5 Tips for Getting Your Business Involved in the Community

Building a positive reputation and presence in the marketplace is a top priority for any business. Community involvement is becoming a valuable mechanism for business owners. Here are five tips for businesses’ participation in local communities.

Focus on Real Local Needs

Many communities have an array of outlets for volunteering and contributing to the betterment of the local area. When you select ways for your business to get involved in the local community, look for real needs in the community. Get to know the populations within your community, such as homeless, underprivileged children, animals in shelters, and other demographics. Speak with your customers and employees to learn about what they value and how they would like to see the community improve.

Engage Your Employees

Your employees will be deeply involved in many community activities, so they need to feel passionate about their efforts. Share your vision for how you hope to help the local community and get them excited about the activities you have planned soon.

Be Consistent and Dependable

Once you commit to a neighborhood or non-profit, consistency and dependability, arrive where you promised to be and on time. Also, make sure that your group of employees act with the same attitude and stay positive throughout the event. People take notice of people’s attitudes during community events, and you want your staff to be compassionate, supportive, and happy to get involved.

Celebrate the Involvement

You want to reward your employees for taking time from their personal lives to represent your business in the community. Make sure to set aside time for recognition and employee events. Share how your business involved in the community enhanced people’s lives and give credit to the staff who showed dedication, leadership, and good interpersonal skills.

Invite New Opportunities

After you do your first community event, let other organizations in the community know that you would like to support them as well. You can also continue to work with the same organizations to coordinate the next event. This demonstrates a true commitment to the local community and shows that you stand ready to help out in any possible way.

4 Tips to Reduce Employee Burnout

Your employees with peak performance are some of the best assets at your company. It’s easy as an employer to focus on this productivity without questioning whether your employees are happy.

When employees are overworked or underappreciated, it often leads to burn out. What does this look like? It may feel like they are stressed, exhausted, and becoming cynical about their work for your employee. To you, it may look like decreased productivity. In some cases, it may be impossible to recognize at all. Employees who want to be viewed well at their job aren’t likely to speak up on their own about burn out.

So what can employers do to keep employees happy, productive, and wanting to stay on at their jobs?

Be Mindful Of Your Work Culture Pushing Employees Too Hard

To prevent employees from burnout, you can refine your work culture to promote behaviors that overwork employees.

This sounds vague, but it comes with simple actions.

For example, employers used to put in place programs that encouraged employees not to take their vacation or sick days. Instead, encourage your employees to use those days, so they take breaks and clear their minds.

Apply this as well to taking breaks during the day and socializing. Even if you are working remotely, you can find ways to encourage employees to take breaks, so they are more focused when actively working.

Create a work culture that encourages people to be mindful of taking care of themselves as human beings. This will pay off in healthier and happier employees who feel respected in the workplace.

Give Them More Control Where You Can

Many employees who suffer from burn out don’t feel like they have any control over their days. Micromanaging employees may seem like a great way to get them to stay on task, but it can also make them feel suffocated. Give your employees as much space as you can to create a stress-free work environment.

Keep Business Processes Efficient

Are you having too many meetings? This is a common worker complaint. Are you offering your employees tools to make their days more efficient and respecting their time? One way to keep employees from burning out is by looking at tools for making their jobs more efficient. This can look like offering new automation tools for scheduling their tasks or making sure meetings are tightly scheduled, with only those needed in attendance.

Connect With Them To Ask How It’s Going

The best way to know how your employees are feeling about their job is to ask them. Perform regular reviews and have private meetings with them. During this time, it’s good to go over their tasks and how they’re managing the day to day. Do they feel overworked? Are they adequately challenged? Are they happy at their job? You won’t honestly know how they feel until you ask them.

The Best Books for Business Owners

Perhaps the most common trait amongst some of the most successful business figures is the yearning to keep learning. As a business owner, you know that trends, materials, and marketing changes on the fly. It is recommended to learn from those who’ve been in your position through the act of reading. But where should you start? The following list includes some of the best books that business owners should take the time to read.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

There’s a reason why this book has continued to fly off the shelf year after year, and that’s because it’s simply timeless. Stephen Covey goes in-depth regarding the various areas of business, not just the logistics. He helps the reader understand the importance of improving all areas of their lives, including people’s lives outside the office. This book will learn about the art of time management, improving workflow, and having a positive mindset. This is no doubt a must-read, especially if you’re starting on your journey.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini

Suppose you could only know what makes people say yes, then everything would be easier. Although it’s not possible to read people’s minds, it is certainly possible to become more aware of what people are thinking and how that influences their decisions. In this book, Dr. Cialdini goes over the six universal principles of customer persuasion. The book also helps you, as a business leader, avoid being influenced by specific physiological influences made by your clients, which can save you from making costly decisions.

