EnMast http://www.enmast.com Small Business Community | Small Business Tools, Templates, Help and Resources. Tue, 25 Nov 2014 17:32:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 How to boost your confidence when you feel out of your league http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/how-to-boost-your-confidence-for-business-owners/ http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/how-to-boost-your-confidence-for-business-owners/#respond Tue, 25 Nov 2014 17:31:40 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18330 You started this business because you knew a thing or two. Maybe you worked in a similar business for someone else, or it was something you did “on the side” and you finally decided to make it a “real thing”; but somehow you became good enough at it that people wanted to pay you for

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You started this business because you knew a thing or two. Maybe you worked in a similar business for someone else, or it was something you did “on the side” and you finally decided to make it a “real thing”; but somehow you became good enough at it that people wanted to pay you for it. So you took the leap.

how to boost your confidence

But now you find yourself in a different category. Now you have found all these other folks who do something like what you do; and they are good at it. Here your clients are working with you, but you aren’t as good as that woman who is so famous on the Internet. Why aren’t they working with her?

All of a sudden your clients are looking to you for answers. And when you give them your best guess, they take it as gospel! You worry, “What if I’m wrong? What if this doesn’t work?” So you start to hedge your answers: “One way you could do it would be…” or “Something you could try…” But clients don’t want one way; they don’t want to “try” anything. They want the answer, from an expert. And that expert is you.

So here are a few ways on how to boost your confidence and be the expert that you are:

You are the expert

I know there are other people out there with more expertise than you have. (That’s good; you can learn from them.) But of all the people your client is going to talk to today not one of them knows more about your area of expertise than you do. Maybe your client has years more business experience than you do, but how much of every day do they spend thinking about your area of expertise? If they spend an hour a day (which they don’t) it would take them 10 years to catch up to the amount of time you put in just this last year! You know more about this than they do; you need to act like it.

Show up with confidence

Walk in the door knowing you can help them. There is no doubt that you can make a difference for this client. Clients that are a big mess don’t need experts, they need the basics. Clients who are doing a lot well are just looking for that incremental improvement. You can do that for each of those clients! Think back to the clients who really took your advice — how did that go? Right, things are better already! (And just in case, here’s a few ways to build your confidence, too.)

Use your words

Sometimes we shoot ourselves in the foot right from the get-go. When we aren’t feeling confident, our language reflects our ambivalence. For confident clients, that’s like baiting them with red meat. If you show weakness they are likely to pounce! Don’t leave them that opening: make sure your language reflects that you are the expert. Speak with confidence.

  • Instead of “We could try…” say “I recommend…”
  • Instead of “Sometimes I’ve suggested…” say “In my experience…”
  • Instead of “Here’s some options…” say “There are a number of ways we could approach this, but my recommendation is…”

Don’t hide from the truth

Not all of our advice works out. When the results aren’t what you and your client expected, don’t wait for them to bring it up, don’t cower in fear — get out in front of it. Call them and tell them about the results. But don’t call without having thought about what went wrong and how to fix it. Call with a plan: here’s what we tried, and here are the results. I think this is the problem, here’s how we fix it. Experts take responsibility for results and don’t shy away from accountability.

Take some credit

If you are going to get blamed when results are poor (and you are) then you need to make sure the client recognizes when things go well. There are some clients who will brush right past the good results and jump right to the next assignment or challenge — these are also the clients who are quick to ask, “What have you done for me lately?” when things aren’t going well. Situations like these can lower your confidence level. But don’t be shy; stop them and review the positive results with them. Get an acknowledgement from them that something went well, and that your advice was right on.

You work hard to be the best you can be. You don’t have to be the #1 worldwide expert in order to be the #1 expert in your client’s world. Everyday you get smarter, better and more experienced. Bring that expert to your client meetings and that’s one of the best confidence boosters you can get.

How do you demonstrate your expertise to demanding clients? What do you do to show that you are the expert?








Photo credit: Unsplash

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What to do when your business is getting you down http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/what-to-do-when-your-business-is-getting-you-down/ http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/what-to-do-when-your-business-is-getting-you-down/#respond Mon, 24 Nov 2014 17:29:55 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18164 Running a company is an intense business, with more twists and turns than a roller coaster ride. When profits are up and sales are high, being a CEO is a thrilling and exhilarating experience. However, in times of trouble, owning a business can start to feel like a heavy burden. Once malaise sets in, summoning

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Running a company is an intense business, with more twists and turns than a roller coaster ride. When profits are up and sales are high, being a CEO is a thrilling and exhilarating experience. However, in times of trouble, owning a business can start to feel like a heavy burden. Once malaise sets in, summoning the time and energy needed to turn the company around can seem like an impossible task and you can quickly run into burnout.

business is getting you down

If your business is getting you down, it’s important to seek help. Burying your head in the sand will only make the problem worse. It could even prove dangerous – the economic downturn saw a tragic rise in suicide rates amongst European CEOs.

Summon your support group

Be honest with your loved ones – trying to hide stress from others can often make you feel more anxious. If you’re struggling to cope with the demands of running a business, confide in a trusted family member or friend. Even if they can’t physically help you, the act of talking through your concerns can alleviate your stress.

I personally try to avoid talking about work issues with most of my loved ones, because I prefer to keep business and pleasure completely separate. However, even meeting up for a quick coffee with a friend can instantly transform my day from stressful to fun.

That said, I do have an aunt who also runs her own business. Even though we work in completely different sectors (retail and broadcasting), I find it really helpful to talk through my problems and issues with her.

Talk to other business owners

You might be the only small business owner in your family. However, you can still seek out advice from other CEOs. Some communities benefit from ‘local enterprise’ groups and events, where home-grown CEOs can talk to other local business owners. However, if there are no nearby groups, a larger regional conference can also be highly beneficial.

