Posts Tagged business growth

Improving Productivity in the Workplace

Productivity is always important when it comes to operating a business. When employees don’t work at their best, your company suffers as a result.

When employees don’t feel that they make a difference or are a valuable contributor to the company, they won’t have the motivation necessary to perform at their best. Why should they? All they have to do is provide some mediocre work and they’ll still get paid.

How do you improve employee productivity levels then?

Keeping It Professional

The employee/employer relationship is a business arrangement; the employee provides a service and the employer provides a payment. Developing good professional working relationships with your employees will help encourage higher productivity levels.

Getting Personal

Studies have shown that encouraging your employees to create their own personal spaces at their work stations is one effective way to improve productivity levels.

Working Together

Giving your employees a stake in the company and encouraging them to provide input on how to make the company better can help give them a sense of belonging and a reason to do well and to work efficiently. Your company’s success greatly depends on their success. Make sure they understand that everyone needs to work together to make the business a successful one.

Making Them Accountable

How do you ensure that your employees perform at their best?

One way to do that is to have each employee create a weekly executive summary and discuss them at meetings. This way, you can get an idea of how much they’re accomplishing on a weekly basis and can give direction for improvement or suggest other areas to focus on to achieve results.

What should the executive summary look like?

The executive summary should include the individual’s:

  • weekly business purpose
  • weekly improvement goal
  • overall monthly goals
  • recap of goals for the week
  • summary of daily activities
  • accomplishments for the week
  • failures for the week
  • plan for the coming week
  • goals for the coming week
  • signature

The executive summary will give your employees a plan for each week and will help them be more accountable for their actions and successes at your company.

About the Author: Jody Calkins is a freelance business writer who writes about business development, risk management, security protection, and business standards. Visit www.emeryroad.com for more information and samples.

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Emery Road’s Top Five Posts From 2009

Now that the new year is in full swing and most of us are back in the office, I thought it was time to revisit a few blog posts from 2009.

Last year was a year of creative thinking and exploring new and more effective ways to reach people in order for us to stay in business. Some of us scraped by on our boot heels and others were a bit more successful and ended the year with a bang with new business.

To all of you who made it: Congratulations! I wish everyone a great start to 2010. May your business grow with all of the new and endless opportunities a fresh, new year brings.

Emery Road’s Top Five Blog Posts From 2009:

Ten Tips for Creating a Website Your Visitors Will Want to Read – The ten most important things you need to know about content when creating your website.

The Why and How of Twitter – A popular post, The Why and How of Twitter is a brief introduction to Twitter as an effective marketing tool.

12 Ways to Promote Your Business – Have you taken advantage of these free (or low cost) ways to promote your business?

9 Etiquette Guidelines for Social Networking – Social networking isn’t just about making a sale. Sure, that’s all we want: more sales and more income. But you won’t gain more sales if you don’t first develop relationships. Check this post to make sure you’re making the most of your social networking experience.

How to Maximize Your LinkedIn Experience – There are a number of things you can do on LinkedIn for your business. Are you taking advantage of them?

Enjoy the new year! Warm wishes from all of us at Emery Road Writing Services.

About the Author: Jody Calkins is a freelance business writer who writes about business development, risk management, security protection, and business standards. Visit www.emeryroad.com for more information and samples.

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Getting (More) Business From Twitter

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Twitter can be a very effective marketing tool to gain more business, more exposure, and more credibility for your company. But how do you ensure that you’re putting your best foot forward and making the most of your Twitter marketing efforts?

Well, following a few basic guidelines will help you maximize your Twitter potential. Use this checklist to see where you stand and how your efforts can be improved.

  1. Determine what you want to achieve from Twitter and develop a Twitter marketing plan.
  2. Make use of your Twitter bio.
  3. Schedule time in your agenda for Twitter marketing.
  4. Plan your tweets to maintain consistency.
  5. Keep your tweets under 120 characters to improve their retweetability.
  6. Choose your characters (i.e., words) carefully to make the most of your tweet.
  7. Use relevant hashtags in your tweets.
  8. Post tweets several times throughout the day.
  9. Don’t just post things about you and your company; share other information that is relevant to your followers.
  10. Unless you’re trying to reach an international audience, avoid tweeting at odd hours of the night when only a rare few will see the tweets.
  11. Proofread your tweets.
  12. Interact with your followers.
  13. Thank people who retweet or mention you. Unless you’re a big name on Twitter, don’t just post a general “thank you” in your Twitter stream. Instead, include the @ and the person’s Twitter name so he can see your message.

