Business Got You Down? Tips for a Morale Boost



If sales are discouraging and you feel like you’re on a treadmill going nowhere, it’s probably because you’re worried about the future. Trust me, you’re not alone.

The trick is taking baby steps and not worrying about the future results. Instead, focus on the positive. Business success and strong sales stem are made possible by enthusiasm, and an attitude of service and gratitude.

This means not focusing on the proverbial “results department.” That department door might not open. So only focus on footwork and simply knocking on the “results department door.” Imagine yourself knocking on one door and then moving quickly to knock on another.

ID-10063171 David Castillo DominiciDon’t wait for the doors to open because that’s what leads to despair. It’s true that a watched pot never boils.

Moreover, this is a good time to measure your progress – not your obstacles.

Consider the acronym, GO, an acronym for “gratitude” and “options”

By way of explanation, sometimes discouragement is so bad a businessperson obsesses about what’s not working instead of relishing what is working.

By focusing solely on the problems they become bigger. When that happens, it’s an endless cycle of despair. The person feels trapped.

Conversely, if a businessperson focuses on the positive, such an attitude of gratitude opens the person up to a childlike wonder and creates hope. Hope leads to options.

So, with hope, anything is possible. Know that for each problem – I prefer the word challenge – there are 10 possible solutions for options.

But how can you get gratitude and options?

First create hope for growth. Examine the progress you have made and start a gratitude list. Pat yourself on the back for any footwork. Start by asking yourself, “Where, how, when, why and with whom have I made progress?” Write or type your answers. No progress is too small to list.

Ask yourself these 10 sample questions:

  1. What networking events, lunches or meetings have I attended?
  2. What new acquaintances have I made?
  3. What recognition or positive comments have been made by others about me?
  4. What free publicity have I received either from my efforts or those of others?
  5. Have I created a new Web site or marketing collateral?
  6. Any new skills or knowledge?
  7. Have I attracted any new clients or retained old clients?
  8. Are there any companies or businesspersons indicating interest in my capabilities?
  9. Have I done any pro bono or volunteer work?
  10. Do I have a support system or mentor?

If you can’t give a positive answer to the 10 questions, then do what you have to do for the right answers. That’s just to get you started. Perhaps there are other pertinent questions you can ask.

Consider the acronym, GO, an acronym for “gratitude” and “options”

Now, it’s time for a new vision for growth, here’s how:

  1. Write out your vision plan. One page will do.
  2. Set goals for footwork – not results.
  3. Periodically, each day ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing right now, productive?” (Chances are it isn’t productive, so focus on what is.)
  4. Keep records of your baby steps.
  5. Honor your progress with gratitude and keep it going with affirmations.
  6. Stay in close contact with your support system.
  7. Get exercise, sleep and medical care when needed.
  8. Practice stewardship of your assets. Focus on cleanliness and organization.
  9. Focus on your favorite hobby and recreation.
  10. Ask clients for feedback. If a client complains, don’t get defensive just take notes. When you’re complimented, ask for referrals to two people who might also appreciate what you have to offer.
  11. Keep on practicing gratitude. Always handwrite a thank you note when someone considers buying or hiring you. Thank people for their business. In fact, in every e-mail, note, meeting or telephone conversation, remember 98 percent of the time a thank you is warranted.
  12. Keep in mind the adage, “What goes around comes around.” Try to listen more and avoid treating others as though they’re invisible, and you will be accorded greater respect.
  13. Keep smiling. A jovial Joe or Jane is an attraction to others.
  14. Look around for someone else to help. This will help you smile.
  15. As you succeed, carry this message to others.

As you go along and think of other pointers, add them to these suggestions.

Now, GO! Good luck!

From the Coach’s Corner, here are 30 Time Management, Stress Reducing Skills

“The best morale exist when you never hear the word mentioned. When you hear a lot of talk about it, it’s usually lousy.” 

-Dwight D. Eisenhower 

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at www.freedigitalphotos.net 

Instead of Wasting Time Putting out Fires, Upgrade Your Staff



Many entrepreneurs feel trapped — suffering from headaches and wasting time reacting to fires — trying to quell problems.

They’d rather be happy and investing their time and energy to manage marketplace challenges to achieve higher profits.

