Solutions Unlimited - April 2020

April 2020

Leaving Things Better Than We Found Them Our Standard Operating Procedure

My grandfather had a saying that he lived by: “Always leave things better than you found them.” He was a man of few words, but I can still hear him telling me this and many other wise sayings over the years. What made this one sink in was that he actually lived by these words — I saw this belief in action in everything he did and with every person he helped. My grandfather was a pastor and one of the only people I ever knew who practiced what he preached. When it came to caring for people, he didn’t take any shortcuts. I don’t always live up to my grandfather’s example, but I try to embody his spirit in everything I do. It’s something I share with my family and team regularly. I try to model it for my kids by picking up after myself, cleaning the kitchen, etc. At the office, I often remind my staff that we’re in the “people business.” We might work in IT, but at the end of the day, we’re still dealing with people. We have to make sure we’re doing more than just fixing what’s broken. We strive to add the positive human touches — like following up with our clients with a phone call or “We are more than just IT guys. Our mission is to leave people better than we found them.”

Kevin and his grandfather at graduation!

quick email. We do this because we care about people. We are more than just IT guys. Our mission is to leave people better than we found them. The simple rule of leaving things better than you found them guides everything we do. It’s a way of life that compounds over time with the goal of making things a

little better one day at a time. We’re not perfect, but I like to think that my grandfather would be proud.

–Kevin Smith

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And Better Business Will Follow ‘START WITH WHY’

DO YOU NEED SPACE TO START YOUR BUSINESS? Make Your Dream a Reality by Visiting Your Local Makerspace

“There are only two ways to influence human behavior: You can manipulate it, or you can inspire it.” –Simon Sinek

It can often be hard to clearly articulate what you do for a living. That means it can be difficult to explain your vision to potential clients and customers, which then makes it harder to convince them to purchase your product or services. In “Start With Why,” author Simon Sinek illustrates the importance of explaining to others why you do the business you do rather than explaining what you do or how you do it. Sinek argues that when people start figuring out the “why” in what they do, it inspires action from others in a way that discussing the “what” can’t. Talking about the “why” engages emotions; analyzing the “what” is purely logical. When you try to sell something to people based on “what,” you rely on specific manipulations like price and product details. But if you help people understand why you do what you do by revealing the real purpose and intention behind your reasons, you build a sense of trust. This trust leads to loyalty, and loyalty means that person comes back to do business with you and also refers your business to others. This is how businesses grow! Figuring out your “why” is a process of discovery, not invention. In order to discover it, you can turn to three key strategies. • Look backward at the original motivation for starting your business. What specific problem were you trying to solve, and why was it important to you to solve it? • Look outward by asking those around you why they spend time with you or why a customer buys from you. You can learn why people are drawn to you and your business this way.

As an entrepreneur, starting your own business and chasing your dreams is an exciting prospect. But as you begin your small-business journey, questions involving costs, sales, and distribution will fill your head, and their answers often require time-consuming research that might feel discouraging. It may seem like you have to build everything on your own, but luckily, there are communities all over the country for aspiring entrepreneurs to come together and help each other achieve success. They’re called makerspaces, and there is probably one located near you! Makerspaces are community workshops where creative minds and entrepreneurs can build products that may never see the light of day otherwise. They exist in a variety of environments, including stand-alone offices and shared spaces inside libraries and schools. They provide access to a wide range of resources, including power tools, sewing machines, 3D printers, and so much more. In addition to equipment, most makerspaces host classes, like the basics of welding or bookkeeping, for tradespeople and entrepreneurs alike. Makerspaces also act as hubs for collaboration. Do you need an engineer to guide the design of your product? How about a graphic designer to brainstorm with about your logo? You'll likely find them in makerspaces because these communities support passionate people from a variety of backgrounds. In addition to resources and know-how, members can use the space to build prototypes at a fraction of what their development would typically cost. In an interview with NPR, Mark Hatch, author of “The Maker Movement Manifesto: Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and Tinkerers,” said, "When you move the cost of entrepreneurship from $100,000 to $2,000–$4,000, you completely change the operating terrain for entrepreneurs and inventors." While membership costs to makerspaces generally range from $40–$175 per month, the price is well worth the investment. And if you find one in your local public library, membership may even be included with your library membership. If you’re struggling to start your business, know that you’re not alone. With the support and collaboration you can find in a makerspace, you can make your dreams a reality. To find a space near you, visit Makerspaces.Make.co.

