5 Ways to Be a Better Leader

Leader

Being a leader is not easy. Leaders have to rise up, push through waves of inadequacy, and guide their people to success.

While anyone may sit in a corner office and assign responsibilities, effective leadership requires more. You should have a significant impact not only on the people you supervise but also on the business as a whole.

If you’d like to be a better leader that has a positive impact on everyone, keep reading.

Send gifts as a leader

People love to do business with those they like and trust. This isn’t only true for business partners but also for employees and colleagues.

It’s more crucial than ever to build and maintain genuine relationships with the people who help your company succeed. Corporate gift baskets are a great way to show your appreciation for your employees and SnackNation lists some great ideas for gift baskets.

Sending a thoughtfully chosen gourmet gift basket is a great way to show how much you care. You can emphasize their accomplishments in one tasteful bundle and demonstrate that you not only notice but more importantly, that you actually care.

Making your employees aware of their importance to the company fosters a healthier, happier culture and helps you become a better leader. A gesture of this kind will only strengthen the bond between your colleagues and you.

Empathy

Empathy is probably one of the most important leadership traits. But unfortunately, many leaders are elevated to their roles based on previous performance or industry credentials, and they have little or no leadership experience.

As a result, a heavy-handed order-giver with ambiguous expectations and little empathy for their team leads to low productivity and morale.

Being truthful with your team doesn’t imply that you should become great friends with them. However, you should share some personal experiences, tearing down defensive barriers and demonstrating that you are a human being. It helps you get respect by making you appear more approachable.

Stay positive to become a better leader

Even if leaders want their team’s day-to-day operations to run smoothly all of the time, they’re sure to hit a snag from time to time. Whether it’s a slight misunderstanding or a massive blunder, how you manage a difficult circumstance reveals a lot about your leadership abilities.

In such situations, Robert Mann, author of The Measure of a Leader (iUniverse, 2013), advised managers to remain focused on the positive.

Basically, before you find what caused this difficult situation, you should consider some positive aspects of it. When you focus on these positive aspects of an issue, you tend to react more positively to other people involved.

Leader

Mann discovered in his studies that when people bring out positive aspects of a crisis scenario, they feel less strongly about the problem and are better equipped to think rationally and fix it.

When a leader needs to strengthen their strategy, the same is true. If you or a member of your team finds that a specific course of action you’ve taken isn’t working, think about what you’ve done in the past that has led you to success.

Clearly demonstrate respect for the greater vision

When the battle cry is shouted, an experienced general doesn’t have to worry about the warriors following him into battle since he has made it crystal clear what they are fighting for and what the stakes are.

A foresighted corporate leader will follow suit. Every employee should be aware of the significance of their work. Employees who have a say in the decision-making process understand the motivation behind the organization’s vision and are more willing to support its objectives.

Set clear goals

It is critical to set clear goals and expectations for your employees if you want them to succeed. Encourage employee inquiries and feedback while setting these goals. Including them in the process can help them feel more involved.

Good leaders, according to Amish Shah, president of ALTR Created Diamonds, will also explain the company vision and how team member goals fit into that equation.

As a leader, you should keep your staff informed about their vision if you want to inspire and excite them. This way, you help employees understand the end goal of the whole team. When goals are clearly defined, all team members can identify accomplishments and track progress.

Moreover, it is extremely important to clarify how these objectives affect the entire business. Each employee, regardless of their level of seniority, should be able to articulate how their work contributes to the company’s success.

Don’t allow team members’ ambitions to become stagnant. Regularly review your goals and make any necessary changes or rearrangements. This will show your team members that you are there and paying attention to what they are doing.

Final words on Being a Leader

There is no such thing as a perfect leader. And because change is constant, it is critical that leaders continue to improve their abilities and stay current with industry advancements.

That’s what you need to do too and that is why it’s important to follow every guideline that could help you become a better leader.

 

small business coach

How to Increase Walk-Ins in Your Retail Store

retail-store

It’s a big challenge to own a retail store nowadays. The business success depends on sales, and you need customers to enter to sell something. It’s why you could benefit from reading about the best ways to increase walk-ins in your retail store. Check out these ideas that could drive more visitors to your business premises!

Use Eye-Catching Signage

retail-store

Your retail shop could be in a mall or busy street. The window might not be big compared to neighboring stores, so it’s not easy to make it attractive. The solution is to design event signages that improve the attendee experience. Signage offers excellent value for money, especially if you get creative with it. The idea is to grab people’s attention even if they are passing by the store in a rush.

