How to Keep Top Employees in Your Company

A business is only as good as the people who make it work. If your employees are the best, your company will also be the best. That’s why it’s so crucial to keep the best talent employed with you as every person who walks out that door could potentially find work with a competitor. Try the tips outlined in this guide to keeping top employees in your company so that this never happens.

Keep an Open Door

One of the quickest ways to create a hostile or otherwise unpleasant work environment is to come off as a guarded, untrustworthy and aggressive manager. To remedy this, Paychex suggests trying to keep an open door as much as possible and foster the attitude that your employees can talk with you freely and openly. Nothing builds trust like vulnerability, meaning the less it seems like you have to hide, the more your employees will feel happy about coming to work. After all, wouldn’t you be a bit less likely to go looking for a new job if it meant giving up a genuinely nice workplace filled with people you trust and get along with?

Be Employee Focused

Your employees are the backbone of your company. If you don’t treat them right, you’re essentially shooting yourself in the foot. That’s why it’s important to focus on employees, helping them learn and grow with the company. According to Instructure, 70 percent of employees were willing to change companies if they found one more focused on their development, and 34 percent of people interviewed have left a job to find one that is more focused on developing their career. This development training is especially important because being able to advance in a job is what keeps many people loyal to a company. If there’s no chance that they could be promoted or learn new skills, they might as well pack up. Providing bonuses, great insurance packages and vacation days are also part of this mindset. Overall, do your best to make it a better and more rewarding experience for your employees to stay with your company.

Set an Example

Change starts from the top down, so it’s your job to be a good leader for your employees. If you show a good work ethic, so will they. If you’re loyal to the company, they, too, will be loyal. According to Office Vibe, there’s plenty you can do to be a better boss for your employees. But, what it comes down to is setting a good example by doing your fair share of the work and helping others when needed.

Employees are the lifeblood of any company. Smart business owners want to keep the best people right where they are instead of having them leave to find other opportunities. Try these three tips to make your company a more appealing option.

3 Career Fields That Let You Be Your Own Boss Without a Degree

A large part of the American Dream is working for yourself and earning a living without having to answer to anyone. However, there is a perception that you need advanced degrees to reach that far, which is not the case. Here are some fields where you can be your own boss, even if you do not have a degree.

Real Estate Agent

When you go to work as a real estate agent, you are dependent upon your own savvy and your ability to form relationships. This is not something that is taught in a classroom. All you need to do is pass the right licensing exams and you are on your way. Then, you will go as far as your own skill will take you. What gets you ahead in the field is your ability to be creative and entrepreneurial. By building your own reputation and network, you will be in a position to get some of the hottest listings.

Truck Driver

The business of being a truck driver is getting even more rewarding as the shortage of drivers gets worse. The booming economy combined with the dearth of drivers has pushed up the earnings of drivers. The average earnings of an owner-operator truck driver are around $162,000 per year. You will need some training and be able to pass several exams, but once you receive all of your CDL certifications, you will have the flexibility to run your own business. The best part is that your services will always be in demand.

Plumber

Everyone always needs a plumber, especially when there is an emergency. This is a job where the demand never seems to go away. All it takes to become a plumber is vocational training, an apprenticeship, and a license. Once you establish your reputation and earn a handful of solid reviews, people will knock down your door to give you their business. At the same time, people who need a plumber’s services are in a position of necessity. Master plumbers can earn a six-figure income, and that number can increase if there are other plumbers who are working for you. While it takes time to reach that level, it is entirely possible given the demand for plumbers.

While a degree is certainly helpful in terms of career prospects, it is not necessarily a prerequisite to being able to have a rewarding and successful career. There are many career options like the ones above that can provide you with a decent living without requiring a degree. No matter what your level of education is, there are lots of great career options that are available to you.

5 Secrets to Marketing Your Business Successfully Online

Are you overwhelmed with deciding on an online marketing strategy? With so many ways to market your business online, it can difficult to learn every option available. If you are looking for a concise list of ideas, read on to learn five secrets to successfully marketing your business online.

