You’re Not a Regular Boss, You’re a ‘Cool’ Boss — Would Your Employees Agree?

As an entrepreneur who started a midsize company (and recently sold it), I can tell you that every business owner wants to be a cool boss. And by cool, I mean likable.

I don’t think anyone starts out as a manager or business owner saying, I’m going to be the boss that people dread seeing at work every day. Unfortunately, it’s very hard to be a cool boss. It really is.

Have you ever seen (or been …) a parent who is losing his cool while his kids run around, slightly out of control or throwing a tantrum? That is very similar to what its like as a boss. When you’re in a high-pressure environment, or people make mistakes, or clients are upset, it can be so easy to lose that cool.

So, how do you overcome those tough moments? Try to imagine yourself as a parent who speaks calmly instead (I know, easier said than done …). It’s important to remember that you’re there to lead people, and part of that means training them, too. You need to find people you can rely on, create structure and cultivate a culture that produces great work.

On top of it all, the term “culture” within the context of business has been consistently one of the most discussed topics in the last few years. Recent research by Deloitte in its 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report shows that isn’t going to change anytime soon, with organizational culture and employee satisfaction still remaining a priority as we head into 2018.

It’s not really a surprise that organizations are prioritizing their employees’ experience at work. In many ways, you could even argue that this emphasis on ensuring that people are comfortable in their office is long overdue.

So, how can you — either as a manager, or the supreme leader of the company at large — create a pleasant work environment while fostering a productive and open environment with your employees?

Firstly, breathe. Don’t let the craziness of the day get to you. I know a lot of executives who meditate each morning for 15-30 minutes (although, in all honestly, I personally can not manage to do this). Now that you’ve got that off your chest, below are a few things that have helped me be a better, cooler boss.

1. Lead by example.

Of course, one of the first things you think about when someone asks you if you’re happy in your current role is probably whether your manager is doing a good job. What you determine as “good” is entirely up to you, but from a manager or CEO’s perspective, there are a series of things that might help ensure employees are not only satisfied but feel empowered to produce the best work they can.

The most important ways to demonstrate this is through leading by example. Demanding tasks get done may actually get them done, but it won’t answer the “why” behind the action, or the many questions your employees may have. Instead of barking orders, take the time to teach employees the proper way to complete projects. Not only will it ultimately get you better work, but your employees will appreciate you taking time out of your day to support them the way they support you.

Another way is to not be afraid to “get dirty” — one of fitness studio SoulCycle’s core ideas. All new employees — including any level of corporate employee (yes, execs too) — notoriously  work the front desk of a studio several times before starting their actual jobs. This idea of anyone being willing and able to complete any task fosters a work environment filled with camaraderie.

2. Hire for longevity.

As a manager or CEO, you can do yourself (and your company) a big favor by hiring for the future and selecting employees based on culture-fit, rather than specifically whether they’re good at hard skills required for the role. This might have sounded crazy years ago, but has been proven effective by some of the world’s largest and fastest growing companies.

Organizations are now placing a higher priority on placing in LinkedIn’s  top employer rankings than anything else. At the top end of these rankings, you’ll find companies that value their workers, and offer more than a monthly salary. You need only look at Netflix’s culture manifesto  for inspiration  when it comes to ways you can determine which employees to choose for longevity rather than short-term success.

To accomplish this, Away co-founder Stephanie Korey follows the sage advice of another CEO, Neil Blumenthal of Warby Parker: Hire slow. “At the end of the day, you’re much better off juggling extra work for a bit longer than you were hoping than bringing on a new team member who isn’t perfect for the culture you’re building and role you’re filling,” she told  Taste The Style .

3. Empower others to step into leadership.

Part of being a strong manager is knowing when to take a step back and let others shine. While you may be a control freak or like things done just so, sometimes its best to let an employee run point on a big project. But, by empowering others to take initiative, they’ll be more likely to think critically, work harder and brainstorm more ideas in the future, as opposed to feeling boxed into their dull daily duties.

4. Create a positive working environment.

Moods are extremely contagious, and as a manager, it is ultimately your role to drive the mood in your team or office. Creating a positive working environment isn’t an easy task, but it shouldn’t be rocket science either.

Express gratitude to your employees on a regular basis. In addition to the frequent “thank you,” ensure you offer some motivational encouragement that will support your employees in all aspects of their career.

Finally, positive reinforcement is a powerful tool for managers. Giving your employees the scope to make a difference, and thanking them for doing so, are two of most compelling positive reinforcement techniques that you can use as a manager.

