Chet Holmes International (CHI), a privately held company, is the creation of highly publicized thought leader and author Chet Holmes, for the purpose of helping small to medium-size businesses grow faster, better, smarter.
Being positive can have an impact on nearly every aspect of life. For business owners, having a motivated attitude can go a long way. This behavior is likely to rub off on employees and customers, resulting in a happier workplace and higher satisfaction.
Bringing about this kind of change starts with you as an owner. Introducing positive and productive habits not only benefits your daily life, but your company operations as well. Once you’ve adopted these strategies, you can then encourage your staff members to take on the same methods.
A positive attitude requires you to make small and big changes, but they will create a happier working environment for you, your employees and your valuable customers.
Big steps to a positive attitude
Certain habits can be hard to break, especially those that you have been practicing for many years. But knowing that adopting a positive attitude can positively impact your small business should be incentive enough to get the ball rolling on picking up those kinds of habits.
Fox Business writes that small enterprise owners should start with tackling their fears. Any worries and concerns you may have with company operations or your leadership abilities can be diminished simply by taking them head on. For example, the source highlights one owner who had a fear of public speaking. To get stronger in this area, she decided to teach a large class as a volunteer, reducing her fear of public speaking.
Additionally, business owners should not be afraid to fail. Failure is inevitable for any organization and things are not going to be perfect every day. Fox Business suggests that you take the time to learn from your failures, accept them and move forward. This strategy gives you a more positive outlook as you use the lessons you learned from failures to improve your business processes and procedures, leading to greater efficiency.
Smaller changes for a positive attitude
While the above strategies require a bigger change in terms of thinking and acting, there are also smaller habits you can adopt to encourage more optimism for yourself and your business.
Entrepreneur Magazine offers some tips for owners who want to instill a positive outlook. For one, focus on following your own business growth plan and stop comparing yourself to other companies. Only you are aware of your struggles, strengths and motivation, so spending time worrying about other enterprises s a waste of time.
Additionally, you can schedule activities that boost happiness, Entrepreneur states. This can be done with both personal and professional events. Having lunch during the workday with friends or hosting an after work party with your employees fosters optimism among you and your staff.
Perhaps one of the best methods to follow is to take the time to think about your accomplishments, Entrepreneur recommends. This will put everything in perspective and will give you the chance to see that you are working hard toward your goals, giving you motivation to achieve more business success.
Of all the challenges business owners face as they work toward achieving business success, hiring the right employees may one of the biggest. With the right staff in place, a company can rapidly ascend to being a leader in the marketplace. However, bad hires can cost time, money and keep a company from reaching its goals.
There is no way fool-proof way to prevent bad hires from occurring. It’s one the realities associated with running any company, no matter how large or small. Employee personality tests are designed to identify the characteristics you would like to see in a potential worker and help you make hiring decisions based on how they answer questions after taking the assessment.
Employee assessment tools are helpful, but in no way do they completely eliminate bad hires. Sometimes people test well and still don’t work out, and good employees can often be overlooked because they didn’t do as well on the assessment. All told, there is no real science to making the right hires and sometimes it has a quite a bit to do with luck.
However, there are some ways to increase your chances of making hiring decisions than aid in company growth and steering clear of those that can set your company back.
Hire for tomorrow, not today
Most business owners make hires based on an immediate need, but foresight can be a very useful tool as well. Understanding where your company is now and where you’d like to see it go in the future can help greatly in the search for new employees.
Bankrate lists a number of good hiring tips for small-business owners and for those immediate needs, the website suggests employing a temporary staffing agency help.
On the front end, the cost associated with using temps may seem high. However, the website lists several advantages of this, including not locking yourself into the commitment of making someone a full-time employee. If he or she doesn’t work out, you can easily replace the worker with phone call to the agency.
However, temps also allow you to assess whether or not the person is a potential fit in the long term. If so, you can negotiate the conversion fee with the agency and hire the employee outright, or wait until he or she has worked a certain number of hours through the staffing company that allows you to hire the candidate without paying a fee.
Don’t forget about the passive job seeker
Many times, the person you want to hire already has a job, isn’t looking but is always open to hearing about new opportunities. In this situation, the thrill is in the chase. Entrepreneur magazine offers a number of good tips for attracting the passive candidate, but the best piece of advice is to try and meet him or her in person.
Unless they’re unhappy in their present jobs, it’ll likely take more than a cool job description to entice them. By sitting down and meeting with them, a feeling out process can occur. If a good connection is made, it increases the chances of a passive candidate making a switch to come and work for your company.