My personal favourite is Prysm’s annual Business Startup Show in London. Although it’s one of Britain’s larger conferences, there’s a real focus on forging meaningful connections between small business owners. If you can attend, I recommend booking a place at one of the more intimate Boardroom events. Each session brings business owners together to discuss common issues and problems, and you’ll leave with some great suggestions for your own company.

For SME owners across the pond, I’ve also heard great things about the Small Business Expo. There are ten different Expos each year – all completely free to attend – held in different cities across America. Each event attracts hundreds of CEOs, exhibitioners, and keynote speakers. Book yourself into some of the workshops, take advantage of the official networking events, and use the opportunity to ask other business owners for advice.

Take a break

Stress can strike small business owners at any time – not just when sales are slow. Burnout is a prevailing cause of anxiety for CEOs, brought on by working long hours with very few breaks. This is an extremely common scenario, as business owners often pour their lives and souls into their enterprises.

It can seem impossible to take a break from your company – particularly in the early stages. However, when stress levels are mounting, a short break from the business could rejuvenate your entrepreneurial spark. Research has even shown that working for prolonged periods of time can actually lower productivity – all the more reason to take a vacation.

Admittedly, for small business owners, spontaneous trips are a thing of the past. However, with the help of some planning and foresight, it is possible to take a much-needed vacation.

When to go

It’s generally a good idea to go on holiday when business is slow. My own business is relatively unaffected by seasonal changes, so I tend to plan my vacations based on the previous year’s booking trends. However, this won’t be true for everyone. If your company has an obvious ‘slow period’ each year, this is when you should be making your getaway.

Handing over the reins

Many people – (and I myself am guilty of this!) – struggle to relinquish control of projects to others. However, unless you want a stressful vacation, it’s essential to put your trust in your employees. If the thought of handing over the keys for a week fills you with fear, start out small. Leave your most senior employee in charge for an afternoon, and build your way up to taking a longer break.

When disaster strikes

As seasoned business owners know, it’s important to develop damage-limitation strategies before disaster strikes. If you’ve already created a worst-case-scenario plan, share it with your senior staff members before you travel, and give them the authority to act in your absence.

Step away from the phone

Even if they do manage to take a vacation, most small business owners never truly switch off. Never underestimate the temptation to pick up your smartphone – I once ruined a holiday by obsessively checking my emails and texts on my iPhone. I recommend turning your email facility off before you go away (change your password if you have to!). You could also implement a one-way contact policy, by asking your employees to call you only if there’s an emergency.

Remember you’re in good company

If you’ve hit a stumbling block, it’s easy to blame yourself and feel like a failure. However, it’s important to remember that you’re only human – and humans sometimes make mistakes. I take solace in the fact that even the world’s most successful CEOs don’t always get it right:

  • Henry Ford revolutionized modern manufacturing methods, and is now regarded as one of the most successful businessmen of all time. However, his very first company folded.
  • Before founding the studio that would make him famous, Walt Disney drove an earlier company into bankruptcy.
  • KFC is now one of the world’s most popular fast food chains. However, it took Colonel Sanders 65 years to find success, ploughing numerous other enterprises into the ground along the way.

There are many different ways to deal with stress as a small business owner, and you may well find other techniques which work better for you. However, if your stress is becoming harmful to your health – mentally or physically – please speak to your doctor.

Daniel MasonThis post was written by Daniel Mason of Westminster Live, an internationally recognized television studio based on the banks of the River Thames. Connect with him on Twitter at @LIVEwestminster.

 

 

 

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The one thing every business owner needs to do each day http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/practicing-gratitude-for-business-owners/ http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/practicing-gratitude-for-business-owners/#respond Fri, 21 Nov 2014 17:08:16 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18381 This article originally appeared on Anchor Advisors. It only takes a minute each morning. Before I open my email, before I get started with my work, I stop and write down three (or more) things I’m thankful for. It’s a simple thing. Just a brief pause in an other wise hectic day, but there’s some

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This article originally appeared on Anchor Advisors.

It only takes a minute each morning. Before I open my email, before I get started with my work, I stop and write down three (or more) things I’m thankful for.

It’s a simple thing. Just a brief pause in an other wise hectic day, but there’s some kind of magic in practicing gratitude.

practicing gratitude

As business owners we have a lot on our shoulders. For many of us it’s not just our business, but we also have a lot of responsibilities at home; we are active in the community; we try to have a life… It can get overwhelming.

When I get overwhelmed my family tells me that I’m “getting grouchy”. I start feeling a little selfish, a little bit of a martyr. “Why can’t I just get a break? What do these people expect of me?” It can feel like it’s me against the world. Everyone just keeps piling it on. It’s up to me to just throw it on my back and battle my way out! So, like The Incredible Hulk, I get kind of ugly. It’s not a pretty picture.

It’s in these times that gratitude has been so powerful.

That 5 minute pause for gratitude helps me to see that I’m not actually alone. There are a number of people — my staff, my spouse, my friends and community — who are all pitching in to help me. Maybe not always in the perfect way that I want them to, but they are there. I’m not alone.

Practicing gratitude for those 5 minutes each day also helps me with perspective.

When I think about how thankful I am that my family is safe and healthy I don’t feel so panicked about the emails piling up in my inbox. When I’m thankful for the clients who have put their trust in us, and who give us interesting work that challenges our abilities, I’m not so grouchy about the long drive out to meet with them. When I’m thankful for the many mentors who have taught me how to be a leader, I’m not so frustrated with my young staff member who’s constantly coming to me for direction.

