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Business Ethics

Rivers and Flows of Stress and Your Best

By | Business Ethics, Business Excellence, Business Innovation | 2 Comments

Another day, another cancellation. Sometimes those days come up in our industries where it’s easiest to throw in the towel and go home. But there’s difference between those who fail in their first 10 years of business and those who persevere to make it to their 50th anniversary. Their passion.

When the situation is at its bleakest, when you’ve been working for free for weeks, maybe even months, what resources do you turn to? No matter what you first go towards, a rock in your business has got to be passion! Passion is the flowing river that will carry you over all the rocks, even when the water level is low. The water is your energy, and your passion is the flow of it. As long as you’re putting the energy and dedication into your river of success, your passion will ensure it keeps moving forward! This also means, that when your energy is at its lowest, barely covering the rocks that may lie on the riverbed floor, your passion will push along the bits of water you’re able to put out.

What if My River Already Dried Up?

To get a boost of energy, and an infusion of water to your river of success, I want you to try the following:

  • Take a long minute (or 5!) and just stop.
    • When you’re assuming the roles of a bunch of different people, such as business-owner, partner, manager, teammate, spouse, mother/father, daughter/son, etc., it can feel like you never get a break. Your emotions will feel like they’re overflowing, your head spinning from thinking of so many tasks, and your body physically exhausted by the stress. So take a long few minutes, sit somewhere quiet, and let the stress flow out of you. Mindfulness practices can totally change your mindset, you just have to truly stop what you’re doing. If you need to cry, let it out. Feel like screaming to the world? Do it! Whatever you feel like will allow your mind and body to not hold on to those negative emotions, do it.
    • What’s most important is that you take time to be quiet afterwards. Take deep breaths, and think on what you’re doing it all for. For family? For your personal growth? Whatever your reason, it’s valid, and you need to come back to it. Get back to your roots and truly let whatever you feel wash over you.

Let us know what helps you to overcome your feelings of overwhelming stress on our Social Media!

Going With The Flow of a Changing Market

By | Business Ethics, Business Excellence, Uncategorized | No Comments

@rossf

When you’re constantly working for your business, it can be discouraging if your efforts don’t come to fruition. Take it from a Real Estate agent who has experienced super highs, and some very low lows. If you’re in an industry like mine, you know how harsh changing markets can be. Many things can affect different industries, from school semesters to the seasons themselves, so there’s tons of factors to keep track of!

So how can you discover and learn from these external changes to keep your business thriving no matter the market?

  • Compete to Win

This could mean changing up sales tactics, going back to tried and true methods, or even entering a new market/creating a new products! You have to be able to go with the flow and change as the market does. If you’re company can’t adapt, it won’t last! To truly compete, you have to know the competition better than yourself. How?

Secret shopping is a sneaky way to get the inside scoop on other businesses. While this can’t be done in many industries, it can be perfect for retail, the food industry, and customer service. Be careful to not waste their time, and don’t create any odd situations just to see the result. Remember the golden rule here, Treat Others How You Want to Be Treated!

  • Switch up Marketing!

Marketing has and will always be an essential tool that can revolutionize how the community views your business. There’s a lot of psychology behind creating a brand that resonates, so think long and hard of how you want your business to be presented. You may even need to change up your marketing strategy overall! Mind the move of marketing to the digital arena, and do email campaigns, social media, and even instant messaging!

There’s an interesting new thing called Autoresponder Bots. They basically make conversations automatic, allowing you to focus on what matters: Innovation! You have to consistently keep your efforts on the front line of technology, so step to it!

Time-Wasters and Money Makers

By | Business Ethics, Business Innovation | No Comments

When you work for commission, time is money. That one’s a no brainer! But what do you do when the client keeps you from doing the best work you can? Simply put,

How do you know when it’s time to give a time-wasting client the boot? 

Everyone has asked about this at one time or another. They’ve found a great client with lots of potential to help them earn money, but then, it turns out they are actually a huge waste of time! Since you can’t exactly kick them to the curb without warning, what’s the best way to finesse yourself out of a less than lucrative professional relationship? With tact and grace it’s completely possible to take charge of the situation!

