5 Best Remote Working Strategies to Stay Safe During Social Distancing
1 April

5 Best Remote Working Strategies to Stay Safe During Social Distancing

With a bulk of the world’s businesses being thrown into a completely new remote workspace dynamic, many employees and employers are trying to adapt to the changes as quickly as possible to minimize the strain that’s been placed on their normally structured routines. The sudden transition from well-designed productivity spaces to much less formal home working environments has caused a great deal of confusion and challenges for workforces in practically every industry out there. The change has left some managers and employees scrambling to adjust their approaches in a number of ways in order to find the best remote working strategies during the global social distancing practices. Whether you’re adept at remote working conditions or you’re completely inexperienced with continuing business outside of the office, here are a few tips to help you restructure your approach to navigate the distance between you and your team:

Remote Working Strategies Starting Point: Assess the Situation

With the sudden drastic changes business owners and employees are facing, many entrepreneurs feel like they’re fumbling around in the dark in their attempts to navigate the new process of working remotely. For those who are struggling to get started, one of the easiest ways to begin is simply to assess the current situation and take stock of what has changed, what isn’t working, and what needs to change in order to smooth things over during this transition.

By taking a quick step back and assessing your current situation, figuring out the best plan of action to successfully continue working remotely can become clearer. To put it simply, your first step should simply be to take a look at what aspects of your structured work environment are most essential to its effectiveness and find ways to provide these aspects to both your own home work environment as well as those of any of your employees. These items can be as simple as providing the necessary equipment (laptop, printer, phone, etc.) or more complex like providing remote access to a server, network connectivity, files, and other more industry specific items. Whatever you or your team need access to in the workplace, there needs to be access remotely in order to successfully work from home.

Address any Team Concerns or Questions Immediately

After the initial setup has begun and you (and/or your employees) are settling into your home working environments, it’s important to do another assessment of the situation. As things begin to progress remotely, there will inevitably be bumps in the road as well as several unforeseen frustrations that arise over the changes. It’s important to take stock of what is (and what is not) working for you and your work team in order to address any issues or concerns as quickly as possible.

Staying flexible and acting swiftly are the best ways to overcome any of these hurdles that will come up over the course of the remote phase. This is done by being understanding of the expected changes and by making note of any issues as well as checking frequently with your team to find out what their needs may be. From there, you need to attentively make the changes needed to provide solutions to any issues, questions, or concerns.

Have Necessary Resources on Hand for You and Your Team

As you and your team adapt to the social distancing conditions, understand that each person will likely have a widely varying degree of what resources they’ll need access to. For the more obvious reason (different team members need access to different areas and items based on their position within the team), needed resources may seem obvious (vendor files for sales, accounting software for bookkeepers, etc.). For others, however, resources needed may not be as obvious.

Some of your team members may need remote access to a shared server, while others may need access to high-speed internet if they live in more remote areas and don’t have reliable service at home. Speak with your team members and find out what items they may need to help them with their processes at home and address these resource needs in order to make sure they can stay connected and as productive as possible in an environment that’s much less structured than their usual workspace. If you’re an employee and feel as though you’re struggling with the resources you’ve been given, be sure to speak to your team leader or manager and allow them to help you find a solution that works best for you all.

Stay Connected Regularly with Team Members

The only way to effectively keep the wheels turning during the remote working phase is to stay in frequent contact with all members of your team. Understanding that not all employees will need a constant link to their managers in order to stay focused, you need to be available often and as needed. You’ll want to make sure your team knows you are there for any support or questions, but you also need to give them the space to navigate their own remote workspaces as well as give updates and feedback on how things are going.

Having regular video or conference meetings scheduled can help keep a form of structure in an otherwise unstructured work environment as well as provide a prime opportunity for updates and feedback. It’s important, however, to keep these brief so they aren’t overbearing or adding to the stress of working remotely. Try to remain positive and brief with these updates and keep detailed discussions limited to more direct task-specific conversations. Assigning partners or teams for various areas with a designated team leader can help keep everyone connected with additional resources and less demand on overall managers as well.

Provide Positive and Consistent Feedback Frequently

“Optimism is contagious. Leaders who demonstrate hopefulness and confidence in the future are better able to help their team members find meaning and purpose in work, especially under stressful conditions,” explains Harvard Business Review.

