Summertime is so many of us' favorite season, it's the time to catch up with our families and wind down from the year's momentum. It's the ideal entry to what we know in the business world as QUARTER 4. It's those last three months of the year that we're going into full gear getting ready to close it with a bang. Ideally, companies should plan each quarter to achieve objectives that align with their annual goals and the last one is so important because it's the home stretch to make the magic happen. That’s a lot of goals, a lot of alignment and a lot of planning to make it all work. But when everything comes together, and every decision is made with the end goal in mind, that said magic really happens. The first step is to go in and evaluate all the fun you and your team have had in the past months leading up to now.
Using the past quarters as a guide, start planning the upcoming one by determining which goals will take priority and will make the biggest impression. This can be done as a companywide or executive-team exercise -- whichever fits the company size and culture. We do suggest including whatever key players make the dials work be included so the brainstorming process reaches all levels.
Make a collective list of everything the company should work to achieve by the end of the year. Then, go through the list and organize these objectives as first, second or third priorities and even go as far so to assign specific teams or departments to each set of tasks. Accountabillity will help achieve realstic and feasible results. This person or group is responsible for accomplishing that task or objective by the end of the next quarter.
To hold each "goal owner" accountable, create a weekly or bi-weekly breakdown of how his or her goal will be achieved. For example, say "John" is assigned to prioritize closing 50 new deals during Q4. Make goals that are clear, attainable but non-negotiable. Also, create a system to communicate progress and any delays. Our team uses Slack & Monday to create boards dedicated to specific projects where our team can stay updated and connected throughout our goal-seeking.
Hold a weekly meeting with your team members to review the progress of their priorities. Make a visual chart that shows the completion percentage and set up a happy dance for when goals are met. In this way, everything will be clear; everyone will understand the progress that's been made toward those goals; and early warning signs and red flags will be evident from a mile away, while there is still time to fix them. Communication really is key.
The chart you prepare will also help team members to cheer one other on to reach their goals, that happy dance will come into play anytime now. Use this chart to show the connection of these priorities to the company’s larger goals, to remind everyone what they’re working toward. All success is always a collective effort.
Prepping for the end of year efficiently is key to bringing all your hard work from the past year into full fruition. Chat to one of our admins to see where we can pick up any slack to get ready for a strong exit to 2018.
Photos provided by Pexel.com
There comes a time of year when things inevitably slow down, and it's the perfect opportunity to get creative with our catch-up tactics. Slow seasons serve the purpose of reevaluating your goals, implementing a growth plan, and winding up miscellaneous tasks that help the back end of your business. Catching up with office chores, working on your client strategy or upgrading any out-dated software or equipment are all things that, while minor, add up to a lot of staff-hours, especially if you're the only staff.
It's time to get C R E A T I V E.
Here are some areas to focus on when your clients are at the beach:
Organize your Office
Feng Shui is a real thing - arranging your workspace to align to the right energy can amplify your productivity. Cleaning off your desk space, rearranging furniture, getting your shredding on all contribute to a more efficient day. Down season is the time to reassess your space and its function. Simple wins like cleaning off your desk of miscellaneous paperwork, receipt piles, and un-filed invoices can make a huge difference when sitting down to get to work.
Tailor your Email Inbox
Our inboxes set the beat for our work days. Creating categorized folders by type, name and task so that your messages are intentionally sorted will set you up for easy filling when business does pick up. If important messages fall through the cracks, this is your time to follow up with those contacts. On that note, email funnels ensure automatic filling and automatic responses which equal automatic action. This is your time to create email systems that will work for your needs. Delete miscellaneous messages and follow up on any flagged messages from the past.
Follow Up on Pending & Flat Leads
Create a fresh template and reach out to any prospective leads that have been on your radar. It may be a slow season but everbody is still actively planning for next quarter so why not get a jump on a pitch now? It’s the ideal opportunity to have the conversation about new packages, service plans, and strategies.
