It has been said that small businesses form the backbone of a community. There’s no question that this is a true statement, but in order for it to be 100% accurate, your small business must be an active and engaged member of your community. This means that you need to do everything you can to help everyone in your community grow and prosper. Here are three ways in which you can achieve that.
Raise Money for Charity
There are many ways your business can raise money for charities. You can have collection boxes, donate a portion of sales or simply make contributions. However, keep in mind that there can be many problems with ordinary fundraising if your business wants to raise money for charity. You have to account for all of the money and make sure you keep adequate records. It can also be complicated to raise money while not looking like you are profiting off of the fundraising, so it’s important that you are as transparent as possible when it comes to raising money.
Volunteering is vitally important, particularly for small businesses. It gives you a chance to be present, to get your name out to a large number of people who have never seen you before and to do some real good in your community. There is nothing wrong with keeping your business interests in mind while you volunteer. Indeed, it’s important. As such, find volunteer opportunities that align with your business interests. For example, if you deal with food service, working with local food banks or meals on wheels would be a very appropriate use of your time.
Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce
There are many benefits of joining your local chamber. It allows you to meet new people, network, find business deals and identify ways to get involved in your local area. Chambers provide great ways for you to grow your list of contacts. Furthermore, they can allow you to find the most efficient and cost-effective ways that you can make a local difference.
Of course, your time is limited, but being actively involved in community efforts is not only good for you and your neighbors, but it’s also good for your bottom line. Those are some of the many reasons that it is so important for you to do everything you can to keep your business community-centered. You can do good, meet more people and, ultimately, make more money.
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If you are a business owner, you probably know that customers like to know about the people behind the company. They trust individuals, but they may not be so sure about trusting a corporate entity. I recommend that you use personal branding to personalize your company’s website so that your customers can identify with who you are.
Establish a Presence
The first thing that you need to do is establish your presence across the internet. Getting a LinkedIn account and regularly updating it with articles that you write is a great place to start. You also should have social media accounts with your name on it where you connect with your target audience. You should also join industry groups and take on leadership roles. If you do business in a particular geographical area, connect with local groups.
Get Professional Headshots
You need professional headshots because customers want to see your face, and selfies don’t exactly portray a professional image. Before starting your portrait session, you should follow some tips to get the most out of your headshots:
- Make sure that you get your hair done and that it looks great. In AZ? I know someone.
- Think about what colors resonate with your audience, and choose clothes in those colors, even if it is just an accent piece.
- Choose a wardrobe that will resonate with your target audience. For example, if you are a sporting goods manufacturer, then you may want to get your headshots taken while you are wearing athletic clothes. Lawyers will typically want to get their headshots done in corporate attire.
- You should also choose a location for your headshots that will resonate with your target audience. For example, if you are a dog trainer, you might want to have them taken at a show. If you are a doctor, consider having them taken in your exam room.
Create an About Me Page
Your website should contain an about me page that shares why you are an expert in your field. This is the place to show off any related degrees that you have earned. It is also the place to tell readers why you are so passionate about helping them. If there is a story behind why you founded the company, you can share it on this page. You should also provide a sentence or two about your family and what you enjoy doing when you are not at work. The trick in creating about me pages is to tell a little about yourself but put the primary focus on why you are the best choice for helping customers solve their issues.
Following these tips is a great way to show your target audience who they are dealing with when they choose to use your company. Pick your favorite idea from this list and get started putting it into action today.
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One of the best ways to improve productivity within the workplace is to build a rapport with your subordinates. If you are new to the management field and are unsure of how to do that, here are some suggestions that can help you out.
Engage in Company Activities
Whenever there is a company picnic, office party, et cetera, by engaging in these activities, you send a message to your employees that you are part of the team rather than just over it. Atmospheres, such as a catered lunch, that are more relaxed will give you and your employees an opportunity to relate outside of the office politics and even make communicating in the office much easier.
Show Employees Your Appreciation
No matter who you are, whether you are a sales representative or a housewife, everyone wants to feel appreciated. The best way to get someone to perform in a manner that you want is by praising them whenever they do. Positive reinforcement will not only help your employees do their job better, but they will also be more open to listening to you as well.