Think Outside the Box

Sometimes people with curious, active minds stand out and are criticized for being eccentric. But thinking outside the box is a valuable skill that others have to learn how to acquire. Online marketing requires a lot of creativity to come up with ideas for reaching people. Consider sending your customers a physical postcard with a coupon code as a thank you note. This is part of online marketing because all your other marketing is online, and the postcard will redirect your customer back to your online business. Bringing your brand into their home will give your customers a sense of humanity and acknowledgment and make your brand feel more real to them. If your business is small enough, write or sign some of the notes yourself. If your business is large, do this for select customers.

Ask for Reviews

Customer reviews are an effective way to create a positive online reputation, but it is also a form of market research. Online reviews can be a valuable feedback tool to improve your business, and you won’t have access to that data unless you ask. You can ask for reviews at the end of every transaction, such as placing a request at the bottom of customers’ receipts or automating a follow-up email that asks them about their experience. Another way to ask for reviews is by using polls on social media to gather information about customers’ experiences.

Optimize SEO

Optimizing your SEO is vital. Search engine optimization is a way to grow organic traffic without paying by crafting your copy to increase visibility in search engine results. This includes researching which keywords customers are using to search for what they need and then using them organically. Part of this marketing discipline is knowing at least the general idea about search engine algorithms. They can change frequently, so it is important to stay abreast of this information. If you are low on time and funds, you may want to consider using a consultant or an outside company if you want to maximize your visibility.

Offer Value Through Content Creation

Often, when people create their businesses, they don’t realize they are also starting small media companies. This may cause stress for those who are more interested in business operations. Either way, creating content that captures attention and builds an audience is a necessary part of your business. The secret to creating content that potential customers care about is to offer something of value that is specific to your brand and give it away for free. Building an online reputation as a place where people go to not only for entertainment, but also to learn will earn trust and build an audience conducive to generating leads. Use your metrics to discover where your audience hangs out online and then use that platform.

Outsource Your Marketing

If you are wondering why outsourcing your marketing is on a list of five ways to successfully market your business, it is because you may need a reminder that it is OK not to be good at everything. Entrepreneurs are ambitious, and sometimes they try to do everything on their own. Knowing when to outsource and delegate tasks that you are weak in is an important skill.

Digital marketing isn’t as scary as it seems at first glance. There are several simple, actionable tools that you can use right away to boost your business online. No matter what shape your marketing takes, remember to always be honest and transparent with your audience.

You come across opportunities for success every single day.  Prepare yourself for your next golden opportunity with our resources, starting here: Your Greatest, Most Powerful Asset

Want to Start a Business? 3 Business Models to Know About Before You Begin

Having a business model is important because it gives you clarity on how your business operates. Key components of a business model are what problem you solve for customers, how you deliver value and how you earn money. Three common types of business models to work with are partnerships, franchises and person-to-person. 

Partnership

A partnership is a legal agreement between two or more people to conduct business in a certain way. You can start a business as a partnership or create partnerships to improve your business model. Benefits of a partnership include decreased risk, more resources, shared workload, higher borrowing capacity, and more brainstorming power.

If you want to start a business with someone else, choose your partner carefully. Oftentimes, family and friends don’t make good business partners. Consider what qualities and skills you need in a partner as well as how disciplined and committed they are. Never go into business with someone who doesn’t keep their word or fails to complete tasks on time.

Franchise

A franchise is a business that legally extends the rights to using its name and business model to others. McDonald’s is an example of a franchise. You’ll find locations all across the US. Each location is run by a different owner, although the brand name belongs to the franchise owner.

Opening a franchise location gives you a greater chance of business success because it’s based on a proven model. As long as you find a good location for the business, you should be successful. If you are thinking of joining a franchise, be sure to do your homework and find out what the best types of franchises to own are because not all franchises are equal in quality.

Person-to-Person

Person-to-person business models can be massively successful. Airbnb is an example of a company that uses a person-to-person model. The business takes a percentage of all listings on its website. They make the process of finding accommodations while traveling convenient for both people looking to make money and those who need a place to temporarily rent.

Take your time in crafting a good business model that is likely to be successful. Your business model outlines how you create and deliver value. The possibilities are endless. Choose a business model that works for your personality. Don’t like the thought of sharing ownership of your business? Then, you should make sure you maintain ownership.

