Monthly Archive for September, 2013

5 Ways to take your business to the next level

Aymane Remmal - www.exponentialprograms.comClimbing the ladder in the business world can be tricky. It takes careful planning and good judgment. In some cases you need to be psychic. But climbing the ladder is not impossible. As long as you are open to learning new lessons then this journey won’t be as tedious. To get your business started, here are five ways you make your business reach the next level.

1. Use your unique selling proposition

This is the factor that you sell as the reason your product or service is better than your competition. But before this can be done, you need to be sold on this reason yourself. Grab a pair of your customer’s shoes and run a mile in them. Ask yourself what do you customers want and need? What are their motivations? Why are they buying specific products over others? This reason is crucial in creating a good sales pitch and you can uncover this information by investing in feedback surveys or market research. Then once the research is done, switch your customer’s shoes for your creativity ones because you need to figure out how to sell this message in a unique way.

2. Be the best in customer service

Psychologically if a customer has a bad experience somewhere they will then take it as their personal mission to save someone else from experiencing the same. Treat every customer with the respect they deserve and cater to their needs. ‘Word of mouth,’ marketing is still the most influential ad in the world. Give them the best experience and this starts by having a good receptionist at the door. Servcorp Executive Suites are one rental office company that values the need of having a good receptionist.

3. Be mindful during hiring and fire away

It wastes expenses and time to train the wrong person. It is more beneficial to have a lengthy hiring process in place than a speedy one. Forget about the pressure to hire quickly and instead redirect this urgency when you let someone go because at the end of the day, you will wish you let them go earlier.

4. Have a good location

Invest in having your office on a good city street with lots of traffic. Make sure your company’s name is displayed on the front door and have a good slogan that sells your unique product or service. Someone is bound to read it in the midst of a traffic jam. Don’t forget to display your contact details.

5. Make your business appeal to the masses

Have a product with a reasonable price for all social classes because when your business seems accessible, you will seem friendlier overall. Remove the intimidation. Classify your services with different levels of offers and then give the customer the opportunity to upgrade after a certain time. You are expanding on their brand loyalty and by then they might not want to waste their time searching for a similar service somewhere else. Also invest in a marketing plan that sells your key message to all.

 

How to Stand Out at Interview Time

The dreaded job interview. I can hear your pulse racing already, and honestly, I don’t blame you. I used to be terrified of interviews, whether they be first, second or third, the open-ended question fiesta climbed under my skin a millisecond after excited adrenaline left my system and opportunity turned to despair. Great, now I have a chance to make an idiot of myself in front of people who don’t even know me, I’d berate myself, following with a reminder of my modest skill set. If you can’t tell already, humanity serves itself with a very critical dose of internal cynicism every time something good happens, acting as a curb to any chance of an ego boost. So how do you survive it? You don’t – You take that interview by the horns and thrive, scoring the role you’ve always wanted and instant kudos to boot. Want to know how? Read on.

The Extra Mile – Walk Right This Way

Are you sick of sayings like, go the extra mile, be bold and different, you’ve got to risk it to get the biscuit? Yeah, me too. Every single one of these demands the reader stand out from the crowd without illuminating the how or the why. The latter is actually quite simple. Imagine you’re a HR manager or employer scheduling interview – your morning starts with a cup of coffee and a pile of CV’s, some badly written, others not so much, considering what you’re looking for before the first one walks through the door. You can’t remember their name. The clothes are bland, their answers are boring and perfectly crafted to match their CV. You go through twenty of these per day, for a week, with very few asking anything more about the role, the company or what you’re looking for. When asked if they have any questions, most just blankly smile and shake their heads, exhausted by the whole process of being so perfect a skin-made automaton would have performed just as well. Why stand out? Because you will be remembered, appreciated and quite possibly welcomed back for a second interview with open arms.

Dazzle Them With Bewilderment

How? Ah, that’s a difficult question and the answer changes from person to person. A good stop-gap for absolutely everyone is research, research, research. Yes, I’ve repeated the word three times but preparation is essential if you come to question time; you never want to be THAT person who has nothing to say. Delve into the company history, the department you may be working for and the position criteria, formulating three hard hitting questions that really get to crux of the culture, the role and your adopted company. Know who you’re working for and don’t be afraid to show them you have a voice.

