How You Know You’ve Bagged An Expert For Your Business

Your business is in its founding stages, and it needs a few boosts to be able to go further. And most of all, it needs to have a good team on hand to spearhead it into success and prosperity! You, as the owner and founder, need a team of people with the right skills around you, who know what they’re doing, and can take initiative whenever the opportunity presents itself. And all in all, you need an expert or two to help you out.

But how can you be sure that you’re getting one? Let’s make sure you can spot the signs of a real expert when one walks into the interview. It’ll be a real boost for your business if you have a talent for talent!


They’re Not a Know It All (a.k.a., they listen)

If you want to have an expert on hand, either to write some copy for your website or to design the graphics you’re thinking of putting on the side of the company vehicles, they need to be someone who listens to you first. They need to be attentive to what you want to see, or what you want to read, before they pitch their own ideas. Most of all, they need to be receptive to what you have to say, and not simply brush it aside! This is your business, after all, and they’re only here to help.

So if you’re dealing with an expert, they’ll be professional about everything they have to say and do. They’ll be pleasant, they’ll have some ideas to ping off of you, and they’ll note down everything that it is you want from them and their work. If they’re a know it all, they’re unlikely to do any of these things!

They Have a Portfolio (or something similar)

An expert is someone who has past work to show you, and is able to present relevant work, if they have it. Of course, there’s a lot of talented people out there without portfolios, but they should still have something to show you to prove to you that they’re the one for your business.

If you want to hire an expert, or to just use the services of one for the foreseeable future, you need to be able to do your research. They might have a social media profile where they post snippets of what they’re working on. They might have a website that proves they’re a truck crash expert. They might just have a reference or two from people they’ve worked for before, who were in a similar position to you, and had their problems solved by the person in front of you.

You can go all the way through a hiring process, and bring on someone you feel really good about –  but then their subsequent work turns up subpar, and you don’t have the time or resources to train them, and you start to doubt your ability to run your business. So know how to identify!

Five Ways To Ace Your Next Public Speaking Engagement

Public Speaking can leave the calmest and most collected person breaking out in a sweat. We can’t all deliver awe-inspiring speeches, a la Barack Obama, but there are small things that we can do to make sure that our own presentations go off without a blip.

Practice, Practice, Practice.

Of course, you’ll need to rehearse your presentation quite a few times. It may seem tricky to take several minutes out of your day, but try to think of a few minutes you’ll have alone to run over what you’ve written. Another common practice is to record yourself talking, it will give you a chance to hear how you’ll be heard by your audience, catch any typos or grammatical errors and will allow you to time yourself, as it’s easy to speed ahead when you’re feeling a tad nervous. Even get your family or roommates in on the action, they’re bound to give you helpful feedback that may help when it comes to the big day. While you don’t have to read directly from your notes, it’s always a good idea to have them on hand, instead of just winging it.

Get in the zone

Accept that nervousness is a totally normal, human emotion. Feeling nervousness engages our ‘fight or flight’ response and in turn produces adrenaline, which will help you think faster, speak more eloquently, and add passion and enthusiasm whilst you convey your message. Some use this extra boost to take a boxing class beforehand or sit down for some quiet meditative contemplation. No matter what you choose, make sure you’re in the right headspace before you’re at the front.


Come Prepared

Going back to ensuring that you know your topic inside out, there’s no point in being pumped and ready to go and present, only to find out that your notes have been lost in the Cloud or that your laptop has failed you. Company experts like Prosource Technology Solutions, specialise in ways for you to backup and disaster-proof your data, especially in times of need. Find out more about their systems here: pstsonline.com.

Don’t try to be the best.

Think back to your favourite TED-Talk. Did they make a mistake or stumble over their words once or twice? You bet they did. We’re not robots (for now!) and fear of public speaking often stems from a deep fear of imperfection or rejection. It’s a guaranteed fact that no-one ever gets it perfect all the time, so how can you expect yourself to? Instead of striving toward the unachievable, take a breath, relax and be yourself. Trust that you know your subject and the audience is there to hear you speak knowledgeably about it.