Here are some ways to use signage to enhance the attendee’s experience:

  • Entrance signage. You can put a sign on the mall’s or the store’s entrance. It helps to put a promotion or product in the spotlight, but even welcoming visitors can be successful.
  • Sandwich boards outside the store. You need to check whether you aren’t violating any regulations first. And if you aren’t, using a sandwich board outside the shop makes your business more noticeable. More people will notice it as they are approaching, and if they like what’s written there, they won’t hesitate to enter.
  • Directional signs. These should go at least several feet from your store. Let’s say your shop is at the corner farthest from the mall’s entrance. You can put directional signage in a nearby location with heavy foot traffic.

Personalize Your Goods

Can you engrave the customer’s name on your product? We love hearing and seeing our names everywhere, and you can use this to your advantage. Personalizing an item will make it more attractive for a shopper. Other ways to personalize things include putting a specific band or sports motives on clothing and other items.

If you have a loyalty program, you have valuable information about the shoppers. Use that to personalize communication (using their names once again) and offers and products. Even making a discount referring to a specific person could be a successful strategy to make them come to the store!

Trends and Seasons at Your Retail Store

The market is constantly changing, and adaptation is necessary to survive. Following the current trends is an excellent way to boost walk-ins in your retail store.

For example, Money Heist was a huge pop culture trend in autumn 2021 because the show’s last season aired then. Many stores have jumped on board and started offering hoodies and other merchandise inspired by the series. From unique clothing designs to jewelry pieces, you could see Money Heist items in stores everywhere.

Your goal is to consider how the current trends fit your store niche. Apart from designing products, consider promoting them in your shop’s window. The more people notice you have a trendy product, the more visitors you’ll have. And avoid overdoing it – it’s enough to focus on a single trend. Otherwise, it might seem too much and create confusion for the customers.

The Importance of Following Seasons

If you own a bookstore, the time when kids are coming back to school is crucial. Apart from promoting fitting books, you can offer backpacks, and other relevant items pupils might need. If Halloween is around the corner and you own a jewelry store, why not offer a necklace with a pumpkin pendant? If it seems fitting, Halloween decorations could attract users to your shop.

It might be enough to decorate shop windows to be in line with the current season. During the summer, use plenty of green and other light colors. Leaves and other autumn decorations can also make your window beautiful. It’s the visual attractiveness that will make a potential visitor look into the window and later enter your shop.

Encourage Social Shares and Location Tagging

Here is another trick how the technology can serve to your advantage. Social networks have become an integral part of our lives, so how about encouraging customers to mention your store online? You could organize a competition where participants need to tag themselves in your store to have a chance to win a prize. You can create a special social media wall where customers can take photos of the items they tried or bought.

And don’t forget about the importance of inviting visitors to follow you on social media. You might have a retail store, but internet presence is still crucial to attracting shoppers.

Partner with Influencers or Experts

retail-store

Online stores might be your competition, but there’s no reason why you wouldn’t leverage the power of the internet to attract customers. The old-fashioned way is to pay for an advertisement on an influencer’s profile on social networks. But how about taking it a step further and inviting that influencer to your store?

You want to find someone famous enough, especially in your area. Also, they should be relevant to your niche. If you get the right influence, you can attract massive foot traffic in hours. The celebrity could photograph with the visitors or sign the products they buy. You can even contact an industry expert to hold a short speech or class in your store. It’s all about finding people that fit your shop and niche.

Host Events in Your Retail Store

Calling an influencer isn’t the only event your store can host. Can your shop sponsor an activity or event by being its host? Clothing stores seem to have the most options. You can invite a particular designer or brand to hold a fashion show in your shop. And if you sell sports supplements, how about asking some loyal customers to gather and show off their success? They could talk first-hand about their experience with your products.

Don’t Forget Your Existing Customers At Your Retail Store

Once you get the shoppers to your store, you need to establish and maintain a relationship. For example, asking them to sign to your SMS or mailing list to get a 10% discount is an excellent marketing trick for a first-time visit.

You can follow up by giving an additional but time-limited discount if they return in the next seven days. And if you don’t have a record of them buying anything for a month, send an SMS reminder. However, make sure to include something enticing, like a new product mention, complimentary items, etc.

