Shy in Networking? Here Are 4 Tips that Will Work for You



Good news if crowds make you nervous: The advantage in networking goes to introverts instead of extroverts.

“What? you ask. “Introverts have an advantage in networking at social events?”

That’s right. As an introvert, you have advantages in networking and also advantages in becoming a leader. Yes, that’s true.

Extroverts aren’t necessarily great in networking or qualified to be leaders. They’re not naturals in the art of persuasion, charisma, have boldness or in getting projects done successfully.

Introverted people are more likely to listen. Listening is an important quality for networking and leadership.

Moreover, extroverts are more likely to feel threatened if their ideas aren’t readily acted upon. They especially act with fear when questioned or challenged by others.

Conversely, this also means introverts can unobtrusively dominate at networking and other events.

Here’s how you can make shyness work for you:

Envision success by listening

During the 1970s and 1980s in my career as a young broadcast journalist, I learned valuable lessons about listening, negotiations and leadership when meeting two presidents – Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford.

While I was very nervous, they made me feel important in the meetings. They were fantastic listeners. Ditto, when I interviewed Nancy Reagan.

Then, there was a comment by another great leader in American history: “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care,” said Theodore Roosevelt.

Of course, he was an American statesman, writer and the 26th U.S president from 1901 to 1909, 25th vice president, and governor of New York.

President Roosevelt knew success results from empathy and focusing on others.

So try to always ask open-ended questions, not closed-ended questions. By asking open-ended questions, you’ll get people to talk freely. (More on this later in this article.)

Many extroverts miss the point of networking. Networking should be all about starting and building relationships by listening well.

Take baby steps seeking quality contacts

It can be very entertaining to watch many extroverts and narcissists working at social event.

They’re so busy working the whole room and grabbing business cards, they’re not as successful in launching valuable relationships.

The trick is to be affable and likeable.

Quality prospects are not impressed by a narcissistic approach by someone running around willy-nilly collecting business cards without regard to the feelings of others in attendance.

Introverts, on the other hand, take the time to learn important information from a few people. This means they can make the most in chatting with the people they do meet, especially with other introverts.

Do this, and you’ll have a better shot at developing relationships.

Ask the most-advantageous questions

Extroverts get off on the wrong foot by talking about what they care about, which means they’re less likely to pique the interests of others.

So be a leader. Briefly reveal something about yourself so the persons will feel comfortable in answering questions. (People appreciate what psychologists have called “free information.”)

Then, don’t ask mundane questions such as “What do you do?”.

Ask questions that will prompt people to reveal important details, such as “What projects are you excited to be working on?” or “What interests you the most these days?”.

Read between the lines

Strive to be intuitive.

In conversing with a stranger, you also need to grasp what the persons aren’t saying. In effect, listen to what people aren’t telling you.

Success in sales is all-about creating opportunities for growth by finding needs to fill.

Once you entice people to talk about their interests or even their passions, you can anticipate their challenges and determine needs you’re able fill.

From the Coach’s Corner, additional helpful information:

Football Lessons for Business Networking, Partnering — Nine key steps for companies to become stronger by teaming with others. By combining resources, companies succeed in meeting the needs of customers.

Sales, Networking Strategies to Build Strong Relationships — Knowledge has always been essential for success. But the ability to sustain strong relationships was and is both gratifying and important for success. Here are tips for strong sales and relationships.

Listening Skills to Improve Your Relationships and Business Performance — What counts in communication? Listening skills for discernment and trust. Discerning people are the most successful and listening skills are important for discernment. That goes for athletes and management, alike.

Earn Profits via Innovation, Relationships and Local Marketing — If your company is struggling as a result of declining profits, at least three factors are responsible: The clutter of competition, management, and ever-expanding and head-scratching list of advertising options.

Tactics to be Memorable but Respected in Sales Calls — In this frenetic marketplace, creating a lasting impression on your prospects and clients – so they become loyal as repeat buyers – your approach should include seven tactics.

Sales Secrets for Getting by Receptionists, Gatekeepers — Getting past receptionists and other gatekeepers is a universal sales challenge. Successful salespeople, however, have the right insights and approaches for success. Here’s how they do it.

“Networking is rubbish; have friends instead.”

-Steve Winwood

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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.






To Stay Stress-Free after Your Vacation, Copy a Dog’s Mindset



Two questions: Have you ever felt stressed even after a long holiday or vacation? Soon after returning to the office, have you felt the need for a “mental health day?”

If so, you’re not alone.

We go on vacation  for serenity – to lift our moods, change our perspectives and alleviate negative emotions.

However, even after a nice holiday or vacation, it’s pretty common to start feeling stressed when you jump into work.

Have you ever noticed how dogs behave? They stay in the moment and never seem unhappy.

Why not emulate the behavior of a dog?

The trick is to prevent stress from rearing its ugly head to keep it from ruining the benefits you received from your vacation.

Here’s how to minimize stress after a vacation:

1. Prevent phone calls your first day back

Before you leave for vacation, your automatic reply on your phone should indicate your return date, mention your preference that important matters be handled by email, and explain whom you want be contacted in your absence.

