Category Archives: Inspire

Making Friends and Improving Business

Quite simply, business is about relationships.  Customers buy products and services that they feel connected to.  That is why you should put the same effort into building business relationships that you do in building friendships.

Think about how you interact with your friends.  You want to spend time with them.  You share with them and you support them despite their shortcomings.  These connections that bring so much meaning to our life should be the driving force behind how and why we do business.

Too often, we get so caught up in the dollars that go into our business (or out of our business), that we miss out on the beautiful connections that we are making.  We would do well to spend a little more time connecting within and throughout our business and a little less time obsessing over ‘the numbers.’

It is the connections that means the most in the end, anyways.

Get Inspired! Knowing What Motivates You Improves Your Business:

We are all motivated by different things.  Some take inspiration from friends and family.  Others look to nature and the world around them.  We even have famous examples or popular stories that connect us to people who would otherwise be strangers.  Inspiration is an excellent motivator and often calls us to action and increased success.  The key is taking the inspiration and doing something with it.  Here are some ways that you can use your inspiration to improve your business productivity:

1) WRITE IT DOWN!

It is critical that whenever you have one of those ‘Aha!’ moments that you write it down.  All too often we get a great idea but are pulled somewhere else and we do not follow-up on it.  Make sure that your write down what you feel inspired to do.  Also, make a note of what sparked the inspiration and map out in writing what you are going to do with the inspiration.

2) SHARE YOUR INSPIRATION

Create accountability by talking about how your were inspired.  It allows you to work through the possible kinks and get feedback on the direction that you are thinking about taking.  By ‘saying it out loud’, it makes things more real and it allows you to see how serious you are about the inspiration.  Also, it gives you help in executing the inspiration when properly discussed.

3) REFLECT AND MEDITATE

I have found that it is always useful to take some time to reflect and mediate on what is going on in life.  Take the things that you have written down and think about them.  Try to connect again with what motivated you and further develop the ideas and concepts that you are working with.  Give yourself a little time every day to be able to ponder and be inspired.

4) REVISIT WHAT INSPIRES YOU

If it inspired you, revisit it.  Make sure that you have a plan to follow-up and improve on the ideas that have motivated you.  Put yourself in a position to be inspired again.  Always be ready to progress and grow by reviewing the things that are most important to you.

Ways To Improve Your Self Esteem

Self esteem is an incredibly important part of your being and it is the way in which you shape yourself and show yourself to the world. Your self-esteem also forms part of your working life and if you have low self-esteem this can be harmful for your career. You need to believe in yourself and have self-esteem to go forward and achieve all you want to achieve. In this informative article we look at some fundamental ways to improve your self-esteem.

Ways to improve your self-esteem and confidence

1. What is self-esteem?

Before we aim to improve our self-esteem we need to define what self-esteem actually is to each of us as an individual. Our self-esteem is shaped on how we feel about ourselves and how we perceive others feel about us. The more important of the two is how we feel about ourselves as we are what really matters. If you feel you have low self-esteem and would like to improve it, you need to attempt to evaluate why you think this is and tackle it head on.

2. Set goals that are achievable

Everyone has goals and when achieving these goals our self-esteem is lifted. If you have low self-esteem is it recommended that you set smaller goals that are achievable instead of unrealistic ones. Set your goals to be achieved in a shorter time frame and give yourself a plan to achieve them. This is among the ways to improve self-esteem and confidence. The more goals you reach, the more your self-esteem will be boosted to give you that extra confidence to tackle the larger and more difficult ones.

3. Give yourself credit

This applies fundamentally for your career. We all have ideas at work that may get shot down and this can add to our low self-esteem. In order to improve our self-esteem and confidence we need to realise that we all think in different manners and just because one or two people do not see value in your ideas does not mean no one else will or that it is not a good idea. Give yourself credit for your ideas and the work you produce, have faith and confidence in it and other will also see this.

4. Get fit and healthy

There has been a significant shift in our society that has shown a substantial amount of importance placed on physical appearance. Whether this is right or wrong is not the point, what is the point is that if you fall into the bracket of an individual whom feels good when they look good then this will contribute towards your self-esteem. Get fit and healthy and this will improve your self-esteem. Look good, feel good.

