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The speed with which marketing is changing is frightening! What was the norm just three or four years ago is now old-fashioned and out of date! What is even more challenging is that this change is accelerating. If businesses are to thrive in this new digital era, significant action needs to be taken now. For anyone who did not grow up in a digital world, it is simply not good enough to say, ‘I don’t understand social media’ and avoid an uncomfortable conversation. It is also not good enough to say, ‘I don’t do business on social media. That’s not where my customers come from’. The reality is, every business needs to have a digital marketing strategy, simply because every one of their customers are themselves online, at some point. The fact also remains that the number of businesses being set up by ‘millennials’, who are tech savvy and do understand online marketing, means that competition is only going to become fiercer from those entering the market. This paper outlines the online marketing trends which are genuinely sweeping the globe and advocates some next steps which should be taken. The digital reality is, change and thrive or remain still and die. Which will it be for your business?

Philip Kotler is a highly distinguished marketing author, consultant and professor of international marketing at Northwestern University in the US. Widely regarded as the father of marketing, he has written many books on the current reality and future of marketing. His latest book, titled ‘Marketing 4.0’ describes the shift from traditional to digital marketing which is currently taking place. The central theme of his book states that business marketing must evolve because consumers themselves are changing. Brands should not seek to talk at customers but rather engage with them, and turn them into active advocates of what they offer. Kotler presents a powerful case for how social media is revolutionising the marketing world and how digital marketing technologies are transforming the way in which business is being done. Companies who want to survive have to use these new digital tools to engage with their customers in a different way. With so much of the world now being online, customers are demanding a much more intimate and personal relationship with the brands they engage with. Increasingly customers will not simply be sold to. As the trend increases they will look for active engagement and value to be offered first, before they part with their money.

Kotler argues powerfully that high touch interaction with customers is becoming the new differentiator between businesses. Technology now means that products and services can become more personalised to fit the precise needs of the customer. Consumers are demanding that products and services also need to reflect human values, such as fair trade, diversity and empowerment. Therefore, businesses need to articulate why they do what they do. Customers increasingly no longer accept that it is simply about making money. They are looking for brands to solve problems in the world and those who fail to do so will increasingly become redundant. What Kotler also argues is that there is a convergence between digital and traditional marketing. What he means by this is that customers are demanding much greater interaction with the brands they give their loyalty to. However, this can only be provided by a combination of online automation and a human personal touch. On their own few businesses have the human capability to deliver the level of touches increasingly demanded by the consumer. On the opposite side however, brands who simply rely on digital automation will increasingly be pushed to the side in favour of those brands who offer a more human service, especially in a world which feels increasingly impersonal.

With the growth of online communities, customers increasingly follow their peers when choosing the brands they will do business with. Customer communities are becoming increasingly powerful as people look for social proof and how others have spent their money, before they will do so themselves. Social media is creating communities across national boundaries which further adds to the challenge of getting your offering right, which businesses now face. Positive engagement and real value, to every customer, needs to be achieved. If not, the connectedness of the world means that business reputations can quickly suffer. It’s impossible to hide flaws or complaints in the digital world and any company which tries to do so will badly damage their reputation in the long-term.

However, there is good news. Smaller, more innovative companies can now compete against the much larger established companies on a level playing field… if they can project their business online in the right way. If a business brand is able to show itself to be authentic and honest about the real value that it offers then they have an advantage.

The reality is, that we are also increasingly engaging with products and services via our mobile phones. There is now a new breed of customer – young, urban, middle-class, mobile and connected. This is a group who interact via screens and as a critical buying group they are only going to get bigger. You may have heard them referred to as ‘netizens’. The human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. This means that only brands with the ‘wow’ factor will get attention. With so much interaction now being via screens, digital media strategies will need to be applied in order to get that attention.