5. Welcome constructive criticism.

Although you might be higher up on the professional food chain, it doesn’t mean you — or the company — doesn’t have room for improvement. All employees of all levels should be welcome to share their opinions on policies and procedures and pitch new ideas.

Firstly, you never know where the next great idea may come from, so why not empower everyone to be thinking big for the brand? In addition, the idea of being open to constructive criticism creates a sense of partnership between you and your employees; that you both want the best for each other, and for the company.

Try taking a cue from Procter and Gamble CEO David Taylor, who hosts regular “Straight Talk” sessions where employees can give candid feedback for constructive and positive company change, according to Chief Executive.

6. Learn how to handle the heat.

Setting aside the organizational factors that impact how employees perform, and removing generational factors from the equation, if you want to be perceived as a “cool” boss, then you have to be able to handle not just the good, but the bad and the ugly. Hiding from responsibilities when things get tough in the office will only damage your chances of having your employees on your side throughout the rest of the year.

Additionally, there’s something to be said for finding a balance between being a supportive figure, and a manager in charge of ensuring that company targets are met each month. It’s good to be understanding, grateful, kind and motivational, but with all that comes an increased requirement to be a manager first and foremost.

Forming an organizational strategy that enables a culture-first approach to hiring will massively help you and your company in the long run. Couple that with easy-yet-progressive leadership techniques, and you’ll get the most from employees that are happy to commit their efforts toward you and your company for years to come.

Original Article:www.entrepreneur.com

These #3 Experts Will Help You Understand the Differences between Push and Pull Marketing

Worldwide marketing tactic is slotted into two categories – Push or Pull. Push marketing takes the product directly to the client via diverse channels, making sure the customer is conscious of your brand at the point of purchase. Also called direct response marketing or general advertising, push tactics target a particular group with messages and offers. Email, print and air are chief instances of this type of marketing.

A pull strategy involves making customers look out for your product by actively and ‘pulls’ buyers towards your website or social media pages. Today’s consumers have an enthusiastic online presence and read reviews, type keyword searches and inquire online others for suggestions. Your pull strategy enables you to draw the researcher by providing answers. For instance, when prospective clients locate an e-book, white paper or blog about a subject they are interested in, pull marketing is at work.

However, push and pull marketing are at variance in conception and function. Read on as marketing experts delineate the five main differences.

Concept

Pravin Shah, founder, Six Inches Communications, agency for brand consulting, design, communication and digital marketing, considers push tactic as outbound marketing since it pushes marketing out to prospects and customers. “Push Marketing is when you get your clients and they ‘raise their hands’ as and when they develop interest,” he adds.

Pull on the other hand is more inbound marketing, where the expression, ‘inbound’, indicates to your strategic efforts which make your consumers locate you as and when they happen to have an interest. In their quest for answers, they come to you.

Strategy

When it comes to strategies push marketing is all about cultivating methods of placing your products or service offerings in front of your target market. According to Chintan Vora, co-founder, Digital Latte, a 360-degree Creative Digital Agency, this approach typically includes paid advertising in print, TV and radio ads or direct mails. Email also falls under the ambit of push marketing as well.

Pull enables researchers to find you easily. The spotlight is on developing awareness, growing brand visibility and lead generations, predominantly online with the apt use of content that your website puts forth.

Channels

Push Marketing essentially begins offline. However, there are few exceptions. A typical example of offline marketing is the direct mail postcard. The aim is to drive customers to a location/place, a landing page/website/ or to inbound phone numbers. Email offers are also examples of how this type of marketing drives responders to desired places, real or virtual.

‘Pull,’ believes Vora, is more or less wholly an on technique. “Your Online content is intended to take the audience to a distinct landing page in order to fill-up a form or make a call to an inbound number mentioned on that page,” he informs.

Engagement

Push Marketing, if done accurately, can work wonders. “Using customer data in developing personal and relevant communiqué can make your buyers feel special. It also motivates them to act to your benefit sooner or later!” thinks Tirthankar Banerjee, Founder, Cygnus Advertising (India) Pvt Ltd, an 18-year-old agency offering a whole gamut of communication services including web and digital marketing solutions.

Marketing gets particularly rewarding when prospective clients and customers approach you on their own. However, it takes a lot of hard work and time. Pull marketing usually benefits from a higher level of engagement as customers show interest and take actions without any prompting from your end.

