Don’t Be An April Fool.

Work Smarter, Not Harder, This April

More hours doesn’t always equal better results

The moment you step up to true leadership is the moment you decide to no longer tolerate obstacles. You become an alchemist, deeply committed to transforming anything that stands in your way. A talented leader sees obstacles as impermanent and is an expert at clearing the way to success for themselves and their organization. Some of the trickiest roadblocks to remove are those on the inside—the self-inflicted obstacles.
 
Relics of the industrial era and cultural programming still have us putting in long hours—as if more work equals better work  Especially when budgets or ratings tank, it’s easy to react by shifting into “work harder” mode.  Everyone is familiar with the cost of this approach, as well as the Law of Diminishing Returns.  Adrenal fatigue, burnout, loss of creativity, resentment, attrition, divorce…you know.
 
1. Better Results, Not Longer Hours
Break the cycle by slowing down and working smarter, not harder.  Results aren’t tied directly to hours, and results are what you should be after.   Moreover, if you feel pressured to work long hours, chances are your team does too.  Create a work environment that truly prizes results.  One way to do this is by letting your team optimize their own schedules so they work when they are at their best.  When they do deliver the results you’re looking for, make sure they know they are appreciated and take note of what worked.
 
2. Plan to Think
It’s also important to block out time each day to think.  This means strategizing and contemplating the purpose of each item on your to do list.  What value do they all add?  Do they build toward your desired results?  An overworked leader may not think she has time to devote to contemplation, but this is what separates good leaders from great ones.  Allow your team to make time each day for activities that compel them to think and strategize.  Not only will this make them more creative, you will learn a lot about each person you work with and how they solve problems.
 
3. Lead by Example
Above all, always lead by example.  When results are elusive, leaders are susceptible to others’ fears and can start demanding results at all cost.  The wise leader does not drop into fear—she is aware of it and rises above it.   The wise leader gives her team what they need to think big and to produce quality deliverables.  In tough times, you must be the calm in the storm.  When you work smarter and create an environment conducive to working smarter, your team will do the same.  The results will follow.

Spring Clean Your Business With These 4 Tips

There’s just something about spring that radiates new beginnings. You’ll put away your coats and scarves, open all your windows and spring clean your home–so shouldn’t you do the same for your business? Here are four spring cleaning tips to get your business ready for the season.

Evaluate your staffing needs

With the hustle and bustle of the new year behind you, take a moment to consider how many employees you’ll need this season. Is spring usually a busy time for your business? Look through sales data from previous years to estimate how many customers you can expect. The information will help you predict the staff required. (It might also tell you if now’s a good time for a sales promotion to encourage customers in the door.)

But before making any decisions on hiring or letting go of staff, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do you have any temporary employees who are moving on at the start of the season?
  • Are there any part-timers looking to go full-time?
  • Are there some exceptional workers you want to promote?

You may just need to reshuffle some of your current employees to meet your staffing needs without going through a hiring process or losing valuable staff.

Refresh your marketing strategy with email

Are you using email to market your business? It’s a powerful way to connect with customers and share what’s going on at your business. You can promote the new classes you’re offering, feature promotional codes, or advertise any end of winter discounts.

It doesn’t have to be a chore. There are affordable email marketing services that do a lot of the work for you. The right combination of software allows you to group customers by spending habits and send them tailored messages. For example, if your Pilates studio is offering a bonus for purchasing classes in bulk, you can target those customers who bought a prepaid package last year. Or you can send a renewal email to those who are about to use up their last class.

If your marketing strategy already includes email, take this time to clean your subscription list. A great email marketing campaign isn’t effective if you’re getting little to no engagement from your subscribers. Inactive email addresses and spam filters can make your subscription list stale and diminish your efforts.

Jump into spring with an event

With the warmer weather approaching, host an event, and bring your customers together to celebrate. An event is a great way to bring your customers together, create a sense of community, and get a better idea of what they’re interested in. Think about holding a photo contest to give your business exposure. Keep it simple and encourage guests to snap a photo during the event and post it to their social media. Then have them tag the location and your business, and pick a random winner to get a free class pass. The more photos shared, the more eyes are on your business. 

And don’t forget about those who aren’t able to make it to your in-store event. Hold a virtual one on your website and offer similar promotions. For example, if you own a cycling studio put a special price on midweek classes that aren’t filled to capacity or offer discounted rates for booking classes in advance. Consider creating an ebook on proper form—you can request an email address before allowing visitors to download it, then add those contacts to your email marketing campaign.

Deep clean your space

A clear space equals a clear mind. So, head into spring with some good energy by doing a deep cleaning and decluttering of your space. Spend a day washing windows, overused machines and those muddy floors left neglected during the colder months. Get your employees involved and make it a party with some music, food, and drinks. It’s also the perfect opportunity to get your staff together for some team building and bonding.