Whilst most marketing theories will talk about the need to segment and target your audience, to ensure that your messages are relevant, there is an inherent risk with simple one-way communication. Businesses who solely ‘push’ their message out there are increasingly seen by potential customers as ‘spamming’. Communities are the new segment. Brands need to ask for permission, prior to delivering marketing messages, and they also need to demonstrate a sincere desire to help, rather than being hunters with bait. Brand promises are now carefully scrutinised before the hearts and minds of customers are won. It used to be said that marketers needed to gain the attention of prospects, get them interested in what they were offering, elicit a desire for that product or service and then get them to take action. This instruction has now been modified with the same need to create an awareness, shift their attitude, which is now shaped by the online community and then get them to act and act again. This trend emphasises the importance of customer advocacy. With direct marketing being expensive it is crucial to retain the customers who you have already engaged with, no doubt at some time and cost to your business.

Is your business getting left behind in the new digital marketing era? According to UK and US sources, marketing spend, as a percentage of revenue, on average, stands at 6.8% for small and medium-sized businesses. As a percentage of overheads, business to business companies allocate on average 12.6% to their marketing efforts. By 2020 it is estimated that the average firm is going to be allocating 45% of its marketing spend to online media. In 2018 the average firm is allocating 41% of its total marketing spend to online media. That figure has risen dramatically from 2014 when only 29% of businesses total marketing spend was allocated to online efforts. Currently search engine optimisation captures the largest spend of online advertising. Online video such as YouTube represents the highest growth category. Social media advertising is expected to represent 25% of the businesses total online spending in 2018. Currently, social media marketing and email marketing are generating the best return on investment. The strongest businesses, who are getting the most from their digital marketing strategies, combine online technology with CRM automation. This basically means that a large part of the business’ marketing efforts are automated and can take place ‘in the background’, with only a small amount of ongoing human input needed. Facebook remains the largest of the social media channels with Instagram also being expected to grow. Indeed, engagement with brand profiles on Instagram is 10 times higher than on Facebook and 84 times higher than on Twitter.

Businesses are significantly shifting their marketing spend from traditional marketing to digital marketing and the gap between the two is now getting bigger. Nevertheless, the overall recommendation for a small business from Philip Kotler, is to balance the two.

So, what does all of this mean for the average small business? It is very possible to significantly increase the size of your business by adopting some fairly simple strategies. The first is to attract people to your website and the second is to convert them when they arrive. Increasingly, multiple marketing approaches will be used to attract visitors to a site. These will include search engine optimisation and the number of links that point to your address. Email campaigns, pictures, audio and video will all offer value to customers. Your website will need to pass the eight second test. That is, how can you grab the prospect’s attention within eight seconds? My question to you is, if you look above the fold on your website does it really grab your attention and make you want to investigate further? You will need to use an online lead generation model to attract customers and you should be thinking ‘lead generation’ rather than ‘sales model’. Online, we buy from people who we know like and trust, and with a higher price the bigger the challenge becomes. So, the purpose of the website is to begin a relationship and we have to get the prospect to stop for 30 to 40 seconds in order to begin that relationship. How do we do that? Usually, by giving them something and that is where social media and online marketing has a very big part to play.

Whilst we all complain about email spam from people we have no relationship with, email still remains one of the best forms of marketing. What people do want to receive is interesting and useful emails but of course in order to send emails out, to the level that is needed, you will need an auto responder system.

If you are with the majority of business owners who want to rely on the capacity of team members and you do not have qualified digital marketing experience in your business then you need to click on the link below. The Digital Marketing Apprenticeship is government funded and largely free to businesses. It will get you ahead of the game on social media and ahead of the competition. It will enable you to gain more leads and clients and it will certainly upgrade the digital skills of your team members. As a result of just one of your team members completing this Level 3 apprenticeship, over 12 months, your business will have internal expertise on how to deliver customer relationship marketing, digital marketing campaigns and a social media strategy for your business. You will be able to find the right blend of channels for your business, whilst also being responsive to the digital marketing changing environment. Search engine optimisation and pay per click strategies are also a part of the qualification. There are additional insights into security measures and how to protect your data across the various channels.