 

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Using a Sales Management System in 2022: Manufacturing Company

Sales Management System

A Sales Management System

This week I’m writing about using a Sales Management System in a Manufacturing Company. This is a practical system for building a top-performing sales force by scripting their approach, managing their activity, measuring their performance, and tying their paychecks to results.

I have been writing about some of my hero clients and how we achieve significant results. We have  36 Coaching Modules, or areas that fall under the categories of growth, profits and freedom. These are areas within your business that when we improve your performance, your business will run better.

John’s Manufacturing Company

John is the owner of a foundry (metal castings manufacturer). At this point, he wanted to transition his business into composites manufacturing. Over the previous two years, John had seen a decline in sales and profits. As a result, he had accumulated some debt; John wanted to become debt-free and grow his retirement savings. He has two daughters that are soon to enter college. Besides, John wanted plenty of time to pursue his hobbies of cycling and bowhunting.

Tactical Marketing, Time Management, Key Performance Indicators, Strategic Planning, and Team Deployment for John’s Company

We decided to implement a Tactical Marketing Plan, Time Management Plan and Key Performance Indicators. We then developed a Strategic Plan for his business. When it was ready, we met with his team to share his vision, values, and mission. This was the team’s opportunity to give their input and buy-in to the direction of the company.

The Sales Management System Implementation in a Manufacturing Company

We decided to focus on several of our Coaching Modules. We started with the Sales Management System. With our Sales Management System, we focus on three areas: Attitude, Activity, and Acumen. Based on this, we started by setting up an internal customer relationship management system. Then John and his team began to spend time daily on marketing and contacting prospects. We did a press release about John’s new focus in the composites industry and saw a big response. Additionally, John attended some of the Composites Industry Association meetings and developed relationships with contacts there.

Results For John’s Manufacturing Company In Using A Sales Management System

John’s results with our Sales Management System were dramatic in his company. Here’s what he said:

testimonial10“Alan has kept me focused on marketing, sales and profits and has held my feet to the fire. The results of this focus are that my sales have grown 30% and profits are up 228% over last year.”

 

Congratulations John on using a sales management system to grow your sales and profits. You are one of our business heroes and an inspiration to every business owner. You can view a pest control company using a revenue and profit budget here.

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Using a Cash Gap Plan in a Service Company in 2022

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.

 

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7 Ways For Small Business Owners To Avoid Burnout

avoid burnout

How do small business owners avoid burnout? For many small business owners, their businesses are an all-encompassing and time-consuming activity which requires their full dedication. Yet, burnout and the inability to switch off, particularly from technology, is a very real problem for many entrepreneurs. From depression to coronary heart disease and fatigue, burnout can have serious consequences for you and your business.

Here are seven ways to help you learn how to avoid burnout

  1. Be Organized And Use Time Efficiently

Entrepreneurs tend to be extremely busy. In order to avoid burnout, effective time management is one of the most important skills that you need to develop. In order to stay productive and focused, make sure that you take some time to organize your working day.

Ensure that you have an organized filing system so that you can easily store and retrieve files and data whenever you need it. In particular, administrative and financial tasks can cause some of the most stress. If there are particular tasks that you find especially stressful or tend to avoid doing, make sure that you create a plan in order to get these done in plenty of time.

Similarly, make sure that you use a comprehensive bookkeeping system in order to stay on top of your finances. Not only will this enable you to stay up-to-date with your business, but it can also be used to automate tasks, thereby saving you time. This will also make it easier and less stressful when it comes to completing your tax return.

  1. Prioritize Tasks

It can be easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of things that you have to get done. Instead of trying to do everything at once, make a list and prioritize the tasks. Consider using a digital list-making app, which enables you to set reminders and share your lists.

“There may be tasks that need to be prioritized first due to set deadlines. Alternatively, consider prioritizing tasks based on goals. You can further categorize tasks into those which are ‘important’ or ‘urgent’. Not only will this make things more manageable, but you’ll also be able to dedicate your time and energy to the most pressing tasks first. Most importantly, be realistic about how much you can get done each day,” says Hollie Wymore, a writer at Lia Help and State Of Writing.

  1. Avoid Multitaskingsmall business coach

Multitasking is an important and valuable skill. However, there are times when multitasking can actually be counterproductive, leading to divided attention and errors, as well as increased stress and burnout. Instead of trying to do multiple tasks all at once, schedule individual time for each task. In this way, you’ll be able to fully focus on each task, improving your productivity and reducing the potential for mistakes.

