How Corporations Are Rebuilding After COVID-19

How Corporations Are Rebuilding After COVID-19

What is the future of work? Three months ago, that might have seemed like a far-reaching question, but in the light of the coronavirus epidemic, organizations are quickly realizing that it’s time to develop an answer, at least for the short term. 


In any given crisis, the businesses that succeed are those who look at conflict as an opportunity to adapt and develop their structure and processes. As we move forward in the era of COVID-19, many corporations are already reimagining the way they do business. Following the lead of these organizations, from major tech giants to fellow small businesses, can help you keep on your feet and exit the crisis with a smarter, stronger company.


A greater focus on health


Employee health has quickly become the main focus of workplace changes. Many offices are adopting health policies like regular temperature checks, hand sanitizing stations, and mask requirements before employees can enter the building. The physical office structure is changing as well: companies with open-air offices are integrating measures such as clear plastic sneeze guards, HVAC airflow changes, spaced out desks, or added cubicles.


Given the pressing health concerns, we’ve also seen businesses switch to digital-only meetings and reconsider which meetings truly bring value to the company. In the current economic situation, it may be helpful for certain teams like a sales team to meet even more frequently than before, while other internal or external meetings may be rescheduled or canceled. In addition, the pandemic has also called many standard policies into question, like the need for guaranteed sick leave and care leave, meaning that some organizations are rapidly changing the way they provide for their people in general. 


Updated work from home policies


At the end of the COVID-19 crisis, organizations may find themselves with far fewer in-office employees at any given time—or even no in-office employees at all. Some major technology companies, including tech giants like Google, Twitter, and Facebook, are changing their policies to allow employees to work remotely for the long term, with the possibility to make these changes permanent even after the outbreak is resolved. And as employees learn to tackle issues remotely and to collaborate digitally, companies must think on their feet to adapt their workplace policies. Working in a digital office alters the way a workforce engages with a company, the way employee training is carried out, the way we adapt to digital tools, and even the expectations customers have of a company. 


This current crisis may be one of the toughest leadership tests you’ll face, especially in light of the health and economic concerns of this virus. Reimagining your organization as a nimble team that can make crucial decisions quickly, collaborate, and work remotely, and move forward through uncertainty may be exactly what’s needed to help you succeed in the long run.


The Power of Masterminds in an Increasingly Online World

The Power of Masterminds in an Increasingly Online World

If you’ve ever worked with a group in any workplace, you may have come away with the opinion that group work is more trouble than it’s worth. Conversations veer off-topic, people work at different paces, and syncing up schedules can be a chore. 


But the truth is, working with the right group can give you creative breakthroughs you might never have had on your own. And when you’re running a business, especially alone, it’s crucial to find the support you need for brainstorming, problem-solving, and more. Mastermind groups open a world of collaboration and shared insights within a supportive environment—and in the age of physical distancing, you might find that it’s the power of that collaboration that keeps you going. Here are a few reasons to consider joining a mastermind group your next business investment.


Sense of community


Entrepreneurs who start a small business can be surprised to find how lonely and isolating it can feel when you don’t have the right crowd to support you. Worse, finding opportunities for business networking and group brainstorming has never been easy, even before coronavirus came on the scene. In an age where physical distancing is the new norm, it’s more important than ever to surround yourself with people who can help you reach your goals—and that’s where mastermind groups come in. These groups foster a sense of community between like-minded members, allowing participants to share experience and connections and to support each other as needed. The solid relationships and ongoing help quickly give you the sense that you aren’t alone, and you’ll be supported as you move forward.


Shared vision


Most of us are at our best when we feel we’re working together toward a shared goal. And although each member of a mastermind group is working toward personal goals around their own organization, everyone’s objective is to move forward—meaning that every win can be celebrated together as a sign of the community’s success. Whether members are investing in education, improving business skills, or adjusting their finances, each person achieves more through the group’s collaboration, support, and shared sense of purpose, making it a great way to find your own success.


Regular connections


In a mastermind group, online meetings occur on an ongoing basis. The overall goal is to create a safe space for members to discuss the pressing issues of their business and the tactics and techniques they’re using, as well as to provide opportunities for education, collaboration, and business networking. These ongoing meetings also offer the extra advantage of helping members stay connected with like-minded business owners, fostering long-term relationships with your peers. 

