How To Eliminate Skills Gaps In The Workplace

Skills-Gaps

When it comes to managing people in the workplace, it can be frustrating to see your goals not being met despite having the correct number of people on board. And because of this, your vision for the company may begin to get hazy. This can be due to commitment, hiring quality, or poor training. But the mediocre output of your team members can be due to a skills gap.

What are Skills Gaps?

A skills gap is the difference between the skills required to perform a specific job or task and the actual skills a person has. It can also refer to the gap between a company’s workforce’s skills and the skills needed to meet its goals.

Skills gaps in the workplace can be a significant obstacle to productivity, efficiency, and success. They can impact team member performance, hinder the ability of businesses to adapt to change, and even lead to team member turnover. Fortunately, there are steps that both employers and employees can take to eliminate skills gaps, so everyone has the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their roles.

This article will explore various ways to eliminate skills gaps in the workplace, including using technology like a training platform so you can boost your organization’s productivity and efficiency. You can click here to learn more about this technology.

Identify Skills Gaps

Skills-Gaps

You can eliminate skills gaps by identifying where they exist in your workplace. You can do this using several methods. First, you can conduct a skills assessment. This can be done through interviews, competency surveys, and skills tests.

Now may be the perfect time to reevaluate your company job descriptions and review your team’s latest performance evaluations. You may need to revamp your job descriptions to elevate the expectations in your workplace. Moreover, it’s best to get the thoughts of your team member’s immediate superiors and colleagues since they may provide insight into an individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Lastly, it would be nice to solicit information from your team and ask them what skills they need to improve upon or learn. Doing this will make them feel valued and think their company is concerned about their individual development.

Identify The A-Players In Your Team

A-players often have a strong foundation of skills and a willingness to learn and grow. By identifying these individuals, you can focus your learning and development efforts on employees who will likely make the most of these opportunities.

This can help your team acquire the skills it needs to succeed. More importantly, they can serve as role models and mentors for other team members, sharing their knowledge and expertise with those struggling or looking to improve their skills.

Develop A Training Plan

Once you’ve identified skills gaps, the next step is to develop a training plan to address them. You need to determine the best method of training. You can opt for classroom instruction, online courses, seminars, or on-the-job training. Choose the most appropriate method for the skills being developed, the needs of the individual or organization, and the workplace setup you currently have.   

Aside from the method, it’s ideal to set specific goals for the training. This will help you measure its success and determine if the skills gap has been effectively addressed. Afterward, you can evaluate the training. Assess its effectiveness in closing the skills gap by comparing it to the goal you have previously set. You can use this information to help plan future training for your team.   

Set Performance Expectations

Setting performance expectations and communicating them places everyone on the same page. Moreover, this can help the team members to focus and be more determined to do their job well. To do so, the head of the unit can explain the expectations through a one-on-one discussion. Employees can freely ask questions, and the administration can address them immediately.    

Performance expectations are typically done when a new member gets on board. However, it can still be effective after evaluating skills and identifying any skills gaps. This way, team members know they’re regularly assessed and their work is being checked.

During the discussion, ensure that the individual or team knows the performance expectations and how they relate to the skills gap. It’s important to offer resources and support to help the individual meet performance expectations. After doing this, regularly checking in on the individual or team’s progress is essential. This can be through a weekly check-in or a monthly update.

Lastly, it’s vital to highlight any successes and pat the team member on the back for a job well done or, if not, provide constructive feedback to address any issues. This is essential for their progress and must not be overlooked.

Encourage Continuous Learning

Skills-Gaps

To prevent skills gaps from reoccurring, it’s essential to encourage a culture of continuous learning in your workplace. This may involve setting aside time and resources for employees to continue learning and developing new skills or offering professional development opportunities.

Provide Mentorship

A great learning environment is learner-driven and coach supported. It can be helpful to assign a mentor for each struggling team member so that their learning opportunities will be addressed more specifically. You can create a buddy system and identify potential learning coaches who will help support your goals to close the skills gap in the workplace.

Use Technology To Your Advantage

Technology can be a valuable tool for eliminating skills gaps in the workplace. You can use online learning platforms so your team can access training materials and complete courses at their own pace. This can be especially helpful for employees who need to learn new skills or update their current ones.

In some industries, virtual reality (VR) technology can be helpful. It can allow employees to practice new skills in a simulated environment. This can be particularly effective for hands-on training, such as equipment operation or customer service.

Conclusion on Eliminating Skills Gaps

Eliminating skills gaps in the workplace is essential for improving productivity, efficiency, and success. While eliminating skills gaps may take time and effort, the benefits of a skilled and knowledgeable workforce make it a worthwhile investment. Taking a proactive approach to skills development can help your business thrive and stay competitive in an increasingly dynamic market.

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Interpret Your Income Statements in 2023

Income Statements

Interpret Your Income Statements

Small business owners must take on different roles to keep costs down – whether as a designer, copywriter, marketer, or accountant and being able to interpret income statements is included in the must-knows. You have to apply all the skills you have, or get the training to fill in the gaps.  

One expertise that tends to be particularly difficult for small business owners is creating and managing income statements. Two primary financial documents that a business owner must have are a balance sheet and an income statement. On the balance sheet, you can see what you own (assets), and what you owe (liabilities) at a specific moment in time. Income statements show – by month, quarter, or year – what money is coming in and going out, and whether you made a profit or had a loss.

Owners use this critical document to analyze profit and loss, and to then make strategic decisions on increasing sales or reducing expenses. It’s also a required document to show to inventors and lenders.

What is the Story That Your Income Statements Tell?

Your income statements tell a story. They tell a story of how you grew or didn’t grow your sales. How much you spent to get sales. How much you spent to pay yourself and your employees. How much you spent on rent, phones, insurance and other expenses. And then finally the story of how much was left in profits or losses after sales minus expenses. Whether the story has a happy ending is up to you!

To help you, we’re giving you some tips on how to interpret your income statements:

A Reality Check For Your Financial Reports

Even though your income statements may be done on the computer, it’s a prudent idea to verify the data. One wrong number or an error in a calculation could make the statement virtually useless.

  • Do you have all the needed categories for your industry (retail, manufacturing, personal services, etc.)?
  • Are any figures missing (costs like association fees, licenses, or legal bills or income like earned interest, rebates, or sold equipment)?
  • Are all the Excel formulas (like Sum) correct?
  • Do the actual numbers make sense for each category? 

Ensure you’re tracking all the right categories, and that the data makes sense. This can be a challenging task, so it’s always a good idea to explore reliable financial courses, such as MNYMSTRS financial literacy for beginners, that can provide you with the necessary knowledge and reliable tips regarding your financial wellbeing.

The Income Statements Sources

It’s imperative to closely look at each one of your income sources. Ask yourself if this revenue is sustainable or not.

Analysis will show whether your current business model is working. If not, determine what can you can do to improve it, such as:

  • Develop procedures or process flows to help your team become more efficient and, thus, faster
  • Join a trade group like an industry association or community club like a local Chamber of Commerce to meet peers and potential clients
  • Increase your online advertising to drive traffic to your website
  • Hire a professional to help with weak areas like social media, copywriting, or sales

The Expense Categories on Your Income Statements

Most businesses share common expenses like rent, insurance, staff salaries and benefits, interest, taxes, and supplies. Keep an eye on these expenses to determine if all expenditures are shown, and if reductions can be made in areas like insurance premiums, inventory, or loan rates.

Consider whether expenses are appropriate for your industry; for instance, in a manufacturing business, supplies and materials should be your two largest costs. If you have a service business, you should see a bigger expense in salaries.

It’s also a good time to think ahead to planned future expenses like training or advertising, and to make adjustments as possible in other categories.

The Bottom Line: Your Profits

Particular focus will be on the number at the bottom of your income statement:  Net Income value. When it’s a positive number, you have surplus income; when it’s a negative number, you have a loss for that period.

A positive number here indicates your business is making more money than what it’s spending for that period. It shows you’re doing a great job in managing business costs and generating sufficient income to be profitable. Congrats!

Positive income gives you the option to spend money on new equipment or software, advertising, or bonuses, or even pay yourself! 

If the Net Income value is a negative value, it means that your expenses are higher than your revenues. The negative number can show enclosed by parenthesis, in red, or simply have a minus before the value.

