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What We Want to Be Known For
We’re All In!
R ecently, my whole team at ReachOut IT did a company- wide core value exercise together. As a company, we’re growing very quickly, and we wanted core values that would help everyone know who we are and what we aim to accomplish, and it was crucial to have everyone give their input. The idea for the exercise came from an event I went to in October. Whenever I go to an event, I take a notebook with me so I can take notes. It’s a great feeling when you leave one of these events with a notebook full of fantastic ideas. I always event, where we were asked, “What are you known for?” It was a soul-searching question, making me think about everything I’ve done and what I’ve always wanted to do. I jotted down a simple phrase, “I’m all in.” I put everything into anything that I start. Back when I worked a corporate job around 10 years ago, I would come across an idea that I would get fired up over, and then another and another. I had a friend tell me, “Rick, you’re passionate about everything you go after. No matter what feel very productive. This particular event was a personal development
you do, you’re always all in.” Everyone knows me for that — I’m always all in, pouring every ounce of myself into what's in front of me. After this experience, I came up with the core value exercise for the entirety of ReachOut IT to participate in. We created three tiers — how we help our clients, how we help our company, and how we help ourselves. We took large Post-it notes and wrote a good side and a bad side on three of them, much like a pros- and-cons list, then passed them around to each person in the company. First, I asked my team, “What are some things that you want our clients to say about us?” Using single words or short phrases, they came up with “knowledgeable,” “efficient,” “prompt,” and “worth it.” Then they came up with a few things that we don’t want our clients to say about us, such as “rude,” “slow,” “inexperienced,” “expensive,” “not providing value,” and "being the negative comparison to other people or companies." I leveled it up and asked “How about our office culture? How do our people benefit from the great things about working here?” I got responses of feeling valued, supported, inspired, positive, and having a fun office culture. What they don’t want to see is too much negativity, being underutilized, not being fulfilled, no interest from management, lack of resources, and no diversity. We took it one step further and looked at ourselves, asking, “What do you want people to say about you?” and the ideas that came out were being mentally and
physically fit, motivating, financially stable, honest, and ethical. What they didn’t want was to be viewed as lazy, dramatic, arrogant, indecisive, two-faced, and incompetent. The whole experience blew my mind! These were things that each person wanted or didn’t want to see at ReachOut IT— it was absolutely fantastic! I took all of these answers from each team member and came up with commonalities between them. Then, on a fourth sticky note, I wrote down eight core values: Reliance, Fulfilled, True, Inspirational, Culture, Healthy, Caring, and Invaluable. The best part of this exercise was that it wasn’t extracted out of my head alone, but through everyone who wants to see something in themselves, the office, and the experience we deliver to our clients every day. It's incredible. Next year, I’m planning to host a couple of events to delve deep into this exercise for entrepreneurs. No matter what size your business is, this will help you pull out what you want to be known for. I hope it will provide essential resources to other companies to help determine their own company values.
I took all of these answers
from each team member and came up with commonalities between them. Then, on a fourth sticky note, I wrote down eight core values: Reliance, Fulfilled, True, Inspirational, Culture, Healthy, Caring, and Invaluable.
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Personal New Year's Resolutions Aren’t the Only Ones That Fail Why Your Business Goals Won’t Work At the end of the year, entrepreneurs sit down to develop their goals for the new year. They craft specific objectives based on best practices they learned from other leaders, implementing S.M.A.R.T. goals or strategic plans to give their company a clear path to success. But every year, perfectly crafted benchmarks fall by the wayside and join weight loss on the scrap heap of New Year’s resolutions. Owners scratch their heads wondering why they didn’t reach their target, not understanding the root cause of their failure. You can have the most carefully planned- out goals, but if you haven’t built a foundation on these three concepts, you’ll never achieve them. Organization Nothing derails a goal faster than ineffective systems and processes. Procedures aren’t dynamic, so as your business changes, an audit of processes isn’t just useful; it’s necessary. But as your business must continue to improve its organization in order to adapt to change, so do your team members. At the root of every system is an employee, so without teaching basic principles of time management and prioritization, those systems are limited in their capacity and effectiveness. Communication Negative external and internal relations are surefire goal- killers. Internally, the success of your company is dependent on the dynamics between team members, management, and leaders. Complacency and gossip tend to spread like wildfire and can cause a dip in productivity. External communication between partners and potential clients is very similar. Without clear expectations and mutual respect in relationships, your business will cease to scale. Customer Service Clients need to feel valued to have a future with your business, and that’s rooted in every interaction. Customer service is a broad term that is often miscategorized. In truth, every role is based on customer service, but many people go about it wrong by taking on the attitude of “It’s not my job.” Lack of ownership and willingness to serve customers in every capacity will undermine any long-term objectives your company may have. The good news is that with proper execution of these three concepts, you can focus on attaining your goals, and in the process, achieve levels of success you previously thought impossible. Don’t let your objectives for the new year fall by the wayside. Achieve those goals by rooting your business in organization, communication, and customer service.