  1. Delegate Wherever Possible

Entrepreneurs are known for trying to do it all themselves. However, it can actually be more efficient to delegate tasks to employees or vendors, freeing you up to do other important tasks. Be aware of tasks which can be suitably delegated to others within your business, as well as any areas in which you require additional support. As a result, you’ll be able to make better use of your time and skills, as well as those of your employees.

Similarly, learn when to turn down work. Assess incoming work against your ideal client, project or business goals. Avoid taking on work which doesn’t meet these lists to prevent unnecessary stress.

  1. Stay Healthy

Very often, burnout can be traced back to other aspects of lifestyle, including poor sleep, diet and exercise. Many entrepreneurs put their businesses, particularly in the early days, ahead of their own sleep and wellbeing. However, staying healthy is essential if your business is to thrive.

“Start by assessing your sleep,” suggests Joseph Gray, a small business blogger at Boomessays and Essayroo. “Getting sufficient sleep every night is extremely important. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Similarly, make sure that you’re eating a healthy diet and try to introduce some exercise into your weekly routine. Try to schedule a lunch break every day, where you can sit down and take the time to eat properly or even do a short workout. This will give your body the chance to recharge and feel more energized and better prepared for work.”

avoid burnout

  1. Schedule Regular Breaks

Incorporate regular breaks throughout your day, as these will enable you to refresh your creativity and refocus. Similarly, if you’re struggling with a particular task, consider taking a short break or returning to it at a different time of day.

A change of location can also help break up the day and inspire more productivity. Many entrepreneurs have the fortune of being able to work remotely, so consider trying to work in a flexible work space or a coffee shop to aid creativity.

  1. Set Work Hours And Stick To Them

To improve productivity, set work hours and stick to them. At the end of your work day, whatever time that may be, be strict with yourself and avoid answering emails and unplug from your devices. Having a regular schedule can help you to be better organized and make the most of your time. It will also help you to develop a more positive work-life balance, leading to reduced stress and burnout.

Similarly, schedule down time into your day. In the same way you’d schedule a meeting, schedule in some time for exercise, to read, or simply step away from your work. If possible, try to book a holiday too, whether it’s a full week off, a long weekend or even just one day to yourself.

Conclusion

Burnout is a very real problem for many small business owners. Running your own business can be overwhelming and all encompassing, leaving you with little time for yourself or your personal commitments and interests. However, in order to run a successful business, it’s essential that you find a balance between your work and home life. By following the steps above, you’ll not only avoid burnout and reduce stress, but you’ll also become more productive and successful.

Lauren Groff is a successful small business writer at Academic Writing Services and Essay Services, where she regularly writes about ways to improve productivity in the workplace, as well as sharing tips on how to run a successful small business. She is also an experienced editor at OX Essays. When not writing, Lauren enjoys spending time reading and attending business conferences

 

small business coach

Using a Break Even Plan For a School Bus Company

Break Even Plan

 Break Even Plan For a School Bus Company

This week I’m writing about using a Break-Even Plan. A Break-Even Plan will stop the bleeding of your cash by temporarily cutting all non-critical expenses while driving sales above break-even by selling existing inventory. 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, your business will run better.

The Situation in Charlie’s Bus Company

Our business hero this week is Charlie, owner of a bus sales and service company. I began working with Charlie and his parents when their sales were stagnant. At that point, their business had been losing an average of $40,000 per year for several years.

Coaching Modules for Charlie’s Bus Company

We implemented several of our Coaching Modules. These included a Strategic Plan, Team Meeting Rhythm, Sales Management System, Key Performance Indicators and most importantly in the near term, a Break-Even Plan.

A Break-Even Plan for Charlie’s Bus Company

After reviewing their financials, we determined that we needed to reduce their fixed costs and grow their revenues. Their billable hours compared to their shop employee hours was too low. So, we reduced the number of shop employees. We also eliminated some extra outsourced services such as vehicle detailing. We set a goal of selling one bus a week. Billable hours and bus sales per week became two of our Key Performance Indicators. We began meeting weekly to review performance and remove obstacles.

Charlie’s Bus Company Results

The sales and profit growth were dramatic with our Break-Even Plan. Here’s what Charlie said:

testimonial2

“You have really taken the blinders off our eyes to see the potential of our business and now you are taking us there. We are thrilled that you achieved growth from $651,000 to $1,100,000 and a profit increase in excess of $181,000 since we started working with you in January.”

