4 Ways Business Managers Can Better Connect with Their Employees

The most effective managers are those that make it look effortless. Connecting with your employees is the best way to become more effective at your job. Here are some techniques that you can use to help you better connect with your employees.

Practice Open Door Relationships

Almost every manager will say that they have an open door policy. Employees know that some managers are just saying this instead of practicing it. You have to practice what you preach. Take the time to listen to what your employees have to say. Be sympathetic and try to help them brainstorm solutions to their problems. You may find that they’re more willing to be open with you in return. This could help you to be aware of ongoing issues within your employee group.

Provide an Outlet

There will be times in which your employees need to vent. Let them know that this is okay as long as they’re respectful of their coworkers. Another venue to provide them with an outlet is to host an event or company party. This will allow everyone to get out of their element and socialize. Look into using a rental company like Party People Rentals & Sales to help you with your party needs. It will give you more time to focus on planning activities instead of the logistics.

Be a Mentor

Give your employees an opportunity to grow into a new position if they’re interested. You can help them achieve their goals by providing mentoring and helping to set goals. This will give you a chance to have a meaningful conversation with them about their motivations and desires. You may find that you have more in common with your employees than you had previously thought. This can garner you more respect with other employees.

Get down with It

Some of the most effective managers are those that understand all aspects of the job. Lead by example and pitch in if someone is out sick or there is a large project looming. If employees see that you’re willing to help out when needed, they view you as more approachable. This may be all that you need in order to start connecting with them. A manager that’s willing to get into the trenches tends to be more respected and trustworthy.

The first place to start when connecting with your employees is to make it personal. Having a vested interest in their success will show them that you care about their well-being and livelihood.

Guest author Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.

 

4 Genuine Examples of Good Customer Service

Selling is one thing: You can probably convince nearly anyone that they have a need or a want that’s related to your product or service. That’s what makes you good at your job in either sales or marketing. But it’s often what comes after the sale—when things go sideways or when your customer or your company trips up a bit—that determines how well your company does going forward, how many new customers it gains, and how many customers come back for a second, third, fourth, or more time. That’s what’s called customer service, and that’s what many companies don’t do very well.

 They might not do it well because they haven’t thought about it enough. They don’t have a culture that’s dedicated to getting it right, every time, for the customer. So what do companies that do have a culture of excellent customer service look like, and how do they get it right every time? This graphic offers some worthwhile examples.

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4 Genuine Examples of Good Customer Service

Via Salesforce

 

Standing out from the Competition: How Your Business Can Get the Attention of Potential Customers

Maintaining a solid customer base is vital to the survival of your business. In addition to conventional marketing strategies, there are some innovative ways to attract more potential customers and keep your profits growing. Here are a few ideas to help your business get the attention of potential customers.

Offer Freebies

Even though this may seem counterproductive, offering free products or services can actually help your business earn more money. By offering free product samples, people may be more inclined to try them since they won’t have to make a commitment to purchase. You can have your employees hand out samples to people passing by on the street or send them out in the mail to potential leads. You can also try offering free services for a limited time.

Display Unique Signage

Using standard signage for your business will likely attract less attention from the masses. If you want to stand out, you should have some innovative signs created. Certain companies can create business signs that feature eye-catching texts and graphics. You can order signage that includes attractive colors and even features the logo of your business. Displaying this signage on the outside of your building near the entrance will help your business get noticed as people walk or drive by your location.

Utilize SEO Marketing

SEO, which stands for “search engine optimization,” is an important tool for marketing businesses online. This type of marketing involves the use of written content that contains certain keywords and phrases that people commonly search for while online. The right SEO campaign can help your company’s website rank higher on the top search engines. Forbes.com notes that it’s also important to have content that’s original and enables your business to stay more relevant.

Do Some Charity Work

Giving back to your community will help your company earn a more positive reputation. Your business can sponsor a food, clothing or blood drive as a way to market your brand and help others who are in need. Local media outlets will likely cover your event, which can get you some free press. You can also try donating some of your proceeds to charitable organizations. If you support a good cause, you’re sure to see an influx of new customers.

By putting in the necessary efforts to expand your clientele, you’ll likely find yourself reaping the rewards in no time. Consistently growing your customer base will help you stay in business and stand out from your competitors.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

Business Growth: 5 Tips to Meet Demand When Interest Is High

Consumers in today’s fast-paced world want their products as quickly as you can supply them. As a business owner, you need to be agile and ready to make changes that allow you to meet a spike in the demand for your products or services. We’ll provide you with some tips below that may help you satisfy the needs of your customers when everyone is interested in what you have to offer.

Focus on the Basics

Focusing on the core aspects of what you do is one of the easiest ways to keep up with the high demand for your services. It may seem like trying to do more in less time is a way to increase efficiency. However, trying to do things in which you don’t specialize can cause a lot of errors and waste quite a bit of time or money. Offer the basic services you know your company can provide to its customers and use all available employees efficiently.

