Managing Expectations, Delivering Results

expectations

One of the most important skills for any business owner is the ability to reasonably manage expectations. Customers and clients expect to get what they paid for, and sometimes they expect more than that as well. While you want to deliver what you promised, you also do not want to set expectations so high that you cannot possibly hope to meet them. It’s critical to manage reasonable expectations while overdelivering on quality.

First, you have to remember not to overpromise results when negotiating or speaking with a client. Don’t agree to things that are not profitable for you or worth your time simply to make a sale. Meet the expectations that you laid out for your customers, giving them what they paid for in a timely manner. Overdeliver in terms of service and the quality of the final product or service. This likely won’t cost you much, and you will be more likely to have a repeat client.

Set standards for yourself and your company, and stick to them. Commit to quality, and be up front with your customers about what they should expect. When a customer believes he or she was deceived in some way during the sales process, even if it was unintentional or a miscommunication, it will be very difficult to get that business back. Clear communication about what your pricing includes is crucial, as is consistency in prices and quality from transaction to transaction.

Setting your customers and clients up with reasonable expectations starts at the moment they reach out to you. Be honest and upfront, but also strive to provide a quality experience from beginning to end. You can please your customers by clearly communicating what you will do and by overdelivering on quality and the overall pleasantness of the experience.

By Meagan Kerlin for Vertu Marketing LLC

How To Avoid Ruining Good Employees

employees

If you own a business, you understand the importance of having good employees. Individuals who care about doing their jobs well are hard to find, and you want to take care of them as much as possible. It may surprise you to find out that certain things employers do can decrease job satisfaction and eventually drive away good employees. Specific behaviors may not seem detrimental on the surface, but you may be accidentally making your employees’ jobs more difficult and less enjoyable.

Do you hold meetings that don’t really need to be meetings? This may be an indication that you don’t truly value your employees’ time. You may need to consider adjusting your communication style for the benefit of your employees. Also think about ways you can communicate clearly and consistently. Clarity is key, as it can be very frustrating for employees when they aren’t sure what their bosses want from them.

The desire to overcontrol everything is something else that will drive away good employees. Let your people use their gifts and talents without you hovering over their shoulders. You may have the best of intentions, after all, it is your business to know how your business is doing. However, this may communicate that you don’t trust your employees. Give them room to work and have faith in them.

Employers should support employees and strive to make their business a pleasant place to work. This will help you hold on to good employees, and your company will run smoother with fewer complications. If you are unsure of how to do this, have conversations with your employees or allow them the opportunity to provide feedback. Don’t take this as a personal criticism of you, but as a way you can show your support and concern.

By Meagan Kerlin for Vertu Marketing LLC

Saying No To Guilt When Saying No

guilt

Do you overcommit yourself, agreeing to do too many things and finding yourself overwhelmed? Whether it’s job related or not, you have the right to say no to some things. In fact, it’s actually a useful skill to know how to say no without letting guilt drive your decision-making process. Guilt can be a powerful motivator, but it shouldn’t be the reason you do or do not do something.

Guilt is tricky. Don’t mistake guilt for a sense of obligation to your employer or loyalty to someone else. There are many times when it is not only within your right to say no, it is actually beneficial and wise to do so. When do you do things because you feel guilty, you won’t have the physical, mental and emotional capacity to deal with the things that are actually important and necessary.

Learning to say no is about learning to have a measure of control over your life, your time and your work. The key to this is figuring out how to prioritize things. For example, guilt should not cause you to commit to things that are not in your job description at work or things that will cause you to lose focus from the critical aspects of your job. Ask yourself if you really can or should say yes and how that choice will impact other obligations you have.

The same applies to your personal life. You have the right to save space for the things that really matter. When you prioritize well and refrain from saying yes to too much, you will be in a place where you can be more present and purposeful in your everyday life.

Guilt can be powerful, but you can train yourself to set aside this feeling and think practically about the things you’re asked to do. When you are in control of whether you say yes or no instead of guilty feelings, you’ll make better decisions that will set you up for success and more peace of mind.

By Meagan Kerlin for Vertu Marketing LLC

How To Make Good Decisions Quickly

good decisions

Do you have trouble making a decision? Do you feel like you have to carefully weigh every single option in order to get the right outcome? Does making a choice sometimes give you anxiety? You aren’t alone. Decision-making can be difficult and stressful, especially when you have to make choices in a hurry. Thankfully, you can train yourself to make good decisions faster.

Some decisions are simple, and the implications are not that significant. Other decisions have the potential to alter the trajectory of your career or entire life, and those deserve careful and thoughtful consideration. If fast-paced decision-making skills are an important part of your job, the following may be helpful for you:

• Determine whether it’s a major or minor decision. Major decisions get more time, while simple ones just need a definitive answer. Limit the time and energy you give minor decisions, saving yourself for more important choices.
• Stop worrying about what others think of your choices. Not everyone is going to like your decisions, and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean that you made the wrong choice. Move forward confidently, and don’t sweat the opinions of others.
• Think long-term. Will this decision matter tomorrow? If not, just decide and move on. If it can have a longer and more significant impact on your life, set aside the time to think though it carefully.

Stop agonizing over every decision you have to make. Trust your skills, knowledge and experience to make good decisions quickly. Train yourself to go with your instinct. Save your worrying for bigger choices that deserve more of your time. Worrying about every choice you have to make can lead to more stress and less productivity.

You make choices all the time, both in your personal life and at work. Confidence in yourself and your decisions will make you a better employee, boss and well-rounded individual. Start training yourself to approach any decisions with clarity, rationality and self-assurance.

