now browsing by author
Presentation skills are an essential facet to business operations, no matter how trivial. This is as much a universal truth as is the sun rising in the east, but while countless people accept its ideology in the corporate world, few truly understand it.
Presentations have a tendency to hide behind convenient labels, like “promotion.” In truth, if you have a desire to be the brightest star among your co-workers, you must present yourself in a way that ‘promotes’ your highest abilities. At its core, setting out to win your boss’ approval is nothing more than a presentation of your strengths.
Should you find yourself in a position where profit rides on the communication of important ideas, it is important to bear in mind that presentations can make or break a multi-million dollar sale. Corporate sponsors place a high responsibility on presenters, for their financial success is dependent upon the organization and subsequent communication of key points.
One of the leading causes of stress in the workplace is misinformation. Sharpening up your presentation skills will ultimately play to your advantage, as in order to lead a team, one must possess extraordinary communication skills.
While many presenters fail to communicate key points before losing the interest of their target audience, still others have managed to reduce 30 minutes of information to as little 90 seconds. Learning to identify key points saves time not only in presentation but in preparation, leading to further stress reduction and better communication.
In order to lead a team in the achievement of a common goal, one must be able to effectively communicate a singleness of purpose in a way that informs, motivates and calls to action. Here, communication of key issues becomes tantamount to professional success.
While in terms of advertising, presenters are the men and women behind the curtain, scrutiny from the media determines the validity of key points. It is an unfortunate reality that your reputation is dependent upon what you do and don’t do in front of the camera, but it is a reality that you must bear in mind.
While becoming a better presenter may not find you in the corporate job that you’ve always dreamed of, it may or may not give you a leg up over the man or woman standing next to you. What do you have to lose?
Plants in an office or on a desk can brighten up a room, make the air fresher and provide a needed dose of nature in an otherwise
sterile environment. But so often, those big plans for a healthy and verdant fern shrivel and die along with the fronds leaving you with an eyesore that makes you feel guilty for your lack of a green thumb.
Part of what leads to plant neglect comes from the plants you choose to bring into the office in the first place. Plants that will thrive indoors, in the middle of cubicle mazes, have specific qualities.
Before choosing a plant, first evaluate the conditions of your office.
- Lighting: If your office has a window or is near one, your plant options increase and you can choose a plant that does well in full or partial sun. If not, choose a shade tolerant plant. It will get enough light from the overhead lights.
- Temperature:Some plants don’t do well indoors because it’s too warm or they can’t withstand the temperature fluctuations between day and nights or weekends. Look for hardy plants if the temperature varies a lot in your office.
- Humidity: This can affect the soil, either keeping it too moist and promoting mold or drying out the soil too quickly, leading to overwatering.
When it comes time to make the choice for your office, a few plants will do better than others.
- Jade (crassulaovata): The bright, waxy leaves and interesting shapes add a eometric quality to your office. Technically asucculent, jades are vibrant green, thrive in shade and have a hardy constitution. Keep them well watered.
- Philodendron: These traditional indoor plants do quite well in a variety of office environments. As an added bonus, they will climb up walls — or drape down if in a basket. Plus, they can take a little neglect and still remain healthy.
- Peace lily (spathiphyllum): If you’re looking for a showstopper (and a plant known for cleaning the air), hoose a peace lily. These plants have large, broad, deep green leaves and will grow stunning flowers as well. They also tolerate low light. However, if you have a coworker with pollen allergies, you should clip the flower before it blooms.
You can pick up these common houseplants at most home improvement stores and garden centers to transform your office today.
Starting a business is a challenge even for experienced entrepreneurs. Gaining practical knowledge about how to handle a start-up is a good way to get started. Here are four of the most recommended business books for start-ups:
- “Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less” – Sam Carpenter
Sam Carpenter shares his experience as a business owner to show the mistakes he made in the beginning. Using examples from the destructive path he took, Sam shows you why it is critical to set-up your business from the beginning. This will allow you to spend less time putting out fires and more time making money.
- “She Takes on the World” - Natalie MacNeil
Natalie MacNeil takes readers on an action filled journey packed with plenty of useful advice on how to run the business of your dreams. You will learn how to grow your business, build a team without much money, and how to get your brand on everyone’s lips. All of this is interwoven with Natalie’s experience.
- “Small Business, Big Vision” – Matthew and Adam Torren
The Torren brothers bring together practical information on starting your own business with their own experiences as successful Internet entrepreneurs. You will get instruction on how to attract investors, put together a business plan, leverage social media, and how to outsource work to the right people. With this mix of experience and practical advice, you will see what you need to make your business a success.
- “Kidpreneurs: Young Entrepreneurs with Big Ideas!” - Matthew and Adam Torren
Okay, why is a kid’s book in the mix? This book is actually a brilliant summary of the basics of business. So many adults overcomplicate the process. A look at running a humble lemonade will give an experienced business person insights into how to run a successful company. Get back to basics and see what it inspires.
These books will give you insight into what a start-up needs to become a success. If you are thinking about starting your own business, take some time and read what the experts are saying. You will gain insights and learn how to make your business a success from the very beginning.
