The Core Characteristics for Being a Great Leader

It is normal to desire to become the best leader in your company. Most people in leadership roles not only try to perform their jobs adequately but also go a step further to set an example for their subordinates. No one likes to be regarded as just an okay leader by their team members. That is why most leaders put in all the efforts to analyze and follow the characteristics that make a great leader. Moreover, they never become content with their knowledge on their way to becoming more influential. If you are in the race with yourself too, below are some of the most essential characteristics that you will need in order to achieve your goals.

Professionalism

There is no arguing that great leaders always show a higher level of professionalism in both managing their job responsibilities as well as their social interactions. Their ability to maintain professionalism in all aspects of their lives is respected among their team members as well as by others that they meet in their day-to-day lives. Their degree of professionalism also creates a positive environment in the workplace which helps team members feel included and valued.

A great leader will also display a superior level of integrity and set good examples for their team members. They will also hold them accountable for all the job responsibilities and actions that were taken to accomplish the team objectives. Great leaders also value ethical principles seriously and strictly follow the rules and regulations in their respective field. Even if they make a mistake in the process, they accept it and never put the blame on their subordinates.

At the same time, great leaders will also show compassion to manage the team well and will be open to the ideas put forward by every team member instead of just forcing their concepts on them. They will also try to understand how the team members are doing in and out of the workplace and promote positivity among them to cultivate a healthy work culture. Great leaders also respect their team members and treat them rightfully to help them realize their importance in the team.

Organizational Skills

Great leaders not only exhibit a higher level of professionalism, but they are also known for their organizational skills. They will be goal-oriented and keep their activity system consciously structured. At the same time, they will be flexible enough to adapt to the changing plans to suit the situation.

A great leader will ensure that the goals defined to their team members are specific, quantifiable, and achievable. This helps make sure that everyone on the team knows what they have to do for the success of the team. This way they can work to achieve the defined objectives in a timely manner. This structural approach in turn helps to accelerate the workflow. Great leaders also know the strong points and weaknesses of their team members and assign the tasks accordingly to make the most of the available resources.

Great leaders also understand that open communication between them and their team members is a key constituent of their workforce. This is even more important when managing remote employees as open communication will help keep them updated on the proceedings of the work at hand.

A great leader will not just be ready to answer the questions asked and share the necessary knowledge for the common good, but also know how and when to adapt to the changing communications technologies for the best results. Great leaders also embrace new technology for better and clear communication with their team members which ensures higher work efficiency from everyone.

Learning Curve

Great leaders realize that they can never curtail their learning curve and try to make the most of every learning opportunity to gather as much knowledge as possible. Some leaders even go back to the traditional means to get a better understanding of their job while others will engage in self-education for better team management.

A great leader will also rework on their skills and knowledge from time to time to ensure that they can be put to good use when the time comes. Great leaders also understand there is room for practice and improvement always, no matter how skilled they may be in an area. This continual learning helps to ensure that they adopt any new developments in their techniques as well while keeping up with those who are figuring out new ways of doing things.

Great leaders also appreciate the knowledge of their co-workers and team members and make sure to utilize that as applicable. Some leaders even try to learn new processes and skills that are somehow related to their job so that they can remain more efficient in their field.

Personality

A great leader will have an exceptional personality and charisma. This can help them both in the workplace as well as in other situations. Some great leaders are born with a natural charisma that works amazingly for them to achieve their goals while others learn the skill with the passion within.

Good personality gives higher confidence to leaders which inspires and motivates others to follow their footsteps. Even though others cannot determine what is specifically different about their leader, they are still drawn by their charisma. Great leaders also know that there is a very fine line between being highly confident and being arrogant and they make sure to stay on the right side always.

Great leaders are also very attentive and spend time with their team members to listen to their grievances and concerns when they come to them. This helps to develop a more comfortable and productive culture among the team which works for the overall good of the projects at hand. Great leaders also know how to motivate their team members by telling a great inspiring story and they can easily comfort others with their charismatic personality.

How to Create the Best Corporate Culture

It is well understood that corporate culture is an inseparable part of today’s business. An average employee spends around 35% of their total waking hours at the office which means that the workplace culture easily affects them gradually permeating across all the parts of the organization. Therefore, it is important to realize the benefits of corporate culture and how to build on it.

