How to Finish Your Year Strong

With the holiday season coming into view, it’s tempting to take your foot off the gas and cruise towards the year’s end. Don’t. These last few weeks are when you should be making the most of those lessons learned and preparing for the year ahead. So, rather than just watching the clock wind down by going Secret Santa shopping and taking bets on who’s going to photocopy which part of their anatomy at the office party, finish your year strong!

Here are your practical tips to make the most of what’s left of the year and end on a high note.

Review your year.

Write down your biggest success and shortlist the actions you’re going to take to replicate that success next year.

Do the same for your biggest failure, and write down what you’ve learned. Shortlist the preventive actions you’ll take to guard against a repeat. You might be disinclined to dwell on the year’s lowlights when you’re feeling all festive and frothy, but bite the bullet and do it or you’ll miss out on the wisdom to be gained.

Arrange a year-end wrap-up with your manager to get their feedback on how you’ve performed and to establish objectives for next year. Sure you may have covered some of this ground already; nevertheless, go for a final sit-down to make sure you’re on the same page and that your priorities are aligned going forward.

Review your relationships.

As we all know, having strong professional relationships is key to business success. Some connections come naturally and easily; others don’t and take more work. Year’s end is an opportune time for some relationship housekeeping. Here’s an exercise to try:

  • List the stakeholders whose contributions most directly impact your performance.
  • Then, identify the relationships that are misfiring and not delivering their full potential.
  • Find time to talk to the individuals concerned and share your thoughts with them. Be clear on what you need from them in order to improve collaboration and performance. Don’t assume that anyone already knows or shares your priorities. Let them know about what matters most to you so that you can either align goals and thinking, or you’re at least clear on each other’s priorities and can work together more effectively.
  • Ask how you could better support your teammate, and what they see your part is in improving the relationship. Positive teamwork is always a two-way street.

Finish strong as a team.

If you manage a team, ask them for their highlights and lowlights of the year and get their ideas on what they’d like to see new or different next year. Do this as a group exercise rather than a succession of one-on-ones. You could take a long pre-holiday team lunch—or find somewhere away from the office where people can engage in more frank, free-flowing dialogue. This is a great way to set your team up for a more positive work environment in the New Year—and a productive one, too.

Ask your team what they’d like from you in the New Year, and what you can do better or differently to improve their work life and performance. To encourage team members to feel comfortable giving you honest feedback, try asking them to jot down a few bullet points anonymously and drop them in a suggestions box you provide. And then share the results. The team will appreciate your transparency and the commitment to change—and they might even help/nag to keep you honest!

Say thanks! Maybe you’ve done a grand job of recognizing hard work and good performance through the year, but now’s a great time to reiterate that and show your appreciation.

If you’re a team member, get together with the others on the team and review the good and the not-so-good of the year. Remain focused on how collaboration can be improved to deliver team success in the New Year. Agree and record at least one takeaway action per team member. Distill your broader good intentions down to specifics that team members can take ownership of and deliver against.

De-clutter—mentally and environmentally.

Make a concerted effort to whittle down your to-do list. The shorter that list is, the more you’ll enjoy your holiday. Clear the decks of any I-really-must-get-round-to-doing-this.  Delegate whatever you can. If there are tasks on your list that have been there a long time, consider whether they’re worth doing at all and if not, donate them to the trash bin. After all, if they were really going to add value, you’d have already done them, right?

Any gnarly tasks or difficult conversations you’ve been putting off? Get them done. You’ll feel so much better starting the New Year without these waiting for you. Plus you may find a difficult conversation goes smoother than feared with most of us being in good spirits ahead of a break!

Tidy desk = tidy mind. Unless you really are inspired by those ever-growing piles, get rid of them. Clear out that desk draw; clear off your desk top. The same goes for your inbox, other electronic documentation, computer files, etc. Do whatever you can do to start the New Year journey with as little baggage as possible.

Write it all down.

Record those lessons learned, good ideas, objectives etc. Don’t just try and “remember to remember.” Otherwise, chances are you’ll forget something along the way. Especially if you have a really, really good holiday. And losing those hard-won lessons is like letting gold spill out of your pockets.

Plan for next year.

Set your goals and objectives. Business objectives might already be determined for you and your team, but look to your own values and set a short list of your personal improvement targets. We can all get better at something.

Think S.M.A.R.T. You need to plan the How not just the What.

Don’t turn up unprepared and let the New Year just happen to you. Decide what you want out of it and plan how you’re going to get it. Then, go get it!

Why you need to be resilient to run a small business

Small businesses are the lifeblood of British industry. Accounting for nearly 98 per cent of businesses in the country, they fuel our economy and, spanning every sector and demographic , they employ about five million Britons. 

Small businesses are typically more innovative, more agile and more creative than large corporations and are finely woven into the fabric of our community, not only servicing locals, but adding to the heart and soul of neighbourhoods around the UK. 

Running a small business is challenging at the best of times. Owners often experience cashflow issues, personal debt from bankrolling their business, and the stress of carrying all the risk and working long hours with sometimes little reward. 

Adding to these challenges are unexpected hits to business, which the past twelve months delivered relentlessly. Before the COVID-19 shutdown and corresponding economic downturn, many UK businesses had already been impacted by adverse weather such as floods. 


“The positive news is that resilience is like a muscle that can be developed in a variety of ways.“


To survive and overcome such devastating setbacks requires resilience; that is the ability to bounce back from setbacks and emotionally cope with crises and challenging situations. 

