There is always at least one person in the workplace who is technically good at their job, but loves to slowly chip away at your business culture with their frosty attitude.

Our personal skills are pushed to the limit – you want you staff to kick business goals, but how do you change your employee’s disgruntled mindset to benefit your business, and create a happier workplace for all your employees?

After completing a little investigation on your employee (which includes their past performance, their normal everyday attitude and where they are now), here are 5 ways to deal with an unhappy employee (without firing them).

1. Offer them a new responsibility or project

Many disgruntled employees are working in positions that are simply not challenging enough or not receiving the credit they feel they deserve.

Employees begin to doubt themselves if they experience failure or treading water when others are receiving new challenges. Your troublesome employee can either attempt to fly higher than their mistake or suffer from self-doubt.

Creating collaborations or new projects for employees to work on can benefit their own portfolios as well as the company culture. Employees prefer to come to work feeling energised, ready to create and contribute to their employment.

2. Shake up the company culture

Google has staff nap pods and ping pong tables. Richard Branson likes his staff to have “serious fun”.  Does your workplace encourage social get-togethers like monthly networking meetings? Do you celebrate birthdays? Are the work hours strict or flexible? What part does the CEO play in the scheme of things?

Everyone knows that the business culture of an organisation filters down from the management to the employees.

If the CEO is not happy, no one is happy.

The major overseas corporations are flying their freak flag in regards to developing and upsetting the status quo in big business, and Australia has finally mastered the art of marketing business culture in an innovative way that stands out from the rest.

Publishing guru Lisa Messenger of Renegade Collective and fitness empire CEO Lorna Jane have created a global community of disciples in a matter of months within their respected businesses, simply by creating a company culture that gives ownership to their employees and therefore, their customers. The benefits of this philosophy, creates loyalty and an enthusiasm which in turn creates a huge fan base who naturally share the brand love with every purchase.

3. Personality Plus (or not)

Is your unhappy employee an introvert or extrovert? Have the negative aspects of their personality impacted their fellow colleagues more than the positive sides? Introverts can seem aloof or too reserved while extroverts can seem overbearing or loud. Maybe your staff personality mix is missing its mojo? How can you work on that?

Reassess their tasks and skills to give them a better match. The Myers-Briggs personality assessment tool is a well-known indicator of personal strengths and weaknesses of an individual. Ask your employees to complete the quiz and learn how to better use their strengths and weakness to your benefit.

If you aren’t aware of your employee’s ESFP difference from their colleague’s ENJP then it is time to get with the program. Being a leader is about motivating and inspiring people to take action, and you are not able to do that if their personality does not gel with your management style.

If you have been in the same company position and are treading water with no respect or kudos, then why would you care if the company doesn’t care?

4. Personal Problems

Is your employee currently going through personal or health problems at home? Not everyone is able to leave their personal life at home, especially if life has thrown them a curve ball such as cancer, chronic health problems or divorce. Many more mature employees are struggling to balance caring for their young adult children as well as their elderly parents or relatives.

Does your company offer supportive leave or counselling services for your employees? You could give employees leave for a short period of time or give light duties to people for a sense of purpose until they are in a position to accept a full workload again.

Some employees are great actors and can focus on their work during their personal problems, other times the pressure is too great to keep up the act.

5. Showing the Kudos

Being acknowledged is one of the main values that we treasure in this busy lifestyle. If you have been in the same company position and are treading water with no respect or kudos, then why would you care if the company doesn’t care?

Employees respond to being ignored in a few ways. Some ask for recognition by applying for a promotion, some fade further into the background or hand in their resignation hoping their reverse psychology works on their employees.

Some decide to have a moody teenager tantrum and sulk until someone notices enough to ask what is wrong. Are they fading in the background amongst the newly energised graduates?

When all else fails, ask them outright. You don’t seem happy at work, your colleagues have sensed something might be up, what is happening, how can we support you?

If you are able to manage your staff to get their best out of their personality, then you are on a winner for your staff and your business.