Congratulations Charlie on your impressive growth of your sales and profits using a break-even plan. You are a true business hero and an inspiration to us! You can view another case study about using an Employee Acquisition Plan in an auto repair business here.

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Developing and Deploying a Strategic Plan: an Entertainment Company

Strategic Plan

This week I am writing about Developing and Deploying a Strategic Plan. A Strategic Plan is an evolving, written plan that sets forth the vision, mission, and values of your company, long and short-range goals, and KPI’s to measure progress.

I have been writing a few posts about some of my hero clients and how we are able to achieve significant results from our work together. We use 36 Coaching Modules, which are areas within your business under the categories of Growth, Profits, and Freedom. When we improve your performance in these areas your business will run better.

Brian’s Entertainment Business

I have been working with Brian, this week’s business hero, the owner of an Entertainment Company (and several other of his businesses) for a few years now. When I met Brian he was relatively new in his business and he was considering the possibility of selling it due to low performance. Brian filled out our Coaching Module Scorecard which measures businesses in 36 areas under the categories of Growth, Profits, and Freedom. We determined that we should immediately develop and deploy a Strategic Plan. This is a tool that we develop for nearly every client that we work with.

The Strategic Planning Process for an Entertainment Business

Brian filled out a personal and business questionnaire and returned it to me prior to our planning session. Then we met for 2 hours to work on his personal vision and values and life goals for him and his family. Then we developed his business vision, values and mission, one year and five-year goals, and action plan for reaching his goals. Finally, we met with his team so that we could deploy Brian’s vision, values, and mission to them and get their buy-in and involvement.

Tactical Marketing For Brian’s Entertainment Company

We decided to target large corporations that do events; Brian began doing pro-bono work for large charities. We also focused on working in hospitality industry associations and with city officials to develop relationships and joint venture partnerships.

Employee Acquisition for Brian’s Entertainment Company

Finally, we worked on developing an employee hiring plan to allow his business to grow without overworking Brian. Since Brian’s business was very small at that point, and Brian had some relatives who had available time and skills to help his business, we recruited them. We also added some independent contractors to help with Brian’s events.

Results for Brian’s Entertainment Company

The result was dramatic growth and more time off for Brian. Here’s what Brian said;

testimonial14“I’ve tripled my revenues and my infrastructure allows me to travel out of town without worrying about the business.”

Conclusion

Congratulations to business hero Brian for his rapid success! He is enjoying more time for his passion of traveling while his business generates a good income for him. Developing and Deploying a Strategic Plan was a crucial key in reaching his personal and business goals.

 

small business coach

Creating a Strategic Plan For Your Small Business?

Creating Strategic Plan

As you know, running a small business is not an easy task. So many changes, so few resources, and the result may be chaotic. With so many things happening at the same time, it is easy for small business owners to get stuck in the daily operations and just forget about creating a strategic plan.

Take Your Business to the Next Level through Strategic Planning

However, when you want to take your small business to the next level, you need to make sure that you have a well-detailed strategic plan. This is where you create your business’ vision, mission, and values of the team. In addition, you need to make sure that you also include your financial targets (quarterly, annually and five years into the future). Ultimately, your strategic plan will serve as a guide for everyone in the business to know the direction and goals of the company as well as its culture.

Do You Have a Strategic Plan?

Most small businesses do not have a strategic plan, and even fewer business owners deploy their plan. They lack the essential steps of fleshing out the details of the plan, taking action, monitoring and updating the plan on a regular basis.

In case you still don’t have a strategic plan for your small business, it is time to create one. So, how can you start?

Since a strategic plan needs to combine a lot of different information, I will share with you the main topics that need to be included.

Ready to start?

#1: Articulate Your Vision, Mission, And Core Values:

The first thing you need to do to start creating your strategic plan is to define the vision, mission, and the core values of your small business. Note that it is important to make your vision clear. After all, this strategic plan is meant to be used by everyone. And it is extremely important that everyone who works within your company is aware of your vision and main goals.

With this in mind, start by defining the purpose of your business. Why do you exist? How is your business going to make the world better? Then you can proceed to your mission. This should be the way you see your business in 2 to 5 years from now. Make sure that you make your mission inspiring and bold.

