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5 Small Business Decisions Usually Made Too Late

5 Small Business Decisions Usually Made Too Late

The business world moves fast and as an entrepreneur, it’s critical to make decisions quickly. Unfortunately, the majority of businesses fail within the first few years. According to Forbes, 90% of startups will fail. In many cases, business failure is due to the owner waiting too long to make decisions. They often act in a reactive manner instead of a proactive one. While it is common to fail in business, that does not have to be your fate. Here are five of the most common small business decisions that are usually made too late.

1. Scaling Up

One of the problems that many entrepreneurs have is knowing when they need to scale up. They are selling the product well and things seem to be going fine, but they wait too long to pull the trigger on scaling their business up. Instead of hiring more employees or getting a bigger facility, they try to do things the way they’ve always done them. Although it is admirable to try and not rush into things too quickly, knowing when to scale things up a notch is critical. In many cases, you might be leaving a lot of money on the table if you don’t scale up in time. Another pitfall that comes with not scaling up quick enough is dissatisfied customers. If you don’t have enough employees to support your customer base, they may get upset quickly. At the same time, scaling up too quickly is the most common reason for businesses failing, so don’t do it before you’re ready.

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2. Scaling Down

On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes you need to scale down. In fact, when it’s time to scale down, you’ll probably need to act quickly. In many businesses, something fundamental changes and the market isn’t the same as it was before. You can let that change in the market bankrupt you, or you can adapt and scale down. No one wants to be the bad guy and fire a bunch of employees. However, sometimes, it makes sense to cut some overhead and live to fight another day. It’ll be better to lose a few employees and stay in business than it will be to completely lose the business.

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3. Not Buying Liability Insurance

As a business owner, you’re open to a great deal of liability. You never know what could happen through the course of running your business and having a sufficient amount of liability insurance is essential. Many business owners think they can put it off just a little longer. They try to save pennies on liability insurance premiums, and it ends up costing them a lot more in the long run. If someone is injured on your business property or some other disaster occurs, you could be looking at millions of dollars in damages. No one thinks it will happen to them until it does. Get liability insurance before you need it instead of after it’s too late.

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4. Getting Rid of a Toxic Employee

Business owners often find themselves in a situation where they need to get rid of an employee but for some reason don’t pull the trigger. In some cases, this employee is bringing everyone down around them. They are hurting morale, making mistakes, and possibly causing fights between employees. Maybe this employee was once a friend or one of your earliest employees. It’s tough to fire employees like this, but in many cases, it’s better to just pull the bandage off now instead of delaying the inevitable. Toxic employees lead to many problems in every facet of your business. Instead of waiting until they give you no other choice, part ways with your toxic employee now.

5. Taking a Chance

Many business owners are risk-averse individuals. They took a risk initially to get things started and it worked out. When it comes to taking a chance beyond that, they stall. Maybe you’ve been putting off launching a new product or service. Maybe you think you should get into a new market with your products. Whatever it is, there’s a good chance that you know it’s the right decision, but you’re putting it off. Don’t put it off any longer. If it’s truly the right move, you’ll know it and be glad that you made the decision in the end.

Featured photo credit: vwfsfleet.co.uk via vwfsfleet.co.uk

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Published on September 18, 2018

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

Have there been instances when you noted a drop in your team’s productivity or observed a behavioral change in someone who used to be an excellent performer?

Before you blame the team for not being motivated enough or worse still, choose to ignore these warning signs, look inwards and ask yourself if YOU are doing enough to keep your team motivated in the first place.

Motivating employees is extremely crucial. As the leader of the pack, it is your responsibility to ensure each and every member of your team feels valued, driven and motivated.

After all, you cannot expect a bunch of disengaged and demotivated people to deliver results and grow your business, can you?

Here are 17 surefire tactics for motivating your employees and building a productive team:

1. Show your appreciation

In the whole race to achieve external business goals, leaders often forget to value their most important assets — their employees.

The least you can do to boost performance and morale is to appreciate your employees, recognize their efforts and give them credit when it is due.

Whether it’s sending a personalized note, recognizing achievements publicly during team huddles or even rewarding top performers at the end of every month, you will be surprised to see how these small acts of appreciation can go a long way.

2. Communicate effectively

Effective communication can do wonders in motivating employees. Who is a strong communicator? Someone who knows what they are talking about and are able to convey their message accurately.

Communication is a lot more than just language and talking. Factors such as eye contact, active listening, hand gestures and postures also say a lot about a person’s communication skills.

3. Be open to dialogue

Gone are the days when leading through fear and putting on the tough, distant leader act would work.

New age leadership is all about instilling trust by being accessible and encouraging discussions. Your team needs to feel comfortable speaking to you and you need to set the tone for such a camaraderie.

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In spite of having a busy schedule, you can still show you care through simple, effective acts.

For instance, having an open door policy, showing genuine interest while interacting with your employees or even greeting your team members helps breaking barriers and projects you as an accessible leader.

4. Provide constructive criticism

Giving negative feedback is always tricky — you don’t want to hurt feelings nor do you want the feedback to be taken lightly.

So, what do you do? The idea is to offer criticism such that it inspires change and delivers results.

Firstly, take criticism behind closed doors because nothing breaks self esteem the way calling out employees in public does.

Have a one-on-one discussion with the concerned person and make your feedback very specific. Be clear about your expectations and offer guidance on how they can improve.

Most importantly, give them the chance to explain their side of the story too instead of jumping to conclusions.

5. Conduct one-on-ones

Yes, you conduct weekly meetings with the team but how well do you know them on a personal level?

While you may think this isn’t an important practice to follow, it is one of the best ways to engage with your employees and identify what drives them.

Conduct a one-one-one session every month and use it to understand how your employees are doing and if they are facing any roadblocks.

More than reviewing performances, consider this as a relationship building tool to ensure you are aligned with your team and are working towards a shared, common goal.

6. Build training programs

In this ever-changing business landscape, it is important to ensure your employees are updated with the latest, relevant skills that can help boost productivity and performance.

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From imparting technical and soft skills to offering mentoring programs – investing in training and development significantly helps in motivating employees and keeps the learning going.

While conducting training programs, remember to keep them engaging and interactive. They need to ultimately drive value and reinforce learnings.

7. Offer growth opportunities

Every employee envisions a different career path for themselves and demotivation strikes the day they feel they have reached stagnation. As a leader, you need to first be aligned with their goals and offer ample growth opportunities that constantly keeps them engaged and motivated.

Growth opportunities go beyond just financial growth. While money is a huge driving factor, what makes most people tick is making progress in the company and going up the career ladder.

Being faced with new challenges and responsibilities lets them push the envelope and broaden their knowledge and skills.

8. Reward them

Go beyond verbal recognition and reward employees for their notable work. You can start an incentive program and reward top performers. This ensures increased productivity and brings out the best in them.

If you don’t have enough budgets for that, you can also reward top performers with movie tickets, a paid vacation or something as simple as giving them the option to work from home.

Rewarding employees promotes healthy competition and motivates them while meeting business goals.

9. Encourage team outings

Employee motivation also stems from how connected the team is. Invest time in team building because a team that works collaboratively is likely to deliver better results.

From bowling nights to hosting team dinners – team outings are a great way to get to know each other and bond. Assign someone from your team to be in charge of organizing these monthly outings and make sure you join them too!

10. Involve them

Involve your employees in decision making because when they are involved, they feel more valued and part of a larger cause.

Seek your team’s opinion and encourage healthy debates within the team. This boosts employee morale and challenges them to work harder as they know they are in a position to make an impact and will be taken seriously.

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11. Set meaningful goals

In the beginning of the financial year, make sure you sit down with each employee to set meaningful and realistic goals. The goal-setting conversation is an extremely crucial one and needs to be a two-way street.

Whether your employee feels burdened or doesn’t feel inspired enough by the assigned goals – this is the time to come to a consensus and assign goals derived from business objectives that foster individual development while keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses.

12. Empower them

You cannot expect employees to be motivated for long if you micro manage the team and do all the talking.

Trust your employees and empower them to take decisions. Mistakes will happen but that is the only way they will learn.

Be open to discussions, delegate effectively, set your expectations and give your team the freedom to do it their way.

13. Deal with conflict

A conducive work environment is one wherein there is open communication and trust, but every once in a while, you do encounter people in the team who indulge in office politics and spread negativity.

How much ever fulfilled an employee feels with their work, gossiping co-workers are bound to ruin it for them. Workplace gossip if not tackled hampers productivity and soils working relations.

As a responsible leader, you need to maintain a conducive work environment and act as a mediator in such cases. Don’t be the leader who is locked up in his/her cabin and is unaware of what is brewing within the team.

14. Implement a flexible work culture

Flexible work cultures are a growing trend and are here to stay.

Whether it is offering flexible working hours or allowing employees to work from home once in a month – a flexible work culture promotes work-life balance and aids in employee satisfaction.

It shows that the management is sensitive to employees’ schedules and is thereby highly appreciated.

15. Host engaging activities

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and we cannot agree more! So, why not devote one day of the week to employee engagement activities?

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From hosting baking competitions to introducing wellness programs in the office – let your team have some fun beyond work. This keeps the environment engaging, light-hearted and interesting, giving them all the more reason to look forward to coming to work.

16. Maintain a positive work space

Your employees spend more than half their day at work and in order to keep them energized and motivated, it is important to maintain a positive and inspiring work space.

Have a recreation center where employees can unwind after a hard day’s work, offer free snacks and beverages and invest in an open office design that promotes socializing and conversations.

These are simple yet effective ways to create a space your employees will love coming to.

17. Avoid discrimination

Any kind of discrimination, be it due to age, gender, religion or race hugely impacts employee motivation and performance.

In order to avoid such cases, you must lay down rules against discrimination and take strict action against accused employees. Lead by example and make sure no one in the team is a victim of bias and discrimination.

The bottom line

Don’t underestimate the power of motivating employees. Understand that the more engaged and motivated they are, the better their performance will be.

It is also a good idea to send out a survey and get feedback from your employees on the company culture, work environment and their motivation levels.

This will help you be more aligned with their expectations and further improve your efforts in building a stronger, engaged team.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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