Wednesday, April 29, 2015

10 Ways To Stimulate Employee Motivation

Today’s fast-moving business environment demands that the effective manager be both a well-organized administrator and highly adept in understanding people’s basic needs and behavior in the workplace. Gaining commitment, nurturing talent, and ensuring employee motivation and productivity require open communication and trust between managers and staff.

1. Understand their behavior

People at work naturally tend to adopt instinctive modes of behavior that are self-protective rather than open and collaborative. This explains why emotion is a strong force in the workplace and why management often reacts violently to criticisms and usually seeks to control rather than take risks. So, in order to eliminate this kind of perspective and to increase employee motivation, it is best that you influence behavior rather than to change personalities. Insisting what you expect from your employees will only worsen the situation.

2. Be sure that people’s lower-level needs are met.

People have various kinds of needs. Examples of lower-level needs are salary, job security, and working conditions. In order to increase employee motivation, you have to meet these basic needs. Consequently, failures with basic needs nearly always explain dissatisfaction among staff. Satisfaction, on the other hand, springs from meeting higher-level needs, such as responsibility progress, and personal growth. When satisfaction is met, chances are employee motivation is at hand.

3. Encourage pride

People need to feel that their contribution is valued and unique. If you are a manager, seek to exploit this pride in others, and be proud of your own ability to handle staff with positive results. This, in turn, will encourage employee motivation among your people.

4. Listen carefully

In many areas of a manager’s job, from meetings and appraisals to telephone calls, listening plays a key role. Listening encourages employee motivation and, therefore, benefits both you and your staff. So make an effort to understand people’s attitudes by careful listening and questioning and by giving them the opportunity to express themselves.

5. Build confidence

Most people suffer from insecurity at some time. The many kinds of anxiety that affect people in organizations can feed such insecurity, and insecurity impedes employee motivation. Your antidote, therefore, is to build confidence by giving recognition, high-level tasks, and full information. In doing so, you only not refurbish employee motivation but boost productivity as well.

6. Encourage contact

Many managers like to hide away behind closed office doors, keeping contact to a minimum. That makes it easy for an administrator, but hard to be a leader. It is far better to keep your office door open and to encourage people to visit you when the door is open. Go out of your way to chat to staff on an informal basis. Keep in mind that building rapport with your staff will effectively increase employee motivation.

7. Use the strategic thinking of all employees.

It is very important to inform people about strategic plans and their own part in achieving the strategies. Take trouble to improve their understanding and to win their approval, as this will have a highly positive influence on performance and increasing employee motivation as well.

8. Develop trust

The quality and style of leadership are major factors in gaining employee motivation and trust. Clear decision making should be coupled with a collaborative, collegiate approach. This entails taking people into your confidence and explicitly and openly valuing their contributions. By simply giving your staff the opportunity to show that you can trust them is enough to increase employee motivation among them.

9. Delegate decisions

Pushing the power of decision-making downward reduces pressure on senior management. It motivates people on the lower levels because it gives them a vote of confidence. Also, because the decision is taken nearer to the point of action, it is more likely to be correct. Consequently, by encouraging them to choose their own working methods, make decisions, and giving them responsibility for meeting the agreed goal will encourage employee motivation among your staff.

10. Appraising to motivate

When choosing methods of assessing your staff’s performance, always make sure that the end result has a positive effect on employee motivation and increases people’s sense of self-worth. Realistic targets, positive feedback, and listening are key factors.

If you follow these simple steps in increasing employee motivation, rest assured you will have a good working relationship with your staff at the same time boost you company’s productivity. Just bear in mind that people are employed to get good results for the company. Their rates of success are intrinsically linked to how they are directed, reviewed, rewarded, trusted, and motivated by the management.


Friday, April 24, 2015

A Home Business Should Be A Family Affair

If you own a home business, does your family participate or do you work alone?

I've heard tales, and for a short while lived them, about how a spouse will eagerly start a home based business of one sort or another and before they can even get their feet wet in the business - - BAM the other spouse starts belittling and generally putting a damper on the once enthusiastic entrepreneur's ambitions.

Luckily for me, my husband saw that I don't just talk about something that I intend to do, I do it - - so he's since changed his tune; especially now that I make as much from my home businesses as I did from my prior job, and we don't pay child care. Ha!