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3 Things to Consider When Developing a New Product

No matter your industry of choice, whether you are an independent contractor, entrepreneur, small business, or startup, if you want to be efficient, you will need to be a lean manufacturer. To accomplish this, the first step is often to fully establish what features of a product your specific customers are willing to pay for relative to the process.

Complete a Value Stream Map

The value stream map helps evaluate the efficiency of your current business processes relative to where you want to take it and the current resources available. Completing a value stream map is critical to any lean manufacturing process. It identifies what features of a product your customers are willing to pay for, which increases the likelihood of developing a successful product in as economical a manner as possible.

Start with Your Niche

The better you know your client, the more likely you will be inside their heads and able to predict their wants quickly. Creating an ideal customer avatar is the best way to know your market fully. You must get as specific as possible about their demographics. This includes economic, sociographic, beliefs, hobbies, and favorite brands. In this way, even though the actual “avatar” you are targeting is very specific, you can create honest copy across all platforms that speak to the heart. The idea is that many of your potential customers will be able to resonate with your genuine words and the solution(s) your small business provides, as opposed to feeling exposed to slimy marketing.

Obsess

Once you know exactly who you are talking to when you write, get obsessive. Get passionate. If you are making and doing something you love as an entrepreneur, small business, or startup, it will be easy to go deep. Only once you know exactly what features of a product your customers are willing to pay for, can you begin to build that dream you have been putting off. Start with what you love and use the resources you have. Research everything, including industry market demand, potential materials, materials sourcing, etc., and move up from there.

If you need to build in a lean way, and if you are an efficient business owner, you will definitely need to, then do what you can to get yourself off the ground. Manufacture lean and grow strong. Do not be afraid to do your research.

If you have a great idea for a new product or anything else for your business, here are some resources that can help you!

Ethical Marketing: What it is and Why it Should Matter to You

Ethical marketing is a good idea for any serious-minded businessman or businesswoman who wants to keep up with the changing trends within the markets and consumer demands. Without it, it may be tough to keep up. Let’s take a look at ethical marketing, what it is and what it means for you.

What is Ethical Marketing

Businesses utilize ethical and digital marketing strategies to generate the interest of consumers and build stronger relationships. They first have to identify the need; then they go about creating a plan to meet that need with their services or products. Some examples include the essential oil industry and TOMS shoes.

Not only are the companies marketing their goods, but they are focused on being socially or environmentally responsible while benefiting the consumer. Essential oils industries offer jobs to many in regions where jobs otherwise would be difficult to find, like Africa.

TOMS provides a child in need a pair of shoes each time that a pair is purchased, and many of their shoes are environmentally friendly. TOMS also uses solely digital marketing reducing their carbon footprint. These are great examples of ethical marketing.

More and more companies are looking to be ethical in all ways possible. According to Kabbage, “sponsoring a charitable program and volunteering your business’ time are great ways to raise awareness about a specific cause and also promote your business in partnership with the organization or event. You can spread the word about the charitable event by posting on your social media platforms and your website.” That being said, simply spinning environmental claims won’t help your business, there has to be action, something tangible, backing your marketing campaign.

Why it Should Matter To You

With more and more consumers being drawn to ethical products, ethical marketing is a highly successful strategy. The food industry in particular is an area where people demand to know the source of origination and conditions in which their food sources were raised or grown. Many are looking to organic options. They expect to be able to trust the labels and marketing campaigns they are offered.

If these marketing campaigns are in any way false or unethical, the trust of the consumer can be forever lost. According to doTERRA, “consumers are demanding to know traceability for their products.” Simply put, ethical marketing adds honesty and transparency. If a business utilizes this type of marketing strategy, then they are demonstrating their abilities to be socially responsible and culturally sensitive.

Get Involved

Make sure you have ensured fair labor conditions especially when you are employing people from other countries. Be involved, know who your suppliers are and that they are in compliance with International Labor Organization safety and health conventions as well as monitoring working conditions and abiding by the current child labor laws.

