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Archive for the tag “entrepreneurs”

Laptops? So ‘00s!

  by Patricia Guerzo 

You just got your head around social media, and now something new has popped up on the marketing radar screen.  What is this new thing?  It’s a phone!

Smartphones are everywhere in the news, with stories about new tasks a phone can do, beyond making calls.  Smartphones are becoming the new PC.  It is predicted that October 2012 will be the tipping point where smartphones equal “function phones.” (Asymco 8/10/11 article, “155 Million Mobile Phone Users Don’t Use Smartphones”)

This change in technology has created an opportunity for businesses to tweak their marketing strategy and stand out to consumers.  While the whole area of smartphone marketing is new, I would like to share a “primer” to get you started.

First, get ready to be seen.  Unless your website is new, it may not be formatted for mobile viewing.  A smartphone will see just 10-15% of the page at any time.  Your web resource can easily format your site for smartphone viewing.

While this may seem insignificant, fast forward to next October, when more than half of all phone users may give a brand “halo” to companies that aim to be visually appealing on their phone.  Like the absence of a social media presence today, by next year any company whose site does not display properly on a smartphone could be viewed as behind the times.

Next, get a QR code, and link it to your Facebook Page.  Use this little picture on your print materials to link to a reader to your page using the smartphone that is probably within their reach.  QR stands for quick response, the time it can take from a visual cue to a connection to a URL.

A word of caution – it takes about 45 seconds to scan the code, and open the URL.  So don’t expect drivers to scan it while moving.  In some states, QR reading is the same as texting while driving – illegal for safety reasons.  Place it instead in locations where people are waiting – restaurant table, waiting room.

Once your URL has been loaded into someone’s phone, they can access it in their history.  Your site becomes one of several dozen in their handheld device’s history, separating you from the three trillion other websites.

Now, make it portable.  Apply your QR code to a tabletop vinyl display and put it up whenever your company has an event.  Leave it up in your lobby or window at other times.

Because these codes are so new, many advertisers surround their QR codes with text that tells the reader what that code will access – “Watch this video.”  This helps introduce the technology by providing benefits, so consider this simple technique to increase the activity on your code.

I love these tactics, because they are cost-effective (QR codes are free) and piggyback on the smartphone popularity that will last for the foreseeable future.  QR Codes may breathe new life into print and postcards, too.  Take an hour or two to work ON your business and get into the phones of your new customers!

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Hiring Employees – With an Attitude!

By Dr. Ben A. Carlsen

With the employment market tightening and jobs scarce, employers seek employees with the “right” attitude. Identifying these candidates can be a little “tricky,” as the selection process is almost invariably not designed to measure these attributes.

Before discussing the hiring matter, we need to examine the underlying reasons for the hiring need in the first place, along with a framework for dealing with them.

NEW EMPLOYEES ARE COSTLY

Employers hate employee turnover. If the turnover rate is high the company will notice a negative impact on the “bottom line.”   The costs of recruitment, selection, hiring and training new employees are high.  And, depending on the complexity of the job, lower productivity, while new employees gain necessary experience, is another costly factor. Experienced employees lost to the competition are an even greater threat.  These employees may know business philosophies, practices, techniques, trade secrets, and strategies which could strengthen your competition. Considering all of these negatives, savvy management does its best to retain their valued staff.

KEEPING VALUED EMPLOYEES

Experienced, qualified and productive employees are an asset, but keeping them can be challenging. Loyalty to employers hasn’t been the norm for many years. Of course companies can do a number of things to keep the good ones.

Many years ago a researcher named Frederick Herzberg (The Motivation to Work, 1959) developed a theory that divided job satisfaction into two major components: Motivational factors and Hygiene factors; with the motivational factors such as interesting work, challenge, recognition, and variety being, by far, the more powerful. On the other hand, the job features we all expect, such as pay and benefits or working conditions are nowhere near as important, except to serve as potential causes for dissatisfaction.    These findings may be counter-intuitive, but as we all know, we will spend hours doing the things we like to do, with people we like to do them with. Conversely, unchallenging tasks, or work performed in a non-supportive, or uninteresting environment, will typically not evoke our best efforts

So making your workplace a challenging, exciting, and supportive place will greatly help in reducing or limiting avoidable turnover. As an important added benefit the customers will have a better relationship with a motivated, helpful, satisfied workforce.