Just like any other aspect of your business, creating a good company culture also requires a balanced approach. Although most people believe that corporate culture and company values flow from the top management to the bottom-level employees, it is often seen that the actual nature of company culture is shaped depending upon how it is managed by the mid-level staff in the organization. Below are five essential points to note so that you can instill the best corporate culture in your company.

Individuals Drive the Culture of a Company or a Subsidiary

Most people are familiar with a brand and the way things work with them before they may have started at your company. Generally, the way they operated until then would have formulated a modus operandi to manage their personal life and work, and most of them will not be able to change that. Therefore, you need to hire employees who can adapt to the changing trends and believe in a more demonstrated behavior.

Corporate Culture is Not Exclusive to the Head Office

Many teams on the international level are not interested in or even turn away from adopting the head office culture as seen in the US. This can lead to a hostile work environment in your company as your employees may not want to collaborate with each other. That is why you should work to figure out which type of culture works the best for each of your subsidiaries and adopt that in the unit no matter how different and distinct it is from your core corporate culture.

Maintaining Company Culture Can Be Simple When you are Successful

Everyone will find it very easy to adapt to the corporate culture when things are going well. However, when things start going south, most businesses lose their cultural values and forget what was keeping the team together until then. The lack of transparency and clarity due to the workload or stress leads to the creation of a company culture that lives for the short-term only. Therefore, you need to keep your focus right and maintain a healthy corporate culture no matter what comes your way.

Do Not Celebrate Achievements for the Sake of Celebrating

Every employee would like to be appreciated for their achievements. However, some do that just to make their employees happy and for no apparent reason. This can affect the culture in the company negatively and employees will soon start to resent the fake appreciation. That is why you should assess the performance of your employees fairly and celebrate their achievements that actually matter to your business. You should appreciate how they overcame the challenges for the overall benefit of the company.

Find and Fix Issues That Harm Workplace Culture

If your company is following a traditional approach to managing things and it is a poorly engineered process, then you cannot create an agile or customer-first culture in your organization. Your employees will not want to do meaningless things repeatedly as that will be making their lives miserable. The situation gets even worse if they see no efforts from the company’s side to resolve the problems. Therefore, you should try to make lives easier for your staff as well as your customers to incorporate the best company culture.

Remember that building a great team and the best company culture will not happen overnight. It requires time and effort from your side to empower your employees for cultivating a healthy and enjoyable workplace culture. When you create a positive corporate culture in your establishment, it will help your employees find real value in their work and it’ll motivate them to contribute towards the success of your business.

4 Elements of Building a Healthy Workplace Culture

It is very important to cultivate a winning culture in the company to stay competitive. However, most businesses often ignore this and let the workplace culture form on its own in the company.

A recent report highlighted that around 63% of business leaders and CEOs in small-to-mid-sized companies strongly agree that workplace culture is integral to their company’s success today. However, just around 40% reported that they took efforts to develop and create a healthy company culture. At the same time, only around 11% of the participating leaders said that they were happy with the workplace culture in their company.

Work culture needs to be built and maintained well while it may also develop naturally on its own in some companies. Naturally developing culture can both be positive and negative which is why business leaders should try to create a healthy culture before things get out of control in the organization. If leaders take it with laxity, workplace culture can be influenced by strong personalities and it can shift in the direction they want. This often leads to company politics and gossiping. Therefore, workplace culture should not be left to develop by chance.

Business leaders should sharpen their mission, vision, purpose, and core values of the company to define the culture at the company. This will ensure to make the employees feel that they are valued and part of something important. Below are four elements that leaders should incorporate in their strategy to build a great workplace culture.

Trust

Incorporating trust in the company will connect the employees and allows them to stay focused on their individual goals that will work for the success of the community. Business leaders should set good examples to instill trust among employees as it flows from the top. For that, leaders should:

  • Be consistent in how they treat the employees
  • Show integrity when making a decision
  • Be transparent with the data, updates, and news
  • Interact with employees regularly to build good relationships

Note that every type of interaction that leaders have with the employees will contribute to building or destroying trust. Therefore, leaders should be very careful with their approaches.