By Meagan Kerlin for Vertu Marketing LLC

Challenges Faced By Older Workers

older workers

Older workers may face certain challenges in the workplace, and it’s more important than ever for these individuals to know how to protect their rights and long-term interests. Business is rapidly changing, and people who are over a certain age may find it more difficult to prove their value. If you are an older employee, you will want to think long-term if you plan to remain in the workforce well into the future.

Thanks to longer life expectancy and financial concerns, people are working past what many consider to be a reasonable retirement age. In the midst of economic turmoil, employees may find it beneficial to consider how their jobs may change during the downturn and recovery. Thinking ahead means it will be easier to transidtion to other roles and even new employment opportunities if it becomes necessary.

This may require diversifying skill sets and becoming fluent in certain aspects of a job in order to remain a valuable employee. The unfortunate reality is that employers sometimes value younger individuals over older workers; however, continual growth and learning can help an employee remain a crucial part of the team, even when the company faces hardship.

Proficient skills, in-depth knowledge of the job and a solid performance history may not be enough to shield some individuals from unfortunate treatment in the workplace. For workers who are 40 and up, age discrimination can be a real concern, regardless of the specific type of workplace. It’s in the interests of each employee to be knowledgeable of employee rights and how to proceed in the midst of discrimination or other types of unfair treatment.

Older workers are capable, knowledgeable and important members of the workforce, and their age plays no part in the value they bring to the table. While there may be certain challenges this group faces in the workplace, they can take certain steps to make sure they remain in control of their career paths and future best interests.

By Meagan Kerlin for Vertu Marketing LLC

Accountability In Remote Work

accountability

The ability to work remotely is more important than ever before thanks to the COVID-19 crisis. Many jobs have transitioned online, and you may find yourself communicating with your team over Zoom or Skype instead of face-to-face across the conference table. This could be working well, or you may find yourself wondering about long-term accountability for yourself and others who work with and for you. How can you make sure everyone is putting in maximum effort while also working from the comfort of their living room — maybe even in their pajamas?

The good thing is that you are perfectly capable of working and doing your job without constant supervision. Same for your team, as they are adults who are able to work without you providing constant guidance. One thing that will prove helpful is to provide clear communication about tasks and expectations, yet remain flexible about how things get done. For example, you may have a team member who has small children at home, and the ideal time for him or her to work may be late afternoon.

Depending on the nature of the work you do, you may need to create a structure that makes sense for your team. This may require some creative thinking and letting go of certain expectations, but that does not mean that the end result won’t be successful. Everything is different and constantly fluctuating right now, and your ability to respond well to the crisis and rapid changes will influence your team’s reaction and their ability to cope.

When you give your team clearly communicated expectations and structure while remaining flexible and understanding, you’ll find that accountability likely won’t be an issue. Trust that you’ve set your team up for success and that your leadership will still serve them as well virtually as it does in-person.

By Meagan Kerlin for Vertu Marketing LLC

This Crisis Will Lead To New Opportunities

opportunities

Your career or your business has been through significant changes and upheaval over the last few months. Virtually every industry and type of job has experienced effects from the COVID-19 crisis. Whether you’re working remotely, adjusting procedures or even temporarily halting operations, you’ve likely experienced first-hand the impact of this global crisis. Like in any type of crisis, you’re facing difficulty, but you could also be coming into new and exciting opportunities.

In the next few weeks and months as local and state governments begin to transition into reopening, you may find you have new opportunities available to you. Perhaps you can reopen your doors in a limited capacity, offer new services or begin to develop a strategy for operating under social distancing guidelines. Customers and clients are hungry for a sense of normalcy, and they may soon be coming to you to fulfill specific needs. So how are you going to handle it?

Things will be different for awhile, and it may require ingenuity and creativity simply to open your doors and serve customers. This challenge represents new opportunities by allowing you to find new ways to operate. Your customers and clients may have new needs now as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, or they may need you to help them in different ways. You’ll have to stretch, grow, learn, experiment and try different tactics, but don’t think of it as a bad thing – approach it as a unique opportunity.

Can you offer to-go products? Can you serve clients online through Skype or Zoom? Can you offer curbside pick-up? How can you adjust in-store operations to safely serve patrons? These are a few questions that can help you seize the opportunities available to you and move forward during this challenging time. Things are still difficult, but ingenuity and positive thinking are keys to your ongoing success.

By Meagan Kerlin for Vertu Marketing LLC

Are You Really Engaging Your Followers?

followers

The entire point for businesses marketing through social media is to engage with their followers and hopefully turn those followers into paying customers. As you develop relationships with followers, you want to do more than get likes on Facebook or views on your Instagram stories – you want these followers to trust your company enough to become a customer or client.

The way to turn your social media followers into paying customers is to strive for better engagement. Meaningful connections with your followers is key to making your marketing strategy work well. One way to do to this is by giving them an inside look into what makes your business work. Behind the scenes or “about us” posts can help your followers gain a better perspective into what sets you apart.

The more your followers get to know you, your employees and your company, the more comfortable they will be with patronizing your business. This is why your social media marketing strategy shouldn’t be cold and impersonal. In fact, letting your personality shine through should be an important part of your social media plan. This is more likely to lead to engagement, more visibility for your posts and more likes.

Another way to build better relationships with your followers is to post things that encourage engagement. Get your followers talking by posting polls, asking questions, posting funny memes and getting responses. These don’t have to be serious to be effective. You may even find that people respond better to your “fluff” posts than they do your serious posts, and that’s okay. The point is to get people engaged.

Social media is a great tool, but only if you are using it in the right way. If you aren’t engaging well with your followers, they may never decide to become customers. Don’t let these valuable relationships and the opportunities provided by social media go to waste with boring and non-engaging posts.

By Meagan Kerlin for Vertu Marketing LLC