Strategize, Strategize, Strategize
This is the time when pressure is low, so creativity within your team can really be embraced and cruise at full throttle. Meet with your team for a free-flowing, lightly-structured jam session to generate feedback and fresh ideas about client management, systems, and future projects on the horizon. Your team is on the ground making the wheels turn every day, and this is your chance to hear their direct input on areas of opportunity and observations from a different perspective.
Slow season don't have to be a bummer, not even a little bit! Stay busy by spending some energy in the areas of your business that aren't the prettiest, most prominent, or fast-paced, and it will pay off down the road.
Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.
― Oprah Winfrey
Images provided by Pexels
Although 2018 is well underway, setting goals is important in starting and fresh week, month or quarter. They're also where we get to have some fun on illustrating your future by bringing in our biggest dreams of progress. Planning for your business is especially fun because you can fulfill your vision and cater to an audience at the same time. Goals facilitate progress and progress changes the game.
1) Get Creative
Think of what would be on your visionboard, Your wildest biz-related dreams! A lavish team build trip on the beach? A fancy new marketing campaign? Contemporary new packaging? How about a yoga corner in the office? All your craziest desires can come true with proper planning, that's why this step is so vital in your journey to goal-setting efficiently. What are some big changes,moves and materials that can take your business to the next level in no time. Think about opportunities in any departments that will facilitate in reaching heights in this upcoming year. Dig deep, put them out into the universe and bring them into fruition with the following steps.
2) Plan by Period
Break down your colorful goals to timeline. Evaluate what your cycle is, if weekly, monthly or quarterly, and assign actions to deadlines. Align these actions down to months and weeks, create deadlines that make sense and to whom on your team structure would be the best fit to deliver. This will also create accountability. Accountability is necessary in creating these shifts, this is the perfect technique to really make a difference and create sustainable change. Design this calendar around special events, product/service launches, or national holidays. For example, ....dropping a collection of novelty tees just in time for a big movie launch?
Chance caters to a prepared mind. - Louis Pastuer
3) Give Yourself Timeline But Give Yourself Some Credit
Get focal and intentional with your deadlines, these work as your checkpoints. Their clear indications of where you've gone and where you need to be to reach your goals. Don't beat yourself up if you miss one or two of these dates. These are meant to keep you motivated and on track, not to enable self-sabotage of your grind. Life happens and even though business IS business, you're still human and can't have control of everything. Take some time to acknowledge your progress, you've made it this far and you deserve a little victory dance. It will keep your engine fired, we promise.
4) Make Lists
Lists are the ingredients to your perfect soup! They're the pieces to the puzzle to lead you into the next step. Each list should be curated from top priority to the least and based off of your personalized timeline. Place them in places you'll be able to revisit often. Your IPhone notes or wallpaper, Post-Its in your workspace, above your mirror or car dashboard. Do whatever makes it easy to check-in and check off as your #goalslaying
5) Pat Yourself on The Back
Building a business and bringing it into full beautified form is no easy task and stopping to evaluate your growth is necessary to keep the ball rolling. Acknowledge how far you've come, you've made it happen! On any scale. Bravo to you, now keep going! Take goal-setting to the next level by not just making them personal to you but making achieving a technique. Goals are sustainable as long as they're inputted into a culture that supports them.
Stay tuned for our live broadcast on How To Goal Set Like a Boss on our Facebook page.
All Images are property of Pexel & Unsplash
Itemize, Itemize, Itemize:
Numbers can be overwhelming, especially when it comes down to the sensitiveness of tax matters. We say start small, step by step, topic by topic, department by department. Begin by separating documents and receipts according to each specific area of your business. For example, Office Supplies or Payroll. Make a folder for each, label it by name, then file by alphabetical order.
Account for All Technology + Software Purchases:
Businesses of all sizes need to be updated on their technology, it's a way to run your business smoother and service your clientele better. Under Section 179 of the tax code, equipment expenses such as computers, printers, and even company vehicles are tax-deductible, these are the ingredients that help your operation succeed. Maximize off those investments. Depending on the item, you can deduct the full cost on the year of purchase, or split it between several years.
Include Office & Staff Expenses:
Subscriptions to business-related websites and magazines are fully deductible. Combined with the conference deductions (discussed below), staying informed in your industry is essential to staying on top of the game.