Anyway, it's been over 2 years since all that mess transpired, and I've seen and heard just about every story imaginable on the subject of home business start-ups/failures. I've also learned that most spouses, family members and 'friends' react in such damaging ways out of either fear or ignorance. I suppose some are just plain mean, but well, that's another issue we'll leave for Dr. Phil or Oprah.

For lucky business builders who have encouraging families, the work at home life is good, very good. My 14 year old daughter is my part-time Assistant, and her small salary is tax deductible too, so there's another plus in starting a business.

Creating a better future for the family is probably the most recurring 'Why' that I hear from new business owners. With such a strong reason driving the decision to work from home, then why shouldn't the entire family be involved? It's for them after all.

Find a way that even the littlest member can take part in the family business. Remember too that helping with chores, running errands, baby-sitting for younger sibs, taking turns with dinner etc. are all just as important as being able to do home office work, if not 'more' important in the long run.

If you're currently suffering with a spouse or partner who just doesn't 'get' what you're doing - please don't give up. Keep on building and trying and help them 'get' it through concrete results. Usually, with some home businesses, positive results that a 'non-biz' type can wrap their minds around, does take time. Unfortunately cash talks, however, and they may not take you seriously until you can show them your first check; and with persistence and consistency - - You will.

To Our Mutual Prosperity ~


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Honesty in Business

What I want to discuss in this article is the basic idea of honesty.  The internet is a wonderful place to do business, but with the continuous flood of spyware, malware, and spam, it can be a horrible and very frustrating for the average user.  I am amazed, but not surprised, by the unethical practice of businesses using popups and spam to sell a product.  It isn't surprising because the fact is that those business practices work.  Any of us that have worked in this field for awhile know that traffic is king.
My experience has been one of honest return for honesty when dealing with customers.  Maybe it’s not a quick buck, but I can look at myself in the mirror in the morning and know I did the right thing.  I would rather have a customer for life than a fly by night sale to a customer that I tricked into buying my product.  It isn't always about the bottom line of making cash.  It should be about service and product value.  Over the past couple of years I have had more business cleaning up computers that have been completely overran with viruses, trojans, and spam than I've done computer builds.  The number one complaint is ‘I just want to be able to use my computer, not worry about viruses and trojans and updates!!!’  Do I profit from unethical business practices?  Yes I do when I spend an hour cleaning up a computer.  Do I take the time to teach the user?  You bet I do!  I spend an hour to two hours with a client after I do a cleanup or a computer build.  Do I lose money with this practice?  Yes I do, but I gain respect from the customer and that customer will always come back.

The one major challenge with doing business online is that we don’t always get to be face to face with our customers.  Even so, there are ways around this that will bring value to your customer and value in repeat business.  It doesn't cost that much to call and thank someone for their business.  It doesn't cost much to send out a thank you card.  I think at times we forget that email isn't the only way to communicate.  With the prevalence of spam it isn't always the best way to communicate either.  The internet can be a very impersonal place.  It is ethically challenging to all of us who try to sale a product or business online.  Is there a chance of giving away too much with little return?  That is always a chance we take when we offer advice or tips to a customer.  I can guarantee that over time, the word gets around, and your business will develop a core group of customers who value your service and will tell others.

Being a small business is a challenge in the fast paced retail world of chain stores.  We can’t offer the huge discounts the major chain stores can, but we can offer service value for the product.  I challenge anyone in the IT industry to take that little bit of extra time to teach users the do’s and don’ts of surfing the web.  It will benefit your business and benefit the customer as well.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

5 Steps To Maximum Productivity



Do you know that you get 80% of your results from just 20% of your time and effort and consequently 80% of your time is virtually wasted on non productive activities?. Once you realize this it is easy to take advantage and either reduce the hours you work or significantly improve your productivity.

The 80-20 rule was first discovered by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto a hundred years ago.  Using this knowledge is incredibly powerful in combating the "not enough hours in the day" mentality of today's society.

The 80-20 rule means that in any area of our lives, literally 80 percent of our fruits are derived from only 20 percent of doing "what matters". In other words, there is only a very small portion of all that we do each day, regardless of the situation, that brings us the "higher return".

