4 Productivity Improvement Strategies

Regardless of what business you’re in or what your goals are, productivity is extremely important. In a time of constant movement, constant communication, and continual pursuit of achievement, we seldom feel we are ahead of that long to-do list, no matter how many completed tasks we record at the end of the day.

Here are four approaches to improving productivity and results:

1. 80/20 everything. Pareto’s Law states 80 percent of the outputs result from 20 percent of the inputs. If you take 10 of the tasks and activities you want to get done, two of them will produce more results than the other eight combined.

2. Most things don’t matter. Most things make no difference and aren’t moving your progress or business forward. Being overwhelmed is often as unproductive as doing nothing, but is far more unpleasant. Being more thoughtful and selective about choosing what actions we make priorities is a reliable path to being highly productive.

3. Doing something unimportant well doesn’t make it any more important. Activities that are not connected to an outcome or purpose are the drain of all fulfillment and fortune. The value of what you do is most important, followed by how you do it.

4. Put time limits on everything. Parkinson’s Law dictates that a task will become bigger in importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion.

Most inputs are useless and time is wasted in proportion to the amount that is available. If you have 12 hours to complete a project, the time pressure forces you to focus on execution. You have no choice but to do only the essentials that actually matter. If you have a week to complete the same task, it’s six days of validation, excuses, and procrastination – followed by one day of rushed work. If you have a month, it becomes a mental monster.

There is magic and high value in deadlines. Deadlines bring equal or higher quality results, sooner, by encouraging greater focus.

To read the entire article, please visit www.entrepreneur.com.

Team Building & Coaching in 9 Easy Steps

Building a killer team is crucial to your success as an entrepreneur.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Look for real talent. Hire people who are smarter and have more experience than you.
  2. Seek out different skill sets. When you’re building a small team, it’s incredibly important that each member bring something different to the table.
  3. Avoid the temptation to micromanage. Everyone needs direction and management, but no one likes to be micromanaged.
  4. Hire people that believe in your product. You can’t teach an employee to care. If they aren’t thrilled by the opportunity to work with you, take a pass.
  5. Recognize that different people have different goals. For some, it’s money. For others, it’s recognition.
  6. Set the bar high. Everyone should be on the same page with regard to what you expect and hope for.
  7. Create a safe space. Take the time and effort to create an open, welcoming environment.
  8. Never stop learning. Make educating your team a priority.
  9. Don’t forget to celebrate your achievements as a group. There will be lots of small successes along the way.

To read the entire article, please visit www.entrepreneur.com.

Your Guide to a Light Bulb Moment

Have you ever noticed that when you walk away from a problem for a while, a new idea or solution just pops into your head out of nowhere? Sometimes, you just need a break if you’ve hit a creative wall.

Watching the cursor blink endlessly isn’t a solution, so try these ideas out and see where it leads your creativity:

Get some sleep. Just like a car needs gas to drive, your brain needs sleep to fire on all cylinders to function properly. Sleep consolidates what you’ve learned throughout the day, strengthening neural connections and creating new ones.

Start moving. Exercise has long been associated with better thinking, such as improvements in memory and attention, along with increased creativity. It’s possible that walking works by naturally improving your mood and creativity is known to improve when you’re feeling good.

Grab a partner. While Rodin’s solitary thinker may be the quintessential emblem of a creator, a growing body of research indicates the power of the duo. Pairs are built for fluidity and flexibility, notes Joshua Wolf Shenk, author of the forthcoming book, Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs, and they’re a social structure that allows idea to flourish.

Break out of your comfort zone. New and different experiences that prompt you to break out of your comfort zone work wonders for exposing you to new ideas and people, expanding your knowledge base, and opening up the opportunity to see alternate possibilities.

No matter what problem you’re trying to solve or masterpiece you’re working to create, practice the skills required to get the job done. Consistent effort and learning from your inevitable mistakes are key for breaking through your inner turmoil and coming up with a creative solution.

Space out. One of the best ways to solve a problem, experts suggest, is to stop thinking about it. Letting the unconscious mind work its magic may do more than just help with novel idea generation; it can also help you identify which of your ideas are the most creative.

To read the entire article, please visit www.qz.com.

Polish Your Public Speaking Skills

Great speakers are great because they’re never satisfied. They are constantly seeking new ways to improve on the art of public speaking.

How do you transform an already good public speaker into a showstopper?  The seven techniques listed below will help you make the leap from being merely a good public speaker to a positively great one.

Talk like a thought leader. Good speakers have strong messages about their product, service, or brand. Great speakers are thought leaders who teach their audiences something about the industry, often things they didn’t know.

Tell personal stories. Good speakers tell stories; great speakers tell personal ones.

Show more pictures and use less text. The average PowerPoint slide has 40 words. In a great presentation, you won’t see 40 words in the first 10 slides.  Great presenters tell a story and use the slides to complement the story.

Use an animated voice. Great speakers vary the pitch, tone, pace, and volume of their verbal delivery. They’re not afraid to use dramatic pauses.

Pay attention to your body language. Great speakers watch themselves on video and pay careful attention to their body language. They make strong eye contact. When appropriate they use hand gestures to reinforce their messages.