For more information on how to use Twitter, head on over to my post, The Why and How of Twitter.

About the Author: Jody Calkins is a freelance business writer who writes about business development, risk management, security protection, and business standards. Visit www.emeryroad.com for more information and samples.

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For the Solo Entrepreneur: What to Do During a Downtime

  1. Get organized.
  2. Clean your office and create a refreshing space.
  3. Determine ways to improve business performance and operations.
  4. Brainstorm new marketing strategies.
  5. Determine other areas or fields you would like to break into.
  6. Consider adding a service to expand your business or creating another business.
  7. Develop a schedule to keep yourself productive.
  8. Learn/study to improve your marketability.
  9. Keep working.
  10. Create more samples for your portfolio.
  11. Develop case studies and testimonials to promote your business.
  12. Catch up on paperwork (expense report, etc.).

What do you do during a downtime?

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The Basics: Why Should You Use Social Networking Sites?

In this day and age, the Internet has become so widely used that if you’re not using it, you’re not maximizing your opportunities for growth. One of the ways to take advantage of this technology is to join social networking sites. There are a number of sites out there like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Plaxo Pulse. My favorites for business are LinkedIn and Twitter.

What Can Social Networking Sites Do For Me?

LinkedIn – LinkedIn allows businesses and business professionals to stay connected and learn more about each other. It also enables members to connect with professionals who are part of their target audience or industry.

Twitter – Twitter is another valuable tool that can help you stay current with your industry’s trends and give you helpful tips in other areas that you may want help or insight in.

What are the Benefits?

Exposure – Social networking can give you more exposure as an expert in your field and can put you a step above competitors who aren’t taking advantage of this new technology.

Validation – Participating in social networking can help validate your business in the eyes of your customers and prospects, giving them another way to reach you and to learn more about you and your business.

Information – There is a fountain of information available to you through social networking. Follow others who provide helpful tips and information and join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your industry or area of service to stay on top of industry trends.

How Much Time is Involved?

Participating in social networking doesn’t require a significant amount of time. You can spend as much or as little time on it as you want, depending on your goals. Define what you want to accomplish from social networking and then develop a plan that will help you achieve that goal.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

Social networking should be beneficial to your business and should not be a hindrance or a bridge-burning activity, so always be professional and treat others in a professional manner to maximize your experience with social networking.

Also, it does take consistency and a longer-term plan, so when developing your plan, allow for several months of consistent activity.

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8 Common Problem Areas for Business Growth

Professionalism in business is so important, especially now in this poor economy. Customers want to work with businesses that strive to meet their expectations and they want to know that you have their best interests at heart.

An unprofessional operation, whether it is at the frontdesk or on a job site, is a major turn-off and can cost your company future business. If you removed all professionalism from your operations today but still offered the same service, you would probably find that a lot of your customers would move on to another company. Bad word-of-mouth would then spread like wildfire.

To help ensure your business operates as professionally as possible, consider these common problem areas and determine how your company can improve.

  1. Customer Relations

    Investigate how you and your staff members are handling your company’s customer relations. Do your staff members communicate professionally to your customers? Are your customers satisfied with your level of customer service and how your company talks and works with them? How can this area be improved?

  2. Company/Employee Conduct

    Suspicious activities by either the company or an employee can give your company a bad reputation. Strive to set best practices for company and employee conduct, including behavior outside of the office, to avoid negatively impacting your business.

  3. Vendor Conduct

    Vendors who participate in activities such as bribery or child labor can do much damage to your company’s reputation. When working with other companies, whether locally or overseas, take caution and do your due diligence. Know the laws and do everything in your power to prevent being associated with unethical or illegal practices.

  4. Website

    A poorly written and designed website can do more harm than good. Your website is a place your prospects will go to get more information about your company. You don’t want to scare them away with an unprofessional site.

    Ask a variety of individuals, including a web designer or copywriter, for their honest opinion about your company’s website. Does it look professional? Is it free of grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors? Does it explain clearly and effectively what product or service your business provides? Does it offer multiple contact methods? If you have a brick and mortar store or office, does your website supply the location address and hours of operation?