When you see a negative value here, it doesn’t imply that your business is failing. Many businesses operate in the red for up to 3 years due to the numerous start-up expenditures like facilities, hardware, software, training, websites, and licenses.

A negative number can also be due to lower revenues or higher costs due to:

  • ramping up your customer base through networking and word-of-mouth
  • development of advertising, social media, and online content
  • seasonal work such as farming, snow removal, roofing, or landscaping
  • time for training and certification of staff

Assess the root causes for negative Net Income and make the moves toward improvements in the period that follows.

If you continue to have a negative Net Income, you need a deeper analysis to know where efficiencies and changes can be made.

Comparing Income Statements Side-by-Side

While looking at an income statement from a single period is important, it’s even more important to compare it to the previous ones. This is the only way that you have to see major trends in costs and sales.

Ideally, use an income statements template that will show a column with your last numbers. Use the comparison to become aware of any trends, seasonal affects, unnecessary costs, or other key information. 

Once you can see the ups and downs in your numbers, you can address how to maintain the ups and to avoid the downs. If sales have declined, you can hire more staff. If insurance rates have increased, you can shop a better rate. If inventory is top-heavy, you can sell off the excess.

Reviewing the numbers in an income statement may not be the most exciting task of your day, but you should now recognize its importance in growing a successful business. You’ll know what is earning money, where your losses are happening, and how to get to the fun part – making more profit so you can expand your small business and fulfill your dreams.

For more information, here’s another article entitled “Why Measuring Results in Small Business is Crucial.” What are your thoughts about this topic? Is this helpful information? Reply in the comments below.

 

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5 Best Small Business Ideas of 2023 (Low-Cost & Online)

best small business ideas

5 Best Small Business Ideas of 2023 (Low-Cost & Online)

Making money has never been easier. With so many different business ideas to choose from in 2023, it can be difficult to decide which one to pursue. Although you might think that following a new trend is risky, it is also equally rewarding.

The small business ideas mentioned in this post are extremely popular and have a huge demand. You must pursue a business idea that you are passionate about. It will keep you going when the going gets tough.

The fact is that you do not need a lot of money to start your very own business. With the right skills and initiative, you should be able to make good money in no time. The internet has made torn barriers to entry. Today, you have an easier time pursuing your interests.

Being an entrepreneur is the best thing in the world. You get to make decisions and benefit from increased flexibility. Take advantage of the following business ideas and become your own boss.

1. Dropshipping

One of the best small business ideas that you can cash on in 2023 is dropshipping. If you do not have the money to buy and hold inventory but want to make money selling products online, dropshipping is the way to go.

When starting a dropshipping business, all you need to do is select the right products to sell online. The ecommerce business model will allow you to generate a decent income on the side without having to manage any physical products. It does not get better than this.

Start by creating an online store and contact suppliers who can package, store, and ship your orders to customers. There are even dropshipping apps that you can use to conduct product research. Thus, you do not need to spend much time and can start working from day one.

Once you have found awesome products to sell, you can begin marketing them to find customers. The best thing about dropshipping is that you do not need to hold any inventory. But, you can always hold inventory if it is not an issue for you.

There are even online marketplaces such as Handshake that help small businesses find high-quality products for the best cost. Create a long-lasting relationship with suppliers and take your business to the next level.

2. Translation

There is always a demand for multilingual people. Anyone who can speak two or more languages can make easy money by starting a small business that monetizes on those skills. Look for clients on sites like Flexjobs and Upwork to grow your portfolio.

Once you have enough companies hiring you for translation services, you can always hire more multilingual people to expand your services. If you speak French, German, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Urdu/ Hindi, or even Malay, you can promote your skills online.

To ensure that more companies are exposed to your small business, you need to also promote your services on social media. You could even start a YouTube channel and utilize PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising.

3. Home-Cooked Food Business

Are you someone who loves to cook or bake? Then, you should make money out of it. Pursue your passion for cooking or baking by starting a home-cooked food business. Uber Eats and Grubhub are just two of the apps that you can use to sell your food online.

If you enjoy cooking, you could start a home-based catering business. The reason why it is a great small business idea is that people are always looking for a new place to eat. Hence, you could cater to them by offering home-cooked food.

Create a website to get started. You can cater to small events, companies, busy individuals, and so on. Everyone needs to eat. Therefore, a home-cooked food business is always a good idea. You can start your business with minimal investment and expand as your business grows.

4. Website Flipping

Another amazing low-cost and online business idea for 2023 that you can pursue is website flipping. It is a rather new idea that can make you easy money. All you have to do is buy a website that is already running, improve its content and design, and sell it to make a profit.

If you are a website developer or designer, it provides you with the perfect opportunity to make the most of your skills. There are various places where you can easily purchase and sell websites for a decent gain.

A great platform that you can use for buying and selling ecommerce sites is Exchange by Shopify. Once you have bought the ecommerce site, you can improve it for SEO, content marketing, and other tactics. Then, you can list it on the marketplace to generate more revenue.

For instance, you can purchase a carpet cleaning website and sell it online after you have made improvements. A company that has the same name, let’s say Carpet Cleaning , will buy the improved website from you gladly.

5. Online Tutoring

Do you like to teach people? Then, it might be time to give online tutoring a try. If you are an expert in a subject, you can create an online tutoring business: the more subjects you can offer, the better.

To start teaching, you need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in the subject that you want to teach. Therefore, you must have studied the subjects that you intend to offer. Otherwise, it would just be a waste of time.

There are various websites that you can use to find clients to tutor, such as Tutor.com. The secret to succeeding as an online tutor is teaching those subjects that relate to your core expertise. Share constructive knowledge and skills to make money.

Moreover, you can even take things one step further by creating an online course. It will help you generate a passive income while you continue offering private sessions over Skype or Zoom.

Best Small Business Ideas of 2023

Create the ultimate small business by using any of the ideas mentioned above. From dropshipping to online tutoring, each small business idea is low-cost and online. Therefore, you should not have any hassle getting started.

Author Bio:

Myrah Abrar is a computer science graduate with a passion for web development and digital marketing. She writes blog articles for Carpet Cleaning Eastbourne

 

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6 Easy Ways To Grow Your Electrical Service Company Sales

How Electrical Contractors Can Grow Their Company in 2021

How Electrical Contractors Grow Their Company

Your electrical service contractor company likely provides residential and commercial customers with a full range of design, installation, repair, inspection, and renovation work.

While highly skilled in all things electrical, many of these independently owned service companies face challenges in strategy, organization, communications, and marketing.

We at Small Business Coach Associates would like to offer 6 effective methods that will specifically help an electrical contractor company to grow and succeed.

Six Best Marketing Tactics to Grow Your Electrical Service Contractor Company

The following approaches can make a significant difference in working smarter, not harder as well as building up team rapport, improving customer service, and reaching your target clients.

  1. A Catalog of Contacts
  2. Relationship Building
  3. Follow-Up
  4. Word of Mouth
  5. Services, Services, Services
  6. A Marketing Strategy

Following is more detail on how to easily implement these tactics:

#1 Arrange Your Contacts in Your Database

As the owner of an electrical service contractor company, we are sure that you have contact info from most (if not all) past and current customers. However, you probably don’t have them all in the same place.

electrical contractorWhen the time comes to send a message or announcement about a new product, location, event, sale or other promotion, you want a simple way to send the same message to the same group of contacts at the same time.

Gather up the accumulated business cards, post-it notes, email contacts, and all online or paper lists to compile your customer contacts in one place.

You may also add names of people you’ve met while networking and at events. You may include contact info from vendors, contractors, partners, or other business associates.  At a minimum, keep their name, company, and email address. Consider including other data that you might need for a communication such as phone number, address, last contact date, type of contact, or description of work provided.

Prepare Your Customer Data to Begin Marketing

You can store this data many ways, such as in an online app, an Excel spreadsheet, or a Customer Management System like SalesForce or ActiveCampaign. You can keep everything in an email “group” consisting of only business contacts (no friends, family, et al).

Whatever method you employ, be sure to update it regularly.

With a ready-to-go list of contact information, promotional campaigns will be a breeze … and that will result in … new business!

#2 Build Better Team Relationships

When you have a small business with a limited number of staff, like an electrical service company, it is important that all the members of the team get along, are acknowledged, and are empowered to play a part in your company’s success.

