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StrategyDriven Customer Relationship Management Article

Non-Verbal Customer Communication: It’s More Important Than You Think

When we think about communicating with customers, our focus is usually on establishing the right things to say. However, as any communications expert will tell you, there is far more to getting your message across than just words. According to lots of different studies, non-verbal communication is a lot more important than you might think – in fact, it represents up to 50 percent of the message you are trying to get across.

Some of this non-verbal communication is obvious, of course. We all know that talking to a customer with a smile on your face is a lot more effective than doing it while looking at the floor or slouched behind a desk with your feet up. However, there are a lot more aspects of non-verbal communication that are incredibly subtle, and if you don’t know what to look for, you could be giving off the wrong signs. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.

Appearance counts

How you look and what you wear is a lot more important than you can imagine. Simply put, if you aren’t dressing properly with clothes that are in excellent condition and smart, you will lose custom. Make sure your employees are aware of the impact of how they dress, and also that they have good hygiene habits!

Your business appearance counts, too

But it’s not just your appearance that counts. It’s also the cleanliness of your vehicle or the state of your store. If customers come into spend money with you, they want to see a clean environment. You need to take care of tidiness and ensure that your business premises are free from dirt and mess. Good ventilation, concern for excessive environmental noise – it’s all important and has an impact on your customer’s opinion of your business.

Make it easy

Not all customers want to have a chat with your employees. For example, shoppers who come into your store on a lunch break may just want to pop in, make a purchase and leave as quickly as possible, not get drawn into the finer points of your industry. So, it’s vital that you communicate well with these people, too. Signage plays an important role here, so consider using visual cues – not just text but images, for instance. Hang displays from ceiling magnets, defining each area of your premises. Guide your customers with arrow symbols. And make it easy for them to get what they need without talking.

The importance of eye contact

Finally, as humans, we talk to each other face to face. We do this because it is a better way of establishing intent and, therefore, trust.  For example, if someone is going to punch you in the nose, you will usually be able to ascertain their intentions beforehand because you will see it in their eyes. So, if you and your employees are avoiding looking your customer in the eye, the simple truth is that they won’t trust you – even if it’s only subconsciously. It’s a sign of indifference and bad manners, too, and it will cost you in customers and sales.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Is Your Business As Eco Friendly As It Could Be?

Running your own business can be incredibly tough. When it comes to acting as the leader, all the responsibility is put on you, and sometimes you can doubt your ability to handle it. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it! There’s no need for you to worry, there’s a lot of advice out there about how to operate best as a self owned business, and how to take your company higher and higher in today’s world.

And if you want to keep on operating for the world of tomorrow, you’re going to have to make sure you’re working with the future in mind. In other words, it’s time to be as eco friendly as possible. But that doesn’t have to be as hard as you might think! Here’s some tips on making sure you’re as operating as energy efficiently as possible.

Change How the Office Works

Changing how the office operates is a lot easier than you might think, and implementing new rules bit by bit is going to allow people to adjust smoothly. So first of all, start buying reusable items to use at your desk, such as pens whose ink can be refilled, and a recycling bin underneath every station to make sure the waste is thrown away in the right place.

At the same time, try to send everything digitally, and only print when it’s absolutely necessary for someone to have a hard copy of a record. You can keep all of your own records on the cloud on a secure server, and thus it’s going to be rare you’ll actually need to use the printer. Cut down on both wasted paper and the couple hundred dollars you can lose on ink each month.

Make Use of Your Waste

Depending on the kind of business you’re running, you’re going to have different waste products by the end of the working week. But if you’re in the agriculture or hospitality sector, there’s a lot of waste you can reuse to help fire up your machinery if you have the right tools to do so. And as a small business, you have a better chance of implementing these energy saving techniques than the bigger companies out there.

If you’ve got both a lot of waste stuck at the bottom of the trash by the end of the day, and manufacturing or cooking equipment in the kitchen, it’s time to invest in a Briquette press. You can easily break down everything you throw away at the end of the day and then make it into a recyclable energy source when you’ve got the machine to do so, and it’s a lot more cost effective than tipping everything into a skip at the end of the day.

Your business can become a lot more eco friendly when you look into the different ways to optimize your operations. Don’t worry, these kinds of investments always pay off, and make your carbon footprint a lot smaller at the same time. Change today.

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article

Why It’s Important To Stay Protected Online

The internet has become an essential part of business management for numerous reasons. Primarily, it is an incredibly useful tool that enables any company to reach out to more people, conduct safe transactions, assess their processes, and source an immense range of tools and resources that can streamline your business management and grow your company. However, with the huge benefits that the digital age offers, there are also some significant risks. It’s vital for any company that is looking to improve and increase its reliance on the internet, to assess the possible risks and limit the chances of them happening. The reasons for this may seem obvious, but some of the issues may not have occurred to you, so here are the three reasons why you should be protecting yourself online.

The growing threat of cybercrime

It would be hard not to have noticed the prevalence of news articles and headlines that report on the latest incidents of cybercrime. Large and small companies are both at risk of costly and damaging cyber attacks, so it’s vital that you as a business owner are not merely aware of the latest threats, but also the reasons why protection is so important. The increasing sophistication of cyber attacks, in whatever form, means that you need to not only prepare yourself for the risks but ensure that your employees are as aware as you are. It is for this reason why staff training sessions on basic internet security are an essential part of your weekly business management.