It has been seen that Pull Marketing often fails as the content is not planned around the characters and identity of targeted customers. Also attracting clients in the early buying stage demands a longer-term conversion scheme. Push marketing devices including email, direct mail, phone calls and personal meetings play a significant role here.

You need both

Marketers with high success records depend on the potential of both the approaches and are often found to employ them simultaneously. “You could do with Push in order to communicate with the ones yet to know about your service or product. Push approach also engenders communication with qualified leads, erstwhile clientele and active patrons to boost sales,” explains Shah.

“You will have to implement the Pull technique to catch the fancy of those in the research or buying phase who are looking for products or services you make or offer and to endorse your business as a thought leader,” concludes Banerjee.

Original Article:www.entrepreneur.com

5 Keys to Closing Far Bigger Deals at Massive Companies

There’s only one thing that separates the top 1 percent of salespeople from the rest of the pack — and it’s not the number of sales they close. In fact, many mediocre salespeople are closing more deals than the top performers in their industry. So what sets those successful salespeople apart?

The answer is average sale size. In many cases, the top 1 percent of salespeople are closing sales 10x the size of their competitors’ average sales.

The key to closing those massive deals lies in selling to much, much bigger companies. Read on to learn five keys to closing huge deals at large companies, then implement them to crush your competition and rise to the top of your industry.

1. Face your fear.

Most salespeople are nervous or uncomfortable trying to sell to really large companies, and they let that fear hold them back. Successful salespeople, on the other hand, understand that those large corporations can actually be easier to close.

First, they often have the same problems as the “smaller fish” you’re currently selling to — just on a bigger scale. Second, they actually have the budget to really invest in a premium solution. The only way to benefit from this reality is by facing your fear and realizing that big companies don’t bite.

2. Only sell to decision makers.

When you first start looking at bigger corporations, you may be overwhelmed by all of the fancy titles. Should you sell to the CMO? CSO? Chief Happiness Officer? Brand Director? What do those titles even mean? Cut to the chase by going straight to the top of the chain.

When looking at a big organization, identify the highest-ranking person relevant to the problem you solve, and start there. The worst thing they can do is refer you back down the chain of command, but if they do, you’ll not only be connected to the right decision maker, you’ll also be introduced by their boss.

3. Use an organized prospecting campaign.

If you’ve been relying on haphazard calls and email to reach your prospects, it’s time to upgrade your approach. Before going after a high-level prospect, sit down and plan out an organized prospecting campaign, complete with unique, value-adding packages that you send via FedEx. Why FedEx? Well, even C-suite prospects open their own FedEx packages — the curiosity is just too much to resist.

Each time you send a letter or package, follow up with a call or email. Be prepared to repeat this strategy over and over until you finally get through. After all, this will be a massive sale, so you can afford to put a little more time and money towards getting their attention and establishing a connection.

4. Clarify the decision-making process.

While small mom-and-pop operations often rely on one decision maker to choose a solution, the decision-making process is often more layered and complicated with a bigger company. By failing to understand that process on the front end, you’re setting yourself up for a much more difficult close.

Try asking your prospect, “What is your typical decision-making process for a solution like this?” By asking this question, you’ll be much more equipped to present a great sales proposal without being blindsided by a dozen more people you’ve never heard of who need to sign off on the decision.

5. Leverage each sale into more sales.

Once you sell to one department in an organization, it’s much easier to close additional sales in other areas of the company. When you close a big sale with a large company, don’t simply celebrate your success and go home. Instead, ask your new customer for introductions to others in the company — or outside of the company — that they think could benefit from your product or service.

Don’t wimp out on this last step. I’ve never met a salesperson who’s missed out on sales by asking for introductions, but I’ve met tons of salespeople who missed out by failing to ask. There’s no risk and a wealth of opportunity, so this should be a no-brainer next step after any sale.

Original Article:www.entrepreneur.com

Today’s Savvy Branding Mixes Traditional and Modern Brand Strategies

There is an ongoing discussion about the benefits of traditional branding versus modern strategies of branding. In the past, marketers used to think that all you needed was a quality product, strong logo, mission statement or a catchy tagline in order to establish a brand. Big brands thought that having an effective website or buying a Super Bowl commercial became what separated their marketing efforts from smaller competitors.

Nowadays, most of these things are still important (apart from the Super Bowl commercial), but they work to support your other branding efforts. Traditional branding is all about consistency, while modern branding is about authenticity combined with consistency.