According to a recent study of small businesses in Britain, 27% of leaders feel very stressed and 78% are feeling additional pressure as a result of COVID-19. Interestingly, the report found highly resilient small business owners tend to fare better, both personally and professionally, than their counterparts and are more likely to be financially successful, experience job satisfaction and feel happier overall. 

The positive news is that resilience is like a muscle that can be developed in a variety of ways. According to the Department of Health, you can build your resilience by: 

  • knowing your strengths and keeping them in mind 
  • building your self-esteem by having confidence in your abilities and focusing on the positive things in life 
  • building healthy relationships 
  • knowing when to put your hand up to ask for help 
  • managing stress and anxiety levels 
  • working on problem solving skills and coping strategies 

More specifically, small business owners can strengthen their resilience and that of their businesses by following a number of strategies.

10 steps to build resilience 

  1. Draw on your ability to endure. Tough times begets mental toughness. Getting through hard times and discovering we can come out the other side in itself helps to build resilience and gives us an internal reserve of mental strength to draw from the next time we face a challenge. If you’ve done it tough before and come out the other side, know that you can do so again. 
  2. Know the red flags. Recognising the signs that you are not coping allows you to take action before they overwhelm you. Red flags include consistently not sleeping, having a short fuse, withdrawing from friends or family, experiencing muscle tightness or tension headaches, avoiding physical activity, drinking to excess and not looking after yourself physically or mentally. 
  3. Prioritise self-care. Ample sleep, regular exercise, hydration and good nutrition are the basic building blocks that support our body and mind, helping us to maintain health and cope during times of stress. 
  4. Find healthy coping strategies. These include practicing mindfulness or meditation; keeping a thought journal; getting out in nature regularly; breaking down challenges into small, bite-sized tasks; celebrating small wins and achieving goals; incorporating fun, laughter and play into your life; exercise, gardening and cooking. 
  5. Spend time with loved ones. Time spent with family and friends, as well as on self-care, can be one of the first things to fall by the wayside when the going gets tough, but is the very same thing that helps to relieve stress and provide us with support so we can stay the course. I ask my clients to put these important activities in their diary each week for accountability. 
  6. Utilise available resources. Whether it’s accessing government stimulus packages or grants, engaging the expertise of business and financial professionals, or using mental health resources, drawing on help is a necessary step for successfully navigating hard times. 
  7. Communicate. If you have staff, give them information about your plans, check in with how they are feeling. Remember that good team morale will help you all as individuals, and as a business, to bounce back in the short and long-term. Communicate with your clients or customers, letting them know how your business has been affected and how this may affect your service. 
  8. Connect with peers. Connecting with other small businesses in your community, as well as industry associations, provides a unique source of support, the opportunity to share and receive advice, and an important sense of connection. 
  9. Learn, adapt and grow. Consider the various options available, whether it’s changing the way you operate, moving your business online, upskilling yourself by enrolling in a new course, streamlining services or considering how you can rebuild your business so it’s more resilient. 
  10. Reflect. Take the time to reflect on what can be learnt from the challenges you have faced and how you might make changes to minimise the impact of future ones.

Small business owners are some of the most resilient people I’ve ever met. But please don’t think you become resilient just by going through challenging situations. You really can build your resilience muscle by employing all of the above strategies and, above everything, keeping perspective.

How To Stay Motivated As You Build Your Business

You may have sacrificed a steady job to become the master of your professional destiny. Having entrepreneur motivation was easy, natural, and energizing in the beginning.

So, why are you struggling to stay motivated now when you need it most? Your business, after all, isn’t going to build itself.

Nearly everything in life experiences cycles. The solar system, hormones, your washing machine—and yes, even motivation. Movement is inherent in cycles. If you stop moving, your business simply grinds to a halt, and you may find yourself looking for a job after all.

The mere threat of stagnation should be enough to get your entrepreneur motivation mojo back online. If that’s not enough, here are eight ways for staying motivated as you build your business.

1. Recognize That Business Motivation Doesn’t Last on Its Own

Ironically, the first step in staying motivated is realizing that motivation doesn’t last—at least not without some effort. Think of the verbs associated with motivation, such as “incite,” “stimulate,” and “inspire.” They all speak to elevating something low.

Highs and lows, ebbs and flows, are all cyclical. There are days when you have so much you want to accomplish that you won’t have the hours. On others, you may struggle to even get dressed. As does every aspect of your business, motivation requires constant care and feeding. So, don’t despair during those times you feel bottomed out. Recall the almost manic thrill you get when your entrepreneur motivation seems to be unstoppable and concentrate on recapturing it.

Motivation neither just happens nor lasts. It takes focus, drive, and a conscious effort. When it lags, roll up your sleeves, choose a task, and get back to the business-building at hand.

2. Expand Your Network

No business or entrepreneur can operate in a bubble. Connection to customers, vendors, employees, and other entrepreneurs is vital to growing a business. It’s also motivational. I find that one of the things that makes me most energized about my business is the connections I make while networking.[1]

Networking effectively is about give and take, which means you only get as good as you give. Be generous with your thoughts, ideas, and connections, and others will reciprocate.

These days, there are myriad networking channels to choose from. There are the tried-and-true conferences, industry and professional organizations, and even your local Chamber of Commerce. But the internet and social media have vastly expanded the opportunities to connect with other empire-building, ambitious people.