Our words are our most powerful source of change, so use them! Think about the effect you want, and what you might want said to you in this situation. You have to make sure they still feel valued, and find value in you, otherwise you’ll lose the opportunity to work with them at all. Try using phrases like “I can guarantee great results, you just have to give me the time to make it happen for us!”

Is this client referred by a friend or family? 

Above all, you should aim to maintain the relationships that give you business. Our lives are built on relationships, and tarnishing that isn’t worth the pursuit of a paycheck. You need to remember that the things you say and the way you treat others is a huge influence to those who wish to do business with you. It can make or break someone’s decision to work with you. But it’s not all about them! When you’re doing business, you know it’s more than the experience of your client. To you, it’s about profit! The way you make your livelihood should never come second to the whims of a client. EVER! If they are compromising anything important to you and your business, put a stop to it! Take control because YOU are the one in charge of producing. Not them.

With clients, you often walk a fine line between partner and manager. You have to be submissive to the wants of your clients, but also fight to get them what they truly want. Sometimes you even have to fight them! As professionals, we know more than anyone who’s not  in our field, but we can’t outrightly say that! We have to be careful to explain our expertise, without invalidating anyone. It’s a fine line, but one you have to walk if you truly want change in your professional relationships.

 

Don’t Let the Toast Burn

By | Business Ethics, Employees, Planning for Success, Uncategorized | No Comments

You know the saying “you can sleep when you’re dead”? Well it’s not true! Pushing beyond your limits, often at the hand of employers, is the most detrimental thing you can do to the longevity of your career. It’s damaging mentally, emotionally, and can actually set-back your progress as an employee. Burn-Out is common because growth surpasses the volume of people being hired.

The Pressures of Production

We all put that pressure on ourselves to be the best. Maybe people’s definitions of that greatness is different, but either way our culture fosters this competition. Even professionals in Management have the tendency to award good work with more work. While it’s a good idea to increase production, it’s not always good to make that production rely on your top producers. Companies with stacks and stacks of seniority often fall prey to this cycle because of diffused responsibility. One person says “oh he can do that” and passess it on, and so do others down the line. This is how there are often strained assets in any organized entity. Most of the major projects tend to fall on the biggest players, why? Because they’re the best, right?

Employees are like pieces of bread – always soaking up the environment around them. If you are constantly increasing the level at which they should be performing, they’ll burn up under the heat! So save yourself the trouble, and promote a healthier, happier, and actually MORE productive team. When someone’s heart is in the work, it shows. So allow them to take the liberties they need to accomplish everything. There’s a difference between leniency and carelessness. Take care to ensure production is still occurring, but don’t put so much pressure that it halts!

 

Don’t Forget to Pay the Tax Man!

By | Business Ethics, Planning for Success | No Comments

Ahhh yes. It’s the time of year where hair pulling and stress abounds for professionals. Tax season! It can be the easiest or the hardest thing in the world, depending on how you prepare, approach, and attack it. Let’s take a look at some fool-proof ways to ensure you get the maximum return that you can.

Get Help – Big or Small

Whether you’re a first-time tax payer, or seasoned vet with assets coming out of your ears, it’s recommended that you enlist professionals. Why go to a secondary source when the primary is the best? By going straight to companies like H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt, you can ensure you’re fully compliant with any and all regulations. This is insanely important to being safe and secure in your filing. Take a look into online tax companies, freelance employees,  etc. There’s lots of options out there, but above all, be careful! Ensure they have the certifications and licenses necessary – see proof! You never know who’s doing business without ethics, so protect yourself.

There’s a growing field of online professional services, but some that truly need a person’s touch. Even though taxes are the most impersonal thing ever, you should get a person to look them over. The amount of variables and changing laws to consider is growing, so be sure to get the best information that you can.

You Don’t Know

You know those people who go to others for professional services and act as if they know better anyways? Don’t do that! Be earnest, and take the advice they give. Ask all the questions you need, because correcting things on already filed taxes is a bigger headache than filing in the first place. Speaking from experience, it’s best to do it right the first time. Be transparent with whoever is helping you, too! NEVER omit material facts because you think it will lower your return or raise what you pay. This is really dangerous and not in your best interest. You’d never guess all of the crazy things people do for their taxes.