Having a good relationship between the different staff members allows your electrical contractor company to work better. This culture can be fostered through individual recognition, respect, teamwork, and communications. An obstacle to communications is the fact that you have “cowboys and cowgirls out on the range.” Since they are outside your office performing work, you have less contact with them.

Ways to Build Your Team Relationships

A great first step is in recognizing that any team member (whether full-time, temporary, or intern) may bring not only potential customers but also possible ideas that further your success. They can recommend your services to their friends and families. Their attitude and enthusiasm may be the reason that some customers continue to use your firm.

To nurture their job satisfaction, input, and work ethic, find ways to:

  • Acknowledge the good – which can be as simple as an email recognizing what they’ve done well, a “Job Well Done” sticker, or a $5 gift card.
  • Come together – have regular all-hands meetings to discuss the state of the business, to talk about new plans, or announce promotions. Allow time for Q&A.
  • Keep your door open – sincerely offer for staff to come to you or their manager with their ideas or potential leads in addition to their concerns or feedback. All input can play a role in better working relationships and a more successful business. 

#3 Follow-Up With Your Customers

A rather simple method to build a good relationship with customers is through follow-up communications.

Make a call or send an email after a service call or when a project is completed. Ask for a ranking or feedback on aspects such as:

  • Response time
  • Professionalism
  • Efficiency
  • Cost

This method will, first, give you an idea of areas needing improvement while, second, building rapport. You can include a short questionnaire about these key points.

Thank Your Customer For Choosing Your Business

You can take this opportunity to thank the client for choosing your company and to offer a discount or gift card for new clients they recommend. You can even remind them of your guarantee or warranty, or request a testimonial on your website or social media page.

Doing follow-up communication is a clear signal that you care about your customer’s satisfaction and about doing a good job.

“We would like to recommend Alan at Small Business Coach Associates for making a large impact on our business. We are on track to double our generator sales this year. We gave ourselves and our employees raises, and we have paid an additional $75,000 on a loan that is nearly paid off. We have improved our quoting process, our sales process, our collections process, and our conversions process.  These improvements have resulted in a big positive impact on our sales and cash flow.  Additionally, we are offering financing and other value-added services which have benefited our customers and our business. Finally, we are taking more time off: 5 weeks this year!”  Andy, President, Electrical Service Company

 

How to Handle Customer Complaints

When you receive a customer complaint, it could pertain to dissatisfaction with the service, the poor manner a consultant has handled a query, or a lack of updates concerning an appointment. No matter the reason for the complaint, it is important to provide the customer with an attentive response in which you do your best to resolve the issue.

While most businesses will experience a customer complaint, it is essential to always put your best foot forward. Many people who have a negative encounter fail to alert the company but will spread the word about a negative perception to colleagues, friends, and family.

What to Do When a Customer Complains

Breathe Deeply and Relax

It can be challenging to deal with an irate customer but remember; it’s all about your service. It is not a personal attack. When you quip yourself to approach a tough situation with a calm attitude, you can think reasonably and determine the best course of action to improve their experience.

Listen and Identify the Problem

Your customer wants to be validated. Listen to what they are saying and try to understand their perspective. Show them that you understand and explain the steps you will take to address the matter.

Provide a Solution Based on the Details

customer complaintBefore agreeing to the customer’s terms, always get your facts. You need to make a professional decision that not only addresses the customer’s interests but maintains your business integrity.

Let the customer know that you have a handle on the problem by issuing follow-up calls. You could also offer a customer some form of a gift to show your sincerity, including a promotional offer. A discount off their next electrical maintenance service or a free electrical inspection are examples of such gestures.

 

#4 Cultivate Word-of-Mouth References

When someone needs an electrical contractor company, they no longer turn to the yellow pages and call the first number they see. Most people ask friends and relatives if they know someone who can handle the job.

According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising. Plus, after analyzing specific case studies, researchers found a 10% increase in word-of-mouth [offline and online] translated to sales growth of up to 1.5% (source: www.bigcommerce.com).

So, you want to put some thought and planning into how to get the word out there.

The best strategy to get a reference will always be to maintain a high standard of service, be professional, and have a great relationship with your clients, staff, vendors, and other business contacts.

Consider a promotional plan, such as offering a $10 gift card to anyone who sends you a new customer. (Include employees in this, too!)  Flood your local area with promotional products – like baseball hats, t-shirts, and signage.

Social Media as a Marketing Tool

Along with referrals, social media is a powerful marketing tool for business exposure and growth. For contractors, failing to incorporate social media is a missed opportunity. With more than 3.5 billion people across the world using social media, tapping into this market can help businesses convert visitors into customers.

electrical servicePeople are naturally drawn to visual content. Even those looking for an electrical service contractor may be more inclined to click on a video or an image compared to reading a traditional advert. This does not mean you shouldn’t include descriptive ads; it is simply about being concise, innovative, and creating intriguing content that addresses your customers’ pain points.

Shares, likes, followers, and joining groups are all part of networking. It works similarly to ‘word of mouth references’ but uses online posts, videos, and images to attract and educate consumers. This offers immense potential to build your customer base and assert your business as a trusted, competent, and leading service.

Using Social Media to Get Referrals

Use your social media presence as a referral channel, and for reviews. FaceBook, YouTube, and Yelp play a major role in building trust and getting new business.

On your web site, emails, social media pages, and marketing materials, (1) include testimonials from homeowners and businesses that you’ve serviced, and (2) apply your branding.

Ensure that social media platforms present a bright and glowing view of your company and its services. Don’t forget to check Google, Angie’s List, Home Advisor and Yelp reviews and rankings –

If it’s an unfair comment, respond to it (of course) with all the professionalism you can muster.

Click Here to Access a Free Tool to Get Great Reviews

If it is a fair but negative appraisal, respond by first contacting the unhappy customer and making things right, then reply online with that story.

#5 Offer More Electrical Services

Once a customer has experienced your services, don’t neglect to make them aware of the range of other services you offer. Take time to let them know you can do more than just hang a light fixture or repair a broken wall outlet.

electrical serviceCommunicate that you can wire any size home, office, or commercial building. Let them know you do home inspections.

Publicize seasonal offerings like the installation of Christmas lights or yard displays. In the spring, show them photos of your most impressive outdoor lighting projects. People will be enticed by a photo of decorative strung lights on an attractive deck, or by discretely placed colored lights showcasing their home. Offer a free estimate on how to make their home look unique and upscale.

Consider offering service contracts, especially for commercial businesses. In such an agreement, a client would engage your company to exclusively perform electrical services.

Keep abreast of what customers want – if you don’t provide that service, then consider adding that to your offerings. That may require hiring new employees who are already trained and certified

#6 Define Your Marketing Strategy

As with any other company in any niche or industry, you need to have a well-defined marketing strategy. 

Research the answers to these questions:

  • What geographical areas do you serve?
    • Do you see your geographical areas expanding in the near future?
      • If yes, to where?
      • In any new service area, what will be different (weather, household income, number of commercial properties, etc.)?
      • Will it require new hires?
  • Who are your target customers (homeowners with over $100K income, small business owners with 20 to 40 employees, local home developers)?
    • What is the best marketing method to reach that audience?

marketing strategy

  • How much do you make in each type of work?
    • What types of work gave you the most profit over the last year?
    • What type of work do you anticipate will increase or decrease in demand in these areas?
  • What is your Unique Selling Proposition? That is, explain what it is about your products, services, delivery, culture, etc. differentiates you from the competition.
  • When are the times of year when your services are most in demand?
  • Are you willing to add more services to your company?
    • What type of electrical services are becoming more in demand?
    • Which services have the highest ROI (return on investment)?
    • What will this require (special skills? training? new marketing approach? added staff/subcontractors)?
    • How much of a financial investment will be needed?
  • Which methods of marketing have been the most effective (social media, TV, radio, newspaper, word-of-mouth, mailers, networking, etc.)?

Use the answers to develop your approach about WHO to market to, WHAT to promote, HOW and WHEN to advertise, and WHERE to market.

Why Your Electrical Service Business Needs Digital Marketing?

Owing to the impact that the 2020 pandemic has had on business, digital marketing has become a crucial part of growing your brand, making customer conversions, and attaining your professional goals.

digital marketingThe best way to reach customers and grow your business is by capturing attention, creating targeted advertising, and establishing your brand as an authority online. Digital marketing, including social media marketing, helps you attract potential customers to your services over your competitor.