2. Shorten your first week

Return midweek. In this way, you’ll be more enthusiastic rather than dreading a heavy workload and week of problems. Prioritize the issues.

3. Work a minimal first day 

Go to the office for only four hours. Consider it to be sort of an orientation to ease back into your pressures, handle any pressing issues and to plan your schedule for the next few days.

Then, take the afternoon off. 

4. Work on an attitude of gratitude

The most serene professionals focus on the positive – the 90 percent of what’s going well rather than the negative 10 percent that isn’t going well. In this way, it’s easier for them to tackle the 10 percent.

So learn to keep a smile on your face by practicing an attitude of gratitude. In fact, if you haven’t already, start a gratitude list.

You’ll find you can think of 10 things are worth appreciating. Review your list. Reflect on it. Make it a regular thing to do.

5. Vary your routine

Avoid falling into a rut. Learn to keep an open mind by using the “Principle of Contrary Action.”

Keep a mental or written record of your routines. Every time you do something try to approach it differently. For instance, take a different route to the office and park in a different parking space.

Ever notice how happy your dog gets when you reach for a leash?

Sometimes people in business need a creative place at out-of-the-ordinary locations. Perhaps you have an employee whom you need to counsel. Or you might have a peer who needs encouragement.

So for discussions on difficult issues, try walking meetings.

6. Budget blue-sky sessions

While you immerse yourself in your daily routines and challenges, budget time for blue-sky sessions to dream about future plans.

Never allow the fires and problems distract you from your long-term goals.

7. Exercise

Whether you’re a runner, walker, golfer, yogi or gym aficionado – whatever your favorite way to exercise — budget time do it regularly.

And don’t forget to exercise your spiritual and mental health.

8. Consider planning periodic mental-health days

Don’t allow depression to consume you. Take periodic days off to relax with your family, play golf, go boating, fishing, or take in a Wednesday afternoon baseball game.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related tips:

Career Tips: 5 Morning Habits of Winning Entrepreneurs — The key is to manage the highs and lows synonymous with a dynamic roller-coaster ride. You must stay on an even keel, despite all the negative surprises. Develop habits that make certain your attitude is contagious – an attitude worth catching — to prepare for daily success.

6 Best Mental Attributes of Successful Entrepreneurs — Becoming an entrepreneur is the hardest task you can imagine. The hours are long and you can expect a physical and emotional roller-coaster ride. A song made famous by Frank Sinatra explains it best.

5 Personality Traits for Personal and Professional Success — Five personality traits are important for overcoming stress and achieving goals academically, professionally and in personal relationships. This article includes a link to take a personality test.

How You Can Improve Your Memory for Career Success — Data is important in business but only if you retain and understand it. Your memory helps you to embed, store, maintain and recover information. Here’s important information to improve your memory.

Tips to Prevent or Eliminate Employee Toxicity — From time to time, nearly every boss has to cope with an employee’s negativity. That’s annoying enough, but you’ve got a nightmare if toxic attitudes spread among the rest of your workers. Here are solutions.

30 Time Management, Stress Reducing Tips — Tips that will enable you to take bold measures to invest in your future and make money by saving time and reducing stress.

“Self-esteem is as important to our well-being as legs are to a table. It is essential for physical and mental health and for happiness.”

-Louise Hart


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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.




Tips to Avoid Legal Stress from Nonexempt Pay Errors



If your pay program for nonexempt employees isn’t kosher, you’ll likely be confronted with legal hassles.

Such hassles will result in having to pay back wages, overtime, liquidated or double damages.

So, to prepare for payroll audits, the quality of your records is paramount.

Employees will be successful in suing your company – up to three years for willful errors and up to two years for non-willful errors.

A compliance program is important to avoid violating wage-and-hour laws.

You must implement and enforce policies that prevent your workers from working unpaid overtime.

Here are precautions to take:

1. Pay for employees’ work performed at different sites

If you have employees who work at multiple locations during the same week’s duration, total their hours correctly and pay them accordingly.

2. Don’t pay an average rate for different hours in the workweek

For instance, if an employee works 50 hours in one week and 30 hours the next week, you must pay overtime for the extra 10 hours in the first week. Therefore, don’t average the two weeks totaling 80 hours.

3. Pay for each of your workers’ hours – before and after business hours

Remember all activities, pre-work and post-work, must be paid. That includes seemingly minor tasks such as responding to off-hour emails and texts.

4. Pay for work during meal breaks 

Make certain your software doesn’t deduct pay for meal breaks.

5. Pay for wait time 

Employees’ waiting time must be compensated. Your workers who must wait to perform their duties should be paid.

That includes workers who have to spend their time waiting for work areas to be cleared after their shifts have started.

6. Pay for travel time 

Naturally, you don’t have to pay for employees’ commute time. However, if your employees must travel to different work sites, they must be paid for it.

7. Pay for 1 ½ times of their hourly rate for overtime work

All of the hours employees work must be compensated, and overtime hours require time-and-a-half.

Additionally, pay for any bonuses, commissions and other incentives including shift differentials.