Leverage tech for branding.

Technology enables a brand and its content to have a greater reach. There are 7 billion people on Earth and approximately 3.6 billion of them are using the internet.

As an individual among these billions, you might not have the name recognition, but now there are several opportunities, provided by technology, to help connect you with consumers. We have the ability to access information from individuals as well as to communicate with them, and the number of options is increasing faster than ever.

Be social.

Social media is an essential facet of branding in today’s business culture. By effectively utilizing social media , it can be an inexpensive tool to showcase yourself to an audience of billions. It is important for you to learn how to promote your brand across multiple mediums and make sure to focus on the metrics of each of those audiences.

Crawl before you walk, before you run. By doing so, and evaluating the mediums that your audience prefers to use, you will be able to better distribute the information that you convey. Listen to the people who are already listening to you and learn what content they want, and enjoy.

Be ready to mix it up.

We still need traditional marketing, such as logos, websites and missions, to combine with the other branding tools provided by technology today. In order to be the most effective, do your own branding experimentation to help you decide where to best allocate your time, as well as your money.

Try using different mediums to communicate, focusing on those that provide the greatest returns for you and the best value for your target market. Learn where your brand (and its content) gets the most engagement.

Put podcasts on blast.

For example, podcasts are one of the go-to mediums for helping to elevate an individual brand or even a company’s profile in 2017 (or 2018). In fact,studies show  that the number of people who listen to podcasts monthly is increasing among men and women. This is something that many are trying to capitalize on, especially since the studies also report that podcast listeners tend to have a higher household income, in general.

A podcast gives the opportunity to create fantastic and easily digestible audio content and gives you the opportunity to incorporate video for marketing purposes, as well. You need to focus on branding something unique in this increasingly competitive medium , so play to your strengths. Know your message or mission.

Brand your expertise.

Make the most of your situational knowledge and relationship capital in order to find your own niche and share the value that you have. Sharing the valuable insights that you possess will allow your brand to make the greatest impact on your audience.

Original Article:www.entrepreneur.com

7 Ways Modest Leadership Increases Team Success

When we imagine the traits of successful leaders, whether they are managers, high level executives, CEO’s or owners of successful companies we typically view them to be strong, charismatic, enthusiastic and visionary. The one important trait often overlooked in great leaders is modesty.

To be great, leaders need more depth than a loud mouth, the power of persuasion, and over the top self-confidence. This type of leadership is top-down, wedging a great divide between leaders and their team members or colleagues. Leaders who possess an air of modesty have shown to produce higher quality work and to drive higher quality performance in the following ways.

1. Inclusive

Modest leaders have no need or desire to be better, separate or above those they lead. They take an egalitarian approach to their leadership. They welcome and are open to hearing the thoughts, ideas and opinions of others. Rather than seeking others to approve of them, they are more interested in seeing how others can help them improve the overall culture of success. These types of leaders are effective because they place such a high value and making decisions which are in the best interest of their team. They are clear that no one person has all the answers, especially themselves. People work harder for leaders who value what they have to contribute rather than having their opinions ignored and/or dismissed. Modest leaders are comfortable asking for input but can be equally as decisive when the situation calls for it.

2. Other centered

When leaders are genuinely concerned for the well-being of their team members, it makes sense that team members would show higher quality performance. Their leader is viewed as among them, as “on their team.” This doesn’t indicate the leader has to babysit or micromanage their every move; rather, the work environment, as a whole, is based in caring and teamwork. No one is left alone to struggle. Unassuming leaders used positive acknowledgement as a motivating force, as they know people cannot be demeaned or beat-up into producing quality work. It has been shown time and again, that productivity is much higher when team members believe their leader is consistently looking out for them.

3. Accountability

One of the key makers of modesty is the ability to admit wrong. It is difficult for team members to be transparent and open when leaders make themselves emotionally unavailable, immune to being wrong or to making critical mistakes. This creates an oppressive, causing team members to work in fear and to hide mistakes whenever possible.

As human beings, we all make mistakes. When our leader is self-effacing and open about their own missteps, how they deal with and recover from them, team members learn to trust their leader more deeply and to see him/her as more understanding and approachable. This inspires team members to openly seek guidance and receive feedback when needed. People don’t typically feel compelled to follow a leader who has never suffered. The greatest compliment to a great leader, is the trust of their team members.