Now that we’ve examined the background, let’s look at hiring new employees. While it’s obvious that it is best to retain employees, turnover will occur, and businesses may grow. This being the case, a superior recruitment plan is essential, as it will help accomplish several things:  hire the “best,” have a good fit between employee and job, lessen the need for discipline or discharge, reduce turnover, and provide a competitive edge.

THE RIGHT STUFF

Employers tell us that the most important characteristic to look for in a new employee is the “right” attitude. What is the right attitude and how do we hire people with it?   The right attitude, according to most employers, consists of several qualities:

–  Positivity (doesn’t focus on negatives)

– Open-mindedness

–  Flexibility

–  Superior interpersonal skills / a liking of people

–  Desire to learn

–  Willingness to work, (and work hard)

–  Dependability – Desire to accept challenges

–  Team player

With these characteristics the employee should exhibit a “good attitude” toward his employer, fellow employees and your customers.

FINDING AND HIRING EMPLOYEES WITH THE “RIGHT ATTITUDE”

Considering  the above attributes, be serious about your hiring process, as you know the headaches resulting from poor decisions.   Here are some suggestions:

–Identify the essential characteristics required for success on the job.

–Incorporate behavioral and attitudinal qualities into your selection criteria.

–Include these requirements in your job bulletins, advertising, employment agency  requisitions, etc.

–Carefully examine employment, educational and personal history (to the extent permitted by the law).

–Conduct a background check on candidates.

–At the interview, observe the candidate’s behavior, general attitude and demeanor, body language, posture, facial expressions, eye contact, etc. (You may want to try an interview panel to guard against subjectivity and “blind spots”).

–Consider using role-playing, situational questions (e.g., “What would you do if?), and performance simulations.

–Make sure the candidate is someone you will be comfortable around, as you may spend more time with him/her than with your spouse.

–Look for a “smile.”

Copyright ©, 2008, Dr. Ben A. Carlsen, MBA. All Rights Reserved Worldwide for all Media. You may reprint this article in your ezine, newsletter, newspaper, magazine, website, etc. as long as you leave all of the links active, do not edit the article in any way, leave my name and bio box intact, and you follow all of the EzineArticles Terms of Service for Publishers.

Ben A. Carlsen, Ed.D, MBA, is an experienced CEO and manager. Dr. Carlsen has over 30 years experience in management, consulting, and teaching. Currently the Head of the Business Department at Everest Institute, Hialeah, FL., he was Chairman of the Los Angeles County Productivity Managers Network and President of the Association for Systems Management (So. Calif. Chapter). Additional information can be obtained at http://drben.info

Power – It’s a Good Thing

by Patricia Guerzo 

Think about the last time you were frustrated.  The problem was probably something outside of your control.  Being hit with a life challenge in one part of your life can sometimes make you feel powerless, and that feeling can linger.  If you could just flip a mental “switch” and get your mojo back!

While I have not found a switch per se, I have learned, observed, and practiced some techniques that can push away those frustrated, powerless feelings.

It’s helpful to look at the sources of power we can have.  The most obvious are reward power, and coercive power – the power of a bully.  While effective in the short-term, they are rarely appropriate for everyday situations.

Positional power is awarded to the boss.  Even if someone is not a powerful person, their title gives them power.  There’s not much one can do to tap into this source right away.  Fortunately, there are others.

Referent power is the power to attract others and build loyalty.  People with charisma, good looks, and interpersonal skills have a lot of this power.  They are powerful because people want to be around them.  Employees with referent power can stall company changes, or help them succeed.  Management needs to identify people on their team with this power source, and make sure they manage them.

Similarly, expert power comes from what you know.  People are drawn to your valuable expertise.  Experts are needed beyond their organizational chain of command, and may have a public presence.

Unlike positional power, referent and expert power are available for anyone to own.  You can become smarter, get into better shape, and learn how to be motivating for others.  Most of the ways to increase your power are free.  Books, blogs, and newsletters everywhere can tell you how to be a better listener, lose 5 pounds, or where to find your industry’s latest white paper.

So the next time you feel frustrated because things aren’t going your way, challenge yourself to increase your personal power.  Take a walk, read an article, call a friend to listen; they all will help.