Elements of Culture

These are the five main elements of culture – values, language, communication, behavior, and customs.

  • Values refer to the qualities that are most important to the business. Having a good set of values will form the company’s character and remind employees of how it helps shape the future.
  • Language defines how employees see workplace culture. Having a structured mission, vision, and purpose will help the company be consistent in their approaches and communication with employees. This will ensure better cultural alignment across the organization.
  • Communication is the factor that influences the sense of transparency and connection experienced across the company. Proper communication ensures that no rumors are spread amongst employees, and instead, helps to strengthen the trust and belief in healthy workplace culture.
  • Behaviors form the standards of the business. It defines how leaders interact with co-workers as well as how they set examples for them. Punctuality, professionalism, and organizational skills are all important parts of behavior.
  • Customs and rituals also determine how successful the workplace culture is. It will be based on how business leaders take weekly meetings or monthly celebrations.

Business Goals

Every business needs to combine its business strategy with workplace culture. This means that the company should have a strong mission and vision statement.

The mission statement should define the objectives of the company and describe what the business is all about. With a clearly defined mission statement, the decision-making will become much simpler across the company.

The vision statement should define the direction of the business, both in the short-term as well as long-term. This should include what the company aspires to do. That will give leaders the idea of the future expectations of the company and help them determine how they can plan and work to achieve those goals. This will also help them set their priorities right and make the best decisions for the company.

Purpose

The purpose of a business is much more important than stating the bottom line. To create a healthy culture in the company, the purpose of the business should be structured and it should connect the values, beliefs, and social responsibilities with the goals and objectives of the company. Infusing purpose in the workplace culture will motivate employees to work for the common good beyond their paycheck.

A purpose-driven business will define what makes them different from their competitors and why they exist. A company with a strong purpose will easily define its social, environmental, as well as financial goals, and can perfectly line the business models aside these objectives.

How Can Leaders Influence Company Culture

Business leaders should understand the importance of a winning culture and work to create one in their company. For that, they should:

  • Make culture a priority of the business and a part of the day-to-day work.
  • Connect workplace culture to metrics and assess employee engagement or satisfaction based on that. This can help define retention rates as well as new recruitments from employee referrals too.
  • Lead by example and consistently demonstrate the business values and goals.
  • Express the mission, vision, and purpose of the business clearly.

Why a Digital Marketing Strategy is Indispensable

If you are running an online business and have customers whom you reach out to online, it does not automatically mean that you have established a digital marketing strategy. It may be that you have put in substantial effort to advertise your services or products using internet-based platforms (this qualifies as online marketing), but that does not necessarily mean you have a strategy.

When it comes to strategy, you need to be dealing with analysis, planning, and also metrics. It is not the same as sending out a few tweets. If you happen to be marketing online without first getting a suitable strategy in place, there is a good chance you are missing out on chances to expand your business.

Before adding another post or promoting another link, you should know why it works best if you have a genuine digital marketing strategy to use and rely on.

Boosts Focused Efforts

Most businesses have the general goal to increase sales, but implementing this idea is not as easy as it may seem at first glance. You do not get the opportunity to focus your efforts, and this could lead to time spent moving in the wrong direction.

Instead, if you take the time to identify your goals, it is possible to come up with a plan which makes specific goals easier to achieve. One example is when you sign up to get your advert displayed randomly on other websites to boost visibility. If these ads do not reach the right eyes, you would be wasting your effort and money.

Let’s say your business is focused on selling women’s clothing, in which case you would not benefit much from having your ad end up on sites with predominantly male viewers, such as tech sites and sports-oriented sites. Despite the small chance that female viewers may stop by, the likelihood is that males would see the ad more.

Creates Cohesiveness

If you are not the only one in your company that’s part of decision-making, having a new strategy can help make sure everyone understands the risks and potential benefits of any course of action. The alternative is to have a group of people who each base their work on unique priorities. When everyone is not working together, it naturally means that you will not get the most return for your efforts.

A digital marketing strategy can construct a singular vision concerning the growth of the company, helping ensure that fund management stays proper according to a primary goal, as well as allowing online activity to move forward depending on known priorities and not personal whims.