Finding empowerment through peer support is more important now than ever before. With these advantages (and many more), a mastermind group may be one of the most important business moves you make.

Digital Resources Every Entrepreneur Should Be Using

Digital Resources Every Entrepreneur Should Be Using

Everyone who runs their own business worries about how to invest in that business. But in my experience, not enough of them remember to regularly invest in themselves as well. The business world is constantly changing, and it’s tough to keep pace if you don’t put in the work. Fortunately, modern technology makes it possible to consistently invest in yourself at all stages of your business. Whether you’re after “soft” skills like management skills or “hard” ones like financing, I’ve written out a list of the best digital resources to give you a leg up on the competition, in no particular order.


Online training


From MIT lectures on YouTube to Harvard classes on popular education websites, it’s possible to get all of the tools you need to succeed without leaving your computer. Online classes allow you to pick up relevant training to handle specific business issues, and TED talks or similar videos can be great digital resources for one-off learning as well. Best of all, you’ll find that online training can be relevant at all phases of your business: classes for budding entrepreneurs might talk about startup funding or market assessments, while veterans might find classes to stay on top of advancements in techniques and technology in their field.


Online business groups


Although most of us think of “networking” as something that happens in person, you’ll miss out on fantastic opportunities if you forget to check for relevant networks online. Depending on the platform, some groups will be incredibly formal, with members-only access to resources, forums, and more. Others will be less so—including more casual groups housed on popular social media sites like LinkedIn. These online communities can be a great way to get hold of highly relevant educational resources, as well as peer support, monthly meetings, curated content, and more.


Online mentorships and masterminds


If you’re serious about staying a few paces ahead of the competition, finding the right guidance can be crucial—and it’s easier than ever to do it online. If you prefer to find one on one support, an online mentorship may be right for you. The right mentor can offer personalized feedback when you need it most, staying relevant to your business and industry. Best of all, you can tailor your experience by finding a mentor with expertise in areas you struggle in most. On the other hand, if you prefer a group experience, a mastermind can be a great digital resource. Masterminds are groups of like-minded entrepreneurs who participate in regular meetings, each member having the goal of improving their own businesses. This type of online community  offers opportunities for brainstorming, hearing new perspectives, and cultivating strong relationships with supportive peers who will hold you accountable to your goals.


Being a business owner means constantly striving for better and more—but these digital resources make the job easier. Don’t be surprised at just how much you can learn with these digital resources, because the next great thing you do for your business might be completed online.

4 Things to Help Build Your Business’s Presence in a Digital World

4 Things to Help Build Your Business’s Online Presence in a Digital World

It seems almost crazy to think that just twenty years ago, many businesses still got most of their customers through the phonebook. How things have changed….Today, if a business has no online presence, it might as well not exist. In the digital world, it’s crucial to get your business in front of the audience that needs what you offer and to consider the digital marketing side of even a brick-and-mortar business. 


No matter what kind of organization you lead, here are the four things you need to consider. 


  1. Website


This is the absolute minimum, and your organization’s website doesn’t even have to be extremely sophisticated. At a basic level, a website acts as a strong trust signal for potential customers (i.e., it indicates professionalism and legitimacy), and not having one is a good way to lose those customers. Beyond this, a website is also a great way to share fundamental information your customers need, like your location, prices, product info, and hours. Taking things to the next level, you can build up your website using the next tips to better convey your brand and purpose and to offer important updates. 


  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)


When your customers search for products and services online, it’s in your best interest to have your business’s information pop up near the top of the search results—and that’s what SEO is all about. Good SEO adds another layer of trust to your website, allowing you to get your products or services in front of the people who actually need them. It’s worth noting that SEO is a process, not a one-and-done procedure, so it’s important to work to optimize your website as you build it out. If you’re looking for help, Google has a great guide to help you get started.


  1. High-quality content


Today, one of the best ways to strengthen your brand is through content—not only because search engines respond positively to websites that post in-depth, relevant content that attracts an audience, but also because it’s a good way to engage with your customers. Informational, helpful content can also help showcase you as an industry expert and problem solver, making it a good long-term strategy to bolster your business’s online brand and reputation.