Receipts Are Your Friend:
They pile up fast and they're easy to lose but their value is gold when accounting for your spending. Because their itemized, dated and stamped, their the foul-proof way to keep track of where your money is going. It's hard to keep track of these pesky little pieces of information and filing can be kind of an ancient practice, use apps like Expensify and Recieptmate are great for going digital. Also, in case of being audited, these will serve you immensely.
Team Up With An Expert:
Taxes are a complex topic because they are designed to place a carbon mark on your business and it's spending. Get someone on board like an accountant, lawyer or consultant that specializes in accounting for all your spending, getting the best bang for your buck and organizing your files efficiently.
As always with finances, especially taxes, it’s important to keep your receipts and details about the reason for purchases. While doing this for every purchase may seem over-the-top, it’s easy once you get into the habit of it. It will also save you a lot of grief if you get audited, and it will help you keep peace of mind that your finances aren’t going to get your business in trouble.
Filing for your business may be a new practice but as long as you stay organized and clear, it'll be a breeze to get through. Have any other questions? Leave us a note below.
All Images are property of Pexel.com
Don't Ask Permission, Give Notice - Lisa Nichols
2017 is coming to a close and it's the time to evaluate what and where you're standing personally and professionally. Planning effectively is essential in reaching goals small or large, aside from that - being aware of the progress you've made is good for the soul. Set yourself up for next year, it's yours!
1. Clean Up Your Email Inbox
With newsletters, promo codes, flash sales, new software assignments (...the list goes on) can take real-estate in your inbox. Think of your inbox as your desk or your mailbox at home, ignoring it can get out of control quickly. Clearing out all those empty emails takes time though, who has endless amount of that? We hear you. This the perfect time to clear your notifications and get rid of any junk in there. Apps like Hop and CloudMagic can help you save or delete messages. You need this space for all the newness coming in this year.
2. Clean Up Your Desk
This is your domain of productivity, progress and magic. Make space for it, pull out your shredder, Post-Its, your Evernote App and get to work. Receipts tend to pile up easily, use Evernote Scanner and take picture of any important receipts, tag them into a folder and trash the excess. Label several folders and place billing and legal documents accordingly. After making a good amount of room, place items on there that can inspire you to keep working towards progress. Update your family photo, add some healing stones, or literature that can get you through a tough day.
3. Make a List of Short & Long-Term Goals
Breathe. Stretch. Shake
What's next? What goals did you get to this year? Create a list, considering new directions and strategies as well as your past progress. Write down 3 short-term goals that can be time stamped for six months. Tasks like reorganizing your office space, itemizing files, hiring a new assistant... Long term goals should be able to marinate a little longer, time stamp these at 8 to 12 months. This could range from 1 to 2 key goals that can be transformational to your business. Paint your bigger picture.
4. Audit Your Team Dynamic
Take some time to see how your team is doing after everything you've endured as a team this year. Set up a time to connect perhaps individually or as departments and hear any thoughts, concerns or ideas they may have that can improve the flow of next year's workload. Ask questions like, what are you most proud of? What would you do differently? Any tools you wish you had? This kind of insight can help you scope what leadership or resources can be applied to better efficiency. This kind of communication also just makes your team feel appreciated and motivated therefore, invested.
5. Pat Yourself On The Back
You made it through the wilderness! Another year has gone by and you've conquered it with flying colors. Evaluate what your gains were in these last 11 months, large or small, they're still goals YOU were able to meet. Any win means you're a step closer to reaching your larger picture, so congrats! You are on your way.
Need help getting organized? Consult with us, we'll get you in shape for one heck of a new year.
Images courtesy of Pexel
Outsourcing is as cool as the internet in the today's business-phere. It's a new, fresh take on company culture, feasibility and growth. It's when you take a department of your infrastructure and hand it to someone else who's goal is dedicated to your projected results. It cuts cost on all corners, including real estate and is like a day in the spa, you invest in a specialty and are delivered an experience...in that specific department.