Is one tax preparer better than the other? 

Maybe! It depends on how they’re certified. Sure, a CPA may sound better than an Enrolled Agent, but do you know what those mean? Enrolled Agency is the highest form of credentials the IRS awards. Good to know! Next comes a CPA, typically licensed by their State boards. Check out this link if you want to know more: https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/understanding-tax-return-preparer-credentials-and-qualifications

 

 

 

 

 

Steal the Show with Nerves of Steel

By | Business Ethics, Business Innovation, Passion & Purpose!, Uncategorized | No Comments

I’ve really been liking the posts from Harvard Business Review lately. They give me some great ideas on what to blog about. Just today, Rebecca Knight wrote a piece on communication titled “Tips for Reading the Room Before a Meeting or Presentation”.  So today I’d like to share with you some of her ideas as well as my own!

Enter the Cues

When we enter a meeting, our own nerves and anxieties often get in the way of having the most effective communication. We worry more about how we look than how others react to us. Noticing the small non-verbal cues people give off, which actually makes our nerves spiral more! You wonder “what are they thinking about me right now? Do they like what I’m saying?”. That loud voice in your head clouds your ability to notice the small smiles, frowns, and glances that make communication more intelligible. Without these cues, you don’t have an accurate read, and can’t accommodate for those reactions!

Read the Room

Along those same lines, noticing how people react can go a really long way. It shows care and lets your associates know how much you value their time and support. If you’ve ever left a meeting feeling dissatisfied and unheard, than you’ll know the value of recognition. In corporate structures it can be tough to feel heard, and speaking up in meetings can be even tougher. To be a considerate employer makes your company culture one of compassion, understanding, and compromise. Knight said “Consider the people in the group more broadly and reflect on the possible reasons for their individual and collective emotional states”. That’s some powerful stuff! We need to expand our conscious empathy to think of not only individuals, but also groups as a whole. Understanding the influence and power of a collective is extremely important to try and persuade them of contrasting ideas, especially if the small cues tell you they might not be on board.

Often times in groups there’s one person that can convince everyone else to go along, so reading the room and understanding the dynamics of your employees can be extremely helpful to increase understanding. Reaching people from different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives can be tough, but you just have to know: There’s ALWAYS a point of reconciliation. You just have to work to make that point happen.

Source Mentioned: https://hbr.org/2018/05/tips-for-reading-the-room-before-a-meeting-or-presentation

 

Never Overlook the Details of a Contract

By | Business Ethics, Business Excellence, Contracts | No Comments

Is there someone you know who casually has time to read a 40 page document? Exactly. Everything moves so fast these days that we’ve convinced ourselves there isn’t enough time in the day! While on some level true, it’s not the amount of hours in a day that decides how much we accomplish. Our own motivation, will power, and dedication is the only thing that gets the work done! If it’s important to you you’ll make time, so who would make time to read a boring contract? YOU!

Small Print, Small Impact?

NO! More often than not, the fine print is what can make or break you when it comes to contracts. Ensuring you know all facets of what your signature goes on can save you THOUSANDS of dollars in attorney fees. Whether or not you think you know what you’re signing, it’s more common than not to miss the small things. Not that you need a lawyer for when you sign your name at the grocery store, but it’s great to have an analytical mindset like them. You ALWAYS have the option to take contracts home and read them, and you should! This will give you the ample time you need to think on what you’re signing, because with every pen stroke there are risks.

The Fine Line Between Pride and Humility

By | Business Ethics, Lifestyle Fix | No Comments

“The chief occupational hazard of leadership is pride” – John Stott. 

During my professional experience, I’ve ran into many people whose pride overshadows the things they have to be prideful of. As you might know, pride is a negative emotion that’s centered on the desires you have for others to recognize your efforts. What you don’t know? How much your personal view of yourself can distract and deter others from wanting to be around you!

A thought: Take pride in the things you do well, but the humility to say you could’ve done better.