  1. Social media


No matter what kind of business you serve, your target audience is certainly engaging with social media—and it’s important for you to be where they are. Social media helps you connect and communicate with potential buyers, and it can also help you get a better idea of your audience’s likes, problems, and needs. Engaging with customers on social media can help you earn loyal fans and expand your business presence, and it’s also another way for your organization to build trust in the digital world. 

These are the four things you’ll need at a fundamental level to jump-start your business’s online presence management, but keep in mind that digital marketing should be an ongoing process. If you’re chasing success, you should be prepared to keep an eye on your presence in the digital world for the long haul, tweaking your strategies and enhancing your brand reach every step of the way.

5 Psychological Hacks for a Healthy Business Mindset

5 Psychological Hacks You Need for a Healthy Business Mindset

As an entrepreneur, you likely hold yourself to higher expectations than anyone else does. In reaching for success, you’re constantly pushing, making sacrifices, and working on the go. But this consistent strain can weigh on your mind—which is troubling because your success also relies on your inner mental game! How can you maximize your efforts and cultivate a business mindset, even as you face the constant challenge of entrepreneurship? Here are five psychological tricks to help you succeed.

1. Know your boundaries. 

A successful entrepreneur must be aware of what is and isn’t acceptable on the road to success. How far are you willing to go for the sake of your business? When are you willing to offer deep discounts to prospective buyers, or bend turn-around times for a client relationship? Knowing your own boundaries can help you say “yes” only at the right times, instead of simply going with the flow.

2. Step away from your business.

This may sound like a counter-intuitive entrepreneurial skill—and if you’re a new business owner, it may sound downright scary. Your business may feel like your entire life, but that’s exactly why it’s crucial to take time to disconnect. Set aside time for a short detox at regular intervals throughout the year to help recharge your batteries and refresh your mindset.

3. Embrace failure. 

We’ll all experience disappointment at some point in our lives, but we tend to take it very personally when it happens in a business we’ve worked hard on. The inability to accept failure is a mental block that you must overcome to cultivate a better business mindset. Sure, your first attempts may fail, but even the most successful people weren’t triumphant at every step. Consider each failure as an opportunity to learn and improve.

4. Get more sleep.

A common part of entrepreneur psychology is the need to be constantly going at full speed, but your health is often the first thing to suffer when you overwork yourself. And sure, you’ve heard a thousand times that you need more sleep, but chances are you still aren’t getting enough of it. Sleep can help the brain review what it’s learned during the day, and it improves your overall memory and attention span—both of which you very much need! Do yourself a favor, and get in bed on time.

5. Find a supportive network. 

No one is an island. Even if you’re a solopreneur, you don’t have to do it all alone. Don’t hesitate to lean on family and friends for help, whether you need financial backing for your startup or someone to watch the kids when you’re working with a client. And as you grow your business, extend that network to find mentors, peers, and mastermind groups that can help you take things to the next level.

As you build your business, don’t forget to cultivate healthy entrepreneurial psychology as well. You might be surprised how well these mental hacks can give you the resilience you need to weather the intense stress, uncertainty, and risk that comes along with managing your own business.

Strategies to Manage a Newly Remote Team

Aim To Win Strategies to Manage a Newly Remote Team

With coronavirus spreading around the globe, leaders everywhere are quickly learning to adapt to a new dynamic—and that means business leaders as well. Out of necessity, a staggering number of companies are having employees work remotely, often for the first time. For leaders, the sudden shift to managing a completely remote team can be an added challenge during this already stressful time, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few key strategies, you can help your online team remain effective under your leadership.

Lead by example.

Given the uncertainty and stress we are all feeling at the moment, the idea of pressing on as usual can feel pretty daunting. While there’s nothing wrong with you or your people feeling anxious or apathetic in the face of the current climate, it’s also important to remember that your team takes its cues from you. As their leader, it’s more crucial than ever to remain empathetic but firm, giving your team a stable figure in light of the unsettling situation. Show patience, offer support, and listen to their concerns as you move forward.

Get the right technology.

Many businesses were caught by surprise and are not prepared to go remote, so it’s important to make sure your entire team is using the best tools for the job. Most importantly, try to standardize your software: Which chat software will your team be using? Are you working all from the same project management tool? Are you hosting virtual meetings through Microsoft Teams or Zoom? Get on the same page with your people for more cohesive teamwork.