People wish to be acknowledged for a job well done. That doesn’t always resonate as the person with the loudest voice or sunny personality. Valuing your staff and collaborating with them to address their unhappy state is a win for your business and your employees.

 

Featured image via Pixabay under Creative Commons CC0


Is profit the only indicator of business happiness & success for start-up business, or should we strive for bigger goals?

We live in a society that is currently celebrating the success of the entrepreneur.  Instead of working for others, we are taking control by owning our own businesses. Many interviews and profiles celebrate the quick profit or large turnovers these new entrepreneurs seem to achieve in short periods of time.

How do you maintain a positive approach to your own profit margin if your business is a slow and steady race instead of a fast and furious business sensation?

How do you maintain a positive approach to your own profit margin if your business is a slow and steady race instead of a fast and furious business sensation?

During the start-up period, we often talk about the need for life-work balance but the almighty dollar is often the driver for business success during the beginning of the start-up journey.

Happiness and profit are usually the main drivers in starting a new business. But these days happiness is considered a destination, not a feeling, and the benchmark for a ‘good’ margin profit always seems to be increasing.

So how do you measure business success when the goal posts seem too far in the distance to focus on?

Nail your creativity process and purpose

During the first year, you need to focus on that sweet spot between creativity, process and purpose. They don’t all turn up to work at the same time. Your creative muse is often AWOL when the deadline looms and your processes can get in the way of your creativity shining bright.

Organisation, business automation and staying true to your mission statement are the key in the early days of commencing your business.

How are you going to achieve the balance where the business side of things remains a regular process and it gives you the freedom to create?

Creating automation or simply processes for invoicing, customer leads, social media, marketing, customer updates ensure that you have more time for the fun parts of your business – which are often your strengths.

Assess your mission statement (you do have a mission statement, don’t you?) for your business on a regular basis. Are your business dealings still aligned with your key message? Do your customer interactions reflect what your key intention is for your business? Often, your intended target market or key business can change in a short space of time. In the early months, your mistakes become obvious straight away and you need to act quickly to correct them.

In the early months, your mistakes become obvious straight away and you need to act quickly to correct them.

Once you are crystal clear on your processes and purpose, your business branding, customer message and offerings are easier to for your customer to acknowledge as well.

Take satisfaction in problem-solving

When was the last time you really listened to your customer and solved their problems? When did you last solve a business issue that was causing you stress?

Being an entrepreneur is really about problem-solving and putting out fires so your business can shine, and also being available to your customers.

You can take pride in solving the everyday problems of your  business and customers, which means that you are one step closer to achieving business success.

Often the problems you or your employees have are the symptoms of bigger issues within your company, so don’t ignore them!

Celebrate tenacity during the first lean profit years of business

Are you aware of the statistic that 90% of small businesses fail within the first two years? Or is that one year?

Creating a business from doing something you love is hard work. Unfortunately, the creative and fun aspects of business are often elusive when balancing the books.

If you have survived the first year of business, it means you’re doing well – or you’re lucky!

Being tenacious is a great quality to have because it means you don’t give up. Mistakes will be made. You may have to change a process or the way you engage with your customers but if you really love what you do, then keep doing it.

Collect positive client feedback

Start collecting those client testimonials and positive emails after every client project. Not only will they look fantastic on your website for prospective customers, they also give you motivation when you have a bad day or feeling like giving up. Past clients have loved your work AND paid you for it. Go you!

You may start to receive word of mouth praise or referrals from past clients and friends that can be added to your portfolio. If your work is speaking for itself then your business has started to create a life of its own.

If you are growing, keep going!

I was once told in the early days of my freelancing career, when I was getting frustrated with my slow social media growth, “If you are growing, however small, keep going.”

During the first few months of your business, providing a quality product or service and getting a few quality testimonials behind you is key. For example, working with three or four quality clients who are happy to sing your praises and champion your business can grow your brand in a small amount of time.

