Should That Item Really Be On Your To-Do List?

Should That Item Really Be On Your To-Do List?

Featured, Improvement, Process
Not every project or task you take on requires your immediate attention. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself a few questions to help you prioritize your to-do list. Why is this task necessary? If there’s no clear answer, it’s probably not urgent. What would happen a month from now if you don’t get this done? It’s tempting to barrel through your list for the sake of crossing things off, but before you spend time on a task, visualize its future impact on you, your stakeholders, and your business. If you don’t see a long-term impact, consider passing. Are you the right person to do this task? If not, consider whether you can delegate to someone else. Did you agree to take on this task for the right reasons? You may…
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How Do You Differentiate Yourself?

How Do You Differentiate Yourself?

Featured, Improvement
Let's face it. No matter what business you are in, you are not the only one. Other business people are trying to sell the same (or at least similar) products and services as you are. Standing out from your competition means being able to differentiate yourself from them. How do you do that? Here are some methods to consider: Specialize: Focus on a specific part of your business and be an expert in it. While an insurance agent mat offer a wide range of policies, they can specialize on long-term care insurance and be certified as an expert in that. An ad agency can specialize in radio ads and jingles. Whatever your business is, you can choose to be a specialist Targeting: You can target a specific audience to work…
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Make A “To-Don’t” List

Make A “To-Don’t” List

Featured, Improvement, Process
We're all familiar with a to-do list. It's easy to take on too many projects because you don't want to say no or you don't want to disappoint people. That same desire not to disappoint can lead you to do things that divert you from your own goals. Take a good look at your to-do list. How many things do you have on there that aren't moving you to your goals? Do you have items that have recurring for a while? Examine them and see if you are getting results from those actions. If you are not getting value from your tasks, reconsider if you should keep doing the. It may be time to put them on your "to-don't" list. Time management isn't just about what you are doing. It…
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Increase Your Ability To Handle Uncertainty

Increase Your Ability To Handle Uncertainty

Attitude and Mindset, Featured, Improvement
We are all dealing with unprecedented — and seemingly endless — uncertainty right now. While you may not have as much clarity as you’d like, you can avoid feeling disoriented by developing your “uncertainty capability” and reframing your outlook on the unknown. Some common reframes include: Learning. Ask yourself what you can learn from the situation rather than automatically viewing it as a setback.Games. Remember that you win some and lose some. You can think of things as a game. During a particularly challenging period, a friend of mine and I looked at things as a boxing match. Each week was one round and we would evaluate whether we won the round by how the week went. The important thing was that we geared up for the next round.Gratitude. Recognize what you already have…
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Everyone Needs a Network

Everyone Needs a Network

Featured, Improvement
If you pride yourself on being self-sufficient, you may have assumed that you don’t need a network. But even if you’ve achieved your current success on the strength of solo (or near-solo) efforts, making meaningful connections with people in your field can still be beneficial. If you don’t like the idea of networking, reframe it as a way of making interesting friends for the long term. Create a “wishlist” of people you’d like to connect with — a senior colleague, a thought leader in your field, a respected author. You could connect with them by interviewing them for a blog or podcast. Or, if you share a commonality like being part of an alumni group or professional association, you could simply suggest a “getting-to-know-you” call. If this feels like it’s…
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Why You Need To Go Digital?

Why You Need To Go Digital?

Featured, Improvement
As businesses adapt to new situations, something that all businesses need to look at is how they can move parts of their business to mobile and web technologies. Here are some ways you should be using technology in the new business environment. Websites: Recent surveys show that 40% of small businesses still do not have a website. Your website is the portal to your business. It makes your business visible in search engines. It doesn't matter what kind of business you have, your customers are looking for you online. Appointments: Many businesses are limited in how many people they can serve at one time. It makes it simpler if your customers can go to your website and make an appointment.Payments: Make it easy for your customers to pay you. Companies…
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Plan For Success

Plan For Success

Featured, Improvement, Process
It's a common problem. Businesses plan to become successful, but they can't handle it when it happens. While startups frequently have this problem, it is by no mean unique to them. With the changes in the economy caused by the COVID-19 lockdown, companies such as Amazon, UPS, and Wayfair have become victims of their success. These companies have been overwhelmed with orders. Their customer satisfaction has dropped because they can't keep up. What is worse is that they lack transparency. Their tracking systems give information on shipments as if there are no delays. The day of expected the delivery, the status changes and gets put off, sometimes multiple times. Companies need to be prepared for success, even wild success. In the case of these three companies, it means making sure…
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Never Waste A Crisis

Never Waste A Crisis

Featured, Improvement
There's an old saying in politics, "Never waste a crisis." In politics it means that if you can frame your priorities so that it seems they can help in a crisis, you can get them done. In business you can use a crisis to focus, to pivot and to grow. The COVID-19 crisis gives companies the opportunity to reimagine their workspace. The push to have workers telecommute, to bring business online and to adapt business models has been crucial to the survival of companies. It is also an opportunity for companies to grow and change. It is a great excuse to move into the future and discard parts of the business that no longer work. The crisis in race relations likewise provides the opportunity to examine hiring and compensation practices.…
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Spark Your Own Creativity

Spark Your Own Creativity

Featured, Improvement, Process
When our daily routines are geared toward barreling through a to-do list, it can be hard to set the right conditions for creativity. Fortunately, there is a time-tested approach — that’s also quite simple — for generating creative ideas. Gather raw materials in your area of interest. This could mean anything from articles you've been meaning to read to the browser tabs you've left open on your computer. Spend time digesting the material -- and looking for connections. Fill in small index cards with notes, as if you're trying to solve a puzzle. Shuffle between the physical cards looking for patterns and themes. Do nothing. Find a way to disengage your mind to allow unconscious processing, whether that’s by taking a walk, listening to music, watching a movie, or even…
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The More You Learn The More You Earn

The More You Learn The More You Earn

Featured, Improvement
Many professions require you to take ongoing classes in order to keep your license current. What about those of us that don't have this requirement? Does it mean we are exempt from having to continue learning new things? Absolutely not! The world is changing rapidly. All of us must continue to learn new concepts to stay at the top of our games. I had a conversation with a SCORE counselor. For those of you not familiar with SCORE, it is a program from the SBA where retired executives who volunteer their time to help people start businesses. The counselor in question was retired for awhile and had not continued learning. As a result, when the topic of marketing came up he was unfamiliar with inbound marketing, social media, content marketing…
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