Use Slow Periods to Get Ahead

Interest in your products or services might be high right now, but it will fluctuate with time. When a customer’s interest starts to wane, you can plan for the next high-interest period at your leisure. You should use this time to stock your inventory or get secondary services ready to provide what your customers need.

Find New Technologies

All industries find big advantages in using technology to meet the high demands of customers everywhere. Technology can help you keep up with demand and even flourish or expand your business. Robotics can help you create better products, statistical data can help you follow trends, and industrial boilers manufacturers can bring meet your energy needs.

Try Scalable Resources

Scalable resources may be able to help your business meet demand when interest is high and help you cut back on costs when that interest shrinks. You may benefit from using an agency that can connect you with extra employees during the busy season or from finding a transportation company that offers flexible shipping options. We recommend looking into affordable ways to store your extra inventory as well.

Try to Gauge Demand

It may seem impossible to gauge just how many resources you’ll need to meet the demands of your customer base. However, you can use your experience, statistical data, and response systems that might be able to give you a good idea of the trends you’ll be looking at during your next busy period.

It is always great to have periods of intense demand for your products and services, but these moments come with their own sets of challenges. You may be able to use some of our tips to prepare for your next busy season and minimize costly errors.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.

4 Factors That Make a Comfortable Work Environment & How They Impact Employees

There’s no doubt about it—employees thrive better in more comfortable work environments. As a business owner, it is up to you to find creative ways to make the work space as cozy as possible without compromising on productivity. So, what can you do to spruce up the work environment? Here are four factors you should consider when considering a revamp.

Use Proper Lighting

Having the right type of lighting in the workplace is essential for creating productivity among workers. Lights that are too dim can cause employees to strain their eyes to see while extremely bright lights can cause headaches and dizziness. Find a warm, inviting lighting style that works with the rest of your office decor and doesn’t impede the ability of your employees to work in comfort.

Make Communication a Focal Point

What is the point in having a physically comfy workplace if emotional comfort is lacking? By opening up the lines of communication, your employees can feel like their presence within your company matters. Not only does this drive everyone to perform better, but it helps to build trust between workers at all levels.

Place Emphasis on Organization

A disorganized and dirty work space is both inefficient and discouraging to employees. Your business doesn’t have to be spotless from floor to ceiling, but it should be kept tidy enough so that workers feel comfortable. Of course, it is always a great idea to hire a commercial cleaning team to come in and help keep the environment as clean and hospitable as possible.

Also, make it a point to encourage employees to keep their spaces organized. Offering incentives or playing games that emphasize cleanliness and organization can help employees stay on top of their productivity and feel valued by you.

Make the Break Room Fun to Use

Break rooms sometimes come off as stiff, stale, and ultimately boring. They become the rooms that employees don’t enjoy spending time in when the rooms themselves have very little to offer. Break rooms should instead be areas where employees can relieve stress and spend time chatting with one another.

To make a break room fun, try adding some activities, such as a putting hole and golf clubs or a pool table. You could even put in an old-school arcade game to create a sense of nostalgia.

Your work environment won’t be flawless, but it should be physically and emotionally comfortable and inviting to all employees and visitors. As a business owner, the standard for comfort begins with you.

Guest author Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.

Improving Employee Morale: 5 Reasons to Throw a Fancy Company Party

You have been wanting to get your employees into the company spirit. You know that a festive occasion can be good for company morale. However, just throwing a huge company party for no reason may seem a bit odd to everyone involved. But, if you had a solid purpose behind doing so, it might really prove to be a wonderful way to get company morale looking up again. The following are five awesome reasons for throwing a fancy company party.

Getting Your Employees Acquainted

In large companies, it can be difficult to know who all your coworkers are. Throwing a fancy company party is one way to make it possible for your employees to have the chance to mingle and in some cases, meet for the first time. This can even give some employees a chance to learn how to work better together.

Honoring Important Accomplishments

Sometimes a major company win is worth celebrating. It is a time when you can throw a fancy party in honor of the achievements your company has made. Plus, it can be a nice way to reward the hard work that your employees are doing for your company.

A Merger

If your company is merging with another company, a fancy party might be a great way to bring the employees of two companies together for a smoother transition. Sometimes a function like this can help everyone to figure out where things stand as executives from both companies make their intentions for moving forward clearly understood. This is also a great time to unveil new project ideas and product releases that will be possible because of a merger, and it can be a good time to address how the acquiring company will deal with sustaining employee benefits.

The Holidays

Sometimes it is best to have a fancy party, complete with an experience company providing corporate catering, to keep people feeling up-beat during the holiday season. Especially when it comes to older workers in the company that may not have many relatives left, a company-wide function can be the next best thing for these employees. This can help them feel less lonely during the holiday season—especially when it is a company function in the Big Apple.