Jemma Scott is an avid writer of business related topics and looked at ways to improve her self-esteem whilst at many a job in an office to rent.

We Can Always Get it Right-

My wife and I were discussing some of the difficulties that everyone seems to face in life and she asked why people struggle so much.  This was my reply to her general concern:

Keep on Trying!

Don’t worry so much about the mistakes… Just keep learning and growing.  You’ll get it right as long as you stay the course.

See Your Goal and Run for It-

There is nothing more annoying than missing out on a promotion. Okay I take that back, there are plenty of other things equally and more annoying, but as it happened to me a few months ago it’s very fresh in my mind. I slaved away for my boss for the past five years, and although I did managed to move up the ladder I had been doing the same work for the past three.  I found it hard to get out of bed in the morning to go and do the same task over and over again. I needed a challenge, but unfortunately I wasn’t awarded the new position in my office.

Missed Out Due to Qualifications

It turned out that I wasn’t fully qualified and they needed someone able to start working straight away. I was hoping they would choose me and train me on the job, but I guess it wasn’t to be.  The job went to someone outside of the company and I was left entering data as always. I love the office I work in don’t get me wrong, the people are great and even my boss is cool, but I want more. It’s not all about money either, I just like to be pushed and driven and I love to learn.

So when I missed out on the promotion I began looking at my options. I could try to find a similar job for a different company or I could look at my qualifications. As I am settled and I feel respected in my current position I decided I would earn myself a promotion by getting educated.  I looked into online courses and decided on a goal, I want to be needed, I love working with people and I have an outside interest in health. On those facts I selected a distance course which would help to make me indispensable.

The Possibility of Walking Into a Promotion

I did talk to my boss letting them know I was taking a course just to see if they felt it would be of use in the office. As it turned out they were very eager and were more than happy to help me with the cost of the learning. Even if they had been keen but not able to support me financially with the costs I would have taken the course, but it was a definite bonus that’s for sure. I train outside of working hours at home so I am tired but it is manageable.  I have great support available when I need it but so far I am finding the course quite easy. I guess I might change my tune when it comes time for the exam, but so far so good so I am feeling positive.

My New Qualification Opens More Doors

The qualification is a good one and is recognised all over the UK. My boss has let me know that there will be a vacancy which requires my skills so I am feeling confident that the hard work will pay off in a more satisfying role at work and more money too.  The great thing is even if I am not given a promotion I know I can either go on to train further in my new area of expertise or look for a job that pays more elsewhere.

Good things happen to those that work hard, that’s what I believe. There is no reason why you have to accept the job you are in as being as good as it gets.  I keep pushing myself to improve, not just for a pay rise, but to ensure I am satisfied with my career.

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Health and safety is a specialist area which is in great demand. Look online for smsts training and get the qualifications you need.

SmallBiz Profiles: Getting Your ‘VIP’ Employees to Work-

Right now it seems like people are all looking at ways to improve employment opportunities and save on expense at the same time.  By working directly with employers and individuals with disabling conditions, VIP Associates & Co., Inc. seeks to improve awareness and work opportunities for their constituents.

Why They Started:

I realized there were many individuals who lacked the resources and the skills to help themselves in the search for work and I felt we could assist them.

Who They Serve:

Individuals with disabling conditions/Employers

Greatest Success Story:

Placing large groups of individuals with developmental disabilities in competitive employment opportunities in large corporate companies, and placing persons with developmental disabilities in secondary educational programs.

Biggest Challenge:

My biggest challenge is being able to provide the services to a larger population.

Word of Advice:

My word of advice would be to build a team of business associates to go into your entrepreneurial venture and not doing it alone.

What to Remember About Them:

Something to remember about our business is that we provide employment skills training that will give you the skills not only to find employment but that will encourage assertiveness, promote great customer service skills and last you for the rest of your life!

Additional Programs:

We have added a recycling program that will be beneficial to the client and the employer. Our program will attempt to certify all the clients in greening practices and will benefit businesses by informing them of greening practices for their businesses, as well as, donating electronics to our program for a tax incentive.