The reality is that 70% of small businesses, which if you count them, numbers in the tens of millions are still doing all of their marketing in-house and are outsourcing very little, if anything at all. Too many businesses are still relying on poor websites and simple word-of-mouth to create new business. When looked at it in this way it would be fair to say that most businesses are leaving a very large amount of money on the table, because they are not challenging themselves to be much better in the online space. Either, businesses will need to enlist external support as the complexity of marketing becomes greater or they will need to look to increase their capacity in-house by training team members. Either way, action needs to be taken to at least remain abreast of the competition. To move ahead requires clear planning and the determination to take decisive steps and go beyond what others are doing. This is a reality which cannot be ignored. The question is, what are you as a business owner going to do with this information, if you don’t click on the link below?

https://apprenticeships.luv4marketing.com/pam-featherstone/

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0.What is above the line?

In business, if your mentality is above the line, then you’re thinking in terms of Ownership, Accountability, in this way:

Ownership

It’s your life and your business and you are the one who is in charge of its direction, and the routes you take to achieve your business and personal goals.

Accountability

You are accountable for the results of your actions, and the success or failure of those actions is down to you.

Responsibility

You’re responsible for your role within your business, and making sure you do the tasks that form part of that role.

Business benefits of staying above the line

Ensuring that our mentality stays above the line as much as possible is one of the most important steps we can take as business owners.

Of course, nobody is perfect, and there are times when you’ll probably slip below the line, but it’s vital to remember that mentality affects everything that happens in your business, and your life.

When you accept that it’s your responsibility as a business owner to achieve our business goals, and that ultimately, you are both responsible and accountable for everything that happens in your business – then you’re on the road to success.

In practice, staying above the line will drive results, whereas slipping below the line will only give you reasons as to why you haven’t achieved your goals.

If you’re blaming others and making excuses, then it’s very likely that other people within your organisation will do the same. Similarly, if you’re leading by example and taking responsibility for your actions and the results, then your employees are more likely to follow suit.

How Coach Pam can help

Mentality, and how it affects our success in business and in life, is at the centre of our coaching method.

To take the first step towards building the business and the life you want, get in touch with Coach Pam for your free, no obligation coaching session today on 07540 888016.

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APPROVED Business Stability – The Importance of Diversifying Your Marketing

In last month’s post about marketing mentality, we learnt about the benefits of changing our thinking from seeing marketing as an expense, to seeing it the process of investing in buying new customers.

In this post, we look at how diversifying our marketing efforts can help to develop more stable, adaptable businesses that are capable of weathering the storm if one aspect of your marketing is lost.

All the eggs in one basket

Take a look at your current marketing efforts – the chances are that, like most businesses, you rely on one or two marketing methods to deliver the vast majority of your customers.

At first glance, it may seem to make a lot of sense to focus budgets on more successful marketing – but in reality, focusing your marketing efforts too narrowly can be a dangerous strategy that opens up your business to serious risk.

Like everything, marketing changes over time, and businesses that depend on one form of marketing to buy and retain their customers have no real stability – and can easily fail should circumstances change.

For instance, ask yourself what would happen if your key marketing method vanished overnight – would your business be able to survive?

The benefits of diversification in marketing

Diversifying your marketing matrix to include a wide range of offline and online marketing methods will help to ensure that should one of your marketing methods disappear or cease to be effective, then your business will be prepared.

In addition, engaging with potential customers in new ways will help you to widen the net, increase your potential customer base, and enable you to reach new kinds of customers, helping you to grow and develop your business.

The 10 x 10 rule

To ensure that your business has a well-diversified marketing programme, it’s best to aim for “10 x 10” – that is, 10 different successful marketing methods, that each deliver around 10% of your customers.

In this way, even if one form of marketing was to completely vanish over night, you business will only be affected to the tune of 10%.

Different forms of marketing

When it comes to different forms of marketing, there have never been more options available to businesses looking to buy new customers.

Whilst it will depend on the nature of your business, and the kind of customers you’re trying to target, a diversified marketing programme might include campaigns across a series of online and offline platforms, including:

 

Online

  • Paid Search
  • Organic Search (SEO)
  • Online Advertising
  • Online PR
  • Social Media
  • E-marketing
  • Mobile/apps

Traditional

  • Print PR
  • Advertising
  • Direct Marketing

 

Whichever methods you choose, it’s a constantly evolving process, and it’s vital that you test, measure and optimise your programme to make sure it’s effective, and achieving the results you need.