5 Sneaky Tricks Cybercriminals Use To Hack Your Network
1. Phishing. Woe to you and your business if you haven’t heard of this one yet. By using an email, chat, web ad or website impersonating a legitimate organization, hackers get members of your team to click and install malware. 2. Baiting. Baiting uses an enticing item to lure employees into giving up personal data, such as a music or movie download or a mysterious flash drive left around the office. 3. Quid pro quo. It’s like baiting, except that hackers offer a service instead of an item in return for private data. 4. Pretexting. This is a type of phishing in which a hacker poses as a respected colleague or member of your organization in order to boost private data. 5. Tailgating. It occurs when an unauthorized person physically follows your employees into restricted areas. SmallBizTrends.com, Sept. 20, 2018 Don’t Wait 191 Days To Realize There’s Been A Data Breach
— By Then, It’s Too Late
According to a 2017 report by research firm Ponemon, it takes an average of 191 days for a company to realize it’s been compromised by a data breach. This number should scare anyone. The longer you take to recognize and respond to a breach, the more criminals can steal and the bigger the damage becomes. What’s more, your delayed reaction will leave you fewer options to mitigate the disaster. To survive, you need to stay on top of your cyber security with a team of dedicated professionals keeping tabs on attacks, strengthening your barriers, and responding within hours, not days, if the worst ever happens. SmallBizTrends.com, Sept. 30, 2018
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A New Year in Digital Marketing
Strategies You Need to Try in 2019 Hubspot has some advice on optimizing your website SEO for voice search at Blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to- optimize-for-voice-search. Say Hello to Chatbots We didn’t listen when science-fiction movies warned us, and now AI is taking over the world. But maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Programs like chatbots have become more sophisticated and are being hailed as the future of lead generation. Deployed on websites, through Facebook messenger, or even via text message, chatbots can answer common questions and shepherd visitors through your digital funnel. Start learning the basics about chatbots at Bit.ly/ChatBotMagazine. Technology continues to evolve and is constantly affecting the business world in new ways. As a result, it’s shaping up to be an interesting year in marketing. Keep an eye out for opportunities to incorporate these trends into your marketing strategy.
HAVE A Laugh How are you ranking on voice search? Asking Siri or Alexa to find something online brings up fewer results than searching through a web browser. ComScore estimated that half of all online research will be done through voice search by 2020, which means that if your website isn’t voice-search friendly, half of your audience may never hear about you. Creating a successful marketing campaign requires foresight and adaptability — especially these days. Technology and consumer habits are rapidly changing, and using what worked in 2018 won’t necessarily be the right move in 2019. To help you determine your strategy for the coming year, here are a few rising marketing trends worth your consideration. Market With a Trusted Source eMarketer found that 30 percent of internet users have ad- blocking software installed on their devices, meaning that a big chunk of your audience will never see your online ads. But even users who do see online ads often don’t trust them. A 2015 Nielsen study found that consumers are far more likely to choose a company to do business with based on word of mouth, branded or editorial sites, and reviews. When planning your digital marketing strategy, learn how to incorporate these trusted sources in order to get your brand out there. Optimize for Voice Search
Shiny New Gadget of the Month
As more and more household devices go toward the Internet of Things (IoT) direction, General Electric is following suit with its new WiFi-enabled smart countertop microwave. With the capability to sync with Amazon’s Alexa, it aims to change the microwave game.
While it can’t put the food you want to cook into the microwave itself, it can do pretty much everything else in the process. All you need to do is scan the barcode of a specific food with a smartphone
camera, and then the microwave will cook it perfectly using the exact correct time and power level. Over time, the microwave’s library of known foods will grow. Eventually, you can just tell Alexa what you’re cooking and have the dish heated to perfection. Now, you might be wondering why we’d use smart technology to make microwaving a hot pocket even easier. But hey — it’s the wave of the future. The extra features make it worth the relatively low price alone.
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Inside This Edition
Creating Our Company’s Values
Why Acknowledging Customer Churn Is Key to Success in 2019 Are Your Business Goals Doomed to Fail?
Marketing Trends to Watch in 2019
Have a Laugh
Essential Strategies to Court New Hires in 2019
How to Draw the Best New Hires in a Record-Breaking Labor Market 3 Strategies for Success Finding good employees has always been hard, but in the economic environment of 2019, it can feel downright impossible. At the end of 2018, U.S. unemployment was the lowest it had been since 1969. For months, unfilled jobs outweighed the number of people seeking employment. In a market where job seekers have the pick of the litter, employers face stiff competition when courting prospects. Here are three strategies to draw in top performers and keep them. 1. Pay more. Excellent benefits, fancy perks, and flexible hours are important items on any job seeker’s checklist, but virtually every prospect’s top priority is adequate pay. Workers today have unprecedented bargaining power, and yet, according to ADP, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees boosted wages only a little over 3 percent last year, an amount quickly swallowed up by inflation and increasingly steep living costs. There’s just no way around it. To attract top-tier talent, competitive compensation is paramount, especially in 2019. 2. Give new hires the chance to grow. The best employees constantly hunger for new growth and development opportunities. Show prospective hires the
potential heights they can reach at your organization. First, your business has to have a growth mindset that promotes loyal employees and empowers them to step into exciting new roles. Then you need to present prospective employees with challenging, rewarding projects and responsibilities and show examples of how those who’ve come before them have succeeded. Annual reviews and raises are a start, but you should also explain how a job at your business will improve your prospect’s skills, career, and life. 3. Get them in the door. If you already offer a competitive salary, an expansive benefits package, and a good work environment with opportunities for growth, the only challenge left is to get on your ideal candidate’s radar. One of the best ways to do this is to implement an employee referral program. Ask your team if they know anyone who’d fit the empty role. If you end up hiring their prospect and they stay on the team for, say, six months, then reward the referrer. Cash, PTO, and other benefits will encourage your loyal employees to bring in their skilled friends.
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