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Monthly Archives: January 2017

Managing your Reputation Online

What is your company’s online reputation?  If you Google yourself or your brand name what is it that you find? Do you see positive comments on social sites or negative comments on review sites like: RipOffOnline, Yelp or the Better Business Bureau? Worse yet, is your knowledge limited of what customers, clients, vendors and employees are saying about you? Here is a quick guide to help you and your brand manage your online reputation.

In the past few years having an online presence has changed drastically. What used to be static sites and little user interaction has blossomed into daily interactions and comments on social sites and review sites. These types of sites are easily accessible to the public and can show up on a general search for your company, name or brand. No matter the size of your business, people are talking about you. If it is positive, then great. But if it is negative, you better have a way to take control of your reputation. Using Online Reputation Management Tools is probably the best way to go for busy business owners.

According to research and tutorials from Neil Patel at QuickSprout online, there are several steps to taking control of your online reputation. Most of them are fairly simple and will save you money in the long run.

Google Yourself

The first step is to Google yourself. Literally type in your name, brand or email address and see what comes up. There should be social media profiles, your web page and all the good stuff that you want potential customers to see about your and your brand. This is the information you can control.

Manage your Reviews – 

One great tool that’s free is called “Me on the Web” by Google. What you want to do is log into your Google account and your Google dashboard and then click on “Me on the Web.” The main features of this tool allows you to search for yourself and most importantly get alerts when your name is mentioned on the web. This includes your name, email, business name or brand. 

One of the most important things you want to be alerted to is if there are any negative mentions or reviews of you or your brand so you can respond quickly and professionally. There are so many review sites out there like Yelp, RipOffOnline, BBB and a host of others. You can choose to go to each, individually, to view what is being said about you, or you can get help with an online tool such as  Go Fish Digital or Mention.net. Sites such as these can search all the complaint sites at once or alert you by email if it has found your name mentioned. Being proactive can save you time and money. Companies who have not reacted quickly have seen consumers react in powerful ways such as taking their business elsewhere or even escalating negative reviews.  

 

Managing Conflict at Work

Workplace conflict is an unavoidable consequence of dealing with differing personalities and work habits in a workplace. Effectively managing conflict is arguably the hardest thing a manager has to do. Unfortunately, as a manager, if you’re going to do your job, you have no choice. Since avoiding workplace conflict is a near impossible feat, be prepared for how to handle these circumstances in advance. Here are a few suggestions for dealing with workplace conflict. 

  • Stay Calm – Even when provoked, keep a close hold on your temper; stay as calm as you possibly can. Don’t let emotions escalate or drive decisions. However, do let individuals express their feelings. Some feelings of anger and/or hurt usually accompany conflict situations. Before any kind of problem-solving can take place, these emotions should be expressed and acknowledged. Each member of the conflict should have a chance to say what is on their mind in a respectful and safe manner.

  • Deal With the Issues

    First of all, if you are a manager dealing with conflict you should: recognize that there is a conflict, be objective, and be fair and consistent. What will help in any conflict would be a human resources liaison who can moderate and ease the tension. HR personnel are an unfailingly objective third party. Short of calling in HR moderators, it would be helpful if there was a written code of conduct from which to read and guide employees when a situation arises.

  • Document – Whenever a conflict arises be sure to document the event. Who was involved? What was the resolution? If a pattern of conflict emerges, it is possible that one or two employees may turn out to be the “common factor.”  In this case, documenting for potential future incidences or, unfortunately, termination will be needed.
  • Determine Follow Up – After a workplace conflict, whether it is related to work or is personal, it is critical to follow up. You may want to schedule a follow-up meeting in about two weeks to determine how the parties are doing. Did the issue continue to fester? Was it completely resolved? Has it impacted workflow or morale in the office? Determine what you’ll do if the conflict goes unresolved. If the conflict is causing a disruption in the department and it remains unresolved, you may need to explore other avenues. In some cases the conflict becomes a performance issue, and may become a topic for coaching sessions, performance appraisals, or disciplinary action.

Tips for First Time Managers

Are you about to be promoted to a leadership position in your company, or have you just gained employment in your first management position? First of all, congratulations! Being in charge of a team is exciting and requires juggling many things at once. If you have never been in a leadership position you may be a bit intimidated at the thought of being a leader and having team members look to you for answers and directions. There are, however,  a few things that you can do to make the transition to leader/manager a little easier. Here are a few tips from management experts and human resources professionals.