Outsourcing is a great option for them to make the work process easier to handle. Those working in a local company may choose to outsource work so that they can continue to focus on the core business processes. - Nimble
So here's why it may really work for you:
Time is money. Spend it where you should and consider where you probably shouldn't. Your company's expenses weigh into your revenue considerably, so where can you maximize results the most by giving it some specialized TLC. Where your time investment is inputted empowers that area to grow and grow in a good pay due to your nurturing. Cutting cost in areas like office supplies to your office's square footage can make an exponential difference in where your bottom line lies and how high your profit can potentially reach. When hiring a partner to come in with a specialized goal designed around your immediate need, even the electricity bill is easier on the book.
A specialized firm in accounting is built around the passion, profit and purpose of numerical solutions, that's what you need on your team. A pair of individuals that take your expenses and projections and make sense of them for you, so you can strategize that much more effectively. That's their one and only goal. So not only can you walk with confidence in your jargon but you can guarantee your quality to yourself and your team. Quality is provided by clear, direct efforts - so focus smarter not harder.
The underling purpose of any business, brand and resource is to meet and surpass the goals of their client or consumer. Your entire model is made for these landmarks set into place to reach the a bigger picture of whom you are servicing. You are in business and full intention with your set of goals, driving only to fulfill them and truly make a difference. These are the futures of your employees, target market and even your family. An outsourced agent on your team, will collaborate with you to create a timelines, grids and strategies to build the best version of your business because that's what their good at.
A to B and a bag of #makeyourgoal chips.
- An #OutsourceProud Corp.
All Images are property of Pexel.com
Trello is the ultimate project management tool that makes collaboration easy and even fun. This visual list tool can organize work projects, family chores, travel plans, or just about anything else. Create cards for each department and add respective members so anyone at the company can connect with those individuals (far left list). Assign a project owner to each project card and they'll be in charge of updating the card on a regular basis. Alarms and notices can be set to enforce deadlines and monitor progress.
HootSuite is an amazing platform to keep up all your social media consistent, uniformed and effective. Being able to schedule posts across your chosen social media platforms in advance allows you to efficiently manage and analyze responses, tailor to a theme or incentive and pick specific times for your posts to be published. This in essence, allows you to develop a resourceful strategy and identify the crucial times to post that receive the most interaction. It also has unique analytic options that provide you with an in-depth view of how well your social media strategy is working. Monitor multiple social media streams in one place, schedule posts in advance, profile analytics, managing and responding to customers. It helps you keep track and manage your many social network channels to the T.
Is a file sharing and online storage program engined by our dear Google network. Sync share and store documents, or photos in optimized folders accessible across the all affiliated software. The most basic way to describe Google Drive is that it’s an online file cabinet where you can store documents and other digital files. So Drive is not just a place to store things; it’s also a place to make things including presentations and forms. This means you and your team can use these tools to stay on the same page about any projects inside the same platform, you can also upload and organize straight from any device (including your phone). Every tool in Drive has built-in collaboration tools that allow multiple users to work on the same document, insert comments in the margins, or just let others take a peek at what they are working on. Saves automatically and you can keep buying as much storage as you need.
The app really shows its brilliance once you start using it as your default bookmark/webclip app, notetaker, repository of all your reference material, and so on. It’s great to index all the information and have it be searchable across every single platform. During meetings or presentations, opening it up and recording the meeting audio or footnotes, is an awesome incentive. Evernote integrates with just about everything. It has browser extensions that allow you to save a web page—in its entirety—in one click for future reference. Any document can be shared, edited and tweaked by anyone on task on any device.
Properly keeping track of hours spend by your team or yourself can be a challenge. The lack of, makes it difficult to be able to address concerns about underpayments, invoicing etc. The Hours app makes it quick and easy for employees to record and store the hours they work, plus other information about their statuses. Employees can retrieve this information instantly if an issue about hours-worked and be confident when discussing the issue with their employer or a contractor. Users can export the data via email to save it somewhere securely, share it forward. It uses the phone’s location services and ‘geofencing’ technology to let users set their workplace location and automatically record when they start and finish work, based on their location. Automatic recording won’t work for all job types, such as people working in places with no mobile or Wi-Fi coverage or people who travel a lot for work. Manual recording is a thing of the past.
