Category : Management Tips

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION – DON’T LET SALES IGNORE MARKETING

As we come into the New Year, and the complexity of Digital Marketing and how that becomes and continues to be relevant to a Sales force is an ever-growing challenge. It’s highly important that interesting content is produced by Marketing, and Sales themselves produce interesting content as experts in their field and this content should be usable by Sales with their customers, as well as useful to the marketing process.

Since Sales are interacting with customers all day every day, they are the best people to give you feedback on ideas around Marketing that would be useful to the sales process and particularly campaigns that they see from competitors that have worked well.

The rules of the game …

1) Keep engaging your customer with interesting content
2) Produce useful content that the whole business can use
3) Focus your outbound Marketing on the right data set
4) Don’t let Sales off the hook when it comes to Marketing content

How To Pick The Perfect Name For Your Business

So you’ve come up with a brand new business idea and model and are ready to get the ball rolling.

A target market has been established and a business plan drawn up, so there’s only one thing left to do.

Choose a name.

The name of your business is important because, often, it is the first thing that your customer will know about you.

Because of this, you need to pick something that encapsulates your brand well while also giving people an idea about what it is that you do.

Read on for our advice about how to pick the perfect name for your business.

Be aware of the different types of names that you can choose

When it comes to picking a business name, there are different types that you can go for and it’s important to consider which one is going to work best for you.

Functional and descriptive

These types of names are good when they direct the consumer to your brand, for example a name like Hugo Boss.

They work less well when all they do is explain what the business does.

Consider how boring a company name like Photo Printing is.

All that does is explain, in pretty basic terms, what the company does.

Avoid these types of names as they’re not likely to evoke much excitement.

Invented names

Examples of these are Oreo and Haribo, which work well because they can be catchy and memorable.

Experimental names

These type of names play off the experience of using a product or service and make sense to a consumer that will be using it.

An example is Browser and Safari, which are both names for internet browsers.

Brainstorm a list of names

Once you’ve decided on the type of name that you are going to choose it’s a good idea to make a list of the names that you like so you can see how they look in writing.

If you’re still struggling to find inspiration, check out new startups that have been successful and consider what it is about their name that is catchy.

Test the name with focus groups

If you’re struggling to decide on a name, consider relying on the input of other people to make a final decision.

A focus group is a good idea because it draws on diverse viewpoints, meaning that you’ll be able to see how different demographics respond to your businesses’ name.

How To Make A New Employee Feel Welcome

When you have a new member of staff joining the team, one of the most important things to do is ensure that they feel welcome and at home.

Starting a new job can be intimidating, especially for new employees joining an already close-knit team.

Being friendly and accommodating will make new staff members feel happy at work and will also mean they will be able to carry out their job more effectively.

Check out our tips for making new employees feel welcome.

Explain things well

If a new employee has just taken the job and has no previous experience, it’s likely that they’ll need talking through things and breaking in gently in the first couple of weeks.

Be sure to explain everything to them well so that they understand and reassure them that they can ask and questions that they need to.

Give them a tour of the workplace

If you have a large office or working space, make sure your new employee has a grand tour so that they know where everything is.

It’s also essential that you should them where the toilet and kitchen are and explain all of the facilities that you have for them to use during their working day.

Arrange a social icebreaker

A good way to get things off on the right foot with a new team member is to arrange a social gathering outside of working hours so that they are able to meet all of their new colleagues in a relaxed environment.

Ensure that everyone is able to attend for either casual drinks or some sort of activity like bowling, which will help them to develop relationships and get to know everyone.

Give them a mentor

When someone has just started a new job, it helps if there is a designated person that they can speak to if they have a problem and who can track their progress and offer them any support that they may need.

Team them up with someone who feels comfortable with this responsibility and that you think they will get on well with.

Ask for their feedback

People like to have the opportunity to say what they think and how they feel, and this is really important in the workplace.

Schedule meetings with new employees so that they can talk about how they are getting on and raise any concerns that they may have.

How To Dismiss An Employee The Right Way

It’s uncomfortable for everyone involved, but unfortunately dismissing employees is a necessary part of running your own business or having a managerial role.

There are a number of different reasons why you may feel the need to dismiss an employee, so whether it is because of their performance, attitude or the fact that they don’t get on well with the rest of your team, it’s important that you go about the process in the right way to both comply with the law and to ensure that there are no bad feelings between yourself and the person that you are letting go of.

Read on for our top tips to dismiss an employee in the right way.