If people are coming to you because they recognise your brand and want to do business with you then you are growing, even if you feel the bank account isn’t growing as quickly.  It is better to do quality work with quality clients, instead of overstretching yourself to work with everyone and anyone if you can’t meet their needs.

Why not consider growing your brand with a new and exciting collaboration with a colleague or a business that naturally aligns with your brand message? You might be able to create a relationship where you can refer clients to one another, create a mutual product or service together, or conduct some workshops together.

Help another business, start-up, charity or solo-preneur

You can “pay it forward” and give a shout out on social media to another business owner with a similar ethos to you. I subscribe to a number of e-newsletters by online copywriting and freelance writing colleagues, and I often directly reply to their questions, share their articles on social media or simply fill out their customer surveys.

Another way to give back and create some good business karma is to align your business with a charity or cause close to your heart. Work out how you can support their cause for example: give a percentage of the profits a year to charity, raise money on their fundraising days, add their logo to your website and write some lovely words to entice people to donate.

Mentoring other up-and-coming people in your field can be a positive way to give back and be seen as a thought leader in your industry. We often think we don’t have the time or knowledge to be a mentor but people new to the industry are often looking for a sounding board or someone who has been in their shoes before.

If you are not up for something so formal, a simple coffee with regular clients keeps the communication open and relaxed (no obligations or underlying agendas please, slimy is out) and can be a turning point to bounce off ideas and keep communication flowing. They will think of you in the future when they require someone to solve their problem.

The first few years in business are tough, and profit margins are not always an accurate assessment of your growing business in the early months. Growing a brand takes time and you need to focus on other elements to keep your motivation alive to achieve business success.

 

lisa bersonLisa Berson

Lisa is a freelance writer, copywriter and blogger based in WA, whose writing interests are careers, women’s lifestyle, parenting and travel. Find out more at www.lisaberson.com

Check out Get Your Life Back ebook by Kasia Gospos, founder of Leaders in Heels, on how you can streamline and automate your business and life so that you have more time for what you really love.

Photo credit: pixabay.com

 


Are you a client magnet for finding new business? Or is attracting more people to your business a struggle for you?  Some people are naturally great at sales, others are more comfortable in the creative space and being of service.

Here are 10 tips to help you boost your business mojo to attract people and close that sale.

1. Celebrate your old clients

We all know it is easier to work with previous or current clients instead of finding new people to serve. We need to remember how to spread the business karma with your previous clients and not forget how much you appreciated them when you were getting paid.

Business is about creating and keeping relationships open, so the next time your clients need a problem solved, you are the person they think of straight away.

Why not offer clients a free coffee at a local cafe, referral fees for new clients, enter them in your client competition for movie tickets or vouchers, testimonials for their products, shout-outs on your own social media channels, a profile on your website?

2. Send a snail mail message to both old & prospective clients, with a personal offer (no slimy sales or hidden agendas)

Send a thank you to your clients via the post. We are deep within an online haze at the moment and who doesn’t love the surprise finding a personal note in our mailbox?

You can make it personal by printing off a photo you have taken or ask a graphic designer to help you create something just for your clientele. Spend time creating a personal message of thanks and tell your customers how much you appreciate working with them.

3. Think like a customer NOT a business owner

Work backwards. What are your most common client queries, complaints or problems? Brainstorm new ways to solve these problems in a package, service or offering that is beneficial to the customer.

Once you have developed your new package, offer it for a limited time to entice the public to try new your product.

As business owners we think we know who our ideal markets are as well as their problems but often who ends up purchasing our service or product is a surprise.

4. Involve yourself in a fundraiser

Does your business have a charity fundraiser that is close to your heart? You can ask your staff & clients to bring their families and friends to a nominated fundraiser as a social event, to raise donations for your cause and create relationships with your customers.

Crowd funding or online fundraising websites are often a fun way for people to interact with your business without over committing themselves by their time or resources.

