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10 Ways to Add QR Codes to Your Company’s Marketing Mix

by  TashaCunningham

Have you ever heard of a QR code or Microsoft Tag? If those terms sound likes a foreign language to you, you\’re not alone. While major brands like Kraft Foods, Procter and Gamble and Macy\’s have embraced them in their marketing campaigns recently, the average small business owner doesn\’t have a clue about using QR codes to drive customers to their products and services.

Although they\’ve have been around since the early 90s, QR codes didn\’t catch on in the United States until recently. QR or Quick Response codes are 2-dimensional bar codes, similar to ones you would find on a price tag at the clothing store. Using a scanner or reader available on your smartphone, your potential customers can scan the code and see where it takes them. Major brands use QR codes to take customers to discounts, freebies and special promotions.  A Microsoft Tag works just like a QR code, but can only be scanned with a Microsoft Tag Reader.

‘QR codes have helped us introduce our company to an entirely new customer base,’ said Amy Bergeron, director of marketing at the Kursch Group, a commercial real estate company in Victorville, California. ‘We\’ve put QR codes in storefronts of properties we are marketing. Now when potential buyers scan the QR codes with their smart phones, it takes them to a website that is set to showcase a particular location. They can see pictures of the property, get details such as square footage and price and contact a realtor all without having to make a phone call or search the Internet.’

qrcode

Guerzo Business Solutions QR Code

While QR codes and Microsoft Tags can be used to educate potential customers about a product or service, they can also be used to reward them for their interest in your brand. Major corporations like Best Buy, Starbucks and Nike are using QR codes to cultivate new customers and thank existing ones who have been loyal to the respective brand.

‘We\’re seeing marketers using QR codes to create buzz and get consumers excited about their brands,’ said Matthias Galica, creator of ShareSquare, a founder and CEO of ShareSquare, a platform that allows anyone to create, share and market QR codes. ‘QR codes have been around for a long time and are in use around the world, but in the U.S., they\’ve taken off because now there is an installation base. As long as you have a smart phone, you can install a QR code reader. That has caused an explosion in the popularity of QR codes.’

So how can you use QR codes and Microsoft Tags in your business? Here are 10 ideas to get you started and remember, when potential customers go to the trouble of scanning your QR codes or tags, it is imperative that you give them something they can use.

1. GIVE THEM A DISCOUNT. When customers scan your code, reward them with a coupon for a 20discount off their next purchase.

2. GIVE THEM A DAILY DEAL. Encourage customers to scan the same QR code every day for a week to get a daily deal good for discounts, freebies and other rewards. This will create constant buzz about your product or service and keep your customers coming back.

3. GIVE THEM A FREEBIE. When customers scan your QR code, give them something free like a product sample or a 2-for-1 deal.

4. REWARD THEM FOR TAKING ACTION. Use QR codes to build your Facebook fan page or e-mail newsletter list. When customers scan your QR code, take them to a website where they can sign up for your e-mail newsletter or like your Facebook page. Once they complete the call to action, send them an e-mail with a discount, freebie or special promotion.

5. GIVE THEM A FREE DOWNLOAD. If you use e-books to market your business, use QR codes to distribute them. When customers scan the code, give them a free e-book download and the opportunity to sign-up to receive future special promotions from your company.

6. GIVE THEM FREE TICKETS. If you use event marketing to promote your business, use QR codes to hand out free tickets. When the code is scanned, make sure it leads to a website where potential customers can download their free tickets.

7. GIVE THEM EXCLUSIVE ACCESS. QR codes can be used to give potential and existing customers exclusive VIP access to events, sales and special promotions. When the code is scanned ensure that it leads to a website, video, text message or phone number that will allow customers to enjoy their exclusive access.

8. GIVE THEM A HEADS UP. If you want to pique a customer\’s interest in a specific product or service that you\’re planning to offer on sale, use QR codes and tags to tell them about it in advance. Place a QR code on your printed marketing materials that leads to a website where customers can get details about the sale and even pre-order.