Use probation periods well

Always include a probation period when taking on a new hire.

A probation period is a chance to assess the employee in the role and means that you have no obligation to keep the person on legally.

These periods can be set at different lengths.

Most companies choose either three or six months, which is a good amount of time to get a feel for the person and whether or not they are able to live up to expectations and do the job well.

Be clear about the dismissal

When it comes to terminating a job contract, honesty really is the best policy and there’s no point tiptoeing around the truth to try and avoid hurting people’s feelings.

Be clear about the reasons behind your decision and ensure that the conversation is as open as possible.

This will also be beneficial to the person that you are dismissing as it will give them an idea about their own personal problem areas.

Your constructive feedback may help them to find another job that is better suited to them and their abilities or address any issues that could prevent them doing better in their next role.

Follow the right procedures

It’s imperative that you abide by what the law dictates in this circumstance or you could find yourself in a position where a person could sue you.

Firstly, you’ll need to explain in writing that you are thinking about ending their employment.

Next you should invite them to a meeting where you can discuss this and give them an opportunity to make a case or defend themselves.

After this you’ll need to come to a final decision and give them a chance to make an appeal.

You should always lay out your disciplinary procedure in your staff handbook.

Don’t discuss it with other workers

In offices and any other working environment, bad news travels fast, so if you start telling people it’s likely that the message could be passed on to everyone.

This is really unprofessional and is likely to leave bad feelings, so keep the situation to yourself.

How To Deal With A Difficult Employee

Difficult employees come in different forms and whether it be their refusal to adhere to company policy or the fact that they are too vocal about things that don’t concern them, it can be challenging when you are faced with one.

It can be hard to know what the best course of action to take is, especially when you are dealing with someone that is opinionated, vocal and prone to making mistakes.

Read on for our top tips on how to deal with a difficult employee.

Listen to them

When someone becomes difficult to work with, the easiest thing to do can be to switch off and ignore the situation or what they have to say.

This is the worst course of action to take as communication between you will break down and the problem is likely to get worse.

Instead, you need to arrange meetings with the employee so that you can both speak about what the issues are and how they can be overcome.

Give them cheat sheets

If an employee is making mistakes and not being productive, it could be that they are struggling with the job because they don’t understand certain aspects of it.

In this case, print them off cheat sheets which maps out exactly what they need to do for certain tasks.

They can then refer to this when they are struggling.

Offer clear advice and guidance

If someone is struggling and causing problems for you working with them, you need to make sure that the advice you are giving to them is well thought out and clear.

This way they can make the necessary improvements and will know what they need to do.

Document what is going on

We all like to be hopeful and see the best in people, so writing down every mistake that someone makes can seem overly negative, but it couldn’t be more important.

This gives you a clear understanding of what is going wrong and will also mean that you have concrete evidence of their behaviour if you do need to let them go later down the line.

Set consequences

Most people will respond to a warning, so this a good way of dealing with a difficult employee.

Tell them that they need to improve by a certain date and if they don’t there will be consequences for them.

This could be losing their job or may mean that they are not eligible for a promotion.

Dealing With Anxiety In The Workplace

Mental health charities estimate that 1 in 6 workers suffer from a mental health condition like depression or anxiety and it’s now commonplace to recognise this in your organisation.

There are a number of things you can do to support employees who may be prone to anxiety.

Have an open and supportive culture

One of the worst things about anxiety is that many people feel that it carries stigma and so therefore might not feel comfortable to talk about the condition openly.

If a member of your team was acting differently or seemed to be under a lot of pressure then calling a team meeting to ask if everyone is coping ok with the workload and reminding your staff that your door is always open might encourage anyone with anxieties to come forward and talk to you about how they are doing.

Mental health days

This one hit the news in 2017 when it was suggested that all workplaces offer employees a mental health day if they require it.

Not to be confused with a duvet day or working from home, mental health days were aimed at giving those in need of a break a chance to take an unplanned day off if things were getting tough for them.

In a changing world of employee benefits adding this option will offer support to those who need it most.

Educate

If you have a quiet common room or relaxing area in your office then this can provide some much needed respite if someone suffering from anxiety needs a break.

In the area you can offer support in the form of posters and leaflets from mental health charities that could help your team to recognise any problems.

Another option is to invite a wellness coach in to teach your staff some relaxation techniques as part of your benefits.

Offer flexible working

Anxiety sufferers are all individual cases; what works for one may not work for the other.

A flexible working plan where the employee can change their hours around, or work from home, might be a great way to manage their condition and show that you really value them as a member of the team.