5. Invite clients to a business sundowner

One small business I know has regular sundowner picnics in their local park or pub throughout the year, inviting client families and partners to mingle and get to know each other.

This works especially well during the festive season as people wind down and are open to socialising without being “busy”.

Each client places their business card into a hat for a raffle prize or you can place everyone’s own business card out on a table for others to take for their own resource (as long as they are not direct competitors with each other).

 6. Business forums/social media groups/networking groups

If your business can create a creative meeting place for your staff, customers and other similar business to connect then a thriving community can only enhance your business.

Social media is an easy (and often free) way to connect with each other online to create relationships with your customers and an easy way for friends of friends to find your business.

Many successful networking groups work because they focus on helping fellow business owners. They also work because although everyone wants to own and run their own business but it is lonely at the top.

Communication and bouncing off each other for ideas works well in the flexibility of social media and networking situations.

7. Co-working spaces are the new black

Co-working spaces are huge these days. If you are a freelancer, go visit one and place your advert on their jobs boards or websites, mix with the people!

A hive of activity in small business communities, co-working spaces are the perfect venue to make connections, value relationships and find interesting people for new projects to complement your business.

8. Is your business website ready?

Need new clients? You need a website. How many times have your heard that one? Well, you do need a website in this day and age but is your website doing its job properly?

Does your website copy attract new clients with the appropriate keywords and SEO phrases? Do those key phrases cause your potential clients to take action?

Are your clients signing up to your email website list? What information are you regularly updating on Google via a business blog?

Establishing a digital footprint is a must for gaining new clients by creating trust, credibility and authority in the online world.

9. Reach out to a similar business and offer to work together in some way

Reaching out to competitors is not usually the done thing. We are supposed to keep our competitors at arm’s length, but you may be surprised with the outcome if you do connect. We all have strengths that we like to specialise in but if you choose to find a competitor to complement your business you may be able to work on a win-win situation.

For example, if your counselling business specialises in relationships and divorce issues, you could work with a business coach when your client would like to start fresh with a new career. If you have a graphic designer company which specialises in websites, you could recommend your competition for copywriting work or paper promotional materials. Any overflow work can be referred to your competition then they would then return the favour.

10. Work on your own special interest outside of work. Eg. Bike riding, travel, golf, volunteering

We often are more relaxed and open with people who share a similar passion or experience with ourselves. My husband often pulls on the lycra (don’t judge) and joins in with the early morning bike riding masses. Mostly he rides alone or in small groups, but often competes in charity rides and is always getting kudos via a fellow colleagues Strava app. (Sort of like Facebook for athletes). Most people in his bike riding group know what he does for a living and he has received many referrals and leads simply by following his passion or interest outside work.

Being creative and thinking outside the square for getting new clients is important for the success of your business. Being original in making connections make you memorable to clients and your customers will feed energised to work with you.

lisa bersonLisa Berson

Lisa is a freelance writer, copywriter and blogger based in WA, whose writing interests are careers, women’s lifestyle, parenting and travel. Find out more at www.lisaberson.com

Photo credit: pixabay.com


When was the last time you invested in yourself not just your business?

As more and more female entrepreneurs (especially solo business leaders) are working virtually, it is easy to feel out of the loop or lonely without the social atmosphere of the workplace environment.

With limited budgets and resources, we tend to put our money towards building our business systems instead of networking and social learning.

No longer do we have to hand around boring business cards over a few soggy cucumber sandwiches, while we “network” at the local community council.

Here are three areas I think you should be investing in to build your personal brand, as well as your business success:

1. Budgets

There are numerous options of workshops, forums, networking sessions, business coaches, online courses, memberships, seminars and conferences available for the small business owner. Many groups have an online presence that makes connection so much easier than even five to ten years ago.

Plan the year ahead to include investing in yourself

Plan the year ahead in your business budget for investing in your own self. Sign up to those programs you are interested in and plan accordingly. For example, attend two conferences a year, monthly local business networking nights or bi-monthly presentation workshops.
Do you need to find an extra client or project to cover the costs of attending the higher priced workshops or seminars? How are you going to find those people?