Understand Every Single Job
Performing a Gemba walk may provide insight into your daily operations and help you understand what your employees are dealing with daily. Understanding what each job entails will help you empathize with your employees whenever they have an issue instead of dismissing their concerns. When your employees feel as though they are being heard and their concerns are valid, they will feel comfortable coming to you more, which will help to improve your relationship.
Provide Employees With Support and Guidance
When giving feedback that is not so positive, it is important that you not simply tell your employees what they did wrong but also tell them how they can make it right. Although correction comes with the managerial territory, it is also critical to provide positive feedback, as well, so employees know what they are doing right. Offering advice and tips that can help them be successful at work will ensure that your feedback is not only well received but also appreciated.
A good working relationship, just like any other, is based upon having an open line of communication. It is important that you try to understand your employees’ concerns, as well as, the needs of the company and communicate them in a positive and productive manner.
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Leading a retail sales team takes patience and flexibility. Not only are you dealing with the public on a daily basis, but you may be working with employees with limited employment experience. Managing people of different ages and skill sets will take a great deal of your time and focus.
Be a Leader
Mirror the skills you’d like your team members to exhibit. If you have a customer struggling to locate something, walk them to the item and make sure they have what they need before you step away. People bringing in returns may require special handling. Sometimes providing terrific customer service means letting people share a longer story than you have time for. Be an active listener. Let your team members watch you handle a difficult or unhappy customer. Remember that you are always teaching your team members, no matter how tough your job gets.
Embrace New Technology
Change can be hard for some people. If your team has members that struggle to learn new technology or customers who get unhappy when the store checkout process changes, you have the chance to shine. Changing technologies will suit some but may leave others behind. Of course, your team members will need to learn to use the latest tools available in the facility. By demonstrating that these changes will enhance their ability to do their jobs, you can reduce the resistance you have to face.
Making sure that your team is successful will require some study on your part. For example, many retail managers now need to lead people who are much older than themselves. Reading up on generational work habits, communication patterns, and overall work expectations can make connecting with these employees easier. Factors for the business you work for, such as building and maintaining market share in a world that has embraced on-line shopping, can help you lead a team that provides magnetizing customer service. Reading some of the top rated books on retail management can provide you with great insights on how you can improve your skills as a retail manager.
Use Smart Delegation
You may have employees that are eager to learn and willing to go the extra mile. Make sure to encourage these employees to build a deep knowledge of the products sold by the company. If they demonstrate a willingness to learn, you can start delegating more responsibility to them. It’s important to note that these employees are not your competition. A well-trained and responsible team member can be the person who allows you to take a vacation or stay home with a sick family member. If you delegate and that person drops the ball, you know what they can handle and what they will choose to avoid. All of this information can help you develop your team for the best results for the business.
Focus on Organization
The retail space needs to be inviting, tidy, well-lit and unique. When you’re working in a space, use any downtime to organize the space. Whether that means refolding rumpled clothing on a display table or straightening things on a hanger, let your team see you focusing on these simple steps. If you run a restaurant, take around a pitcher of water or a pot of coffee. If you’re selling stationary, tidy the shelves and check the card displays to make sure each card has the proper envelope. The power of online shopping is that it allows customers to look at only one thing at a time. In sticks-and-bricks retail, you can successfully display a range of objects, but only if the display is well-organized and attractive.
It’s All About the Details
Each of your employees is a unique individual. Some may be punctual at the start of their shift but stretch their breaks. Others may struggle with being constantly late but work very hard once they arrive. Each of these employees brings something to the team and has areas they need to improve. Rather than trying to be an enforcer, think of yourself as a coach. Praise in public and try to promote improvement ideas in private. The late employee may be dealing with a difficult transportation issue, waiting on a babysitter or coming over after class. The employee who needs a longer break may be struggling with a personal issue or a health challenge. You may need to be flexible, but without open communication, you won’t know what’s causing the problem. Once the problem is defined, celebrate small improvements to let your employees know that you’re pulling for them and their success.
Managing people isn’t easy. Every person on your team will face challenges and struggles. To provide your employees with the right kind of support, focus on empathy and communication. Be aware of their goals and help them hit those targets or encourage them to focus on your goals for them as they get started in their retail careers. Your goal should always be their success.
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