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Productivity

entrepreneur 13 tips

How to get an endorsement in 5 easy steps

Trevor No Comments

When you have a product or service to promote and you are relatively unknown , an endorsement from someone in your field who is at a high profile status can provide a huge boost. You want to be careful when approaching these potential endorsers because they probably get many offers on a regular basis. To better improve your chances of receiving any endorsement here are five steps that you can follow.

1. Create a great product

People who matter are not going to produce a mediocre product. They cannot afford to hurt their brand or reputation with negative association. Be committed to excellence.  download (13)

2. Make a prospect list

You need to ask yourself who do you want to endorse you or your product? Also who are the recognized authorities in your field? Do not be afraid to “think big” or feel you do not have access to a prospective endorser because even if you do not know them, you may know someone who does.

3. Leverage one endorsement for more

Sometimes prospective endorsers need an endorsement themselves in order to feel comfortable with your product. When you get someone to endorse your product then you include their endorsement as a part of your product. It makes it easier for everyone, because someone else already went first for the endorsement.

4. Ask for the endorsement

Do not get tongue tide in explaining your endorsement request. People and potential endorsers are busy and usually do not have time to read long emails. So get to the point and try and ask them when they will be most receptive. download (14)

5. Provide guidance, samples, and a deadline

It is important to include a brief description and/or a sample of your product. Explain the kind of endorsement you are looking for; be specific. Then provide a real endorsement or two and as well as a deadline. You have a better chance of getting an endorsement with a short deadline than a longer one.

 

Overall, endorsements make a huge difference in whether or not your product gets noticed by gate-keepers, trend-setters, or your target market. So take time to get them, they are very beneficial especially in the business world.

 

Sources: Michael Hyatt and Smallbusinesspr

 

 

 

 

mentoring for success

6 Hobbies that will help you become smarter at work

Trevor No Comments

We all participate in some type of hobby that we enjoy doing. There are some hobbies that are beneficial in helping us to become smarter and will benefit us in our work practices. There are many different hobbies one can partake in, but there are six that are shown to be helpful in increasing ones intellect, which can transfer over and improve the efficiency within our everyday work tasks and/or responsibilities.

1. Learning how to code

Within every job today there is some digital component involved and it is for this that learning how to code can give one a significant edge in the work place. Some of the most basic codes are known as HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). By learning this it will help those to understand web design, social media, and product development. It is very easy to find lessons online in how to do this, all you will need is a computer and access to internet. One resource you can try out is a webpage known as Codecademy.

2. Learning a new language

There is no such thing as knowing too many languages, especially if you are a frequent traveler. By learning new languages it can benefit by making communication in foreign and local lands easier. It has also shown that learning adownload (9) language can help improve brain power and slow brain aging. These benefits can help in the workplace by being able to be more alert as well as being able to communicate to a wider range of clientele, employees, business partners, and etc. from different cultures.

3. Blogging

The more you write the better your communication will become. One way to do this is through a blog, which as we know is a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style. By learning how to articulate your thoughts effectively on paper (and online) can help communication skills become stronger overall. Blogging also helps you to become more proficient in how to use your grammar and vocabulary as well as assist you in understanding your own specific writing style. For online blogging it provides an easy forum for feedback and can help you continue in consistently growing as a writer based on how others perceive your work overall.

4. Reading

No matter what kind of book your reading whether it is Harry Potter or the Hunger games it is proven that reading can help reduce stress, which in return helps you to feel better about yourself. Reading can also increase all three types of intelligence including crystallized, fluid, and emotional. That increase within those types of intelligence can help with problem solving, being able to put different pieces of knowledge together to better navigate everyday life, to detect patterns, understand processes, and being able to accurately interpret and respond to others feelings. In the work setting these different skills translate into better understanding how to make things happen and better managerial skills.

5. Work out your brain

By participating in activities such as Sudoku, puzzles, riddles, board games, video games, card games, and etc. it increases ones neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is what encompasses a wide variety of changes in neural pathways and synapses that is basically the ability of the brain to reorganize itself. Also the nerve cells respond in new ways that increases neuroplasticity, which allows us more ability to see things from different points-of-view and understand cause and effect of behaviors and emotions. With this it helps us become aware of new patterns and cognitive abilities are improved. Also increased amount of neuroplasticity can help prevent certain conditions such as being less prone to anxiety and depression while learning faster and memorizing more. download (12)

6. Meditate

Studies imply that we can control our own brain waves and be able to feel whenever we want to through meditating. Meditation can be used to relax in your personal life, but it can also be a benefit in your professional life. For example meditating can make you feel more powerful right before a negotiation, be more confident when asking for a raise, or being more convincing during a sales call. The general idea of meditating is that the brain can develop further and you can make that development on purpose. To add to that different activities stimulate different areas of your brain, so you can work on becoming proficient at your strengths as well as improving your weaknesses. Also meditating is a benefit because it focuses on self-improvement of the brain. This is a good idea and/or practice for anyone who feels they are at professional peak, are ambitious professionals, and of course entrepreneurs who are looking to maximize their potential.