Learn More:

Visit their LinkedIn Profile to learn more: http://www.linkedin.com/company/vip-associates-&-co.-inc.

How to Motivate People Around you in 2012-

While evolving technology has improved the business practices of marketing and promoting a brand, it has posed several challenges for managers and commercial leaders across the globe. As concepts such as crowd sourcing have served to empower both the consumer and individual employees, business leaders have also found it harder to motivate their staff and provide a suitable environment for personal as well as collective growth.

4 Tips to Motivate Staff and Colleagues in the Contemporary Market

With this in mind, the modern manager must constantly evolve and adapt their style to get the most from those around them, whether they are focusing on entry-level staff or their colleagues at director level. For example:

  • Create Genuine Incentives for Staff: With employees being increasingly aware of their value and the influence that they have on the brand that they represent, incentivizing them is of critical importance. If managing a company that is experiencing reduced turnover, then you must instead think creatively to encourage employees through other means, such as increasing their holiday allowance or offering them opportunities for advancement.
  • Adopt Flexible Working Methods: We live in the age of outsourcing and remote working, and any manager hoping to succeed must embrace these flexible working methods. The employees of today demand flexibility and employer understanding, so be sure to create an environment where telecommuting and adaptable working hours are applied as often as they possibly can be.
  • Make Your Staff Feel Genuinely Involved: Communication is a key part of empowering staff and those around you, and by maintaining a genuine flow of both good and bad news your team is likely to feel more empowered within the organization. Every single person wants to feel as though they are collaborating in something tangible, so invite your employees to feel part of a collaborative and forward thinking organization.
  • Invite Feedback on Staff Initiatives: This may sound obvious, but so many managers do not consult with their staff even when planning a team building experience or excursion. This results in a team of dissatisfied staff and operatives, and a huge waste of well intended business capital. So empower your staff and encourage them to offer their own suggestions and ideas, and ensure that whatever you plan is something that suits the general consensus.

The Bottom Line: Empower Your Staff with Accountability

Your staff is changing and becoming more influential as individuals, and failing to recognize will leave the entirely dissatisfied and unwilling to share in your business vision. It is crucial that you give them an active and accountable role within your organization, and empower them to seek personal achievement while also helping to drive the business forward. If you do then, then the workplace will not only become more productive but also a brighter and more enjoyable place to be.

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Written by Lewis Humphries, from the department of team building experts at Chillisauce events

Stay Determin… SQUIRREL!

It is easy to get sidetracked in this information age.  We have access to so much information and content that it can be very distracting when we try to focus on the things that are most important.  Because of the many distractions that we all face, here are three things that we can do to avoid those “squirrel” moments when we lose focus.  Enjoy this distraction from the movie, Up.  The tips follow…

1) Manage Your Environment

We all have things that easily distract us.  Because of that, it is best to create an environment that minimizes their impact on our productivity.  This is especially important when we have a major project or assignment.  If it means going somewhere different or turning off the phone, do it.  It will be worth it.

2) Create a Method to Your Madness

Some people swear by lists.  Others set reminders and alerts.  Still more use incentives.  Whatever it is for you, find something that works and helps you to stay on task.

3) Do It Now!

Don’t wait.  If it is important, just do it.  We rarely have a reasonable excuse for the delay, so we should take care of it as soon as possible.

Happy to Work?

What are the things that motivate you as you work and seek to accomplish things in your business?  What drives you to be more creative?  Here is an interesting discussion on the things that drive happiness.  What drives you to be more positive?  What are the things that set successful people apart that can be applied to others in their own progress?  Listen to this TEDTalk and see what lesson you can learn about your own happiness.

Importance of Character

In order to have success that endures, it is critical to sustain the attributes of one that has excellent character.  In a society so intent on debating the latest soundbite or finding a quick fix, we need more.  We need leaders in all sectors that are willing to stand up and make a difference.  Not simply talk about it, but do it.  Find a way to improve the situation of others.  Sustain principles, not just profits.