Have daily check-ins.

Make sure to engage your people through consistent check-ins throughout the day, whether these are scheduled meetings, text messages,  or spontaneous phone or video calls. t the absolute minimum you should virtually touch each person daily, which can be a group meeting for all of your people or one-on-one meetings depending on how your organization is structured and how your team tends to work. 

These check-ins will help on several fronts: first, they give employees a sense of stability and predictability, and it also ensures that they know your virtual door is always open if they have questions and concerns. Second, team meetings are crucial to getting everyone on the same page and focused, especially in the context of remote work. Last, these check-ins can help all of you feel more connected in these times of uncertainty. In addition to formal “business meetings,” make sure that you allow for fun and informal conversation—just like you would at the office.  

Help your team prioritize.

Little about this situation is business as usual. This means that your organization’s priorities have most likely shifted, and your people might be struggling to see the big picture. As a leader, your role is to help your team focus on the most impactful projects in the current context. Make sure that you are maintaining your team’s sense of purpose and its core values, even in this new environment. 

After some initial pains, you might find that this remote setup works well. Once you guide them through the early days of this large-scale remote work experiment, trust your people to continue delivering results, and keep checking in as the situation unfolds.

Does Your Small Business Need a Financial Coach?

Financial coach

In the realm of financial advice, a financial coach is something relatively new. Financial advisors, planners, and accountants have been offering their insights for ages, but not everyone is aware of how the more modern role of a financial coach can help you reshape your approach to business, as well as your perspectives on money. Here’s why (and when) you should consider reaching out to a financial coach.

What is a financial coach?

A financial coach is someone who helps you with basic money management skills. Their assistance can be especially helpful if you have a hard time managing your finances, want to get out of debt-related overwhelm, or if you simply want to improve your financial literacy in general. The ultimate goal is to empower you to make better decisions when it comes to your money, whether in a personal or business setting. Your coach will help you develop healthier money habits through education, eventually creating a tailored financial plan based on your objectives. This typically happens in a limited time frame, over a few weeks to a year, allowing your coach to check your progress and support you as you begin implementing the strategies they’ve taught. 

What skills can you learn from a financial coach?

They can give you a wide range of useful skills. Notably, they’ll help you become more aware of your own money habits, especially when it comes to expenses, by coaching you to track your own financial movements. They can also help you set specific financial goals, whether it’s the personal goal of creating a budget or the desire to eliminate your business’s debt. 

Business leaders can also benefit from their advice on specific and complicated financial issues, such as complex taxes or the best practices in terms of finance for your industry. Best of all, a financial coach will support you and hold you accountable as you put these skills into practice, making it easier to create habits that truly stick.

Should you get a financial coach?

Whether you’re seeking financial help with a specific issue, or you’d simply like to learn better money management strategies, a coach can help empower you to create your own financial success in the long term. What’s more, financial skills are endlessly practical! You’ll be relying on the habits you create for the rest of your life—and they can truly help you learn to master your money. Fortunately, if you aren’t sure you need extra help, you can always consider a trial session or short-term coaching to see if the coach brings value to your company or personal finances.

As a business leader, you should always aim to be learning and improving your skills, and there are few skillsets more practical than financial literacy. If you’re on the fence about coaching, don’t hesitate to give it a shot to see if it’s right for you. You may be surprised to find that your financial coaching becomes a solid investment that truly pays for itself in the long term.

How to Toot Your Own Horn at Work (Without Being Annoying)

How To Toot Your Own Horn Team

Most of us hate the idea of bragging about our achievements, and we all know someone who’s too eager to shove their success in our faces. But on the other side of the spectrum, being too humble can cost you the job, the promotion, or the pay raise. It’s a tough balancing act, but if you want the recognition you deserve, tooting your horn is a valuable skill to have in your back pocket. Here are a few ways to get a little subtle PR going, without taking it too far.

1. Know what to share.

Just as you should be updating your resume, you should also have a running list of things you accomplish with your team at work. Often we believe we’re “just doing our job” but the results you achieve while you’re going your job are worthy of being shared, so don’t hesitate to share those wins.