If you aren’t networking because you didn’t think it was worth your time, get out there. Not only will you pick up some great ideas, but you’ll also find yourself reinspired. Few things are as motivating as encountering other people’s enthusiasm for your business.

3. Focus on Your Goals

We all know that goals are important. If we fail to set them, how do we know when we have achieved something? In business, as in life, we need targets.

For me, having a goal focus is intrinsically motivational. Have you met all the business goals you set previously?[2] Then, it’s time to set some new and even more ambitious ones than before.

Keep in mind that business goals can be moving targets, as circumstances change and reality sets in. What you must avoid is allowing yourself or your business to be paralyzed by indecision.

As Yogi Berra said, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”

The mere exercise of setting goals is energizing, so use the process when you’re in a slump. Make sure you set realistic goals—neither too high nor too low. Once the big ones are in place, establish mileposts so you know your business is on the right path.

4. Stay True to Your Mission (or Find a New One)

Unlike goals, the mission of your business should not be a moving target. While a mission can and should be reassessed periodically, it must, nonetheless, remain a constant for a significant period of time. That’s because it should be driving everything you do.

The world changes quickly. Customers, technology, markets, workforces, and supply chains are in a constant state of flux. In my business, the challenge has always been to respond to change while remaining true to our mission.[3] On this point, Jim Collins’ Hedgehog Concept is spot on.[4]

According to Collins, your mission can be found at the intersection of three key truths about your enterprise:

  1. What you’re deeply passionate about
  2. What you can be best in the world at
  3. What drives your economic or resource engine

You should find motivation in the mission of your business. If you don’t, perhaps you aren’t passionate about it, can’t be the best in the world at it, or aren’t making money delivering it. If that’s the case, find a mission that intersects, and you’ll rediscover your entrepreneur motivation.

5. Celebrate Wins and Learn From Losses

Too many times, business owners fail to celebrate wins and learn from losses. That’s unfortunate because both wins and losses are two well-known secrets of entrepreneur motivation. If you aren’t treating them as the motivators they are, you should be.

Go back to those goals you set when you started your business. Have you achieved them?

If you did, have you taken the time to celebrate those wins with your stakeholders? If you haven’t reached them, figure out why, make adjustments, and try to turn them into wins. Wallowing in losses instead of learning from them and moving on is a sure way to lose motivation.

Don’t forget to celebrate the small wins as well. In my company, we ring a gong every time we land a new client so the small victory reverberates through the office. Doing this builds our confidence, generates enthusiasm, and motivates our team to aim higher. I recommend finding your own way to acknowledge the small wins that are necessary to achieve those major victories your business needs to flourish.

When a lack of motivation sets in, take stock of everything you have accomplished. Pat yourself on the back and bask in the glow of achievement. That pause may be all you need to motivate you to achieve more success.

6. Identify Your Disruptive Powers

When you launched your business, were you just joining the pack? Or did you want to fill a gaping, empty market niche? Odds are, you believed you had a solution to a problem that no other business was figuring out.

Take Uber, Netflix, and Blue Apron. They disrupted the taxi, movie, and food industries by putting a revolutionary spin on the traditional way of doing business. In doing so, they solved problems the market wasn’t even aware it had.

The business you’re building may not be the next Tesla, but that doesn’t mean it can’t disrupt an industry, a sector, or just your local business community. You might discover a new customer service paradigm or a way to use technology that no one else has.

You can’t be innovative without being motivated, and if you aren’t motivated, your business will only achieve the status quo. So, start imagining ways you can disrupt your industry to kickstart your motivation. Even little ripples can turn into serious waves.

7. Spend Some Time Away

Building a business is exhausting during normal times. Throw in the stress and radical changes accompanying a global pandemic, and life can become overwhelming. This can lead to depression, indecision, paralysis, or even sheer panic.

You can’t control the world, but you can control your response to what’s happening. Start by stopping your attempts to do it all and set some priorities instead. When overwhelmed with life, one of those priorities must be yourself.

Spend some time away from work to recharge. A bit of respite is the only way you can replace the energy and inspiration sapped by a turbulent world. Work to overcome the feeling that your business can’t run without you, especially when your lack of motivation isn’t doing it any favors anyway.

A little rest and relaxation may be all you need to return to the office reinvigorated. If your break involves travel, exposure to different places and cultures might even spark new trains of thought. You will be motivated to pick up where you left off and get back to growing your business.

8. Remain Customer-Centric

Whatever widget or widget service you sell, you have customers. Your lack of motivation does a disservice to a market looking to your business for solutions. When your business motivation wanes, think of those customers counting on you to succeed.

Keeping your eye on your customers isn’t a distraction from building your business. The most successful companies in the world are extremely customer-centric. Think about Apple’s uncanny ability to anticipate customer needs or Google’s cloud-based growth stemming from empathy for the challenges facing their customers.

Perhaps, there is a relationship between your lack of motivation and customer neglect. Remaining vigilant about their needs will determine whether or not your business is successful. To conduct surveys, read customer reviews, and do market research to discover those needs. After all, if you aren’t solving their problems, what are you doing?

When the noise from the daily demands of running a business gets too loud, tune it out. Listen to what your customers are saying about you and what they’re asking for. Responding to them will require focus, as you are motivated by your dream to build a successful business.

Final Thoughts

Motivation is movement, action—a driving force of human nature. Although it waxes and wanes as naturally as the lunar cycle, restoring business motivation can require a concentrated effort. It’s an effort you’ll want to make because a prolonged lack of motivation is deadly.