Today’s top electricians are not only successful because of their skills but have invested in influential marketing and channels that local audiences can easily reach and access. By developing your very own online presence, you can reach more customers and represent your brand on the internet. Websites and social media allow you to describe your services, share client testimonials, and list the geographical locations you cover.

 As customers can use their PC, tablet, or phone to perform research into electrical services in a specific region and find your business faster than traditional marketing methods, it is important to become part of the online trend.

How to Start Marketing Your Electrical Service Business?

Marketing your business online should include service-based locations. Keep customers updated on new technologies, practices, and jobs completed by posting images and reviews on your website and social media.

Online marketing is also a great way to advertise your contact details. Include an online submission form for booking consultations and performing general inquiries.

Creating a Successful Web Presence for your Electrical Service Business

A professional website is a great way to increase brand exposure. It is the face of your company but also a resource for clients to learn about who you are and what you offer. Your site should be easy to navigate with a breakdown of the electrical services you provide. Along with advertising your brand and services, you can encourage visitors to sign up for a newsletter or promotion using their email address. The greater the number of emails, the easier email marketing strategies become part of your marketing campaign.

An electrical business is service oriented. From your website to the moment you answer the phone, your focus should be on the customer experience. Brand and service consistency improve customer perceptions and loyalty.

Along with the digital strategies and groundwork you put into building your business, optimizing your online campaign remains a crucial part of successful marketing. SEO for your electrical service business will increase brand awareness and place your company in the higher pages of Google’s and similar search engines’ rankings. By incorporating terms and locations for your electrical business, SEO helps target customers who are looking for your service in a particular area. This can include keywords such as: “electrician in Location.” It is the most effective way to boost the business website and convert customers.

Electrical services are considered a niche market. Learning about your customer and your competitors can help you develop communications and internet marketing strategies that place your brand ahead of the rest.

In 2021, expanding your electrical contracting company can be achieved with incredible rewards when you invest in a customized and effective marketing campaign.

Summary: It’s All About Marketing and Relationships

Employing these tactics can only improve the morale of your team, please your clientele, and increase your market share.

In the ever-shifting nature of areas like strategy, marketing, and communications, owners of an electrical service company can never stop working on ways to grow and stay competitive.  

 

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What’s Your Unique Selling Proposition in 2023?

Unique Selling Proposition

Unique Selling Proposition

Why should you have a Unique Selling Proposition? Competition is continually increasing.  Even if you are in a local niche business your products and services will eventually become a commodity. Then for consumers the only question is: who has the lowest price?

The good news is that you can command both customer loyalty and higher pricing. How can you do that? With a great Unique Selling Proposition.

Consumers Have Many Choices

Consumers have many choices, and they desire to quickly understand what differentiates one product/service or brand from the other. As a result, developing the correct way to position yourself and your goods/services can mean the difference between standing out and blending in. That’s why the best entrepreneurs use a unique selling proposition (USP) to guide their branding and marketing decisions.

Put in the simplest terms, the Unique Selling Proposition (commonly referred to as USP) is what sets your products and/or services apart from your competitors.

A USP Communicates the Heart of Your Business

Stated as a unique strategy that communicates the heart of your business, the USP serves as the theme of all your marketing endeavors. The question the USP answers for your client is this: “I love to purchase/order/hire from your business, instead of your competition.”

Unique Selling Proposition

A Unique Selling Proposition or USP is a company’s distinctive “hook” that tells the marketplace what sets them apart from the competition. Your USP defines the reputation and value of your company and allows you to charge higher prices than lower-value commodity products or services. Your Unique Selling Proposition is strategic and long-term, while your tactical marketing plan is short term.

Stop Your Customer from Shopping Around

Research has shown that most people check out 4-5 different businesses before purchasing goods or services. Having a magnetic USP can turn the buyer’s head. Much like curb appeal is to selling a home, a USP is crucial to making a significant first impression that results in a sale.

Your USP should tell the story of how your product or service is different or better than your competitors. It identifies your strongest values or benefits – and drives customers to choose you, not them.

Characteristics of Good and Bad USPs

 * *  Best Elements  * * * *  Worst Elements * *
Contains specific benefits or features A general statement without detailed information
Clear, easy-to-understand, simple Confusing, vague, jargon, hype (superlatives like “stupendous” or “world-famous”)
Unique and distinctive from the competition Generic, common offer. Using platitudes- “we offer quality.” Your competition is saying the same thing.
Short and concise Rambling; too long
Attention-grabbing; exciting Forgettable
Explains how you can solve customer problems Doesn’t clarify your value in solving customer needs
Uses different language than that of company or product names Repeats wording from your company name or offerings
Appealing verbiage Bland, boring wording
Focuses on benefits Just talks about features
Exhibits value, solution, or uniqueness Is really a mission statement
Is based in sincerity and commitment Says only what they think the customer wants to hear

The best USP should be truly one-of-a-kind – there’s no point in making a distinction about yourself that’s already being used by competitors. It also should be something that your customers want … and recognize as a benefit. Let’s look at a few examples that spell out the difference between better and poor:

Bad USPs

Good USPs

An email automation business uses the tagline “The ultimate solution.”

It’s a vague claim that says nothing about what makes them different.

An HVAC company – Their jingle is “There’ll be cool air at your house tonight!” Potential customers immediately get their guarantee that the service will be fast and effective.
Connect your entire workforce with <name of company>.” Focuses on a feature, not a benefit. WalMart – Has the lowest price. Not a tagline, but this megastores unwritten value proposition is undeniable.
A software firm declares “We provide systemized technological solutions for query-based operating systems in a Linux environment.” It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, nor is it something a customer will remember. Also, avoid “we,” “our,” and “I” as it’s company-centered, not customer-centered. Avis – Were number two, so we try harder. This promise is so believable.

Fundly Raise Money for Anything. Everybody knows what they do in a second.

Listia Get rid of old stuff. Get new stuff for free. And, it gets right to the point.

Serving the entire Southeast.” Well, they do cover some territory, but lacks the details needed to stand out. LegalShield – Worry Less. Live More. Easy to remember and is compelling. Who doesn’t want this promise?
A hair salon: “We’re a cut above the rest.” Not what you’d call unique. Tiffany – Provides the highest quality luxury items. Tiffany’s 180-year reputation is known worldwide.

So Whats Your USP?

As you can see, creating a great USP requires some soul-searching, knowledge of what your customers really want, and a bit of writing finesse.

business meeting with the team

Four Steps for Building a Unique Selling Proposition

  1. Begin by examining your company offerings from the prospect of the target market, which may be sectioned by factors like gender, age, culture, race, income level, religion, education, and so on. What does your ideal consumer actually want? Does your client station prefer lower prices, loyal customer service, an appropriate location, comfort, home delivery, etc.?
  2. Challenge yourself with questions such as “what does my goods or service offer that my competitors’ goods or services do not?” Then find out the specific advantages this provides to your consumers. If you can not provide definite answers to these questions in a few simple phrases then you probably might not be doing enough to distinguish your business products/services from your competitors in the marketplace.
  3. Create a paragraph or two that describes all the unique elements of your business.
  4. Put all of these together in a single sentence that is remarkable enough to be utilized as an advertising slogan.

You can consider these questions to ferret out your true value proposition:

  • What are the aspects of our services or products that make a difference to buyers?
  • Who is our target audience/client?
  • What are the pain points of our ideal customer?
  • What problem(s) are we solving?
  • How is your company or offerings different from the competition?
  • What do my existing clients say they like about our business or offerings?
  • Which are my company’s greatest strengths? Why do we stand out?
  • Since your company is a reflection of you, how are you unique?
  • What are the concrete, most desirable benefits that you give customers?
  • Exactly what are we selling?
  • How do we clearly and concisely state our USP?

Unique Selling Proposition

Creating a USP Where None Exists

If you’re struggling to find your own unique selling proposition, that could signal there’s something missing. Consider adding worth or uniqueness through some of these value-adds:

  • Guaranteeing your work. Providing a guarantee is a well-honored way to build trust with clientele. Potential customers see value in a company that will back up their work with a promise to make things right when a customer has a complaint about your product or service.

One distinction – a “guarantee” in this context is a verb; it offers a promise. A “warranty” is a noun; it’s a written contract.