2. Become a storyteller.

Everyone loves a story.  Once you have your list of accomplishments, be prepared to tell it. For example, instead of saying “I decreased turnover by 20%,” explain the problem, the obstacles you faced, your choices, your course corrections, and your outcome. And the next time someone asks for an update, tell them your story so far: the situation, the challenges, the plan of attack. Good storytelling makes it much easier to share your results, so take advantage of every opportunity.

3. Give updates.

We aren’t often invited to share our stories, and we don’t always volunteer them—but this is something you should change. Sometimes, we believe we don’t need to share updates because others don’t want to be bothered or your team must know already. But the reality is that your senior management may have no idea what challenges you’re overcoming, and often like to be kept in the loop.

4. Talk about your team.

To share accomplishments without appearing arrogant, talk about the team you’re working with, whether this is a team you head or a team of colleagues. Your audience will make the logical leap to see your contributions, allowing you to sing your own praises without coming across in a negative way. And your team will love to have their own horn tooted!

5. Get others to toot your horn.

Create reasons for others to brag about you without prompting. This isn’t quite as easy as the steps above, but it’s very effective. To make it happen, be active in helping others, whether on your team or not, on a regular basis. Your kindness, support, and advice make others more willing to vouch for you, giving you credit for your contributions in their work.

If your aim is to move up in any organization or team, you’ll have to learn to share your merits—or else you run the risk of allowing your career to stagnate. And while you may feel uneasy about shouting your own praises, these steps are a great way to comfortably (and inoffensively) toot your own horn. 

How to Leverage Your Executive Coach

How to Leverage Your Executive Coach

So you’ve finally hired an executive coach—which means you can sit back and let the results start rolling in, right? 

The truth is, if you want to make the most of this opportunity, you’ll need to do a lot of hard work. Plus, if you truly want to leverage your business coach, there are a few strategies to keep in mind. Here are a few steps to help you maximize the experience.

1. Commit to the process.

Change never happens overnight. It’s a process, and if you’re truly committed, you have to go all in. Be ready to stretch farther than you thought you could, because change only happens outside your comfort zone, and a good coach helps you get there. 

2. It won’t be easy.

The best executive coach will constantly challenge you. As stated above, you’ll be doing a lot of hard work—and you’ll only get out of it what you’re willing to put in. Give it your all, though, and I promise you’ll get much more out of the process.

3. Set your vision from the start.

Know what you want yourself to look like at the end of coaching, and share this vision with your executive coach. With this, the two of you can develop a series of measurable goals and milestones to help you both understand what the “new you” should look like in a month, six months, or a year. Don’t forget to plan with consistent and measurable goals to make sure you stay on track. Use these goals to evaluate your progress and course-correct when necessary.

4. Learn to leverage your strengths.

Often, we get coaching to shore up our weaknesses, but the real power is in leveraging your strengths. A good business coach can help drive you toward excellence, so don’t be afraid to ask them about honing your strengths. Have them teach you to maximize and apply your strengths, as well as how to seek out situations that take advantage of them. 

5. Be open with your executive coach.

If you keep to surface-level topics, you’ll only see superficial benefits. One thing working in your favor is that your coach is on your team! Coaches have an ethical responsibility to confidentiality. Your business coach works for you. They’re your partner. This means that your conversations take place in a safe zone, so open up to let them help you get better results.

6. Accept feedback.

Again, your coach works for you—and one thing you’re paying for is honest feedback. This can be tough when it’s something you don’t want to hear, but it’s better to receive criticism from your coach than from your boss or colleagues. Remain accepting rather than defensive, and start putting the feedback to good use. 

7. Do the work.

Coaching isn’t a class you walk into unprepared. If you’re going to get results, you’ll want to read over the agenda for your coaching session and prepare questions and concerns to work on. In addition, you’ll need to put the skills and strategies you learn into practice as you go through your workweek.

If you’ve gone through the trouble of hiring an executive coach, do yourself a favor and commit to the work. Take advantage of the opportunity—because though the work may push you out of your comfort zone, it’s only by committing that you’ll see the real power of coaching.

When to Hire a Small Business Accountant

Small business owners sometimes feel reluctant to seek out extra help for their business, especially because help tends to cost money. This is especially true when it comes to finances, which most leaders understand at least at a basic level—making it easy to convince themselves that it’s fine to do it on their own. 