Remaining flexible and ensuring your team’s resources are being met are some of the most important aspects to navigating a change in your work experience, but they aren’t the only factors involved in its rate of success. Keep your finger on the pulse of your team members and be sure to address any issues quickly (or as an employee, bring any issues to your manager’s attention as soon as possible) in order to minimize stress levels and maximize productivity. Communicate with your team frequently and remain positive with a focus on optimism and progress updates as much as possible. Keeping these essential tips in mind will help you successfully manage the social distancing work scenario.

Networking 101: How to Make the Most of Your Acquaintance Resources
1 February

Networking 101: How to Make the Most of Your Acquaintance Resources

By now, you’ve likely learned that your business associates and acquaintances can be an extremely valuable commodity for any entrepreneur. No matter what line of business you’re in, having meaningful connections with others in your field and your community can help your business ventures exponentially… but how?

The Key to Successful Networking

When it comes to networking, there’s one key concept to keep in mind: it’s always better to focus on having true connections with your associates than it is to branch out and stockpile a laundry list of networking individuals. In other words, as with most relationships, focus on the quality of your relationship versus the quantity.

While you may be tempted to get out there and spread your business card all over town and collect those of others with fervor, networking is more than simply meeting an individual in the same line of work. It’s also not about the “big” names in the business either. Networking takes – wait for it – work. Yes, you need to work at developing meaningful connections with your network or it won’t get you anywhere. So, how do you do that?

Stay Relevant with Meeting Room Functions

Developing and maintaining relevant networking connections is a multi-dimensional process that involves both getting to know your associates as well as making it known what kind of worth you bring to the table as well. Networking is about a mutual growth in which we offer help to others while gaining connections and opportunities simultaneously (but without expecting anything in return).

In order to achieve this, you’ll need to find ways to stay relevant and at the front of the minds of others in your area and field of interest. You want to be the one they think of when they have a need in your area. How do you do this? Offer your time and/or your services. Try hosting a training seminar or workshop to offer valuable advice or tips to help others. Don’t have the space to do this? Check out meeting room rentals or event spaces you can utilize regularly to impress your connections with both professional presentation as well as valuable information.

Be Helpful and Be Appreciative

“As you meet new people and build your network, keep in mind the value of each relationship. Reaching out to someone you’ve met once when you need something isn’t going to build trust – you need to offer your resources to open the door for mutual benefit down the road,” explains Forbes.com.

In other words, if you want to have truly valuable networking experience, you need to remember the road goes both ways. You need to invest your time and effort into developing meaningful relationships in order to get the most out of potential future opportunities from them. Take the time to get to know your acquaintances, invite them to relevant opportunities like workshops or conferences, and be sure to show them you appreciate their time and acquaintance. Invest your time and effort into building not just an expansive network, but a quality network that’s rich with solid potential.

The Best Strategies to Increase Your Bottom Line
15 November

The Best Strategies to Increase Your Bottom Line

Whether you’re a new business owner or a veteran staple in your market, business owners share one major concern: how to increase their bottom line. Let’s face it, the point of being in business is to turn a profit, so naturally, finding ways to increase that profit would be a prime topic of discussion, yes?

Traditional Means

Many business owners are familiar with the concept of spending money to make money – it’s Business 101. More often than not, business owners need to invest funds into proper areas (marketing, staffing, office space, products and services are just a few of these) in order to boost their sales. These are considered the traditional means of boosting strategies, but they are not the only ways to achieve a bottom-line bump.

Non-Traditional Means

It may surprise you to know there are actually ways new business owners (and even veteran business owners) can improve their bottom line without spending a single dime. Yes, you read that right – there are ways to fatten your pockets without thinning them first. How? Let’s take a look at some of the lesser known, non-traditional means of increasing your bottom line.

The Best Strategies to Increase Your Bottom Line

“Getting over that seven-figure (revenue) hump is often an indicator that your business has longevity to it. But getting there can be tricky, stressful, and time-consuming,” writes Forbes.com.

Learning how to get to that pivotal revenue point boils down to initiating successful profit-boosting strategies. It’s also about minimizing the outflow of cash needed to implement these strategies since without minimization, the profit boost can be negated. Not to mention, it’s tough to let go of funds when you’re trying to increase them.