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Although this book is meant to educate war generals, it undoubtedly resonates with the world of business. For example, in the book, Sun Tzu talks about not letting your enemy know what your plans are. This allows you to catch them by surprise, and thus your chances of victory improve as well. This lesson can also be used in business. If you’re working on a new product or service, it would be wise not to tell anyone outside your company. Work on it until you know that it’s ready for the public, and only then should you attack the competition.

Mastering Communication Skills For Entrepreneurs

Part of being an entrepreneur is mastering a wide range of skill sets. Many of these skills are ones people take for granted that they are already good at, like communication. How do you effectively communicate your marketing message to consumers? To other companies? How do you effectively negotiate with suppliers or communicate your needs to an employee or freelancer?

Mastering communication skills as an entrepreneur is necessary for long term success. Your business can’t grow without other people.

So what types of skills are part of effective communication that you can work on?

Letting People Know You Are Actively Listening

There are two parts to this. There is making sure the people you are listening to know they have your attention, and there is giving it. You don’t want to fake this. Part of building your relationship with the people you’re communicating with is taking in what others have to say.

When you are giving someone your attention, make sure you are listening. Cut out distractions. If your phone is going off, put it on silent and apologize. It’s a common practice to repeat some of what you’ve heard when you reply. Not only does this indicate you were listening, but it clarifies that you understood them correctly.

Learn to Write Well

You’ll be sending many texts, emails, and social media messages as part of your business. You’ll also either be writing marketing messages yourself or approving them. To do this well, you want to write well. Today, this is simply an essential part of effective communication as an entrepreneur.

You can also use online tools like Grammarly to check your work for you while you’re on your device to help speed this up. You can also take copywriting and written communication courses in-person or online to improve this area.

Learn to Express Your Ideas

As an entrepreneur, you have big ideas that need communicating. You need to be thorough in how you express them. Being concise is also important as part of being transparent, but often people will lean too far one way or the other on this. You don’t want to ramble, but you also need to give enough information that people clearly understand what you’re saying.

If you struggle with getting your point across, you may practice writing a first draft of what you want to communicate, just for yourself. Write down every thought you have on the topic. Then read through it and highlight the important parts. This way, you’ve got everything you need and can still cut the extraneous. This is an excellent way to organize your thoughts and practice effective communication.

4 Key Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

What do strong entrepreneurs do to achieve their success? While your business idea may be unique in many ways, there are always mentors you can learn from who’ve started businesses successfully and kept them going strong.

Whether your business is only a vague idea or you’re deep into building your career, these tips for aspiring entrepreneurs can help get your mind in the right place for success.

Understand Your Vision

See the future vision of your business from all sides. What does your average workday look like one year from now? Five years from now? What does customer experience look like? What is your business accomplishing? The more questions you can ask yourself about your vision, the clearer the picture will become. Keeping that vision in mind will keep you on the path toward creating it.

Surround Yourself With The Best People

You may have heard that you are an accumulation of the five people you are around the most. Surround yourself with supportive people and who are doing the kinds of things you want to do. This may mean working directly with them under your company. This may mean networking with people in your industry. It could also mean joining a group of people who get together to discuss their goals. If none of these are options, it can also mean following great people online and regularly listening to podcasts or checking out their content. Remind yourself that these people are doing great things, and so will you.

Know-How You Work Best

A crucial part of success for entrepreneurs is capitalizing on their strengths. Do you work best handling your email in the morning or afternoon? Do you need mid daybreak? Are you strong at specific tasks but could be best served by hiring a virtual assistant for others?

Know how you work best so you can do so with more ease.

Get Organized

You need to develop a clean and comfortable workflow as early as possible in your career. Many entrepreneurs develop systems like the one David Allen recommends in his book “Getting Things Done.” This book is just one example of ways productive entrepreneurs minimize their stress and maximize their productivity with systems for keeping their business and lives organized.

Essential Soft Skills for Entrepreneurs

When you think about a job, your mind may jump to the hard skills required to be successful at that job. However, soft skills are just as essential, especially for entrepreneurs. In particular, there are a few soft skills that are essential for successful entrepreneurs.

Communication

It could be argued that communication is a soft skill that is necessary for nearly every profession. Communication is especially important for entrepreneurs because they are continually meeting with their team and clients. The outcomes of these meetings are ultimate what drives business for entrepreneurs.

A successful entrepreneur will make a conscious effort to create an open environment for communication. This applies to communication with themselves, their team, and their clients. When all channels for communication are open, the entrepreneur and the business will have more success.