If you lack the motivation to eat, you starve. If you lack the motivation to drive in your lane, you crash. If you lack the motivation to build your business, you fail.

You are obviously a highly motivated individual. If you weren’t, you never would have started a business of your own. Entrepreneurs are, at their cores, a rare and uniquely inspired breed.

So, when your entrepreneur motivation flatlines, don’t give up. Whether the spark comes from a personal connection, a new goal, a brief vacation, or a customer comment, there are ways to get yourself back on the business-building track again.

How an Effective Blog Can Help You Reach Your Business Goals

Blogs have evolved into an essential part of business websites and provide a wealth of advantages to online businesses. They are no longer just a tool for independent bloggers to share their ideas. They have become a critical part of a company’s marketing strategy for how companies establish themselves online. Blogs help with SEO and can help to make your company stand out as knowledgeable. As an online business owner or manager, you need to take advantage of this and have a blog as the main strategy your company uses for building your online business. 

The key to a successful blog is to understand what your blog should be about and how to use it. Here is a look at why your business needs an effective blog, including examples of how successful companies like Coca Cola and Walmart are using blogs to power their success.

Building a Database of Evergreen Content

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Evergreen content is content that is always relevant and timeless. Many blog posts become dated when trends, practices, and technologies begin to change. For example, a blog about VHS players is out of date since the industry standard for home video is DVD players. This is changing again as more people focus on streaming services over DVD players.

Building a database of evergreen content gives you the ability to keep your blog and other posting services relevant. Since your content will not be dated by changes in the world, your posts become key reference points on specific subjects. 

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Evergreen content positions your business as a go-to source of information about a topic, making it easier to draw in customers over time. It could be a challenge to know what topics are evergreen, but working with a professional writer can help.

Another benefit of evergreen content is the ability to reuse your content. Since search engines look for periodic and consistent posting from blogs, you can restructure and reuse your content multiple times to keep your blog feeling fresh and new while you work on new content.

New Search Engine Opportunities

Search engines are adjusting to the demands of consumers at an alarming rate and they reward new content. Because of this adjustment, having a blog allows you to change your search rankings with new content. Each post is an opportunity to engage search engines and increase your standing in the online community. This means your company will be in front of more viewers more often — giving your business the chance to convert leads to sales and grow your online business!

Serve as Top of Sales Funnel

Your blog is also the part of your website that customers will find the most interesting and hopefully engage with, so use your blog as the top of your sales funnel. Every company needs a comprehensive sales funnel to convert leads into sales. Your company blog gives you a chance to introduce specific problems, present possible solutions, and filter out unqualified leads.

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Posting content to your blog allows you to focus on specific issues. For example, Latched Mama offers mothers support and interesting articles about different topics in an effort to cultivate an online community. Each topic focuses on a different area of interest like caring for young children, preparing easy meals, and finding baby care products. Throughout each blog post, Latched Mama introduces its products to solve the problems presented in their posts. By doing so, interested mothers will look further into each product, moving deeper into the sales funnel. 

Helps Differentiate Your Company from Competition

Your company’s blog is one of the unique aspects of your online identity. No two blogs are the same due to writing styles, site designs, and branding. Therefore, you can use it as a means of making your company look, sound, and feel far different from any other company.

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An example of this is Walmart. Walmart manages to establish itself in a variety of ways, but its blog is very distinct. A combination of branding and storytelling lets Walmart extend its in-store experience onto its blog in an unmistakable way. While other companies excel at blogging, it would be difficult to mistake any of them for Walmart. This helps Walmart ensure that it can continue to influence shoppers online using the same branding and persona that it has in stores.

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Blogging Drives Traffic

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Although it may not be apparent to some business owners, blogging drives traffic online and in stores. Research shows that up to 72% of people who search for something online will visit a store related to their search within 5 miles of their house. So, increasing your blog traffic directly relates to an increase in traffic and possible sales. In some ways, blogging is a more reliable way of driving traffic than other options at less cost.

Improve SEO

Many companies began blogging as a means of improving Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Having a blog today is still strongly linked to SEO rankings and is used as a means of achieving a higher rank. SEO is important because it ensures that your company is seen in the list of search results for a specific topic sooner than your competitors. This gives you a slight advantage in search results for your product or service, which can add up over time.

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Your blog is the least static part of your website, which makes it great for improving SEO. However, you have to understand how the SEO system works and how to take advantage of it. Google and other search engines clearly outline what their search engines are looking for so that you can adjust your blog accordingly. You can also partner with a content creation company to ensure you have content that consistently ranks well on search engines.

Something to Share on Social Media Accounts

Sharing blog content is an excellent way to keep followers engaged with your brand. Once they click on the blog link you shared, it will direct them back to your company’s website. Be aware that if you share content created by other people, this could lead your followers to other websites when they click on the link in your social media post. 

You also gain an advantage by developing and scheduling blog posts to publish at a later date or during your company’s busy season, or whenever investing time in your blog is not available. This keeps your feed and your site fresh.

Branding Opportunities

A successful blog is also a branding opportunity. It is a chance to create a unique voice online that can reach potential customers anywhere. Use it to develop an online community where your company is an influencer and a subject matter expert. Many major companies do this with varying levels of success. Coca Cola is a leading example of this.

