Archives for December 2015

Setting Business Goals

Business owners want to see their business grow. They want to watch a tiny start up expand into a larger healthy business. To achieve this it is important to set goals. These goals will direct your business into the future, guiding it where you want to go. Even if you don’t achieve the goal every time, it is important to strive for more.

The first step in setting goals is to think about the long and short term goals. Each goal will look different depending on the length of time you want to accomplish it. Your short-term goals, if set right, will be the stepping-stones to your long-term goals. To make the long-term goals more manageable, break them down in to small goals. These can be the short-term goals or specific tasks to accomplish before tackling the goal in questions. This shifts you focus making the goal appear more attainable.

The part to determining long-term and short-term goals is to be specific. Don’t be vague when setting goals. The more specific the goal, the better chance you have at accomplishing it. If you make a broad goal, such as doubling profits for the year, then make sure that you are very specific on how you want to accomplish that task. Set up milestones you want to hit and what date you should be reaching them.

Consider reaching for something easy for your first goal. You can snowball this in to larger successes as you go, but seeing the easily reached goals accomplished will give you confidence to reach the bigger goals. Look for items that you may be already addressing and can be done quickly. Tackle the small and push on to the big.

The last part of goal setting is make sure everyone is on board. It is important that everyone is following the same track as you and knows where the business is going. Find ways to connect everyone from vendors, to sales associates. Make sure the buy in is there so the business will move towards the goal.

You will need to put in a lot of effort and preparation for goal setting. Be sure your business is ready to handle what is coming from accomplishing the goals. Work for the better good, and keep striving to get your business where you want it to be.

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How to Be a Good Manager

There are introverts and extraverts in each work place. The extroverts are the ones that take the floor and have no problem sharing their ideas, while the introverts prefer to work alone, thinking through their tasks before sharing ideas. When you are a manager, you deal with a variety of personality types. Working with introverts and extroverts can be a challenge since each requires a different approach. A good manager can deal with both equally while managing them to bring out their best.

The first thing is to educate yourself. Get to know everyone and how they like to work. It is usually easy to tell who is the extravert and introvert, but not always. Many introverts have found ways to disguise themselves in the work place. Introverts appear to be outgoing, but prefer to stay at their desk than join the crowd. If you are not sure what type of personalities you have working with you, then asking simple questions such as, “How do you prefer to work?”; “What is your ideal working environment?”; and “How many meeting do you attend?”, to give yourself a better idea of the makeup of your department.

Once you have an idea of how your department is divided, then you can use that information to rethink how the workday looks. The dynamics in the office can help structure your day. The introverts want time at their desks to work and prepare for any meetings. As a manager if you designate a time for meetings, then it is easier for the introverts to prepare for that meeting, while it give the extraverts a set time when they will be able to share their ideas. Some places do not have any meeting before 12:30; others have a set time each day for department meetings to give the introverts time to prepare.

To help the introverts promote privacy while still allowing for social time. Have a way for everyone to signal that they are work and should not be interrupted. For example, if someone has headphones on then they are not to be interrupted. There should be nooks for people to go when they need quiet, and social places, such as break rooms, lounge rooms, etc. for the times people want to be social.

Encourage the introverts to speak up. They have good ideas, but do not always want to share them. Have alternate way of sharing ideas, such as writing them on a slip of paper and sharing with everyone. The ideas stay anonymous, but still heard. Encourage extroverts to be willing to tweak their ideas. They don’t always think through everything as much as introverts do, but there ideas may need a few points fixed.  Remember it is a team and work on giving everyone a chance to let their voice be heard.

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Let’s Talk About Pay

In the past, the employers have determined the pay scale and how much each individual employee is paid. This has changed. Employers have to be more transparent then they were ten years ago. There are websites, such as PayScale and Salary.com that make it easier for employees to look up what their work is worth to ensure that they are being paid fairly. Employers have to work hard to compensate their employees fairly while still maintaining their bottom line. There are a lot of myths about how employees are compensated. Let examine some of them and see if we can shed some light on what people are paid.