8. Accurately pay for all telecommuting

Make sure your telecommuting employees keep accurate records of their agreed-upon work hours. In advance of starting a telecommute schedule, this includes full documentation with a written, signed and dated agreement.

Keep an eye on their production. Make certain workers aren’t working over 40 hours a week unless more time is needed for your business.

The bottom-line: The right policies and implementation are vital. You never know when you’ll be required to prove your pay program is above board with documentation.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are relevant tips:

Checklist to Audit Payroll Processes to Avoid Costly Mistakes — Payroll mistakes can be costly, if your company fails to comply with changes in the tax code. To avoid issues with the Department of Labor or the Internal Revenue Service, it’s best to review your payroll processes.

16 Best Practices to Stay out of Legal Trouble with Employees — Generally, in human resources, companies find themselves in legal hot water because they inadvertently make mistakes with their employees. It’s important to triple down on preventative measures and responses to legal hazards when necessary. Here are Biz Coach tips.

Employee Records: Which Ones to Save and for How Long — You don’t want to keep unnecessary employee records. Nor do you want to make a rash decision on whether to destroy records. Here are the laws you need to know.

The Planning That’s Vital to Pay Competitive Wages for Performance — Two of the most salient steps you can take in management – create a compensation plan that competitively pays your employees and rewards them for excellence. Enlightened compensation plans inspire performance and incentivize productivity.

Tips for Handling Your Employees’ Wage Garnishments — Handling wage garnishments of your employees’ paychecks – including communication – is a very sensitive issue. Here are four management tips.

 

“People are the most important thing. Business model and product will follow if you have the right people.”  

-Adam Neumann

 


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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.




Time Management Tips for New Bosses



Managers, especially new managers, risk burnout from not managing their time effectively.

New managers are naturally ambitious, but succumb to burnout because they try to do-it-all in performing their personal duties as well as in managing others.

It’s best to learn the important concept of displacement and how to say no at work. Displacement means if you’re doing one task it prevents you from doing another.

Prioritize A, B or C

When you get a request or project, prioritize its effect on your staff and company – starting with big-picture goals and responsibilities.

Judge if it’s of low importance, so visualize its importance. If it isn’t unimportant, put it in the C category or just say “no.”

Normally, you’ll need to decide on the seriousness, urgency, productivity and growth as they impact your organization.

Delegation 

Many new managers don’t yet understand the intricacies of delegation, which is an important part of leadership. Delegation is a fundamental driver of organizational growth.

Managers who use best practices in employee delegation are more effective in leadership.

Twelve-hour workdays don’t usually help the company succeed nor is it conducive for a balanced personal or family life.

If you’re just launching your career in management in a small company or in your own startup, it’s usually best to wait in starting a family until it’s obvious you’re on your way.

Be careful about meetings

Many meetings are a time-waster.

Make certain a meeting has an agenda. If you have the option to decide whether to attend, determine whether you can add or learn something from the meeting.

If you’re scheduling a meeting, have an agenda. Plan to engage your employees in energetic, inspiring staff meetings to improve performance.

Sometimes people in business need a creative place at which to have productive conversations that are in out-of-the-ordinary locations.

Perhaps you have an employee whom you need to counsel. Or you have a peer that needs encouragement. For discussions on difficult issues, try walking meetings.

Hiring employees is expensive. So it’s important to use the right tactics in probation meetings for new employee success.

If you’re responsible for client relationships, you need to make certain they thank you regularly, pay your invoices promptly, and respond well to your recommendations.

If they don’t, strategize for effective client meetings.

Regularly evaluate your schedule

It’s important to audit your calendar and do some fine-tuning when necessary.

You’ll find that some meetings or activities are no longer relevant. That’s why it helps to look at your calendar before the start of the month.

Decide which duties are no longer appropriate or are a time-waster for you personally. Again, delegation might be applicable for some activities.

Also, budget time for activities that are necessary on which you might tend to procrastinate or overlook.

Make lists

Don’t make the mistake of being put in the position of being a slave to your email inbox or always having to put out fires that could have been prevented.

Be assertive. Plan your schedule.

Again, prioritize A, B or C. Incorporate your projects, goals, and tasks.

And depending on your responsibilities and sector, categorize your lists and line them up horizontally. Bundle projects that are related in one way or another.

By late Thursday every week, you should be able to know your plans for the following week.

Make your job fun with “blue-sky” thinking

It’s boring and a beginning to burnout, if you omit fun. Build fun into your plans – work that you’d love to do.

You’ll enjoy more energy and inspiration. Remember in this day and age, it takes discipline to create fun, too.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are relevant management tips:

So You Finally Got Your First Management Job? Now What? – There are 10 principles every new manager needs to know and use.

7 Management Tips – Communication with Difficult Employees – Multiple problems including loss of profit results from ineffectively dealing with difficult employees. Here are seven Biz Coach tips.

Management – How to Improve Accountability in Your Company – If business and tepid growth have affected your outlook, take a look at your human resources and consider a couple of questions. If you don’t like your answer, here are eight solutions.