Last but not least, focus on the core values or how you expect the work to be done. Be sure to be very explicit about what you value in your employees, customers, and vendors as well as about what you want your customers to experience.

#2: Define The Strategy:

As soon as you complete the previous step, you already know more about your company and your goals. So, it will be a lot easier to think about the different strategies that you can adopt to take you there.

In order to decide on the best strategies that should be a part of the strategic plan, you should also take a closer look at the strengths of your business. You should then focus on these strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in your business. Then define the strategies from your findings.

#3: Defining Priorities:

When you are creating your strategic plan, it is important to define priorities. So, how can you do this?

One of the best things you can do is to use your vision of your business and link it to your quarterly and annual priorities. Please notice that it is also important to ensure that your quarterly priorities will take you closer to your quarterly results. Besides, both quarterly and annual priorities need to be in the same line.

#4: Target Customers And Industry Analysis:

When you are creating your strategic plan, it is important to make a special note regarding your customers as well as your industry. After all, when you define your goals you need customers in order to reach your goals. So, take a closer look at your competitors and discover their strengths as well as their weaknesses. This way you can think about how to reach new customers that you have been missing so far.

In terms of the industry itself, it is important that you know if it is a growing or a shrinking industry. This will help you define the most likely scenarios for the demand for your services or products, for example.

Summary

While it may take you some time to create a strategic plan for your small business, you can be sure that it is worth every cent. If you do a good job of creating and deploying your strategic plan, both you and your employees will have a better perspective about your business, where it stands now, and where it should stand in 2 to 5 years from now. Here’s an article about developing and deploying a strategic plan in an entertainment company.

 

small business coach

The Keys To Small Business Success – Planning And Prioritizing

Planning And Prioritizing

As a small business owner, you know that you have to wear a lot of hats. Of course, time is limited as well as your own skills. So, when you want to grow your business, the only way to be successful is to start planning and prioritizing.

The Keys To Small Business Success

 

Get Your Strategic Plan in Writing

Even though it may be hard to find the time for planning and prioritization, you need to understand that it is crucial. After all, when you decided to launch your small business, you did it with a purpose. So, you need to ensure that you put this purpose and your business goals in writing. Large corporations and companies do this on a regular basis. Most of them do their planning on a quarterly basis as well as on a yearly basis. This gives them the control to achieve each and every goal they define.

Set Your Priorities For Your Business

In addition to planning, it is also important to prioritize. Just like you do on a daily basis with your tasks, you need to know what is more important to meet the goals that you define for your business.

While it may seem a bit confusing and you don’t know where to start with your planning and prioritizing tasks, here are the main 4 elements that you need to focus your attention on:

#1: Write Down Your Goals In A Clear Way:

This is the time to think about what you want for your business. Where do you see yourself and your business in a year from now? Five years from now?

Since you will also need to prioritize in a later step, it is important that you classify each one of the goals that you define in this step as short-term (quarterly), medium-term (1 year), and long-term (two to five years).

#2: Create A Detailed List Of Tasks For Your Team:

Each one of the goals that you defined in the previous step involves a wide range of tasks. The truth is that if you only write down your goals but skip this step, you won’t ever reach them. Unless you think about everything that you need to do to accomplish the goal and then do it, you’ll never reach it. So, be as detailed as you can. You want to involve your employees in this process.

In this tasks list, you will also need to include the resources that you need. While you can have some of the resources you need already, you may need to acquire or allocate others.

#3: Prioritize Your Tasks in Your Business:

Up until now, you defined your goals in a clear way and you determined everything you need to reach them. Now, it’s time to decide what is more important.

When you are prioritizing your tasks, you should make sure that you place the tasks that have a higher impact on your goals on top of the list.

#4: Be Flexible With Your Business Plan:

One of the things that you need to always keep in mind is that planning and prioritizing are on-going tasks. They are never completed, they are never done. In addition, sometimes, an urgent task comes along and you may not meet a deadline or two. However, it is not the end of the world. Just keep it calm and re-adjust the next tasks that you have to do.

While planning and prioritizing may seem intimidating and time-consuming, having everything on paper makes it a lot easier. The truth is that when you fail to plan and to prioritize, you will never reach the goals you have, you will never see your business grow in a consistent way. So, make sure that you take some time and truly dedicate yourself to this task.