Integrating technology efficiently can make the runnings of every project, deadline or incentive easy and efficient.
Consult with us to find the right fit for your business!
Your brand is your company's signature, it's your stamp, your emblem.
Its made up of everything representative of your business, on a small or large scale. It's your businesses set of standards, its favorite color, its aesthetic and its message towards customers, staff and the market. The actual term is very vast though. Here's where to start.
A branding package consists of:
1) A Logo
2) Font Kit
3) Color Kit + Codes
4) Customized Templates
Each of these can go somewhere you can leave a little bit of your company's fairy dust. On your email signature, stationary, business card, services pamphlet, even pens. Your brand is like your uniform, how do you want to be remembered. Less is more, get to the point and make it personal.
Defining your brand is like a journey of business self-discovery. It can be difficult, time-consuming and uncomfortable. It requires answering questions that create a sketch for you to later color in.
What is your company's mission?
What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?
In finding these answers you'll open new door on how to expand your mission in business. How to cater to a specific demographic, how to find them? How to reach out to them best? What makes them tick? You can get down to what their favorite ice cream flavor might be so you can go ahead and find the best recipe for that too. Sound far-fetched? Companies like Coca-Cola and Amazon grace our screens with commercials displaying euphoric lifestyles that we all we only dream of having. What lifestyle is your customer buying into? Once you've had this pow-wow with yourself and your team, you'll create a fool-proof household brand. Your company culture will even be inspired by your new-found knowledge, you'll create a team and environment based off of your standards, vision and goals.
Our resources are rock-solid, consult with us to get you on your road to brand success.
Last month, The Foundation Mixer featured us to host the first of series geared towards highlighting small businesses in the Merrimack Valley. We had the pleasure to chat up the colorful crowd on the struggles and solutions of business management.
Take a peak and look out for more events alike!
Small businesses can become overwhelming - FAST. Overwhelm can bump you into procrastination nation and the next thing you know, it's tax season and your having a mental breakdown. Take some deep breathes and let's do this, the best version of your business awaits.
1. Purge Your Office
Simplicity allows your the mind, body and soul to flow so tailor your space to do just that. Toss any extra clutter like old paperwork, janky furniture and dated decor to make way for a fresh perspective. Label all your files, and then organize them alphabetically within each color scheme. And never, ever put the word "Misc" on any file--once you file it, you'll forget what you put in it. If you can say out loud what the file is, you have your label. If it's "Misc" you probably don't need it anymore.
2. Plan, Personally
Planning is essential in reaching the heights of your goals and potential, personally and professionally. Map out your success using techniques that work for you and your productivity style. Make To Do Lists, spend some time showing some TLC to your calendar and visualize what a perfect day, week or month should look like in your home or business. Figure out what system works for you and your business best.
3. Use the Cloud for Storage
ICloud is the closest thing to immortality we've ever known. Backing up files, documents and just plain ole vital information on the Cloud not only frees up space but it keeps all your goodies safe until you need to reference them again. It also keeps them from sitting on a shelf collecting dust or on your desktop.
4. Tame Your Inbox
Does your email notification say a ridiculous amount due to everyone trying to send you a new printable guide, sales announcement or hot deals to Cabo? Revitalize your inbox to only house the mail you need. Apps like Un.Roll App and SaneBox can make the cleaning process straight forward and successful. A trashy inbox can also take up vital space on your devices you'll definitely need down the line.
5. Digitize Your Books
Get to know our pals Quickbooks, Wave Apps, and Square They each will become as vital to your team as your receptionist and favorite stationary. Quickbooks is the fairy-godmother to your bookkeeping needs and financial records. It breaks down your profit and loss statements, categorized expense sheets and even receipt tracking. Wave is a digital haven for complying information on the day-to-day runnings of your business & personal finances, you can even invoice clients directly and set up recurring billing. Square is your one-stop shop from POS systems inside your business or online, you can also send invoices to close the deal easy and effortlessly.