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It’s the holiday season.  Celebrate.  Go fire somebody.

We’re often surprised how many business leaders we see putting off painful but necessary changes in their business because it’s just “not the right time”.  More often than not, this paralysis involves a problem employee. I get it.  It can be hard to provide tough feedback to an employee who isn’t cutting it, and harder still to let someone go, but you need to work on your assertiveness skills if you want to be a good leader.  You know it needs to be done, but you want to do it at the best possible time.

And that time just always seems to be sometime in the future.  During the holidays business leaders are especially prone to kicking problem employee cans down the road.  We often see leaders hesitate because they think there’s something particularly insensitive about having a tough conversation when they think they’re supposed to be handing out bonuses and turkeys.  Who wants to be Scrooge?

Well guess what?  That’s the philosophy of the timid.  Of the scared.  Of the doomed.

When we teach the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) to leadership teams, we constantly challenge our clients to ask whether they have the right people in the right seat.  First, we develop clarity around core values and the major accountabilities for every role in the company. Then we hold up every person in the company to the bright light of core values and non-negotiable role responsibilities.  If there’s a gap, we highlight it as a critical issue and we flog it like a horse track matinee nag until a decision gets made about how to solve that issue.

Why?  Because if you don’t have the right people in the right seat you sentence your entire team to underperformance and frustration.  You compromise your culture, and you undermine an organizational commitment to accountability.  You give your company the gift of stagnation.  Until you make hard decisions about people who shouldn’t be in the role they’re in, you’re sowing the seeds of mediocrity and dissension throughout your organization.  And if you sew those seeds, I guarantee you will reap that harvest.

Be honest.  You know there are people in your organization who don’t have the horsepower to get the job done.  And you probably know what you need to do about it.  And yet you postpone the inevitable separation, perhaps rationalizing that you need to wait for a slower season or until you’ve identified and trained a replacement.  Or until the holidays are over.  Or whatever.

There’s always a reason to put off a painful but necessary change in your organization. There’s just never a GOOD reason to do it.  The delay is costing you in the form of decreased productivity, distraction and angst. If you know what needs to be done, then do it.  Give people the gift of honesty and opportunity to find a role where they can thrive.  Give your company the gift of leadership and decisiveness. Celebrate the season.  Go fire somebody.

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Regardless of the chosen industry or size of the company, every business has the potential to find its desired success so long as it is steered in the right direction. After all, a business lives and breathes through the decisions made by leaders. And no matter how capable the workers are, their efforts can only be rewarded if its owners can practice good judgement. To this end, here are a few good business practices that every entrepreneur should adopt.

  1. Always consider all your options

From product development to the acquisition of marketing materials like personalised t-shirt printing, it’s good standard practice to always consider all of your options first before making any business decisions. As tedious as it might sound, this approach is not only bound to get the high-quality materials and equipment that the business may require but also reduce company expenses and save you more money better invested elsewhere than you would have by just going for the first thing that you see.

  1. Foster good business relationships

No matter what industry your company is in, you’re likely to encounter other businesses. As such, it makes sense to foster good business relationships and build your contact base. Doing so will not only increase your chances of getting better deals on the items needed from suppliers and manufacturers, but it may also open other productive opportunities that can improve the company’s profit and revenue stream as well.

  1. Treat your customers with respect

As obvious as this might sound, you’ll be surprised at how many companies fail to treat their customers with respect. Whether it’s to ensure that they receive quality products and excellent services or listen to their input regarding areas that may require improvement, it’s essential always to keep your customers happy. After all, not only are they the reason for the success of a business, but they are also responsible for allowing the company to remain financially healthy and competitive too.

  1. Make it a habit to be pragmatic

Success tends to make many business owners, especially inexperienced entrepreneurs, complacent. This can result not only in poor business judgement but also excessive company expenditure. Because of this, it’s crucial to make it a habit to be pragmatic even in the face of prosperity. In this way, not only are you far more likely to increase the profit and revenue of the company, but you will be able to keep the financial health of the business in good shape which should allow for further growth and development.

Running a business is by no means an easy task. After all, success can hinge on every business decision made, allowing the company to either thrive and flourish from success or fail from financial catastrophe. By adopting these good business practices, not only will you prevent the company from potential problems that may arise, but you’ll also be far better prepared to deal with unexpected things, bringing you closer to the desired success.