On top of this, the chance for duplicated effort can be eliminated. For instance, if you believe a marketing campaign on social media is a sure-fire way towards your goal, and your co-worker gets the same idea, the two of you could end up spending time and energy working on the same thing. Another possibility is that the two of you could be using different platforms for the same purpose, and end up creating mixed messages or even conflicting brand images.

Supports Organization

Having a strategy lets you schedule and organize your efforts. You can release a social media post or an ad campaign, for instance, in a supportive way, which is to say each effort could build on top of the last. While you’re able to make a full picture of how the digital marketing campaign is progressing, it would be much easier to ensure everything is the way it has to be in order to achieve optimal results.

Pinpoints Shortcomings

A lot of times it’s hard to realize what you don’t know until a strategy is inspected as a whole. Unguided digital marketing can easily result in people moving into their comfort zones, and this could be bad for your ROI. A strategy could reveal shortcomings which can be managed subsequently, such as working with a marketing agency, for instance.

It can often be hard to figure out the holes your approach has until you make a list of what you know, and relate the information to your goals. Taking the time to do this can make sure your strategy lets you reach your ideal market, improving brand awareness and boosting sales.

By doing all this, you would be left with a strong platform to work from, which is what makes time spent on developing your strategy a good investment.

Reasons to Improve Your Current Content Marketing Strategy

Are you content with your current content marketing practices? Improving daily marketing tactics can easily turn out to be a boundless and cyclical process, and one that takes a good amount of testing to get just right. Content marketing always stands out as a tool to educate and inform customers, but it is vital to ensure the content is optimized. Here are a few tips and tricks to get more engagement with your audience.

Focusing On the Experience

Coming up with informative content is the easy part when it comes to content writing. See if your team can take it further by writing material to craft a complete user experience. Try and figure out how your content can be improved, and also look at improving your website and strategy to ensure users spend more time reading up. The improvement of user experience can begin from several places.

  • Test, as well as optimize, the mobile version of the site
  • Write shorter paragraphs to publish on your mobile site
  • Put in images and subheadings, as well as bulleted lists, so that your content has space
  • Personalize all aspects

Writing Long-Form Content

With your content getting longer, you’ll also see a rise in the time your readers spend on your site. You need to gage their interest the whole way through, and also spark enough interest for them to want to visit your site again. Not all blogs need to be lengthy, but it does pay to write longer pieces every month. Try producing downloadable eBooks or clickable white pages. Also, keep an eye on who is visiting your pages, what led them there, and the number of downloads you have each month.

Reading Out Loud

You need to make sure that your content makes sense to the people visiting your site. While this may seem ridiculous given everything else, it still makes a huge difference if you remember to do it. The writing must be on-brand, and coherent with your theme. Writers can lose their thread of thought while writing. Reading out loud can ensure the message is coming across the way it’s intended to. If the content is not performing in the way it should, then reading it out loud can give you insights into what changes you should make. Everything you write should be easy to understand, and should come across as natural.

Staying Motivated Through Hardships

Leadership can be tough at times; it is easy to lose motivation. You may find yourself being leeched of the latter while at work, whether once in a week, once a month, etc. Staying motivated is hard, especially when you’re stressed. You feel weighed down by lethargy, and that you are simply going through the motions. You find no joy in the work that you do.

Stress causes this effect for a reason. It has been proven through research that willpower is not an infinite thing. When it’s running low, you lose steam so to speak, and you eventually come to a stop. What you need is a sort of refuelling in order to keep moving forward.

The good news is that this kind of refuelling can be done anywhere. The brain is a powerful thing, and when it is used to confront stress, it is possible to rewire the mind and rejuvenate it. Below are five steps you can take whenever you feel your motivation has plummeted.

Identify the Kind Of Stress You’re Under

There are four basic types of stress, and it is vital that you identify the one that you are feeling. The first kind is time stress, which occurs when you are worried about a lack of time. This is caused mainly by impending deadlines. Then there is a kind of stress which time-strapped leaders often face, which is known as anticipatory stress. This can happen when there is an upcoming board meeting or presentation to handle.