Better yet, make a list of things you always wanted to learn, appearance-enhancing steps you might want to try, and ways you can improve your interpersonal skills.  Then when life delivers a challenge, you can select a way to regain some power and control.

To use this article in your newsletter or blog- you must include the following: Patricia Guerzo, President of GBSC, is an accomplished business executive with a proven record of enhancing bottom line results.  http://guerzo.com

Assertive Communication – 6 Tips For Effective Use

By Lee Hopkins

What IS assertive communication?

Assertive communication is the ability to express positive and negative ideas and feelings in an  open, honest and direct way. It recognizes our rights whilst still respecting the rights of others. It allows us to take responsibility for ourselves and our actions without judging or blaming other people. And it allows us to constructively confront and find a mutually satisfying solution where conflict exists.

So why use assertive communication?

All of us use assertive behavior at times… quite often when we feel vulnerable or unsure of ourselves we may resort to submissive, manipulative or aggressive behavior.

Yet being trained in assertive communication actually increases the appropriate use of this sort of behavior. It enables us to swap old behavior patterns for a more positive approach to life. I’ve found that changing my response to others (be they work colleagues, clients or even my own family) can be exciting and stimulating.

The advantages of assertive communication

There are many advantages of assertive communication, most notably these:

  • It helps us feel good about ourselves and others
  • It leads to the development of mutual respect with others
  • It increases our self-esteem
  • It helps us achieve our goals
  • It minimizes hurting and alienating other people
  • It reduces anxiety
  • It protects us from being taken advantage of by others
  • It enables us to make decisions and free choices in life
  • It enables us to express, both verbally and non-verbally, a wide range of feelings and thoughts, both positive and negative

There are, of course, disadvantages…

Disadvantages of assertive communication

Others may not approve of this style of communication, or may not approve of the views you express. Also, having a healthy regard for another person’s rights means that you won’t always get what YOU want. You may also find out that you were wrong about a viewpoint that you held. But most importantly, as mentioned earlier, it involves the risk that others may not understand and therefore not accept this style of communication.

What assertive communication is not…

Assertive communication is definitely NOT a lifestyle! It’s NOT a guarantee that you will get what you want. It’s definitely NOT an acceptable style of communication with everyone, but at least it’s NOT being aggressive.

But it IS about choice

Four behavioral choices

There are, as I see it, four choices you can make about which style of communication you can employ. These types are:

direct aggression: bossy, arrogant, bulldozing, intolerant, opinionated, and overbearing

indirect aggression: sarcastic, deceiving, ambiguous, insinuating, manipulative, and guilt-inducing

submissive: wailing, moaning, helpless, passive, indecisive, and apologetic

assertive: direct, honest, accepting, responsible, and spontaneous

Characteristics of assertive communication

There are six main characteristics of assertive communication. These are:

  • eye contact: demonstrates interest, shows sincerity
  • body posture: congruent body language will improve the significance of the message
  • gestures: appropriate gestures help to add emphasis
  • voice: a level, well modulated tone is more convincing and acceptable, and is not intimidating
  • timing: use your judgment to maximize receptivity and impact
  • content: how, where and when you choose to comment is probably more important than WHAT you say

The importance of “I” statements

Part of being assertive involves the ability to appropriately express your needs and feelings. You can accomplish this by using “I” statements. These indicate ownership, do not attribute blame, focuses on behavior, identifies the effect of behavior, is direct and honest, and contributes to the growth of your relationship with each other.

Strong “I” statements have three specific elements:

  • Behavior
  • Feeling
  • Tangible effect (consequence to you)

Example: “I feel frustrated when you are late for meetings. I don’t like having to repeat information.”

Six techniques for assertive communication

There are six assertive techniques – let’s look at each of them in turn.

1. Behavior Rehearsal: which is literally practicing how you want to look and sound. It is a very useful technique when you first want to use “I” statements, as it helps dissipate any emotion associated with an experience and allows you to accurately identify the behavior you wish to confront.

2. Repeated Assertion (the ‘broken record’): this technique allows you to feel comfortable by ignoring manipulative verbal side traps, argumentative baiting and irrelevant logic while sticking to your point. To most effectively use this technique use calm repetition, and say what you want and stay focused on the issue. You’ll find that there is no need to rehearse this technique, and no need to ‘hype yourself up’ to deal with others.