Management: 5 Most Common Reasons to Fire Employees – With difficult employees, you have two obvious problems – the impacts on your organization and the behavior of the individual. Here’s what to do.

Why Women Are Better Prepared than Men for Management – Many women are better prepared as managers because they have emotional intelligence — a desired characteristic for successful management. Here’s why.

“Good management consists in showing average people how to do the work of superior people.”

-John D. Rockefeller


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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.




Got an Entrepreneurial Dream? Here’s Your First Important Step



Strong cash flow is critical for entrepreneurial success.

But 50 percent of all small businesses crash within five years because their founders are weak in financial literacy, according to a report by the JPMorgan Chase Institute.

“Growth, Vitality, and Cash Flows: High-Frequency Evidence from One Million Small Businesses,” stems from data compiled from accounts at JPMorgan Chase.

It’s the nation’s largest bank and is an advocate for small-business education programs.

The report makes it clear that such small-business failures stem from a lack of knowledge about cash flow and maintaining a cash buffer.

“Small businesses don’t fail because it’s a bad business,” Chris Wheat, director of business research for the JPMorgan Chase Institute and the lead researcher on the study.

“They fail because of cash flow problems,” he explains.

The report’s conclusions emphasize establishing and maintaining an emergency fund, and fully understanding how to sustain cash flow – that’s income and expenditures.

Least successful startups

Mr. Wheat analyzed the businesses that suffer from poor cash flow. Restaurants fare the worst.

The study indicates restaurants only last 3.7 years. That’s the shortest lifespan of a dozen industries that were studied.

Why?

Restaurants typically are hit by unanticipated expenses while trying to cope with irregular income.

Negative surprises occur because restaurants must continually buy supplies at constantly changing prices vs. an unpredictable flow of customers. Changing seasons are a factor.

“Restaurants we consistently find have more pronounced small-business challenges,” says Mr. Wheat.

“Restaurants tend not to be holding a lot of cash in their accounts. And if you put that together with any amount of volatility, it’s not surprising to see they have the highest likelihood of exiting,” he adds.

Most-successful startups

On the other hand, the study shows the most-successful businesses are real estate firms. They average a nine-year lifespan.

Their income and expenses are more predictable and stable. That means they find it easier to maintain a good cash flow.

So, if you’ve got an entrepreneurial idea, make certain you’re strong in understanding finance. Get a mentor and take whatever financial training programs you can.

Do this, and your dream will come true.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are relevant tips for entrepreneurial success:

You Can Creatively Manage Your Cash Flow 7 Ways – If you’re taking the pulse of your business, of course, the first thing to consider is your cash flow. If your cash flow is poor, you feel poor because you can’t pay the bills nor can you use money for what you’d like to do.

For the Best Cash Flow, Manage Your Inventory Costs with 8 Tips – With proper inventory management, you can lower your expenses and increase your cash flow. For many businesses, it means taking a look at your inventory costs.

Checklist — 11 Tips to Increase Your Startup’s Cash Flow – Cash flow is the salient dynamic that leads to the failure or success of a business. Here are 11 Biz Coach ways to maintain positive cash flow.

Angel Investor: Tips for Increasing Cash Flow, Profits — A successful angel investor shares his tips for good cash flow and other profit issues.

Small Business Options for Year-End Cash Flow, Tax Benefits – The fourth quarter is the time for small business owners to reflect on options for year-end cash flow and tax benefits. In general, here are items to discuss with your accountant and tax advisor.

11 Tips to Win Your Entrepreneurial (Marathon) Race – For successful small firms, strong cash flow doesn’t just happen. Advertising firms to tech startups have a system. They plan and implement with precision. Using these strategies, you, too, will win.

12 of the Best Financial-Planning Tips for Entrepreneurs – Typically, there are critical mistakes made by entrepreneurs. In essence, they’re so busy putting out fires, they leave their financial security in doubt.

“Starting your own business is like riding a roller coaster. There are highs and lows and every turn you take is another twist. The lows are really low, but the highs can be really high. You have to be strong, keep your stomach tight, and ride along with the roller coaster that you started.”

-Lindsay Manseau


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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.




Checklist to Audit Payroll Processes to Avoid Costly Mistakes



Payroll mistakes can be costly, if your company fails to comply with changes in the tax code.

To avoid issues with the Department of Labor or the Internal Revenue Service, it’s best to review your payroll processes.

Here’s a checklist:

  1. Naturally, you should regularly perform security scans, change complex passwords and take other security measures as well as update drivers on the computers used in finance.

It’s also recommended that you check who has excess to your system and prohibit access by the people no longer allowed to use it.

  1. If you’ve been phished and hacked, you should alert the IRS right away at dataloss@irs.gov.

The IRS will want to know your company’s name, your employer identification number, your name, contact information, as well as a full explanation of what occurred.

  1. Verify to your satisfaction that your payroll software is performing well. For example, be sure of the recorded accuracy of the wages, tax deposits and tax returns.

Obviously, correct any mistakes and take steps to make certain the errors do not reoccur.