How can you benefit from being aware of this principle? Implementing a strategy based on the 80-20 rule can result in greater wealth and greater leisure time? Just imagine how productive you will be if 80% of your time could be spent on productive activities. You have to realize that the things that matters most should never be at the mercy of activities that matter least.

Here are 5 Steps to maximize your productivity:

1) Keep a work log for at least a week

Write down all of your activities and the time spent doing them. I appreciate this is time consuming initially but it is essential you get a true picture of your working week.

2) Analyse your activities

Separate your activities into high priority - those that produce a return or where only you have the skills to do the work - and low priority - activities others can do where the activity can be delegated to support staff. You will almost certainly find that you are spending most of your time on low-priority activities rather than activities directly providing a return. In almost all businesses these non productive activities tend to absorb time at a far greater rate than they should.

3) Delegate non productive activities

Once you can identify the low priority activities delegate as many as possible to support staff providing training where required. If necessary employ an additional member of staff to take responsibilities - the cost will be more than offset by your improved productivity. There may be a number of low priority activities you are tempted to keep. Unless it is absolutely unavoidable don't be tempted and don't get involved in non productive activities or your productivity will fall.

4) Calculate the time required for any remaining low priority activities

Once you have delegated all that you can, your next step is to calculate how much time you should be spending on the remaining low priority activities to make maximum use of your productive time. Do not work disproportionately hard at these low priority activities and set aside specific time each day or week to complete them.

5) Prioritize your remaining activities

Once you have cleared out the activities that do not bring you any return, it is time to turn your attention to the activities in your life that are bringing the most reward. Prioritize your activities and concentrate most of your time just on a few high-priority activities.

The objective throughout is to maximize your results from the areas of high return and to delegate those activities that have a low return. Having to spend a disproportionate amount of time on non productive activities is a major source of stress for many businessmen. Delegating these activities will therefore have the added benefit of reducing the stress you are under. It is all about doing less work for greater return.

For more success in life, whether that is more money, more time with your family or just making time for golf you should start implementing the 80-20 rule immediately. It will help your career as well as your personal life and, as a bonus, following the 80-20 rule day in and day out can make you very wealthy over the long term.


A Simple Get Rich Quick Idea

In the immortal words of Emmerson, "all I need is one idea" Overnight wealth has a certain stigma that "sensible" people seem to be resistant to. The idea of the get rich quick variety is an object of ridicule and derision in alot of peoples eyes. However, with a little focused action and the right knowledge, rapid wealth is not only possible for you, but inevitable for the determined.

The first thing I want to do is qualify the above by saying "quick" means several years not overnight. Sure, you could write a hit song or contemporary book but these have alot to do with chance. People with determination generally don't like chance because control is a solid aspect of wealth generation.

Anyone can have an idea. By that I mean virtually any idea can become workable unless its just totally "out there" What matters is that you act. But more then that, before you act, you must know how to make it work. Thats really what most people with a good idea lack.

So knowledge again is where the central workability comes from. So let me give you some knowledge right now. The knowledge of the wealthy. There are many ways to get rich very rapidly but I offer you an example below and some insights about what the wealthy know and have known for centuries.

Arbitrage is a concept that you should learn more about. Its a word that circulates in financial circles and is therefore obscured to the average person as just some odd french word that the stock market people use.

The truth is that arbitrage is the single biggest idea about wealth that you should understand. Doing an arbitrage deal is literally this........If I offered you 70 cents for your crisp clean dollar note would you take the deal? What if you had $100,000 and I had $75,000 and I said look, let me deposit this money into your account in exchange for your money? Straight swap. How would you feel about that?

Well I imagine you'd say no. I wouldn't blame you, its hardly a fair deal. Arbitraguers do this all day long. But this is the difference.

We deal in value and perceptions not numerical currency like cash. Or we deal wholesale and sell retail. There are hundreds of ways that I can swap my 70 cents for somebody elses dollar.

The wealthy have practiced arbitrage for as long as currency existed because arbitrage is the secret road to wealth. A secret that will never be openly talked about because it is so tightly held. My little contribution here will do nothing to change that balance, but consider yourself fortunate to learn about this and maybe it will spurr you on to a new life.