How Coach Pam can help

Getting our marketing right is an absolutely vital part of running a successful business. If you need help on any aspect of marketing, including diversification, then get in touch with Coach Pam to book your free, no obligation business coaching session today on 07540 888016.

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Last month, we looked at the first part of destination mastery – how having a clear vision can really help to drive your business forward, and provide you with the direction you need to succeed.

This post follows on from that, and takes a look into how you can take the first steps towards achieving the business vision you’ve created, by setting SMART goals.

We’ll examine the concept and the thinking behind SMART goals, before explaining why they are so vital if your business is going to fulfil its true potential.

What are SMART goals?

 SMART goals aren’t a new concept – they’ve been around for over 30 years, and have been used by successful business owners, athletes, politicians and entertainers ever since.

 SMART is actually a mnemonic used to describe goals that are:

  • Specific

Clear and specific, setting out exactly what your business is trying to achieve, with no ambiguities.

  • Measurable

Easily measured in terms of both the progress, and the end results – so you know exactly how well you’re progressing, and when you’ve achieved each goal.

  • Achievable

Realistic and attainable, and backed up by a good idea of the steps you and your business needs to take to achieve it.

  • Result

Results driven, demonstrating the importance of achieving the goal, and how the business benefits once it is achieved.

  • Timeframe

Grounded in a clear timeframe, with a deadline for when they should be achieved – whether that’s 90 days, a year, or even 10 years.

The importance of SMART Goals

If your vision is the final destination, think of your SMART goals as the signposts and milestones that will take you there.

SMART goals will help you to achieve your vision by:

Keeping you moving forward

If you and your business are ever going to fulfill your true potential, and achieve your final vision, you need to keep your business moving forward.

Setting and achieving SMART goals will help to ensure that you’re always taking positive, forward steps towards your final goal.

Helping you to focus on the bigger picture

It’s easy to get bogged down by the day-to-day activities involved in running a business.

Setting and working towards SMART goals will help to remind you of your priorities – giving you something to look forward to, pushing you towards taking action and enabling you to see the bigger picture.

Showing your progress

By setting and attaining SMART goals, you will gain a sense of achievement and fulfillment, whilst being able to see the progress your business is making.

This can help to motivate and inspire you, giving you the energy and motivation you need to continue driving your business forward.

Inspiring others

Your employees want to know they’re part of a business that’s going somewhere, and SMART goals can help demonstrate to them that they’re an integral, important part of a business that is moving forward.

In turn, SMART goals can help you to create and develop a strong team, improving staff motivation, cohesion, performance and retention.

Practical tips for SMART goal setting

When you’re setting SMART goals, there are a few things you can do to ensure that they work for your business:

Set multiple goals

Don’t feel like you have to work on one goal at once – it’s best to set several different short, medium and long-term SMART goals, as long as they don’t stretch your resources too far, or interfere with each other.

Write them down

Whilst you might think you’ll be able to remember the goals you’ve set, it’s always best to write them down. If SMART goals are written down, and kept somewhere you’ll see them regularly, you won’t forget about them, and they can’t be changed.

Tell your employees

It might sound simple, but it’s vital that everyone who will be involved in working towards the goals knows about them, and knows what needs to be done to achieve them.

How Coach Pam can help

If you need support in any aspect of SMART goal setting or implementation, or any aspect of running a successful business, arrange your free, no obligation coaching session with Coach Pam today on 07540 888016.