A study conducted in 2008 by the Corporation for National and Community Service indicated that corporate volunteerism is essential to the long-term success of large and small businesses. However, most small business owners are hesitant to participate in volunteer programs because their main priorities are to minimize their operational costs and increase their market share. Keep reading to find out why such entrepreneurs would be better off by choosing to be volunteers.
1. An Opportunity To Get To Know Your Community Better
Most volunteer programs aim to benefit the surrounding community. By volunteering in such a program, it would be a great opportunity for you to understand the community within which you operate your business. As such, you would be able to identify any unfulfilled needs that the community has and which your business can help it to fulfill.
2. It is a Step Towards Creating and Developing Your Business Culture
One of the easiest ways to create a good business culture is through teamwork, which is a vital key of all volunteer programs. By engaging in these programs, small business owners can improve their employees’ teamwork skills. Ultimately, teamwork usually improves the morale of employees and this is likely to impact on your business positively. Allowing your employees to make suggestions on which volunteer programs the business should support develops their sense of pride in the business culture.
3. It Creates a Positive Reputation for Your Business
Participating in volunteer program enables the community to get to know both you and your business better. The community will most likely appreciate your work ethic if you are willing to contribute your time towards nonprofit generating programs. When you decide to volunteer, it is important to ensure that you do a great job since this will build a good reputation for you and your business.
4. You Can Foster a Mutually Beneficial Relationship with The Community
Businesses that support their local communities are more likely to receive support from them. It is barely possible for small businesses to thrive if they operate within communities that are struggling. By participating in volunteer programs, you would be able to contribute towards building a strong and vibrant community. You can also network with other small business owners whose experiences can enhance your business skills.
5. You Can Gain Some Tax Advantages
Some volunteer programs enable business owners to donate their goods and services. If you take part such programs, you may be eligible for tax relief from the government.
6. You Are Able Get Free Advertising
When you volunteer, the organization/program you join will mention your business name during all its activities and meetings.
7. Through Volunteering, You Can Integrate Good Values into Your Business
All businesses, whether big or small, have a corporate responsibility to make a difference locally or internationally. You can fulfill this responsibility by participating in programs that solve various problems within the community.
Accents are disappearing among American English speakers. And, it’s sort of sad. Y’all hearin’ me?
As accents disappear, so goes a little of our individuality and character. We are morphing into a nameless, faceless, voiceless mass. After all, what is Paula Deene without her accent? Very, very rich!
There is a slightly discernible feature in the voice and timbre of just about everyone. But, television has homogenized the ear until persons of color, immigrants, and everyone else from every part of the country pretty much the sounds the same. It’s even harder to differentiate the voices on national radio venues.
There was a time when people from one part of the town needed subtitles to understand neighbors from another part of town. Social classes and ethnic origins were betrayed, and education only moved you from one parochial voice pattern to another.
Now, people just like us really are not people just like us. And, with the proliferation of outsourced customer service, we get down right annoyed and impatient with operators who don’t sound like Tom Brokaw or Katie Couric.
Businesses big and small should listen to their operators and receptionists. You need a personable receptionist, hand-trained in your business and products. You need the voice of credibility, not smothered with a heavy regional or in-articulate accent.
Your office can be anywhere your public voice is. A turnkey virtual office can connect nasal Philadelphians with throaty Georgians, Boston broad vowels with soft Texan twangs, backwater Virginians and Arizona Navajos.
- Let your virtual office:
- Forward calls to your phone.
- Give notice of voice-mail and fax receipts.
- Process customer phone orders.
- Schedule appointments.
- And, provide 24/7 customer service.
- And, much, much more depending on the package you like.
Now, don’t be getting your voice in a tizzy! There are plenty of wonderful receptionists out there with great phone voices – even some with accents. Some of the best even play their accents up, and many a customer loves the sweet tones they know are toying with them. But, as often as not, the caller needs clarity and understanding. They may not be confident in either with the accent of someone they don’t know.
Increasingly, the idea of a virtual office and employees working from home is becoming commonplace among technology-minded businesses, especially with startups. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Read Write Web, 64.2% of self-employed or freelancing workers were working from home in 2010, with 25.8% part-time employees working from home. Now in 2012, “work from home” while working for a new business venture is becoming as normal as lunch breaks and vacation time.
But, why exactly is this trend of working from home starting to become so popular? And why with startups?
Several startups have humble beginnings in garages, apartments, and even at Starbucks. This brings about a different type of “company culture” at the beginning, and continues to be a normal way for new businesses to begin. Not only is it just an unspoken rule and part of the business culture, but it is also a great way to save money when funding comes and goes so quickly. And as all entrepreneurs know, cash flow is king.
An Inc. Magazine article followed the startup Dimagi when they moved from chilly Cambridge, Massachusetts, all the way to sunny So Paulo in Brazil for the winter months in a rented apartment. They had a location in Cambridge, South America, and even employees working in India and South Africa. Despite being spread across many different time zones, employees were still able to communicate through email and social networks while their work was updated via cloud computing. So its definitely doable.