Tweak Your Online Marketing Strategies

One of the easiest ways to add to your profit margin is by pairing up with other local businesses or related products and services. Essentially, by including promoted products or reviews via a link inside your existing digital marketing strategies can bring about extra cash flow. How? It’s what’s described by Forbes as Affiliate Marketing and means that by utilizing links within your website for other products, your business can earn funds each time your customers follow the link.

Utilize Your Email Lists

Another completely free asset you can use to boost profits? Your email lists. As advanced as digital technology is today, it’s easy peasy to set up automatic emails to your customer base that will entice them to visit your site. Don’t let your customer contact lists sit dormant, use them to promote your business by way of sharing blog posts, upcoming events, and even set special VIP sales as appreciation for those on your current list.

Initialize Semi-Annual Audits

Simple as it sounds, one of the best ways to boost profit margins is by cutting your expenses. Make it a priority to go through your budget a few times a year and make sure you’re only sticking with the things you need for your business. If certain areas are no longer working, don’t be afraid to cut them before they eat up more of your existing budget. Also, be sure to take stock of all of your material items and products, to ensure you’re not continually pouring out funds for items that have very little benefit to you.

Overall, the best tricks you can utilize to keep increasing your profit are ones that make the most of your existing resources. Be sure to maximize your budget and audit yourself frequently, as well as continuing usage on all of your available (and free) assets.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Starting Your Own Business
1 November

The Do’s and Don’ts of Starting Your Own Business

When you’re working on a plan to begin your own business, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with concepts like budgets, marketing schemes, and investment opportunities among other things. It can be extremely taxing and confusing and sometimes you may want to throw in the towel. We hear you. Just breathe and try to simplify things a tad with some basic do’s and don’ts of starting your own business.

Starting a Business

Chances are, if you’re in the process of starting your own business, you’ve practically buried yourself in researching how to make it successful. With so much information out there, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and forget some of the most basic business essentials. Don’t fret, however, these aren’t another list of things to keep on your “to-do” list, but rather, a reminder of how to tweak your approaches to get the most out of your new business.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Starting Your Own Business

Rather than focusing on the details, sometimes the best thing you can do is to keep the big picture in mind. The best way to do that is to remain flexible in your approach and try to avoid closed-minded thinking. What do we mean? Always stay vigilant and observant as you try different tactics – if something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to cut ties and try a new approach.

“Being flexible can make the difference between growing and stagnating,” explains Forbes.com. As such, keeping the following do’s and don’ts in mind should help you through the process of starting your own business:

The Most Important Do’s

While there are business plan protocols out there that help you learn every step of how to start a business, making it a successful one is up to you. Thankfully, there are a few “do’s” you can incorporate into your plan to help ensure you have the best shot at success.

What is the most important thing you can do? Utilize the help and knowledge of colleagues and friends. Having a solid (and diverse) set of acquaintances as resources and support will greatly improve your chances of success. Try asking old bosses, coworkers, friends, or other professionals in the same field for their invaluable input on your journey. Need ideas or inspiration? Coworking spaces can put you in touch with professionals from all walks of careers and can be an amazing resource for beginning business owners.

Other do’s to keep in mind:

  • Place primary focus on your investment pitch to ensure you give yourself the best chance at primo opportunities
  • Make contingency plans to have a backup in case critical components are shot down (this plays in to the whole “be flexible” part we mentioned earlier)
  • Be digital to be seen and know that a large part of a business’s success today boils down to creative networking both on and off-line

The Most Important Don’ts

Just as there are things to do when you’re starting your own business, there are also things you should not do. Perhaps the most important of these “don’ts” is to ensure you don’t act impulsively. Forbes.com stresses that new business owners should never make a business decision out of haste or on a whim – instead, be sure to thoroughly research before you make any business decisions.

Other don’ts to keep in mind:

  • Never give up on your goals. Understand you will likely face a lot of rejection in the process, but it only takes a single “yes” to get the ball rolling, so keep at it.
  • Don’t assume you’re the underdog. While you may be a new business owner, you’ve done your homework and are a force to be reckoned with so don’t let others intimidate you.
  • Don’t accept things at face value. You will need to look deeper at every angle, and never accept things as they appear at first – this includes investment opportunities.