 

Sources: Entrepreneur and StyleFox

 

business email writing

Business eMail Writing

Trevor No Comments

It might be obvious, but only write emails when there is a clear purpose. There’s no need to say needless things when the average person using email for business sends and receives 122 emails a day, according to a study completed by the Radicati Group.

Opening Sentences

“This report explains our plan for launching the new product line.”

“This recommendation offers a solution to the problem of delayed responses to customer inquiries.”

“During a recent claims adjusting process, we discovered some concerns with your property that must be addressed.”

“I am pleased to inform you that we have the results of the customer satisfaction survey.”

One thing per eMail

Treat your email differently from a meeting. During a meeting you might want to address several different topics, and the more topics you resolved the more successful the meeting is. The opposite is true for emails; the less you say the better. Stick to your opening sentence that would address the purpose.

“I am writing to…..”

Basic Structure

1. Greeting: Dear sirs, Hello, To whom it may concern, etc.

2. Compliment or pleasantry: I found your report insightful, I enjoyed your presentation, It was a pleasure to meet you at the [event], etc.

3. Reason for your email : I’m writing because I would like to review your report/presentation more closely, I would like to discuss supplying your company with [product], etc.

4. Call to action: Could you send me the report/presentation by Thursday? Are you available on [date and time] for a meeting?

5. Closing message: Thanks in advance, Sincerely, Regards, etc.

6. Signature: Name, job title, link to website.

 

Sources: Business Writing, tuts

 

 

infected computer with virus

How e-cigarettes can kill your computer

Trevor No Comments

You know that e-cigs are here to stay when one of Oxford’s words of the year is ‘vape’. With an ever increasing market that is bombarded by all forms of competitors, there are some dodgy manufacturers out there that might hardwire malware into the USB charger.

There are different ways of recharging an e-cig; most of which involve a USB port. The USB can be plugged in through a specialized cable and then plugged into the wall; plugged into the computer or skipping the wire, and plugging directly into the computer. Once you plug an infected e-cigarette into your computer, you are basically granting the supplier access to it.

The guardian  mentioned a report on reddit which stated that  “One particular executive had a malware infection on his computer from which the source could not be determined,” the user writes. “After all traditional means of infection were covered, IT started looking into other possibilities.”

“The made in China e-cigarette had malware hardcoded into the charger, and when plugged into a computer’s USB port the malware phoned home and infected the system.”

Dave Goss, of London’s Vape Emporium, says that vapers can remain safe by buying from respected manufacturers such as Aspire, KangerTech and Innokin, and by checking for “scratch checkers” on the box, which mark out authentic goods from counterfeits.

KangerTech’s authentication process through “scratch checkers” refers to “All genuine KangerTech products are packaged with this sticker on the outside along with printed instructions inside each and every box. This sticker has a scratch-off with a product code under it.”

kangertech scratch code

 

Sources: The Guardian, NY Times, KangerTech

butn meeting the world

ButN The new standard for Business Networking?

Trevor 3 comments

Where Linkedin meets Facebook and has an affair with Tindr. ButN is a business, social and location based app that allows you to maximize your business trips.

Their primary premise is ‘don’t waste time in the hotel; this is the perfect time to be networking with likeminded individuals’. With ButN you can create, schedule and attend events created by yourself or others in the app.

Planning a trip to a summit? With ButN you’ll be shown an array of users by job professions and their distance from your location. So once you arrive to the summit, you’ll easily identify the people that hold a business interest to you. All you would have to do is contact them through the app and set a meeting up! However, like Tindr, both parties need to consent to the meeting before contact information is shared. If you are not interested in a contact, you can easily ignore or block them in the future. Also, depending on your settings; you can alert your contacts when you’re close to their location so you can set up a meeting.

An interesting feature is that you can write private notes on every contact. Is there something that you should never mention with this contact because it generally turns a meeting sour, or do you have a hard time keeping track of all your contact’s family members? This is the perfect space for all those thoughts and quirks you’ve learned from your contact. Have horrendous memory? No problem, jot this thoughts down so you can do a quick review right before the meet-up.

Although this is a new service that is still trying to gather memberships; it will be interesting to see whether or not it’ll catch on; or whether or not it’s just a matter of ‘how long’ until it becomes functional.

 

Sources: ButN

hand pushing like button

Facebook @ Work Service For January 2015

Trevor 4 comments

Banning Facebook from the office environment might be a thing of the past as FB prepares to launch a platform geared towards businesses.