9. GIVE THEM AN INVITATION. Use QR codes or tags in your event marketing to invite potential customers to events. If you\’re having a launch party for a new product, create a QR code that leads to the event invite and a way for customers to RSVP.

10. GIVE THEM SOME HELP. Use QR codes or tags to give customers more information about your product or service. Put a QR code or Microsoft Tag on your website, printed marketing materials or promotion items that leads to an FAQ web page where customers can get answers to their questions via e-mail or live chat.

Additional Tips:

  • Educate your customers about QR codes and how they can use them to get access to discounts, special offers and other promotions that will save them money on your product or service.
  • Show your customers where they can download QR code readers for iPhone, Android and Blackberry to unlock your company\’s QR codes.
  • Place links to popular code readers on your marketing materials to make it easy for customers to unlock your QR codes.
  • Use one of these five free tools to generate QR codes for your business

ShareSquarehttp://www.GetShareSquare.com

BeQRious http://www.beqrious.com/

Delivrhttp://delivr.com/

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Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/marketing-tips-articles/10-ways-to-add-qr-codes-to-your-companys-marketing-mix-4890165.html

About the Author

Tasha Cunningham is a newspaper columnist and technology expert who has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times and numerous other media outlets.

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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!

Employment Matchmaking

by Patricia Guerzo 

So you’ve finally decided to take the plunge, and add a new person to your team.  This is an area where how you go about it – process – makes a big difference in finding and retaining the right person.

In a small business, recruiting is one activity that happens so infrequently that it’s unlikely the owner will be good at it.  Plus, the multitude of steps required to find, screen, interview, and orient them can be overwhelming.

If you choose to do it yourself, here are some steps that will save time, weed out poor fits, and increase the likelihood that your chosen candidate will be a long-term contributor to your business.

Know what you want.  This is obvious, right?  Not really.  Most times, an owner will think of every trait they want, creating a superhuman expectation that cannot be fulfilled.  Write down what you want, and see if you know anyone with all those skills.  Separate the must-haves from the nice-to-haves.

Create an ad to match those must-have needs.  You will get the highest number of qualified applicants if you “bait your hook” with the right bait.  Your bait is the words in the ad.

If the person will be expected to take orders or support others, you may not want someone who responds to “self-motivated” or “self-starter.”  Try using “team player” and “diplomatic” instead.

If you need a business development “hunter,” skip the references to a team environment.  Your ideal candidate will identify with “highly driven,” “excellent opportunity,” and “growing company looking for new markets.”

Match the recruiting process with the job.  Do you want someone to make cold calls?  Then have them respond by calling you.  If you want someone to follow instructions, create a process that requires them to follow instructions.  This is a sure-fire way to weed out people who don’t have the personality for the job, even before they interview.

Prepare interview questions in advance.  The stakes are too high to rely on a resume’ or to use a gut feel to make a decision.  People can hire professional resume’ writers, and unfortunately, desperate people might be less than truthful.

Questions should produce a SOAR response:  Situation, Obstacles, Actions, Results.  Keep this acronym in mind during the interview, and prompt the candidate for missing pieces.

Have an orientation plan.  After you find the right person, make them successful.  Too often, owners believe that “the right person” will know what to do.  Give your new employee the best chance to succeed, by painting a picture of what they need to learn and do within their probationary period.

If you have other employees, make sure they know how to support the new hire.  Set the expectation that they will help them succeed, and find unique ways each person can contribute.  Is there a role for a mentor, resource for questions, or even a schedule to take the new person to lunch?  These things can keep internal dynamics on track.

Remember, increased staff is necessary to grow.  By focusing on the hiring process, you will find and then create your winning team.

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

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

Workplace Humor: Are We Having Fun Yet?

By Allen Klein, MA, CSP (aka Mr. Jollytologist®)

“If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play.”