When starting your business, you mapped out everything you wanted to achieve and the steps to take to get where you wanted to go. Now that your company is up and running, you most likely still have a plan in place to deal with your organization’s growth. But what about if disaster strikes? It doesn’t happen to every enterprise, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen to yours.
A solid disaster recovery strategy is part of any effective business growth plan. Even if a disaster never occurs, it will give you, as an owner, peace of mind knowing that you have something in place to keep your operations running. Even though developing a disaster plan may sound daunting, all it takes is some research and preparation to create a strategy that will stand throughout any possible disaster.
Business disasters can range from natural occurrences, such as hurricanes, tornadoes or floods, to more technical issues, such as a cyber attack or data center loss. Whatever the case, getting a plan in place now means your business can recover more quickly and efficiently should an emergency happen.
– Assess the various risks: Businesses that are located in the Southeast United States may not have to worry about extremely cold weather conditions possibly disrupting their operations every year, but they do have to worry about tornadoes. Companies in every region of the country have to deal with various weather-related disasters that happen in their areas, so figuring out what could potentially throw off your enterprise for a few days is the first step to determining how you can handle them, suggests the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants.
You should also take the time to assess any technical dangers, such as information loss due to hackers, the source recommends. This will help you lay out the proper protocols for recovery.
– Create a business continuity plan: Crain’s Detroit Business states that small companies need to develop a strong business continuity plan that outlines what steps will be taken in case of an emergency. The source also recommends that you determine which staff members will be in charge of which responsibilities so that employees know who to reach out to.
– Take a look at your systems: Looking at the systems you have in place can help you poke holes in anything that could be severely impacted by a disaster, writes the Minnesota Society of CPA’s. Do your employees have a way to work if your company’s Internet is down for an extended period? What if your facilities are damaged? Is there somewhere else you can operate out of while recovering? These questions can give you more insight into improvements that can be made to your disaster recovery plan.
Whatever the disaster, whether it’s weather-related or tech-based, you need a plan to get your operations back in line should something occur. Also, having your employees provide their advice and input on the strategy ensures everyone is onboard and prepared for anything that happens.
Professional consulting services help businesses on the cusp of reaching new levels of profitability, efficiency and output attain their goals. Such services also help employers better connect with employees and learn best practices for worker interaction and leadership.
One of the best ways to make sense of what drives workers is to look at things from their perspective. Some overarching career advice from Business 2 Community can help managers and owners understand the motivations of many of their workers, as well as know how they can adapt their offices to better accommodate staff. Some of the advice will apply to you and your managers as well.
Employers and employees should both have an idea of how they want to be viewed by others and make changes to that effect. For workers, those differences may involve extra effort in certain business behaviors and a focus on learning new skills. Reputation is a factor that can be controlled by both individuals and businesses if they put in the work.
The corollary to managing perception is that everyone needs to be honest about who they are. Making positive changes is entirely possible for employees, but they likely can’t become totally new people or go against instinct. Instead of enforcing a too-rigid corporate culture, supervisors should find out what their employees are deeply interested in and see if they can fit those passions into new work opportunities.
Management should offer to help employees who want to learn and do more and be proactive about letting their workforce know that mentoring and counseling for professional growth is available.
When companies bring in a corporate consulting service, they should involve employees as much as possible. Asking for and acting on feedback is a great potential source of growth for employees and supervisors. And when an employee is successful, management should make note of a job well done as well as subtly encourage others to offer congratulations for good work.
Workers often care the most about their relationships with colleagues, according to research by TinyPulse reported on industry website Employee Benefits. The happiness of staff often has more to do with co-workers and less to do with managers, especially with businesses becoming less hierarchical and more focused on collaboration.
Employers can foster positive relationships though non-traditional benefits like catering lunch or offering out-of-work activities in a low-pressure fashion to help develop those horizontal bonds between employees on the same level.
Attracting high-quality employees is a major part of any business growth plan. By bringing in great sales people, administrative workers and support staff, companies have a much better chance of meeting and exceeding their goals.
Whether your organization is adding a few workers as part of a steady increase in activity or onboarding lots of new employees due to drastically increased demand for your services, advice from industry source Small Business Trends can help you emphasize the unique benefits of your business and attract the best employees.
Make benefits attractive
It sounds simple, but a high-end benefits package will bring in plenty of top talent. What you can do to differentiate your offerings when it comes to insurance, bonuses and other perks not related to salaries is the more complicated proposition.