Be…Professional? Logical? Ineffable? Cool? Nope, Just Be Yourself

Nobody wants to hire a robot. Showing your human side and owning your nerves (a quick joke for example about your feelings lets the other side know where your heads at) will help you to banish them as the interview progresses. If you’re interviewing at agencies like Randstad in Melbourne, you’d be expected to be a little bit funky but clothed professionally, letting your personality shine through as your greatest asset. I think this is true everywhere else, though some roles may require you to temper little eccentricities and pull them back a bit. If you don’t feel comfortable in the office or culture after the second interview, cut your losses and seek another opportunity. You spend a lot of time in the office, life shouldn’t be an impromptu stage production where you never know the lines.
How do you feel about the infamous job interview? What mechanisms have you developed to get you through or better yet, score an awesome job.
Blog post by: Jessica Hannah

A positive twist on negative thinking?

Positive thinking seems to be one of the hippest trends of modern management and popular ‘gurus’.  But a review of the empirical evidence, released a few months ago by the University of New South Wales, found those who think negatively actually have stronger memories, make better judgements, are not as gullible, are less selfish, and persevere longer at difficult tasks.*

These are hugely important findings because in many workplaces employees who are branded as ‘negative’ are immediately ostracised, considered too destructive and uncooperative to have on a team.  But what is now evident is that they really do have a valuable role to play in any organisation if given the opportunity to do so.

Different - Zebra

* Unless we’re talking about the toxic people whose clear aim is to cause mayhem by opposing and complaining and conniving and influencing others to join them on the dark side.  In those cases, treat them as a serious performance management issue.  That’s why it’s essential to distinguish between those who simply think negatively with those who work negatively.  The former are easy to coach; the latter not so much.

Obstructionists come in tow different ‘flavours’:

  • The mis-matcher, who will drive you and your colleagues crazy by disagreeing with everything you say hence the moniker mis-matcher. These are annoying people who can’t help themselves and I tell all my clients to fire them LAST WEEK!
  • Non-conformist, who just does not want to be placed in any box, group or team – BECAUSE – they just don’t want to. They are in fact in a box, labeled non-conformist, but even THAT label annoys them.

The challenge for you as a leader is to avoid the temptation to turn a negative thinker into a positive one.  You’re better served identifying the strengths they can bring to the team irrespective of their thinking style, and then incorporate those strengths in some way within their job.  In particular, negative thinkers can make a great contribution in these areas:

  • Matters of cognition:  This includes solving complicated problems, simplifying organisational complexity, and developing subject matter experts.
  • Matters of judgement:  This includes identifying flaws in strategic plans, providing input on the recruitment of new employees, and determining risk.
  • Matters of motivation:  This includes participating in long-term projects, keeping colleagues focused on the core issues, and questioning the status quo.
  • Matters of social behaviour:  This includes communicating critical information, anticipating the impact of change initiatives, and assessing the fairness of decisions.

Of course, positive thinkers can be just as successful at each of those areas.  It’s just that those inclined to think negatively have especially demonstrated those competencies in various academic studies.  Even then, that doesn’t imply that negative thinkers are better than positive ones or vice versa.  They each have advantages (and disadvantages) that brilliant leaders are able to maximise (or minimise).

What you’ll end up discovering is that when you stop seeing negative thinkers as an issue to be rectified and instead see them as a talent to be engaged, they begin to feel valued and acknowledged.  And as soon as that realisation sets in, they’ll eventually exhibit the positive traits that so many of their colleagues have long desired.

NOTE TO SMALL, ENTREPRENEURIAL BUSINESS OWNERS:

Do not hire negative, non-conformist or mis-matchers. Even though academic literature and team oriented literature supports to some degree diversity – as a SMALL business, with LIMITED budgets – you simply cannot afford ANY discordance with your vision and strategy. Of course I am not advocating you hire only yes men and women, what I am suggesting is you AVOID those that will be conflictual.

How do you do that? Contact us and we’ll teach you how to hire the best staff and avoid the most blatant mistakes – BEFORE you make one that can cost you thousands in lost productivity and profitability.

Original source article provided by Mark Mackenzie of The Graffiti Eaters. Thanks Mark!