You don’t have to take my word for it. One control group study showed not just a marked improvement in happiness but more frequent exercise and fewer doctor visits for those who make a conscious effort to be thankful. There’s actually a lot of research about why this may work. Maybe you want to give it a try? (It works for Oprah).

How do I keep a “gratitude journal”?


1. Pick a regular time –
I do it first thing in the morning. Oprah does it before bed. But make your time consistent.

2. Make it easy to do. I use a journaling app (there’s lot’s of them).

I challenge you to try it out.

So before you start work each day, write down at least three things you are grateful for. Keep a running list so you can go back to it on especially tough days. Write it down, or use an app.

(And if the journal idea isn’t for you. Here’s 8 other ways to amp up the gratitude.)

Before we go, I want to say how grateful I am for you.

My readership has been pretty stable over a long period of time and I’m grateful for those of you who are on this entrepreneurship journey with me. Knowing that you are reading, and taking action on what you read, makes this all worthwhile. So thank you!








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5 ways successful people act differently, and the trait that makes it possible http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/5-ways-successful-people-act-differently-trait/ http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/5-ways-successful-people-act-differently-trait/#respond Wed, 19 Nov 2014 17:26:10 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18328 There’s a common myths in the world of entrepreneurship that successful people were just “in the right place at the right time.” That they were somehow luckier than others who were working hard on the same problems. As I think of the really successful entrepreneurs I’ve gotten to know over the years, I have almost

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There’s a common myths in the world of entrepreneurship that successful people were just “in the right place at the right time.” That they were somehow luckier than others who were working hard on the same problems. As I think of the really successful entrepreneurs I’ve gotten to know over the years, I have almost never found that to be the case. Instead, I find people who were working really hard on a particular problem for a good long time. And then success “happened” to them.

things successful people do

Most of the “overnight successes” I’ve met actually had 5 – 10 years of hard work behind them before people started calling them an “overnight success”.

I wish I could tell you that those early years were nothing but smooth sailing building up to their ultimate success, but that’s not true either. The folks I’m thinking of were resilient people who “made their own luck”. Here’s a few things successful people do that I noticed they all had in common.

1. They got out the door

Successful people rarely find new opportunities sitting behind their computer screen. Instead, success is often found at a conference, or in a one-to-one appointment in a coffee shop, or in someone else’s office. The funny thing is, it never looks like success before you go — it’s only afterwards that you can see how that connection led to this opportunity… Have a bias toward getting out the door, toward meeting new people. Especially when you don’t feel like it! What can you learn from this person? Who do they know who might be able to help you?

2. They are open to possibility

Leaders are the kind of people who are busy; we get things done. We like to optimize. We don’t want to waste time. We want to be efficient. But that tendency can sometimes lead us to pre-judge (I’m going to blow that guy off — I can’t see how he can help me!) and reject situations instead of open ourselves to a short phone call to see how we could help him. When I look at really successful people, I find that they are remarkably approachable and open — I think they understand just how much others have helped them, and they want to be that for someone else too.

This isn’t just true of new connections, but of old connections too. If there’s someone in their life who they know to be of high quality, they will cultivate that relationship even as they go or grow in a different direction. You never know where investments in relationship will lead.

3. They swing at a lot of pitches

When I was young and single I had a friend who invited me to go to a party with him. When we got there it was kind of a drag. Neither of us knew very many people at the party, and while it looked like people were having fun, we were sort of on the outside looking in. I was about to suggest that we call it a night when he looked over at me and said, “I bet I can get turned down by more girls tonight than you can!” He proposed that we each find someone and ask them to dance, understanding that the person who got turned down the most was the winner. Of course the only way to get turned down was to talk to people we didn’t know and ask them to dance. And honestly, that was a lot more fun than just moping around feeling left out. No one is going to say “yes” if you don’t ask — so you have to ask a lot.

This is true in so many areas of life. If we don’t ask for the business, we don’t get the order. If we don’t pitch the reporter, we don’t get in the story. If we don’t ask, “What would it take to get you to come work with us”, we won’t get the help we need. We have to ask.

But we all know there’s a dark side to asking. When we “swing at a lot of pitches” we get rejected a lot too. The more we ask, the more people will say “no”. Get used to it. As my sales coach used to say, “No means next!” Get up and ask the next person (even if they say “no” too).

4. They ask for help

When your business isn’t well established it can be intimidating to ask for help. You know that you are “faking it until you make it” but you don’t want everyone else to know too! Those who have gone on to greater success don’t want to keep “faking it”. They want to learn, to get on the right track, to make quicker, better progress; so they ask for help when they see someone with the experience and knowledge to help them. Yes, they need to admit that they don’t know, or that their business isn’t as successful as it “should” be — but how will we be successful if we don’t get the tools, the resources, the knowledge, the help that we need?

The faster you learn, the closer you get to your goal. You know when you need help; ask for it when you can.

5. Pick a lane and be patient

As I mentioned earlier, it takes years to become an overnight success. That means that you may have to work at something for years, even when success is elusive. If you are learning, if you are making fewer (or different) mistakes than you did last month (or last year), if you are seeing progress, it’s likely that you are better off building on that learning and (limited) success than starting over at something else. It’s a tough call, to know when to throw in the towel. But successful people will tell you: when faced with that question, they repeatedly chose to stay in the game.

What do all these traits have in common? What do you need to get out the door, keep yourself open to possibilities, take a lot of swings, ask for help and be patient? You need courage and confidence. You need to believe that what you are doing matters (even if you are never wildly successful). You need to believe that this is your work.

How do you keep your confidence high? How do you stay in touch with your inspiration and drive even in uncertain times? Leave us a comment and tell us about it!