If you want to be focused more in the U.S, then support community development projects, causes, schools and so forth. According to PaySimple, “it’s important to look locally and involve employees in the decision. A local charity is likely to have the biggest business impact because charitable donations will be most visible to consumers, and involving employees in the decision helps ensure the team is connected to the partnership.” There is always something you can do to give back.

In conclusion, ethical marketing is critical and seen by many as the moral compass of a business. Those companies who implement ethical marketing strategies and principles and live by them often exceed their expectations.

Starting or increasing your marketing efforts can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to marketing. Check out our free list of resources to help you!

3 Ways to Make Sure Your Business is a Safe Place to Work

As a business owner or manager, you realize you not only have a solid responsibility to keep the profitable, but you also know that you owe it to your employees to keep their workplace as safe as possible. What are some things you can do to help keep safety a priority? Here are some tips to consider:

Safety Training

If you are an employer, then you need to realize that it is your legal and ethical responsibility to ensure that all of your employees are able to perform their job expectations in a safe and healthy manner. This is one of the main reasons why safety training is so important. However, there are other reasons. One major factor would be safety protocols, which will change over time. Moreover, even if you have a safety training program as part of your employee on-boarding process, you should strongly consider a “refresher course” for your longtime employees as well. People have a tendency to get comfortable and forget some of the major safety protocols over time.

OSHA Compliance

As a business owner, there are definitely a number of situations where you will need to stay OSHA compliant. First of all, you have to determine whether the OSHA regulations apply to your business in the first place. The following exceptions to OSHA will apply:

  • You have less than 10 employees
  • You are a self-employed
  • You are a family-owned farm or ranch
  • You have a business that offers cleaning, child care or other types of domestic services
  • Your business is contained within a church


After looking at the above list, if you are convinced you will need to follow the OSHA rules, here are some areas your business will need to stay on top of:

  • You should regularly assess the safety of your workplace conditions
  • Post OSHA standards and warning signs where all employees will see them
  • Maintain strict records of all employee accidents
  • Keep an awareness of tool safety
  • Emphasize that your employees wear personal protective equipment

Moreover, be aware of warning tags. Warning labels help businesses remain OSHA compliant, and help workers remember to be more cautious and aware in areas that may be hazardous.

Focus on Employee Performance

You also should be aware of how your employees are doing when it comes to safety. Naturally, if someone is taking shortcuts in their work performance that could compromise their safety, you should review the safety guidelines with the employee. However, you also should take a look at those who are committed to safety procedures and praise them for it. Praising top performing employees for good behavior is one of the best tools available to you as a leader.

Keeping a safe work environment can definitely make the daunting task of management even tougher. However, it is important to keep a safe work environment top of mind at all times.

3 Ways to Make Sure You and Your Team Are Always on the Same Page

Keeping your team on the same page as you is essential for the successful execution of a project. Your team will complete tasks quicker when they fully understand what’s expected of them. You can make sure you and your team are always on the same page by holding weekly meetings, using helpful software and communicating effectively.

Weekly Meetings

MobileDay recommends that teams should have weekly meetings to check progress on task completion and address any problems or questions the team has. Weekly meetings help keep everyone on the same page because team members are able to discuss the project and ask questions while everyone is present.

Prepare the team before meetings for focus and direction. You can create an online checklist of the tasks that are supposed to be finished and have your team check the tasks off before the meeting starts. It’s a fast way of determining what’s left to be done. You can also send polls to team members online to collect opinions on issues. This frees up time at the meeting to spend on discussing more important matters.

Use Software

EPMA says that every project can have a dedicated site where team members can collaborate, share documents, raise issues, and so on. Online project management tools like Trello, Scoro, and Proofhub make this easy to do. You don’t have to handle any of the coding when you use one of these platforms. Some project management tools have a free version that you can use. You and your team can monitor the progress of projects and ask questions pertaining to a certain task from within the software. It saves time and helps the team stay on the same page since other members can see what questions were already asked.

Communicate Effectively

Azendoo explains how a team that doesn’t communicate well is like an engine that has been broken down into its separate parts. All are in great working order, well-oiled and cared for, but without the rest of the engine components, the individual parts just won’t work how they were supposed to. Stay patient when you need to repeat yourself. When a workplace is hectic, people may forget about important notes, which is another reason you want to remind them. Also, get into the habit of explaining the “why” behind tasks in the project to help motivate the team. Many people want to know the reasoning behind their work and not just the “what” and “how.”