They can’t, however, until they solve their internal problems in human resources, which constitute at least 50 percent of their headaches.

men meetingInternal factors contribute to entrepreneur insomnia, especially dilemmas over how to control costs, performance and quality.

How can you solve such challenges for profits? Upgrade your staff.

Here are 17 HR management strategies:

1. Have a job description for every position, no matter how little skill is needed. Regularly appraise workers.

Keep your most promising workers. If the others can’t improve then replace them, but take precautions before you let anyone go.

2. Train and monitor your supervisors to perform. Be wary of the 20 tell-tale signs they might be under-performing.

Of course, every employee is entitled to know the answers to their three questions: 

— What’s expected of me?

— How am I doing?

— What’s in it for me?

3. Constantly network to find the best employees. Ask your best workers for employee referrals, use trade publications, and advertise in economical local newspapers. Although tempting, free online ads won’t generate the most productive workers. Take the right steps to attract the best workers. Check references thoroughly using open-ended questions for comprehensive answers.

4. Screen for common sense, creativity and education. Einstein’s theory about imagination being more important than knowledge often works in HR.

5. Target employees who possess the three A’s: Attitude, appearance, and ability. Attitude is everything in showing empathy to other employees and customers. Both you and your customers will be pleased. While job knowledge or hard skills are important, so are soft skills in communication and teamwork. Coachable workers who aren’t afraid to work on their strengths and weaknesses, and set goals will make you money.

6. Family and friends will work fine as workers in tight economic times. Don’t forget temporary help firms for short-term projects or for hiring on a temp-to-perm basis.

Internal factors within your company contribute to entrepreneur insomnia, especially dilemmas over how to control costs, performance and quality.

7. Create a favorable first impression with a gracious welcome of new workers and encourage a buddy system. At the outset, demonstrate that you’re a leader so that you inspire employee respect.

8. Improve morale by developing an inspiring communications program. Whether or not your company is undergoing dramatic change, communication is key. Use formal and informal ways to dialogue with workers about priorities, celebrate success stories and encourage feedback. Survey your workers about their priorities. Accommodate employees when feasible. In essence, power your company with employee empowerment.

9. Don’t cut corners in training and development. Encourage continuous self-improvement. Invest in training, mentoring and education, but make sure you get top results from your training investment. The best workers will appreciate it. Don’t let your stars become free agents.

10. Treat workers equally and regularly enforce your company’s procedures. Make certain everyone knows sexual harassment is taboo. Make certain every manager knows how to avoid EEOC discrimination suits.

11. Focus on succession planning. Retain and attract leaders for your firm, and develop a succession-planning strategy to help your most talented employees ascend to senior levels. There is a link between financial performance and succession planning.

12. In talent development, make sure your new managers are trained to succeed in managing others. Help your managers to evaluate your company’s HR strengths and weaknesses. Eliminate any gaps in your workforce and establish a harmonious environment for company growth.

13. Save yourself time and develop your staff for the welfare of your organization. Delegation is a fundamental driver of organizational growth. So use best practices in employee delegation.

14. Promote diversity. It’s good business to consider and implement policies to recruit workers who are from other cultures. Add disabled applicants, and part-timers – such as stay-at-home parents and retirement-age workers. Remember slow motion gets you there faster.

15. In compensation and benefits, no boss wants to over-pay employees, but if you do your best to provide for employees, they’ll deliver stronger performances and take better care of your company’s assets. Use the right strategies if a valued employee wants a raise but your money is tight.

16. Encourage exercise and recreation.

17. Use exit interviews as opportunities for growth and to learn from any mistakes. The good workers might return or refer outstanding candidates to you, if you’re seen as a caring employer.

If these tips are properly implemented, you’ll see strong results.

From the Coach’s Corner, here’s a footnote on getting more productivity:

If you or any employees seem to be chronically tired, sleep apnea could be the culprit. Encourage your workers to participate in a sleep study.

The National Center on Sleep Disorders Research reported 12 to 18 million people have life-threatening sleep apnea. That’s a condition in which people stop breathing several times each hour and they don’t even know it.

“It’s not the hours you put in your work that count, it’s work you put in the hours.”

-Sam Ewing

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.