Image: Pixabay.com

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Despite its accessibility in this day and age, starting a business venture remains an arduous and challenging task to achieve. After all, it can often require not only an incredible amount of time in coming up with a unique product or service that will attract the target customer base but also money in sustaining the operations of the company as well. It is undoubtedly for this reason that statistics have shown many businesses failing only within five years of their establishment.

With plenty of factors that can affect a business, no matter the industry, in a detrimental manner, how exactly does a company survive, much less find success? To this end, here are just a few crucial things that no business today should be without.

  1. Technology

In this day and age, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any company that doesn’t make use of current-generation technology. This comes with a good reason: not only does modern technology streamline the tasks and processes that business operations usually entail, but it can also provide a means to cut costs in specific areas that you would not have thought was possible otherwise.

As such, it makes sense to allocate both time and resources to stay updated with technology. In this way, you will be able to make the company function much more efficiently and effectively while boosting your reputation to both your current and potential customers as well.

  1. Consultancy services

From the economic landscape and legal matters to risk management & assessment, consultancy services are more than just the unnecessary expense that many inexperienced entrepreneurs often treat it as. In fact, it is essential not only for finding the desired business success but also in mitigating the risks of potential problems that the company might encounter along the way.

  1. Good insurance coverage

As obvious as this is, you’ll be surprised at how many business owners opt for cheaper insurance instead of acquiring policies with better coverage. While this might appear to be a more economical and pragmatic approach, it leaves the business open and unprepared for any disasters that may arise, be they natural or humanmade.

While it may entail a higher cost, it’s good standard practice to always invest in good insurance coverage. In doing so, the business will be able to receive the support that it will require to get back on its feet if the situation calls for it. As small as it might be, you’ll be surprised at how much of a difference this can make in the event that it is needed.

It’s not difficult to be overwhelmed when running a business. After all, the role not only entails a sizeable investment of resources but also the time in giving each and every area of the company the attention that it needs. By ensuring that the business has the right insurance coverage, the consultancy services it needs and current-generation technology at its disposal, not only do you allow the company to remain competitive but also increase its chances of success.

Image: Pixabay.com

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Maybe you have never considered hiring a live answering service for your business. Who needs an agency to help with answering calls and taking appointments, right? Well these are just a few reasons to invest in a service that helps you to communicate with your customers.

A live answering service can do wonder for your company. Here are a few things that a top-rated answering service can do for you and your business.

It will handle after-hour calls

Even if your customers have been returning for years, chances are a few of them make a habit of calling after hours. Nobody expects your business to stay open 24/7, but for some reason people love calling at 8:01 pm when you close up shop at 8pm. A live answering service can take care of these calls, allowing you to head home and spend time with your family.

Without a live answering service, your customers will be prompted to leave a voice message. Most of them don’t stick around long enough to do that, so you could be losing some potential future business. A live service means that there will be someone to take calls at all hours of night and day.

It allows customers/patients to easily make appointments

We have all experienced that frustration of using an automated answering service. The robotic voice asks you to say a word of phrase in order to connect you to the right department. But somehow your pronunciation of “Schedule an Appointment” is like a foreign language to the automated lady.

These systems create tons of miscommunication, not to mention they are frustrating to use. With a live answering person, your customers will actually speak to a human being, not an automated robot. This makes the process of scheduling, confirming, and cancelling appointments much easier for your customers and patients.

The best live answering services employ professional trained call center operators

The top-rated live answering services only hire professional call center operators based in your home country. You don’t have to worry about your customers being redirected to a representative based in India. These call center operators are friendly, efficient, and will get the job done. Some agencies ever require their operators to pass a 12-week training program before manning the phones.

It will let you focus on other aspects of your business

As the head of a department or the founder of a company, you should not be spending precious time taking calls and answering questions. Leave this aspect of your company in the hands of a professional call operator from a live answering service. It will free up your time to focus on more pressing matters within your business.

Reputable agencies offer a variety of services for your company’s specific needs

Every business follows a different model and involves a variety of tasks. This means that your live answering service should be specific to your individual needs. Is your focus on appointment scheduling, order entry, or data delivery? The best live answering agencies provide a variety of services specific to your business.