4. Composure

Modesty brings composure. Effective leaders are able to accept ambiguity instead of struggling for the need to control. They accept that not everything can be perfectly anticipated or predicted. When humility is present, leaders show the composure to wait and see how uncertain factors fall into place before making decisions. Many leaders want to control everything. Reality is, there are simply some things that absolutely cannot be known upfront. The composure to wait takes self-control, and helps leaders to more accurately know when to step in and take charge, and when to give things a bit more time to marinate. These types of leaders are great models for letting things go instead of trying to force things in place. There is great value in being able to admit that the best answer or course of direction isn’t always available until more information becomes available. This skill is exactly what they want to teach and see emulated in those they lead.

5. Personal growth

Modesty is best developed through investing in our own personal growth, as modesty doesn’t come easy to everyone. The large majority of effective leaders engage in daily journaling and reading to keep themselves focused and well managed. They examine where they’re succeeding, and the areas in which they need improvement. By documenting what they do well in their interactions and how they could have communicated better enhances their perspective on where they are in need of some improvement. They encourage their team members to also actively engage in their own self-reflection, so as to increase their capacity to succeed.

6. Value independence

Overcontrolling leadership kills morale, longing and high-quality performance. Humble leaders take a vested interest in hiring good people, in training them and then getting out of their way so as to allow the people they’ve hired the freedom and independence to do their job. Modest leaders are able to admit that their way is not the only way and that some of the people they hire are more effective than themselves in certain roles or with certain responsibilities. In being able to accept these truths it allows team members to offer the best parts of themselves to the whole, creating an environment of comradery and team cohesion. When people are given the freedom to utilize the best of their skills to any job, and they feel valued for their part, teams succeed.

7. Optimistic

Optimism is the driving force that supports team members to be as successful as they have the potential to be. Modest leaders demonstrate the depth of their own self-awareness along with the awareness they have of each individual team member. They use this knowledge and insight to treat each team member according to their unique needs.

Optimism makes team members want to perform up to standard or above. The better they perform, the more positivity they contribute to the overall work environment. When the leadership is pessimistic, the trickle effect is that the negativity infects each and every team member, taking morale down and increasing tensions and conflict. It takes steadfast modesty to stay positive, even when things aren’t perfect.

Original Article:www.jackphan.com

 

How to Avoid Letting Emotions Control Financial Decision Making

As a business owner or entrepreneur, your success will, to a large degree, be determined by how well you manage the financial resources you have at your disposal. And, if there’s one mistake you don’t want to make, it’s letting your emotions control financial decision-making

Emotions and decision making

Emotions can screw up your decision-making — that’s an idea that behavioral scientist Francesca Gino explores and confirms in an article published in the Harvard Business Review.

Gino touches on a number of different aspects of emotion-based decision making, but one of the most interesting takeaways is a Wharton School study she highlights. In the study, participants were asked to estimate the weight of a person based on nothing more than a picture of the person. Participants were told they’d be paid based on accuracy, which provided ample motivation

After providing estimates, they watched a short video clip. Some participants viewed a National Geographic special that showed beautiful fish in the Great Barrier Reef. The other group saw a movie clip about a young man who is bullied. After seeing the videos, members of both groups were given another person’s weight estimate of the person and asked if they’d like to reevaluate or change their original estimate.

For participants who saw the clip of the man being bullied, their anger and frustration seemed to carry over into the next task. Approximately 74 percent failed to listen to the other participant’s estimate. On the other hand, just 32 percent of participants from the National Geographic group ignored the advice. 

“As this research shows, anger triggered by a prior, unrelated experience that, from an objective perspective, should not influence our current judgments or decisions can make us unreceptive to what others have to say,” Gino explains. “In related research, Scott Wiltermuth of the University of Southern California and Larissa Tiedens of Stanford University found that anger triggered by something unrelated to the decision at hand also affects how we evaluate others’ ideas.” 

You are human and you experience emotions — even when you’re at work. In fact, a classic study conducted by Bond University professor Cynthia Fisher showed there are five common negative emotions  people frequently experience in the workplace: frustration/irritation, worry/nervousness, anger/aggravation, dislike and disappointment/unhappiness.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a highly emotional person or fairly calm, you’re going to experience these emotions in your professional career — especially when you’re a business owner or an entrepreneur.

Sometimes your emotions do a good job of directing your actions, but this isn’t the case when it comes to finances. If you let emotions control financial decision making, you will lose out almost every time.