  1. Review your company’s paid time off or personal time off Be certain you compel your employees to either cash out or roll over unused time-off and leave during the current year.
  1. Verify all IRS records. Whether you have a payroll firm or do it in-house, obtain and then review copies of your tax records.

Check to be certain the right amounts of taxes are withheld, and that they are forwarded to the IRS as well as all applicable forms.

Did you know you can use the full suite of IRS e-services? If not, here’s the link: irs.gov/e-services.

  1. Double check your W-2 coding for your workers’ pretax deferrals into retirement accounts.
  1. For any employee who resigns or retires, classify the final wages properly. Be sure to adhere to all company policies or applicable laws.
  1. Review whether you make any payments to workers outside of your payroll system. A typical scenario occurs when you make taxable business-expense reimbursements.

If you do, develop a system that accurately records and processes such funds.

  1. Regarding fringe benefits, make certain that your deduction codes are accurate. Check the entire process.
  1. Make certain final 401(k) amounts or final paychecks are accurately issued. Review your process to guarantee these matters are properly handled.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are additional tips affecting your financials:

12 of the Best Financial-Planning Tips for Entrepreneurs – Typically, there are critical mistakes made by entrepreneurs. In essence, they’re so busy putting out fires, they leave their financial security in doubt.

9 Best Biz Coach Tips for Cost-Savings Include Risk-Taking – To do a better job of cutting costs, successful entrepreneurs take risks by optimizing costs. They understand that linear cost-cutting is in reality an avoidable trap.

For Business Growth, the 3 Best Practices in Cutting Costs – You won’t achieve long-term profitable growth by slashing costs. By strategically cutting costs, you will develop a resilient business-growth model. Just as you differentiate your company to your customers, you must differentiate your costs to propel your business growth.

Tips for Strategic-Thinking in Finance: Your Staff, Individuals – Many companies want accountants and finance professionals who are strategic thinkers. But that’s not happening at most companies. Here are tips for managers and employees.

Finance Checklist for Strategic Planning, Growth – Strategic planning in finance for growth means avoiding trendy fads. Instead, it requires an ongoing down-to-earth approach in order to create value. Here are seven steps.

You Will Save Money on Business Travel with these 25 Tips – Everybody loves flying first class. But if you want to save money, you don’t fly first class, right? Here’s what else you can do.

“Many people remember to include miles to their clients or vendors. However, what about those trips to the office supply store, bank, post office? These miles add up. Do not forget the miles!” 

– Jeffrey A. Schneider


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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.




12 Best Financial-Planning Tips for Entrepreneurs



Typically, there are critical mistakes made by entrepreneurs. In essence, they’re so busy putting out fires, they leave their financial security in doubt.

Yes, they need to put out their fires.

However, they also need to budget time to focus on important functions of business: Marketing/sales, human resources, cash flow and making astute financial plans.

By focusing on these matters, entrepreneurs also are in a better position to prevent catastrophes, if they’ve planned well financially.

Points to consider:

Envision your financial future.

Automate savings and investment strategies. Minimize expenses and spending.

Do all necessary due-diligence, and get financial planning expertise — before you do anything.

Given the importance of financial planning for your security, here are 12 tips:

1. Grow your retirement savings

Set up automatic monthly withdrawals to pay off your mortgage.

Pick the best tax-advantage retirement strategy for you such as a 401 (k) or a Roth IRA and add to it every month (see tip No. 10). And very importantly, don’t tap into your retirement fund for any reason.

2. Plan for premature death

It might seem inconceivable, but your comprehensive financial planning must allow for emergencies including premature death.

To be sure, you need to set aside enough money for six months if you lose your revenue streams. But if you have a family, you need to have enough assets to take care of your death expenses and to provide funds for your loved ones.

The funds have to be liquid in personal savings and life insurance. Plus, remember the how and what you do are important for beneficiary designations and proceeds.

3. Invest for the long-term

Prepare for the future like a world-class marathon runner.

As legendary investor Warren Buffett is wont to do – only invest in what you know really well, hold it indefinitely, focus on quality and value, and only follow the advice of successful people you know and trust.

As you age near retirement, remember a conservative approach in investing is best.

4. Focus the right way on capital ownership

Remember it’s important to focus on how you’ll get paid, not how much.

If you’re the owner of capital, you’ll never be taxed on appreciation until you want to be taxed. Such appreciation is subject to preferred long-term capital gains tax rates.

You’ll also benefit in preferential taxation from the returns of long-term capital gains and capital-qualified dividends. You’ll benefit more long-term, if you can afford to be compensated in stock vis-à-vis ordinary income.

5. Stay out of debt

Invest in your business, but manage your money to stay out of debt. This means paying off your most-expensive debt first such as credit cards or loans, student loans and mortgage debt.

Avoid future debt and cut back your spending. That includes unnecessary small expenditures.

For instance, if you’re an expresso coffee aficionado, make your own coffee instead of patronizing Starbucks every day. You’ll save as much as $100 a month or more.

6. Discuss money issues with your partner and family

Whether it’s a business partner or personal partner, discuss financial goals. If you have children, teach them about money management.