The third type is known as situational stress, which comes on alongside a feeling that you are not in control. Situational stress is often times experienced by leaders when their status drops, or if they suffer reputational damage. Lastly, there is encounter stress, which is caused when interactions with people leave the person feeling uneasy, such as after interacting with a toxic co-worker.

Meanwhile, it’s imperative to understand the difference between burnout and stress. Burnout occurs when you’re constantly stressed for a long period of time. A person suffering from burnout would normally feel drained and tired. This would affect their immune system, leaving them more prone to getting sick. It can also bring about feelings of helplessness and demotivation. Stress is not as extensive. When you have stress to deal with, you generally feel that the world is demanding too much of you, and also experience physical effects such as headaches and muscle tension. The difference here is that there is none of the empty, detached feeling that comes with burnout.

Find a Partner

Tackling stress is more easily done as a team. You need someone who can help you replenish your motivation levels. If you’ve lost motivation for a specific project, it’s a good idea to try and discuss the deliverables with a friend or colleague. If your lack of motivation is preventing you from learning a new skill, share what you have already learned and experienced with a co-worker. Encouraging one another is helpful in the process. The more you discuss experiences with someone, the more it would help reignite your motivation and interest. As long as you have a partner you’re more likely to stay accountable, and it works much better than having someone simply cheering you on.

Keep Track of Your Progress

Lots of leaders make the mistake of confusing progress with action. Progress doesn’t mean you should be moving in any direction. If you do not know about how far you’ve come, it is natural that you would start losing motivation. In such cases it helps to set progress goals. With this as a guiding light, you can stay motivated much more easily. With regard to a work project, it is useful if you have key benchmarks and performance indicators which can help monitor your success. Stress should also be a part of the assessment. It can be hard to pin down stress not unless you know what to look for. You just need to be able to sort out the symptoms, whether emotional, cognitive, physical, interpersonal, or spiritual. The progress check-ins you make should be designed to assess which of these symptoms showed up, and for what periods. A few different symptoms include; a loss of motivation, muscle tension, increased or decreased eating, social withdrawal, frequent colds, or impulsive behaviours. You need to watch your progress and set up rewards, even for the small wins. When you do reach critical milestones, you can treat yourself and celebrate, because you deserve that. This too keeps you engaged and motivated.

Say No

The thing with stress levels is that they increase whenever you take on tasks which are too hard for you to complete by yourself. This is why it’s vital that you get rid of any tendency that makes you say yes to everything. If someone asks you to do something, you need to take a pause before responding. Consider long and hard whether you have the time and the skill set to manage the task to its completion, and if you don’t have what it takes at the moment, then that’s okay. Leaders know that saying no is not always selfish; instead, it can mean that you are honoring your commitments, and you don’t need to feel guilty about doing so. Knowing how to confidently say no will bring with it the reward of more motivation and time to use for the work that’s ahead of you.

Follow Your Passion

Every now and then, it is good to take a step back and introspect into how much passion you have in the current job. What about the industry, the people, and the role you are filling? Your passions can change as you go through a career. You should check this at least once a year. A lot of your waking time is spent at work. During it, you should be passionate about a good portion of what you are doing, or else you will see a drop in motivation. According to research, when you have passion for something, you generally feel more fulfilled, not to mention you feel joy. There is more blood flow to the brain, and you are more focused. This causes an increase in the neurotransmitters that establish new connections, leaving you better able to perform in the present, steer clear of mental traps, and not get tangled in emotions. Motivation causes a ripple effect, where you are more engaged and freer from stress. The positive energy you get from this can flow into your entire team.

Motivation can spread from person to person, so take the above steps to make sure yours stays supercharged and contagious. This way you can bring about good change while taking care of yourself.

How a Leader Can Appreciate Those Working Under Them

Most people feel underappreciated for their work, as implied in a survey conducted by analytics and advisory company Gallup. They tend to complain about their considerable effort at work not being valued properly. As a leader, you have to make sure that the people who work under you are motivated enough, and appreciation plays a big role in that. This is why you have to do it in the proper way. As educationist Margaret Elizabeth Cousins once stated, “Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.” Below are a few tips on how to show your employees appreciation at work.

Thank Them

A simple way to do it is thanking your workers verbally for the hard work they put in day-in, day-out. A simple ‘thank you’ can go a long way towards boosting employee morale. It will only take some seconds, so you have no excuse to say that you are so busy or lack time for it.