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Coca Cola has a place in the lexicon and community consciousness because this brand works tirelessly to integrate itself into every facet of consumers’ lives. A part of this is the Coca Cola Unbottled blog that Coca Cola uses to advertise its efforts to help the community. You can find stories of how Coca Cola works with communities around the world, supports health and environmental initiatives, and promotes community interactions. Throughout, Coca Cola is prominently displayed with its unique branding, which helps consumers associate it with a positive change in the world.

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Another example is The Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond). She started her business development as a lifestyle blog. Over time, she expanded her business to include other social media platforms. One of the keys to her success was developing a consistent persona across all of them. On her blog, Ree developed the extensive and highly stylized branding that she uses on all of her assets. It is truly unique to her and has the right look and feel for her message. As a result, her branding is a crucial part of how her company is perceived, and she utilizes it to be recognized in a sea of lifestyle blogs.

Thought Leadership

For companies that focus on intangibles like consulting services, blogs are a useful tool for positioning them as thought leaders. Thought leadership is putting your business in a position to be one of the leading experts on a subject, so much so that you can drive the conversation in the industry.

Apple is an example of successful thought leadership. As a company, Apple is able to drive the conversation about what a computer design should be. It is so influential that it is considered to be one of the three primary options for computers next to Microsoft and Linux. Steve Jobs was notorious for being focused on design and thinking outside the box. As a result, today Apple is able to keep a large segment of the industry just based on its approach to new ideas.

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A blog can be an effective part of every company’s overall marketing strategy. Once you decide what you need to achieve with the blog, you can take the steps necessary to make it happen. 

It may be difficult to find time for your team to create high-quality content that is consistent and promotes your brand effectively. The best solution could be partnering with a content marketing company that can provide the content you need and help develop topics.

Partnering with a content marketing company allows you to build your company’s blog using professional writers and content managers who will deliver on time and to your satisfaction. By doing so, your team can focus on other important business matters while knowing that someone experienced in SEO and blog writing creates your content. With the help of a content marketing company, businesses can often maximize the amount and quality of the content featured on their websites.

15 Reasons Why People Hate Mondays

“If each day is a gift, I’d like to return Monday”UNKNOWN

15 Reasons Why People Hate Mondays

woman looking frustrated hating Monday

There are many, very real reasons why people hate Monday including; 

  1. Return to work after 2 days of “freedom” – The change between 2 different lives
  2. Comparison with the previous day
  3. Can mean an early start with no lie in
  4. Symbolises another week of hard work
  5. Job dissatisfaction – If you don’t like your job Monday is the furthest away from a break from it 
  6. Relationships at work – Monday can potentially mean dealing with people you may not want to see or speak with 
  7. Particularly difficult task or meeting in the week ahead 
  8. Not being prepared for Monday morning and feeling overwhelmed
  9. Hating Mondays is a “thing.” Some people just fall in line with the general consensus
  10. Social media – People on social media will often share negative pictures or thoughts about Monday. This can also affect our thinking
  11. Looming deadlines
  12. Work hours can seem to go on forever
  13. Tired after a busy weekend
  14. Work has to start and there is no excuse or way around it
  15. You may feel worse about yourself after what you’ve done at the weekend (over drinking or eating etc)

“Your Monday morning thoughts set the tone for the whole week. See yourself getting stronger, and living a fulfilling, happier and healthier life”GERMANY KENT

6 Business Leadership Skills for Business Success

Effective leadership skills are necessary in any business in order to succeed. Whether you own the business, manage it, or are an employee looking to make his or her way up the corporate ladder, the right leadership style is essential in order to reach your business goals. Listed below are six business leadership skills that every great leader should possess.

Adaptability

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Adaptability means reacting in an effective manner to changing circumstances. Everyone experiences challenge when trying to adapt to the new and unfamiliar, but true leaders are able to resolve those challenges with a solid plan of action. If there is one trait that every good business leader should possess in today’s workforce, it is adaptability.

People Skills

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Although it might seem obvious that business leaders should have good people skills, many leaders lack this important trait. People skills consist of several other traits, including the ability to observe people, the ability to communicate effectively, the ability to motivate, and adaptability.

Developing better people skills helps leaders attain business objectives faster and be more productive. People skills involve genuinely connecting with employees and co-workers. When you have the ability to connect with others, you develop a trusting, productive work environment that benefits everyone.

Self-awareness

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Leaders who are aware of how they are perceived by others and how they impact the behavior of others are more likely to succeed than those who are not self-aware. Most leaders are guilty of believing they are better leaders than they really are because of intention, however, managing a group of people based on intention and assuming others can read your mind often leads to disaster.

To be an effective business leader, try not to assume that the people you work with instinctively understand the reasoning behind your actions. When we assume others know the reason for our behavior it leads to miscommunication and misunderstandings. It is important to practice self-awareness in order to establish a positive working relationship with employees and coworkers. Identify your weaknesses and determine what you need to do to overcome them, whether it is explaining things more clearly, being more willing to compromise or developing better team-building skills. Remember, even if you aren’t aware of your flaws, those around you are. If you are self-aware, people you work with will recognize that you are making an effort to overcome your faults – a very important trait of a great leader.

A Sense of Purpose

A sense of purpose


Every business needs the vision to set its direction and successful leaders are able to tap into that vision to achieve success. Good business leaders have a strong sense of purpose and the ability to convey this purposefulness to the people they work with. Leaders who understand the true purpose behind the vision inspire others and motivate them to work towards achieving the company’s vision.