Factors to consider when defining your guarantee:

  • Be specific. A promise of “Your satisfaction is guaranteed, or your money back” is too open-ended and open to interpretation. This generalized statement invites abuse by a client and can end with bad feelings all the way around. It could result in a poor rating on Yelp, which can be damaging to your reputation and future business.
  • It should address the main frustrations of your target customers. If you’re a hotel, guarantee what you know customers are typically concerned about.
  • Make it impressive. Avoid being too humble – make sure they know you firmly and boldly stand behind what you say.
  • Ensure you can and will back up your guarantee! If there’s a possibility that fulfilling your guarantee may not be immediate, but that it eventually will be done, then let customers know that.
  • Empower your employees to immediately honor your guarantee. Then back your employees’ decision without fail.

A Ritz-Carlton hotel was the largest client in one of my past businesses. This world-class hotel chain did not want any of their clients to walk away disgruntled because of an incident, regardless of fault. Their policy was for any employee who became aware of a problem instantly became “the owner” of the problem. Every employee was required to immediately pacify the customer with up to $2,000 worth of room upgrades, meals, concierge services, etc. without management approval! This kind of guarantee was one of the practices that made the Ritz Carlton world-class.

  • Developing a distinctive brand. Your logo, colors, fonts, and graphics can say a lot about you and draw in customers while indicating your unique selling proposition. A compelling visual identity can instantly tell a prospect who you are, what you do, and how well you do it.

Companies who do branding right:

usp

  • Dropbox. A vibrant color palette with an emphasis on imagery tells the story of their creativity and services.

USP

  • Wells Fargo. A bank that builds familiarity and subtle sophistication with its consistent use of that cherry red font and horse-drawn stagecoach. Their slogan “Together, we can go far” is splendid. What other bank trademarks can you recall?

 

USP

  • Parkinson’s Foundation. A logo that resembles a brain inside a head clues everyone immediately on its research around the neurological disorder. They use a bright blue that suggests hope and vibrancy.

 

Branding may require that you engage with a company that specializes in this field, but it can have a worthwhile return.

  • Brainstorm Your Unique Values. Gather a few team members and have a session to drive out your USP(s). Think about who your perfect customer is, what they really want, and what motivates them to buy from you.

Following are some examples of strengths, benefits, and differentiating qualities that could be the basis for your USP:

  • Lowest Cost
  • Fastest delivery
  • Highest quality
  • Always in stock
  • Dependability
  • Guarantees
  • Speed to market
  • Open 24/7
  • Craftsmanship
  • Unique design features
  • Unparalleled service
  • American-made
  • Handmade
  • Product durability
  • Selling style, glamour, or prestige

Draft Five USP’s

While all these ideas and considerations may seem obvious, the truth is that it isn’t easy to come up with that one magic USP. Don’t limit yourself to just one USP; set out to draft at least five.

If your business is in a mature industry or niche, you may have a hard time figuring out what hasn’t already been said or done. Just take a look at your business from different perspectives, or ask someone outside of your business to look at it with fresh eyes.

As soon as you decide on a strong USP, make sure that everyone knows about it. Include it in every ad, message, email, social media post, and landing page. Put it on your business card, flyers, postcards, and brochures. List it on banners and signage. Instruct your entire team to use your USP to compel customers to choose your services and products over your competitors.

Testing Your Unique Selling Proposition

usp

If you’re undecided on which is the best of your draft USPs, then try these ideas:

  • Create a landing page for each USP, then wait a bit to see which has the highest activity rate.
  • Set up a simple contest with your customers – post a numbered list of your proposed USPs. Have them write down their choice on their business card, which is put in a fishbowl. Hold a drawing after a week or a month, offering them a discount or prize.
  • At your next networking event (or two or three), show a print of your potential USPs to a few attendees and have them pick a favorite. You can thank them for their opinion with a lollipop, pen, or other small giveaways.
  • Post your USP on Survey Monkey, Facebook, or other forum and wait for the feedback. Don’t be discouraged at the negative comments – unfortunately, it’s the price everyone pays in the incognito world of the internet.
  • Email your employees to request their two cents … and ask them to weigh in with some of their USP suggestions (they might come up with a gem)!

Summary

However you find and define your unique selling proposition, it’s not just about getting more customers in the door. It’s a sure thing that you’ll learn a lot more … about your company’s purpose, direction, products, and services … about your existing and potential clients … and about building a business that has value, character, and long-lasting appeal.

 

small business coach

Creative (and Free!) Ways to Grow Your Business in 2023

grow your business

Creative and Free Ways to Grow Your Business

As you may know, getting word-of-mouth business is one of the most powerful ways to grow your business. Below are some creative ways to “prime the pump” and get others to promote and grow your business and refer you…..and all of these things are free!

Do Press Releases.

Your local media is always looking for current news events. Every time you hire someone, promote someone, receive an award, have a grand reopening, move to a new location, or anything else of note write a press release. Find out who your local business editors are and send them an email with your news. Many of your releases will be printed by the local newspapers. Also from time to time a writer may contact you to write an article about your services… maybe even a front page article with your photo!

Barter Your Services.

Bartering is trading services and products with another individual or company. A throwback from the past, bartering has become quite popular again. Some business owners even find professionals to help them with trade execution services, which lowers the friction in their trading activities.

Think about the kinds of services that you are presently paying to use. Some examples may include accountants, advertising companies, attorneys, automobile mechanics, chiropractors, doctors, graphic designers, HVAC contractors, roofers, plumbers, sales trainers, etc. These small business people may need your service and you may need their services. Trade retail to retail. This is a great way to get business experience and their services in return.

Join Bartering Clubs.

Join a bartering club and you get free marketing of your service. Some clubs will even provide an unlimited amount of promotions of your services in their e-newsletters. When you provide your services the retail amount of your services go into a bank, less the broker fee which is typically around 6%. Then you can spend your barter dollars with other barter club members….restaurants, hotels, service providers, advertisers, social media experts, you name it.

Free Services to Referral Sources.

One great way to get endorsements and referrals is to provide free services to high profile people and to service providers such as accountants, attorneys or bankers or any other service provider that works you’re your prospects. Your agreement at the beginning of the relationship is that you will receive endorsements and referrals from your client in exchange for your services.

Offer Gift Certificates for Free or Discounted Services.

Chambers of Commerce, Civic Clubs and Charities are always looking for donations for special events. You can select the time of day, week or year to coincide with your slow times. Freely give out gift certificates for a free or discounted service. Your name will be promoted by the organization and you will get exposure to business owners when you provide the free service. If you do a good job with the service you may get a client, a referral or both!

Make Referrals.

Be generous in making referrals to others and you will receive in like manner. Be attentive when talking with others about a service they need and service providers that you may connect them with.

Get Testimonials.

Make sure you always get testimonials for your services every time whether a barter client, free coaching client or a paid client. The reason most clients don’t give a testimonial is because you haven’t made it easy enough for the client. Simply bring your pen and paper to your meeting or your phone call and ask the client how they benefited from your coaching. Jot down their response, then type it up for them and send them an email requesting their approval. If they are very busy this may also require a follow up phone call. Once you have their approval you can place on your website, your marketing materials or even on your office wall. One extra thing you can do is send them a LinkedIn request for a recommendation. Ask your client to copy and paste the testimonial into the LinkedIn field that is provided to them.

Partner With Complementary Businesses.

If you do your job as a service provider, you will become a trusted advisor with your clients. This will place you in a great position to recommend your clients to all kinds of service providers; web designers, graphic designers, banks, accountants, the list goes on and on. These B2B companies likewise are in a position to refer you as well. You can be intentional with these complementary businesses and become strategic partners. Plan to help each other.

Co-Brand.

Another step you can take with strategic partners is to jointly market and promote your businesses. You can create marketing materials, advertising campaigns, business socials, etc. with your strategic partners.

Using these free ideas to grow your business can make a big impact on your profits. Check out the strategies below to ramp things up even faster!

Questions about our small business coaching services?

Call us at 1-888-504-0777,

or 

Enter your information below to start growing your revenues and profits today…

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How To Build The Perfect Marketing Strategy For Your Business In 2023

marketing-strategy

When you look at it, your business is pretty unique and one of a kind. You are not like the other businesses out there. You have your own unique characteristics, your own unique customers, and your own unique market. This includes having an effective marketing strategy.

The only thing that is the same about everyone else’s business is that they all have the same needs and limitations.