Write a Thank You Note to Each One

When you go out of your way to write an email or old-fashioned handwritten thank you note, it will leave a significant impression on your employees. Some do it when they are an executive-level leader in corporate set-ups, and their subordinates would post the notes on their workplace wall. Such actions from employees indicate how significant it is for them to get letters of appreciation from their superiors.

Give Them a Chance

If a worker is performing their tasks at an extremely high level, provide them with an opportunity to do something else as a sign of your acknowledgement. That something can be a task which the employee wants to do to improve their skill, like attending a training program. Letting them take part in it or do whatever else they want to, can be a win-win situation for you and that employee. The same goes true for almost every form of appreciation you show to workers.

Give Them Small Rewards

Nothing is small in the truest sense of the word when it comes from a superior who is known to motivate their peers and subordinates alike. For instance, consider giving $10 gift vouchers to your workers that will qualify them for a discount at Target or Starbucks. The amount may be small, but it will have a greater perceived value.

Send a Group Electronic Mail

When somebody is celebrating a special achievement, just send an email to every person who is part of your team. Do not forget to cc (Carbon Copy) key executives. Discuss the landmark and thank that worker who achieved it. This will show that you acknowledge the employee, and will allow him or her to get praise and approval from his or her peers.

Ask What They Desire

Meet with workers regularly and consistently to discover their goals for the short term, mid-term and the long term. Tell them that you wish to assist them in accomplishing those objectives.The workers will appreciate the effort you put into their success as the leader.

Allocate a More Attention-Grabbing Project to Them

Assigning somebody to a project, will attract a greater deal of attention to them, which is another good way to show your appreciation. This will also show that you have faith in their talent, and they will get to have a more attention-worthy profile in your organization. Be sure to state that you have chosen them due to how you have acknowledged their exemplary work.

Make Accolade Specific

When you are thanking the members of your team as an acknowledgement, inform them specifically your motive behind the same. In other words, do not merely say, “Well done”. Rather, say, “Well done on your presentation. I appreciate the way you did it and your research for it was excellent. It feels great to have you here!” This will make your team wish to repeat that thing for which you acknowledge them.

Talk with Them Personally to Know How They Are Performing

Stopping by and checking in with your team member is the way to subtly show appreciation. People will appreciate the work-time you are spending with them, plus it will show that you have a caring mentality. As author Harriett Jackson Brown Jr stated: “Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.”This is one more way to show it.

Importance of Influence in Leadership Success

It isn’t an easy job to be a leader these days. They are expected to offer more results in smaller timeframes and limited resources. There can be many meetings, numerous stakeholders to consult, and fluctuating goals to pursue. The end result is a working environment that is very bureaucratic, complex and with very little progress. 

The former CEO of Intel, Andy Grove, said, “Just as you would not permit a fellow employee to steal a piece of office equipment, you shouldn’t let anyone walk away with the time of his fellow managers.” This usually happens in all organizations and the problem gets worse when they’re unable to influence the people around you. Those leaders who cannot build support for the initiatives will be left behind in the race. However, shouldn’t rely on the traditional methods and hierarchies to get things done, as the organizational dynamics have changed a lot.

It’s very much important to understand the way decisions are made, who influences whom, and the ways to progress and influence results and outcomes. It is all about having an understanding about the various influencing factors that operate in the system and finding the backdoors to leverage the informal channels via decisions are made.

Collaboration is Key

All the influential leaders out there know their way to get things done through others and will be very much aware of their operating environment. These leaders do this in a way that is very collaborative and consultative, understanding that they can secure sustainable progress by involving their stakeholders.  Having the capability to effectively influence can help you get your initiatives across the line and get heard. Influence can be a force for good when used effectively to make better business decisions.

On the other hand, those managers who really struggle to influence make use of hierarchical power plays, usually seeking to wield their power over others. But, trying to force their decisions on others without much consultation leads to very little buy-in and below average outcomes.