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How to boost employee morale when sales are down http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/how-to-boost-employee-moral-when-sales-are-down/ http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/how-to-boost-employee-moral-when-sales-are-down/#respond Mon, 17 Nov 2014 16:37:12 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18169 When I first purchased MyCorporation from its previous owner, I realized I had some serious work to do to boost employee morale. No one seemed particularly cheery, and lacked work ethic. Thankfully, buying the company brought a great opportunity for change. Luckily I had been working as a MyCorp employee prior to making the move to buy. I

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When I first purchased MyCorporation from its previous owner, I realized I had some serious work to do to boost employee morale. No one seemed particularly cheery, and lacked work ethic. Thankfully, buying the company brought a great opportunity for change. Luckily I had been working as a MyCorp employee prior to making the move to buy. I knew my employees personally, and so I knew what needed to happen to improve. With this in mind, I began to completely change how things were run to try and amp up employee morale and keep everyone positive.

boost employee morale

Through this I quickly discovered that it’s a whole lot easier to keep employees happy when sales are up. In fact, it’s almost effortless to keep the team pumped up when sales are through the roof – the sales team is happy for the extra commission, and everyone else is happy the business is making money.

However, when sales slumped, I had to work hard to generate that same enthusiasm, though thankfully I eventually figured out how to do just that. So the next time your team is feeling a little down in the dumps due to numbers, try using one of these four ideas that I implemented to boost employee morale!

Offer incentives.

Reward smaller victories, like someone doing an awesome job at a big presentation they’d been prepping for, with little gifts. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, but small tokens of appreciation let your employees know that you’re noticing the effort they put in. It’s a nice way to say “Keep up the great work – it doesn’t go unnoticed!” Even something as small as a Starbucks gift card or a lottery ticket is a nice little treat to make a day feel special. When employees feel appreciated, they feel like their work has meaning.

1. Don’t hide the numbers.

There are some businesses owners that like to share everything with their employees (including other employees’ salaries), and then there are some small business owners that keep the details of their business pretty much to themselves. I fall somewhere in the middle, in that I think being up front with your employees about how you’re doing financially is important. Even if numbers are low, I always practice an open policy with my employees.

employee morale

I think it’s great if my employees want to know how the business is doing, and I feel everyone should be on the same page when it comes to where we are with sales. So each month we hang a large thermometer on our front wall, and we color it in as we get closer and closer to our sales goal for the month – numbers and all on display. If you don’t want to be quite so open with your numbers you could do something similar with a vague representation of success, like percentages. Either way, displaying your progress and tracking it through the month as a team is a great way to get your employees excited about your business’s progress.

2. Celebrate the team accomplishments.

Though offering individual incentive is a great way to motivate employees separately, when it comes to small business, it’s important to keep the “big picture” in mind. We can get distracted by focusing on our own tasks, forgetting that we are all individual cogs working inside and for a larger machine. You don’t have to reward the team just when hitting a sales goal. You can reward the team for practicing a strong sense of teamwork, or contributing to a positive work environment.

Team celebrations

If you have a week where it just seems everyone is working hard and keeping a great attitude, despite sales being down, let your team know you notice. I like to bring in bagels or doughnuts at the end of the week when I feel like we’re all really clicking.

3. While you’re at it, celebrate whenever you get the chance!

One of the best ways to boost employee morale year-round is to celebrate the little things. In our office we celebrate anniversaries, baby showers, birthdays, graduations, holidays… you name it and we’re probably eating cupcakes in honor of it. There are not too many weeks out of the year where we’re not celebrating something, or at least enjoying leftovers from the last celebration.

celecrate

Some business owners worry that excess can lead to a distracted work ethic, but I’ve found that it keeps my team happy and motivated to come to work, no matter what our numbers look like. Work is work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stop and enjoy yourself every now and then and stay professional.








Photo credit: akaitoriMrHicks46, ,joncandy

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How to use Twitter to grow your small business http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/twitter-grow-small-business/ http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/twitter-grow-small-business/#respond Sat, 15 Nov 2014 14:48:07 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18200 Twitter has been a huge resource and lead generator for both Jill and Brad. They share the top ways Twitter has helped them grow their small business on Breaking Down Your Business this week! Plus they have a hilarious conversation with Pete Aiello, the founder of Team Pete about his business, as well as Connie McLaughlin, the founder of Your

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Twitter has been a huge resource and lead generator for both Jill and Brad. They share the top ways Twitter has helped them grow their small business on Breaking Down Your Business this week!

Plus they have a hilarious conversation with Pete Aiello, the founder of Team Pete about his business, as well as Connie McLaughlin, the founder of Your Inner Buzz. TUNE IN!

ep-48-Horizontal-Podcast-Art-ORIGINALPodcast play button

(Podcast player opens up on Breaking Down Your Business or subscribe on iTunes)

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The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for Business Owners http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/ultimate-holiday-gift-guide-unique-gift-ideas/ http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/ultimate-holiday-gift-guide-unique-gift-ideas/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 15:10:39 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18219 Christmas and the holidays are right around the corner. It can be really hard to find the right gifts for your clients, employees, (or boss). What should be fun to do (gift shopping) is actually a dreaded task on your to-do list. And if you’re like me, you want to find the ‘right’ gift for

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Christmas and the holidays are right around the corner. It can be really hard to find the right gifts for your clients, employees, (or boss). What should be fun to do (gift shopping) is actually a dreaded task on your to-do list. And if you’re like me, you want to find the ‘right’ gift for each person on your list. So finding unique gifts take time to research and find, and that’s a pain in the butt, too.

holiday gift guide

Your want your gift to get a reaction, right? Maybe it’s a laugh, an observation of someone’s personality, or just something that helps your team do better work. So this year, we wanted to pull together a holiday gift guide full of unique gifts you never even thought of before for your client, staff, (or boss). It’s all about utility with a dash of fun. Prepare to stop panicking over what to buy this holiday season. We got you covered. :)

The Ultimate Unique Holiday Gift Guide for Business Owners:

1. coffee mugNow you may speak coffee mug

Never again be confused about when it’s safe to engage in morning conversation. This handy mug makes it extremely clear.