It’s a business risk

One of the main reasons why you need to make a concerted effort to protect yourself from cybercriminals is down to the damage that they can cause. This is not simply a case of financial risk, although that’s certainly one of the issues that you need to concern yourself with. However, one of the primary targets of cybercriminals is not simply access to your bank details, but access to your data. That data, whether it’s that of you, your employees, your customers, or your suppliers, can be used in a number of nefarious ways, with identity theft and phishing targets the key issues to concern yourself with. The growing sophistication of hackers has led companies to optimize their security methods, with many opting to upgrade rather than update, and transferring to SonicWall firewall technology to create an extra layer of protection between the data that you hold and the criminals that want it.

Staying safe can grow your business in ways that you may not have considered. Having a strong security attitude is not only a good way to stress the importance of strong and secure internet use in your employees, but it can also become an additional selling point when it comes to attracting new customers. As consumers become ever more comfortable browsing and making purchases online, they are also becoming more aware of the risks when it comes to sharing their personal information. Having a robust security system in place is not only vital when it comes to protecting yourself; it could make the difference between a customer trusting you enough to click the transaction button or choosing your competitors.

Getting On The Right Side Of The Team

A business is more than the brand or the products and services it sells. The business is also the people who make it and the company culture that forms as a result of their interactions, their cooperation or lack thereof. A business owner who gets on the wrong side of their team might still have the power in the relationship, but they can risk the future of the company by failing to use it responsibly.

Build a better environment

The physical workplace is just as much of an asset, too. The value of that asset is in creating a safe, comfortable, and motivating space for you and the team. By focusing too much on cost-effectiveness in designing your space, you can miss out on both the practical and mental needs that it needs to fulfill. Updating the surroundings, improving lighting, creating workspaces that allow for communication, and implementing access for employees with disability all create a much more positive office space.

Lead by example

You want your employees to be good members of the team, but to improve your chances of getting that, you need to be a good team member, too. For instance, you want employees to take responsibility for their successes and failures, so it starts with you. When a project fails, don’t pass the buck because it’s convenient. Similarly, don’t be afraid to hold others accountable without turning it into a public haranguing. By demonstrating the qualities you want to see in your employees, they are more likely to follow suit.

Ensure their concerns are addressed

Things don’t always go well in the workplace. Arguments, harassment and bullying do happen and are concerns you should be mindful of. Create a set of HR standards and practices with the help of lawyers that deal with employment issues. Ensure that your company policies are up to scratch and that your team has channels by which they can safely report toxic behavior in the workplace.

Develop your team

You want more than just a labor force. You want people who are willing to invest energy, thought, and creativity into the business. But if you’re not investing in them, why should they return the favor? The easiest way to invest in your team is to help develop them. Give them opportunities to try new responsibilities, offer training for them, and even consider setting up a mentorship program within the business.

Encourage and accept feedback

Just like you must be able to accept reports on harassment and other unacceptable behavior, you should be willing to accept feedback from the team, as well. Create feedback loops that allow employees to share their criticism of processes and standards, not just team members or personal interactions. You can encourage it by setting specific agendas for the team meeting taking a closer look at different aspects of the business.

Your people are your most valuable asset when used right and to use them right, you have to treat them right. Create a positive workplace culture and watch as motivation, engagement, and productivity soar.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Three Reasons Not to Give Up on Running Your Own Business

Business is sometimes full of unexpected twists and turns that are out of our control. However, one thing that we do have control over is how we respond to these things. When a business is facing multiple challenges, it can be tempting to throw in the towel. There are, however, a number of reasons that you should try and hang in there. Undoubtedly, there are times when a business has reached the end of its road, and it’s time to let it go and turn a new page. On the other hand, other times all it requires is effective re-strategizing to get your business back on track. In light of this, in this article, you will find three reasons that you shouldn’t give up on running your own business.

It’s a Chance to Make an Impact

Businesses play a vital role in society. They create job opportunities, profit in most cases, and have a purpose to make people’s lives easier in one way or another. This means that whether it is intentional or not, your business is going to make an impact on society. While some businesses make a negative impact through environmental pollution, poor services, and worker exploitation, there are others that make an extremely positive impact in their communities. The point is, when you run a business, you give yourself the opportunity to positively impact the lives of your customers and environment. This can be done by making your business more socially conscious and as a result, carrying out genuine outreach, minimizing harm, being transparent about your business operations, mistakes, and setbacks, thinking locally, and promoting passion and unity amongst your employees. By not giving up when the going get’s tough, you give yourself a chance to make a lasting impression that can be imprinted in the hearts of people for years to come.

There’s Always a Solution to Every Problem

One of the reasons you may often think of giving up on running your own business is the many challenges associated with it. Every business has its high’s and low’s. However, when the lows seem disastrous, it’s easy to think that perhaps the business isn’t meant to be. On the other hand, you should try and exhaust all possible options and see where you’re going wrong before giving up. This could mean you need to check your strategy and ensure you’re executing it effectively or go back and review your initial business plan. Some other ways to revive your business when it seems it’s about to fail is reviewing your marketing tactics, ensuring you focus on general business principals, and checking that you have the right management team for your business.

It’s an Opportunity to Live on Your Own Terms

When you run a business, there are many things that you stand to gain personally. For one, you have the chance to live life on your own terms and have control over your time and how you make your money. Although running a business doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be a millionaire, you can achieve a level of financial freedom if your business does well. One of the ways that you can achieve this is by making smart and calculated personal and business investments with lower fee investment options like wealthsimple. The reality is, when you own a successful business, you have more financial flexibility and sometimes greater opportunities.

No matter of what path you decide to take in life, you’re always likely to face difficulties. If, however, you can find a way to push past these challenges and grow, it’s likely there is a lot that you can gain. This same principle can be applied in business and is one of many reasons you shouldn’t give up when the going gets tough.