But accounting for small businesses isn’t quite the same as basic bookkeeping, and it’s important to decide whether your business needs some extra support. 

Can you take care of your own small business accounting?

Some business owners swear that a good accountant can save you significant money and headaches down the road. After all, business finances can be incredibly complex at times, and it sometimes pays to have peace of mind. But the truth is that your needs depend entirely on your situation—because doing it yourself can be a perfectly viable option. 

You may not need a financial accountant if you have a simple, uncomplicated business, such as a sole proprietorship, or if you’re a freelancer with just a few clients. In cases like these, go ahead and do your own small business accounting by managing your own income, expenses, budget, and taxes, as long as it doesn’t eat up the time you need to run a successful business. Remember to always calculate the value of your time in your business when making spending decisions. Are you better off doing your own accounting, or in spending the time in your business?

In what situations should you reach out to a professional financial accountant?

While less complex business structures don’t necessarily need the help of an accountant, there are times where the extra help can pay off—literally. One study by Intuit, the maker of QuickBooks, found that 89% of small businesses say they’re more successful when they work with an accountant. Specifically, there are a few cases where larger organizations will definitely want the expertise of an industry professional, even if you do part of the work yourself:

Filing your taxes. This one is obvious, as it’s one of the most well-known parts of an accountant’s job. When it comes to your business, an accountant can help you determine the correct forms and deductions to fill out, giving you a little more peace of mind.

Forming (or reforming) a business. A financial accountant can advise you on the best legal structure in terms of taxes and liabilities, and help you do the financial analysis you’ll need to write a business plan. If you’ve started out with a simpler business structure that’s limiting your growth, an accountant can also help you reshape your business’s structure in a way that makes the most financial and legal sense.

Acquiring relevant licenses. An accountant can help you obtain the licenses and documentation you’ll need, including a business EIN, employment accounts, sales tax permits, and more. This can be especially useful if you run a business in more than one state, or in some cases multiple cities, as your needs can vary from place to place—and an accountant can help you find and fill out the documentation you actually need. 

Bookkeeping assistance. While you may not necessarily need an accountant to do your bookkeeping for you, you can still ask for their insights and expertise to help you run your business’s numbers on your own. To help you get started on the right foot, an accountant can also create a tax plan for your new business, which can help you understand which deductions to record for tax purposes. They can also work to find the right bookkeeping software for your needs, and offer advice on tracking expenses and other day-to-day financial issues that might come up.

Compliance. In certain states, compliance issues can be difficult to navigate, and the problem is worse if you do business in more than one location. A professional accountant can help you ensure compliance with everything from sales tax to payroll complications.

When should you hire a financial accountant on an ongoing basis?

While it’s true that doing your own bookkeeping is a great way to cut costs in the early stages of your business, you may eventually want to have an accountant manage your books in order to free up your time, or the time of key leaders in your growing organization. But even if you keep all of your bookkeeping work in-house, it may still be a good idea to reach out for financial help on an ongoing basis. While some small businesses choose to only get in touch with their accountant during tax season, it can be helpful to meet more regularly. Depending on your needs, once a quarter or once a month might be as often as you need, but even this can make a world of difference to your organization’s finances. 

Having an ongoing relationship with an accountant can help keep you on top of potential financial issues before they grow more complicated. For example, an accountant can help you navigate any compliance issues as they crop up. They’ll ensure that your quarterly tax payments are correct, especially if your business is currently growing, as the numbers will change over time. 

Best of all, as an outsider approaching your organization with fresh eyes, a good accountant can help give you big-picture financial feedback to help you manage your organization. This can mean things like offering overviews of your cash flow patterns, insights into your inventory management or pricing structure, and advice on your property leases. Breaking these complicated patterns into charts, graphs, and financial forecasts, an accountant can help you find any potential areas for growth and better understand the ins and outs of your business. Essentially, as you work toward specific business goals, an accountant can help provide the financial expertise and support you need to get there.

Ultimately, the amount of contact you have with your accountant is your decision, but seeing one regularly can help you stay on top of financial concerns as they arise—and eventually start bringing in more profits in the long term.