Decisiveness

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Decisiveness involves making good judgments in a timely manner and is one of the most effective leadership skills to have. Even the most decisive leader has some fear of being held responsible for an incorrect decision because the decisions they make have a direct impact on how they are accepted as a leader. Although some leaders are reluctant to make quick decisions, the consequences of being indecisive are much greater than the consequences of occasionally making the wrong decision. The chances of facing tragic consequences down the line are much higher for those leaders who have a difficult time being decisive – and these types of leaders are also remembered much longer for their inability to make a solid decision.

Collaborative Skills

Collaborative skills


Successful leaders understand that they don’t have to come up with all of the ideas on their own – they nurture growth in others and encourage employees to contribute. Today’s business environment benefits greatly from a culture of collaboration, both internally and externally. Technology has created new methods for communicating and collaborating in today’s workforce, and the Internet makes collaborating with others easy to do at a low cost. If you can create an environment where everyone can contribute ideas or help increase sales, the collaboration will quickly add to your bottom line.

3 Reasons Summer Is the Perfect Time to Accelerate Your Business

Go against the grain and make big strides this summer.

You may have heard people talk about the “summertime lull” in business. Don’t believe it. The idea is that while employees are taking vacations, offices slow down and sales numbers slip.

Now, it’s true that some companies slow down, but as a CEO, that’s music to my ears. When you hear that other businesses are looking at low numbers, think of it as an opportunity. Here are three ways to take advantage of a summertime slump.

Summertime Tip 1: Brush off Your Negotiation Skills

If business is slow for you during the summer, it’s probably slow for the vendors, consultants, and contractors you work with. That means summer is a great time to negotiate on services you need.

Want to hire a sales coach? Need a frontend developer to modernize your website? Great. Summer may be the time to negotiate for a lower price or some bonus add-ons. Or you might consider bartering. Trading work for work can help you not only manage cash flow but also build relationships that you can tap into throughout the year.

Summertime Tip 2: Get ahead of Work. Plan for Seasonality.

Accountants have busy Aprils. Florists are slammed with Mother’s Day orders and June weddings. Walk into a college coffee shop during finals week, and good luck finding a seat.

Here’s the thing, though. All businesses have lulls, but the best businesses don’t let that get in the way. If summer is your slow season, now is a perfect time to revamp your marketing, send out mailers to attract new clients, renovate your website, audit your inventory, train your team, and do all kinds of other things that will make it easier to crush the competition once you’re flush with customers.

Summertime Tip 3: Hire Interns.

Sure, your business dreams may not be made or broken with the labor of interns. But getting smart, motivated people to work for your company over the summer can give you an advantage.

But to handle an internship well, you need to have a plan in place right now.

Young workers like interns need guidance, so be prepared to give it. If you’re looking to hire an intern to spruce up your social media marketing, you’ll need to have social media policy in place, a way to review their posts, and a strategy for measuring their success.

One strategy for attracting good interns is to offer college credit, which may require registering with a local school. The Small Business Administration has a helpful internship guide that can walk you through the practical and legal steps to take before hiring an intern.

When your competitors are putting their feet up this summer, get busy laying the ground work for your next successful season.

15 Sad Reasons People Give Up On Their Dreams

It’s a sad truth in life that the vast majority of people give up on their dreams. Sometimes it happens early. A kid is told by his or her parents that whatever they’re aiming for is impossible to reach. Sometimes it happens later. You get older, tired, and instead of trying to pivot once more, you decide to throw in the towel for good. It’s sad when a dream dies. And more often than not, it dies far too soon.

If you don’t believe me, just ask those around you whether or not they’re creative–or what the last creative thing they’ve done was. 

Most will say they’re not creative at all. Many will actually try to convince you how not-creative they are, and the majority haven’t worked on something creative in years. Why? Because creativity is what’s linked to dreams, to imagination, to exploration.

Here are 15 sad reasons most people give up on themselves:

1. They fear being judged by those they care about for failing.

Fear of failure, in itself, is debilitating. But that fear is almost always rooted in fear of rejection or judgment from those around them. 

What you need to separate is everyone else’s fears (within themselves) and your own feelings. The two are not the same.

2. They give others the power to influence their decisions.

Instead of asking, “What is it that I truly want?” most people give that power to others.

Their parents. Their friends. Their boss. 

But fast-forward 10, 20, 30 years. Will you really care what those people thought?

You have to make decisions for yourself.

3. They fail once–and never try again.

If you stop walking, how do you expect to get to where you want to go?

Once isn’t a good judge of your potential. Twice isn’t either. 100 times is still not enough.

It’s a journey. You can never “try” too many times.

4. They only see the failure, not the lesson. 

People who give up on their dreams tend to experience failure once, and then attach themselves to that title. “I am a failure,” they repeat over and over again.

But what does that word really mean? Failure?

Those who succeed are the ones who see those “failures” as lessons–forever and always.

5. They don’t learn how to discipline themselves.

Discipline is the single most valuable skill for turning your dream into a reality. 

Unfortunately, most people don’t practice this skill. They don’t like waiting for things, don’t like practicing patience, don’t see the value in withholding short-term rewards for longer-term gains.

But without discipline, you will never succeed.

6. They care more about the end result, not the process. 

If you only focus on the end, you’ll never get there.

But if you focus on the process, you’ll find yourself waking up morning after morning realizing, “Wow, I’ve come such a long way.” 

