public speaking. After all, when you have several people looking at you, it’s easy to freeze and to struggle getting your words out. However, when it comes to your business, it can make it very difficult when it comes to things like pitches and meetings. After all, you need to win over clients so that they will take a risk with your company. But not only does it not look professional when you are struggling in front of the client, but it can also stop them feeling the benefits of your business. And you might not hear from them again about any further work.

But if you are not great at pitching, there are some things you can do. For one thing, you can make sure you plan your speech to perfection. After all, if you have practiced and rehearsed the speech, it can make you more confident on the day. Also, you need to try and think positively. After all, if you start well, you will continue to wow the client. And you might want to consider getting some lessons from a professional speaking coach. After all, they can teach you some skills to make public speaking easier. And then you can ensure you do a fantastic job for the sake of your business when you next meet clients.

 

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You are not good at website developing and design

A lot of businesses have moved with the times to be online now. After all, more people than ever look online rather than heading out for a product or service. Therefore, it’s so important to have a website for your business. But when it comes to making your website, it can leave people perplexed who haven’t had experience down this route before. And then they might end up doing a poor job which will reflect badly on your business. After all, it’s likely potential clients will click off your site and go with one of your competitors if they don’t think your website looks professional.

However, there are some things you can do to ensure your website looks superb. For one thing, you might want to go to a couple of classes on web design to help you learn skills you can implement when creating your site. Or you might opt to hire a freelance web designer who can work on your website. You won’t have to pay out too much for them to work on creating a fantastic website for you. Or you might want to go down the route of working with a creative digital agency. After all, they can provide you with services like web development, alongside branding and SEO to make your business a success online. And they can give your company the boost it needs on skills you are not so good at!

You are not good at writing

When it comes to your business, you will find there will be a lot of things you need to write. From the content on your website to the wording on your marketing materials, you will need to put pen to paper when you own a business. But if you find that you are not a whiz when it comes to writing, it might mean that you give out the wrong impression for your business. After all, branding which has spelling errors is not going to impress clients. In fact, it might put them off working with your business if you make silly errors with your writing. Therefore, it might be worth looking into hiring someone who can do all the content writing for your company.

Of course, you might just want to hire a freelancer, so you don’t have to worry about paying out a monthly wage for an employee. But having someone who can do the writing for you will ensure all the wording for your business is top notch. And they might be brimming with ideas so you can use them to do extra things like blogs for your business. If you would rather just improve your own skills, you could look into attending a content writing class. After all, you can go to one which focuses on business writing, so that you can work on this skill!

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You don’t have the strongest skills in financing

A lot of entrepreneurs struggle when it comes to the financial side of their business. After all, they might not have the skills to work out things like financial forecasts. But this is what investors and banks will be looking for if you need some extra funding for your business. And if you are not great at finances, it can make it a challenge when you have to do your taxes at the end of the year. Let alone when you have to work out invoices for your clients. It doesn’t look professional if you send over an invoice wrong!

And one of the most common reasons companies go under is due to them not working out finances correctly. If this is one of your weaknesses, it might be worth going on a course about finances.  After all, a business funding course might give you new skills to boost your financial knowledge. Or you might want to look into getting a financial advisor. You can check-in with them when you have any financial questions. And they could potentially stop you from making an error when could jeopardise your business. And remember to get an accountant to help you out at the end of the tax year.

You are not good at dealing with employees

It’s likely that as your business grows, you will need to hire some employees to work for you. After all, they can take over things like customer service and advertising while you concentrate on making the business a success. But if you have never employed anyone before, it can make it challenging. After all, there might be instances where they are having trouble in their work life that you don’t know how to deal with. And when it comes to dismissing or disciplining an employee, it can leave you feeling the pressure. And your amateur approach to management might mean you lose employees who were a real asset to the team.

Or on the other hand, you might be stuck with someone who is bringing little to the business. Therefore, it’s worth hiring an HR member of staff who can deal with employees. That way, you won’t have to worry about things like contracts as it will all be dealt with by HR. And you can always give your management skills a boost by attending a course. After all, you might learn valid skills on how to deal with employees.

And remember that there is always support out there to ensure your weakness doesn’t overshadow how great your business is!

Organization Skills: the Keys To Success

As an entrepreneur, you will be used to doing everything yourself in the best possible way. But there is a big difference between an entrepreneur and a leader, because you will have to rely on other people to get the job done. And if you want to make a successful switch from entrepreneur to a leader, you are going to have to ensure your organizational skills are in top form.

In today’s guide, we’re going to take a look at a few things you can do to improve your organizational skills and become a better leader. Don’t forget, if there is one thing all successful business leaders have in common it is the ability to organize their workforce – and their workflows. Let’s take a look at some of your options.