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Even if you don’t consider yourself a marketing guru, chances are you’ve heard the phrase “SEO”. SEO this and SEO that… it seems like people just can’t shut up about it. But what exactly is its and why is it so crucial to any growing business?

SEO stands for search engine optimization, so essentially it is the practice of optimizing your website to rank higher on search engines. What is the point of optimizing your search engine results? Who really cares about where you rank on Google searches?

Everyone! Not only do your customers care where you rank, but you should to. Because if your customers don’t see that you show up on the first page of a Google search, chances are they won’t find you at all. And this means that there is no chance of them buying your product.

For this reason and more, hiring an SEO company to do your search engine bidding is a wise investment. Here’s how this investment can help you and the growth of your business this year.

Your website will see some big improvements

A huge aspect of search engine optimization is creating original content for your website. It might even involve adding a blog section that you never thought you would need. SEO not only allows your website to gain exposure, but it improves the entire site in the process.

Reputable companies don’t just offer SEO services

Maybe you’ll work with an SEO firm that only specializes in SEO, but chances are they offer a variety of services. Typically SEO is a specific sector within a larger company, like one that specializes in reputation management.

Reputation management is the larger umbrella of all things marketing, and SEO falls under that umbrella. They might also specialize in social media marketing, crisis aversion, and tons of digital marketing strategies.

SEO companies know how to get the biggest results

Who better to help optimize your website than someone who specializes in it? Just like you are probably more skilled in your specific trade, an SEO consultant is skilled in exactly that: SEO. These people know what they’re doing and know the specific strategies and techniques involved.

There is a science behind it – it doesn’t involve much guesswork. Specialists at an SEO company are experts in the field and know about things like keyword clustering and social media marketing. Hiring the help of an expert is well worth the money.

It will allow you to focus on other aspects of your company

There is no need for you as a business owner to be spending your precious time on SEO. You should be focusing on other aspects of your company as well. SEO can be extremely time consuming and it requires much time and effort. Let the SEO experts handle what they do best.

It is actually more cost efficient in the long run

You might not like the high price tag of SEO services when you first shop around, but you need to think of it as a major investment. By generating more traffic to your website, you are directly increasing your sales revenue. You also don’t need to spend as much money on other marketing strategies.

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Maybe you don’t feel that an online reputation management is a crucial aspect to running your business, but that is where you might be wrong. Most people assume that a service like this only involves monitoring negative online reviews, but this is not the case at all.

A reputation management company does far more than just that. They will help you and your company through any kind of crisis and go above and beyond to help you maintain your positive reputation. The company will first analyze your overall business and then develop strategies to help improve your brand’s image.

Here are just a few things that a reputation management service can help your business achieve: content development and management, search engine optimization, social media management, and third-party website monitoring. All in all, hiring an online reputation management service is a smart investment.

Considering taking the next step and outsourcing some of your company’s bad press? Be sure to follow these 4 tips for choosing the right reputation management service for you.

First establish your goals and needs

Any time you make a big decision within your business or make an investment, you need to establish your goals. What are you hoping to gain from a reputation management service? It is important to know your specific needs and goals so that the service can help you to achieve them.

Are you hoping to better manage your online customer reviews? Are you wanting to rank higher on search engines? Or are you hoping to create a stronger social media presence? Whatever your goals may be, you need to be aware of them and let a reputation management company know what they are from the beginning.

Do plenty of research

There are lots of reputation management companies available, especially since more and more business is being conducted online. Do your research ahead of time, and not just to find a company with positive customer satisfaction. You also want to find one that caters to your specific needs and goals (what we just talked about).

If you aren’t concerned about your social media following, then you probably don’t need to hire a company that specializes in social media account management. Remember that this is a service you are hiring to accomplish a specific goal.

Consider customer service

You want to find a company that delivery top-quality customer service, no matter how many clients they cater to. You can typically gauge a company’s value of customer service right from the get-go. How do they respond to your questions? Are they actually listening to you or just trying to make the sale and lock you down as a paying customer?

Look for a company that offers added services

Sometimes reputation management companies offer an all-in-one package, and other times they offer tons of additional services. For example, there are several RM firms that offer digital marketing services to their customers. Find one that gives you the option for social media marketing, email marketing, lead generation, and even website building.