Our society and your business need you to be a person of character.  As such, the situation of all can improve.  This will make success even sweeter and longer-lasting.  Be THAT person of character that your community needs.

Building Character

Sometimes life is hard.  Being in business is hard.  Things don’t go as planned.  This adverse experiences can take us in one of two directions.  They can make us better or they can make us worse.  It is a fundamental decision that we all face when meeting difficulties.

When you run into problems in your business, how do you face them?  Do you educate yourself in a way that will allow you to overcome difficulties and succeed?  Are your shortcomings really springboards to greatness?  What are you doing today to build your character and become better?

Being a successful business owner is fraught with peril.  That should get in your way to building character.

Standing Out By Making a Difference

One of the best ways to help your business to stand out is by making a difference in your community.  What things need to be done?  How can you help others?  How can you improve the situation of others around you?

As we begin 2012, more people than ever need help and support.  Use your business as a vehicle to make a difference.  This will help you stand out from the crowd and will also be incredibly fulfilling.  The things that we do to make a difference in the lives of those that need it will have a far lasting impact.

Do it today.  Find a way to stand out by making a difference.

What Does Your World Inspire You to Do?

Everything around us can and should be inspirational.  Life can be pretty rushed. The demands on our time seem to pull us all over, but it is important to see the inspirational.  Be moved by the people and things around you.  See the best in your communities and families.  Rejoice in the beauties of nature and life.

Business owners need to consistently be inspired.  The world that we live in is filled with those inspirational events.  Just open your eyes to see them.

Be Inspiring!

It is more and more apparent as each day goes by that things are difficult.  Financial markets are struggling.  People are increasingly more challenged and concerned.  The divide between communities, groups, and organizations is becoming increasingly more contentious and marked.  Now, more than ever, people need to find something to inspire them and lift them.  They need a guidepost that will lead them and uplift them.

Small business owners are in a unique position to be that guide and light.  Most small business owners struggle and grapple with similar concerns.  Because of those similarities, it is beneficial for small business owners to show that people can succeed and overcome adversity.  People need to hear your story.  Know your triumphs.  Take hope from your example.  As a business owner, you need to be inspiring.  This will allow you to make a difference and it will improve your business.

Do it today.  Be inspiring!

Brain Exercising

Sometimes it feels like there is too much to do.  The tasks that need to be accomplished keep piling up and all our energy becomes devoted to the “To Do’s”.  Regardless of how much we are seeking to accomplish within our duties and responsibilities, it is critical that we make time to read.

Why is reading important?  First, reading allows us to use our minds to engage and analyze content in a different way that we are accustomed to.  By allowing our minds to disconnect from the constant barrage of sound and video media that surround us, we can slow processes down and engage in developmental aspects of our mind.  This is especially important in our own professional and personal development.

Find a reading schedule that works for you, but stick to out.  Try to make time each day for a book/article/story and then go and read.  Creating a reading list with categories and lists and go through the list in any order that you would like.  Take time to read recreationally as well as read literature that will assist with professional development.  Ask friends, neighbors or even clients for book recommendations.  It will give you something else to talk about and may even lead to additional business.

Remember, just like you body, your mind needs “exercise.”  Reading is an excellent way to revitalize and stimulate your brain.

The Time to Lead is Now

It is always risky to discuss things like politics, sports and religion because there will almost always be those that will take an opposing viewpoint.  I think because of that fact, I have become increasingly more convinced that we all need to seek to be leaders in our communities, and not just from the point of view of our business.

Everyone has unique abilities to positively influence those that surround them.  Often we have family members or friends that look to us for council or support.  We have customers and clients that rely on the goods or services that our businesses provide.  Are we paying attention to the influence that we have and how it can better those around us?

It seems common practice today for people to be cynical and pessimistic about the world around us.  For whatever reason, it is human nature to amplify the bad and minimize the good.  These negative conversations can have a profound impact in our communities and families.  Despite the difficulties that we all face, people now need to receive hope and support.  Find out what the needs are in your community.  Find little ways that you can improve your street, your block, your town, your state, your country and even the world.  If we each resolve to lead in one thing, however simple, our communities will be able to overcome the negative and live in more enriching and uplifting ways.  More than a business owner, you are a member of a community.  A community that needs you to lead.