So, how do you take that uniqueness and turn it into a highly effective and profitable marketing strategy that you can use for years to come?

Although your business is unique and one of a kind, that does not mean that you can’t use strategies that work for other businesses.

In fact, you already use some of these strategies in your business. For example, you probably have a website and a blog. You are probably on Facebook and Instagram as well.

What these all have in common is that they are all online platforms where you can reach people and engage with them. These platforms are the web of your business.

So, if you can combine all of these strategies into one cohesive marketing strategy, you will have a strong marketing strategy that can help you grow your business.

In this article, we will show you how to do just that.

What is a marketing strategy?

A marketing strategy is a plan that aims to increase sales by leveraging various marketing techniques.

It is a way to approach your marketing, and it helps you to stay focused and certain with what you want to accomplish. 

It is a strategy that allows you to have a goal, plan, and track your progress. It can also help you to stay organized and consistent with your marketing efforts.

Determine your Unique Selling Point (USP)

The first step to building a successful marketing strategy is to define your unique value proposition.

Before you can build a marketing strategy around it, you need to know what made you different from the rest of the crowd.

It is important to get this right the first time. You cannot retrofit a value proposition after you have built a business.

In order to do that, you need to figure out what you are good at and what makes you different. So, take some time to think about these things and write them down. You do not need to include every single detail, but you do need to include the main points.

For example, if you are in the business of doing home renovations, you can use these questions to help you define your unique value proposition:

  • Is your business unique because of your expertise?

This expertise is what sets you apart from other home renovators.

  • Is your business unique because of your experience?

You have been successful in this market because you have the necessary experience to get the job done right.

  • Is your business unique because of your cost?

Most home renovations cost a lot of money. You are able to offer your services for a limited price because of your experience.

marketing-strategy

After you have answered these questions, you need to consider how you can stand out from the crowd.

You can do this by creating content that speaks to your customers on an emotional level. You can also use paid advertising and paid marketing methods to reach your audience.

As you begin to create content and run paid campaigns, be sure to track your results. You can use your data to figure out what content is working for you, as well as what you need to work on to make your results even better.

Define your target audience

Your next component is to determine who you want to reach. At its core, a marketing plan is all about knowing who your customers are and reaching out to them.

Your target audience can be broken down into many parts, such as their demographics, their interests, their challenges, their needs, etc.

Once you know who the people are that you want to reach, you will be able to create content that speaks directly to them and offers solutions that they are looking for.

As you work on your marketing strategy, you will also want to think about where your target audience spends their time.

If they are online a lot, you will want to incorporate online marketing strategies into your plan.

If they are not online that much, you will want to think about how you can reach them offline.

Create a brand for yourself

A strong and consistent brand is the foundation of any successful marketing strategy.

A well-defined brand will help you to create an effective marketing strategy that can be used for a long time to come.

Your brand should reflect your values, your personality, and your environment. It should also convey that you are a reliable and trustworthy business.

Your brand will also help to create a strong web presence that will help to promote your business and reach new customers.

Create content marketing strategy

marketing-strategy

Content marketing is a new marketing strategy that emphasizes the creation of valuable and helpful content that people want to read and share.

You can create blog posts, white papers, e-books, case studies, and more to help people learn more about your business.

Content marketing generates 3 times more leads as compared to traditional marketing techniques and costs 62% less than them.

Having a content marketing strategy is essentially important for SaaS businesses whose business is mainly online. You need not worry since you can hire a SaaS content marketing agency to help you do this.

You can also create videos that feature your products, your people, and your company culture.

As you work on your content marketing strategy, you will want to think about the audience that you want to reach.

If they are more tech-savvy and information-hungry, you will want to think about creating content that speaks to that audience.

If they are more interested in how-to content and want to learn more about your business, you will want to think about creating content that offers value to them.

Create a marketing structure

Your marketing strategy should include a marketing structure. A marketing structure is the how, when, and where of your marketing efforts. This will help to promote your business and reach your target audience consistently.

It can also help you to stay organized and make sure that you are following through with your marketing efforts.

For example, a good marketing structure would include a marketing calendar, promotional materials, and a marketing budget.

A marketing budget can help you to stay organized and track your marketing spending. It can also help you to make sure that you are staying within your budget so that you do not overspend.

A marketing calendar can help you to stay organized and keep track of all of your marketing efforts. It can also help you to stay consistent with your marketing efforts.

Promotional materials can help you to promote your business and reach your target audience. These materials can be in the form of brochures, business cards, flyers, and more.

The purpose of these materials is to help to promote your business, cultivate brand awareness, and create a lasting impression with your audience.

Develop a marketing strategy that is SMART

You may have heard of the acronym SMART before. In marketing, SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based goals. Here’s a quick breakdown of the different requirements for a successful marketing strategy for your business:

  • Specific: you need to have a clear understanding of the goals for your marketing strategy. It should be clear what your product or service is, and how it benefits your customers.
  • Measurable: you need to track the results of your marketing strategy. How much traffic did you get from Facebook? How many leads did you get from your email marketing? How many sales did you get from your social media posts?
  • Achievable: even if you meet all the requirements, you won’t make any progress if you can’t accomplish the goals of your marketing strategy. How do you know if you’re doing a good job at marketing your business? How will you know if your marketing strategy is working?
  • Relevant: your marketing strategy should be relevant to your business and your customers. Can you tell what your business does? Can you tell what your customers want?
  • Time-based: you need to be sure that you’re setting a timeline for your marketing strategy. If your marketing goal is to capture a certain market share in one month, make sure that you’re working towards that goal.

To sum up, by developing a marketing plan that is SMART, you’re aiming for a specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based marketing plan.

Final words on your marketing strategy

A marketing strategy is a blueprint that you can use to build your business.

It is a plan that aims to increase sales by leveraging various marketing techniques.

In this article, we have provided you with major components of a marketing strategy so that you can draft one for your business.

In the end, a successful marketing strategy is all about staying on track, being organized, and following through with your plan consistently.

small business coach

Using a Cash Gap Plan in a Service Company in 2023

Cash Gap Plan

A Cash Gap Plan In A Service Company

This week I’m writing about using a Cash Gap Plan in an service company. A Cash Gap plan will help you to quickly collect your outstanding receivables, get your customers to pay faster, and negotiate better terms with your vendors to improve your cash. I have been writing about some of my hero clients and how we are able to achieve significant results from our work together. We have 36 Coaching Modules, which are areas within your business that when we improve your performance in these areas, your business will run better.

Robert’s Service Company Challenges

Robert is this week’s small business hero. He owns an service business that has been in business for over 50 years. When I met Robert he was interested in selling his business. Although he had been successful in growing his business, it was having financial problems. To make things worse a very large customer had defaulted on a payment of nearly $200,000. This event had him thinking about filing bankruptcy. He was working very long hours and was constantly interrupted by customers and employees. This was affecting his health and personal relationships with his family, in particular, his wife. He was spending very little time with them.

Solutions for Service Company: Strategic Plan, Team Deployment, Tactical Marketing, Lean Program

We decided to implement several of our Coaching Modules to address his situation. These included a Strategic Plan, Team deployment meetings, Tactical Marketing Plan, but most importantly a Cash Gap Plan, Time Management Plan, and a Lean Program.

A Cash Gap Plan for Robert’s Business

A Cash Gap Plan is all about carefully monitoring your plan to improve collections, lengthening your payments with vendors, increasing your prices aggressively as possible, and eliminating operational efficiencies. In all things in life, we tend to get what we focus on. During our coaching sessions, we focused on his cash flow.

Time Management for Robbie’s HVAC Company

We developed his Strategic Plan and held team deployment meetings. Additionally, we discovered a serious time management problem. Employees and managers were constantly interrupting one another during the day. This wasn’t causing chaos and stress in the business. We began to track interruptions and developed policies and strategies to reduce distractions. We also implemented team meetings in the business.

Results for Robert’s service Company

As a result of these strategies, his results were immediate and dramatic. Here’s what Robert said:

Alan first worked with me one-on-one, then met with me and my managers, and finally with all of the employees. Our cash flow has started to improve and continues to improve daily. After six months our profits had increased over $152,000, which annualized is over $300,000 per year! We have started paying off our accounts payable to our vendors. We have reorganized our office and improved our staff with Mr. Melton’s help. We are starting to achieve many of the actions in our action plan. I have a clearer vision of where we are going and what it takes to get us to the next level. With this clearer vision comes renewed hope. Most importantly, I am working less and have started taking my wife out on dates. I would like to thank Alan for seeing hope in me and my company, and helping us through this difficult time.

