Thursday, February 23, 2012

Coping with Stress

Yes, running a small business can get stressful at times!

But then, so is life and so are most jobs. Stress is inevitable, and indeed some level of stress is beneficial in the sense that it can energise us and lead to improved performance. But the question is how well do we cope with excessive levels of stress that can prove harmful.

Whether we are facing stress caused by staff problems in the business, or demanding customers, or cash flow pressures, or the uncertainty of workplace change - we all have to learn positive ways of dealing with stress.

If we don't develop some good stress management strategies than we can risk:
  • impaired judgement and decision making 
  • strained a consequence of our increased irritability and intolerance
  • physical symptoms such as headaches, high blood pressure, muscle tension and indigestion
So have a look at this short video clip, and see what you think about the ideas that are offered for coping with stress

One final point. Never lose sight of the reason you went into small business. If you're not gaining the satisfaction and rewards that you had hoped for, then you either need to change what you are actually doing in your business, or change your approach and expectations associated with the business, or maybe think about walking away from it.

Few things are more important in life than your health and peace of mind. Any business (like any relationship) has a mix of good and bad days, but if the good days aren't numbering more than the bad days, then something has to change substantially and not just cosmetically.

If you're after some more ideas on coping with stress, have a look at Stress Management Tips and also there's some great advice on how to change bad habits at Personal Change

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Internet Power in Your Small Business

If you are new to internet marketing and not yet sure about how to use the full power of the internet to drive the growth of your small business - then have a good look at this.

The Australian government has funded the development of a free training program, called Winning Business Online. The following short video clip offers a brief introduction and overview to the program

The modules in the training program include how to design and build a website and how to develop a strategy to promote your business through online marketing. There are some great case studies of small businesses who have achieved improved sales and yet significantly reduced their advertising budget, through learning how to better harness the power of the internet. Visit Winning Business Online

Already have a website?

If your small business has an existing website, but you don't think it's generating the leads and customer enquiries that it should - then the reason may be because it is not appearing sufficiently high enough in Google rankings.

To be found, your website must appear on the first page of Google and other search engines, for the relevant search term that you are targetting. To achieve this first page search result, you need an awareness of how the science of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can help lift your website's profile in the eyes of search engines.

Visit What is SEO if you want to learn more about simple changes that you may be able to make to your small business website that can have major effects on improving your search engine results.

Monday, February 6, 2012

How to motivate staff in your small business

Motivated staff are one of the most crucial ingredients contributing to the success of any business. Motivated staff means it will be much more likely that you will have satisfied customers. So what can you do as a manager and small business owner to motivate your staff?
  1. Treat your staff with respect and courtesy – It’s the small stiff that counts….. Greeting your people in the morning; taking an interest in what they get up to outside of work; remembering when their birthday is; thanking them for their efforts. Your staff are people, and not just workers. Yes, they are paid to do a job and you need to monitor that they are doing it properly. But they still deserve to be treated with respect – and if you show that you care for them, then they will care for your customers
  2. Be a positive role model – As the leader, your actions and energy set the tone in your workplace, so make sure you are in the right state of mind when you get to work. Try to switch off from any personal issues and focus on what needs to be done that day at work. If you don’t display some enthusiasm for the business and what you are doing, then why should your staff?
  3. Focus on improvement, rather than blame – We all make mistakes at some time. When your employee makes a mistake, do you reprimand them harshly? Or do you take them aside and discuss with them what went wrong, why it went wrong and what’s needed to make sure it doesn’t happen again?
  4. Keep your staff informed – People like to know what’s going on, so keep them updated about what’s happening in the business. Whether it’s new products in the pipeline, or new customers, or changes that are planned to your systems – keep your staff in the picture. A brief meeting scheduled regularly, perhaps at the beginning or end of every week, where you discuss with your team what’s happening and check whether they are seeing any problems that need to be addressed.
  5. Find out what’s important to your staff – People are motivated by different things in the workplace. What motivates you may not necessarily be so important to some of your staff. Some of the things that people look for out of work includes ….
  • Job security
  •  Good salary
  •  Fringe benefits
  • Pleasant and comfortable working environment
  • Interesting work that offers challenge
  • Recognition and appreciation for good work
  • Cooperative and friendly working relationships
  • A sense of personal achievement
  • Being consulted and participating in some decision making
  • Opportunities for promotion and advancement
  • Opportunities to develop and learn new skills
  • Flexible working arrangements
  • A manager or supervisor who is fair, approachable and supportive. There are plenty of practical people management tips at Management of staff
So in closing, you can’t assume that staff will remain motivated. Of course when you first recruited staff into your business, you were probably looking for people who were self-motivated, goal oriented and had shown they had demonstrated some initiative.

But even with self-motivated staff, you must still manage them correctly. If you start taking their efforts for granted, if you fail to provide a good working environment and if you start paying them less than what they’re worth – then their motivation will drop, and you risk losing their loyalty. 

By the way, concern for your own motivation must go hand-in-hand with thinking about staff motivation. If you ever find yourself struggling with your own motivation – then have a look at Self-Motivation Tips

The entrepreneur's guide to motivating the team

In this short video clip, author Robin Sharma offers some great advice on how to build team spirit and motivation in the workplace ...

If you want some more ideas on how to encourage teamwork in your workplace, have a look at Team Development