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Take a top-down approach

First of all, it’s vital that you don’t get too wrapped up in the minutiae of running a business and take a top-down approach instead. Hire people that you trust to take up key positions in as team leaders, and leave them alone to do their jobs – micromanaging will not only prevent you from focusing on organization, but it will also antagonize your teams.

Be proactive

Great business leaders who are organized suffer fewer unexpected problems than leaders that are not. It’s that simple. Be proactive, and you will find that you are prepared for almost every given scenario that might occur, and you will also have a plan for making the most out of your weeks and months, rather than just the day ahead.

Build lists

To-do lists are the mainstay of many organized households, and the same principles can help you in business. If something new crops up, add it to your list, and it never gets forgotten. To-do lists also set everything that needs doing into concrete plans, and you can’t tick them off until you are done. A traditional pad and paper are all you need, but if you are looking for something more intricate, there are plenty of list-making apps and software out there.

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Create charts

You can create charts for almost every single business process, from hiring employees through to running individual projects – try out this organization chart maker as an example of what you can do. Organizational charts provide you and your teams with an instant snapshot of what needs doing, where everyone is, and what they need to focus on. Charts for business organization have been around for over 150 years, and although the method of delivery might be changing, there is no evidence charts are going anywhere soon.

Delegation

As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to be able to delegate tasks to various departments and workgroups. Not only will it give people a sense of authority and responsibility in your business, but it will also help you enjoy success with organization. As an entrepreneur, you might find it hard to delegate to others – your need for control is often the reason why. But it is essential that you learn the skill of delegation of you want to become a great leader.

Managing Employees Well Is Crucial To Success

Business is a complex business! But do you know what shouldn’t be complex? The management of the employees in your business. You can either run a business the right way and do things by the book, or you can do it the wrong way and take shortcuts that will not benefit your business in the long run. It is very easy to think that you can treat everyone in a way that appeals to you, or dismiss employees willy-nilly – but that’s not the way forward, and it could very well be an exercise towards disaster. You see, there are a lot of shortcuts on offer, and a lot of them are hidden in company policy as innocent bits of legislation, but can be bent and used with malevolent force.

The best way to run a business and a team? With honesty, transparency, and fairness. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so try to ensure your actions are done for the good of the business and are heavily backed up by the word of the law. Take your time with decisions, do a lot of research, talk to HR and act like a leader, not as a total bossy-boots!

The very first thing to do when managing employees is to create a productive and safe environment. This is something that is completely within your power and remit as a leader to do. Your workplace should be a place where everyone feels comfortable to be themselves in. On top of that, it should never be a place where discrimination takes place. Every single member of your staff and your team has the right to work without being harassed or discriminated against by yourself or the larger team. If you are unsure, consult your team and see what the bar is. Of course, if anyone comes to your door with a complaint regarding discrimination of any sorts it is imperative that you take this seriously as any complaint will always be grounded in some sort of upset. When staff members are upset it is up to you to not only address their complaints but to follow up. If staff members under your leadership see that you are taking no interest in their concerns, they could go above your head or even seek legal action.

Another part of creating a good working environment is to ensure that the needs of the staff are met. Can they eat and drink? Can they relax? Is it clean? Are the chairs comfortable and can the staff communicate? Making sure the office environment is clean and comfortable is key to creating a positive working environment that is safe and comfortable workplace.

You can also ensure you are doing everything possible by ensuring the team is in good spirits and that a solid rapport is built between you and your team in the workplace. People do not like to be treated as a means to an end, surprisingly, so avoid doing this! People are people, so treat them like friends and not tools. This is a sure fire way to gain respect and not animosity.

A team exists for a reason, and it is of massive importance to you and your company that you communicate with your team in a friendly and respectful manner. Some managers like to take a lofty perch and avoid creating relationships with their team, and thus lock themselves away in offices and only meet with team members based on appointments. This is not healthy. Some managers also focus on results far too much, and while results are important, they are not the be all and end all of your team, and if you keep presenting your team with results, they might lose focus and stop caring about the big picture.

Learn to speak to your employees and build rapport and a solid working relationship with your employees before focusing on any production of results. A focus on the big picture could very blind you as to what is happening right in front of your eyes. Your team needs to be able to trust in your abilities in order to deliver the results that you want from them. Think about it this way, will you be able to work to the best of your abilities if your boss is hovering over your shoulder demanding the best of you constantly?

The easiest way to build a solid working relationship with your team is to keep your door open. Your employees should be allowed to speak to you about anything as you are in a role of both authority and responsibility. Employees respond well to leaders and managers who clearly care about their wellbeing and their health not just in the place of work, but at home and in their personal life too. Speak to each employee as the diverse individual they are and do not be afraid to get to know each and every single member of your team in a personal manner.