  1. 1.       Employers save money by underpaying employees. This is actually a myth. It is in the company’s best interest to compensate their employees fairly; otherwise, they could be risking a higher turnover rate, which cost them more money. For many companies the highest monetary cost is turnover. It cost a company on average 150% more to hire someone new then it does to retain the person they have in the position. The morale is greatly affected when someone good leaves a company.
  2. 2.       Why people leave their jobs? The number one reason people leave their jobs is to take something with better pay or benefits. Since the job market and economy are improving, many employees are in a better position to demand higher wages. They also have a better opportunity to find another job if they do not feel as if they are being fairly compensated. This is not completely true across all industries and geographies, but employees are in a better position to negotiate better pay. Better pay is not the only thing driving why people stay in jobs. Employee satisfaction can pay a significant role in why people stay in low paying job.
  3. 3.       Talking about pay will cause trouble. By refusing to talk about pay only leads employees to speculate about pay. They begin talking to other employees, feelings are hurt, and everything heads south in a hurry. But if employers can have a honest conversation with employees, then the truth on how employees are compensated is heard. There is no speculation or talking going on behind the scenes. Communication that is open and honest will promote loyalty in employees.

There are still some downsides to communication. Remember the small companies may not be able to pay as much as larger corporations, but there may be other benefits to working for smaller companies.  

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Avoid Wasting Your Retirement Money

When we retire, we want to live a long comfortable life. For some, this will happen, but for others retirement will be a struggle that may cost them more money than they have. It is important to keep a close eye on your spending during retirement. You have saved all this money for retirement, and the following tips will help you keep more of that money in your pockets.

  • Shop around for Medicare Supplemental Policies. When you retire, healthcare can become your biggest expense. You will also discover that traditional Medicare does not cover all your medical expenses. This is where supplemental policies help pay for some of the things Medicare does not. If you do not look for supplemental policies, then you could be forced to pay 20% of the cost of services not covered by Medicare with no out-of-pocket limits. It is important to shop around for these supplemental policies so you find the right coverage for you without paying too much.
  • Eating Out Too Much. Retirement can be the adventure of your lifetime. You want to travel, and there are new experiences you want to try, but don’t get carried away. Eating out is one way retirees spend too much money. A modest meal can cost $20 per meal. If you eat out every day at least one meal a day that is $600 a month for meals, and $7,200 a year. Remember every penny counts, and taking advantage of early-bird specials, senior citizens discounts, and eating meals from at home will help reduce your spending.
  • Having Too Much Insurance Coverage. Once you retire, you will not need as much life insurance. By this time, you should be able to switch to a small term life policy or a burial insurance policy because you do not have kids living at home to support or a large mortgage to cover if something happens to you. Do an annual insurance audit to help determine what coverage you will need, if any. You can also look at increasing your home or auto insurance premium if you have cash to cover the additional cost if anything would happen. This will reduce your cost also.
  • Downsize. You probably still don’t need that four bedroom, three-bath house. Downsizing will free up more money through lower mortgage and lower utilities. It will also make less for you to clean. Another thing to downsize is your communications such as internet, cable TV, and cell phone. You may not need the higher speeds for internet, and you can get rid of the landline. On cellphones only pay for the services that you are using, and consider streaming services in place of cable. The more you cut your cost the more money you will have to do what you want.
  • Buying a Car. Buying a brand new car is not a good investment. Most cars depreciate significantly in the first two years. Consider buying a car that is at least two years old to help save on costs. You may be driving less, so having a slightly older car will help keep cost lower.
  • Get Rid of Credit Card Balances. One of the first things to rid yourself of is financial debt. The most effective way to reduce cost of living is to not carry any credit card debt. Pay cash for everything you want to buy, or make sure you pay the balance on the credit card each month.
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