Know your subject matter.

That being said, invest some time and make sure that you know your topic completely. Study books, lectures, anything you can get your hands on until the words become like second nature. Once you become completely confident on your chosen subject, there will be less room for nerves, after all, you may be the most authoritative in the room.

Conferences Cracked

Are you planning a conference and feeling lost before you’ve even started? If organising isn’t one of your strengths, then you’ll need to check out our smart guide to conference planning that wins every time.

Let us talk you through everything from scheduling to invites in this short but effective guide.

Find Your People

It would be easy to work with your friends and colleagues you find fun and easy going but you need quality workers with you. Gather your team and set out the proposal as you see it. Assign roles and get those initial tasks assigned as soon as possible.


Get Tech

The last thing you need is everyone working on the same thing, in the dark, with no real clue what anyone else is doing so get completely up to date with a rocking event management system.

This is software that keeps everyone on track and helps you, as the manager, oversee the whole thing and tick off tasks as you go.

Dates

Have your team contact all your must-haves, or first tier, conference attendees and offer them three potential dates. Get the info back as soon as you can and narrow it down to two possibilities. Then you’ll be in a good position to source your conference facility. Go somewhere you know has a great reputation or somewhere that you have used before so you know you’re getting good value for money.

Once the conference is booked you’ll be able to send out all your invitations, including all the invitees who didn’t make it into the first tier.

Countdown

This is when the clock starts ticking and you, along with your team, need to get into the finer details. Take a look at what tech you’ll need to get started. This will probably include microphones, projectors and so on. You’ll also need to make sure that the wifi signal at the facility is strong and easily accessible for all your delegates.

Next, equally as important, are refreshments. Your delegates will need regular access to coffee, pastries and sandwiches to keep them going, so make sure you book sufficiently in advance with a caterer or use the conference facility’s on-site team. Remember to check on your list of delegates if there are any special dietary requirements.

On the day itself run through a checklist with your team and assign roles, ranging from welcoming delegates to overseeing the catering and being on hand for tech support. Make sure everyone knows where they’re supposed to be and what they’re supposed to be doing. Distribute a list of mobile phone numbers so the answer to a question is only a call or text away, rather than chasing someone around the building.

You’re all set for a seamless conference thanks to your smart tech, smart planning and superb organisational skills. You’ll no doubt be called upon to organise many more conferences to come so make a note of your great team members and haul them back in when conference season comes round again.

Running Your Business From Home: Dare You Live The Dream?

In the digital age, entrepreneurially minded introverts are free to run their own business from home, from their favorite coffee shop or from pretty much anywhere else in the world. As we prepare for the rollout of 5G, it’s easier than ever for introverts to command online business empires and liaise with remote workers virtually anywhere in the world. If you dare to live the dream of running your very own business from the comfort of your own home, here are some boxes you’ll have to check…

Set clear working hours and stick to them

When you’re no longer constrained to an office building, you’re also no longer constrained to office hours. Nonetheless, it still behoves you to keep regular working hours every day. You don’t necessarily have to work a 9 to 5 (especially if you do business with countries and provinces with different time zones). You do, however, have to have a clear delineation between working hours and living hours. This will not only help you to remain mentally healthy, it will help you to remain productive as you avoid burning out. Speaking of which…

Plan breaks

It’s much harder to make time to take lunch and coffee breaks when you don’t have a boss to relieve you. When you’re on a roll, it can be hard to make time for yourself. Nonetheless, it can be more damaging for you in the long term if you don’t plan lunch, coffee and other rest breaks. Being able to put your brain on ice for a few minutes can work wonders for your productivity.