How to avoid letting emotions control financial decision making

Since emotions are highly subjective, it’s helpful to have some specific and tangible advice regarding how you can get your emotions in check and avoid letting them influence your financial decision making. Let’s check out a few techniques and strategies: 

1. Know when to move on 

One of the biggest issues people have is quitting when they’re ahead. When things are going well, it’s easy to keep pushing. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the best strategy. The economy, the real estate market, the stock market, consumer demand — all of these things experience ebbs and flows. Just because something is going good or bad doesn’t mean it will continue to do so forever.

“One day you’re winning and making a lot of money, the next day you don’t seem to be able to put a foot right. It’s also a game of fine lines. One mishap here, one misjudgment there and you can go from what ‘should’ have been a highly profitable day to a big losing day,”explains NetPicks,  a leading online trading system.

In fact, NetPicks is big on adhering to the “Power of Quitting.” It seems counterintuitive to quit while you’re ahead. You potentially missing out on more gains. However, this ultimately prevents you from taking unnecessary losses. In the long run, it’s highly profitable.

Whether you’re day trading or running your company’s finances, establish principles that tell you when to move on. This removes emotions from the process and improves decision-making even when the adrenaline is pumping.

2. Be cognizant of the “I deserve this” mindset

When things aren’t going well for your business, or you find yourself in a tough situation where the outcome looks bleak, it’s easy to feel sorry for yourself. As you might guess, this often leads to some pretty dangerous mistakes.

“Anger (and disappointment) is one of the biggest fuels of an ‘I deserve this’ mindset,” CFP Shannon Ryan points out. “When you find yourself saying (whether mentally or out loud), ‘I deserve this’, I encourage you to ask yourself if you’re really angry or upset instead. It’s okay to be angry or upset but buying yourself something is a short-term solution. Truly addressing your anger or frustration is the better answer.” 

The “I deserve this” mindset is most common when it comes to personal finance, but it can also rear its ugly head in your business’ financial decisions. It’s easy to say, “We deserve this,” even when the numbers don’t actually line up.

3. Take a deep breath 

You’ve heard people say you just need to take a deep breath when you’re feeling stressed. Perhaps you’ve even said it yourself. But this isn’t just a cliché saying — it actually works. Slow, conscious breathing can calm you down in highly stressful situations.

“The relaxation response is controlled by another set of nerves — the main nerve being the Vagus nerve. Think of a car throttling down the highway at 120 miles an hour. That’s the stress response, and the Vagus nerve is the brake,” physician and author Esther Sternberg explains.  “When you are stressed, you have your foot on the gas, pedal to the floor. When you take slow, deep breaths, that is what is engaging the brake.”

If you find yourself sitting in front of a spreadsheet, stressing out over some important financial decision, then step away and take a deep breath. This deep breath isn’t going to give you any answers. However, it will put you in a calmer frame of mind. This will help you make disciplined, calculated choices.

4. Identify your triggers 

It’s imperative that you do a little digging and attempt to understand who you are and what sort of triggers cause you to feel different emotions — particularly negative ones. By identifying these triggers, you should be able to avoid negative situations and prevent the onset of heightened emotions.

For example, let’s say your blood boils every time you review your company’s P&L statement. Instead of reviewing the P&L statement alone at the beginning of the day, maybe it’s best to review it alongside a couple of your trusted advisors at the end of the day (when it won’t affect the rest of the workday). Small steps like this can have profoundly positive results.

5. Establish financial goals

When emotions guide financial decision making, it’s almost always because there are no financial goals in place. A lack of goals means a lack of structure, which gives you free reign to listen to your emotions. If you want to avoid putting yourself in compromising situations, take the time to establish clear and concrete goals that guide decision making. 

6. Surround yourself with the right people 

You are the sum of the four or five people you spend the most time with. When it comes to your business, you are going to adopt the personalities of the people you work most closely with. Focus on disciplined, poised people if you want to position yourself for success.

Surrounding yourself with the right people will look different for everyone. The key is to find people who think differently and have unique personalities. Too much of one trait will prevent you from making smart, balanced decisions. If you’re naturally pessimistic, optimistic people will help. Surround yourself with even-keeled people to reduce stress.

Get your emotions in check

Emotions aren’t a bad thing. The fact that you feel happiness, sadness, irritation, anger, anxiety, anticipation and other emotions is what makes you human. It’s what separates you from so many other species. But at the same time, you can’t let your emotions affect how you make financial decisions in your business.

It’s easier said than don to get your emotions in check. It takes years of practice and you’ll never get full control. Having said that, the more conscious you are of your emotions, the better you’ll get. Be proactive and take control of your company’s finances.