– John Cleese

Work places are not necessarily fun places. Yet research has found that people who have fun at work are apt to be more productive and have a lower rate of absenteeism.

How to add some fun to a not-so-funny workplace is, of course, a challenge. A recent issue of Inc. magazine, however, gave some clues of how to do just that. Some of their suggestions and examples are below.

  • First, identify people at your organization who share some common traits such as having attended the same college, bike to work, or perhaps have the same first and last names that begin with the same letter. Then, bring one group together at a time and see if they can determine the common denominator.
  • Doing spring cleaning in your office? Make that fun too by offering prizes for the oldest or strangest or funniest items to emerge from the clutter. The most fossilized food gets a special prize.
  • Post a cartoon, without it’s caption, or photograph over the copier each day. Have employees add a funny caption on a piece of paper underneath the photo or cartoon.
  • For a great social lubricant at meetings, or a way of getting to know new employees, ask everyone to write down two facts about themselves that are true and one that isn’t. Then have people try and guess which is the fib.
  • Hold a food fest. Have something like a cookie contest or barbecue rib-off. Ask employees to bring their favorites in those categories and have judges or customers select the best.
  • One company, P. J. Salvage in Irvine, California, lightens up their staff’s workload by providing tea and scones every afternoon at three.
  • Another company, Sub Pop Records in Seattle, Washington, once hired a pet psychic for a day. Employees brought in their furry friends for an analysis session.

As the Inc. magazine article shows, there are lots of ways to add more fun to dull workdays. But you’ve got to plan them. Sometimes fun takes a little bit of work.

Allen Klein is a professional speaker and author of The Healing Power of Humor. He can be reached at humor@allenklein.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.

Employee Issues Resolved

Have you ever thought one thing was your problem, only to find out it was something different?

In business, it is especially painful to solve a symptom instead of the root cause. The money spent is essentially wasted on a band-aid. Instead you should focus on preventative care or surgery that cures the root of the problem.

At Guerzo Business Solutions Center, we have heard employees described alternately as, “The problem that keeps on giving;” and “We are just like a family with the infighting and favoritism.”  Does this sound familiar?

In a small business, any dynamic can become an issue due to a lack of written procedures on the jobs, policies, and company. The problems that result look like unmotivated employees, finger-pointing errors, ducking and covering, turnover, and a lack of profitable growth.   Because the owner created the whole dynamic, he often does not have the perspective to change it.

This is where Guerzo Business Solutions Center can be your employee relations team.  With a MBA concentration in Organizational Design, and an Internal Auditor Certification, Patti Guerzo is well positioned to see the root cause and fix it the first time.

Here is a situation Guerzo Business Solutions Center (GBSC) addressed in 2010.

A 2-location medical spa was experiencing employee non-compliance to policies and disrespect toward management.  The negative environment was evident to clients, and was also causing staff turnover.

Our field process began with a DISC Assessment of each employee to understand their underlying personalities, and a confidential interview with each.  This led to a report of findings, which identified previously unknown issues.  After agreeing on each point, we prioritized the list, and GBSC created a project timeline.  Patti coached the owner and management to understand the rules and policies that created the friction.

The specific fixes and outcomes for this client:

  • Job descriptions for all, included in the employee manual
  • Revised policies, compliant with all rules
  • Employee handbook rewritten to increase motivation and commitment
  • Retool employee goal tracking system
  • New Team incentive geared off company sales
  • Assessment of how the business can increase profitability
  • Two problem employees quit
  • One problem employee was terminated
  • Better morale and increased trust from remaining staff

The owner now has the confidence to make future changes without jeopardizing the progress he has already made.

What are the employee concerns in your company? Do you know? Imagine how your company would benefit from having a field assessment. How would your company morale, employee and client satisfaction grow through clear employee handbooks, tailored HR training and other proven techniques?

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/contact_us.asp

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