Being a leader takes courage and fortitude. You must have the necessary abilities that will show people you are to be trusted and worth following. Leadership is not a skill that can be drilled into you. Margaret Thatcher said “Don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.” If you sense that you have the distinctive traits to be a leader, here are some tips to keep you on track.
Stir the Team
How do you provide employees with coherent, concise and correct information so they know what is expected of them? Communication! Be clear about what their tasks are, where to get assistance and what the timeframe is. It is also critical that you listen to your team. Capturing the big picture around the mission is an important strategic driver to keep the group inspired and provide a boost to productivity.
Ethics and Integrity
You must consistently demonstrate high values and responsibilities. This will build trust and respect with your team. Being a professional means doing the right thing while also knowing that people will not discern that you did it or not. A leader also must impart a safe and relaxing environment for employees to allow for innovation, engagement and creativity.
Determine the Complex Problems
Be the one to set aside time for your staff to assess pressing problems. Provide them the supporting data and background information necessary to complete the tasks. It is very important to be part of the team and partake in the resolution of the challenging issues. A leader must also never quit on a problem. They embrace the challenges and find the best means to overcome the obstacles.
Identify the goals that are demanding, quantifiable and attainable. Furnish an atmosphere that allows for staff involvement with processes for setting goals and a rewarding, focused and supportive setting. Review the measurables with the team and congratulate on the successes while also staying positive on the negatives, keeping in mind a quick turnaround plan.
You’re Invited – Best Meeting Practices By Chris Jordan
Ding! A meeting invite pops up on your desktop calendar. Some employees dread this as an unnecessary waste of time, while others view it as an opportunity to contribute to the growth of the company. It is up to the meeting organizer to ensure that the time they have requested from everyone’s busy schedule is necessary, focused, includes the correct audience and ends with the proper goals in mind. Here are a few tips to keep your meetings creative and worthwhile:
A Beginning and an End
We’ve all been there. Sitting around the conference table staring out the window watching the day march on wondering when the last invitee will finally step in. Don’t let the energy drain from your meeting before it even begins. Companies must have discipline and mutual respect for each other. If a meeting is set for 8:00 AM and you accept, be there before the start time. Leaders must act as leaders and set the example. The coordinator should have a set end time as well. Be sure to keep a watchful eye on the clock and stick to it.
Have a Set Agenda
There is nothing worse than going into a conference not knowing why you are there. Everyone attending the meeting needs to know why they have been invited. Provide a handout with the agenda or write it on a whiteboard. If necessary, break down a timeline of specific topics to be discussed and adhere to it. Even better, send the outline in advance so people can be prepared for the meeting.
Who’s In, Who’s Out
The host of the meeting needs to determine who must attend and who may not be necessary, to match the agenda. Keep control of the size of your meeting and be sure to have key decision makers in attendance. Keep in mind, some people may come with their own goals. It is the steward’s responsibility to keep the correct balance of ideas coming and inspiring everyone to say what’s on their mind.
Stay on the Rails
Now that all the important people are assembled, make sure to keep your meeting on the tracks. If some people are logging in via video conference, be certain that you know how to use the necessary software tools to sign them in. If you don’t, ask for assistance from an associate that does. Don’t allow yourself to be embarrassed by wasting time trying to figure out what cord goes to what port or why you can’t hear the person on the other end of the call.
Meeting Over – Now What The end of any meeting needs to have defined next steps, responsibilities and specific deadlines. Near the conclusion, appoint someone to keep track of who is accountable for what items and when they need to be accomplished. Any other uncovered items can be investigated further and the group can reconvene for follow up discussions.
Sales Tips to Stay Ahead of the Competition By Chris Jordan
No doubt about it, the sales game is a tough arena. There is no room for slouchers or slow-pokes. You must continuously keep yourself motivated to stay involved, remain competitive and always be selling. All of this must be done in an environment that is quick to seek out the newest, cheapest and most versatile products on the market. Any minute you are staving off your competitors, while also having to deal with an unpredictable consumer that shows no loyalty to a brand. Here are a few sales reminders to stay ahead of the game:
Focus on Opportunities
There is always going to be a lot of chatter in your market. Don’t get bogged down on roads to nowhere. Stay cognizant of your surroundings. Take advantage of leads by simply talking to people around you. This way you get to find the best prospects yourself. The top performing salespeople have garnered their top clients when simply conversing at informal gatherings. Remember to always be on the lookout for positive opportunities.
You must be resilient to be successful in sales. Never stop trying to close a deal with a customer. I have been rejected for nearly a year by certain clients but I stayed the course, convinced them that what I was offering added value to their bottom line and eventually won them over. This should not happen with every opportunity. Trust your instincts and run with them when it feels right.