A Big Retirement

When you want to honor a visionary or beloved company leader, as they step down from their post, a company-wide party is a nice way to send such an individual off into retirement. It gives their fellow workers a great way to remember them before they go. It is also an event that can mark the beginning of a new chapter in a company’s efforts to move forward.

There are many great reasons to throw a party to improve employee morale. While it can be a great time for employees to let their hair down a little and feel relaxed, it can also be a good time to muster the troops to prepare them for bigger and better things to come. Of course, your employees will appreciate being pampered with a taste of living large on the company dime even if it is but for a short time.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

Turning Your Home Furniture Hobby Into a Winning Business

If you’re looking for a new business to get underway, then you could much worse than taking your existing hobby and finding ways to make money from it! One of the best – and increasingly popular – hobby-cum-businesses is home furniture. Because this is an area where limited produced pieces are often more popular than mass-produced items, you’ll be on a more level playing field with other furniture companies than you would be in other industries. But that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy: it isn’t! If you’re thinking of starting your own furniture company, then take a look at our tips below, and you’ll be increasing your chances of success.

Perfect Your Craft

There’s a big difference between someone who does something as a hobby and someone who does something professionally. Before you look at making a viable business from your home furnishings, make sure that you’re taking the time to perfect your craft. You’ll receive plenty of compliments from friends and family when you’re just getting going, but it’s a different matter when you start charging people for your creations. As such, you’ll want your furniture to be as perfect as possible! If that means delaying your launch date by a few months while you hit the appropriate standards, then so be it.

What’s Your Niche?

As you might have gathered, the furniture world is pretty big! And you’ll perform much better if you select a niche to work in. For example, you could focus on kitchen tables and chairs, or bedside cabinets, or coffee tables for the living room. You’re likely able to do everything, but as you’re getting started, it might be better to build your company around a specific set of furniture. You’ll also want to work on a particular style, too: are you rustic, modern, traditional, or something else?

What Do People Want?

But of course, what you’re good at making and what you like to make might not coincide with what people generally want. As such, before you sink too much money into your new venture, try to find out if there’s an audience for your creations. This is where your market research will come in handy. It’ll help to determine what people are looking for, how what you create meets that end, what to charge, and so on.

Getting Creative

Having said that, it’s important that you’re putting your own spin on your creations too. You shouldn’t just give people what they want; if you do, you’ll end up playing it too safe, and if you’re going to succeed, then you need to have something different about your products! So develop your own style, and don’t be afraid to take chances. It’s not always about meeting everyone’s wishes; when it comes to artistic pursuits like furniture, there’s also an element of showing people where they might like to go, too.

Working From Home Or Renting

You’re going to need space to work, and that’s going to force you to make a tough decision: do you work from home, or rent a space? There are benefits to both. If you work from home, then you won’t be spending money that could be better spent elsewhere on rent. If you’re working from a rented space, you’ll have more space to work and store more of your creations. All weighed up, it’s probably a good idea to rent a space. This will allow you to make extra income by hosting workshops, and will also give you a more professional look, especially if you’re “store” is located in one of those hip industrial zones that are becoming increasingly popular in urban areas.

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Source: Pexels.com

Antique Markets

When you’re in the furniture game, your best friends are going to be antique markets. These are places to not only sell your creations, but to also buy pieces that you think you can improve upon. Take a long your best creations, and you’ll soon gain a reputation for offering top-quality goods.

Getting the Word Out

You probably looked at setting up a furniture company because word of mouth was helping to get the word out about your creations, and thus you decided to make a go of it full-time. However, when it comes to making a full-time business out of was once a hobby, you’ll need more than word of mouth. You’ll want to have a website and social media channels, and also work with a furniture marketing agency to draw more people to your online presence. Of course, referrals will also be a big part of your business, so try to come up with some sort of incentive package for your clients who direct future work your way.

Use The Best Materials

You might be able to make your furniture look good, but your reputation will quickly fall to pieces if, well, your furniture falls to pieces. As such, make sure you’re using the best materials for your creations. People have no shortage of options if they want cheap but poorly made furniture; they’ll come to you because they know it’s the best, and they’ll expect you to use good materials!

The Art of Presentation

If you’re going to sell your furniture online, then you’ll need to learn the art of taking a good photograph. Look at taking an introduction to photography course, or hiring other people to take professional photos of your products.

Building Relationships

Also, don’t forget the power of building relationships! It’s much cheaper and easier to keep an existing customer on the hook rather than fish for a new one. Work with your clients, and make yourself available for custom pieces.

Final Thoughts

So far as businesses go, there are few as enjoyable, creative, and as easily accessible as selling furniture. If you have the passion to create things for their own sake (i.e. when it was a hobby), then you’ll have the necessary drive to turn it into a successful business..and especially if you incorporate our words of wisdom above.