  1. Networking Events

One the traps I have fallen into over the past year or two, was attending the “networking” events because of a big name speaker, the ‘fear of missing out’ or due to the fact they were in my local area. I didn’t actually think beforehand whether the group was within my business demographic or what I actually want to get out of the presentation.

While big name speakers are inspirational to hear, did you put any of their pearls of wisdom into place once you were back in your office, staring at your computer screen? Did you connect with at least 2 or 3 people at your table you may potentially be able to help in the future?

If there are five accountants in your group and you are also an accountant, are you willing to collaborate and share the work? Or is it a competitive atmosphere, where every woman is to fight – claws out – when work is on offer within the space? Can you deal with that driven spirit within the group or will it be a time and energy waste to work with these people?

Investing within your self is also about the emotional drain some people and situations can impact on your self-esteem. Think about these events before you buy the ticket – what’s in it for YOU, as well as your business.

Business mentorship/coach

Do you have a business coach? You may benefit from someone who is objective and independent to your business to bounce off ideas and suggestions. Someone who can provide a different perspective and clarifies your position. If you are on a budget, set yourself (and them) a set number of sessions to work with and have an agenda before you go to make the most of the time.

Maybe you can connect with a mentor and hold each other accountable for certain tasks, projects or achievements.

Other times you may be paying for knowledge you already know but it is presented in a format you understand and with a strategy to assist your business. Sometimes we just need someone else to tell us what we already know.

Investing in yourself opens your mind to the way other people operate and gives a different perspective on the way we traditionally do business.

We are often re-energised when we meet new people, our business mojo is revived and the emphasis on our self worth improves.  Sometimes we just need that extra push to get going, so take this energy and run with it as long as you can.

If you don’t value “you” in your own business, then why should others?

lisa bersonLisa Berson is a freelance writer and copywriter based in south-west Western Australia. Lisa uses words to give a voice to online business owners who lack the time or know-how to engage with their online client base. Her words have been seen on Kidspot, Leaders in Heels and My Child/Parenting Express websites. Loves chocolate, not a fan of broad beans. Check her out at www.lisaberson.com

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Close your eyes. Think back to January. Yes, it’s already April so that was over three months ago now.

Were you one of the thousands of people who were keen to make a list of personal and business resolutions for the New Year? But with all your best intentions you ended up limping through February, your goals left forgotten by March and likely to be untouched for the rest of the year?

Resolutions are like opinions. Everyone has at least one, although when it comes to the time for action, we tend to back down at the point of least resistance.

My best advice is to dig deep, find that dust covered piece of paper you decorated with neon highlighters and change your attitude towards resolutions to make them count.

Here are four ways you can reclaim your business goals for the year and ensure they stick for the long term:

1. Choose a focus word

Many creative people in business have chosen to focus on choosing a word to guide them through the ups and downs of the coming year. They are open to opportunities when they use a keyword as a reminder to stay on track when life provides distractions to their goal. Go back over your business plan and choose a word that represents your business, what you are trying to achieve and your end goal.

2. Refine your mission statement

Mission Statements are a familiar concept in most businesses these days, so why not develop your vision further now you have had a few months of business under your belt? Focus on each month or within a particular timeframe. People tend to achieve their short-term goals quicker with a lot of drive and passion as they can envisage the goal line ahead of them. Long-term goals lose momentum if reminders are not set in place to achieve the long -term goals.

3. Visuals, visuals, visuals

Vision boards, framed quotes or mottos hung on office walls, a new logo or tagline all motivate us to stay on the path we have set for the year. Change your office frames each month, print out your mission statement as a constant reminder, in order to think outside the square to propel your business forward.

Why not take a photo of your visual reminder and use it as your phone or computer screen saver? A quick glance at the image will trigger your mind to stay with the goals & KPI’s you have set in place.