Example:

“I would like to show you some of our products”
“No thank you, I’m not interested”
“I really have a great range to offer you”
“That may be true, but I’m not interested at the moment”
“Is there someone else here who would be interested?”
“I don’t want any of these products”
“Okay, would you take this brochure and think about it?”
“Yes, I will take a brochure”
“Thank you”
“You’re welcome”

3. Fogging: this technique allows you to receive criticism comfortably, without getting anxious or defensive, and without rewarding manipulative criticism. To do this you need to acknowledge the criticism, agree that there may be some truth to what they say, but remain the judge of your choice of action. An example of this could be, “I agree that there are probably times when I don’t give you answers to your questions.

4. Negative inquiry: this technique seeks out criticism about yourself in close relationships by prompting the expression of honest, negative feelings to improve communication. To use if effectively you need to listen for critical comments, clarify your understanding of those criticisms, use the information if it will be helpful or ignore the information if it is manipulative. An example of this technique would be, “So you think/believe that I am not interested?”

5. Negative assertion: this technique lets you look more comfortably at negatives in your own behavior or personality without feeling defensive or anxious, this also reduces your critics’ hostility. You should accept your errors or faults, but not apologize. Instead, tentatively and sympathetically agree with hostile criticism of your negative qualities. An example would be, “Yes, you’re right. I don’t always listen closely to what you have to say.”

6. Workable compromise: when you feel that your self-respect is not in question, consider a workable compromise with the other person. You can always bargain for your material goals unless the compromise affects your personal feelings of self-respect. However, if the end goal involves a matter of your self-worth and self-respect, THERE CAN BE NO COMPROMISE. An example of this technique would be, “I understand that you have a need to talk and I need to finish what I’m doing. So what about meeting in half an hour?”

Conclusion

Assertiveness is a useful communication tool. It’s application is contextual and it’s not appropriate to be assertive in all situations. Remember, your sudden use of assertiveness may be perceived as an act of aggression by others.

There’s also no guarantee of success, even when you use assertive communication styles appropriately.

“Nothing on earth can stop the individual with the right mental attitude from achieving their goal; nothing on earth can help the individual with the wrong mental attitude” W.W. Ziege

When you match consumer psychology with effective communication styles you get a powerful combination. Lee Hopkins can show you how to communicate better for better business results. At Hopkins-Business-Communication-Training.com you can find the secrets to communication success.

Proper Etiquette For Your Business Power Lunch

By Don Doman

Power lunches don’t just happen. If you leave them to chance you might end up at half-power. As in all business communications, power lunches start well before you sit down to talk . . . or eat.

Here’s what to do before your client arrives for lunch:

          • If it is up to you to suggest the restaurant, have one in mind that will be conducive to conversation. A sports bar just doesn’t make it.
          • Call and make reservations. If you are familiar with the restaurant and the staff, ask for a table that will suit your meeting.
          • Call your client to confirm. Inform the client that reservations have been made under your name.
      • Arrive early so you can make sure everything is in order.
      • Talk to your waitperson and give them your credit card. Learn the waitperson’s name.
      • Look over the menu and decide on your order.
      • Order something non-alcoholic to drink while you wait.
      • Be well aware of your client’s interests so you can easily slide in and out of small talk.
      • Keep your cell phone on vibrate in case your client needs to cancel. This way you’ll not be kept waiting at the table through lunch.

Before you even think about a power lunch you should of course brush up on your table manners. If you are in doubt, and even if you are pretty sure, it never hurts to review proper dining etiquette. One of my favorite etiquette training programs is called The Art of Dining: The Business Lunch. The video covers the basics and acts as a good reminder for the steps involved as well as table manners.

“Hosted by Marjabella Young Stewart, this program dramatically increases your social confidence when dining as a host or guest.

The business lunch includes setting up your appointment, choosing the restaurant, ordering the meal, managing hard-to-handle foods, tipping and ending the meeting. Stewart is internationally known through her television appearances on “Good Morning America” and “The Today Show.”

This video will help stop you from making the wrong moves and pave the way for an enjoyable business lunch that should make good friends and good clients.”