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“How to Write a Business Plan”

Do you have a written down, documented business plan in place? Every business can benefit from the preparation of a carefully written business plan. The purpose of the business plan is to:
1. Help you think through the venture and ensure you have considered all your options and anticipated any potential difficulties.
2. Convince lenders and investors that you are in control of the project and that their money will be safe with you.
3. Serve as an operating guide as you turn your idea into a viable business.
4. Furnish a standard against which to judge future business decisions and results.
The Business Plan Ingredients
Consider, what is the size of the business? A business plan of a small business will differ from a large corporation. What is the background to your business idea? The lenders and investors will want to understand your passion and see if you are qualified and educated to understand the market and actually carry out what you say you will in the plan.
Numbers, Numbers, Numbers.
Bottom line is Cash is King. No investor, bank or private lender won’t give you anything unless your numbers add up. It is undoubtedly one of the most important sections of your plan! Even if you can fund your own start up, some clients, suppliers or shareholders might definitely want to view your financial documentation before doing business with you or entering into agreements. Robert Kiyosaki in his book ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ explains how he would turn down hundreds of investment opportunities because the business owners were too focused on just one segment- a dancer who wants to open her ballet studio can be the best ballet dancer on earth, but if she doesn’t understand accounts and can’t speak the finance language the success rate is next to zero. They will also want to know about your exit strategy and funding requirements.

Be realistic
This brings out another important point; you have to evaluate your ambition clearly- what is going to be possible in reality when you start and what you ideally want to achieve often is not aligned closely straightaway- this is actually one of the massively great benefits of business coaching. Your coach will help you close the gap of where you are now and where you ideally want to take your business and will be clear and real with you about it. Fresh perspective can be so important when you get in a rut with everyday tasks of running a business!
Research and Apply!
Have you done your market research? Do you know who your competitors are? Local, regional, international? Have you assessed your business using a swot analysis? But don’t just research; you have to apply that information you obtain in specific terms to your business otherwise it’s just facts on a sheet. In your business plan back your points and arguments up with those facts rather than just sticking them in there!
Business Model
You might know your business idea inside out but the way you have to write about it in your business plan is like you’re explaining it for someone who has no clue what your plan is, especially if your idea is new and unique to the world! Spend time creating an easy and clear way of explaining your business model because 9 times out of 10 you will have to summarise your business in a couple of sentences anyway, whether it’s networking events, or two minutes of an investors time-sell it like you mean it!
Top Things to Consider
– Once Your Plan Is Written
Leave it. Not forever! Just for a few days so you can go back and have a fresh outlook on it afterwards, you may have thought it was perfect, but now you might see and think of enhancing it or updating it.
– How is a Business Plan different to a Marketing Plan?
Often asked and misconstrued question! A business plan is an overall plan of the entire business agenda with the overall business predictions and calculations- a marketing plan comparably, is a segment of the business plan. The marketing plan will focus on HOW rather than WHAT. For example, the business plan might state that the business is predicted to achieve £150,000 in sales and the marketing plan will focus on how the business will create that amount via advertising, SEO, customer acquisition etc.
To find out more about effective Marketing Plan writing, tune in for our next blog article
If you are in need to an in depth analysis and help with your business plan, contact coach Pam who will sit down with you and walk you through the process with guidance and support.

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Unfortunately, too many businesses are based on a simple ‘transactional’ model of development. The owner or leader sees it is as their job to lead, with the employee having the simple task of following. For centuries, society has reinforced this model. Military commanders applied the transactional model; obey my orders and we will win the battle. Many of the great business titans were dictators. ‘It’s my way or the highway’, is a phrase that you may have heard. Indeed, much of business thinking is based on the ‘military model’, with organisational structures and language reflecting the characteristics of armies and battlefields.

Followers/employees look for direction and guidance, and because they are at the top of the hierarchy and therefore have position, they see it as the leader’s responsibility to direct and motivate them. How many employees expect their leaders to be all seeing and all-knowing, which itself places a tremendous strain on them? Under the transactional model there is an exchange of services. If you serve and follow me says the leader, I will provide rewards for you. If that relationship breaks down and the leader is unable to provide the service required, the business falters and people leave. If the follower/employee fails to keep their side of the bargain and provide their services to a high standard, they are sacked.

The question is, does the leader stop there or does it business seek to go further, break the cycle and so achieve real success? Rather than setting up a simple transactional relationship in their business, the far-seeing owner will be looking to provide ‘transformational leadership’. They will be concerned with;

  • Engaging hearts and minds
  • Providing a long-term vision which others can get behind
  • Guiding team members to achieve greater motivation, satisfaction and a sense of achievement in what they do
  • Empowering others to control themselves
  • Coaching and developing their team

The irony is that the most effective military commanders were transformational leaders to a significant extent. Whilst Napoleon gave the orders, he also engaged his soldiers to the point that they willingly followed him to the cold of Russia in 1812 and the carnage of Waterloo in 1815.