4. Remove the guilt

Let go of the disappointment that we feel with resolutions, we all feel terrible when we don’t follow through with our intentions. Start fresh. Remove the guilty feelings associated with not achieving our set goals (which were probably made on Boxing Day, sitting by the pool, cocktail in hand) Beating yourself up about past failures means you wallow or attach your self-worth to unattainable goals. Why do we feel guilt attached to failed New Year’s resolutions when they are set up to fail in the first place?

My own personal focus word for the year is “growth“. To outsiders that word might seem a little vague or a little airy-fairy in relation to measurable business goals. Traditionally we think of our resolutions in terms of SMART (Specific, Measured, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) goals for which I am aware works well for many people.

Don’t get me wrong, I do have more specific weekly and daily tasks to focus on but the overall theme of “growth” for my year ahead is a reminder of what I want to achieve and how I plan to get there.  In order to stay on track and facilitate that idea I think, “What can I do today for my business that will grow my client base, my skill set, my customer experience for the future?”

Thinking outside the square in relation to achieving your forgotten resolutions for the year may just keep you on the path to business success.

What word, vision or theme would you choose to represent your business?

lisa bersonLisa Berson is a freelance writer and copywriter based in south-west Western Australia. Lisa wrangles with words in order to give a voice to online business owners who lack the time or know-how to connect and engage with their ideal client. Her words have been seen on Kidspot, Leaders in Heels and My Child/Parenting Express websites. Loves chocolate, not a fan of broad beans. Check her out at www.lisaberson.com

 

Photo credit: Markus Spiske


Theodore Roosevelt thought that comparison was the thief of joy.

Not in 2015.

Traditionally we study our competitors during the planning process of our own businesses, often using an analysis of their strengths and weaknesses. Why not take a new approach this year? Set some time aside to focus on three to four major competitors who will inspire you to achieve more goals this year and boost your business.

Here are four ways they could actually help you:

1. Collaborate

Yes, collaborate. Work together to build a networking group of similar competitors or start an association to target particular clients that you may not have the confidence to do alone. Working as a team can portray strength as well as professionalism in a non-threatening way to investigate how the opposition operate.

Nominate a well-deserving competitor for an industry award, refer a client to them if you aren’t able to complete a project, connect with them on social media or an online forum. Can you write for their blog, journal or newsletter?

Creating relationships with your competitors can open up opportunities to observe and learn within a different environment or spark an idea to benefit your own business.

2. Marketing tools

Social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools for businesses these days. Take a look at the content that is updated on your competitor’s profile. What gets people talking, sharing, liking on particular posts? How have your competitors made the conversion from within their social media community to customers?

Many brands are creating stories within their businesses to connect and serve their customers. Analyse the tools those brands use to share their message and see how you can implement them into your own strat

3. Your Unique Selling Point

How does your Unique Selling Point or point of difference help your customer? Now take it to another level. Think about what would make a customer choose your product rather than your competitor. Assess how you can improve or refine your point of difference creatively to help catch the eye of your target customer. Your product or service should reflect the values, as well as the mission statement, to boost your business.

4. Customer experience and income streams

Think outside the square. Why not try your competitor’s product or service? Think about the user experience from the customer’s first interaction to completing the sale as well as follow-up service. How did they make you feel?

Take a look at the different income streams of each company and how does it match their mission statement or business ethos. Do they offer packages for a certain product or offer benefits to valued customers? Workshops, online webinars, conferences, memberships are all useful offerings that benefit customers.

Creating and establishing relationships with competitors may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it can benefit both parties to boost their business. While we don’t want to be copying anyone’s ideas or products, connecting with someone within your industry can inspire many new ideas that may develop into a major income stream or long term business relationship.

lisa bersonLisa Berson

Lisa is a freelance writer, copywriter and blogger based in WA, whose writing interests are careers, women’s lifestyle, parenting and travel. Find out more at www.lisaberson.com

 

 

Photo credit: Grisel D´An