7. They don’t believe in themselves. 

Instead, they look to others to believe in them. 

They want everyone else around them to do the heavy lifting, to cheer them on, to give them the money they need, to give them some sense of “guarantee.”

Dreams don’t work that way.

You have to believe in yourself first–so that others can follow.

8. They surround themselves with people who are a negative influence.

You are a reflection of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

If you surround yourself with negative, unproductive people who don’t have dreams of their own, then guess what?

You’re going to be just like them.

9. They decide that people won’t understand their dream–and give up.

Most people never learn how to vocalize and explain what it is they really want out of life.

The truth is, most people can’t explain it because they aren’t even sure themselves. And instead of continuing on the journey of self-discovery, they decide to give up altogether.

10. They’d rather be misunderstood than wrong.

People constantly make decisions for themselves based on what will make other people happy.

But that is a surefire way to guarantee your own unhappiness.

It’s far better to be misunderstood living your truth, than being entirely understood living a lie.

11. They don’t have a guaranteed path to achieve success. 

Most people want to know that the end result is guaranteed before taking the leap, putting themselves out there, and going all-in on pursuing their dream.

But that’s the thing about dreams. They’re not guaranteed.

And that’s why they’re so fulfilling to chase.

12. They would rather settle for short-term rewards.

So many people set out to achieve their dream, only to detour for a comfortable high-paying salary desk job.

If that’s what you want, then by all means. But if you take that purely out of fear, then you’re a coward–and you’re going to regret it for the rest of your life.

13. They refuse to pivot and adjust.

When people set out to achieve their dream, they tend to fall in love with an ideal “final destination.”

As a result, they struggle to pivot. They would rather give up entirely than adjust their expectations, shift, and continue on the journey.

14. They get bored.

And then there are the people who give up purely because they lack the creativity to continue reinvent themselves.

No path stays the same forever. No person does either.

So it’s sad when someone gives up on their dream purely because they don’t want to put in the effort to discover the next version of themselves.

15. They lose belief in themselves.

On every path, there are times when that self-belief gets shaken.

For some, these tough learning moments are too much to handle. They stop seeing themselves as a work-in-progress, and start to accept that they’ve failed. 

As a result, they give up. 

And their dream suddenly disappears.

7 Ways To Slay Your Business Dragons

There is a great deal of fear involved in starting your business, growing it, and taking it to the next level. This post will show you 7 ways to slay your fears in business in order to grow your business successfully.

Every entrepreneur has to deal with it. But to be successful, in any stage of your business, you need to face your fear.

Sometimes that’s way easier said than done, trust me, I know.

In fact, in every stage of business, from starting up a tiny one-woman operation five years ago to changing my business name, niche, pricing structure and hiring employees, I’ve struggled with fear that felt insurmountable. As time goes by and I’ve faced my fears it gets easier, but it’s still there.

However, once I decided that I wanted to help other women in their businesses and have success in my own business more than I was afraid of failure, that’s when both my business and myself were truly able to grow. And I know that’s true for you, too.

Here are 7 ways to overcome your fears and take your business to the next level, though you can apply these to any stage you’re at in business.

1. Identify your fear(s).

What exactly is it that you’re afraid of? Common ones are:

-I’m not ready yet.
-Fear of failure.
-You don’t know how to do everything you need to do.
-Fear of not being good enough.

The truth is, you’re never going to be totally ready. But you’ll figure it out as you go. Chances are you’ll fail. But you’ll learn from those mistakes and failures and become even better. You likely don’t know how to do everything you need to do. For that, there’s outsourcing or an opportunity to learn even more to serve your clients. Feel like you’re not good enough? You are, plain and simple. For these and other fears that pop up, realize they are just an excuse. Move forward anyway.

2. Realize it’s not all about you.

That sounds a bit negative, but it’s actually a good thing. If you mess up, so what? People are typically more worried about their own businesses, their own lives and what people think of them to spend too much time focusing on you. So get out there and do what you need to do.

3. Determine the worst-case scenarios.

Really, what’s the worst thing that could happen? Someone says no? You’ll look silly? Someone will think badly of you? Even worst-case scenarios typically aren’t that bad; even if they are, how likely is it that the worst-case scenario is actually going to come true? Now flip it… what’s the best-case scenario? Isn’t that possibility worth the risk?

4. Focus on your why.

Why did you start your business? Why do you do what you do? Write it down. Focus on your why and your goals to drive you when you need an extra boost to overcome your fear.

5. Take action.

That means stop procrastinating. It’s so easy to push things off when you’re anxious or worried, but delaying just makes things worse and makes you stress out more. Take baby steps if you need to, but do at least one thing – no matter how small it may be – today.

6. Find your support system.

Sometimes you don’t want to do anything because you’re scared to death and you need a little extra push from someone close to you. When that happens, a support system is crucial and is one of the best ways to help overcome your fear. While a support system can be friends, family or fellow entrepreneurs, I’ve found it’s best to try to find a healthy mix. Friends and family will be able to support you in a different way than those who are walking this entrepreneurial path. Find and surround yourself with people who are like-minded individuals who can relate to what you’re going through, give you advice when necessary and be there for you when the going gets tough and fear starts creeping in.

7. Learn to accept (and embrace) your fear.

The fear is not going to go away. Learn from your mistakes and use your fear to better yourself and better your craft. It’s easier said than done, but try to welcome fear as an experience to learn and grow, and remember that fear can actually be a good thing. Courage is being scared to death and doing it anyway. Slowly but surely, action leads to confidence, which helps abate your fears and move your business forward.