Changing the World

Here is a great video about a program being used to motivated to make a difference in the world around us.  It includes some information about the Small Things Challenge.  What can you do to change the world?

Revisiting Business Happiness

From time to time, I will re-publish and re-visit a business topic that is meaningful to me.  Because things are still looking rough on the economic front, I just wanted to share my tips on business happiness again.  I really believe that we have more control over our own success than we give ourselves credit for.  Here you go:

Life is meant to be fulfilling but sometimes the day-to-day tasks that we are called to engage in can feel mundane or even be overwhelming.  Stress is all too often a daily battle for business owners as they try to balance creating cash flows, spending time with family, and other social/business demands.  Because of how much negativity can effectively impact the success of your business as well as your own personal well-being, here are 5 things that you can do to be a happier business owner:

1) Find the Good: You can always take something positive from any experience that you have… Sometimes it just takes a little more searching.  Search for things every day that will help you smile or laugh despite difficulties that you might be facing.  Taking time every day to find the good will make you happier in your business.

2) Be Healthy: Our society has develop into such a culture where most of what we eat does not provide our bodies with the nutrients that we need to succeed in what we are trying to accomplish.  We over-schedule ourselves in a way that we leave out exercise and our restaurants seem intent on over-feeding us.  Unhealthy physical habits always tend to lead to unhealthy emotional responses and lack of motivation.  Take 15-20 minutes each day to find a way to be a little healthier.  Making a dramatic change all at once is normally overwhelming and leads to failure.  Instead, do something simple each day and build on that as time goes on.

3) Serve: Take time every week (or even day) to make a difference in someone else’s life.  It is empowering.  It will make you happier.  I promise.

4) Be Realistic: One of the easiest ways of becoming discouraged is to set over-reaching goals and then fail to meet them.  When you are realistic in your goal-setting, you will gain satisfaction as you accomplish more and more moving forward.  Do set yourself up for failure.  Set yourself up to succeed.

5) Get Help: The easiest way to burn yourself out as a business owner is to try to do everything.  Do everything that you can to move from being self-employed to being a business owner.  You will take fulfillment in managing and delegating tasks and it will lighten the burden that you carry.

Do these five things and you will be a happier business owner.  What else do you think could help increase your happiness?

The Power of Unity in Business

One of my least favorite business phrases is: “What’s in it for me?”  Business… real business… is about establishing and maintaining relationships, not just unilaterally deriving a benefit from another party.  Too many business owners get too focused on a winner take all mentality that they lose sight of the power of collaboration with business and the benefits that come with it.  When business owners change the question to: “What’s in it for us?”, business becomes more meaningful.  Here are three reasons why “us” is a more powerful form of business:

1) “Us” focuses on the relationship-

The best kind of business is one that persists.  When you are able to retain a client and do work for them year after year, it maximizes the initial investment that was made to secure the business.  Also, if you have development a good relationship with a client/customer, that will more often than not translated into additional business in the form of referrals.  Also, it will allow you to generate a better reputation, especially if that individual or company provides a positive review or testimonial.

2) “Us” leads to negotiation-

When you are focused on consensus and collaboration, it is far easier to negotiate a beneficial deal for all involved.  It also makes it more likely for parties to be able to openly and frankly discuss current and future opportunities without fearing that information would be “used against them.”  This type of disclosure would leave to more meaningful and informed business decisions and allow for business owners to create more effective and profitable business ventures over the long-term.

3) “Us” minimizes conflict-

If both parties are focused on us instead of acting self-interestedly, they are more apt to seek resolution of their problems in collaborative ways instead of through litigation.  Parties will be more flexible and make reasonable adjustments because they know that it is better for all involved.  People are more willing to create payment plans or alternative requirements when they are committed to a collectively beneficial agreement.

What are some of the pro’s and con’s that you see to a more “us” focused business?