Know Your Product
Many customers will already be on guard when they see a sales pitch coming their way. Nothing is more troublesome than a salesperson who doesn’t have knowledge of their merchandise. You must avoid this by understanding your products better than anyone. Doing this will not only help your client to gain confidence in you but will show that you or your employer takes great care in staffing exceptionally trained associates.
Ears Open Mouth Shut
The best people in sales let the customer tell the story of what their needs are. The key is to listen to what their problems are. Once you have allowed them the time to explain their concerns you can focus your sale on how you and your team can help alleviate their obstacles. You will have a much greater success rate in sales by simply listening and being a problem solver.
You can use these straightforward but sometimes forgotten tips to stay focused on sales. Never again allow opportunities slip past your guard. There is no magic formula, just continue to master your techniques and be prepared to have an outstanding year.
One of the easiest things to do in an organization is to recognize employees for their contributions. It is also one of the easiest things to forget. Do not allow this to occur. Two of the key components in engagement are motivation and reinforcement. Here are a few tips to provide timely and meaningful recognition.
Employee Recognition Team
Most businesses are always looking for ways to improve the work atmosphere and create an upbeat setting. Who best to know what is required to make this happen than the employees themselves. Start an Employee Recognition Committee with selective members within the organization. This group should consist of management and labor associates. Provide the group with a budget and opportunities to meet so they can generate ideas and action plans.
Good Morning Grub
The social nature of food and the time to gather together cannot be overlooked. A great way to reward the team is to have a weekly morning coffee and bagel day. This will allow all employees to stop and take some personal time together. Who wouldn’t want the boss to buy breakfast. This small gesture of appreciation will also add to making the team more cohesive.
Thanks, I’m Good
All business have to deal with employees missing work due to personal issues or illness. How about providing deserved associates with calling in “well” days? Think about it. You certainly have workers who go the extra mile, stay late, work weekends or assist other team members. Who wouldn’t enjoy taking a day for themselves by contacting the office with “I feel terrific! I’m calling in well today.” This could spread to the less than motivated workers and get them on board too.
An easy way to determine what your employees find rewarding? Ask them. Provide a simple survey, no more than 5 questions, and get their input. Is a small gift card incentive meaningful? Are public announcements of accomplishments worth something? Tickets to sporting or theater events? Add a blank line for suggestions. Anything that will spur conversation and ideas to generate a positive vibe.
Recognition of a job well done is special in any work environment. All employees crave a nice pat on the back for their contributions. They may state “it was no big deal” but on the inside they are filled with a sense of accomplishment for being noticed. Create credit tokens. Be creative. These are another expression of thanks for going above and beyond. Order a large blue ribbon that can be displayed in a workspace. This says “You’re a winner”. Purchase a packs of gum that can be handed out. These can be shown off as one to “stick” with.
Like most budding business entrepreneurs, you will wear many hats as your company develops. This not only allows you to understand what it takes to design products, manufacture them and market to customers, but helps to extend your limited funding. You will have to work lean, trade services, and possibly provide consulting to stretch your budget to the limit. Ultimately, this will not be sustainable over the long term. In order to grow, you will need to focus on the big picture by increasing your timeline for production and determining when is the best time to find associates to assist with your growth. This will allow you to work smarter and be more efficient. Here are four tips to help keep your costs in-line:
Are you considering expanding your business? Making the move from a home office to a commercial building? Is your current lease expiring and you want new digs? Once you have determined your new location, the next step is moving as effectively and efficiently as possible. Keep in mind, even though you are moving, the organization must continue to function and be operational. Here are some tips to follow when relocating your business:
Operating a business alone can be arduous, lonely, repetitive, burdensome and growth limiting. Historically, successful stewardship of an enterprise comes with having a partner or a small team rather than trudging along by your lonesome. Here are 5 keys to look for when choosing a business partner.
Are you looking to find new people and businesses that can help you open doors to new markets or provide skills that you don’t currently have? An opportunity could be right around the corner.
As a business, you are always wanting to find new markets to broaden your niche, continue with product development and keep some momentum. While doing your research, have you found some other business that you think would be a good fit for what your current business is doing or maybe they are knocking it out of the park in a market that you always wanted to get into? We must having something of ours that will benefit them for the match to work.
We started a company back in 1999 called Endless Innovations and our goals seemed clear, maybe a bit foggy but never the less achievable. At the time I was working as Development Engineer in the Aerospace and Defense industry and my wife Janine was a freelance graphic artist. The plan for this energetic and motivated couple in our early 30’s was pretty straight forward, design a product based on a need, market it and we are golden. We were a couple of adventure racers, so how hard could this be? Aw..The allure of owning your own business, the freedom from the 9 to 5, more flexibility, defining your own path, being your own boss….and the list goes on. Well, here was the reality….the physical and mental pains of Adventure Racing are only temporary…the struggles and failures of making the wrong decisions with your small business can last you the rest of your life…So make good well thought out decisions and stay focused!