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No matter how big or small your company may be, chances are much of your business is conducted using virtual means. Every employee utilizes a laptop or other device and communication happens over email. Using these virtual resources is essential to ensuring a healthy business that continues to grow.

Many businesses owners are even turning to virtual collaboration for companies. If you know nothing about virtual collaboration, it is time to step into the 21st century and start learning. A company that invests in virtual collaboration is a smart one; it reaps the benefits of entering the virtual world right away.

VC allows you to experience the benefits of a live working relationship, but also providing the convenience of a virtual platform. Don’t know much about virtual collaboration for companies, but hoping to learn more? Keep reading to learn about the 5 reasons any business should utilize virtual collaboration.

It simplifies things for globally dispersed team projects

Depending on the size of your business, you might have team members spread across the country – or even around the world. Getting these team members in the same place at the same time can be a huge challenge. Organizing the logistics of gathering team members spread across the globe can greatly hinder the progress of a project or even the overall efficiency of the company.

With virtual collaboration, this no longer has to be a challenge. Team members can schedule regular meeting from anywhere in the world. Tasks and project information can be left within the virtual collaboration database to be revisited during the next meeting.

It speeds up product development efforts

Virtual collaboration tools for companies have been proven to improve the speed, cost, and quality of product development. A business would have nothing if not for the product, so this feature of virtual collaboration is priceless.

The open “work rooms” on virtual collaboration sites allow you to easily share and update new product information. They can also be used to set up focus groups in order to get helpful feedback from your customers.

It allows your company to improve sales strategies

It is difficult for sales team members to collaborate when they are on opposite sides of the country. A virtual collaboration service makes it much easier to set up meetings to develop strategic sales methods. Sales teams can learn more about the company’s products and easily collaborate together on how to improve them.

It allows for better coaching and mentoring sessions

Mentoring new team members can be extremely difficult, especially when vital team members are dispersed throughout different geographical locations. Interactive virtual collaboration services offer the ability to virtually mentor new team members through live coaching sessions. Team members can coordinate their schedules and virtually meet at their convenience.

You can set up company wide virtual meetings at the drop of a hat

From small team meetings to major global announcements, organizations frequently gather together to share information, celebrate victories and plan for the future. Virtual collaboration offers organizations to the ability to hold various types and sizes of meetings.

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Writing your own resume is never a fun task. Not only can it be challenging to follow proper formatting, but it can be difficult putting your skills and qualifications on paper. Sure, you are probably more than qualified, but showing that on your resume is no easy feat.

Spending a bit of cash on a resume writing service or professional resume writer might seem like a stretch, but it can be worth every penny. Expert resume writers have the skills and experience that is necessary for writing a flawless resume. These professional writers are trained to help you get the job you deserve.

Unfortunately, not all resume writers are up for the task at hand. There are specific skills that a qualified resume writer has, and he/she has what it takes to effectively create or update an outstanding resume. Here are the top five traits of the best resume writers on the market (and a few of the worst).

They have experience with a variety of resumes

These expert resume writers have seen it all. They have dealt with a variety of resumes for a huge range of job positions. No matter if you are applying within the food service industry or you’re seeking a high-paying CEO position, a good resume writer will know what to do. They know what skills and qualifications are fit for any job and how to effectively write about them.

They take into account the interviewer

This is a skill that every effective resume writer should possess. They should be able to view the resume as if they were looking at it as the potential employer. This quality makes it easier to know what an interviewer is looking for. A good resume writer will also know how to adapt your qualifications and work experience to the job you’re applying for.

They know about style and format

Proper formatting is essential on any good resume. An expert will know about different formats and apply the most effective one to your personal resume. They also know about styling your resume to a T so that it stands out from the crowd.

They have proper knowledge of the English language

This goes without saying, but an effective resume writer will never create a resume containing grammatical errors or typos. This is essential in ensuring that your resume looks as professional as possible. They will also use language that is thorough yet concise.

And the worst traits…

  • They fail to tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for and fail to take into consideration the company/employer
  • They fail to make constant updates and changes to a resume. All resumes should be updated at least once a year.
  • They provide too much information that is oftentimes irrelevant. Including unnecessary information on your resume can make it look unorganized. Not to mention it makes you appear unqualified for the job.
  • They don’t know the difference between duties and responsibilities. A duty is often seen as a moral commitment, whereas responsibilities are things that are commanded of us from a superior.
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If you don’t know the first think about EDI, here are the basics. EDI stands for electronic data interchange, and it is pretty much just as it sounds. It is the electronic exchange of data throughout the world, specifically between global companies. EDI is the new and improved way of doing business and it is completely paperless.

