Your Business Legacy

How is it that some leaders can make a lasting impact?  It can’t simply be achieved at the tail end of a person’s tenure at an organization or the very year a leader starts planning to retire; a legacy is created throughout the entire course of a career.

Comprised of decisions and actions, legacy leadership is a continuous process involving all the work done from a person’s first supervisory position through their last day on the job. At every stage in your career, be focused on creating sustainable influence, assuring that your mark will be imprinted on those who remain.

Communication is a key pillar of legacy leadership. To leave behind a team that will continue to foster your vision, consistently communicate it. Have a strong sense of self-awareness and consistently lead by example.

Everything you do as a leader must reinforce the mission, vision and values you’re trying to instill in the team.

To keep yourself consistently focused on legacy leadership, ask these questions:

  • Who among the leaders around you is focused on creating a lasting legacy?
  • What do these leaders do that you’d like to emulate?
  • Does your enterprise have a culture that will allow you to create a lasting legacy?
  • Do the leaders, managers and supervisors of the organization deeply believe in your vision?
  • What actions do they take to move the company toward that goal?
  • Will you retain and advance the people who have bought into your vision?
  • Is the vision and mission of the company clearly communicated to every employee – at every level?
  • Where do the gaps lie?
  • What steps can you take to start bridging those gaps today?

Legacy leadership is about the people who will continue to carry on your vision after you leave the organization. When you stay focused on the future and the people who will carry your vision forward, you can begin to create a solid foundation for a lasting leadership legacy.

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Employee Development for Key Company Roles

When businesses grow, there is a natural path toward having less experienced employees assume new leadership roles. Smaller businesses sometimes fail to consider the benefits of leadership planning, believing that there will never be a need for additional key personnel, other than the owners or a handful of top managers.

Active training and development make for good leadership. Leadership development is a process designed to identify and groom certain lower-level employees to fill higher-level positions within a company.

By doing this, you can ensure the constant, productive performance of the organization, knowing that competent individuals will be ready to assume additional responsibilities when the time comes.

Follow these three important tips for implementing a leadership development program in your small business:

Pair Employees with a Mentor. Successful leaders serve as mentors, teachers and role models for future leaders.

Challenge Them with Assignments. Depending on the size of the business, these assignments might include involvement with different programs within the company that provide trainees with new work experiences.

Promote Personal Development to Develop Employees. This can be accomplished through individual online coursework, community college classes or industry training seminars.

Having a pool of talented individuals to choose from is a smart, proactive human resource approach to business planning.

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Do Your Employees Trust You?

New research finds that some employees aren’t keeping the faith – in their bosses.

A new study from Interaction Associates, a workplace performance improvement company, concluded that 40 percent of workers said they don’t have a high level of trust in their individual bosses or in their organization as a whole. More than one-quarter of those surveyed said they trust their boss less this year than they did in 2013.

Interestingly, employees rated their co-workers as more trustworthy than their supervisors. The study found that 54 percent of workers feel safe communicating their ideas and opinions to colleagues and peers, compared with 38 percent who feel the same about their company’s leaders.

The study also revealed that:

  • companies that have a high level of trust among their employees are 2.5 times more likely than those that don’t to be leaders in revenue growth
  • businesses that lead in trust significantly outperform all other organizations in achieving key business goals
  • 80 percent of employees believe high levels of trust inside an organization foster both innovation and investment in new projects

The study was based on surveys of more than 500 employees at companies worldwide in a range of job functions and industries.

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5 Client Retention Strategies

Try as you might, some clients just won’t be in it for the long haul. There is hope, however!

Client retention is arguably one of the most important aspects of your business. It takes a lot of hard work, time and money to draw clients into your business, so it’s important that you work to keep these clients more than satisfied once they actually decide to work with your company.

To gain more referrals and keep your bottom line steady, look to retaining your current clients.

Here’s how:

Get to know your customers. In the end, customers are going to like businesses that know them better as opposed to those that treat them like just another client. People like to be known and understood.

Have a feedback system. There is no better way to improve your retention techniques than hearing from the customers themselves.

Set expectations for the client early. If you can follow-through on what you promised weeks or even months earlier, that is going to be impressive to a client.

Be nice unexpectedly. Giving a free gift or sending a quick follow-up message is great, but this actually works better if you can use the element of surprise to your advantage.

