Tips from the Top®: Small Business Tips From Business Owners For Business Owners
Understanding How Different Generations Approach Technology
Technology is pervasive in the workplace. That isn’t a news flash; it’s just reality. When we have an IT or Internet malfunction, my employees are probably less than 20% as effective without their computers. They will catch up on some filing, make a few copies, and then talk about whether they should just go home.
With four generations in the workplace today, how you deploy technology to employees, and how it is utilized, becomes a substantial part of planning for productivity. Each generation has a different approach, and understanding it is critical if you want them to work together as a team…
Does Your Business Need an App?
Smartphones and tablets have become the device of choice for many professionals, which have led to the dominance of apps (short for application). Apple’s popular slogan for their App Store– "There’s an app for that" –has instilled the idea that people need to use apps on their phones rather than go to a website – even websites that are optimized for mobile. In fact, a recent Pollara survey on app use in Canada revealed that we now have an average of 14 apps on our smart devices and use them on a weekly or daily basis…Read more
Using Twitter to Promote Your Business
Behind the hype surrounding Twitter is a tool that offers "word-of-mouth" marketing potential, but on the internet. You can use Twitter to promote your business and build customer loyalty by allowing customers to become connected to you and your brand. While it won’t close a sale on its own, it will improve chances that your followers will purchase from you. Here are some tips to make your "tweets" (Twitter posts) more effective…Read more
Improving Management Team Communication
As a business owner, we often get frustrated with others, but we must recognize that we are accountable to lead them. A while back, I had some issues with my management team that I brought to my TAB Board. They helped me realize that I was taking the issues personally. With their input, and working with my coach, I developed a logical approach to get on the same page as my team by applying my DISC profile and what I believe are the DISC profiles of my team (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness). As accountants with different specialties, we all communicate differently. It is important that I communicate in a way that is meaningful for them.
Cloning Your Best Clients
One of the things we do to discover new prospects is a "client cloning program." We tell our top level clients that we want to develop new business and that we want to "clone" them. Then we work with the client over a period of time to come up with who they think would be a good clone of themselves, thus a great prospect for us.
A Referral Means the Customer Trusts You
I recently received two very complimentary letters from some fairly new customers. In both cases the customers came to know us via referrals from established customers. In fact, I’ve come to realize that many of my customers have learned of us from referrals. It has long been my belief that receiving a customer referral means the customer trusts you. In fact, if you have earned the customer’s trust, asking for a referral is absolutely appropriate. Referrals are the life-blood of many businesses. Earn the trust and the referrals will follow.
Two-part Hiring Offers
I have found that making two-part hiring offers has been very beneficial. I set a fair starting rate of pay, and put in place certain goals and/or certifications that must be achieved to meet the second step in pay, accompanied by a deadline. Often the deadline coincides with the person’s new hire probationary period. I find that the new recruits concentrate more on the second step of pay and it is useful in getting recruits to come aboard. I am also using this approach in performance reviews so that the employee understands raises are contingent on their success at meeting goals and increasing their value to our organization.
Ask Questions, Do Not Solve Problems for Employees
I recently read that the mind is continuously working on solving problems even when it isn’t focused on a specific problem. This is probably why we get insights and solutions in the shower when we aren’t thinking about any particular challenge. As a result of learning this, I have taken to asking my employees questions about potential issues I observe that aren’t being attended to or that may cause problems in the future. This gives the employee a problem to solve that I don’t have to think about. I generally ask them to report back to me so the issue isn’t forgotten. It is my desire to make our employees more aware of the things they should be thinking about beyond their immediate tasks, and to let their minds idle on the problem during downtime.