Invest in the right digital tools

Cost conscious entrepreneurs needn’t spend a fortune on high quality digital tools. There are lots of inexpensive (or even free) digital tools which will allow you to run every aspect of your operation from home. What’s more, since so many of today’s applications are completely cloud based, you can still run your business with aplomb when you go on holiday or if you need to take to the road. There’s a plethora of cloud based tools out there from bookkeeping software to word processing solutions and CRMs which are either completely free or eminently affordable. Take the time to find the right ones for you.

Take a little extra time to vet your employees if you won’t get to see them face to face

No matter how great you are at what you do, your business will rise or fall on the strength of the employees you choose to help you. Since you may not get the chance to meet them face to face you may not be able to rely so much on your gut instincts when it comes to recruiting, training and onboarding. Take extra care when choosing employees and check out our guide to choosing better staff.

With the right knowhow you can run a thriving enterprise in the place where you’re most comfortable!

How To Hire Better Quality Staff

It’s not the product or service that your business provides that’ll determine its success. It’s the people that are driving the company forward that’ll do that. If you have poor-quality staff on your team, then you’ll struggle to hit the heights that you’d like to reach. If, on the other hand, you have a staff of grade-A players, then you might find that you exceed your expectations. So how do you increase your chances of ending up in the latter position? By improving your hiring process. If that leads to excellent team members, you’ll end up with an excellent team. It’s that simple! Below, we take a look at how you can make this a reality.

Refine Your Ad

Your job advertisement is going to determine the quality of the people who are applying for the position. If you’ve got a long list of requirements — to the point where you sound demanding — then you’ll only get the bottom of the pile applicants. That’s not because they’re more drawn to those ads, but because the better candidates won’t bother applying. They know how good they are; they don’t want to prove everything. They want to work for companies who can take them places. Make sure you’re mentioning why your company will be good for the applicant!

Filtering Out

There’s such a thing as hiring fatigue. You can interview so many people, and, sooner or later, you’ll grow tired. It’s much better for your hiring process if you only meet with the people who really are quality candidates. Easier said than done? No. You just need to have a filtering system in place. For example, you could put all your potential candidates through a brief digital interview. The ones who impress you, you can then invite for a face to face meeting. It’ll help ensure that the only people who are making it to the latter interview rounds are people you want to have working for you.

Cultural Fit

The resume is, of course, important — but it shouldn’t be the only thing you look at. You could have an applicant with an impressive resume who would be the wrong employee for your business. Why? Because they’re not the right fit for your company culture. There’s more to an employee than what they’re capable of doing — they also need to believe in your ethos, work with other people, and so on.

Out of the Office

There’s only so much that you can learn about a person when you’re sat opposite them on your territory. That’s not necessarily the best side of them. In some cases, it will be the best side of them — they’re just really good at interviews. As well as the formal side of getting to know them on a professional level, it’s also worthwhile getting to know other sides of them, too. Look at mixing things up by meeting with them in the real world. You’ll get a good sense of who they are at heart when you have lunch or dinner.

Drop Those Extra Pounds Your Business Doesn’t Need

On the market right now, there are a number of businesses that offer the exact same service that you do. That is why the competition is so tough, and could also be the reason that so many businesses right now are not seeing the level of profits that they hoped for. If this is the case for your business, then you need to think about dropping some of those extra pounds that you can no longer afford. In this article, we are going to suggest three ways that you can do this, so if you are interested, keep reading.

Quality Not Quantity


Sometimes business owners forget that it is all about the quality of your staff rather than the amount you have. It could be the case that two people who are exceptional at their job could do the same thing as twenty average employees. That is why you need to make sure that when you are hiring new people to come aboard your business, they are going to benefit the company in some way. If not, then you are just paying a salary that is getting you no closer to your overall goal of more customers.

If you know that you have too many average workers in your company, then you need to start getting rid of some of them. It is probable that they are just costing your business money without giving much back to it, and this is something that can’t be happening right now. We know that firing people is always going to be hard, but for the sake of your business, you need to be able to do this.