– Ad copy for The Art of Dining: The Business Lunch

For less than hundred dollars this wonderful training video will repay you many times over. You can share the video with your fellow employees, or keep it to yourself.

The next step involved in the business or power lunch begins when your client arrives. The waitperson will probably show your client to your table and then take drink orders.

  • If your client orders an alcoholic drink you should consider ordering one, but no more.
  • The time it takes for the waitperson to reappear is time for small talk about the food, about the weather, about the client’s interests.
  • If the client asks what’s tasty and well prepared at the restaurant, you can offer your favorites.
  • While the client looks over the menu, turn your cell phone completely off.
  • When the waitperson returns ask them to list the specials, and place your order.
  • After the order has been placed you may begin talking about business.

Enjoy the meal, enjoy the conversation, and enjoy your business dealings. You both should be in a good mood following a well thought-out business power lunch.

Don Doman is a published author, video producer, and corporate trainer. He owns the business training site Ideas and Training (http://www.ideasandtraining.com), which he says is the home of the no-hassle “free preview” for business training videos. He also owns Human Resources Radio (http://www.humanresourcesradio.com), which broadcasts HR and business training information, program previews, and training samples from some of the world’s great training speakers twenty-four hours a day. You can listen and learn on Human Resources Radio.

Try a Virtual Assistant

by Keridak Kae Silk

Virtual Assistants are usually home-based workers, who have a wide variety of expertise valuable to businesses.  In this way business can have the luxury of a secretary, a “Girl Friday”, a greeter, gate keeper, book keeper, social net-worker, techie… and on the list can go. Each VA has their own set of skills and abilities.

Owning and running any business is time consuming.   It is important to decide how best to spend your time.  Isn’t  it best spent making money, working directly with clients?  Wouldn’t you rather spend your time following your passion? If so, make a list of all the tasks that are needed to successfully run your business. Include all the tasks that you wish you had time to get to.

Perhaps, you’d like to start a blog or create a following with twitter. Perhaps, you are ready to create an event. (With all the possibilities of receiving payment, keeping track of ticket sales, marketing the event, and what if there is a chicken or fish option?) How to you find the time?

The great thing is that you don’t have to. Virtual Assistants fill the gaps and free you up to do the things that you do best.  Most businesses don’t think twice about hiring an accountant or book keeper.  Use that same freeing way of thinking for the other tasks you may have been avoiding or just haven’t had the time to get to.  Take your list and look for a VA to fill the gap.

Virtual Assistants range from the new & less experienced to those with strong, well managed, high tech skills.  Fees also have a wide range.  You need to decide your budget, the level of expertise you will need and the level of professionalism.  Is your business best served by a bargain basement VA or are you ready to work with higher end, high skilled professionals?

Once you have a list of needs; go through and rate each with how important it is to your business success.  Then go through the list again and place a star next to the things that you either love to do or feel you cannot let go of.  All the tasks that are left are possible tasks that a VA can take off your hands.

This article may be published in your blog or newsletter by including the following:

Authored by Keridak Kae Silk, MS, DTM: Virtual Freedom VA Services/Funding Success Grant Services, 866-279-8666, keri@fundingsuccess.us , http://www.fundingsuccess.us/wp/

Letting Go to Grow

by Patricia Guerzo

To achieve more, aspire to do less yourself, and more through others. This is such basic advice, why is it so hard to do?

One reason – you’re too close to the story to see the plot.  You have a one-man play instead of a production.

Another reason – you form new relationships with the service providers.  This takes time, yet results are needed right away.  Break-in time period can be awkward, and requires structure that might not exist.  More work!

Yet another reason – it takes time to locate the right resource for you.  Friends and family can be tempting, but carry high risks.  Do you really want your mother to be angry because you fired your payroll firm?

I help business owners see where their time is best spent, and what can be outsourced.  We create a plan to prepare for the transition.  I then work the plan to make the outsourcing successful.

What keeps businesses from outsourcing?  The answers may surprise you.  Here are a few that surprised the owners themselves.

  • If rules are communicated orally, contractors will produce inconsistent work.  Procedures must be written down, boring as that may sound.
  •  Owners become managers of the outsourced work.  This is a new skill for some, and requires some structure to help the owners succeed.
  • It is even more helpful to have an adviser after outsourcing.  The business is bigger.  New opportunities can now be pursued.