 

GoPlug2. GoPlug Bag

Always on the go? No more crawling around airports or cafes looking for a plug in. Back this KickStarter and give the gift that keeps on giving.

 

Gigs 2 Go

3. Gigs 2 Go

These tear & share 2 GB flash drives are made from 100% recycled paper and can make you feel good about sharing files…responsibly. The Kickstarter for this product has been exceeded its goal, so get in before it’s too late!

 

Tens photo filter glasses4. Tens: The Real Life Photo Filter glasses

I mean, who doesn’t want to see the world through an Instagram filter? This is a unique gift idea for that ‘unique’ client or employee. Phones down, my friends. Just pop on these shades.

nap chair5. Napping desk chair

We’re all about multi-tasking. Especially when it means your desk chair can also lean back and turn into a power nap chair.

 

 

 

hardback leather book laptop cover6. Hardback Leather Book Laptop Case

So you can always say, “I have many leather-bound books.” It’s a conversation piece. And it’s useful.

 

desk foot hammock7. Desk Fuut hammock

How many times have you wanted to put your feet up but can’t at the office? Resting or working, your feet no longer have to dangle aimlessly below your desk.

 

 

coffee spoon8. Funny coffee spoon

Having a rough morning? Hold up your spoon and say, “You’ve been warned.”

 

 

solar phone charger9. Waterproof solar phone charger

For the outdoorsy folks in your office who will never have to worry about a dead cell phone battery again.

 

 

 

air conditioning cooler10. IcyBreeze portable cooler and air conditioner

Keep your drinks cold and have a cold breeze wherever you go. Sweating is gross, you know?

 

tea infuser11. 2 pack of Mister Tea Infusers

Coffee is not everyone’s jam. But this unique gift idea will give the tea drinkers on your list the coolest cup around.

 

 

 

solar keyboard 12. Wireless solar keyboard

Who needs plug in electronics, anyways? Move your keyboard where ever you need it (and save a few trees, too!) I actually use one of these. It’s awesome.

 

standing work station 13. Standing work station (for Apple)

Get off your bum! Everyone’s doing it! Your brain and body stay active while working on your feet. Plus sitting all day is bad for you.

 

 

14. bubble ballsBubble Soccer Balls

If you’ve never played bubble soccer, you’re missing out. Make it a company outing and see how hilarious and fun it is to play soccer as your own version of Bubble Boy. Also, you must watch this video.

 

photo lens mug15. Into Focus Camera Lens Mug

Photographer by hobby or by trade, this mug is sure to make any warm beverage a bit more interesting. It might help bring the morning into focus, too.

 

 

 

We want to see the best workplace gift idea you’ve put on your holiday gift guide this year! Share your unique gift ideas in the comments.







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Business Owner Job Description: 5 Reasons You Need One http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/business-owner-job-description-5-reasons/ http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/business-owner-job-description-5-reasons/#respond Wed, 12 Nov 2014 17:11:43 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=17325 This article originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse. As a business owner, you’re the boss. You’re the person people turn to when a question needs answered. You’re a counselor. You’re a mentor. You see the “big picture.” But while you’re busy wearing all of those different hats, have you ever paused to think about what duties

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This article originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse.

As a business owner, you’re the boss. You’re the person people turn to when a question needs answered. You’re a counselor. You’re a mentor. You see the “big picture.” But while you’re busy wearing all of those different hats, have you ever paused to think about what duties really fall within your business owner job description? Do you even have a job description?

Maybe you’re asking yourself, “Why do I need a job description if I’m the owner?”

business owner job description

The truth of the matter is: Having a business owner job description is just as important for you as a job description is for anyone you hire. This description helps define what your job is…and what it’s not. It outlines your duties and responsibilities. It helps keep you focused and efficient—and it keeps you accountable. We’ve also mentioned before that it’s not whatever no one else wants to do.

Where do I start?

If you attended the 2013 Chik-fil-a Leadercast, you may have heard North Point Community Church Senior Pastor Andy Stanley talk about how important a job description is—even for him, as the leader of a large church. Stanley said, “Your job description should define three things: 1) What am I doing? 2) Why am I doing it? And 3) Where do I fit in?”

The What, Why, and Where are your starting points. From there, we’ve come up with five more specific reasons you should have a business owner job description—not just a title.

1. To Establish Boundaries

As the leader, it’s important to know where your role begins and ends. As much as you’d like to do it all, you’ve probably hired an excellent team to support your efforts—and they need to be able to do the work you’ve hired them to do.

Example: If you have a Communications Manager but are still writing all of the newsletters, are handling interviews, and are coordinating press conferences, you may have forgotten your boundaries. Let go of the duties you’ve hired staff to handle—they’ve got it covered.

Try This:

  • Make sure your job description defines your specific duties
  • Look for areas of duplication where you can let go of unnecessary overlap
  • Conduct a survey of employees asking where they’d like to see more control within their roles (this will help identify places you might be overstepping your job boundaries)

2. To Claim the Oversight Role

Your team needs you to be the visionary—the one who comes up with the business strategy, maintains the company culture and brand, and looks at issues from a macro standpoint. So often when that role isn’t claimed by the business owner, it gets pieced out to employees who claim it as their own.