It doesn’t have to be permanent – maybe just for a few weeks during a particularly bad period of time – but can make all the difference to retaining that employee.

10 Ways To Cut Down Business Costs

If you’re struggling to make ends meet as you run your business, taking a long hard look at where you can cut costs is a sensible course of action.

While you may think that you are already operating in as lean a manner as possible, casting a more critical eye over your everyday actions will most likely reveal a number of areas where you can trim wasted spend.

To help get you started, try these suggestions for lowering your overheads and reducing unnecessary expenditure.

1. Go green

This is an obvious answer but one that can still save you money.

Instead of printing, send an email or a PDF.

Instead of buying note pads, use waste paper.

Instead of buying bottled water, invest in a water filter instead.

When you start to adopt a green mindset, you’ll see savings quickly mount up and unnecessary costs such as printer paper, envelopes and postage go down.

2. Hire an intern

It’s true that your people are your biggest asset but if you can’t afford a full-time hire or need some temporary help, consider hiring an intern such as a local college or university graduate rather than appointing a permanent member of staff.

3. Outsource

It’s sometimes cheaper to outsource than do everything yourself.

Look at where you might save money on time and resources by having a third party supplier do it for you.

4. Use accounting software

Using a program such as Xero can help save your business money.

It can perform tasks such as payroll and automate jobs such as sending payment reminders for customers who owe you money.

5. Change your business mobile contract

If you’re paying expensive monthly contracts for your business mobile phones, shop around for a better plan with more free minutes, better data bundles and a lower monthly cost.

6. Change your broadband provider

It’s often cheaper to bundle your phone line and internet provider.

If you’ve been with the same service awhile, shop around for a better deal.

Most providers have great incentives and offers for new customers, meaning switching could save you a hefty amount each month.

7. Negotiate better credit card APRs

If you use a credit card to finance your business purchases, check what APR you’re paying.

It might cost you less to do a balance transfer with a generous 0% interest term.

8. Get free software

Before you invest in a costly license for software, shop around and see if there’s a free or cheaper program that does the same job.

You can use Google Docs for word processing and spreadsheets for example rather than pay for Microsoft Office.

9. Be clever with your marketing

Look for any and all opportunities where you can advertise your services for free, rather than paying for marketing.

10. Work remotely

If you’re struggling to pay your office rent or find that it’s just too expensive to maintain your own property, make use of technology and work remotely or consider a serviced office building instead as the monthly fee for hot desking or a room will include all bills.

employees

Five Signs Your Employees Are About to Quit

As a boss, you may like to think your employees are happy and settled. But as figures suggest, job satisfaction has in fact reached a two-year low, so this may not always be the case.

Whether you’re the owner of a small start-up or responsible for multiple employees at a large company, there are consistent tell-tail signs that your employees are unhappy and may be about to head out of the door.

They start dressing differently

If your employees suddenly start dressing smartly when they used to dress casual, or if they unexpectedly start not caring much about their work attire, then this could be a very early warning signal that something is amiss.

Smart attire on a few random days could signal a job interview after work or at lunchtime, whereas a sloppier appearance could show that they’ve stopped caring about their work.

Their work starts to slip

This won’t always be true, but sometimes when people are looking for other opportunities they start caring less about the quality of their work, resulting in silly errors and missed opportunities.

Workers who feel disconnected or undervalued at a company can find themselves not thinking about the job in hand.

Productivity levels are down

Should your employees suddenly start missing deadlines or dropping sales, there may be something more going on than just an off-day or week.

Although there are many other factors that could contribute, it may be worth taking a closer look at their role and behaviour.

Body language changes

When we start a job, we’re all keen to impress, and that comes out in our body language. If this suddenly changes and you notice a more relaxed body language where there wasn’t one before, it could be a sign that your once star employee has pulled away from the company and is looking down other avenues.

You speak to them but get little in return

If you sense that something more is going on, it’s worth speaking to the employee in question to see if you can get some feedback and allow them to open up. Although this may seem drastic, it’s a good way to reaffirm your commitment to your employees.

However if you get little in return, this should signal some warning bells. Not receiving feedback can show you that they’ve already accepted their fate and have no intention of making the situation better.

Do you have any other tell-tale signs to look out for? Let me know via social media or in the comments section below!

3 Easy Ways To Motivate Your Employees

No matter what your business offers, if you’ve got employees, then you should always be looking for ways to motivate them.