The Equipment You Need

Another mistake that businesses make is buying too much equipment that they do not need. Instead, try making a list of the things that you know your business needs to be able to provide the correct service to your customers, and then build on this if necessary. For example, if you are concerned about safety, then you might need a high-temperature camera that can keep an eye on boilers and other equipment making sure that everything is still safe. This is the kind of thing that you are going to need on top of all the basic requirements for your service, so keep items like this in mind when you are making that list.

Services You Could Do Without


Not every company needs the same services as others on the market, and yet they think they do. For example, you might not need an entire IT department in your company when you could outsource the issue when things start to go wrong. The same thing could be said if you have a human resources department. Outsourcing could save you a lot of money here as you are going to have to pay less money to entire departments of your business that are not contributing effectively overall.

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now have some ideas that you can use to drop those extra pounds that your business can no longer afford.

Eco-Friendly Tips To Save Your Business Money

Business owners have many responsibilities and it can seem as if new ones crop up all the time. For instance, many companies have become increasingly concerned with the environmental impact of their operations. In addition to obligations to their customers, employees and stakeholders, they also embrace an obligation to the planet and future generations. Along with the positive effect this business decision has on their sustainability efforts, it also may attract new customers and burnish their corporate reputation. This is why so many leaders have sought to create a green culture within their organizations.

Fortunately, doing so may actually be easier than it sounds. It also can offer significant benefits beyond the obvious ones already mentioned. Becoming eco-friendly can increase your profitability and competitiveness by reducing costs. For example, installing timers or motion detectors to turn off lights when they’re not in use cuts utility bills as well as energy consumption. When it’s time to replace the toner cartridges in printers or copiers, consider recycling or refilling them instead of tossing them. You may receive a discount on replacements as you keep waste out of landfills. Switching your computers and other office equipment to energy-saving mode when not in use is another sound strategy to ensure your operations don’t use more resources than absolutely necessary.

Being environmentally responsible is just one of your priorities as a business, but it’s one that can easily fit into your operations. For more tips about saving money through eco-friendly practices, see the accompanying infographic.
Author bio: Robert S. Miller is President of Earthwise Environmental. He is a Certified Water Technologist who founded Earthwise in 1995 to address the need for sustainability in a stale water treatment industry.


Earthwise Environmental

How to Take Calculated Risks to Grow Your Career

Any big career move involves taking a risk. Whether you leave your nine to five job to pursue a passion project, accept a new role in a different department, or move to a new city for a career opportunity, it can be daunting to make a big transition.

Luckily, risk-taking doesn’t have to mean making a blind decision and hoping for the best. Rather, you can weigh all the pros and cons of an outcome with calculated risk-taking. You can carefully consider each step of the risk and have a strategy in place to handle any outcome.

There are helpful steps, tips, and tools you can use to assess risk. Use these to your advantage before making a decision. To start, break down the end goal into smaller micro-goals. Make a list of what could go wrong if you make the move. It can include a breakdown of your finances or budget, how you will work things into your schedule or calendar, and potential new routines.

Schedule checkpoints for yourself to see what type of progress you’re making. The more you understand all potential costs to that risk, the better you can improve its outcome.

For a helpful breakdown on how to take calculated risks, view the visual from Valpak below. It covers helpful steps to calculating risk and entrepreneurial business examples who have seen success with this method.

calculated-risks
Image by
Valpak

Specialist Services that Will Help You Grow Your Business

If you would like to grow your business and go from a one-man band into a multinational company, or open new branches, it is important that you change your attitude. You cannot do everything, and you have to accept the fact that you are not an expert in every single aspect of business. That is why you should either rely on outsourcing or take on someone who can manage the jobs you don’t have the time or skills to deal with while growing your business. Below you will find a few tips on which services to focus on.

Financial Coaching

Growing a business takes a lot of planning, and if you don’t get your finances right, you might run out of money before you complete the project. This is why you might want to sit down with a financial expert who can help you plan your budget and create a Plan B in case things don’t go as smoothly as you expected.