If you feel like there are not enough hours in the day, find someone to talk through your options.  There are many service providers with low minimum requirements and reasonable rates. Be sure to check out more than one option, and look on social media sites to validate the website and brochures.  Or contact your friendly business adviser, who specializes in knowing those providers.

What would you most like to outsource in your business?

To use this article in your newsletter or blog- you must include the following: Patricia Guerzo, President of GBSC, is an accomplished business executive with a proven record of enhancing bottom line results.  http://guerzo.com

Turn Prospects into Paying Clients

by Ali Brown

As a small business owner, you know that keeping your marketing funnel –your stream of prospects– full is essential for sustaining your business. I’ve spoken often of the merits of:

  • Building your contact list of potential clients/customers
  • Communicating regularly through an ezine (email newsletter)
  • Posting valuable content on your blog
  • Connecting through social media marketing (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

If you’re doing all this, but still struggling to convert prospects into customers, here are some additional strategies for you to implement:

Back to basic methods work:

1. Call. Sometimes we get so wrapped up with our status updates, tweets and email broadcasts that we forget the most personal connection that you can make with someone: calling them up and having a live conversation. Don’t go for the hard sell though, instead connect and listen.

2. Send a personal note. In a mail box full of bills and ads, a hand-written personal note is golden. If you have a special event or promotion to tell someone about, consider the personal touch of a hand written note.

3. Invite someone to coffee. Face to face bonding goes a long way for making a favorable impression. Host a coffee for one or more contacts, and find out what they’re up to, and share your latest projects as well.

See people in person:

1. Host an event. Give people an excuse to get out of the house, break out a new pair of shoes, and mingle with colleagues. From an intimate gathering to a big production, you’ll make a big splash by bringing people together to connect and collaborate. Make it worth their while to attend by offering a discount, incentive, or complimentary information.

2. Invite the locals. Speaking engagements are terrific list builders, and when you do speak, whether it’s at the local chamber or a larger event, let everyone know. Send out a targeted email to your prospective customers in that area, and they’ll feel special and want to attend. Similarly, if you are attending an event, let your contacts know that you are going and that you hope to see them there.

Get more personal:

1. Send a personal email. You’re probably using an email broadcasting system, and that’s great, but it’s even better to regularly reach out to your top prospects with personal emails.

2. Survey your prospect’s needs. If what you’re doing isn’t working, find out why. Survey your potential customers personally by phone, or set up a survey (Check out Survey Monkey) and email it to your customers. Keep the survey short, carefully select your questions, and get assistance from a pro if you need it. Reward them in some way for taking the survey, and you’ll get better results.

3. Be super-responsive. It’s all about connecting with the people on your list to build their trust over time. One way to achieve that is to respond to every email, Facebook post, and Twitter tweet that you can possibly manage, and within 48 hours. (You may need an assistant or a team to help you with this.) Even though you can’t make everyone happy, respecting them with courtesy will make a lasting impression.

Offer them more:

1. Present bonuses. Add bonuses to your sales page if your customers sign on by a certain date.

2. Offer discounts. Make discounts available for certain circumstances to entice buyers.

3. Extend deals. Everyone loves a deal, so join forces with a joint venture partner, and offer customers a two-for-one offer.

4. Provide fast action bonuses. Reward early purchasers with fast action bonuses of special gifts.

5. Hold a drawing. Enter all customers in a contest for an enticing grand prize.

6. Make it easy. Deliver stellar customer service that makes doing business with you a pleasure by devising ways to make it easier for them. (Example: If a customer has just purchased a spot at your event, offer to make their room reservation for them.)

Be generous:

1. Deliver fabulous content. Make sure that your ezine, blog, Facebook, etc. has valuable content your readers can use, so they want to stay connected with you.

2. Reward referrals. Word of mouth from existing customers can be your most effective sales tool. Reward clients who refer you by offering referral fees, or better yet, create an affiliate program.

3. Offer options. Provide products and programs for every level of customer. Even though entry-level programs can be a “loss leader,” it’s a way to get people in the door, build trust, and eventually this pool of people may join at a higher level later.

Connect in every way:

1. Friend them. Create a Facebook Fan page that’s attractive to prospects and “friend” everyone and reinforce connections.