Be positive, even when it’s tough, and believe in yourself and your business. Go after what you want even if it seems crazy.

Being Your Own Boss: Tips for Beginner Entrepreneurs.

Look who’s in charge now.

You can be your own boss — just let that sink in for a minute and then imagine it. The benefits of being your own boss are amazing. You set your own hours. You don’t get hung up in committees. You decide your own dress code. And most importantly, you follow your dream.

Whether you want to start working as a freelancer out of your home or create a brick-and-mortar store, starting your own business can be remarkably rewarding. It’s also really hard work that is laden with pitfalls if you aren’t careful.

Learn how to start your own business with these tips for beginning entrepreneurs.

1. Follow your passion

If you’re going to take the leap and start your own business, it’s going to take a lot of energy, time, and money. The best way to keep yourself motivated through the ups and downs is to do what really matters to you. Buying the first affordable business that comes available just because you want to become an entrepreneur is a recipe for disaster. If you take immense joy in building birdhouses or selling cookies, do your research and go all in. There’s no promise that it will work, but when you follow your passion you know you’ll give it your all.

2. Do your research

Okay, now that you have decided what your passion is and how you want to pursue it, you need to do some research on how to start your own business. There are a lot of things to consider: Who will your customers be? How will you get supplies? Does this type of business make a profit in your area or do you need to be strong online? Before you throw everything you have into your new business, you need to take an honest look to see if it is a viable idea. This is especially important if you’re trying something new. If you are purchasing a franchise, or working within an Organisation, there should be a lot of material ready for you from the parent company.

Go beyond the books and talk to someone who has started a business similar to what you want to do. What were their biggest issues starting out? Frequently, it’s the things you never thought of that can hold you up. Ask someone who knows and can help you start out clean.

3. Develop a business plan

Once you’ve run the numbers and you’re confident that it’s a great idea, developing a business plan is the next step. A business plan is your blueprint for making your business successful. It lays out your business concept, how you fit into the marketplace, and the details of how your finances will work.

Your business plan is essential if you are going to need investors or a bank loan because they’ll want to see that you have thought things through. Even if you don’t need financing, a business plan is a great way to understand how your new venture will succeed and what issues you could face.

4. Have a one-year plan

For most businesses, the first year is spent getting things up and running, from getting the proper documentation and licenses from the government to finding your location (if needed). Even once you open your own business, it’s rare that a business hits the ground running. It’s okay. Develop a plan for the goals that you would like to reach in your first year of business. Keep your sights optimistic, but realistic. Your inaugural year can be a dangerous one if you make mistakes. When December comes, you can assess your business plan and see if you’re on the right track.

5. Have a five-year plan — and a 10-year plan

While survival might be a sufficient goal for year one, that can’t be the situation for long. You need to think about where you want your business to be in five years and so on. Will you need a bigger space? Do you want a better location? Are you going to need to hire employees?

Figure out just where you want this business to go and plot out your route to get there, step by step. Setting goals every five years helps you measure your success as an entrepreneur and as a business.

6. Consider your time management

Let’s pause for a moment and remember the “self” in self-employed. When you work for a company, you might punch in and punch out — it’s clear and simple. These are the hours you work; the other time is yours.

That’s not the case when you are an entrepreneur. When you are trying to build your passion into a lasting business, it can be easy to lose track of your time management and get sucked into your business 24/7. Think about your family. Consider your friends. What other obligations do you have in your life? Decide how much time you can spend working on your business and hire help if necessary.

7. Hire cautiously

Few things can sink a business faster than poor quality employees. It’s always better to tough it out short-handed for a while than it is to hire haphazardly. Look over applicants’ credentials carefully, scope them out online to see if there are any red flags, and make sure that they can embrace your passion for your business. Remember, they could be the face of your business when you’re away, even for a day.

Bringing in friends and family? That’s fine as long as everyone knows what is expected of them and how they will be compensated. But again, only bring them in if they can be a boon to your business. Never hire someone just because you are connected by blood or friendship.

8. Understand how your taxes work

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of starting to work for yourself. The freedom, the fulfillment, and the feeling of building something can be intoxicating. But, like it or not, taxes will play a big part in your business. Break it down as thoroughly as you can and develop a plan to stay ahead of your taxes. If it’s more complicated than you want to handle, hire a pro to help you out. There are also many great people who can help you and if you are working within and Organisation you’ll have all the help at hand get the admin done behind your day to day work.

9. Have an exit strategy

So far it sounds like starting out working for yourself is a lot of tedious work. It can be. But, here comes the fun part. Think about your five and 10-year plan. Now imagine that everything goes extremely well. Your business soars and is successful beyond your imagination. Congratulations!

Now what? Do you want to continue the business until you retire and pass it down to your children? Are you hoping to find someone suitable to take over and keep it going with your vision?

What about a buyout? There’s nothing wrong with setting your price and deciding that when the time comes and someone makes an offer you’ll take it. You can take that money and start something new or just relax and retire early.

Keep in mind how you want to leave your business and, if necessary, start working towards that end as early as you can in your business plan.

If you dream of working for yourself, stop dreaming and start doing something about it. Millions of people have become entrepreneurs before you and many have succeeded. Why can’t you be the next one? Follow these simple tips and you should be on the right track to shaking off that employee label and calling yourself the boss. Sounds good, right?