Learn more about how you can impact others:

Why You NEED to Tell Your Story

Success in business is directly correlated with the connections that you are able to make.  These connections can be with suppliers, service providers, and especially, clients and customers.  People that related to your product or service are more likely to not only purchase but also act as advocates for your brand.  When people know who you are or what you have overcome to accomplish what you are seeking to accomplish, they are more likely to connect with what you offer or do.  You NEED to tell your story.

The first thing you should consider when telling your story, is who your audience is.  Remember, the key is to create that connection, so you don’t want to talk about your amazing steak recipes to vegans or explain you love of sports to someone disinterested in the subject.  Define you audience and then shape your story.  By doing so, it will lead you to better formulate the presentation and deepen the connection.  When you know what people care about, it is much easier to connect.

Second, you need to be interesting and memorable.  Don’t over-tell your story, but instead engage and deliver a clear message.  Demonstrate that you know who you are and who they are.  Make eye contact, if possible, so that you can engage them further.  Sometimes, we have the habit of over-doing our story and causing the audience to lose focus so the key is to be as clear and direct as possible.

If you have any more questions, check out these kids.  They seem to have the process down:

Why Google Translate Should Have an “Attorney” Language

I know.  It is something that we struggle with as attorneys.  In our circles, we call it “legalese.”  You might wonder if we had a vested interest in confusing humanity.  Regardless, give us a break because that is how we were wired in law school.  I am still trying to see how it can be classified as a government “taking” and get some sort of remuneration.  Um…  I mean… Have the government pay me for it.

Because getting good legal advice is important but getting understandable legal advice is critical.  Here are a couple of things that you need to understand so your communications can be successful with your attorney:

1) Understand the Attorney’s Perspective

Attorneys, first and foremost, should be risk advisors.  As such, they will look at business deals and opportunities from a different perspective that most entrepreneurs.  Attorneys want to minimize risk as much as possible and create a situation of protection and limited liability.  Because of that perspective, attorney can often take a position on possible investment opportunities that would appear negative.  This is because we are alway taught to “argue the other side” and “play devil’s advocate.”   You need to make sure that your attorney isn’t only a risk advisor but instead is an effective risk manager.  Communicate with your attorney accordingly.  Ultimately you want to get something accomplished, so make sure your attorney does not get in the way of that.

2) Ask Questions

This does not just apply with your attorney but is critical in this situation.  If your attorney says something that you do not understand or uses a term that is foreign to you, stop them and clarify.  You cannot be effectively advised if you do not understand the advice that you are being given.  This time to get on the same page will always be time well spent.

3) Know the Advisor

Because the attorney-client relationship requires a high level of trust, make sure that you know your lawyer well.  Get to know about their life and family.  Make sure it is someone who you feel will address your needs and answer your questions in the manner that you need them to.  One of the biggest complaints against attorneys is their lack of responsiveness.  You need to make sure that you get an advisor that will be there for you when you need them.  One that actually answers their phone.

So, if we go off about the perpetuities issues related to your conveyance, don’t wait for Google Translate.  Just ask.  We’ll clear it up for you.  Or donate, I guess-

Create a Culture of Achievement

Businesses are filled with reports, goals, measurements and benchmarks.  All too often for small business owners, goals are unmet, report are overlooked and measurements are unused.  It is not simply enough for you as a business owner to set goals and receive report but it is necessary for you to create a culture of achievement.  Failing to achieve goals is discouraging and minimizes the potential of your business and your workforce.

You goals should not just be a measure of what you are doing, but should measure what you CAN do.  As you create goals that are specific, measurable and “interesting,” you increase the likelihood of achievement.  Incorporate your team in thinking outside the box to come up with goals/measuring sticks that use the strengths of your organization/people and are include things that people enjoy doing.  By building on who and what you are, you can increase your efficiency without having to fundamentally alter your structure.  Also, as people have more meaningful engagement with the success of your organization, the better that performance will be.

Set those goals and start that culture of achievement.  You will be surprised by the impact it will have in your life.

Role of Fallability

Our society emphasizes the importance of avoiding mistakes.  Often, because of that perspective, people feel motivated about cover or mask mistakes instead of engaging and overcoming those mistakes.  Here is an interesting perspective on why we do not think about being wrong: