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11 Things People Do That Make Them Enjoy Successful Business Relationships Online

11 Things People Do That Make Them Enjoy Successful Business Relationships Online

You’ve heard that the Internet can cause your business to take off. That’s an exciting idea! How exactly do you get there? Follow these eleven tips to develop and sustain successful online business relationships.

1. Define the purpose of your networking

Before you decide to do anything else, think about your purpose. For example, your goal may be to find a better job. Or you may be seeking users for your startup. You may even be looking to learn from other people in your profession. All of these goals are fair game. For the best results, break your goal down into steps.

Consider this example:

Business Networking Online Goal: Get a more interesting and higher paid job.

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Step 1: Choose job title and industry I’m interested in (e.g. project management in the financial industry)

Step 2: Search for three people on LinkedIn who currently have that job.

Step 3: Email one of the people found in step two and ask them a few questions

Step 4: Repeat steps 2-3 each week for a month.

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2. Focus on one social media platform at a time

In the online world, it is easy to spread yourself too thin. Instead, choose one platform and focus your efforts there. For example, marketing expert and author Seth Godin focuses the majority of his effort on his blog. As a result, he has one of the Internet’s most popular blogs.

3. Write a robust LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn defines itself as the definitive business social network. If you are looking for customers or a new job, LinkedIn is an excellent resource. A strong LinkedIn profile includes your job history (especially your accomplishments), your education and your interests. Make sure your include a photo (see tip 4 below for details).

Asking colleagues and former managers to write recommendations for you is one of the best ways to build an impressive LinkedIn profile.

4. Add a high quality photo of yourself

A few months ago, I paid a friend to take a professional photo of me. The cost was around $30 and it was absolutely worth it. Put some thought and care into your business photo: you will be using it again and again as you start to use different websites.

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Not sure what to do? Dress like you’re going to a job interview and SMILE!

5. Deepen relationships via email

A few days or weeks into your efforts, you may be pleased with the number of new people you’ve added as LinkedIn connections (or Twitter followers etc). In order to get business value out of the relationship (e.g. advice for your job search, sales, etc), it makes sense to deepen the relationship. One of the best ways to do is to start an email conversation. Start small by asking 2-3 short and simple questions by email.

6. Deepen relationships via Skype or phone

Sending email back and forth puts you ahead of 90% of people. Asking to speak by phone or Skype immediately puts you into the top 1% of most skilled networkers. Since phone calls involve more effort, ask for calls thoughtfully. For example, if you add 20 people to your LinkedIn network in a month, you may only want to speak with three or four of them.

7. Evaluate your results each month

Each month, evaluate your online business relationship activitives in terms of the goal you set in step one. When you’re first getting started in the online world, you may find that your early results are not quite what you expect. That’s why it makes sense to review your progress each month.

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8. Choose how often you update

Building strong relationships takes time. Fortunately, you can speed up the process by active participation. Research reported by Kevan Lee on Fast Company suggested three Tweets per day gives the best results. Of course, your mileage may vary depending on your goals and skills.

9. Write thoughtful comments

Self-promotion is important, yet it is not enough to build successful online relationships. Contributing to others is important. That means writing comments! For example, if you come across an interesting article on Twitter, reply to the person who posted it and thank them. If you read a helpful blog post, write a comment saying what you liked about it (e.g “I liked point 8 because it gave me a guideline on how often to update Twitter”).

10. Get training in online business relationships

Building online business relationships takes time and skills. In this article, we can only scratch the surface. To continue building your knowledge, seek out networking experts such as John Corcoran who shows how to connect with important people in Don’t Sweat It: 8 Strategies for Meeting and Connecting with VIPs.

11. Realize there is no replacement for face to face activities

Online tools such as social media and email are helpful for starting and continuing business relationships. However, nothing replaces face to face relationships. That’s why successful people attend conferences, look for events on Meetup.com and spend money on meals and networks.

Tip: To get the most out of a conference, start communicating with fellow conference attendees a few weeks (or months) in advance of the event.

Featured photo credit: Entrepreneur Startup Man/StartupStockPhotos via pixabay.com

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Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is a Project Management Professional and Founder and CEO of Project Management Hacks.

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

Highly motivated employees are essential to the success of any business. Most people spend a third of their lives at work.[1] That’s a significant amount of time away from home, apart from the people who make us happy and the things we love to do. So keeping employee motivation high is essential for creating an office environment that gets the best out of our people.

But do you know what motivates your people?

It’s simple:

  • Is their work stimulating?
  • Does it challenge them?
  • Is there room to grow, a promotion perhaps?
  • Do you encourage creativity?
  • Can they speak openly and honestly with you?
  • Do you praise them?
  • Do you trust your staff to take ownership of their work?
  • Do they feel safe in their work environment?
  • And more importantly, do you pay them properly?

Every one of these factors contributes to the general happiness of your employees. It’s what motivates them to come into the office each day and work hard, hit goals, and get results.

In contrast, an unmotivated employee is typically unhappy. They take more sick days, they’re not invested in seeing your business succeed, and they’re always on the lookout for something better.

Stats show that 81 percent of employees would consider leaving their jobs today if the right opportunity presented itself.[2] So it’s up to you to set aside time and energy to create a work environment that benefits every one of your employees.

These seven strategies will help you motivate your people to consistently deliver quality work and, more importantly, to stick around for the long term.

1. Be Someone They Can Rely On

You rely on your people to turn up to work each day, to come to you when they have a problem they can’t solve, to be honest, and to always engage professionally with customers.

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But this is not a one-way street. You, too, need to be someone your team can rely on. They trust you to have their backs when a client is unreasonable, to know that the decisions they make are in your best interest, and to make good on your promises.

If you say you’ll attend an important meeting, be there. If your company makes a profit and you’ve said you’ll pay a bonus, pay it. The goodwill of your people is something you never want to test, let alone lose.

Be reliable; it’s astounding how much this motivates your people.

2. Create an Awesome Company Culture

There’s no denying that company culture trickles down from the top. Your leadership and attitude massively influences the attitudes, work ethic, and happiness of your staff. If you’re always stressed-out, overly demanding, and unreasonable, it’ll create tension in your office which will adversely affect your employees’ motivation levels.

In fact, the HAYS “US What People Want Survey” found that 47 percent of staff who are actively looking for a new job, pinpoint company culture as the driving force behind their reason to leave.

So if you have high staff turnover, you need to determine whether your company culture might be the motivating factor behind your churn rate.

Here are four ways to build a culture that keeps your employees highly motivated.

  • Be conscious of the image you present. Your body language and attitude can positively or negatively impact your employees. So come to work energized. Be optimistic, friendly, and engaging—this enthusiasm will spill over to your people and motivate them to be more productive and efficient.
  • Appreciate your people and be reasonable. Celebrate your team’s achievements. If they’re doing a good job, tell them. Encourage them to challenge themselves and try new things. And reward when deserved. If they’re struggling, help them. Work together to find solutions and be a sounding board for their ideas.
  • Be flexible. Give your people opportunities to work remotely—this is highly motivating to staff, particularly millennials. They don’t want to be battling traffic each day on their way to work. They don’t want to miss their kids’ baseball games or ballet rehearsals. Stats show that companies that offer flextime and the ability to work from home or a coffee shop have happier and more productive employees.
  • Create employee-friendly work environments. These are spaces that inspire and ignite the imagination. Have you ever been to Google’s offices? No headquarter is the same. From indoor slides and food trucks, to hammocks, and funky work pods on the wall, gaming rooms, and tranquil interior gardens, there’s something for everyone. It’s a space where people want to be, catering to their need for creativity, quiet, or team building; you name it.

So take a look at your company culture and ask yourself, Is my business an attractive workplace for talented professionals? Does it inspire commitment and motivate my people? What could I do to improve my company culture?

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3. Touch Base with Your Team Weekly

Make time for your people, whether you run a remote business or work in an office, set aside time each week to talk to your people one-on-one. It’s non-negotiable.

When there’s an open line of communication between staff members, work gets done. Don’t believe me? A study by Gallup found that 26 percent of employees said feedback from their leaders helps them to do a better job.[3]

Your people want to feel trusted. They want to take ownership of their work, but they also need to know that when they have a question, they can reach out and get answers. If you’re unwilling to make yourself available, your team will quickly become unmotivated, work will stagnate, and your business will stop growing.

So block off time on your calendar each week to touch base with your people, even if only to let them know that what they’re working on matters.

4. Give Them the Tools They Need to Do Their Jobs Well

Imagine trying to run your business without electricity. How would you contact your clients? What would happen when your phone or computer battery died?

Technology is super critical to the success of your businesses. It allows you to work more efficiently, to be more productive, and to handle matters on-the-go. That’s why you need to give your people tools that will make their jobs easier.

Make sure their equipment is in good working condition. There’s nothing more frustrating than a laptop that takes ages to boot up. It’s got to go. Replace outdated software with new software. Don’t make your designer work in Coreldraw; give them access to the most up-to-date version of Adobe Creative Suite. Take it a step further and buy them a subscription to Shutterstock or Getty Images.

Make working for you a pleasure, not a pain; and watch your employees’ motivation levels rise.

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5. Provide Opportunities to Learn and Upskill

Would you believe me if I told you that 33 percent of people cite boredom and a need for new challenges as the top reason for leaving their job?[4] If you want to retain your talent, you need to upskill.

Thanks to technology, we live in a rapidly evolving world that demands we change with it. A copywriter is no longer just a writer; they now need to be experts in SEO, Google Adwords, CRMs, and so much more.

A pastry chef needs to be a food stylist, photographer, and social media manager. An entrepreneur needs to be a marketer—or at least take ownership of the marketing message for their business—if they hope to scale.

Technology makes all of this possible. No matter your location, your people can continuously expand their knowledge and gain new skill sets—something that’s highly motivating to employees. They want to know that there are opportunities to grow and develop themselves.

If you won’t invest in your people, then your business becomes just another job to tide them over until they find where they truly belong. So be the company that sees value in developing its people.

6. Monitor Their Workload

Overworked employees tend to be unproductive and unhappy. Your people cannot be at full capacity every day, month to month. Something’s got to give. They’ll become deflated and their work will eventually suffer, which will negatively impact your business.

What I like to do is implement a traffic light system. It helps me to keep a finger on the pulse of my business. So there’s red, yellow, and green:

  • Red means they’re fully loaded.
  • Yellow means they’re busy, but they can potentially take on more.
  • Green means they haven’t got enough to do.

I use this traffic light system because I don’t want my team members to be stressed out of their brains all the time. If they are, they won’t make good decisions and they won’t do good work.

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If my people are regularly overloaded, I have things to think about. Perhaps I need to hire a new person to help ease the load or take a closer look at what projects are good to go, and which can take a back seat.

And this is why #3 is essential. If I’m regularly engaging with my people, I’ll know that while they’re coping with their workload, it is impacting their performance and health, and I’ll take action.

7. Don’t Mess Around with Your Employees’ Pay

Never mess around with your people’s salary. As a business owner or high-level manager, it’s easy to forget that most people live from paycheck to paycheck. Delayed compensation can mean a missed bill payment, which could result in costly penalties they can’t afford or hits to their credit score.

So it’s your job to ensure that you pay your people on time.

The Bottom Line

A motivated team is an asset to any business. These people never give up. They get excited about coming to work each day and can’t wait to test a new theory or tackle a particularly tricky challenge. They’re proud of the work they do. And more importantly, they have no reason to leave.

Wouldn’t you rather be part of their success story than the business that drove them away?

More to Motivate Your Team

Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

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