Influence is a Team Play

One of the characteristics of an effective leader is the understanding that they cannot do it alone. For the team to progress, a good leader will need each and every team member to work effectively in their best way. To achieve this, the team members should also be able to influence, meaning that they should also be trained and supported. This will let them understand the thing that triggers and drives their behavior. Moreover, they will be prepared to manage their own behavioral responses. As a result of this, they will be capable of

  • Building great stakeholder relations
  • Creating leagues of support to introduce change
  • Negotiating important decisions
  • Communicating in a compelling and authentic way

If you are a leader looking for more traction in order to pave the way to a quicker progression, you will need your team to be able to influence, just like you are able to influence. This influence should be focused on balanced returns, taking into account the need of all the stakeholders. This way, influence becomes an advantage and benefit to the complete team and the organization.

Common Misconceptions in Marketing Among Small Businesses

Business marketing is an ongoing process which every company should undergo in order to be successful. In this competitive world, effective marketing and continuous funding via business loans has become the norm. Most of the business entrepreneurs think that they know everything about marketing. However, in reality, the marketing concepts are filled with many misconceptions and the sad part is that many entrepreneurs believe those misconceptions to be true. Here’s a list of the most common misconceptions among small business owners.  

Businesses do not Market Existing Customers

Marketing the small business to already existing customers is as important as marketing to the potential customers. For small businesses, customer retention is a key factor that determines the expansion and growth. Retaining your customers and always maintaining a warm and positive relationship with them helps you build a concrete base of loyal customers. Moreover, marketing to already existing customers can be less costly, when compared to marketing to potential customers. As per the studies, it cost almost five times more to lure new customers when compared to keeping existing customers.

You need to understand that your customers do much more than generating revenue, they are actually a part of your brand. Also, understand that the strategies you use for the existing customers should be different from that used for the potential customers.

Businesses Do Not Market Online When They Do Not Sell Online

We are living in a technological world and we are so used to it. We go online searching for information, reviews and many more, and for this reason, it’s important for any business to have an online presence. Any business looking to grow and cope up with competition should invest in online marketing.

In the olden days, people usually filtered through the Yellow Pages or Yelp entries to find out the services and products they’re looking for. However, today, it has become so easy for the users. All they have to do is type or say a few keywords to their phones to get the search results they’re looking for. Making use of effective and efficient digital marketing strategies can help put your business in front of your competitors. For example, in search engine result pages, so that your target audience will be able to find you first while searching for the services or products you offer. SEO or search engine optimization is one of the digital marketing strategies that can help your business rank high in the search results.

Businesses Cut Budgets When Sales Are Low

Often times, business owners cut down their expenses when sales are low. The unfortunate thing is that they also trim the marketing budgets. Marketing is an essential part of any business promotion that can improve business sales significantly. Without proper marketing strategies in place, the business sales can really suffer. Therefore, cutting down the marketing budgets when business is low is a counterproductive strategy. It’s important for business owners to be careful and frugal with their spending, but failing to market their business can be detrimental, as it can speed up the decline of the business.

If you find that the sales of your business are going down, then you need to reevaluate your marketing strategies. Evaluate things like the way you communicate your messages. Find if your messages have too many jargons and if your targeted audience receive your messages properly. Understand that marketing is an integral part of any business, and cutting down the marketing budget is not at all a good idea. Instead, you need to focus on ways to improve your marketing strategies to increase sales.

Video Content is Optional

It seems that the demand for video content is on the rise and business entrepreneurs need to keep up with the increase in demand. As per a study conducted by HubSpot, about 54% of the users wish to see more video content and promotions from their favorite brands. People will be able to understand the details faster via video content rather than written text. Moreover, videos are really engaging and they fit very well on all devices and platforms used by the audience.

However, many business owners think that sharing video content is a costly way of promotion. This isn’t completely true. You can make use of software like Videoblocks or Adobe Spark to make your business promotion videos, or you may hire freelancers to do the job for you. The only thing is to ensure that the message you convey is creative and informative and is directed towards your target audience.

Marketing Strategies Are Not Needed as Ads Are Already in Place

Many entrepreneurs these days use the terms advertising and marketing interchangeably. However, both of these terms are very different from each other. Understand that advertising is only a part of marketing and it is meant to go hand in hand with the various marketing strategies. As per the experts in marketing, advertising can be a really easy way to understand and evaluate how your target audience receives your services or products.