As Facebook reaches saturation in the social networking arena, it aims to address the increasing business market. Linkedin alone has 332 million users (28% more than 2013); and in 2013, they had 259 million users (up 38% from 2012). This is a huge chunk of market to ignore. More importantly, 40% of the current users log in on a daily basis; that’s 133 million users logging in on any given day.

With Facebook at work, you’ll have your profile, newsfeed and colleagues as contacts. You will also be able to collaborate through productivity apps such as Google Drive; however, business profiles will not mix with personal profiles.  As noted by The Independent, Facebook At Work “could lead to distracted employees and breaches of confidentiality.”

As businesses become more social, productivity platforms have had to adapt to it. Although Facebook believes that this is a market opportunity, there are already some heavy competitors such as Salesforce. Not only does Salesforce have a fully integrated CRM, they’ve implemented a Chatter add-on years ago, which allows in-house communications and collaborations.

Robin Chater, founder of ButN, a new business network notes that “It will be interesting to see the heavyweights in the social networking market fighting it out for business users,” he said. “Facebook can see how quickly LinkedIn is growing – in spite of its many critics – and think it can do better.”

Facebook is currently on beta testing and is expected to launch in January 2015. It is expected that the initial accounts be free and ad-free, as well. It will definitely be interesting to see how a social platform attempts to battle on the business field.

Sources: Forbes, Expanded Ramblings 

person signing

Meeting Minutes

Trevor one comments

No, I’m not talking about the duration of a meeting. Meeting minutes are post-meeting briefs that bring everyone to the same page. These are not verbatim transcripts of the entire meeting, but rather highlight the relevant information. Here’s how it works:

1. Write down the basic information

– Date, time, place of meeting and the names of the people participating in the meeting. This is particularly important if you’re having a meeting with a second party such as a client or a service provider.

2. Record the ‘important’ points during the meeting

– This is why the meeting was held. Are you there to discuss future plans, current issues, or past performance? Use this space to write down questions or discussion topics.

3. Assign follow-up dates and responsibilities

– By talking about the ‘important’ points mentioned above, it will only be natural that more issues branch off from each point. In this portion, make sure that a follow-up plan is put in place that will allow for each issue to be addressed. Each follow-up should have a person assigned to the role; or, if the person is absent, assign a ‘supervisor’ to ensure that the issue is followed-up accordingly. Use this space to record the decisions that have been made.

4. Share the ‘Meeting Minutes’ with all the relevant parties

– Keep in mind that this document is also a task list, so make sure you share it with the relevant people! Email it or share it on a cloud platform like Dropbox or Google Drive.

 

The most important part in meeting minutes is point #3. This will avoid misunderstandings, clear up questions, and most importantly, record the decisions that were made jointly.

Here’s a sample template of a meeting minute:

Meeting Minutes template

Meeting Minutes template

person signing

5 routines that are ruining your productivity

Trevor 5 comments

We follow a routine everyday. The moment we wake up our routine brain kicks-in and we start tackling our morning tasks flawlessly and without much thought. These easy motion of actions follow into the workspace with just as much ease. This is where you need to be careful and assess your daily routine tasks. Are all the things you do on a daily basis efficient? Are you doing certain things that have become unproductive? It’s time to assess, and here’s 5 things that you should consider:

1. Make a Realistic To-Do List.  Although it’s tempting to add things to a to-do list, sometimes we keep tacking on more and more items that it becomes an impossible to-do list. It’s important to keep your list real and accomplishable because our brains tend to get fixated on incomplete tasks. Why stress yourself out? Make a list that is doable.

“Roy Baumeister and EJ Masicampo at Florida State University were interested in an old phenomenon called the Zeigarnik Effect, which is what psychologists call our mind’s tendency to get fixated on unfinished tasks and forget those we’ve completed. You can see the effect in action in a restaurant or bar – you can easily remember a drinks order, but then instantly forget it as soon as you’ve put the drinks down.” (killscreendaily)

2. Stop Answering Repetitive Questions. If you find yourself answering the same questions over and over again, regardless if they are from your clients or employees, you are wasting precious time. See this as an opportunity to improve the communications from your printed and digital media. If people have the same question over and over again, you are not efficiently providing your clients and employees with the accurate information. Try adding a FAQ’s section to your website for clients, and consider creating an internal wiki for employees.

“FAQ is the abbreviation for Frequently Asked Questions. FAQs are organized “collections” of valuable information that usually comes from questions (and their corresponding answers) for the most common issues raised by users, on various topics. Companies make up such information compilations in order to fulfill their customers’ need for answers. They are also a means to ease the burden of the customer support group by providing answers in written form to the most commonly asked questions.” (Avangate)

3. Stop eating lunch at your desk. Although you might think that you are being highly productive by eating at the desk, the reality of the matter is that your brain needs downtime too. A break will allow you to think and make clearer decisions.