 

Congratulations Robert for your remarkable success in using a Cash Gap Plan and other strategies to improve your company! You are one of my business heroes and an inspiration to other business owners. You can view another case study using a Team Building System in a landscaping company here.

 

small business coach

How Do You Discipline and Keep Good Employees in 2023?

Discipline Employees

How Do You Discipline and Keep Good Employees

Contrary to popular opinion, there are various ways to discipline employees. If you have employees, there will be a need to handle problematic behaviors or performance – such as tardiness, incomplete work, conflicts, or a bad attitude.

For many business owners and managers, addressing these problems is often their most uncomfortable and weighty task. Progressive ways to discipline employees can be awkward and involve substantial planning, paperwork, and politics. 

Realistically, permanent employees, or any staff member such as consultants and temps, are humans; therefore, prone to making mistakes and missteps. Developing a proper approach to handling these kinds of problems should be done with consideration toward the company’s best interests, the employee’s, and, in the end, your customers.

Does a disciplinary approach work for or against you?

Progressive discipline generally starts with a verbal reproach, followed by a written warning, and ends with termination. Companies commonly use this approach to discipline employees and to document discipline issues and protect them in legal matters (like lawsuits and unemployment claims).

Unfortunately, this approach to handling a performance problem has detrimental effects as follows:

  • It often results in only temporary changes in behavior or performance.
  • It can cause additional problems in the employee’s (and other staff members’) morale and attitude.
  • It serves only to punish, not to correct disciplinary problems.
  • It may lead to the exit of a valuable employee in whom the company has invested time, money, and resources.

An Alternative to Disciplining Employees

A more conscientious alternative way to discipline employees’ issue is the “progressive coaching” approach – which also involves communication and education to find a solution.  This highly-cooperative method offers significant benefits:

  • It helps resolve instead of just documenting poor behavior or performance.
  • It builds mutual respect and appreciation.
  • It helps prove the company’s commitment to its staff.
  • It improves morale in the work environment.

What is progressive coaching?

Progressive coaching is an effective method that recognizes the underlying problem and takes a personal approach to resolve it. This method involves listening, communicating, and providing advice and guidance to the employee in question. Together, your employee and management can collaborate on a solution that establishes realistic ways to solve a problem that makes it easier to discipline employees. There are multiple benefits to this approach:

  • Offers coaching and encouragement rather than punishment
  • Provides options for your employee to improve their performance or change behavioral issues in the workplace
  • Avoids the stress, tension, anger, and awkwardness around a merely punitive approach
  • Shows employees that they’re considered part of the company’s success
  • It helps retain employees who are trained, knowledgeable and have been an asset to the company.
  • It can be an effective alternative to disciplining employees.

Steps for progressive coaching

There may be no procedure set in stone, but the following recommended steps provide a framework for progressively coaching an employee toward growth and improvement.

Notify the Employee

Set up a meeting between yourself and the employee. Remember to ensure that he/she does not feel targeted, which might force them to lash out. Instead, choose a neutral space such as a conference room or a nearby coffee shop. Inform the employee that the plan is about opportunities for improvement in the execution of their job.

Prepare Yourself for the Interview

Before the meeting, first, consider the disciplinary problem and its severity and effects. What people, activities, and end results suffer due to poor performance or behavior? Is this a new or repeated offense?

Brainstorm how the employee can modify their actions to meet the company’s expectations and the customers. Detail those recommendations on paper and find suitable solutions such as:

  • Training Programs

Often, an employee’s ill-behavior may be a result of a lack of understanding. Offer to provide adequate training on using different work tools, systems, and processes to make their tasks easier to complete. Training on behavior management in the workplace might also serve well in disciplining employees.

  • Meeting one-on-one with a coach

Not all employees are well-suited to work on team projects or a controlled environment. Aside from training, a one-on-one coaching session may help discipline employees as it helps in communicating the issues from both parties. It helps isolate the problem and take personalized measures to understand the employees’ challenges and create innovative and targeted solutions.

For instance, an employee might be feeling overwhelmed in a high-functioning work environment due to a lack of former training. This issue can be resolved by helping them feel more comfortable and connected with the company.

  • Developing tasks for performance improvement

Disciplining employees involves more than just reprimanding their behavior. In order to motivate an employee to improve their performance, it is necessary to make them realize their potential. It helps in building confidence and a sense of achievement. Specific tasks can be designed and allocated to the employee so they can recognize an opportunity to prove their dedication and willingness without feeling cornered.

  • Assigning a mentor

A mentor takes a personal interest in helping the employees succeed. They recognize that each employee is different; therefore, the approach to disciplining employees must vary from person to person.

A mentor can help the employee confide and discuss what is truly bothering them, such as, internal pressures, inability to meet unrealistic targets, lack of adequate training, etc. Since they feel heard, they are motivated to strive for better performance.

Keep in mind that the mentor must be someone who can build a repertoire with the employee and make them feel comfortable. Disciplining employees is easier when they think that someone genuinely wishes to help them improve personally and professionally.

  • Setting specific goals

In several instances, it is noted that employee rebels or misbehaves because they feel unfulfilled. They are not adequately challenged as per their capabilities or their long-term goals. It helps in disciplining employees if they are expected to meet short-term goals that they recognize to stimulate personal progress.

Specific goals can help align the employee’s commitment and goals with those of the company, thereby improving performance and building a connection with the interests of the overall organization.

  • Reducing or changing employee’s responsibilities

Sometimes it may be more effective to shuffle the employees’ responsibilities. When they receive prominent responsibilities that contribute to the company’s well-being and progress, it makes them feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. These responsibilities pose opportunities for them to demonstrate their skills, giving them hope for better positions with better pay-grades.

However, often an employee may be burdened with more responsibility than they can handle. As the pressure increases, so do their levels of resentment and rebellion. It is human nature; therefore, it is best to evaluate their capacity with the amount of responsibility allocated to them. This helps in disciplining employees by creating a channel of trust and perception that works to the employer and the employees’ benefit.

If desired, jot down possible triggers that led to disciplinary issues. Ask yourself if there are internal situations or people who might be causing the problem? Have there been signs that they’re unhappy with their current position?

Write down probing questions that may bring out any company or department issues, personnel problems, or struggles with the process.

Use these considerations to start a conversation about their possible connection to the infractions.

Have a Conversation

alternatives to progressive discipline

You can begin by expressing how their contributions and conduct can positively or negatively affect the work environment. Speak to them about how their job attitude can affect the overall success of the business.

Explain that the company appreciates each employee and, therefore, uses a progressive coaching approach to help employees improve when issues in performance or behavior occur.

Remember to keep the conversation as a two-way interaction so the employees can openly share the reasons for their misconduct or under-performance. Develop a concrete plan to mitigate the issues while disciplining employees, so both parties benefit from it equally. It helps motivate the employees to improve their performance and check their workplace behavior for personal development.

Start With the Positive

Let them know they’re valued for things like their skills, knowledge, contributions, and time with the company. You can specifically articulate examples that make them feel appreciated and acknowledged.

Once you’ve established trust and confidence, clearly, state the performance or behavior issue that you are addressing. Help them realize that the conversation is intended to improve their performance rather than criticize or ridicule. Providing motivation plays a more significant role in disciplining employees than segregation and isolation.

When they realize that they are valued, they will take the suggestions as constructive criticism and improve their performance and behavior.

Describe the initial process for progressive coaching.

Inform employees about the steps that will be taken to develop and observe their progress.

  • Specific tasks or goals will be assigned (and tracked) to mitigate or improve the employee’s performance or behavior.
  • A designated person will provide mentoring, training, or coaching as required.
  • Assigned coaching, training, tasks, and goals will be tracked and later assessed for progress and compliance.

Ask and Listen

Take the opportunity of the conversation to allow input or feedback from the employee. If they feel stressed, pressured, or under-appreciated for their efforts, they are likely inspired to discuss them in a productive environment.

This could be the right time to ask if they’re encountering any company policies or department-centered problems that led to the infraction (ex. bank employees opening unauthorized credit card accounts to meet highly unrealistic sales goals). It offers an opportunity to identify any possible transgressions that may have been overlooked.