As a business entrepreneur, you should not run ads without any thought, as it can be a complete waste of time and money. You need to combine your ads with various marketing strategies like social media marketing, search engine optimization and so on.

How to Listen to Your Employees and Measure Success

It’s important for any manager to be a strong voice in their office while leading the team to improve productivity and success. What some of the managers do not understand is that it’s just as important to listen to the employees and give them a voice. The manager needs to make sure that the employees feel heard, respected and valued. Employees will be more productive and loyal when they feel that they are valued. Therefore, it’s very much important for managers to learn to listen to their employees. This promotes an environment of value and mutual respect, which can lead to the success of the company.

There are numerous benefits to giving a voice to your employees in the workplace. This can not only improve productivity, but can also offer chances to consider new ideas that you may have never thought of. When you offer your employees a voice, this gives you the ability to create a workplace culture that is motivating, encouraging, and supporting to all the staff.

Now that you have understood the benefits of offering a voice to your employees, you might be unsure of how to actually start the process. The below shared tips will help you listen to your employees and increase employee engagement.

Put time aside for One-on-One Conversations

It might seem time consuming for you to find time to talk one-on-one with all your employees. However, it’s essential for the success of your business. If you have other supervisors or managers in your workplace, it will be easy for you to divide the time between each supervisor to meet one-on-one with their direct reporting staff.

It’s very important to have an authentic connection with your employees in order for them to feel heard. Therefore, make sure that all employees are getting a chance to talk with their managers, share thoughts, address issues and concerns, and provide feedback. Active listening and eye contact are important tips to let your employees know that you are paying attention to them. While using active listening, you essentially paraphrase to the speaker what you heard. This will let them know that you hear and understand what they’re saying, and in turn, this offers them a chance to clarify if you did not understand what they meant. These things can offer further employee engagement.

Another idea is to make use of story-telling in conversations. This is a good means of empathy and connection. You can share with your employees to let them know that you’re also a human being, rather than always being portrayed as the one in charge.

Offer Surveys for Feedback

You can always offer your employees surveys allowing them to give honest feedback about your business. Your employees should feel safe to give honest answers to these surveys and should be aware that they’re no repercussions for their honest answers. Surveys you conduct can be about your business in general or on some specific topics. You may also provide space for ideas and commentaries.

An important aspect of these surveys is showing your staff that their ideas and opinions matter. Do not just collect answers to these surveys and do nothing with them. Always pay attention to brilliant ideas and implement those ideas whenever you can. While making changes, ensure that your staff is informed about the changes that are happening due to the feedback that was given in the survey.

Keep an eye out for Non Verbal Cues

People do not just communicate with words. Facial expressions and body language speaks loads about your employees. Always pay attention to the non verbal communication of your employees and address the things that you notice. If you find that one of your employees, who are usually active, is moving slowly and slouching, ask them if they’re okay and offer help if needed. Likewise, if you share some information in a meeting and notice a spark in the eyes of one of your employees, talk about it. Ask them the reason for the excitement and if they would like to help in anyway.

While listening to your employees, make sure that you are not only hearing what they say, pay attention to their non-verbal communication also. Often times, it’s the non verbal communication that is more important than the verbal one.

Offer Slack Channel for Employee Engagement

Make use of Slack to promote open and honest communication between management and employees. You’ll be able to make different channels for communication. You can create a Slack channel for the complete team to share comments, opinions, ideas, thoughts, and to ask questions.

Just like in the case of surveys, let your employees know that they can share without any retribution in the Slack channels. Otherwise, they will not share anything that needs to be shared, and the tools that you introduce will be useless.

Show Genuine Interest in Employees

This is really important for any leader out there. You need to be authentic and genuine with all your employees. If your employees sense a hidden agenda for your listening, they will never be honest to you. Moreover, they will not respect you and will never grow loyal to the company. Ask your employees about their family and seek to connect to them. Try to understand their aspirations and hopes, and advice them on how to make their dreams real. Always be a genuine source of motivation and encouragement to all your employees. In addition, follow up with them about the things they’ve shared.

When you show your employees that you genuinely care, they will be comfortable with you, feel heard and will be loyal to the company.