Example: Each day, you seem to find yourself caught in the details of daily work rather than coming up with new ideas that will help the business move forward. You’ve noticed your Finance Director has started to become the one your Board members turn to in meetings when they have questions. It looks like your role as Overseer is slipping away!

Try this:

  • Delegate your detail work to relevant staff members
  • Define your job description to reclaim the oversight role
  • Help other staff better define their job descriptions to make clear boundaries for them as well

3. To Create a Road Map

Your business owner job description should include your main goals, which, in turn, creates a road map for measuring progress. When you’ve gotten a bit fuzzy on whatgoals you wanted to accomplish, you’ll have a reference point. Adjust your job description at least once a year to ensure you’re always setting new goals (and are moving further along that road map.)

Example: For the past year, you’ve been spinning your wheels—not really sure where to take your business next. Without a job description to reference, your goals are unclear…and your employees keep looking to you for direction. You need a map!

Try this:

  • Include 2-3 new goals each year in your job description
  • Evaluate your progress at achieving these goals throughout the year
  • Keep your job description posted where you can reference it easily

4. To Foster Development

Your business owner job description should include your duties as the developer—of relationships, hiring, training, and sales. As the owner, you have that special power and ethos that means in some cases, only you have the authority to close deals and develop sales partnerships. Your job description should reflect that.

Example: You’ve discovered an excellent partnership opportunity and want to get the partner on board, but there’s debate about who should meet with them for discussions. Is it the sales team? A department manager? Or you, the business owner? Having a job description that defines your role as head developer would save time in this situation.

Try this:

  • Include your role as developer in your job description
  • Foster development opportunities both internally and externally
  • Use your authority as the business owner to add importance to meetings

5. To Increase Efficiency

If nothing else, a business owner job description can eliminate any gray areas and make it clear for you (and your team) what your duties entail. When there’s no room for distractions to slip in, efficiency improves—and you get more done. Doesn’t that sound nice?

Example: A newly hired employee keeps coming to you with questions about how to do certain tasks as well as HR inquiries. Unless your job description includes training and HR responsibilities, this is your time to reference your duties and delegate to the proper team members. No time wasted!

Try this:

  • Keep your job description in a place where staff can see it
  • Have employees outline their responsibilities together so everyone knows who does what
  • Don’t be afraid to mentor, but when you’re in a time crunch—use the job description to direct people

When you start to define your role as more than just ‘Business Owner’, you’ll see the benefits of being less ambiguous about what it is you really do. You might even get more sleep at night. ;)

Now that you’re equipped with advice for writing that business owner job description, it’s time to get started. I have a tool that I’ve used with countless business owners to help them craft their own job description that I wanted to share with you as well. You can download it below! (And be sure to let me know how it works out for you, too.)

How do you feel about job descriptions? Do you have one? What does yours include?







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5 Tips for Coaching Millennial Employees http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/5-tips-coaching-millennial-employees/ http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/5-tips-coaching-millennial-employees/#respond Mon, 10 Nov 2014 17:39:44 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18166 Millennials are now the largest generation, with more than 95 million members. And Millennials in the workplace have become a hot topic of conversation in recent years. They’re hardworking and driven, or they’re lazy and entitled. They’re more loyal to brands, but less loyal to jobs. They’d rather be fulfilled than well-paid: 64% would rather

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Millennials are now the largest generation, with more than 95 million members. And Millennials in the workplace have become a hot topic of conversation in recent years.

They’re hardworking and driven, or they’re lazy and entitled. They’re more loyal to brands, but less loyal to jobs. They’d rather be fulfilled than well-paid: 64% would rather earn $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they find unfulfilling.

coaching Millennial employees

Clearly, there’s a lot of conflicting information going around about Millennial employees. One of the most pervasive opinions, though, is that they have a lack of drive, a lack of work ethic, and a sense of entitlement when it comes to professional advancement.

Of course, some Millennials are lazy, entitled and apathetic. But so are some Boomers. The truth is that Millennials are just like any other group of employees – to work hard and perform well, they need to be effectively managed and motivated.

Below are 5 tips for managing, motivating and coaching Millennial employees that will help you develop valuable staff members – no matter what generation they’re in.

1. Embrace the challenge

In reality, many millennials are brilliant and talented twenty- and thirty-somethings who thrive in stimulating work cultures. However, they may require more encouragement and acknowledgment than previous generations. They like – and expect –feedback about their performance, even down to individual tasks. And above all, they require near-constant stimulation.

With continuous and open communication, Millennials typically meet and even exceed expectations imposed by their employers. But in a buttoned-up culture or a stagnant work environment, they tend to become disengaged, lose interest, and fail to progress or perform. Boredom is a Millennial’s worst enemy. The solution? Create and maintain a company culture that values innovation, stimulation and hard work – and don’t forget fun.

2. Encourage the group approach

Millennials grew up in a social age, and they thrive in social, communicative, and collaborative environments. Their willingness to socialize becomes especially apparent when they work in groups or on teams. Millennials easily relate to each other and to other people, and they’re not shy about seeking help and support. In fact, 88% of Millennials say that they prefer collaboration to competition.

This desire for community and collaboration creates a sense of comradery that can be incredibly effective when it comes to time-sensitive tasks, goal-oriented projects and teamwork. Make sure your employees – Millennials and otherwise – know that you both allow and encourage them to work together, and you’ll likely see better performance.

3. Provide the tools they need

Millennials are hungry for knowledge, challenge and self-improvement. And they’re used to using technology to accomplish those things. In fact, as Nielsen says, “technology is essentially baked into every Millennial’s DNA.” That’s why it’s necessary to provide the technology and tools Millennials need to excel at work.