2. Follow them. Create a Twitter account and tweet away. Provide leading edge and engaging messages that attract followers.

3. Share. Share personal snippets of your life to keep people engaged with you to create a relationship.

As the economy continues to pick up, those who go the extra mile with their prospective clients will enjoy a higher customer conversion rate. Be personal and generous, offer fabulous incentives, informative content, and connect in a variety of ways. Then watch you sales lift and your spirits soar.

© 2010 Ali International, LLC

Self-made entrepreneur and Inc. 500-ranked CEO Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow profitable businesses that make a positive impact. Get her FREE weekly articles and advice at www.AliBrown.com

The Attitude of Entitlement and How to Fix It!

By Stephen J. Blakesley 

 

Recently, I spoke to a wonderful group of Human Resource executives. The group from the Houston area known as the Bay Area Human Resources Management Association (BAHRMA) met to “sharpen their saws.” I was asked to participate and shared my thoughts on Strategic Performance, its value and how to get it.

During the presentation a young lady raised her hand to comment and told of a situation that echoes around our country, today; She told of an attitude of “Entitlement with which they struggle.”

The “Big E,” as we call it, is when employees express their belief that others and the organization to which they belong, are somehow blessed by their presence. Often there is no evidence supporting their right to a favored state, just a belief in their own minds that they, somehow, deserve special treatment, recognition, pay or all three.

She put it like this; “We are consistently faced with younger employees believing that we (older employees and the company) are somehow fortunate in our association with them.

They come to work late or miss deadlines and believe it to be Okay,” she says. “It seems, as if, they believe the organization should be thankful that they decided to come to work, at all.”

The Entitlement attitude seems to be more prevalent among younger employees. Our experience has been that many of the Generation Y employees do, somehow, believe that they have a right to a job. A belief, I support, at least in part. I believe that there is work for anyone who wants to work, not necessarily the work you may want, but work from which you can earn a living. That does, somewhat, differ from the Generation Y notion.

So, what can or should you do about an attitude of entitlement, whether it comes from Generation Y employees or elsewhere? We believe that corporate America is in control and if the attitude of Entitlement is an issue, in your company, you can do something about it. Here is what we recommend:

  1. Clearly state expectations before you hire anyone.
  2. Get agreement before you hire
  3. Have a “Zero Tolerance Policy”
  4. Operate with integrity

Many organizations complain about poor attitudes but shoot themselves in the foot by not being clear about the values of the organization, their expectations of the employee and enforcing their own rules. Organizations should know their values and clearly share them with potential employees, but few do, they should create a “Top Ten Reasons People Work for XYZ Corp.”, A Values Statement, and a clear, easy to read statement of expectations in the job a candidate is being asked to fill. Get them to sign and date those documents and keep them as a permanent record that the candidate acknowledged your expectation and agreed to them. That document should go in the employee file. That takes care of item 1 & 2, now let’s talk about the rest.

Many organizations want people who have a great attitude, many do not, but it is their own fault. They continue to believe that they can put into someone something that is not there, hire someone that is marginal, and somehow expect superior performance. That seldom occurs. The key to having the right people and attitudes on your bus is hiring excellent people, in the first place and realizing we are all human and make mistakes, sometimes hiring the wrong person. When you hire someone who does not wish to adhere to something they agreed to before the hiring and obviously the wrong person for the job, fire them. That takes care of 3 & 4 above.

Applying these four simple rules will, I guarantee, diminish the number of employees that believe they are entitled to their jobs, but most importantly, send a clear message to the many people in your organization that you value their good work ethics and operate with integrity.

Stephen J. Blakesley, Managing Partner, GMS Talent L P ( http://www.gmstalent.com ) is a Successful Entrepreneur, Marketeer, Author, Radio Show Host, and Speaker. His two, most recent books, “The Target-The Secret to Superior Performance; ( http://www.targetthebook.com ) and Strategic Hiring – Tomorrow’s Benefits Today are top resources for business owners, mangers and C-Level executives.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Stephen_J._Blakesley

  

How to Break Up With a Business Partner

by  Dawn Reiss

Break-ups are always difficult. Some are more amicable than others. When it comes to the legalities of a divorce, be it personal or a business relationship, most people run to an attorney and prepare for battle.