Companies that are the best at bringing in top talent put a strong emphasis on benefits – 70 percent of top talent attractors versus 28 percent of other businesses, according to Small Business Trends. Asking current employees which insurance company they would like to use and researching the results is one way to develop a strong offering. Linking bonuses to individually attainable goals, instead of company-wide metrics, is another way to attract high performers.
Besides health care and extra cash provided for a good performance, other incentives like providing employees with flex time or allowing them to work at home when feasible, as well as wellness offerings, can make your company stand out in a competitive hiring market.
Flip the perspective
One easy question can help you better understand your hiring process, according to The Business Journals: Would you apply to the position your company is offering, given the salary, benefits and duties included in the package?
Bringing in great employees is one answer to the question of how to grow sales. So if your job descriptions aren’t exciting, informative and giving potential workers a positive glimpse at the career they could embark on, they need to change.
Instead of exclusively focusing on new employees, successful companies need to also attract and analyze internal candidates for open positions. If your business performs well, it means your current workers are doing a lot of things right. A focus on inside-the-organization advancement means happier employees, less time spent training and onboarding and a higher level of trust. Keep records of employees who want to try different positions across the company and notify them when openings arise.
It’s no surprise that customers are an essential part of any business operation. Business owners spend a large amount of time and put in great effort to ensure they are making connections with potential patrons and keeping their current customers satisfied. While each company has different methods it uses to keep clients happy, there are a few strategies that each organization can employ in order to boost customer engagement.
Keeping patrons engaged is key for business success. By focusing on this aspect, you, as an owner, can increase revenue, boost your organization’s reputation and draw in potential customers. Engagement is not only for employees, but should become part of your client retention strategy as well.
The following methods will help ensure that your customers will be engaged, happy and will keep coming back to do business with your company:
Start by asking questions: Taking the time to get to know your patrons will go a long way in boosting engagement. You can ask questions while customers are shopping in the store, or, as Business 2 Community suggests, you can go online and to gather feedback from your clients. These questions can range from what kinds of products and services are preferred to what changes customers would like to see.
Put customers in the spotlight: B2C recommends acknowledging your most loyal patrons. This can be accomplished by featuring them on your company’s website, social media pages or even in your brick-and-mortar locations. This will give consumers more reason to return to your business.
Improving your company website and customer experience: Customers expect great service when they are in your store. The same rules should apply when they are on your business website. Business News Daily suggests that your website should meet the needs of patrons’ expectations by allowing them to complete transactions quickly and efficiently. Also, to improve customer service, your website should have the most up-to-date information about the company, products, services and other important details. Having a strong online presence that your clients can easily access should be a key part of any business growth plan.
Contests bring customers in: Holding contests with the chance to win products and services not only boosts existing customer engagement, but this strategy can also help bring in new clientele. B2C recommends hosting frequent contests, both online and in stores, to garner higher patron engagement as well as get the word out about your business. Business News Daily states that holding contests on your social media pages helps to increase your marketing reach as well.
Take the time to celebrate your customers: Not all customer engagement strategies need to happen online. B2C writes that having parties and small celebrations at your brick-and-mortar location lets your patrons know their business is appreciated. When your company reaches a certain milestone, or you just feel like celebrating your business success, consider having a party as a way to share your enthusiasm with your customers.
When it comes to driving a company toward small business success, any owner – no matter how savvy they think they are – can learn how to be more effective as a leader. Running an organization, managing staff and delivering the highest quality of service to customers are critical to the success of any company, regardless of size. However, there are times when any of these actionable items can be a source of frustration and improving in the leadership category can help in the face of challenges.
Business coaching services are a great tool that can be taken advantage of to guide an individual overcome any rough patches while traveling along the road to success. But there are also examples found in our everyday lives that can develop and strengthen the leadership qualities of any individual.
Valuable lessons on change from Admiral Michelle Howard
In the 236-years of the U.S. Navy’s existence, this branch of the military has never had a woman achieve one of the highest ranks. That all changed when Michelle Howard received a promotion to Vice Chief of Naval Operations, in addition to being a four-star admiral, according to Forbes. In her naval career, there have been a lot of other firsts for Admiral Howard. However, being a woman who has worked her way up through the ranks to hold key positions of leadership in the U.S. armed forces, she knows what it takes to build strong teams that are also successful. The lessons learned along her career can be beneficial to any small-business owner.
“It’s the willingness to commit to look hard at yourself and commit to a new way of doing business,” Howard told Forbes on the subject of making innovative changes within an organization. “There’s great ideas out there – it’s having the courage to go ask people about what they’re doing different and saying, ‘I wonder how I could apply that to my organization?’”