In addition to top-of-the-line technology, Millennials are also motivated by opportunities for training and advancement. Make it easy for them to learn about the ins and outs of your business, and about other positions within your company. Give them access to online training sessions, webinars, or conferences. Continuous learning helps stimulate Millennial brains, resulting in increased work performance.

4. Communicate expectations

Communicating expectations and regulations is important for all workers, but especially for Millennials. It’s okay – and even preferable – to set the bar high, but you need to clear about it. Spell out incentives, penalties, deadlines and workplace policies. Hold regular staff meetings and send out periodic email updates to keep everyone on the same page.

You can also use these platforms as an opportunity to publicly recognize Millennials who go above and beyond. This method of acknowledgment lets Millennials know their efforts are appreciated – and it motivates their peers to achieve the same level of excellence.

5. Meet Millennials halfway

Millennials are motivated by different things than previous generations. That doesn’t mean you need to completely change your workplace culture and organizational processes, but you should try to meet them halfway – after all, Millennials will make up more and more of the workforce in coming years.

Meeting Millennials halfway doesn’t only mean in the workplace, either. Perhaps the generation gap can be best addressed by interacting and communicating with Millennials other outside work. Create long-lasting relationships, both with each other and with the community. Being authentic, ethical and honest is a great way to attract and retain great employees – Millennial or not.

The last word

Managing Millennials can be a big challenge. But do it well, and you could see big rewards. With proper guidance and support, managers can create teams of devoted and highly skilled employees from any generation.

Quick-thinking, high-energy, motivated individuals are highly sought after in every industry. And that’s exactly what many Millennial employees are. The key to attracting them and helping them – and your company – grow? Never-ending challenge, recognition and appreciation.








Photo credit: Ryan McGuire

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Need some holiday gift ideas? Here’s 5 great ones! http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/holiday-gift-ideas-5-great/ http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/holiday-gift-ideas-5-great/#respond Sat, 08 Nov 2014 15:10:23 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18197 Christmas and the holidays are coming around the corner again (it’s crazy to think about, I know), which means it’s time to start figuring out and purchasing gifts for our clients (and/or) employees. Jill and Brad share some of their favorite holiday gift ideas on this episode of Breaking Down Your Business. They also chat

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Christmas and the holidays are coming around the corner again (it’s crazy to think about, I know), which means it’s time to start figuring out and purchasing gifts for our clients (and/or) employees. Jill and Brad share some of their favorite holiday gift ideas on this episode of Breaking Down Your Business.

They also chat with Bill Smith, the founder of ALR Technologiesand Ce Cole Dillon, the co-founder of School Loan 411 to help them with their business’ challenges. Listen in!

holiday gift ideas

Podcast play button

 

(Podcast player opens up on Breaking Down Your Business or subscribe on iTunes)

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How to create an unstoppable business (by making an unstoppable you) http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/resilience-how-to-create-an-unstoppable-business/ http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/resilience-how-to-create-an-unstoppable-business/#respond Fri, 07 Nov 2014 14:43:30 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18183 Today was one of those days everything went right! I got to the gym early and had a great workout, I hit all green lights on the way to the office, there was a nice referral lead in my inbox, I heard from a client that an employee situation we talked through worked out fine.

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Today was one of those days everything went right! I got to the gym early and had a great workout, I hit all green lights on the way to the office, there was a nice referral lead in my inbox, I heard from a client that an employee situation we talked through worked out fine. I felt like Midas — like anything I touched today would turn to gold!

resilience quote

But not every day is like that. Last week I was sick with a head cold. I didn’t want to get out of bed, my dishwasher broke and my car wouldn’t start. Last week almost every day I felt like I was jinxed, like nothing I tried to do would turn out well.

What’s the difference? I’m the same me — but one day I’m king of the world, and another day I’m a goat. Is it just that the world was “nice” to me on one day and conspiring against me the next? Is there anything I can do to keep the confidence I feel today, even on days when things don’t all go “right” for me?

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right. ~ Henry Ford

As someone who’s self-employed I’ve come to realize that maintaining my confidence makes a huge difference in my productivity and the outcome of the work I do. When my head is in the right place, I’m unstoppable. My new business appointments go better, I’m sure I can help the prospect and they feel it and hire me. I ask for higher prices gain confidence not to accept less than my full rate. My team members don’t question my direction; they are more likely to just jump in and get stuff done. Confidence affects everything I do, and improves the outcomes of whatever I’m working on. Because of this, I think it’s worth thinking about how to improve my business confidence, and how to maintain that positive attitude that can propel my business forward.

Do you believe that your attitude or confidence is something you control? Or do you feel like it’s more likely something that “just happens” when the stars align? Taking control of your attitude, your confidence level, is one of the most powerful things you can do to influence your success or failure.

I am a great believer in Luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have. ~ Coleman Cox.

I don’t want this to sound like some kind of “think your way to success” claptrap. But there’s actual evidence that it’s true. Harvard professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter wrote a whole book about it!

resilience quote

Her conclusions aren’t earth shattering, but they do help us to find a path toward creating and maintaining our confidence. She discovered that teams or businesses that have experienced a series of wins are more confident. Winning begets more winning. So set yourself up for some victories. Set lots of small goals and recognize progress! This morning I went to the gym. I stepped up to a new weight level on one of the machines I use. That’s a win, it feels good. I started my day on a winning streak! Now to keep that going I’m going to make a to-do list and cross things off when I complete them. More winning.

Second, you need to work to maintain that confident attitude. There will always be things that happen in your day or week that threaten to throw you off your game. A key employee quits, a proposal gets rejected, you get a speeding ticket; these are all “bumps in the road”, but they can take a toll on that confident attitude. Resilience is key to keeping your confidence high in the face of these setbacks.