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Summary

As we mentioned earlier, you should definitely involve your employees to help you define the tasks for every goal that you set. However, you need to have a proactive attitude, and you need to stand out and commit to your short-, mid, and long-term goals.

 

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Top Ten Strategies to Retain Your Employees

Top Ten Strategies to Retain Your Employees

With our robust economy, unemployment levels are at record lows. To find and retain your employees is one of the biggest challenges facing small businesses. And costly! Experts estimate that it costs between $10,000 to 1.5 times their annual salary to bring on a new hire. Here are the Top Ten Strategies to Retain Your Employees and grow your business.

Top Ten Retention Strategies to Retain Employees

What can business owners do to keep their employees? Here is a top ten list.

1. Keep Your Vision, Values, and Mission in Front of Your Team

There is a saying that “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Once you have clarity of where you want your business to be in five years, what your company does for customers, and how you want your employees to treat each other and your customers then make sure you reinforce your VVM at least weekly in your meetings and other communication. Having a compelling vision keeps employees excited, and more importantly, keeps YOU excited!

2. Encourage Your Employees To Grow Within and Outside Your Business

Offering promotion from within is a powerful motivator to your employees. To demonstrate that you are preparing them for promotion, find ways to train them.  Some examples of this can be implementing a training program or using outside resources and tools (such as workshops, books, online courses, etc.). Doing this can create a powerful incentive for your team members to stay over the long haul. Something as simple as creating a book of the month club can work wonders.

3. Involve Your Employees in Your Strategic Planning

Once you have developed your plan, bring your employees in and share your vision, values, and mission with them. Enlist their ideas and input in brainstorming sessions to create actions for the plan and then assign the employees with the ideas to carry out the task. This creates buy-in from your team.

4. Encourage Employees to Be Creative

Many companies say they value creativity but they don’t have any initiatives to support creativity. Below are some possibilities:

Offer rewards for creativity. Recognize and reward employees that contribute ideas that you implement.

Provide a private and public way of sharing ideas. Some employees don’t want attention and others do. This can be as simple as a suggestion box for private comments and a meeting forum for public comments.

Develop a fun working environment. Foster a caring and fun working environment to encourage spontaneity.

5. Deploy and Reinforce Your Values In The Workplace

The Golden Rule in the workplace when fully deployed can create a great sense of belonging and loyalty. A culture of respect can be fostered by implementing many of the following strategies: feedback, recognition, encouraging creativity, collaboration, and so on.

It is essential to empower your team members with kindness and thoughtfulness and to reinforce those values when practiced(and confront team members when not practiced).

6. Catch Your Employees Doing Something Right

Leaders tend to focus on problems and sometimes employees can get burned in the process. Stephen Covey wrote about making “Emotional Deposits” with people. If you build up their “Emotional Bank Account” then you position them to make a withdrawal when you need to provide constructive criticism.

Make it a point to look for positive acts from your team members and build up their accounts. Tell others about what you “caught” your employees doing.

7. Offer Competitive Compensation

Many business owners are stuck in the past with wages and are losing their employees to their competitors.

Your team members need to be able to cover their cost of living, and to feel like they are doing good, rewarding work. Research what a competitive salary would be for your employees and start paying them what they’re worth. If necessary, raise your prices to give you room for pay increases.

8. Resist Changing Things Too Quickly

Changes are constant can also be very stressful. New initiatives and system changes in your company should occur, but forcing too much change too soon can cause good people to leave.

When changes are necessary, involve your employees in the process. In the same way that you involve employees in planning, get their input and ideas on how to make the changes.

A thought to remember with leadership: leaders determine “the what” and employees determine “the how.”

9. Maintain a Clean and Safe Environment

Your employees spend 1/3 of their day in your facility; you want that time to be positive. You want to maintain a safe and comfortable working environment. Conduct a walkthrough of your facility and write down issues that need to be improved. Ask your employees for input with this. Or bring in a friend to give you a “fresh set of eyes.”

Cleaning house should not be limited to clutter. That can also include dismissing employees that are harassing, causing distractions, or not cooperating.

10. Provide Your Employees With Technologies and Tools That Set Them Up for Success

Sometimes it’s easy to overlook new technologies and tools that can make your employees and your business successful. Check with your industry association to learn about the latest offerings.

Conclusion

In summary, let your employees know that you care about them. Listen to them, pay them well, promote them and involve them in your success. Now that you have read and implemented these top ten strategies to retain your employees. Which of these work the best for you?

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