This story originally appeared on Due

Why is Reputation Management Key to Digital Marketing ?

Reputation management is a key part of digital marketing for any business whether it’s large or small.

For growing a business in the right way, it is essential to know what customers are saying about your business and how to respond to their comments. For this, you need to have a proper understanding of reputation management.

What is Reputation Management?

Reputation management involves checking various websites for reviews of your business and further responding to those accordingly.

There are a large number of different review sites available online such as Trip Advisor, Yelp, Google+, Facebook etc. Everyone has access to these sites and it only takes a few minutes for a customer to leave a review.

As a business owner, it’s essential to check these social sites every day for reviews. You can manage your online reputation on your own or you can also hire an organization that will help you to build a good reputation in the market for boosting your business growth.

Who Needs Reputation Management?

Any business with an online presence needs a reputation management service. To know about your online reputation, all you need to do is just Google your business and if you have a Google business page then surely you must have got reviews.

How to Manage Online Reputation?

  • Assess What Customers are Saying

There are various tools such as Tagboard, SocialMention, which you can use to identify keywords and hashtags related to your organization. You can also take help from Google alerts. It can help you to set up a function which will notify you when your brand is mentioned online.

  • First Page of Google

One of the best ways to make sure that the first page of Google is filled with neutral or positive company information is by signing up for as many social media channels as possible. Backlinks and quality content are also essential towards ranking higher.

  • Google URL Removal Tool

If in case there is something offensive on the domain which you want to control then Google removal tool will help you to remove it from the search results.

  • Positive Content

Pushing the negative content downwards to the next page by uploading excessive amounts of positive content is also helpful in hiding negative reviews.

  • Being Linked to Reputable Websites

Being affiliated with other reputable websites and organizations will not only help you to get the attention of consumers but will also increase your Google rankING.

  • Carry Yourself Well in the Online Community

While sharing content or commenting on other people’s posts, be consistent and maintain a professional and positive profile.

For a digital marketing agency, along with focusing on search engine optimization, social media marketing, website design, it is important to focus on reputation management of an organization.

As an organization, it is not easy to have a good online presence nowadays. But, with the right practices and tools, you can manage your reputation.

Original Article:www.entrepreneur.com

5 Ways to Be The Leader Your Team So Desperately Needs

It’s no coincidence that the top ten grossing films year over year lately are dominated by the action/adventure genre. In fact, it’s a cultural statement. We need heroes in our lives, and we look to them for inspiration.

But, these films are fantasy, and the problem is that we live in a time when the real people we once looked up to are continually letting us down. I’ll leave off the lengthy list of names, but the truth is that no matter our perspective we don’t have the mentors and idols we once had.

It’s in the news every day. We’re let down every day. And every day, we search for heroes to no avail.

 So we turn to fantasy to find our heroes. These films fulfill our desire to find the good in our leaders, to feel motivated by their purpose and to revel in their success. When it comes to our heroes, fantasy has replaced reality.

And yes, fantasy might work in some cases, but it doesn’t go far at the workplace . . . that’s where reality sets in as we go about our daily tasks. To accomplish our goals, we need to find the good in what we are doing, we need to feel motivated by a purpose and we need to feel successful in real time, not in a time machine.

That inspiration and motivation can come from within but there’s also one other really important place…a leader. And that leader should be you. You can be the hero that your team so desperately needs at work, steering them toward success. At work, everyone needs someone to look up to, someone to guide them, and someone to reinforce the good that they are doing. That someone needs to be you.

Here’s how you can be the hero your team so desperately needs.

1. Provide a vision.

No matter your role and no matter your level, you should provide vision to your team. I run a global marketing agency and my team relies on me to set the vision for how we are going to move forward. As a team leader, you too can provide the vision for what your team needs to accomplish. Set a guidepost for what the team should strive for, and they will follow your leadership. By setting the stage, you will be cementing your role as the hero that your the team needs.

2. Engage the team.

Once you set your vision, make sure you engage your team in how they will contribute to the vision you’ve set. Make sure they understand their own role in attaining those goals you’ve set, and make sure they understand what they need to uniquely do to help the team to succeed. By engaging them right at the beginning, they will immediately see you as the hero for the team.