The real power of the leader comes from creating an environment of understanding and trust where values and moral purpose are also adhered to and considered. Transformational leaders create powerful learning communities within their businesses which integrate the emotional, spiritual and intellectual values of their team along with the quest for success. Profit simply becomes the result of how well the business does this.

Organisational performance is largely dependent on the beliefs of people and the values which they hold. The leader should be looking to break down the barriers to the team’s total commitment, remove the desire for passivity which may exist on the part of some team members, whilst requiring them to step up and outside of their own comfort zones.

Effective management in any business is of critical importance, however, we should, in the twenty first century, be seeking to move away from the values associated with simple ‘managerialism’. The role of the leader, whether that is the Managing Director or the Departmental Head is to liberate control and align vision to a common purpose and in so doing, build and release capacity. Business is a collaborative exercise and as leaders we must collaborate with team members to create something that everyone buys into. When this happens, the results can be amazing.

If you are looking to achieve a lasting transformational culture change in your business, which empowers your team members to step up and lift heavier loads, then join me at C4Di Hull on 12th June where I will be leading a business forum of like-minded owners designed to explore how transformational change can be achieved in a business.

Click on the link below to find out more.

https://bit.ly/2LpfOcL

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Do you want to keep working for the rest of your life? Probably not! Last week on the blog, we looked at the benefits of working ‘on’, rather than ‘in’ your business, and how this can help you to develop and grow.

This week’s post ties into that, as we’re going to explore the importance of passive income, and how generating money in this way will provide you with personal and financial freedom, so you can work less, and earn more!

Active vs Passive

Active income is an income you’ve earned through participation, like wages, a salary, tips, or profits from a business that you actively maintain. Active income requires effort to generate, which means that it is limited by the time you have available. Without your input, active income stops coming in.

Passive income is regular income that requires very little effort on your behalf to maintain. Because passive income requires very little input on your behalf, and continues to generate income over time there is virtually no limit to the amount of passive income you can generate.

Most people tend to focus on improving their active income before building their passive income – but when you look at things more closely, it’s easy to see why you should be focusing on building up passive income streams as a priority!

The definition of a successful business

Owning a business can be a great passive income stream – but you’ll need to make some big changes to make it happen! As we discussed in last week’s post – when you start a business, you’ll probably spend most of your time working ‘in’ your business.

However, for your business to reach its full potential, as time goes on, you’ll need to take a step back, and spend more time working ‘on’ your business – making big strategic decisions, whilst delegating the day to day running of your business to others.

The ‘end game’ of building and developing a successful business is creating a profitable business that works well without you – getting someone to manage your business for you, whilst you benefit from the profits.

The result is a business that generates you income without you having to do anything at all – the true definition of a passive income.

Multiple passive income streams

Whilst building a successful business that can operate without you is a great way of generating passive income, its only one aspect. A good passive income should come from multiple different streams, so that you’re protected if one stream becomes compromised.

Examples of passive income include:

  • Rent from investment properties
  • Dividends from shares
  • Investments in government bonds
  • Pensions
  • Residual income – from resales of intellectual property (books, photos, videos, network marketing commission)
  • Leveraged income – franchising your business, selling products or IP through an affiliate, sub contracting work

By investing your money in building multiple passive income streams, you’ll be making your money work harder for you, so in the long run, you won’t have to work as hard!

Moving forward

For further information on building a passive income, or transforming your business, book your free, no obligation coaching session with Coach Pam today by calling 07540 888016 or emailing pam@coachpam.co.uk.

Next week, we’ll be exploring the importance of offering your customers a guarantee, and how this can really benefit your business.

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iBusiness Coaching by Itexpress - 9M ago

Motivation comes when you have clarity and purpose…….

Buddha said, “Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it”.