If you haven’t done so already, take spring cleaning a step further by going paperless. Moving from paper to digital is not only practical but it means less clutter. It’s good for both the planet and your chakras. You can set class calendars and staff schedules using cloud services like MINDBODY–so there’s no need for paper in your life.

So, it’s out with the old and in with the new. Taking the time to spring clean your growing business may seem intimidating, but these simple tips will set you up for a season full of new energy, more opportunity, and less stress. And that’s great for your business, your customers and your peace of mind.

7 Best Business New Year’s Resolutions for 2022

Consider what business new year’s resolutions could set your business up for success in the next 12 months.

You may not have been able to meet many of the goals you set for your business in 2021, a tumultuous year that brought a lot of the same challenges as 2020. Regardless, there are still ways to get back on track and prepare for a better 2022.

Not sure what resolutions should make their way onto your list? Keep reading for 10 new year’s resolutions for business professionals.

Small business new year’s resolutions for 2022

These resolutions should help you brainstorm how you can give your business operations a bit of a refresh this year. Think carefully about what day-to-day and overarching problems you want to solve and how you can create better habits to make them happen. Also, consider what larger projects will make the biggest impact on your business.

1. Create realistic organizational processes

While it may seem like the whole point of setting business resolutions is to be super ambitious, sometimes it can help to take a more realistic approach. While many people like to organize their homes during the new year, you can choose to organize your business. And the key to any good organizational system is to create realistic processes. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of a fresh new year and to have your sight set on major changes. But for an organizational system to be sustainable, it needs to be realistic.

Take a good hard look at what did and did not work for you and your staff over the last year. What processes seemed to be more trouble than they were worth? Which did you have to refresh repeatedly because the system was too hard to keep up with? Use your findings to update your processes for 2022.

2. Update your business plan

Hopefully, you wrote your business plan as one of the first steps of starting your business. A good business plan can serve as a roadmap to success when you need guidance. It can help keep you organized and on track. If you decide you want to take on a new partner, a business plan can also act as a tool to illustrate your business’s worth to outside parties.

In other words, a business plan is crucial to your success. But it isn’t meant to be a one-and-done document. We’re willing to bet your business has changed since you first wrote your business plan. Now is a great time to revisit it and update your plan with the latest financials, goals, competitor research, marketing ideas, and more so your business will continue to grow in 2022.

3. Expand your network

When you’re swamped with work and trying to check off your must-do list, it can be difficult to visualize adding anything that won’t have an immediate impact on your business to your already overpacked schedule. This is why a good resolution for 2022 is to continue expanding your network.

If you make an effort to make a new connection once a week or monthly, you improve the odds of finding a new business lead, learning some valuable trade intel, or creating a strong professional relationship. The more you network, the more results you’ll see. Schedule networking on your calendar like any other to-do to ensure it becomes a priority and not an afterthought.

4. Identify customer service missteps 

Customer service matters. In fact, 93% of customers reported they are more likely to become repeat customers at companies that offer excellent customer service.

When it comes to customer service, people remember the really bad experiences as often as the really good ones. Identify what your biggest missteps were in 2021 and outline how you and your employees can avoid them in the future. At the same time, highlight what went well and how you can build on those experiences in 2022.

5. Prioritize company culture

If your small business relies on the work of your employees, then focusing on building a good company culture is a fantastic resolution for 2022. Employees that feel engaged and inspired at work are 125% more productive than simply “satisfied” employees. Having a strong company culture that makes employees feel appreciated, respected, and as if their career development matters is a great way to boost employee engagement and loyalty.

Consider surveying your staff on what changes they would like to see culture-wise. Then work toward developing a company culture that reflects your business’s values and prioritizes the needs of your staff. Happy employees are good for business, after all.

6. Build a website

If your business doesn’t already have a website, now is the time to invest in building one. A good business website can do wonders for audience growth, brand recognition, and recruitment.

A good business website can at the very least allow new potential team members to find you via search engines, share examples of your work, and provide contact information to anyone who may want to work with you.

7. Beat burnout

It can be rather exciting to return from a leisurely holiday break with the energy to hit the ground running in January. It’s great to capitalize on the energy that comes after taking time to rest and spend time with loved ones, but before you dive headfirst into work in 2022, consider creating a plan for beating burnout this year.

It’s no secret that many small business owners work themselves to the bone. Burnout is not good for you, your business, or your personal life. Setting clear boundaries, knowing when to take a break, and learning when to ask for help are all great ways to beat burnout. We all have different thresholds for how much we can work and varying ways of coping with stress, just make sure you’re running your business in a way that is good for you.

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

Business Decisiveness


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

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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.