Also, ensure you are capable of recognizing the success of team members. This isn’t just about who can bring in the most sales or hit their targets; it is about what everyone brings to the business in their own unique way. Is someone improving morale? Recognize it! Is someone taking time to train staff? Recognize it! Give credit where credit is due – it’s so very simple and will help your team cultivate a culture of success in the workplace. Staff won’t like it if their best efforts are not rewarded by the person in charge.

Before we jump into talking about discipline in the workplace it is absolutely essential to educate ourselves about the role of workplace human resources or HR. Human resource departments used to handle payroll and other areas, but are now a fully functioning arm of companies that focus on everything to do with employees. HR doesn’t and shouldn’t take a side, but they usually are the voice of the company – that does not mean that they should treat employees unfairly under any circumstances, though. Human resources departments are essential and should be well versed in not just employee and workplace law, but the law in general like Ellis Whittam. A good HR team is worth its weight in gold and should be taken seriously.

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Discipline in the workplace needs to follow company procedures either laid out by yourself or the human resources department. Every action taken against an employee needs to be grounded in consistency, the law, company procedure, and fairness. In other words, if you set a bar or there is a bar set for behavior and ability in the workplace, stick to it. If you aren’t being consistent with punishments or discipline in the workplace, you could be sued or shown to be a perpetrator of discrimination in the workplace. Employees have a lot of reasons to be unhappy with their employers which means that before you take any action against employees, it needs to be grounded in both reason and evidence. This is where HR comes in as they set the bar and can let you know if you are following the best course of action in regards to a problem employee. It is very easy to slip up in this area so ensure your actions are documented, evidence and backed up in as many ways as possible.

There’s only one way to manage employees and that’s well. Be yourself, be natural and don’t be a total authoritarian when it isn’t called for. People can see through your methods easily, so be natural and be the best manager you can be.

Clash Of The Coworkers: How To Rethink Your Open Plan Office

Many of today’s modern office spaces have what we call “open plan” layouts. In a nutshell, they have dispensed with the traditional design where each person or team would have a traditional office with a door, and closed off from other individuals and groups. Instead, everyone works together in one big room or area.

As you can appreciate, open plan layouts are attractive because they allow teams to communicate with each other better. However, there are some downsides to some open plan layouts. For example, noise levels can increase, and some people will find it hard to concentrate. Plus, there’s also privacy concerns to contend with.

If your open plan office suffers from those or other issues, you might think that such a layout isn’t for you. But, the good news is that you can resolve your problems by making some slight changes or additions. Here are a few examples of what you can do to make your open plan office more productive, inviting, and efficient:

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Use the same furniture for each cubicle

Is your open plan office a mish-mash of different styles of desks, chairs and other office items? If so, that could be part of your problem. Some of your workers may find it hard to work at desks that are too small or narrow, for instance. And others may have too much space!

One strategy to follow is removing your existing cubicles and furniture and opting for a more uniform approach. Look at sites like Arnold’s Office Furniture for some inspiration on the cubicles and furniture that work well with your particular office setup.

Make use of plants

Why do you often see plants in today’s modern offices? The answer is simple: they are cheap to buy and maintain, plus they serve a multitude of purposes! For a start, they break up an otherwise standard-looking office design.

They can also serve as a barrier of sorts to divide up an open plan office into specific areas. And, finally, they help to improve air quality and increase productivity. The latter was even proven in a scientific study on the subject!

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Use the right colors

It might shock you to learn that not all offices get painted with white or magnolia colors, nor do they feature gray carpet tiles! Color can impact how we think and feel in our lives, and we can use it to convey the right message to office workers.

You also need to consider which colors work well with your particular business. For instance, an investment company might not want a kaleidoscope of colors and abstract art adorning the office space. And a technology startup might find a corporate color scheme doesn’t appeal to staff and visitors alike.

Keep it bare

“Less is more” is an approach that works for a variety of modern open plan offices. If your working environment is full of stuff, keep the clutter to a minimum. You might even wish to expose bare brickwork on the walls or steel beams in the ceiling. It gives workers the impression they are working in an area bigger than it is. Plus, it makes the look and feel of the office more attractive.

Getting Through Customs: How To Make Your Relationship With The Customer Soar

Communication with your customers is such a vast subject that it is so difficult to break down into a simple formula. Whether you are in a contact center, a customer facing role, or using email to speak to them, you have many obstacles to overcome. Focusing on the contact center environment, it becomes very apparent that you don’t have as many things going in your favor that you would normally have, like facial expressions, manner, how you posture yourself etc. All you have is your voice, which is a limiting factor in communicating yourself effectively. Secondly, if a customer calls to complain and there are external factors, like a bad line, this will further annoy the customer. There are essential skills to have when working in a contact center, and here they are.