When it comes to running a company, it’s imperative to use any of the resources at your disposal to ensure that your venture is a success. Whether it’s seeking outside help or polling employees, not being rigid in your approach can be the difference between implementing changes that can push the business forward or doing things the way you’ve always done them and stagnating the growth of the organization.
Innovation as a team
Admiral Howard’s statements reveal that leaders can’t always make all of the critical decisions themselves. There are times when collaboration is necessary. Inc. Magazine recently broached the innovation topic and lists some helpful tips to create this kind of atmosphere in your organization.
Dining together and using this time to brainstorm, creating cross-functional work groups and hiring non-egotistical people who fit within the team construct are great ways to get everyone working together toward a common goal. As a leader, integrating these processes into your organization and creating a collaborative atmosphere can greatly help your company achieve the small business success that you’re looking for.
Whether your company is involved in selling to consumers or other businesses, email marketing is a powerful tool that offers some unique advantages.
A slight tune-up of marketing strategies or more sweeping changes as part of a plan for how to grow sales will both benefit from paying attention to the latest email marketing advice from Business 2 Community.
Some of the updates to messaging have come about because scamming and phishing emails now use strategies that once helped legitimate marketers reach prospective clients. Because the public has adapted to older concepts like personalized greetings, change is required. A study from Temple University’s Fox School of Business found that 95 percent of customers responded poorly when their names appeared as part of an emailed greeting from a business.
The negative reaction to personalized online greetings – one-on-one communication should still involve the use of a client’s name – stems from fears of identity theft and the invasion of privacy. The study specifically suggests not greeting new customers by name for this reason.
Business 2 Community recommends using collected data to point out products that they may be interested in. This strategy shows you know their preferences but avoids the personalized greeting pitfall.
Long subject lines are another area to avoid. While being descriptive is important for email marketing, going above 70 characters is discouraged because it doesn’t produce increased an click-through rate or more responses.
Refresh and refocus
A business growth plan for a company that uses email marketing as a key component should involve a review of these strategies for effectiveness. The Long Island Business News provides a checklist for growing the reach and results of your efforts.
Businesses should be worried about sending too many and too few emails to customers. While complaints and unsubscribe rates should be carefully watched, companies shouldn’t be afraid of sending out more messages, as long as they are engaging and targeted to consumer interests. More messages means an opportunity for more clicks, reads and purchases.
Optimizing email campaigns for mobile viewing should also be of paramount importance. A heavily formatted email can look good on a computer screen but terrible on a smartphone, which more customers are using to view messages. Using a design focused on mobile viewing won’t negatively impact views on standard computers. A large font is also a simple change that will make reading such messages on the smaller screens of smartphones easier.
For all business owners, taking the time to invest in employees is crucial. Without giving staff members the opportunity to develop their skills, companies can pay the price and business success may never be fully realized. By offering workers the chance to improve their knowledge, this can lead to higher retention levels and employee engagement.
However, investing in staff development doesn’t mean that owners have to forget about improving their own skills. Honing your management ability helps your company, in the long run and betters your chance of achieving business success.
Business hiring picking up
Many companies are focused on hiring more employees. As more staff comes through the door, it becomes crucial to make sure that your management skills are sharp as this helps to promote better employee engagement.
According to the recent Small Business Confidence Survey conducted by TriNet, the majority of small companies in the U.S. are positive about the direction their businesses will go in this year. One aspect contributing to the optimism is the employment outlook. The study revealed that half of the small businesses participating in the survey plan to add to their workforce in 2014. Additionally, hiring talented workers is one of the top three things that 35 percent of small business owners want to do this year.
“It’s encouraging to see that small business owners are investing in the future of their companies, including hiring new employees,” said TriNet President and CEO Burton Goldfield. “Getting great people on their team as well as managing expenses are two challenges for all small business owners.”
Right management strategies for employees success
As more staff members are brought on board, business owners must ensure they are managing these individuals to keep them happy and engaged in the workplace. While good management skills are one of the top tools an employer needs to retain staff, growth coaching can also be an effective method as the Harvard Business Review reports that employees want to be managed and coached at the same time.
Pointing to the results of its own research, the HBR revealed that by developing strong growth coaching skills, business owners can increase worker engagement and productivity as well as improve customer service and the overall business reputation.
Business Management Daily offered tips for improving management strategies, one of which is for business owners to sit down with employees and ask them what they think about the company, their position, their career goals and how you can help them develop their individual talents.
The website suggests that you polling staff members to uncover the areas of their job in which they’d like to improve, or to check-in periodically to see if they’re still comfortable working for the company. By following these strategies, business owners can have happier and engaged employees.