7. Evaluate and update insurance policies

As you grow and evolve in your business, make certain your insurance policies provide the right types and amounts of coverage.

That goes for business insurance, car insurance, disability insurance, health insurance, homeowner insurance and life insurance. Don’t ignore your beneficiary designations and coverage amounts should you die.

8. Remember your children

Do something for your offspring. Whatever is applicable: Fund a 529 account for college, if they’re disabled fund 529 ABLE accounts, or establish a small investment account or a trust.

But do your homework about all plans. Not all are advantageous.

9. Re-finance loans

Whether you’ve got business loans, you’re still paying off your own student loans or are concerned about your children’s future, consider consolidating or refinancing your loans.

10. Invest in a Roth IRA

To begin paying a lower rate of taxes and not paying taxes on withdrawals, consider converting your traditional IRA or 401 (k) to a Roth IRA.

Just make certain to keep your marginal tax bracket in check before you make any switches. If you make a change before December 31, you make change back if you get second thoughts for any reason.

11. Consider the right retirement risk-management strategy

Study cost-effective options for your retirement income now. You’ll need to allow for market volatility and your long-term healthcare as a retiree.

12. Find a professional to advise you

You’re best advised to find a great financial-planning professional. Look for credentials such as the CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, CFA® or RICP®.

From the Coach’s Corner, for hundreds of informative thoughts to ponder and relevant articles, visit these pages:

Finance, marketing and sales, human resources, technology and tech security.

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.”

-Alan Lakein


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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.




If Your Boss Invites You to Dinner, Make a Great Impression


Checklist: 13 etiquette tips



Whether you’re invited to the home of your boss, a prospective employer or a business associate, manners are important.

Things aren’t always as they seem. Be aware you’ll have to impress everyone who is attending. How you behave and dress is a paramount consideration.

For instance, if you’re invited to your boss’s home for dinner, your boss might want you and your spouse to meet his or her partner.

Trust me, before the evening is over your boss will want to discuss you with the spouse. This question will be asked like this, “What do you think of my employee, honey?”

ID-100364975Another reason for inviting you to dinner might be to impress you and your spouse, or to get a better read on you and your spouse in a social setting.

It’s also an opportunity for your spouse to learn about your employment situation, and will probably want to opine after you leave.

Such concepts apply to any dinner situation that affects your livelihood.

To make a great impression, here’s a checklist:

1. RSVP within a day or two

From the French phrase, “Répondez s’il vous plait,” means “Please respond.” Think of RSVP as an invitation or a “Reservation for a Significant Valuable Person.”

Respond appropriately – quickly as possible.

2. What to do if you have food allergies

If you or your partner has significant food allergies, delicately inform your host right away. A good host will want to know to insure success from the evening.

Should you forget to inform your host, don’t mention it at dinner. Do your best to eat around the entrée.

3. Dress well

Unless the invitation indicates the preferred attire, it’s better for you to be over-dressed than under-dressed. Show respect by dressing well.

After you arrive, it’s much easier to dress down than to dress up. So make a positive impression.

4. Don’t expect parking arrangements

For dinner parties at a home, parking arrangements are made by the guests. Don’t be surprised if you have to park on the street.

5. Appear on schedule

Timeliness for a dinner party is more important than it is for a cocktail party. Don’t be late. Your host will expect to serve the dinner at a certain time.

On the other hand, don’t be early. Your host and hostess are likely to be hustling at the last-minute preparing the dinner. Don’t inconvenience them.

The bottom-line: Don’t make the host wish you weren’t invited.

6. Bring a small gift

Show your appreciation and respect by bringing a small gift. Include a note. This is especially important if other guests are attending so the host remembers your manners in bringing a gift.

7. Compliment your host on your meal

You’ll never go wrong in complimenting your host. Your compliment will be appreciated.

8. Offer a toast

Even if you’re a nondrinker like me – near the end of the meal – it’s a good idea to toast the host and hostess – if no one else has. Your panache will be appreciated.

9. Avoid disagreement, controversy or business topics

That means no shop talk and no discussion of politics or religion. Keep it a happy occasion for your host.

Even if you’re hoping for a promotion, don’t discuss it. Keep it detached and positive.

“Manners are the ability to put someone else at their ease…by turning any answer into another question.” 

-Tina Brown

10. Converse with the people on your left and right

The host has reasons for assigning seating at the table. It’s expected that you chat with the people on your side of the table – with the persons on your left and right and vice versa.

Don’t ask to trade seats in order to talk with someone else, and don’t lean across the table to talk with someone else.

11. Don’t over imbibe

Your host and hostess will see over-drinking on your part as very bad judgment. They want the dinner to be a happy occasion.

They’ll want you to arrive home safely. Nor do they want to be held liable if you have an accident after the event.

12. Don’t over-extend your visit

Read the room. When someone mentions it’s time to go or they have a big schedule the following day, take it as a clue to graciously thank your host and hostess and leave, too.

It’s important to be empathetic. Imagine if it were your dinner party and you anticipate a big cleanup that night. You’d hope for people to exit in a timely fashion.