3. Dig in.

Continually show the team what you are doing to contribute as well. You can’t just set a vision, engage the team and then walk away. Your role should purposefully demonstrate that everyone should be in it to win it. Inspiration comes in the form of daily perspiration as the team will look to you to not only set the vision but also be a role model on how the work gets done. Sit with the team, not above them, in hitting the milestones that will accomplish your mission. That’s how you act like a hero on a continual basis.

4. Celebrate the milestones.

As you dig in with the team, make sure you celebrate every success along the way so everyone can see the progress that you are making. Toast to the team at every corner, and they will feel motivated by your leadership and literally feel what success is going to look like when you reach your goals. Heroes make people feel good about the good they are doing.

5. Fail forward.

The team is going to make mistakes, both individually and collectively. Create an environment that encourages risk taking and facilitates learning. That’s what a hero would do! Rather than making an example of a failure, make it an opportunity for the team to learn. Move forward from your mistakes, and take them on as a team. Chances are those mistakes won’t repeat themselves as a result.

Think of yourself as the hero that your team needs, and act like the hero that your team needs. But, at the same time, make them the heroes in your success as a team, because at the end of the day, they truly are the heroes . . . you’ve just inspired and motivated them to be up for the task!

Original Article:www.entrepreneur.com

4 Marketing Strategies Every Startup Can Afford

Do your products sell themselves?

Having a great product is essential, but that alone isn’t enough to make your startup successful. Aside from your fantastic product, you’ll also need a stellar marketing strategy to grow your startup. But for many entrepreneurs, it’s simply not realistic to spend a lot of money to acquire new business.

Instead, consider a few of these cost-effective marketing strategies that can help generate early successes.

Affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is the most cost-effective marketing strategy that works. I believe all businesses — regardless of size — should adopt referral, or affiliate, marketing. I’ve used it with a good deal of success and put it to work in all my online businesses.

Here’s how it works: Encourage people to recommend your products to others, and pay a commission only when someone purchases your products through those referrals.

Start by setting up an affiliate program though networks such as ShareASale or ImpactRadius. You then can promote your affiliate program by featuring it prominently on your website and inviting customers to join the program. Additionally, you can choose the right reward structure — one that’s compelling enough for your network’s members to engage.

Email outreach also can serve as an efficient tool when communicating with influencers:

Create a list of influencers and experts in your industry,

Send an outreach email requesting they try your product for free, and

Explain the monetary rewards they could earn by referring a user.

Content marketing.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, nearly 90 percent of brands use content marketing to grow their businesses. It’s the perfect marketing strategy for startups and small businesses because it works within the confines of limited resources.

Even though content marketing is extremely popular, not everyone finds success with this tactic. Lack of a documented content strategy is one of the primary causes. Without this crucial piece, your efforts will be less effective. As a result, you could face significant challenges when you attempt to implement content-marketing tactics.

Streamline your content-marketing process by creating an editorial calendar. Identify any bottlenecks and evaluate your content planning. Measure your strategy’s progress, tracking how well your content is performing to attract the audience.

Related: How to Produce Content That Doubles Your Sales-Funnel Conversion Rate

Do-it-yourself PR.

More than 540,000 new businesses launch each month. That means you’ll encounter some serious competition to grab your target market’s attention. If you want to generate favorable and frequent public-relations mentions, build quality relationships with the journalists and bloggers in your industry.

Be prepared that you might not always get a response when you make your pitch. You can increase the likelihood of getting coverage if you differentiate your pitch so the tone or angle of each is exclusive to the journalist and her or his publication. Do some research to discover which writers or videographers cover which aspects of your industry. Then, tailor your press release, teaser, or pitch-by-phone to fit those respective beats. Free tools such as Help a Reporter Out can assist in your quest to gain access to email addresses that belong to journalists looking for interviews in your space.

Piggyback a popular platform.

When you’re launching a bootstrapped startup, the real challenge is coming up with a marketing strategy that requires little to no funding. Piggybacking another well-grown platform is a great strategy to get your product in front of potential customers. Airbnb’s integration with Craigslist is a perfect example of ad hoc integration for user acquisition.

Craigslist doesn’t allow integration with any third-party services that cross-post listings to the site. To build a backlink and attract users, the team at Airbnb reverse-engineered how Craigslist’s forms worked — then made Airbnb’s own site compatible with that workflow. Just a few clicks allow users to easily cross-post a listing to Craigslist while also placing a backlink that points to their own site.

The general rule of thumb: Find the right platform you can leverage to grow your startup and create a strategy that works to acquire customers.

Original Article:www.entrepreneur.com