Check Your Pride at the Door

Pride, if left unchecked, can get really dangerous for your outlook as a leader. You have to recognize that whatever work is being done by your employees isn’t all to your credit, but is your responsibility. This kind of liability is dangerous because you can’t control each action of each part of your team! Your control can only go so far. That’s why a strong leader is one that recognizes their power and makes the environment cohesive to their limitations.

Take the following thoughts from Jeremie Kubicek:

A humble leader is a confident leader, knowing who they are and what they do.
A prideful leader is an overconfident leader trying to convince other people that they are good enough to be doing what they are doing.

 

A humble person understands themselves, what they can do well and cannot do well. Humble people are not afraid to take constructive criticism or counsel.

It’s with this thought that I urge you to take control of the projects you’re assigned to, and make them as lucrative possible!

 

Look In The Tunnel

By | Business Ethics, Business Excellence, Fear, Overcoming Obstacles, Uncategorized | No Comments

Against all odds, they’re gone. Unexpected for sure, you’re left to deal with the aftermath. Be it a friend, family member, or significant other, loss is a curiously strong emotion. Keeping on with your business can feel like an impossible task. Believe me, I know how hard it can be. That pressure in your chest? That’s the grief because a piece of your heart is missing. The way you can’t catch your breath? It’s the anxiety you feel because you won’t see them again. I know these feelings all too well, so allow me to share with you how I found value in the hardship.

How do you know if there’s a light at the end of the tunnel if you don’t go in it and look around?

How would you expect to get out of a room if you don’t look for the door? Similarly, how would you expect to find the bright side of things if you don’t look at the dark side? There’s always light in the dark, this I can assure you! Honestly, it’s oftentimes our fear and negative outlook that incurs ill feelings, not the situation itself. Remember, a change of heart is far from impossible but does take some work. So let’s get to it.

  1. Find Purpose in the Pieces

I’m sure the situation you’re in doesn’t make sense. You’re feeling a toxic mix of emotions that feed into each other, so you have to break the cycle. Take one thought you have, and find it’s more optimistic counter-part. For example, I might think “I’m hurt because there was so much still to do together”. A true thought, but to change it to “I’m glad we had the time we did because we made some amazing memories” is a million times better. See the difference? This changes how your mind conceptualizes the situation by flooding it with the light and life that gave your relationship so much joy. If this is done with every thought you have, positivity will really manifest itself within you.

2. Don’t Look for Reason

The situation you’re experiencing may or may not have had an obvious cause. Either way, it’s worse for you to try and find reason amidst the confusion. Be it placing blame or finding the events that led up to the situation, you’d be brining the negativity back to the situation. Positivity is progress, so don’t go backward searching for what you think will bring you closure. While making peace with the circumstances is a necessary step, it’s not necessary to delve into every facet of it. You don’t have to know every side of what occurred. More likely than not you’ll end up more confused! So stop the cycle and ensure you make real progress by taking steps to change your mindset in a positive way!

Consider Your Company’s Culture

By | Business Ethics, Business Innovation, Customer Service, Employees, Marketing, Planning for Success, Uncategorized | No Comments

Company culture is the environment that your employees experience while at work. Some factors of a company’s culture include the work environment, mission statement, values promoted, ethics displayed, and goals strived for. It’s important to pay attention to this because it can positively or negatively affect your employee’s productivity.

It’s your purpose that drives your progress, so be sure your employees know it! A prominent display of the overall goals your company is working towards will promote a results driven work effort. Keeping everyone on the same page regarding expectations and norms can help to make your company cohesive, and therefore, more effective. Having a strong culture also helps new people acclimate better to the workplace.

So how can you make your culture effective?

It’s all about recognizing where your company’s values lie, and what direction you want to take your business. Also, it’s more than just a statement of what you want. Culture can include the space your employees work in, what resources they have available at work, and the opportunities they have for socializing. Being able to talk about things not work related is important because we can’t be completely focused on work 100% of the time. Focus in moderation allows for creativity, fresh eyes, and greater return from the time actually spent.

Did you know, the space you choose to work out of can affect this? It’s true! Open spaces promote open communication and fosters the random interactions that help employees socialize.

Be it a big company, or small operation, culture can impact how successful everyone is.