Resilience is the belief that things are going to get better and the ability to make and execute plans that help you respond to adversity. So instead of asking “Why did this happen to me?” a resilient person asks, “What does this make possible?” or “In the face of this, what do I need to do to get back on track?” Resilient people aren’t just born that way, they cultivate that ability by building a strong support network, spending more time looking forward than looking back, and taking care of themselves by getting enough sleep, exercise and fun!

“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems; but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” – Herm Albright

The best part about maintaining your own confident, resilient attitude, is that it’s contagious. You can pass it along to your team. When you keep your confidence high, when you plan around obstacles instead of letting them stop you, your team starts to do the same. We see this all the time in sports, where a team “leader” gets on a roll and the whole rest of the team starts to feel unstoppable. What would your organization look like if the whole team had more confidence and resilience?

For the rest of this month we’re going to explore these themes of building and maintaining your confidence and the confidence of your team. Let us know in the comments how you build your confidence. What makes you unstoppable?








Photo credit: Unsplash

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7 ways to be a more confident business owner http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/7-ways-confident-business-owner/ http://www.enmast.com/2014/11/7-ways-confident-business-owner/#respond Thu, 06 Nov 2014 17:49:05 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18173 Confident business owners close more deals, get paid more for the deals they close, and get their work done more effectively. The confidence that you exude affects not just you, but your prospects, clients, and team members. I would argue that there’s nothing more important than building your confidence and maintaining it.   Don’t believe

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Confident business owners close more deals, get paid more for the deals they close, and get their work done more effectively. The confidence that you exude affects not just you, but your prospects, clients, and team members. I would argue that there’s nothing more important than building your confidence and maintaining it.

how to build your confidence

 

Don’t believe me? Imagine you are going to a meeting where Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey are going to be in attendance. How do you change your preparation, your presentation, your presence? This isn’t going to be just anymeeting, right? Why? What’s different? You need to up your game to match theirs, right? What if everyone — your prospects, your customers, your team — felt that way about going into a meeting with you? That’s the confidence I’m talking about!

if you want to be the kind of leader that compels others to stepping up their game when they come to meet with you, here’s 7 practical ways to build your confidence!

1. Have a plan and stick to it.

One way to build your confidence is to have a sense that you are in control. We want to impact the world around us, not vice-versa! When we are constantly in reaction mode, when life is whacking us up’side the head, it’s hard to maintain that confident attitude.This is why planning is important. Make some goals, build a plan to reach those goals; then each day focus on what you need to do today to reach those goals. When surprises crash your plan, deal with them, then get back to the plan. Don’t abandon your plan unless something has fundamentally changed (and when it does, make a new plan and stick to that one).

2. Do things you like doing

One of the toughest blows to confidence is when we get down in the dumps. When everything is an effort and we’re forcing ourselves to keep going. One way to counter that is to do things we enjoy! That may mean delegating some of your more tedious tasks, it may mean taking a break and doing something that’s purely for fun. But either way we need to do somethings we enjoy every day. Look at your calendar right now and schedule some time to do something that you really enjoy!

3. Celebrate your wins

Business owners can be driven people. We want to achieve and we have big goals; so when we reach one of our goals we want to race on to get to the next one. Keeping that momentum is great, but take just a minute to celebrate your win! Who can you call and tell about it (not to brag, but to share your victory)? How can you remember this feeling when things aren’t going so well?

4. Quickly forget your mistakes

Just as we want to take a moment to celebrate our wins before we move on, we can take a moment to review our failures and think about a couple of things we want to do differently, then move on. One of the biggest saps on our confidence comes when we brood on mistakes or failures. Yes, we need to learn from our mistakes, but focusing on the past (which can’t be changed) instead of the future (where we have a chance to do better next time) is a confidence robbing mistake.

5. Avoid the pitfalls of Over-confidence

Overconfidence reduces your ability to be resilient. I sometimes see folks who are working on their confidence set really ambitious goals — goals that are well beyond their reach. While I appreciate the courage and vision these types of goals embody, “big, hairy, audacious goals” can actually undermine confidence in the end. It is harder to measure success; how do I know I’m making progress toward that goal? It is harder to establish specific tasks related to high and lofty goals; do I even know what it would take to get there? Sometimes the higher and loftier the more overwhelming; can I break that big goal down into things I can do today, and tomorrow and next week? If so, fine. If not, it’s time to rethink.

Truly confident people have a solid sense of themselves. They know what is reasonable and they set goals that areconsistent with that reason. Setting a goal to be better known that Donald Trump by the end of this year may be over-reaching (unless you have been signed to be a major network reality show host), but if you want to become better known than Donald Trump what are some steps you can take now to increase you profile? When we set goals that are overly ambitious we set ourselves up for failure and disappointment. The failure and disappointment we feel when we don’t reach those goals we set when we’re feeling over confident, can deplete and damage our true confidence.

6. Build your support network

Who do you call when you are stuck? When you are having a bad day, or just need to talk to someone who thinks you are awesome? Do you have 4 – 5 people like that in your life; people who really know you? Cultivating relationships with peers who are on the same road that you are on is incredibly helpful for building and maintaining your confidence. Find a mastermind group or a business owner round-table group and get real with them. Leading a business can be really lonely — find some true peers who can walk with you.

7. Maintain your health and energy

Maybe this one feels really obvious, but so many business owners don’t do the basic things they need to do in order to keep themselves healthy and keep their energy high. Your body needs sleep; make sure you get it. Good nutrition and exercise is essential for maintaining your energy — are you making healthy choices there? I know it takes time and costs money, but it also pays dividends in your business and your life.

This is just a start, the most important first steps. What do you do? How do you keep your confidence solid so that you can keep going? That’s what the comments are for! Share your story!









Photo credit: Unsplash

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