So no matter how much motivation and enthusiasm you have, if you do not have a sense of purpose, a vision of where you want to get to and an insight into how you are going to get there, you will eventually lose momentum.  When you have no idea where the end is and no map or plan to give you direction, it is difficult to keep going.

This is why it’s vital to know where you are aiming for whilst going on your journey through life.  For many people it is important to understand how to find a way to leave a legacy.  Discovering your life path leads you to your life purpose.

The journey that has certainty and direction gives you clarity about which path to take.  When embarking on this path, it is important to understand and know what your natural ‘flow’ is, what your strengths are.  When you work in your flow, you follow the path of least resistance, the path that will bring the most rewards and satisfaction.  Inevitably, by working with your strengths, working in your ‘flow’, you will realise your greatest achievements and successes.  You will also experience your greatest sense of satisfaction and fulfilment.  When you identify your natural flow you will discover the resources you need to achieve your full potential.

Insight, through personality profiling like Talent Dynamics, helps to give you real direction and clarity.  It impacts your life and how you live it. It has a positive impact on how you interact with those around you and the legacy that you leave.  Having an understanding about your natural flow will give you the clarity and sense of purpose to have consistent motivation.

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Building and maintaining a strong team is integral to developing and growing a successful business – and part of this process is making sure that you get the most out of your employees.

In this post, we take a look at how optimising the design of your office space can help to improve the happiness, wellbeing and productivity of your employees, benefiting your business.

A positive, personal space

Remember, your team members spend a large proportion of their lives working in your business, so if you want to get the most out of them, make sure your office is somewhere they want to work!

When it comes to office design, many business owners still choose to prioritise the look and feel of their company branding over the wellbeing and happiness of staff members.

Of course, it’s important to give off the right, professional impression to clients and customers, especially in meeting rooms and communal spaces, but it’s easy to take it too far.

Enforcing arbitrary, unnecessary rules banning personal affects or office clutter can serve to demotivate staff members and affect the wellbeing and cohesiveness of the team, reducing productivity across your business.

Giving staff members some freedom in terms of workspace personalisation helps to foster a more positive, relaxed working environment, generating good feelings towards you and improving staff loyalty.

Investing in furniture

Making sure your employees have the right furniture is incredibly important to the welfare and productivity of your staff members.

Think of office furniture as an investment, and avoid the temptation of buying cheap, unsuitable furniture – it will almost invariable prove to be a false economy.

Working at a cramped desk, and sitting on an uncomfortable, unsuitable and un-adjustable chair for long periods of time isn’t just distracting, it’s also dangerous, and can cause a number of serious health problems, including:

  • Headaches
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Stress and depression
  • Joint pain and muscular problems
  • Numbness
  • Back, neck and leg pain
  • Problems with circulation

In addition to hampering the day-to-day productivity of your staff members, these can cause an increase in sick days and absenteeism – seriously affecting business performance.

Avoid these problems, and protect your business by making sure that all your staff members are supplied with the right chairs and desks.

Accessorise

Sometimes, providing the right office furniture isn’t enough to prevent the health problems associated with working for long periods on a computer at a desk – you may also want to invest in additional accessories.

These include:

  • Copy stands – to protect workers who spend a lot of time working from paper documents from both eye and neck strain
  • Laptop stands – bringing the laptop screen into a more ergonomic position, improving posture and reducing strain
  • Adjustable foot supports – reducing back, neck and joint pain for staff members who spend all day at their desks
  • Dual monitors – increasing productivity for employees who need to multitask
  • Wrist supports – improving comfort for team members who do a lot of typing

By choosing the right accessories, you’ll be able to improve the focus, wellbeing and output of your employees, improving overall productivity in your business. Offering accessories also shows your employees that you care about their welfare.

Illuminated working

Natural light is incredibly beneficial to your office, so make sure your office design makes the most of it. In addition to providing a range of physiological and psychological health benefits, it will also help you to reduce the amount of artificial lighting needed in your business – reducing your energy bills.

In addition to making your office feel more spacious and welcoming, natural light is also better for the eyes and good for the mood, reducing the risk of eye-strain, headaches and lack of focus in your office.