“Taking a lunch break away from the desk lets people separate themselves from the source of that (energy) drain,” Cunningham says. “And that offers the opportunity to build back some of those resources in the middle of the day–rather than just at the end when work is over.

“Resource replenishment is specific to the person. You might need 10 minutes to recharge, your colleague might need an hour. The task for us, then, is totinker with our lunches in the way we tinker with an idea: If we experiment with the way we lunch, we can arrive at the meal that best feeds us”. (Chris Cunningham is the organizational psychologist for University of Tennessee at Chattanooga)

4. Stop making piles. Much like lists, piles create unnecessary clutter. When you pile things, you are organizing things per your own system, unbeknownst to everyone else. Stick to a systematic filing system that will allow others to help, and eliminate clutter so that you can boost your efficiency.

“Getting organized may have more to do with psychology than piles of possessions, according to professional organizers and the people who hire them. From low self-esteem and an inability to make decisions, psychology shapes a person’s relationship to his or her space and stuff. So the key to more organized lives may lie within the gray matter of the mind.

On a daily basis, organizers like Leeds suggest clients make simple, positive habit changes to establish a foundation for an organized, healthy, effective life.” (Regina Leeds, author of “One Year to an Organized Life”)

5. Stop signing every check. Designate a specific day and time for certain tasks, such as signing checks. Productivity works best when there are no interruptions. Instead of allowing a steady, unpredictable flow of interruptions, schedule these tasks for specific blocks of time to limit interruptions. Also check out why Jason Fried says that “work doesn’t happen at work“.

“Interruption is incredibly arrogant. When you interrupt somebody, you’re telling them that whatever they are doing is less important than the question you have to ask them.” — Jason Fried

business collegues

Sources:

Entrepreneur

 

 

 

man shaking hand

Making Monday Meetings Less Painful

Trevor 3 comments

Monday Meetings are important to align the team members with the weekly objectives and status checks. Although these are important things, as a manager, supervisor or coordinator one has to assess the real cost-benefit of meetings.

When you have a meeting, you might think that the cost is just 1-hour from the work day. The reality of the matter is that the real cost is 1-hour times the number of participants in the meeting. So for a meeting with 8 people total, you are using 8 hours of company time instead of the perceived hour.

How do you make meetings more efficient?

1. Only have meetings with the relevant people. If a person proves to be non-essential for a particular meeting, then there is no reason to include them.

2. A 1-hour meeting is not required. Although all our appointment tools are segmented into 15-30-45-60 minute blocks, it doesn’t necessarily mean that meetings have to fit within that time frame. It’s ok to have a 10 minute if the objective is achieved.

3. Have a clear agenda defined. Don’t call a meeting without knowing what the meeting is going to be about. Have the issues ready to be discussed.

4. Avoid tangents. Although, important matters might arise during the meeting; it might be completely unrelated to the stipulated agenda and the ‘right’ people might not even be in the room. In this case, just acknowledge the issue, define a date and the people that will be in charge of addressing it and move on.

5. Finish off with recapping objectives and responsibilities.

Check out this TedxMidwest where the speaker, Jason Fried, lays down a whole different idea about work. If you want a recap on the video, you might want to go to the “Where does work really happen?” article.

quote Jason Fried

Where Does Work Really Happen?

Trevor 3 comments

Where does work really happen? Jason Fried has asked himself that question and discovered something quite radical. Despite the strong investment in office space and office amenities, work doesn’t happen at work at all.

The myth of multitasking has long been debunked, and the notion of working at one thing at a time is gaining importance. Fried compares working to sleeping; an action that needs to follow a process in order to be deemed satisfactorily completed. In order to achieve a full night’s rest, one has to complete the cycle, and all interruptions cause the cycle to restart itself. Work works the same way, especially for the “thinking jobs”. In order to work, one needs to let the thought processes take over in order to really ‘think’.

“[Facebook and Twitter] aren’t the real problems in the office. The real problems are what I like to call the M&Ms, the Managers and the Meetings.”

According to Fried, the main problems for office distractions are M&M’s (Managers and Meetings). Although it’s the manager’s job to check up on the employee’s performance, doing too much of it renders everyone’s productivity inefficient. Meetings is the other culprit. Meetings usually call for too many people and run for longer than they should.

The solutions Fried offers:

1. Cancel the next meeting, if you are in a position to do so.

2. Have less meetings or quick ones with only the relevant people.

3. Encourage the use of instant messaging and emailing because the person can choose when he is interrupted.

4. Choose one afternoon and make it a ‘no talking block’.

 

[iframe src=”https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/jason_fried_why_work_doesn_t_happen_at_work.html” width=”640″ height=”360″]

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