Marketing Consultancy

You cannot grow without finding new customers and increasing your market share. Most business owners are very good and passionate about what they are doing for their customers, but they have no idea how to communicate their value and create a  marketing campaign that will deliver the results on a budget. You might find a local sales funnel agency that will create a plan and automate your marketing, so you can focus on the project management side.

IT Services

Of course, you will also have to put technology to good use, when you are growing your business. You will need the new and old systems work smoothly together, so you can avoid some of the most common growing pains in your business. You can find an IT company that will help you take care of integration and ensure that everything is safe and as efficient as possible. Check out https://www.lexicon-int.com/services-solutions/managed-services/ to learn what an outsourced IT company can do to help you succeed.

Outsourced HR

When you plan to scale your business, you will need to find the right people who can replace you in at least a couple of roles. Project management, securing finance and dealing with investors can be time consuming, and this is why you will need to find an HR professional who will listen to your preferences and find the right people for each role.

Market Research

Business owners rely on data and intelligence, but this doesn’t mean that they love numbers. If you want to make informed decisions about your new project and market penetration, you will need to get professional advice. A market research company will gather all the business intelligence you will need to position yourself in the niche and successfully grow your venture.

When you decide to scale up your business, you will need to ask for and accept help from specialists who can give you the support and information you need to make your growth project a success.

How to Set Boundaries with Customers and Clients

It’s important to have a good relationship with your customers and clients. You want to be friendly and personal and make them feel like you truly care about their success. But in order to have a healthy relationship, you need to put certain boundaries in place. Consistent boundaries are essential for building a trusting partnership.

Hours of Operation

Decide when you’ll be available to your customers. Modern technology allows us to be at our customers’ beck and call around the clock. But there’s a reason why companies establish set hours of business. Choose your “hours of operation” and make them known. When choosing these times, keep in mind the needs of your clients and customers. You may want to choose later or earlier hours to accommodate.

Means of Communication

Decide how you will communicate with customers. Email and social media are both appropriate for business communications. You might want to be careful about texting or chatting apps. These can sometimes feel too personal and invasive. Ask yourself whether you want clients contacting you there. If you don’t habitually use these for business, there’s also the risk that messages might get lost.

Make Allowances for Urgent Issues

There may be some cases where you can bend the boundaries you’ve set. For example, you might tell clients they can reach you for urgent issues over the phone. You may check your business emails once on each weekend day. In order for this to work effectively, establish guidelines about what’s urgent and what isn’t.

Define Your Services

Although you’d like to be there for anything your customers and clients need, you should define exactly what services you can and can’t offer. If they want you to do something outside your defined services, decide whether you’ll do it for an additional charge.

Keep Your Distance

Some people don’t understand or respect boundaries, and there’s a good chance some of your customers will fall into this group. Identify these people early on and put strategies in place for dealing with them. Above all, be clear and honest with them about what is possible. Some strategies include:

  • Divert conversations away from too-personal topics
  • Make it clear exactly how long you can spend with them (“I’m sorry, I have to go now. I have a meeting in a few minutes”)
  • Acknowledge that you’ve heard what they said; don’t ignore it (“I can hear it’s very frustrating for you.”)
  • Propose something positive where possible  (“I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do to help with this but what I can do is…..”)

Learn How to Say “No”

We instinctively don’t like to say “no.” We all want to be helpful and don’t want to offend someone by rejecting their request. But it’s sometimes necessary to firmly decline, and you should have techniques in place for doing that. You can:

  • Suggest someone else who can help when you’re busy
  • Arrange another time when you can do what the person is requesting
  • Say “no” clearly and explain why

Building Trust

Remember that it’s not an issue of being “nice” or not. Boundaries are the foundations of healthy relationships, so you’re defining the terms of your relationship. This helps to build trust and mutual respect.

Want to learn more about how you can manage the people and situations around you? Head over to my new course on Eliminating Overwhelm and discover tactics to manage your time wisely.