• Look inward by

identifying a bigger vision that you wish to contribute to. What do you believe

in? What really matters to you?

“Start With Why” teaches readers how to go about discovering their “why,” then instructs them on how to effectively use that information to help their business. It also helps them unleash their business’s vast potential that has remained untapped until now.

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Business Trips Don’t Have to Be Terrible 4 Travel Mistakes You Might Be Making

calories than if you were cooking at home. Don’t be afraid to order half- portions or stick to the appetizer menu. You can also ask about ordering meals à la carte — no one needs all those fries with their burger, anyway. These strategies will help you save money and stick to a healthy calorie count.

Most people love to travel, but few people enjoy business trips. There are major differences in traveling for business versus traveling for pleasure. While some of that can be chalked up to the extra rest and relaxation you might have on a nonwork-related trip, unhealthy habits can make business trips even more draining, and if they leave you feeling like you need a vacation, you might be making the following mistakes. breakfast and just grab some coffee. But if you usually eat breakfast at home, skipping your morning meal can cause you to be a lot hungrier later, which can lead to excess snacking or overeating at lunch. You should always try and stick to your regular eating habits, even when you’re traveling. Eating Restaurant Serving Sizes If you’re eating three restaurant-sized meals a day, you’re going to get more Skipping Breakfast On hectic mornings with early meetings, it’s tempting to skip

Not Packing Workout Gear Research from the travel risk management company On Call

Lack of sleep puts your body on the fast-track to poor health, so you need to make good sleep a priority. Do your best to maintain your sleep schedule and bedtime routine while traveling. Better yet, check the guest reviews before booking your hotel. Heed complaints about thin walls or uncomfortable beds and find accommodations that support a good sleep environment. You shouldn’t have to dread business trips. By building better travel habits, you can enjoy every kind of trip you take this year. PUZZLE

International found that 54% of people say they’re less likely to exercise while on a work trip, but you shouldn’t let fitness take a back seat. Packing workout clothes can serve as a reminder to get some exercise, and you can get in a good workout by taking advantage of the hotel gym, walking to nearby destinations, or doing some yoga in the hotel room before bed. Not Taking Sleep Seriously Early morning meetings, late-night networking events, and unfamiliar hotel rooms are a recipe for lost sleep.

HAVE A Laugh

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401 East Kennedy Street, Suite B6 Spartanburg, SC 29302 864-599-8678 www.solutionsunlimitedsc.com

Inside This Edition

1.

Leaving Things Better Than We Found Them

2.

The Most Important Question You Can Ask

Why Makerspaces Are Great for Entrepreneurs

3.

Are Business Trips Bad for Your Health?

Have a Laugh

4.

5 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Business’s Carbon Footprint

Celebrate Earth Day Every Day 5 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Business’s Carbon Footprint

step, swap out any incandescent bulbs in your office with LEDs or compact fluorescent lightbulbs. Also, consider installing smart lighting or timers to reduce the time lights stay on. 2. Start an office composting program. If you already recycle, then go a step further and create a composting program to capture your food waste. Add compost collection bins to your office and check with your city about composting options. If your area lacks commercial compost, then an employee with a home compost pile might love to have extra scraps! 3. Swap out your plastics. Take inventory of everything your office uses and start making green swaps. Ditch plastic silverware in the kitchen and instead opt for a reusable set to save money and emissions.

Usually, we hear about carbon footprints in the context of reducing our own impact on the planet. But did you know that businesses, not individuals, are actually the biggest polluters out there? Even when you add everyone on Earth together, their environmental impact hardly stacks up against big business. In a 2017 report, the CDP, an organization that discloses environmental data of major businesses worldwide, states that only 100 companies have produced more than 70% of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. So if you’re a business owner, then the future is largely in your hands! Luckily, you can take dozens of easy steps to reduce your business’s carbon footprint, no matter its size. Here are a few ways to get started. 1. Rethink your lighting. The less energy your company uses, the greener you’ll be! For an easy first

4. Consider ways to cut travel. Transportation accounted for more than 24% of global carbon dioxide emissions in 2016. If you can limit the time you and your employees spend traveling, then you can decimate that total! Consider letting your staff work from home and start joining more meetings virtually. 5. Get your employees on board. When it comes to reducing emissions, nothing is more important than collective action. Don’t stop at making green changes in the office. Go the extra mile and explain the logic behind them to your employees. They might take similar eco-friendly steps in their own lives, creating a positive ripple effect. Together, you really can make a difference.

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