Five Tips for Starting a New Business

Being with a Focused Plan

In the beginning stages of building a business it is essential to have a focused approach to avoid wasting time and resources. Know what your plan is upfront and act on. You’ll experience less frustration if you are ready with a plan of action.

Secure Funding

Wherever your money is coming from make sure you’ve got it for sure. While there is some truth to the adage you have to spend money to make money, if you don’t have it you can’t spend it.

Networking

Keeping up a simple, professional online profile is a start; however you need to be in personal communication with local officials like your city chamber of commerce and others. Social capital is important. While the corona virus has canceled most “shoulder rubbing” events there are still ways to get connected with local officials and other business owners through online events.

Figure Out What Makes Your Business Unique

Knowing what makes you special is important. This should be integrated into many aspects of your business without over doing it. Asking your costumers and employees can help with this.

Be Ready and Willing Accept and Adapt When Change Happens

The corona virus pandemic is a perfect example. Whatever your business is, some kind of large change outside of your control will happen at some point in the lifetime of your business. Be ready for it, accept it and move on to planning to adapt to these new challenges.

 

 

 

Are Your Team Members Planning on Leaving?

As a leader it is good to know if someone is thinking of leaving the organization. Listed below are some behaviors that may indicate someone is planning on leaving. As a leader, you can address these behaviors calmly and rationally.

They have shown less interest in working with clients than usual.

They have left early from work more frequently than they normally do.

Their work productivity has gone quite a bit recently.

They don’t seem interested in upholding the vision of the organization.

They have spoken more about not being happy with other team members.

They have been much less of a team player lately; they keep to themselves.

They have just been doing the “minimum” frequently as of late.

They have said they weren’t getting along with their co-workers recently.

They haven’t be interested in long term goals and projects.

Generally speaking, their attitude has been negative.

They have been a “low effort” “low motivation” team member lately.

Addressing these issues will be necessary as a leader whether they problem is the team member is planning on leaving or not.

8 Things Productive People Do Who Work From Home

Many of us are new to working from home. Here are 8 tips to help newbies be productive and successful.

First, wake up early. There will be far fewer distractions. Laura Vanderkam cited a study that found that 90% of executives get up before 6am on weekdays. Jumping right into your to-do list is also recommended, once this is habit you brain get used to being up early and will know that its time to get things done.

Second, jump right into actual tasks. Use here energy and clarity for the real nitty gritty tasks that require the most effort. You can work on planning and communication in the afternoon.

Third, if you are not a morning person don’t fight your inner clock. Work when you are most productive if possible. Save the tasks that take the most effort for when you’ve got the moxy to make the most of it.

Forth, schedule out your tasks the day before. Once you get into the habit this will reduce your stress levels because you won’t be scrambling to figure out what to do next.

Fifth, establish a routine similar to the one you had before you started to work from home. Otherwise things will often break down into chaos and you’ll be far less productive. On the other hand, perhaps a different kind of routine would work best for some. Point being, some kind of routine is required.

Sixth, make sure your workspace and relaxing space are two different places. Again, this will help you brain know what to do based on where you are located.

Seventh, concern yourself with noise vs focus. There may be new noises at home that you aren’t used to. White noise machines, apps like Rainy Mood, or for some quiet music or even noise canceling headphones may help with distractions you didn’t anticipate.

Eighth, don’t forget to socialize. Whether its with colleagues from work or other friends schedule breaks to jump on a video chat, make a phone call or send a few texts during the day.

 

Questions All Good Leaders Should Ask Pt. 1

Generally speaking, asking rather than telling makes for a better leader and a better experience when trying to mentor team members. Asking is interactive and exploratory.

What does your success look like? This is a great question—while it is just another version of “where do you see yourself in five years” or asking what someone’s goals are, it might feel a little less cliché. And it can be used either to refer to broader long term goals or specific situation the team is currently facing.

Really it can be used in so many situations. Even if a team member is having what constitutes a small problem asking them, “what does success look like to you?” in that scenario can help them visualize the finish line and what it’ll take to get there.

Albeit is similar, “what outcome do you want?” is another good question that leaders ask. This question is good for when there is more than one successful outcome or solution. While the previous question suggests a single answer and action plan, this question suggests there maybe more than one.

If your team member is having a particularly hard time with a situation this might be the best question to ask to help them see it from multiple perspectives.

Again, while similar, the shades of difference allow for a different discussion when we ask a team member: what do you want to change in five years? It focuses on a long term goal but also suggests that along the way that goal will require change or growth. This is about creative thinking and how the team member wants to grow along with the field they find themselves in.

A great follow up to any of the previous questions is: what obstacles are you facing? This allows the team member a chance to ask you the leader for some insight on overcoming those obstacles. Be aware some team members might not want to share what troubles they are having or might not have really thought them through. Asking outright might be difficult but it allows the leader to explore those challenges with the team member.

Most of us know our weakness but are not comfortable recognizing them for ourselves or speaking about them with others.

It Only Takes One Inspiring Trait to be a Leader

The mysteries of inspiration may never be fully unraveled but one quality most leaders aspire to have among their team members or staff is to be an inspiration. We may not all have it in us to be the students of The Dead Poet Society’s “Oh Captain My Captain” but as science has proven great leaders are made, not born. So, what is it you can do to inspire your team?

Having one admirable or inspiring trait can be all it takes to be a go-to guy for your team. There are many traits that can work and these might all fall under a few umbrella categories. Any trait you can foster as “your thing” that will help with one of the following will go a long way in making you an inspiring leader. No leader has it all and figuring out your leadership “super power” will help you push that to the forefront of your style.

If you trait helps others develop their inner resources that’s a great one. One good thing all leaders do is help others be their best.

Connecting with others; if what you do is speak to people, empathize, sympathize, see things from their perspective you can be the person who helps the group understand itself as a set of individuals who are also more than the some their parts.

Maybe what you do well is “set the tone;” however you do that. No one is asking this kind of leader to be an actor; this kind of leader reads the room and knows the kind of pep talk the majority of the team needs.

Finally, many leaders are good at, simply said, leading. You are great at delegating, mitigating, negotiating. Every organization needs someone who is simply good at logistics and planning.

While it is certainly admirable and desirable to be more than one of these traits no persons journey as a leader need begin with a fool toolbox.

Leading Your Team Through Hard Times

As a leader it is going to happen—your team is going to hit a rough patch. Whether that is caused be internal or external forces there are some things you can and should do as a leader to keep the team empowered and confident.

First off, communication is key. Your instinct might be to sugar coat things but honesty (as usual) is the best route. The confidence and positivity needs to come from the leaders presentation of the information. Make sure to cover what happened or is happening and how it is affect the company specifically or is expected to. What decisions are being made because of the situation. And most importantly what the current plan is going forward.

Next in any situation, if it is causing the goals of the team to be compromised, that means there is a lesson to be learned. Taking some time to figure out how the team wasn’t prepared or what they could do in the future to mitigate a similar issue has the dual benefit of strengthen the team and making them feel like they are in control as they begin to work out problems and solve them.

Reshare your vision for the future. Remind your team why you are all there. Take the time to celebrate large wings but maybe more important take time out to celebrate small wins. The positivity you can generate the better—mostly people want to feel good, give them a reason to.

Maybe most importantly, keep asking your team for honest feedback on how they think things are going. Again, this will give team members control and confidence that they can exert influence of the situation.