Negotiation

It is not likely that an entrepreneur got into the world of entrepreneurship without necessary negotiation skills. This skill is critical to help the company or organization make positive gains. To be a successful negotiator, an entrepreneur must understand where the other person is coming from. To gain this understanding, the entrepreneur will need to reflect on their communication skills to ask the right questions to gather the information they seek.

Positive Outlook

It can be tempting to give in to negative emotions when things do not go as planned. However, the successful entrepreneur knows the importance of a positive mindset. Positivity in the world of entrepreneurship is directly related to resilience. There is no doubt that there will be good days and bad days. A positive mindset doesn’t mean that the entrepreneur cannot acknowledge when things go wrong. A positive mindset means giving taking a moment to address what went wrong and then get right back to work, making a plan so that the same thing does not happen again.

Active Listening

Active listening goes hand in hand with effective communication. To be an active listener, the entrepreneur must avoid distractions and focus on what their communication partner says. This cannot be easy in a fast-paced environment but will pay off in the long run.

4 Leadership Tips for Business Owners

As a business leader, developing a strategy for interacting with your employees involves stimulating productivity and keeping morale high. You can achieve both of these goals simultaneously by presenting yourself as a positive role model. The following tips can help you improve your relationship with your employees, so you will all work well together.

Share Your Mission Statement and Goals

The leadership challenges you experience may be a result of communication unclear regarding the goals and philosophy you have for your business. If your employees don’t know your objectives, they’ll have a more challenging time helping you meet them. Take the time to define your goals clearly, so everyone will be on the same page.

Set a Good Example

When your employees see you give in to bad moods, react to others with frustration, or behave in a generally negative manner, they’re going to assume this is acceptable behavior. Before long, your business will be suffering from a toxic work environment that will impede productivity. The reverse is also true, however. If you can present yourself as enthusiastic, cheerful, and energetic, your positive demeanor will infect the rest of your staff even on your bad days.

Transparency Encourages More Participation

When you adopt a more transparent management style, your employees will develop greater interest in the company. This involves meetings and communication that lets your employees know what challenges the business may be facing and your plans for meeting those obstacles. You may even benefit from asking your employees for suggestions and solutions. By encouraging more participation, you’ll be helping your employees feel like they’re integral parts of the organization.

Recognize Accomplishments

When your team reaches a goal or performs better than expected, don’t take the credit for that yourself. Instead, recognize the hard work and dedication that your employees put into achieving that goal. Alternatively, it would be best if you were willing to take the blame for failures. When a mistake occurs, try not to shift blame to your team, because this can lead to negative feelings and low morale.

In general, taking the time to lead by example and promote open communication lines will help you lead an active and productive team. Your employees will become more efficient in meeting your goals when they understand the direction you have for the company. Driving with a positive and energetic demeanor will help you bond with your employees and create a team that works well together.

Developing a Business Plan for Your Gym

A business plan is the road map of a new or existing gym business. Here, entrepreneurs detail their objectives, including target customers, competitive advantage, equipment lease proposals, or how they will charge for the services. The entrepreneur wants a clear direction of what, when, and how to run the business. They use the following steps to come up with a concrete gym business plan.

The business plan will have the following sections.

The Executive Summary

This first part includes a quick pitch to investors summarizing the business idea. It aims to capture the fund managers’ interest or justify why the business owner thinks their concepts are viable. In turn, this section is prepared last.

The Market Research and Analysis

The market research gives insight into the viability of the business idea. It includes a SWOT analysis and a feasibility study for the proposed gym location. The entrepreneur uses the findings of the target market demographics, customer expectations, or the logistics of running the workout sessions to come up with factual objectives, marketing, and financial projections.

Products and Services

A gym entails providing coaching lessons, rent of gym equipment, or sale of workout videos. This section lists all the proposed products and services. From here, the entrepreneur can come up with a marketing plan and a financial plan.

The Management

Who will run the gym? What attributes do they have that are an asset to the business? Are there plans to form any strategic partnerships with a fitness coach, manufacturer, or sports icon? This section lays out the organizational structure.

The Marketing Plan

The marketing plan details the proposed income streams and marketing strategies to achieve them. They include offering monthly subscriptions, private coaching, and running a wellness and fitness program. The marketing plan comes up with marketing strategies that will enrich the customer experience.

The Financial Plan

The financial plan converts the ideas into cash. It includes the startup expenses budget, the sales budget, an income and expenditure statement, a balance sheet, and a cash flow statement. In turn, it gives a clearer picture of areas that do not add up, are over-ambitious, or underutilized.