It may become necessary, but there’s another route that should be tried first: mediation.

Before you groan and roll your eyes, consider this: if a separation can’t be decided in court, a judge can send two people, already represented by lawyers, into mediation before they can settle in court. Why? Because at its core, mediation is about using counseling so you can break up and sever that relationship in the friendliest and fairest way — or at least come to a mutual agreement that can then become a legal document.

 John Hassey Mediation.

John Hassey

“I don’t think people realize money is the physical manifestation of emotion,” says John Hassey, 35, of Chicago-based John Hassey Mediation. Money represents the time, effort, hard work and the “I deserve this monetary compensation factor” which is the emotional value of the relationship. “It’s healthy, even in a business divorce, to acknowledge those emotions in the process,” Hassey says. “Mediation isn’t removing the emotion from the process; it is acknowledging the emotion so you can come to a logical and fair agreement.”

That’s something that can be lost in the traditional legal process.

Nicole Brucker

Nicole Brucker

“Most business people aren’t as comfortable with someone called a mediator and assume an attorney will have their best interest,” says Nicole Brucker, 32, a divorce mediator who runs The Sapient Solution Advisor and is a registered investment adviser with her Series 7 license. “But lawyers aren’t trained in the long-term emotional implications of that, which is where a skilled mediator can come in.”

For example, Brucker says she knows a CEO who retired after he was bought out by his business partner. Years later, when that former CEO became a client of Brucker’s, he still feels like he wasn’t given a fair deal; not because the financial compensation wasn’t correct or substantial, but because there wasn’t any closure. He no longer talks to his former business partner of 15 years because he feels like the company was taken away from him, Brucker says. “When you are an entrepreneur, an owner, that company becomes a representative of you, an appendage, and when you hand it over, you have to grieve that loss, which can be very difficult for some people,” Brucker says. “A lot of people just want to be heard or validated in how they feel. If you have these resentments they are going to lead to regret. Everyone still needs time to grieve that loss, because the process is hard and it’s about finding a mutual solution that doesn’t give anyone everything you want.”

 Here’s How:

Recognize that like any divorce, usually one person wants to get things over with and the other person is a little further behind.

 Forget Myth No. 1: Counseling is Only About Keeping the Relationship Together

That’s just not true, says Hassey. “The goal of mediation is to help people get the most informed and fairest choices for them and their divorces,” he says.

 Forget Myth No. 2: Break-ups are Always Bad

Depending on what happens, it can end up being the most positive thing you do and give you a new lease on life, personally, financially and emotionally.

Say Any Idea

One of the most important things to do, says Hassey, is to discuss every possible idea, no matter how many times it has been discussed before, how ridiculous it sounds, because when you squash ideas, it wipes out the creative process rather than pulling pieces of every idea to create a viable solution.

 List the Reasons for the Dissolution

Include both business-related issues as well as emotional ones, says Brucker.

 Want more tips on working with a business partner? Check these out:

Slow Down the Communication Process and Become an Active Listener

Simply put: shut up, listen, and then verbally repeat everything that was just said. “While one person is talking, the other is thinking about what they want to say next,” Hassey says. “It’s no wonder that the conflict is happening because they are just talking at each other.” Hassey only allows one client to talk and the other can’t respond; the only thing they can do is paraphrase what the other person just said. When they are done, the counterpart gets the chance to do the same. “I force my clients to do this and at first they get annoyed,” Hassey says. “But it slows down the communication process, to stop rapid-fire disagreements, where everyone is shooting. The beautiful bi-product is it creates empathy between people.”

Talk about the Taboo Topics

What are your biggest concerns? What are your fears? Discuss the topics everyone has been avoiding, that usually include infidelity. Just like a marriage, business infidelity can mean addressing the unethical behavior of one business partner who is using the partnership to benefit that person individually or hiding a business connection from the other partner, instead of sharing the resources to benefit the entire company.

Plan for the Future

Think about where you will be five years from now. Discuss non-compete, non-disclosure clauses, and think about how much or how little you each will interfere with each other’s businesses in the future.

 Dawn Reiss is a Chicago-based journalist and a former St. Petersburg Times and Dallas Morning News staff writer who writes for a variety of outlets including: TIME magazine/Time.com and the Chicago Tribune.

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