When planning your office space, the idea should be to make sure that all your employees can benefit from some natural light. Try to avoid blocking out light from your windows with furniture or office equipment, and keep windowsills clear of clutter. Be careful when positioning desks, to avoid glare from the sun obstructing the view of your team members.

If you’ve got a room that lacks natural light, then consider removing the interior walls or replacing them with transparent glass – which will provide an additional feeling of space, and brighten up the area.

Reducing distractions

Busy, bustling offices can be noisy, distracting places, and reducing unnecessary distractions is a good way to help optimise staff productivity.

Office equipment like photocopiers and printers are typically quite noisy, and tend to be a focal point of any room, attracting office traffic. These can be a serious distraction to your employees, so try to plan your office space so that no one has to sit right next to them. If possible, move them away from the workspace altogether to minimise their impact.

Kitchens, cafeterias, toilets, meeting rooms and break-out rooms can all be noisy places that distract your employees, so wherever possible try to position them away from the workspace.

If distractions are still a problem in your office, consider creating a designated quiet room, where your employees can go when they’re struggling to focus on a task.

Next steps

Planning your office is just one part of creating a winning team in your business. For further information on any aspect of teambuilding, or running a business, get in touch with Coach Pam today on 07540 888016 or by emailing pam@coachpam.co.uk.

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iBusiness Coaching by Pam Featherstone - 9M ago

To be successful in business, being a good manager isn’t enough – you need to be a strong leader with the energy, passion and drive to make the big decisions and drive things forward.

In this post, we take a look at the underlying principles behind good leadership, and what makes a good leader, so you can start to grab your business by the horns, and push it forward towards success.

The key principles of business leadership

The first and most important thing to understand about being a business owner is that it isn’t your job to build a successful business! Your job is to build the team that builds the business, by recruiting, training, managing and ultimately leading that team to success.

Your team is vital to building the business you want, and in fact the word TEAM makes a nice acronym – Together Everyone Achieves More. The key word here is achieve – it’s not about having everyone liking you, or all your employees enjoying fantastic working relationships with each other – it’s about achieving.

As a leader, it’s your job to direct, inspire, motivate and support your team, so that they can help you to achieve your goals, and build your business.

Think of it as the circle of business – As the leader, you look after your team, in turn, they look after your customers, your customers look after your business, and your business looks after you.

Characteristics of great business leaders

To be a great leader, there are several characteristics and skills that you should try to embody. Having a look through this list, identifying any weaknesses and developing your skills in these areas will really help to improve you as a business leader.

Passion

Every great leader has passion for that they’re doing, and a real desire to achieve their goals. If you don’t have the passion for what you’re doing, then you’ll never be able to instil passion in your employees.

Passionate leaders have the ability to enrol and inspire their employees, motivating them, getting them engaged, and pushing them on to work hard for their businesses.

Taking Responsibility

As the leader of your business, you’re the one in charge – which means the buck stops with you. When things go wrong, you need to be able to accept that it is your responsibility for the failure.

Delegation

You can’t build a business by yourself, and if you’re ever going to achieve your goals, you’re going to need to relinquish control, and trust your team to follow through on your strategy.

The key to effective delegation is making sure you’ve got the right people in your team, doing the right tasks, and putting the right systems, checks and balances in place to ensure that every task is done correctly.

Communication

Great leadership depends heavily on communication, and it’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it.

Knowing what you want to achieve, and where you want to take your business is all well and good, but if you can’t communicate it effectively to your team members, then you’ll never achieve your goals.

Confidence

As leader of your business, you need to have the confidence to make the big decisions, maintain morale, and to steer your business in the right direction.

This is especially true when things go wrong, as your team will be looking to you as the leader to provide the right answers and solutions to keep the business moving forward.

Leading by example

Remember, your attitude will rub off on the rest of your team, so if you expect your team to be committed and work hard for you, then you need to lead by example.

Being fair, committed and hardworking, whilst embodying your company culture is the best way to show your team what’s expected of them, and to gain the respect of your employees.

How Coach Pam can help

If you want to learn more about how you can become the great leader your business needs to succeed, then get in touch with Coach Pam today on 07540 888016.

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