13. Promptly mail a handwritten thank you note

Don’t be gauche by sending an email or text. Ugh. Mail a well thought-out thank you note. Pave the way for more invitations.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are tips for better relating to your employer:

Tips for Dining Etiquette with Your Boss or Anchor Client — Whatever the important business occasion, it’s helpful to hold your meeting away from the tense hustle and bustle of a corporate setting. The right ambience for deal making is often an opulent restaurant with sumptuous food. That’s been my preference.

The Professional Way to Disagree with Your Boss — If you value your job and reputation, there are productive ways and unproductive ways to disagree with your boss. Here’s how to do it professionally.

11 Tips for a Better Relationship with Your Boss — Whether you want a happier work environment or lay the groundwork for a raise, promotion or transfer, you must create opportunities for success.

7 Steps to Convince Your Boss to Give You a Different Job — You might think you’re in the wrong job. Perhaps you are. Is it a case of being over-qualified or under-qualified? Or do you want a promotion?

How to Manage Your Boss to Benefit You and Your Employer — If you’re like many professionals, the concept of managing the boss might seem strange. It’s really about maximum communication and earning a deserved reputation of being a strong performer.

Dos and Don’ts of Advancing Your Career via Your Boss’s Boss — You can improve your career prospects by maximizing your communications – with your boss’s boss — if you respect the process. Not only will such opportunities optimize your prospects, they will give you a broader perspective about upper management’s concerns and insights.

“Manners are the ability to put someone else at their ease…by turning any answer into another question.” 

-Tina Brown


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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 stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net

3 Keys for Maximizing Your Cognitive Skills, Better Health



A proper diet is certainly important. That’s what we’ve heard from childhood.

To improve your cognitive skills, you might also want to evaluate your sleep, exercise and meditation habits. If do, you can reduce negative thoughts and enhance your productivity.

A 2016 Rutgers study indicates exercise and meditation reduce depression symptoms – by as much as 40 percent.

The results are noteworthy because depression afflicts 20 percent of Americans.

ID-10081495 “We are excited by the findings because we saw such a meaningful improvement in both clinically depressed and non-depressed students,” says Brandon Alderman, an assistant professor in the university’s Department of Exercise Science and Sports Studies.

“It is the first time that both of these two behavioral therapies have been looked at together for dealing with depression,” he adds.

The study indicates the therapies can replace the most common type of therapy – medication.

“Scientists have known for a while that both of these activities alone can help with depression,” says Tracey Shors, professor in the Department of Psychology.

“But this study suggests that when done together, there is a striking improvement in depressive symptoms along with increases in synchronized brain activity,” adds Professor Shors.

“We know these therapies can be practiced over a lifetime and that they will be effective in improving mental and cognitive health,” says Professor Alderman. “The good news is that this intervention can be practiced by anyone at any time and at no cost.”

Sleep loss

People who lose sleep – who sleep less than six hours – are four times more likely to catch colds, according to a 2015 study by researchers from the University of California – San Francisco (UCSF), Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburg Medical Center.

“Short sleep was more important than any other factor in predicting subjects’ likelihood of catching cold,” says lead author Professor Aric Prather at UCSF.

“It didn’t matter how old people were, their stress levels, their race, education or income,” adds Professor Prather. “It didn’t matter if they were a smoker. With all those things taken into account, statistically sleep still carried the day.”

Insufficient sleep has been termed a public health epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It hampers 20 percent of Americans according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Adequate sleep helps prevent chronic illnesses, disease and premature death.

“It goes beyond feeling groggy or irritable,” says Professor Prather. “Not getting sleep fundamentally affects your physical health.”

Instead of focusing on how much you can get done, focus on how much you enjoy what you’re doing.

Diabetes

Americans coping with long work hours and commuting can reduce their diabetes risk if they can catch up on their sleep on the weekends.

That’s the conclusion from a University of Chicago Medical Center report in 2016.

“In this short-term study, we found that two long nights spent catching up on lost sleep can reverse the negative metabolic effects of four consecutive nights of restricted sleep,” says study author Josiane Broussard, PhD, now an assistant research professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

By sleeping only four of five hours a night, increases the risk of diabetes by 16 percent say researchers. That’s comparable to the risk of obesity from a lack of sleep.

“The metabolic response to this extra sleep was very interesting and encouraging,” reports senior author Esra Tasali, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago.

“It shows that young, healthy people who sporadically fail to get sufficient sleep during the work week can reduce their diabetes risk if they catch up on sleep during the weekend,” adds Dr. Tasali.

From the Coach’s Corner, editor’s picks:

24 Tips to Reduce Stress, Work Happier for Top Performance — You have a 35 percent better chance of living longer if you feel happy. That’s the upshot from a 2011 British study that links feelings of happiness to longevity. So the emphasis is on feelings. Makes sense, right? The study acknowledges some people inherently feel happy.

30 Time Management, Stress Reducing Tips — If you’re stressed and have too little time, I feel your pain. You might not be convinced the U.S. is embarking on an economic recovery. Many economists have called it a jobless recovery, but with respect for their opinions, the phrase is actually an oxymoron.