Less Financial Obligations
Because of little to no responsibility for rent of a full office, and all of the staff that comes with it, Dimagi (and fellow startups that do the same) are able to expand into new markets directly as well gathering new experiences worry-free.This also enables entrepreneurs to channel funds into much needed places, such as business development, marketing, and seeking out new talent.
Productivity and Comfort
Working while in the comfort from your own home, or a co-worker’s, has been proven to produce better work according to The Huffington Post. As stated, “76 [percent] of telecommuters not only say they’re more willing to work overtime, but they’re more loyal employees because of telecommuting.”
Telecommuting, working from home, the office of “home,” is only going to continue to be a popular method for employees of all stripes to get work done. Startups embrace this culture because the world we live in today is more mobile and more connected, so by being more flexible there are ultimately more chances to grow.
Economist Milton Friedman once remarked that as long as a business enterprise operates within the confines of the law, it has no other responsibility except to make money. And while it is certainly true that a business cannot operate for long without turning a profit, Friedman’s dictum strikes many as somewhat overly generalized and devoid of ethics. But do ethics even play a role in the affairs of business”
Corporate enterprises are technically considered as people in the US, with all the rights and obligations extended to citizens as human beings. But certainly most people conduct their lives and relationships with others with something more than a sense of their purely legal obligations on how to navigate each interaction. So the question remains: should businesses feel compelled to do the same”
Getting There from Here
Getting There from Here
The fact is that most large corporations started out as the quite small fruit of one person’s passionate belief in a product or service. Long before a balance sheet enters such a person’s head, they have consumed themselves with the benefit their idea will bring to other people, and how best to deliver this benefit to the community at large.
Steve Jobs, when once asked to reflect on Apple becoming the most profitable company in the world, said that making money was the last thing on his mind when he started developing electronic devices. He simply wanted to build apparatuses that worked, and looked, better than any others available.Jobs perspective demonstrates that the driving force behind most small businesses doesn’t seem to reflect the view of Milton Friedman and has much more to do with the ethics of serving, rather than simply profiting.
The Key to Success
Webster defines ethics as the moral principles that govern a person’s, or a group’s, behavior. But do ethics in business pay” Business consultant Peter Drucker thinks they do. Drucker points out that most small businesses that view clients as neighbors, as well as customers, tend to survive and prosper, while those that see people simply as markets tend to struggle.
Drucker has identified two key components to small business success: provide something useful, and do no harm. Those are certainly two fundamental elements of being a good neighbor, too. The bottom line to small business success may be as simple as bringing a sense of personal ethics to the enterprise.
It sure worked for Steve Jobs.
Small businesses are experiencing slower sales growth, and most business owners have a pessimistic outlook of the economy. This is according to a recent survey carried out by PNC Financial Services Group Inc. The survey, which sampled about 1700 small business owners, shows that only 23% of them plan to hire new employees in the coming 6 months.
The percentage represents an increase of 3% compared to 2011, but a decline by 5% from the numbers in spring. The number of respondents who think the national economy will become worse increased by 14%.
The majority of respondents were concerned about the impact of the elections on their business. President Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney addressed the concerns of small business owners during their campaigns. The two leaders debated on small business issues and both of them supported cutting taxes. What was clear is that both Obama and Romney recognized the importance of small businesses in the economy and vowed to pursue initiatives that would spur their growth.
Back to employment matters, the job market has been showing modest gains. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy has created an average of 173,000 jobs a month. In October, more than 170,000 new jobs were added. However, the rate of unemployment rose from 7.8% in September to reach 7.9% in October.
With the Obama administration back in office, it remains to be seen how the business environment for will be like. The major concern of most of the respondents surveyed is sales. According to Sageworks, the sales volume from SMBs is growing but at a decreasing pace. Another concern of most SMBs is access to capital. While not many small businesses are looking for financing, those that need the funds find it difficult to get them.
In the business world, you are going to have to take the role of a fortune teller. Is your product/service going to go over well with the public and if so, for how long is this going to last? Trends can be the deciding point for your businessâ€™s success or down fall. Businesses cater to the people and if you can see what the public wants for the next year or two, imagine how much success you and your business will have. While surfing the web, I came across this resourceful little website called SmallBizTrends.com. They have much to offer entrepreneurs of all kinds but I found the trend sections of the site most helpful. Once you go on the site you can see that they have much to choose from (Product/Book reviews, research, marketing tips, etc.). I found the product review section useful in that other sites review products to sell, yet here it is to help you. They review everything from notebooks to IPod applications to business programs. The most beneficial part of the site has to be the expert trends analyses. Click on the Small Biz Experts and you got over 50 experts who give you a trend analysis about topics such as employment, start-up, economy, and much more. Reading these articles, I became a fan of Mark Anderson who seems to give both a humorous and helpful editorial. Whether you become a fan of Mark Anderson or Joel Libava, you can narrow it down so that you can read only his or her articles. This is a most unique resource in that it gives you more than just practical business advice and says â€œLetâ€™s predict the next hot product/serviceâ€ advice. Check it outSmallBizTrends.com.