Communication Skills

Communication varies depending on the environnent, and it is down to you to communicate yourself properly. Whether you use body language more in a face to face role this would normally work to alleviate customer anxieties, but this cannot be done over the phone. A thing you do have control over, is the language that you use. There are many words that you use that can be construed as negative. A common example is when someone thanks you and you casually respond “no problem.” Yes, it is an acknowledgement, but the word “problem” will impact on a customer negatively. It could simply imply that there is a problem. Either way, using language that is direct and positive over confusing terms will work so much better to build the bond between business and customer.

Skills In Time Management

From the opening of the business, to the close of business, that is your window of opportunity. So use that time as best as you can. Your role is to sell products and to sell the business or brand. This also applies to when you are in conversation with a customer. You could spend a long time going round in circles with a customer, and sometimes it is better to seek assistance before you say something you regret. And this links to having patience. Managing your own fuse is a very important skill to have, so your best character traits come across, and this translates into productivity and more sales. There are things you can use to help your team get ahead, like extra training or sales team enablement software. Managing your emotions will help you majorly.

Having Superior Knowledge Of The Product

You cannot bluff your way through this. The product is what you are selling, and you need to sell it in as much detail as you can while giving care and attention to the customer. This is balancing act, as you don’t want to come across as someone reciting lines, or too “sales-y.” But knowing your product will help in the sale, and it will help for technical queries afterwards too. If you “know nothing” it reflects badly on the product, on the business, and on yourself.

Why A Trademark Is Crucial For Your Business

If you’re thinking of starting a business, then you have a long way to go before that business is up, running, and exactly where you want it to be. You have many things to consider before you can start your business and begin calling it a success. One thing you’ll likely hear a lot about, is a trademark. If you’re wondering why a trademark matters to you, this post can help you.

Trademarks Make It Easier For Customers To Find You

A trademark can make it much easier for customers to find you. With so many businesses in the same niche these days, it can be difficult for customers to differentiate between different businesses. When you make sure you are trademarked, you make it easier for customers to find you. Not only will it make it easier for them to find you, they’ll become more sure of your reputation and be far more likely to work with you. They will be less likely to move towards another competitor, and far more likely to move towards a sale with you.

Trademarks Can Become Valuable Assets

Trademarks can become extremely valuable assets indeed. They can get more valuable over time, especially if your business is becoming more valuable. As your business grows, your trademark will grow with it. Trademarks can also help you to expand into other industries. They can be bought, sold, and licensed as you see fit, too. It’s one of the most important things to think about as you start your business.

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Trademarks Don’t Expire

Your trademark will not expire, so you don’t need to worry that you must pay for it all over again or go through a bothersome process to keep it. Many brands have been trademarked and around for hundreds of years. Many car brands are an example of this, such as Mercedes, as well as brands you likely use in your day to day life.

A Trademark Will Protect Your Brand

Protecting your business in any way you can is absolutely crucial for the future. Whether you’re big or not now is not the point. The sooner you protect your business, the better. If you have a unique name and business model, a trademark can help to protect you from people trying to jump on the bandwagon and copy you. Unfortunately, there are people like this in the world. Dishonest people out there will try to create a business just like yours and become a rival, or a carbon copy if you don’t take the steps to trademark it, explains Xavier Morales. Making sure your business is safe is an absolute must.

Of course, this isn’t the only way a trademark can help your business. It can also make your brand more recognisable and memorable, and is usually pretty cheap to obtain. Hopefully, it’ll also discourage others from using similar branding techniques to you. Make sure you do what’s best for your business and get trademarked as soon as possible for peace of mind!

How technology helps with staffing

As business owners, we all struggle with staffing issues. The infographic below and companion article helps us to understand how recruiters use technology effectively, I am sure there are a few things we could be doing (better)!

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5 Reasons Why Technology Drives Success in Staffing

Via AkkenCloud

 

50 Interview Questions to Ask Job Applicants

A few months ago I shared with you a Small Business Recruiting Guide provided by one of our trusted contributors.

Because you liked the resource, we thought you might be interested in their latest published work: 50 Interview Questions to Ask Applicants.

The guide contains 50 quick, easy-to-use, and immediately applied interview questions. These questions will help you to decide quickly whether the candidate you are interviewing is the right fit or not. Each question has been filtered through a vast array of human resources scenarios to determine if any are “questionable” or “offensive” based on current HR laws, regulations, and interviewing rules, (e.g., discriminatory questions based on violations of ADA, Title VI, etc.), and each one has passed the test in the US at the time of this writing.

We think this guide will go perfectly well with the Small Business Recruiting Guide we shared with you in the past.