Even if you are a small business owner, hiring an EDI company to help you navigate the ropes can help you out big time. There are quite a few companies out there offering electronic data interchange services and software, but they are definitely not all created equal.

One of the leading EDI providers is DiCentral. If you want to keep up to the changing technological advances of 2019, it is time to give DiCentral a call. Here’s what you need to know about this company and why they are the best in the business.

They are the global leader in EDI solutions

DiCentral uses proprietary technology instead of outsourcing. Everything that is offered by DiCentral also includes a technical support option where you can speak to a team member directly at any time of the day. As a global leader, the companies that use DiCentral’s services range from small family-owned businesses to large multi-billion dollar corporations.

For two decades DiCentral has been building a solid reputation

The concept of electronic exchanging of data hasn’t been around for that long, but DiCentral has been around since the start. They have nearly 20 years of experience in the field, so you can trust the software that is provided as well as the expertise of the team members.

They have thousands of community partners around the world

Thousands of companies around the world use EDI from DiCentral. This means that communicating with other businesses is much easier when you also have DiCentral’s electronic data interchange system. A few large corporations that use DiCentral are Target, Honda, Amazon, and Walmart, just to name a few.

DiCentral will allow you to expand your supply chain without limits

DiCentral’s EDI system allows for much faster order processing times. This means that you can complete more orders in a short amount of time. You company will see some significant growth over time when you utilize electronic data interchange.

Using EDI not only speeds up the ordering process, but also increases the overall productivity of staff members. Your employees won’t be focused on personally inputting data, sending emails, or updating spreadsheets; the software will automatically complete these tasks.

So why should you hire DiCentral?

More and more businesses around the world are moving from a paper-based system to a completely electronic one. If your business has not caught up to the times, it is time to start. Using an EDI system will greatly increase the functionality and efficiency of your company.

Using a company like DiCentral will increase order processing speeds, reduce costs throughout the business, reduce errors on important documents, and even improve your relationships with businesses around the world. Still on the fence about it? Contact DiCentral to get more information on why you should be using their EDI services.

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Society has churned out singular narratives of the life of an introvert. It deems them to be quiet, awkward and generally people who shy away from any form of attention. They are equally thought to find roles in leadership as those that will arouse negatives emotions in them. Such perceptions and many others have left the whole population believing that leading roles are best left of extroverts. They are charismatic, confident, persuasive and more outgoing.

Rephrasing the narrative: what makes an exceptional leader?

Attention tends to get directed toward people with extroverted tendencies. That is primarily because their personalities tend to do that, as their inter-personal skills do come more effortlessly. However, this singer narrative causes us to overlook other virtual characteristics of exceptional leaders. It is not merely about the information shared; it is about the quality of the same.

An extroverted leader at a business insurance firm could be an excellent communicator and struggle with sound strategies. An introverted leader could result in memos instead, but formulate strategies that propel the firm to new heights. Introverts tend to be deep thinkers and are deemed to be better listeners.

The conversations should, therefore, center on the qualities that an organization or entity is looking in a hire. If they are looking for a marketer or the face of the Public Relations department, it makes sense to have someone extroverted. However, if they are looking for a strategist, someone with a track record of analytical thinking and self-starters is better. A fitting example is HR managers; they might not be extroverted, but their ability to foster deep relationships with others and trust is what most look at.

Introverts can learn to exhibit extroverted behaviors

Most people would find it odd to hear of someone famous that is introverted. If the lives of Bill Gates and Isaac Newton are anything to go by, it shows that leaders aren’t born, they are created. These, and many other famed people, exhibit traits of brilliance. Public speaking and enhancing interpersonal relationships are something someone can always learn, but some qualities are specific in introverts.

What matters is the level of one’s self-esteem in their abilities to perform in a given role. Harvard Business Review research and other reputable publications stand by this narrative. It is the quiet and reflective leadership qualities of a person that makes them better suited for fast-paced and dynamic contexts. Meaning is equally a driving factor to any introverts life. In the workplace, it translates to productivity and making connections that foster growth geared for the greater good.

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