Make sure that you and your team are always on the same page by communicating effectively, using software and holding weekly meetings. Online project management software makes communication faster and improves the organization of the project. It saves everyone time as well. You can focus on the critical issues during your weekly meetings as the smaller things can be ironed out through the software.

Are you looking for more advice and information on how to pull your team together and improve your leadership skills? Check out these other helpful articles from Chance and Confidence:

Why Long-Term Goals Are Important to Your Financial Wellness

If you are struggling to keep your bank account in the black, it may be because you lack a quality long-term financial plan. While it is important to have daily, weekly and monthly budgets, the secret to true financial freedom is to have long-range aspirations. Let’s take a look at why taking the long view is important to your financial success.

Changes Mindset

In many cases, simply having a goal to strive for will help you to change your ways. For instance, if you decide that you want to save $1,000 in the next six months, it forces you to think of ways to meet that goal. One possible way to meet that goal is to save $10 a week from each paycheck as well as put your upcoming bonus into a savings account. Whatever you decide to do, it will necessarily require you to reconsider how you view and value money.

Banks Look at the Long-Term

Regulations have banks and institutions looking at qualitative factors over at least 12 months. However, both qualitative and environmental factors can come into play when a bank makes a lending decision. By creating a long-term financial plan, you can address both types of issues and decrease your risk profile.

For instance, planning to save a larger portion of your paycheck may prevent you from paying your bills late. By paying your bills on time, you will see an increase in your credit score. Ultimately, lenders will be more willing to work with those who have a good credit score and the means to pay back a loan in a timely fashion.

Financial Habits Take Time to Develop

It is easy to open a savings account or commit to paying a bill on time once or twice. However, it can be difficult to constantly put money in that savings account or pay that bill on time until the entire balance is paid off. By taking a long-term view, you give yourself enough time to develop and reinforce good habits and drop bad ones.

It is almost impossible to improve your credit score, save up for a house or pay off your debt overnight. However, it is possible to accomplish those or other goals over a period of several months or years. On the road to achieving them, you will likely develop good financial habits that stay with you for the rest of your life.

3 Ways to Break into Business Without a Degree

In past generations, breaking into business meant that you needed a degree in business management or administration. Today, with technology and information at our fingertips, it’s much easier to break into business without a degree than ever before. Here are three ways you can get started in business without having to go through any additional schooling.

Start a Start-Up

Getting involved in a start-up is one of the easiest ways to break into the world of business. Being part of a startup allows you to present your strengths in a team environment. This is ideal because that means that you can handle aspects of the business where you offer the most value, while other team members can be a part of the business and bring their skills and value to the table.

With a start-up, because you are solely focused on what you do best, it makes the likelihood of a successful business more possible because you and the other team members won’t be firing on all cylinders.

Franchise Ownership

Owning a franchise is one of the best ways to break into business without a degree because it’s essentially a business in a box. Top franchises have rules and standards that each franchise owner will need to follow. As long as you stay within that paradigm, your chances of success increase greatly.

Franchises are a huge time investment, so when choosing a franchise it’s important to select one that you feel will be worth a lot of your time. For example, if you’re not a foodie, don’t buy into a food franchise. Instead, consider a bookstore franchise or health club franchise if those better align with your interests. That way, you can be more passionate about your franchise and feel less burnt out when clocking long hours making it successful.

Freelancing

Freelancing is a low-cost way to get started in business without a degree. Using the skills you already have, you can take your knowledge and apply it to helping other businesses and entrepreneurs be successful in what they do. Freelancing is ideal when you consider the fact that, if you spent 10 or more years within an industry, then you’ve learned a few things that give you knowledge and expertise within that niche. You can then take that knowledge and help other people grow to a level of success that they’re looking for.

These are three of the best ways that you can break into business without a degree and be viewed as an expert in your industry. Whichever one you decide on, remember to do your research so that you can match your interests to the right option for you.

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