  • Know Your Stuff – In other words, know the business inside and out.  This may take time to study, research and ask tons of questions but the more you actually know the more you will be respected and seen as a source of information. This also goes for knowing what each member of your team does. Spend time with senior leaders as well as team members and ask questions. The more you know, the more you can help your team focus.
  • Delegate – A common problem with new leaders is that they tend to take on too much and get overwhelmed. Realize that you can not be everywhere at once  or do everything alone. Create an environment where you are actively relying on others to help carry projects. You will still be informed, but you need to let others lead so they can grow their abilities and perspective.
  • Create Priorities – As a team leader or manager, there will be lot on your plate.  Start by prioritizing what needs to be done and communicating that to your team.  The more they understand what is important to you the better they can work.
  • Find a Mentor – Whether it is senior leadership or someone in your field, find someone you can trust to be a sounding board in tough times. This person should be someone you are not in direct competition with but has a vested interest in seeing the company and you succeed.
  • Be a Role Model – As a leader, you are probably the inspiration and model for your team members. Your employees are going to look to you to gauge how they should act and how to persevere through workplace challenges. Be a role model and lead by example.  Allow for give and take and learning opportunities. Remember, you are still learning too.

 

Instagram for Business

Is your company active on social media? Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are quickly becoming not just a place to chat with friends and find out the latest gossip, but to do some serious marketing for business. Unfortunately, the growing number of social media platforms and the millions and millions of posts daily can be more than just a little bit overwhelming for businesses to keep up with. Take, for example, Instagram – every second there are 2,100 new posts on Instagram bringing an average of 180 million uploads each day. Businesses need to get beyond the overwhelming aspect of posts, likes  and views and on to how this rate of content creation spells nothing but opportunity for businesses.

Today we are looking at the benefits of Instagram for your business. Yes there are other social media platforms out there but this highly visual platform could be just the thing your business needs.

Why Choose Instagram as a Social Media Platform? 

  • Instagram is a highly engaged global community with more than 500M active accounts.

  • Instagram is capturing the most sought after audience on the planet – millennials who are 18-24-years-old and earn $50,000 to $74,000. This demographic uses Instagram as their favorite social media platform over those of the same age earning $25,000 – $49,000 annually.

  • Instagram users aren’t just browsing through the endless content; they’re using it to discover new products and brands. In fact, 47 percent of Instagram users rank the platform in their top 10 channels used for product discovery.

  • Additionally, 45.6 percent of Instagram users are more likely to remember a brand marketing themselves on the social network over television commercials and other traditional media.

  • People go to Instagram for visual inspiration and the simple design allows captivating visuals to take center stage.

  • Instagram can give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at your company. When you share some photos that offer a behind the scenes look at your business, it can go a long way towards building a sense of rapport and familiarity between your work and those you are offering it to.
  • Advertising on Instagram has the power to move people — inspiring them to see a business differently or take action.

If you want to get your business started on Instagram read more on Instagram’s business page. 

Common Mistakes When Starting a Business

Every entrepreneur makes mistakes along the way when making their business dreams become a reality. Some rookie mistakes may be easily overlooked and may not be more than a blip on the radar. Unfortunately, other mistakes may be costly both in a financial sense or may harm your reputation as you attempt to make your business grow and mature. Knowing what the potential problems could be may help you strategically avoid them. Top entrepreneurs were questioned on what mistakes they made along the way to business success. Here are some of the most common mistakes.

  • Compiling the Wrong Team – When hiring for a new business, it is important to hire people that understand that start ups can be stressful. It is also important to find employees that can juggle several skills at once since most start ups do not have a budget for specialized positions. For example, a web site company may have to ask a graphic designer to also handle customer service as well as his/her primary job responsibilities. According to Entrepreneur, choosing the wrong team is the single costliest error entrepreneurs make, resulting in not only lost income and time but depleted morale.
  • Marketing Mistakes – Many new companies don’t know what to spend on Marketing or, worse yet, under-budget to save money. Most successful start up leaders suggest aiming for 10 to 20 percent of your targeted gross revenue.
  • Doing Too Much Too Soon – Most business leaders know that launching a company, no matter what the field, is HARD work. Yes, there will be late nights and tons of paperwork. Unfortunately, too many young business leaders take on too much, too fast. Burning out mentally and physically is a real risk. In addition, growing too fast can put a strain on a young company. Be sure to have solid legal and financial advisors who can guide you as your business grows.
  • Not Planning for All Contingencies – All new businesses should have a business plan. This doesn’t just mean a rough idea of your business pricing, financial goals, marketing plan and employee guidelines. It should be a well thought out plan. Your business plan will change and evolve but a well thought out one can help you as you encounter tough times or grow too quickly.
  • Financial Mistakes – Fifty percent of new businesses do not survive the first five years. Ninety-five percent of businesses will not make money when they first open, and a large proportion of new businesses will not make significant money for years. These stats are scary unless you have done your homework when it comes to financial backing, support and a budget.