Here is a real world example of arbitrage that I practiced many years ago, when I was starting out broke, dejected, but hopeful.

It wasnt long ago but seems like centuries ago. Its pre-history now. One form of arbitrage is the concept of economies of scale. This arbitrage strategy relies on a single fact. An irrefutable reality about fiscal life on the planet earth. Here it is. When you buy something (of anything) in bulk, you are entitled to and more often then not get a very large discount on your purchase. When this bulk amount is "split up" and re-sold in traditional more popular chunks, your investment will return a decent profit.

So here is a get rich quick idea. One you can use right now to establish an income stream to replace your daily job. It can be reproduced and systemized to manufacture a very healthy income indeed.

When you look at newspaper and local journal price lists, you will notice they are very yielding to this concept of economies of scale. Simply a small ad may cost $140 for example. But buy a full page and you only pay say $900. Why? because its less work for the publication. Well my idea was to start a weekly page called "Martins Market" I approached 200 business owners face to face and told them they can get a small ad in my one page spread "Martins Market" for just $90 a full $50 cheaper then if they bought their ad from the paper directly. Do you think this offer interested a good percentage of the business owners I approached? You bet! Not only that, but they got a further discount if they paid up 6 months in advance.

I could fit 40 ads of that size onto my page. Being filled up, I made $3600 every week for an outlay of $900 for the page. I added value with nice graphics and the page got quite well recieved as my clients reported good returns from their ads. This was reproduced 20 times around the country, with 2 sales staff for every "Martins Market" I was netting close to $20,000 per week for a fairly lengthy period.

You will need a few dollars to try this, but its inevitable that if you do your research properly you can make this work and get exactly the same results.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Can You Afford What Rudeness Is Costing Your Business?

Have you ever thought about how much rudeness may be affecting your bottom line?  What is the cost to your company when you or the people who represent you lack proper manners?  Do you know how many clients are turned off by employees who would rather carry on a conversation with each other than with the person who came to purchase your service or product?  Can you count the number of people who hang up and call someone else because the person who answered your phone put them on hold without asking permission?  How does the client rate your professionalism when the employee who welcomes him to your office looks as if she is dressed for a day at the beach?  Do your employees understand that it is more offensive then friendly to call the client by first name unless asked to do so? Are your employees treating each other with courtesy and respect?  Do they honor the invisible walls of each other's cubicles?  Do they work as a team and help each other or do they act like cast members on Survivor?

In today's fast-paced business world where too many people claim that they don't have time to be nice, it's easy to overlook the details that can help you grow your business, increase your profits and build long lasting client relationships.

Try taking this quick true/false quiz to test your own business etiquette expertise. Then run it by your employees.


  1. Business etiquette is based on rank and hierarchy.  True/False
  2. If the information on your business card is incorrect, draw a line through it and write the correct information on the card.  True/False
  3. Business casual means dressing down one notch from business professional.  True/False
  4. In today's relaxed business environment, it is not necessary to ask your clients' permission before using their first names.  True/False
  5. Callers do not mind holding for information as much as holding for a person. True/False
  6. You don't have to smile or make eye contact with your customers unless you feel like it. True/False
  7. Handwritten notes are out of place in the business world.  True/False
  8.  A man should wait for a woman to put out her hand in business before offering his.  True/False
  9. When composing an e-mail message, complete the "To" line last.  True/False
  10. Small talk around the office is a waste of time.  True/False
  11. People can hear you eating, drinking and chewing over the phone. True/False
  12. If you receive a call on your cell phone when you are with a client, look to see who is calling, but don't answer it. True/False


Answers:


  1. True.  In business, you always defer to the senior or highest ranking person, regardless of age or gender.
  2. False.  Handing out business cards with information that is outdated or crossed off is unprofessional. Have new cards printed immediately.
  3. True.  Business casual is not an excuse to wear your favorite old clothes to the office.  It is still business, and everyone needs to look professional.
  4. False.  Don't assume because our work world has become more informal that you can call clients by their first name.  Use their titles and last names until they ask you to do otherwise.
  5. True.  Clients will wait contentedly while you search for information, working on their behalf.  However, if they have to wait more than thirty seconds for you to come to the phone, they begin to wonder how much you value them or want their business.
  6. False.  This is only true if you are planning a going-out-of-business sale.  Every client deserves a genuine smile and eye contact.
  7. False.  Handwritten notes have become almost as extinct as the typewriter.  You will stand out from your competition every time you send off a short note written in your own hand.
  8. False.  Every woman should be prepared to shake hands as soon as she meets someone in business.  For either a man or woman to hesitate could indicate a lack of confidence.
  9. True.  You can send e-mail without inserting an attachment, without checking for grammar and punctuation and without a subject line; but you cannot send e-mail without an address.  If you wait until you have carefully proofed your message and added all attachments before you complete the "To " line, you will never be embarrassed or have to apologize for your mistakes.
  10. False.  Small talk carried on at the right time, in the right place and on the right subject is a great way to build relationships among co-workers.
  11. True.  Mouth noises are even louder over the phone.  Just because your clients can't see you eating those potato chips doesn't mean they can't hear you munching on the other end of the line.
  12. False.  It is just as rude to pull out your phone to see who called as it is to have it on and take a call in front of a client.  Turn your phone off and check your messages later in private.  

If you had trouble with any of these questions, your employees will, too.  If you want your employees to be at ease in business situations, to represent you well and help build your business, give them the information they need.  If you haven't done basic business etiquette skills training lately, do it now.  Don't let rude behavior cost you business.

Make sure that your employees know how to handle clients over the phone, that they understand the importance of being attentive and alert to clients' needs, that the value other people's time and that they can deal with difficult people and situations with grace.

No one is born with good manners.  People have to be taught, and from time to time, they need to be reminded of what they already know.

(c)2006, Lydia Ramsey.  All rights reserved.  Reprint rights granted so long as article and by-line are published intact and with all links made live.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

10 Tips To Resign Your Job With Professionalism And Pride

Congratulations! You just got an offer for a wonderful new job. There's just one catch. You have to say good-by to your current employer.

Maybe you loved your job and you face an emotional farewell. Or you maybe you hated every minute and you've been counting the days till you could walk out the door one last time.

Clients often admit they’re nervous about making the departure announcement. They’re afraid the boss will be angry. They feel guilty about the work they’re leaving behind. Maybe someone else has to take up the slack for awhile.

But clients also wonder how to resign gracefully yet still protect their own longer-term career interests. They suspect their departure style will influence their careers for a long time,

They’re right.

Here are some guidelines to move to your next position with grace and style.

1. Give the correct amount of notice required by your company’s written policy.

Every so often my clients feel sorry for their former colleagues. So they stick around an extra week (or even an extra month). Inevitably, they begin to feel like a fifth wheel. Nearly everyone says, “Next time I’m leaving right away!”

2. After you leave, do not accept any job-related calls from your company unless you have a written consulting contract.

Your boss required two weeks notice – but belatedly realized she needs four weeks for a smooth transition to your successor.

Your boss made a business decision to require two weeks notice. When she miscalculates, she needs to accept the cost, just as she’d accept the cost of late payments to a supplier.

If your company needs additional help, offer to work as a paid consultant with a contract. But get everything in writing and make sure your new job becomes your Number One priority.

3. Study your current and future company policies regarding disclosures and no-compete agreements.

Some companies are extremely proprietary about their process and their people. Once you resign, you may have to leave the workplace immediately. Or your new company may ask you not to work for your former employer, even on a part-time basis.

4. Resign to your boss in person, if at all possible.

Phone is second best. And tell the boss before you tell anyone else – even your best friend or golfing buddy.

5. Expect your boss to be professional.

Clients often fear the boss’s reaction. However, bosses rarely are caught by surprise. Good bosses are happy to see their employees move ahead. Thank her for the opportunity to learn, which has led to your newest and most wonderful career move.

6. Thank your boss and your coworkers, even if you hate them all and can’t wait to leave.

You may regard them more fondly through a haze of memories than a glare of office lighting. You may encounter them at conventions and networking groups. And most likely you will benefit from strong references and goodwill.

7. Decline a counter-offer.

Recruiters consistently tell me, “Sixty percent of those who accept a counter-offer are gone in six months.” If you decide to stay, get a written job contract.

Exception: A few companies and industries actually demand proof of an outside offer before offering you any kind of internal raise or reward. College professors often work in this environment.