Checklist to Build Self Confidence for Career Success — Everybody occasionally struggles with self confidence. But some people have continuing low self-esteem. Their lack of confidence serves as a big obstacle.

31 Resolutions to Recover for a Profitable New Year — Instead of a spectacular New Year’s start, many businesses struggle to hit their numbers. For most businesses it’s been a zero sum game. The only way to create revenue has been to take business away from competitors. But the New Year means a whole new ballgame. Before the year-end is a perfect time for businesses to evaluate prospects and to strategize for the next 12 months — for a spectacular New Year.

To avoid the Agony of Lost Luggage: 7 Precautions –You’ve confidently waited at the airport’s carousel for your luggage. But it wasn’t there. Your hands began to perspire as you became more apprehensive. Next came the migraine. If an airline has ever lost your luggage, you know how aggravating it is. It’s a major inconvenience. Here’s how to prevent it.

Instead of focusing on how much you can get done, focus on how much you enjoy what you’re doing.


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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 stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net

10 Characteristics to Become a Top HR Consultant



You will find success as a human resources consultant, if you develop specific qualities for trust in your profession.

Not to oversimplify, you need to be proficient with a strong mental discipline, thought leadership in contemporary HR knowledge, the ability to manage clients and skills in business development.

Strong mental discipline is required because the patterns of work are asymmetrical and income can be irregular.

You need to be up-to-date in trends of human resources to provide the best-possible information and client service.

Understand that human capital is typically the most-difficult problem for CEOs. You will encounter CEOS with different personalities. Many have emotional ups and downs. Therefore, skills to effectively manage client relationships are critical.

And for a sustainable income, you must be great in reputation management, networking and other skills of business development.

More specifically, here are the necessary simultaneous and inter-related characteristics:

1. Mental toughness

You need confidence – the ability to accept challenges while maintaining self-control and your commitments to clients and your practice.

You will face obstacles to overcome for your clients and for your practice.

Outstanding consultants have a psychological edge to consistently cope and maintain focus while under pressure.

2. Professionalism

True consultants know their client relationships must stay at a professional level. New consultants must learn not to let clients treat them as employees. Nor should consultants voluntarily adopt an employee attitude.

It’s important to clarify your clients’ expectations, commitments, and deliverables in order to meet objectives. You must understand your clients’ responsibilities, too.

If they don’t adhere to the agreed upon terms, you can’t do your work effectively. You must be prepared to move on.

And as a professional you must also hold yourself to the highest standards of confidentiality, ethics and integrity.

3. Value your clients

You must love your clients and fully invest in their success.

Conversely, if you find relationships are untenable, which is usually the case when clients don’t comply with agreements, walk away.

4. Judgment

HR is a constant series of problems. Sophisticated judgment requires the study of facts, and not jumping to conclusions, before making decisions or recommendations.

“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.”

5. Organizational skills

Consultants have to juggle tasks, determine priorities, work long hours, and be flexible – all while delivering strong results in the face of deadlines — and often without support.

6. Communication abilities

You must have outstanding verbal and written skills with diplomacy. Above all, this means communicating opinions effectively.

7. Expert knowledge

Consultants are most-often hired by clients for their expertise and to save time in implementing projects and to provide solutions.

So consultants must be authoritative in applying theory into practice. This means consultants must persist in staying current and relevant.

Reading informative Web sites, journals and other publications are of vital importance as well as communicating with fellow consultants and other experts.

On the other hand, you must be pragmatic about knowledge. Not to be critical about academics, but all too often what works in textbooks isn’t applicable in the real world.

So understand theoretical frameworks, but make certain they’ll lead to actual solutions for your clients.

8. Listening skills

As a consultant, you will encounter all types of personalities. You will meet with garrulous, reserved and uncommunicative people.

Successful consultants have the ability to listen, and to encourage clients and their employees to talk without restrictions.

9. Business acumen

Naturally, you must be businesslike. That means understanding profit and loss, insurance, tax knowledge, and how to operate legally.

10. Business development

Don’t make the mistake of throwing yourself into your work without engaging in business development each day. You must continue to market your practice each day.

From the Coach’s Corner, editor’s picks for consultants:

Valuable Secrets for Profitable Deal-Making with Clients — If you’re in professional services or you’re a consultant, many times you’ve heard the phrase: “Give me a proposal.” Here’s a better way to respond. You can be more successful with clients using deal memos. Here’s how.

Performance Gap Solutions for Consultants in Income and Image — If there’s a disparity between your income goals and your current financial situation, it would appear that you have a performance-gap issue.

Consultants – 5 Strategies to Build Trust with Clients — The five strategies that enhance relationships between consultants and clients.

Tips for Building Long-Term Client Relationships with Effective Meetings — Signs you have good client relationships: They’ll thank you regularly, pay your invoices promptly, and will respond well to your recommendations. If you don’t have all three of these, here’s what to do.

Consulting: Effective Management of Difficult Clients — Start with this premise: You should be focused on the continuous, improvement and performance of your firm. If you have difficult clients, here’s what you can do about it.

“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.”

– George MacDonald


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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.




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