If needed, you can ask the employee to respond to the allegation. There may be circumstances that mitigate the offense, such as misinterpretations or misunderstandings. If their testimony merits it, tell them you’ll look into it. Then continue with the meeting to positively express your concerns about their behavior or performance.

Collaborate on Solutions

The process of disciplining employees works best when they feel that they are heard, and their opinions matter. You can ask them if they have ideas that would help them overcome or modify problems in their job. Let them collaborate to recommend goals or activities (like training or a change in duties) to improve the situation. They know what works best for them. And if you can incorporate their suggestions in your plan for improvement, it will provide added motivation for them to accept your recommendations.

On a human level, ask if there are personal stresses that are causing them stress. Inquire if these issues can be lifted or managed with alignment to company policies:

  • Would they want to take paid time off (family care leave, short-term disability, etc.) to take care of personal business? (It wouldn’t be unreasonable to ask that they first try to clear their tasks so other employees won’t have to take on their workload.)
  • If a medical condition is the root of an issue, encourage them to see a doctor.
  • Would working from home, on a temporary or part-time basis, help alleviate a contributing factor to the problem

End on a Positive Note

The conversation must end on a mutually beneficial note. The employee should be left feeling motivated rather than isolated.

  • Assure the employee that all the steps to be taken are meant to benefit the employee just as much as the company.
  • Set some realistic but not-too-distant dates to check back on their progress.
  • Reassure them that the company would instead foster their growth rather than lose a person they see as an asset to their success.
  • Avoid threatening ultimatums like “Failure to complete a task will result in …” Instead, take progressive coaching one step at a time.

Note: This approach to disciplinary issues is best for less serious offenses. Depending on the performance or behavior, the situation may actually merit using the “progressive discipline” approach.

The success of disciplining employees with progressive coaching depends largely on the conversation. It must be less confrontational and more of an exchange of information. If the employee truly has a good work ethic but exhibits poor behavior or vice versa, they may be feeling pressured or underappreciated. This situation can be easily contented with the help of productive and constructive communication.

With the help of short-term goals, mentoring, and receptivity, you can help improve productivity and discipline employees for mutual benefit.

Summary

Moving from a disciplinary-based approach that can create more problems than it solves to a coaching-based methodology, that seeks progressive improvement is a major change in mindset and procedure. Ultimately, progressive coaching provides solutions and mindful personal management, which builds a culture of cooperation and trust.

These alternative ways to discipline employees can yield positive results. A healthier working environment leads to employee retention, improved performance, and good morale, which can only lead to better customer satisfaction and a more successful business. For more information, check out this blog post on Handling Advice and Feedback. Here’s another great post on dealing with problem employees.

 

small business coach

Investing in Stocks: Pros and Cons They Don’t Tell You in 2023

stocks

Investing in stocks is a great way to build wealth, but it’s not for everyone. The stock market is not a get-rich-quick scheme; it’s a long-term investment. If you’re not careful, Stocks can also yield disappointing returns. In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of investing in stocks so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not it’s right for you. 

Stocks are a type of investment that shares ownership in the ownership of a company. You can buy them through a stockbroker or an online broker, and they’re not guaranteed to make you money—but they can be very rewarding if they do. 

The Upsides of Investing in Stocks

stocks

There are many ways in which you can get started investing in stocks. Some people prefer to set up an online brokerage account, while others prefer the good old-fashioned paper option. Regardless of your preference, there are some very good reasons why starting with stock investing is a great idea: 

You can start with very little money. This may sound obvious but it’s often overlooked by beginners who want to get into this market as quickly as possible without having to worry about how much they have or what kind of return they’re getting from their investments (or lack thereof). 

If you find yourself starting with nothing at all, then consider opening an account! Reliable Stock Research Sites can help you find the best stocks to invest in, and they offer a variety of tools to help you make your investment decisions. 

Stay Ahead of Inflation

Inflation is a threat to many investors and one of the most common reasons people don’t invest in stocks. If you’re worried about inflation, there are two ways to keep yourself ahead of it: 

Investing in stocks can help you stay ahead of inflation. Stocks are a good hedge against inflation because they tend to rise along with prices for goods and services like food, clothing, housing, and transportation—all things that cost money (inflation). The higher their value goes up over time, the more your investments will grow at least on paper! 

Build Massive Wealth

The power of compounding interest. You might have heard the saying “time is money” and you’ve probably used it yourself to explain why saving your money is important. But what if I told you that every hour, minute, or second counts? That’s right: time can be used as currency—and that includes investing in stocks! 

Building massive wealth early on is one of the best things about investing in Google stocks. If you start early enough with an initial investment amount, then over time (compounded), more money will come into your account than what was originally invested for there to be no growth at all (or even loss). 

Liquidity

Liquidity is the ability to convert an asset into cash quickly. It’s a major concern for investors because it allows you to get your money out when needed. If an investor has a choice between two assets, one of which has low liquidity (i.e., they can’t be easily converted into cash) and another with high liquidity (you can easily sell), then they’ll probably choose the latter—even if that means paying a slightly higher price for it. 

The more liquid an asset is, the easier it is to sell quickly; this makes stocks more appealing in times when markets are volatile or there’s uncertainty about future events like elections or recessions. 

Quick Access To Your Money

You can access your money quickly. If you need cash, you can sell your stock at any time and get it back on the same day or even within hours. This also applies to paying off debt or buying more shares of stock if they’re undervalued. 

If this sounds like something that would help people who don’t have enough money but still want some extra cash, then there are plenty of ways to do so with cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Ethereum instead of traditional stocks! 

The Downsides of Investing in Stocks

stocks

The risks of investing in stocks are higher than in other investments. Stocks are more volatile and risky than bonds, so they’ve got a higher chance of losing money over time. On top of that, they’re less liquid—meaning if you want to sell your stock after it’s gone down in value, you might have trouble finding someone willing to buy it from you at an affordable price (or if they do offer one, their terms might be too favorable). If this happens repeatedly over time and eventually builds up into a full-blown crash—which has happened before—it can leave investors with nothing but pain and expense as their portfolio tanks along with other stocks’ values. 

Returns are Not Guaranteed

The return on your investment is not guaranteed, and you may lose money in the short term or long term. It is important to remember that investing involves risk. You should never invest more than you can afford to lose. 

Volatility: Stock investment is volatile. The stock market can fluctuate wildly, and this causes people to lose money. If you don’t know what you’re doing and how these fluctuations affect your investments, then it’s easy for a mistake or bad luck to wipe out all your hard-earned money. 

It Takes Time

It’s easy to get discouraged and give up when you don’t see immediate results. That may be because the stock market is volatile, or it could be that your investment strategy isn’t working as well as hoped. But if you stick with it, eventually your hard work will pay off in the form of financial freedom. You won’t make money overnight, so don’t get discouraged when you see some fluctuations. It may take years before you can enjoy the fruits of your labor, but if you’re patient and consistent, you’ll be well on your way to financial freedom. 

You Can Lose Some Money

If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s possible to lose money. Even if you do know what you’re doing, the stock market is volatile and unpredictable. That means that even if your investments go up in value over time, there’s still a chance that they could crash down just as quickly. 

This isn’t something investors should take lightly: when investing in stocks (or any other type of investment), it’s important to be cautious. The truth is, even if you know what you’re doing and have a plan for investing in the stock market, there will always be some risk that things won’t go as planned. That’s just how it works — even if you’re an expert at investing in stocks. 

Risk

Risk is one of the biggest factors that come into play when you’re investing in stocks, and it’s something you should never forget. The truth is, no matter how good a company may seem or how much money it has made over the years, there’s always a chance that you could lose your investment if something goes wrong. This is especially true if you don’t do any research before investing in a company–or even worse if you invest in just one stock because someone else tells you it’s going to be profitable! 

Keep in mind that risk is a part of investing and can be managed. It’s not the same as volatility—as mentioned above—but it’s still important to understand how you’re investing your money and what potential losses you might face if things don’t go according to plan. 

Conclusion

Investing in stocks is a great way to build wealth, but it also comes with risks. Stocks fluctuate, and they can go down as well as up. If you aren’t careful, you could lose your money! That’s why it’s important to know how the stock market works and what you can do to protect yourself from risk. Even if you are investing, make sure that you have a plan in place before you start throwing your savings into a single company or industry. 

small business coach