8. Treat the exit interview as a business formality, not a therapy session.

When a Human Resource professional asks why you are leaving, be upbeat and positive: “for a better opportunity.” Talk about how much you loved the company and your job. You never know where your comments will turn up, mangled and misinterpreted.

9. Resist entreaties to share the details of your future position with anyone.

Occasionally a colleague will try to assess your salary or other information “so we can stay competitive in recruiting.” Helping your company recruit is not part of your job and anyway, do you really believe this?

Details of your future employment should remain confidential, even from your close friends in the company.

10. Focus on your new opportunity – not your past experience.

Once you’re gone, you’re history. The very same folks who loved meeting you for lunch will barely remember your name a week later.

And, if you haven’t changed jobs for awhile you may be in for a shock. Your first day in a new position can be a real eye-opener!


Saturday, April 4, 2015

4 Key Points to Branding

Here are four things you should keep in mind as you build your company’s brand:

1) Own the “Significant Thing”:  Dole tried to be all things to all people spend your time focusing on a single clear message.  Mercedes-Benz owns “ Engineering “ in the car industry because it’s focused on that singular message for decades.

2) Consistency is key:  consistent presentation will ensure that your customers recognize you. Be consistent in the use of logos, taglines, visual elements, tone, and ad copy.  Coca-Cola it is one of the most recognized brands in the world because they haven’t changed in decades.  Make sure your brochures, website, Direct mail, and all the other advertising have the same feel and message.

3) Make your message relevant:  know your audience, know what they care about and how to speak to them.  Make sure what you sell is what they need.  Remember the conversation should always be about your audience, not you.

4) Use a strong offer to motivate:  you want your audience to remember you and you want its members to buy from you.  You need to move them to action.  A strong offer should give them a reason to buy.  Make the offer clear and appropriate for your brand.

Every time a customer comes in contact with your brand, they will have either a positive or a negative experience.  Those experiences will add to their perception of your brand.  Those experiences are recalled later when it’s time to make a purchasing decision.  How do you want your brand to be remembered when the time comes for a prospect to buy? You need to start building that positive perception today and do whatever is necessary to maintain it.

Good luck.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Six Ways To Help Your Employees Beat Stress And Work More

If you would like your business to employ highly motivated and high-energy level employees then investing in the workplace atmosphere and facilities will help and will reduce work-place stress significantly.  Research confirms that if your employees are stressed then that will cost you even more money in missed workdays and increased on-the-job injuries over both the short term and the long term.

In addition to the negative repercussions of having stressed out employees, your business may be experiencing lower productivity and poor quality of output.  It is both clear and obvious that some very cost effective strategies could  minimize stress on the job and provide your employees with opportunities to reduce other stress related problems.

Below is a list of 6 ways in which you can help your company reduce stress for your employees while increasing the output of your business:

1. Provide an attractive and comfortable work environment whenever possible to reduce stress.  Pleasant surroundings can do more for a person’s attitude then we often realize.  Create a less formal atmosphere by adding plants or improved decoration, even if that is just in a rest room it will help.

2. Supply a quiet room for your employees to take their breaks in. Not the canteen or games room, this room should be separate from the normal "hustle and bustle" of the work-place. It will give your employees an opportunity of a quick 10 minute break from work and any-work related stress that they may be experiencing.

3. Instead of giving orders 100% of the time try to create opportunities for employees to make decisions that will directly affect their job performance. This gives them a sense of personal power and less stress because they feel they have some control.

4. Thank your employees for work accomplished and recognize them for exemplary performance. A quick thank you will go a long way in reducing complaints and stress. Be genuine and only thank when workers have worked well otherwise you will be rewarding sub-standard activities.

5. Always choose ergonomically sound equipment, tools, and furniture. These will make work easier for your staff, reduce workplace injuries and therefore limit any compensation claims. In addition workplace stress will be reduced and staff, equipped with the correct tools, will be more productive.

6. Go out of your way to create opportunities for the employees to meet, socialize and build relationships away from work.  Set up a bowling team from work where you gather and play once a week or maybe a softball team, or even a book club, for employees only.

When staff realize you have their interests in mind and are doing all you can to improve working conditions they will respond and you will see an improved atmosphere and productivity.