Share the stage. Great speakers rarely put on a one-person show. They share the stage with employees, partners, and colleagues.

Practice a lot, lot more. Great speakers rehearse for their big moment and they do it many, many times. It is recommended that you put in at least 10 hours of time rehearsing your presentations from start to finish.

To read the entire article, please visit www.forbes.com.

Want to See Your Business Grow?

Become a thought leader. A successful business is made up, not only of the brand of the company, but the brand and reputation of the people that run it.

Investing time and energy in establishing your personal brand builds credibility and enhances the reputation of not just yourself but your company, too. The most commonly accepted practice to do that today is to establish yourself as a thought leader.

Here are a few tips on generating positive results without a huge time commitment:

Identify your area of expertise. A thought leader is defined as the go-to expert in a particular space. Many entrepreneurs and executives choose to concentrate on areas they have had a lot of past experience in.

Beef up your LinkedIn profile. The question you have to ask yourself is, “Does my LinkedIn profile sell me and my company?” If your profile looks like a resume, you missed the point; your profile needs to look like an SEO landing page for you and your brand.

Follow other thought leaders in your space. We are now in a world where advocate marketing is becoming the most effective form of marketing. A customer or client will believe their friends and recognized experts more than a website and significantly more than a salesperson.

Create, curate and share content. You must share content. You must share good compelling content. A good rule of thumb is to use the 80/20 rule. Create 20 percent original content and curate the remaining 80 percent.

Follow through. When customers call, call back. When customers send you an email, respond. When customers, influencers, advocates and others connect to you on social media, you need to respond. Favorite their tweets, retweet their comments, comment on their posts and say thank you when you receive nice messages.

To read the entire article, please visit www.entrepreneur.com.

6 Awesome Entrepreneurial Traits

Though not everybody is cut out to run their own business, some are more adept than others at being at the helm of a successful entrepreneurial enterprise.

Becoming a successful entrepreneur requires both a great business idea and certain specific traits.

Jenny Ta, founder and CEO of Sqeeqee.com, a social commerce platform that gives individuals, businesses, celebrities, politicians, and nonprofit organizations the ability to monetize their profiles, said that, for years, people have tried to identify what qualities make successful entrepreneurs, especially serial entrepreneurs, different from everyone else.

Based on her experience, Ta said there are six common traits found in entrepreneurs:

Confidence: Belief in oneself is a universal characteristic of serial entrepreneurs. You must believe in yourself and believe in your vision.

Self-motivation: Simply sitting around believing in yourself won’t allow you to get much done. You must be motivated to work toward the realization of your vision and that motivation should come from within.

Tenacity: Successful entrepreneurs do not lie down in the face of adversity. If the first real challenge you face takes the wind out of your sails, how can you hope to overcome the numerous and difficult obstacles that almost always pave the way to success?

An understanding of your limitations: A good entrepreneur is a good leader and a good leader knows when to listen to others.

A healthy disrespect for the rules: People with an entrepreneurial spirit know that rules and common knowledge exist to be defied.

Willingness to fail: An entrepreneur has to be able to objectively weigh risk and reward and take the risk when it makes sense.

To read the entire article, please visit www.businessnewsdaily.com.

Could You Maintain Business Continuity During a Disaster?

Planning for a disaster can sometimes elicit feelings of discomfort, but it’s a vital tool for businesses. Though it may be easier to adopt the “It won’t happen to us” view, sticking your head in the sand won’t allow you to maintain business continuity or keep your employees safe, should disaster strike.

Whether it is natural occurrences, such as earthquakes, hurricanes or fires; human-caused, such as transportation strikes, riots or acts of terrorism; or technology-related, such as computer viruses or a shutdown of the power grid, sometimes one event can quickly snowball and cause more damage, as was the case in Japan in 2011, when an earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown of nuclear reactors.

Disasters are often unexpected and how well a company deals with post-disaster recovery is pivotal to its survival. According to estimates by theInsurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, 25 percent of companies are unable to resume operations after a major disaster.

The type and severity of the disaster deeply influences what your business needs to do to maintain its continuity. Optimally, you would like to cause little disruption or inconvenience to clients and customers. Business Continuity Plans (BCP) explain in detail how employees will communicate with one another and keep doing their jobs in the event of a disaster or emergency.

Your business’s continuity and disaster recovery plan needs to inform employees of the proper evacuation routes and emergency phone numbers, as well as what to do and where to go in case of an emergency. After you have drawn up a solid plan, it is important to review it with everyone involved on a regular basis and to update it as necessary.

It’s also a good idea to assemble a Disaster Survival Kit. For ideas, read this helpful Disaster Kit Supply Checklist.

Allen Baler of Food4Patriots sums it up when he says, “With incidents of extreme weather increasing each year, our country’s deteriorating electrical infrastructure showing its vulnerability, and with the threats of sabotage and terrorism, it has become more and more obvious to many people that they need to be prepared for a very uncertain future. The disaster prep industry is important because it responds to the legitimate concerns of people who want to survive emergency situations.”

To read the entire article, please visit www.experts.allbusiness.com.