Finally, entrepreneurs have to break the business plan into small achievable goals. They set a time frame to get licenses, assets, and marketing campaigns. Plus, they will have to file tax returns at the end of each financial year. Hence, keeping tabs on all the paperwork is crucial.

7 Tips for Retaining Your Best Employees

A good employee is an asset to the company. Good employees can lead to an increase in sales and customer satisfaction. Retaining good employees is the key to the success of your business. The evolution of the workplace has made it hard to retain good employees. Job hopping has also made it hard for employers to keep their employees. The following are the best ways to retain your best employees.

Quality Supervision

Poor management can make you lose your best employees. Most employees leave their workplaces because of supervisors and managers more often than they would leave because of their job. Managers should provide feedback about performance. They should also clarify the expectations and potential earnings.

Create a Good Working Environment

Employees should feel included in the company. A firm that celebrates diversity in the workplace can encourage the employees to stay. Companies should develop incentives such as fitness centers to make it attractive to retain the top talent.

Provide Opportunities for Growth

Top talents want to work where they can grow and learn. Employees are likely to stagnate if they do not have new opportunities. Managers should organize workshops and seminars. Career-oriented employees must experience growth opportunities in the organization.

Appreciate the Employees

Managers should respect and recognize their employees. The common forms of appreciation entail bonuses, gifts, and monetary rewards. Commissions should also be calculated daily. This can raise motivation and help retain good employees.

Create a Work-life Balance

Companies should understand that employees have a life outside their work. You can quickly lose your top talent if you consistently ask them to work late and to come early. Technology has made it possible for employees to work remotely. Working remotely provides flexibility that employees would want.

Manage your Employees with Trust

Managers should promote open communication in the company. This helps to build trust between the employees and the management. Company leadership should also rely on transparency and relationships. Employees are likely to stay in a company when they have confidence in the management.

Hire the Right Person

The company should hire the right people for the right positions. The job descriptions should be updated periodically. Recruiters should ensure that candidates have the required skills. It is also easy to retain trained personnel.

Tips for Working Out When You’re Sick

Exercising is a way of life for many people and a vital part of their routine. If working out is something you enjoy, it can quickly come to a halt when you catch a cold or fall victim to the flu. In some instances, working out can improve the immune system and is good when you’re feeling sick. But sometimes being ill means activity needs to be kept to a minimum and exercising can make symptoms worse. It’s important to know when it’s safe to workout while you’re sick:

 

Look at Your Symptoms

Before jumping into a workout while you’re feeling under the weather, take a moment to review your systems. If your symptoms are happening from the neck up, you may be clear to work out. Symptoms from the neck up include sneezing, headache, coughing or a sore throat. Exercise can actually be helpful when experiencing these kinds of signs and clear them up. When you’re experiencing symptoms from the shoulders down, reconsider your workout. Any shortness of breath, abdominal pain or vomiting can be made worse by exercising. These kinds of symptoms require rest to start feeling better.

 

Avoid Intense Workouts

Working out while your sick can be potentially helpful and make you feel better, but it’s important to take it slow. Keep the exercises moderate and mild to make sure not to overexert yourself. Overdoing it can lead to feeling even worse and too much for the immune system to handle. Workouts like an easy jog or bike ride can help with symptoms and have you feeling better in no time.  Low-intensity workouts and activities have the potential to boost immunity. Keeping the exercise light and outdoors will be sure to improve your health.

 

Don’t Spread Your Illness

When you’re sick, it’s very easy to spread your germs. Even when you’re mindful of washing your hands and disinfecting things you touch, you can still get people sick. That’s why it’s important to stay at home or outdoors while working out when you’re sick. Going for an outdoor bike ride or looking online for at-home workouts will keep you from spreading germs. If you’re sick and go to a gym, you’re putting other people at risk of catching your illness. Once your symptoms have cleared up, it’ll be safe to step back in the gym again.

 

Take it Slow Afterwards

Once you’re starting to feel better and your symptoms have cleared up, it’s easy to get a little too eager to jump back into things. However, when you’ve recovered for an illness, it’s important to take it slow when you start working out again. As you begin to get back into a routine, slowly reintroduce more activity. Listen to your body and be careful not to push yourself too much. Keep the workouts low intensity at first and be sure to stay hydrated. Drinking lots of water is key to recovery, inside and outside of the gym.

 

David Jeansonne is the founder of Traffic Jam Events™, a nationally renowned automotive-marketing firm. He is also an award winning entrepreneur and business strategist. Read more of his entrepreneurship advice or check out his Twitter!