Anticipatory service > traditional customer service. If you think it’s hard to believe that anything would be more important than customer service, you’re right. With an anticipatory strategy, your company and/or sales team will try to anticipate any problems that might occur and then stop them before they happen.

Be proactive with your clients, establish a warm dialog and nurture the relationship for a long term, positive experience.

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Social Recruiting: Expand Your Reach for Excellent Candidates

With close to 2 billion active users on social media, there’s an opportunity for recruiters to connect with people they usually wouldn’t. The social recruiting trend is increasing and if your company isn’t on board yet, it can’t hurt to test the waters.

Recruiters and HR professionals are increasingly using social media to reach out to candidates, especially on LinkedIn and Twitter. Social recruiting allows companies to be active in a space that lends itself to conversation, feedback and interactions. It’s a modern way for candidates to learn about a company’s culture and for a recruiter to learn about a candidate’s background or skill.

How should your company get started? Identify, follow, share and engage.

Identifying the type of candidate you’re interested in recruiting is the most time-consuming step of the social recruiting process. A great way to shorten this step is to involve your employees, as employee advocacy helps extend your social reach far past your company’s normal capacity.

Undercover Recruiter found that an average employee will have 150 contacts on their social networks – 100 employees means reaching 15,000 potential candidates.

Following via connecting, sending an e-mail or a friend request creates a social relationship with the people you want to eventually hire. Showing people that you’re interested in what they have to say is a great way to start an online relationship and you can encourage your employees to do this as well.

Sharing content across their social networks is a great way for your employees to inform everyone’s followers about the numerous accomplishments your company has achieved.

Assign one socially strong employee to be the leader for employee advocacy.

Engaging potential candidates and having your employees do the same is a great way to get people engaged with your company. If a candidate tweets about something relevant to your company or the industry you work in, make sure you favorite or comment on the post.

Start now…your next hire could be just a few clicks away.

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The Science of Customer Retention

You’ve probably heard the old adage that it costs more to get a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Not only are new customer acquisition costs higher, but successful customer retention helps to strengthen your brand identity and business reputation.

Surprisingly, many businesses don’t have a customer retention strategy. If your company is entering a new market or experiencing high initial adoption of your product, you need a robust customer retention strategy to prevent losing any market share to competitors.

Customer retention is primarily driven by building rapport and deepening the relationship with your clientele – this doesn’t mean your approach shouldn’t be informed by a little science as well.

Here are a few customer retention strategies that are backed by hard data and quantifiable, top-line results:

  • Leverage your sales database
  • Analyze upsell patterns
  • Promote retention-oriented products

Start by tracking your average customer retention in your sales database, then leverage this data to contact these customers before they leave for a competitor. For example, if you have an average customer retention rate of five years, you need to call or contact them before this milestone to ensure they’re still satisfied with your products or services.

Capitalize on potential cross-selling and upselling opportunities with your current customers. Not only does this mean more revenue for your business, but the more of your products and services a customer finds useful, the less likely he or she is to leave you entirely.

Not all of your products or services have the same built-in value when it comes to customer retention. Determine the “stickiness” of a product or service by mining historical data and conclude if those offerings actually caused customers to retain their business relationship with you.

Often, your most sticky offerings are the ones that involve the highest inconvenience in switching between vendors, suppliers or products. When you upsell these offerings to each of your current customers, you retain more of their business over the long-term.

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Increase Your Sales with Small Steps

Keeping the big picture in mind can help you get a larger bottom line. Large sales sometimes happen with little efforts, including asking for referrals, using a team approach to sales and re-purposing work you’ve already completed.

Try implementing these small changes to increase your sales:

Change your sales process. Ask for a referral after every sale and an appropriate period of time. Of course, this means you must do a great job in order to earn the referral.

Put your boss to work. Prospects and customers perceive that they are more important when you bring your manager to a sales call. That makes them more likely to buy.

Think multi-purpose. It’s more efficient when you can use your work over and over again.

When a customer gives you a compliment, that’s an opportunity to get that compliment put into a testimonial letter. When a customer tells you in a testimonial letter that you produce specific results, you get to use that letter when you sell to other prospects.

Remember: you are much more persuasive when other people say the things about you that you would like to say about yourself!

Big goals aren’t achieved in one quick step. Before you can lose 100 pounds, you have to lose the first pound. You won’t successfully run a marathon unless you can complete the first mile and successful selling is no different – it’s the small steps you take that lead you to big sales.

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