  5. Marketing Materials

    Professional marketing materials are a must for any successful business and should be extensions of your website, not duplicates. Customers and prospects don’t want to read the same text; they want to learn more about your company with each piece of material they read. Are your materials free of errors and typos? Do they convey information clearly and effectively?

  6. E-mail

    Just like other business materials, business e-mails represent your company. When sending e-mails, make sure they are free of errors and are concise and easy to read. If different topics need to be discussed, send them in separate e-mails with detailed subject lines.

  7. Social Networking Profiles

    Your profiles should demonstrate your professionalism and your expertise in your field. Proofread before and after submitting to ensure your profile is at its best.

  8. Tweets

    Your Twitter account is another haven for errors and a lack of professionalism. When tweeting, review your tweets thoroughly to avoid making errors and be sure they are tasteful and non-offensive.

There are so many areas a company needs to consider in order to ensure professionalism. When your company takes the time to ensure everything is in order, customers will have more confidence in your company and its ability to deliver the services they need.

About the Author: Jody Calkins is a freelance business writer who writes about business development, risk management, security protection, and business standards. Visit www.emeryroad.com for more information and samples.

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12 Ways to Promote Your Business

When you own a business, you want to get your name out there to as many folks as possible. It isn’t always easy to do that and it can be very time consuming. But taking the time to develop a marketing plan and to participate in business promoting activities is your best bet in achieving business success.

There are a number of ways to reach your audience. Explore all options and then decide on a plan of action. Here are twelve ways to get you started.

  1. Social Networking – Offline

    Getting involved in networking events hosted by your local chamber of commerce, BNI chapter, or other organization is a great way to spread the word about your business. See my post on social networking etiquette.

  2. Social Networking – Online

    Join LinkedIn and Twitter and create your profile. This is a great way to stay connected with people you’ve met and to get introduced to other people. See my blog post on how to use Twitter.

  3. Website

    Having a professional website helps your business achieve more credibility and is another way for your customers and target market to find you. Give people multiple ways to contact you and if you have a brick and mortar store, be sure to include your location and hours of business. Also, be sure your website looks professional. If you’re not sure, ask a professional for feedback. It is always better to have NO website than to have an unprofessional one.

  4. Articles

    Write articles that demonstrate your expertise and submit them to online sites like EzineArticles to gain exposure as an expert in your field. If you don’t have time or talent, hire a copywriter to help you.

  5. Blog

    Start a blog and write posts that provide helpful information. If you provide valuable and helpful content on a regular basis, your readers are more likely to come back for more. Be sure to create an informative ‘About’ page that mentions your company and its value to customers.

  6. Community Involvement

    Get involved in the community and offer a service for a good cause to gain more exposure for your business. Write a press release about it, then post it on your website and submit it to your local newspapers.

  7. Case Studies

    Write case studies featuring your customers and their experiences with your product or service. You can then post the case study on your website or use it as a handout to prospects. Be sure your subjects have agreed to an interview before hiring a copywriter to produce the case study.

  8. SEO

    Incorporating relevant keywords into your website copy can improve your ranking with the search engines and thus improve your chances of increased traffic to your site. You want to make sure your text still makes sense, so take caution when adding your keywords to your site.

  9. Marketing Materials

    Produce a professional brochure about your services and have it handy when prospects want more information. Be careful not to use too much of the same text from your website (or vice versa). You want your material to be fresh and new and to complement each other. Send out direct mail if your budget allows it.

  10. Testimonials

    Post real customer testimonials on your website and get recommendations from your connections on LinkedIn to gain credibility with your customers and prospects.

  11. Partnerships

    Visit with your neighboring businesses and see if there is a way you can work together to improve both of your businesses. A referral program may work for you.

  12. Seminars

    Offering seminars on industry-related topics is a great way to gain more exposure for your business and mark you as an expert in your field.

Follow this list and you’ll be well on your way to effectively promoting your business. But remember: always be professional and produce professional materials to improve customer retention and acquisition.

About the Author: Jody Calkins is a freelance business writer who writes about business development, risk management, security protection, and business standards. Visit www.emeryroad.com for more information and samples.

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