This is a daily challenge and the most successful businesses report a number of benefits that occur naturally from a happy, hard-working workforce.

Start with this list of basic strategies, and you can adapt them to suit your specific needs and employee desires.

1. Empower your employees with trust

If your employees feel as though they are trusted to do their jobs they will work harder.

You can first show this trust by continually asking employees for input and getting suggestions for improvement at work.

Most of your employees will have ideas to help the company (after all, they are thinking about it all day), but more often than not they will not come to you to discuss it without being requested first.

But don’t stop there!

Once you are receiving suggestions, sort out a few that are possible and implement them immediately.

This is a physical show of trust in your employee’s abilities that goes much further than words.

You can even empower your employees by giving them more authority, when appropriate, to complete their jobs well.

This will allow them to make decisions within the parameters of their position, and give them opportunities to lead.

For example, you might choose to have every meeting run by a different member of the team.

This shows them in a direct way that they are making a difference to the company.

2. Tell them why

When giving directions, assigning tasks, or even just onboarding new employees, it is never a waste of time to tell your employees exactly why they have to do a certain job, or why certain choices have been made.

This will help your employee to understand the big picture.

Once you give purpose to your employees, their understanding of why they do something will not only encourage them to complete the task, but find new and innovative ways to complete it within the scope of your company’s big picture.

3. Build a relationship

Strengthen your own communication skills while simultaneously building a positive work environment by spending time with your employees.

Speaking face-to-face with each person will show them that they are valued.

If you use the time to show your enthusiasm for the work and the company, that attitude will be infectious and spread to your workforce.

Also, once you get to know your employees individually, you can use it to your advantage by learning exactly what makes them tick and how to best approach each one too.

Don’t forget to encourage a healthy work/life balance in their lives, because if an employee is happy at home, that will spill into their work life and vice versa.

When you don’t have motivated employees, it leads to a poor working community and therefore a higher rate of staff turnover which is costly for any business. Instead, use these simple but important tricks to build a strong workforce.

Human Capital: 5 Reasons It Should Be Your Focus

For most businesses, one of the biggest financial outlays comes from the staff they employ.

Whether these are the people who man the phones of your helpline, managers who deliver on your plans for expansion or the staff who provide the IT infrastructure that means your office works efficiently, they are all important.

Human capital is the economic value that is assigned to each employee and it’s one area that bosses often fail to maximise or think about strategically.

Training staff

Investing in your workforce doesn’t just mean paying them a good wage.

It also means helping them to achieve their goals and develop for the future, either by providing them with extra training or allowing them to take on new challenges.

If you an employee and are treading water in your job you are generally less likely to be engaged than if you have clear and interesting opportunities to advance.

Retaining and recruiting staff

Focusing on human capital means that you show you care about your staff as individuals.

This is vital especially when you want to retain high quality or talented employees.

If you don’t get involved in facilitating staff to move forward or achieve their goals, the likelihood is they will start looking further afield and may eventually move on.

According to HR Magazine:

“Retention of crucial talent is so key to the continued growth and success of your business that it is well worth investing the time and effort into ensuring these individuals are happy to stay put and develop within the company instead of looking elsewhere for professional opportunities.”

Treat your employees well and give them space to develop and word gets around as well.

That means you’re likely to attract other top talent who have heard what a great place you are to work.

Better employee engagement

When staff feel they are being valued and you have their best interests at heart, you are certain to find engagement improving.

Almost half of employees believe that their professional development is key and an important factor in how satisfied they feel with their current job.

That engagement also promotes more company loyalty which can have a huge range of benefits to the stability of a business.

Boosting return on investment

You invest a lot in your employees, not just in terms of salary but also their workspaces, hardware and the perks you offer.

It makes sense to spend a little more and help develop those individuals rather than settling for the status quo – this person knows your systems, engages with your company and will be able to deliver extra services if you take the time to offer them the CPD they need.

Productivity and profitability

There’s no doubt that employees who feel they are being invested in are likely to be loyal and engage at a deeper level than those who are not.

Investing in human capital makes sense when you see that it makes for a ‘happier’ workforce, where individual employees are being given the tools to progress.

That leads to greater productivity and profitability for your company.

You spend less time replacing valued staff and more time creating growth opportunities for your business.

A sizeable percentage of your workforce are no doubt career-minded and looking to move forward.

Ignoring human capital and failing to put adequate resources into its development is an investment opportunity that is going to waste.

If you want to get the most out of your employees, it might be time to put together a professional development plan that adds value to what you already offer.