3 questions to ask to determine if you are a good leader (Entrepreneur.com)

By: Deborah Mitchell  January 26, 2015

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242095

As an entrepreneur, what is your leadership style? I’ve worked for a variety of bosses over the years, all with very different personalities and leadership styles. Some were obsessive micromanagers while others were hands off and provided no guidance as a manager, leaving me to figure out more than a few important things for myself. When you Google leadership styles, one of the first results is courtesy of Wikipedia, which gives the textbook definition of leaders as such: “They range from the grouchy, live-in-fear type of boss, to the merry pack leader who builds a relationship of trust with his subordinates in order to increase productivity.” Further research reveals that good leadership traits include good communication skills, creativity and the ability to inspire workers, all while keeping their staff motivated.

If you are an entrepreneur or plan to become one, ask yourself these three questions and determine what you should do to improve your leadership style.

  1. Are you approachable? 

A company is not measured by the number of employees, but rather, by the employee culture it promotes and the ability of its leader to generate feelings of loyalty and a sense of purpose among his staff. Work performance is more likely to increase when leaders maintain an open-door policy, engage in non-work related conversations, show a sense of humor and stand by their employees when they are facing challenges.

Implementing a better leadership style:

A good exercise in sound leadership is to encourage activities outside the workplace. Activities where the boss joins along — even for an hour — such as training for a marathon, volunteering, taking yoga classes or attending a skill-acquisition workshop are all good ways to be approachable and build team camaraderie. It is also a great way to empower team members and provide them with a sense of purpose other than only focusing on the company’s bottom line.

  1. Have you created a climate of security? 

Creating a climate of security within an organization is a key component to any employee-retention strategy. Bosses should create a bond with employees, often reminding them of their worth and praising them for their performance. In smaller businesses, they should be kept in the loop about upcoming projects and given the sense of security that comes with knowing that they are building their careers on solid ground.

Implementing a better leadership style: 

Adding a personal touch — something as simple as knowing an employee’s name or a personal email complimenting them on a job well-done — can go a long way. If there is a problem or challenging situation at the office, meet with the team in person or send an email to address it. Don’t leave it to your managers to handle.

If your company is very large, employees realize that a true friendship with a boss may not be likely, but they want to feel that their contribution counts or at least is being acknowledged. If you are running a small company, then it’s easy to jump on the phone and talk in person when a job is well done.

  1. Are you leading by example? 

Are you behaving in an unprofessional manner? Employees notice everything, including the behavior and business ethics of their superiors. So if you are cutting corners, lying to employees or clients, or misappropriating funds — you get the picture — your employees have little reason to respect you as a leader. Besides, a sloppy boss will not have enough credibility to criticize a sloppy team!

Implementing a better leadership style: 

A leader should lead by example, be reliable and credible, and care about their reputation as well as the company’s reputation. When it comes to a leader’s work performance, hold yourself to a higher standard –one your team wants to emulate. If employees see you being professional, going the extra mile and/or caring about the work in the way you want them to, then you bet they will want to do the same.

How to cite a YouTube comment (APA)

By: David Becker September 21, 2016

Source: http://blog.apastyle.org/

When researching a topic for your paper or manuscript, you may come across a few relevant YouTube videos—perhaps a TED Talk or two—that you would like to cite. Being the intrepid explorer of the Internet that you are, you may even brave those videos’ comment threads, desperately searching for some faint glint of rational discourse hidden within the dark, troll-infested depths. Or maybe you’re intentionally seeking out vile and offensive comments if you are writing about the psychology of Internet trolls. Whatever your reasons, you have found a YouTube comment that you would like to cite, but you don’t know how. Here is how:

Citation:

Some do not see the value in these sorts of informal, self-diagnosis measures: “This invitation for lay people to diagnose a rare psychological disorder… is profoundly irresponsible” (49metal, 2016).

Reference:

49metal. (2016). Re: Are you dating a psychopath? [Video file]. Retrieved fromhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP5HIjA9hh4&lc=z13bu5ghznaawh0ez23ajz0gnquidx1z004

4 tips for stopping unprofitable growth(Entrepreneurship)

By: Doug and Polly White April 19, 2016

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/274238

A small manufacturer contacted us — an owner who had seen his revenue double in the past year but still wasn’t making any money. To the contrary, he was barely breaking even. When we looked at his operation, we saw that, over the same time period, his costs had also doubled. This shouldn’t have been the case, of course. As a business grows, its costs should increase more slowly than its revenue, so that profit compounds. If you find yourself in a similar situation, we suggest four places to look for your lost profit.

  1. Product profitability

If you don’t already, you need to understand the gross margin of each item you produce (gross margin = sales price – the cost of goods sold). The cost of goods sold is everything you spend to make your product. At a minimum, this will include materials and labor. You may well find that some of the items you produce have a negative gross margin. You can’t make that up in volume because you’ll be losing money on each unit you sell. And negative gross margins are sometimes justified, if they allow you to sell other products that make lots of money. Razors are the oft-cited example here: You may be willing to lose money selling razors if the result is profitable blade sales.

However, in general, you should not have negative gross margins. If you do, you should either increase the price or find a way to reduce the cost of goods sold. In many businesses, it makes sense to establish a minimum acceptable gross margin. Then, price your products so that you achieve at least this level. For example, if your overhead as a percentage of revenue is 20 percent, establish a minimum acceptable gross margin of 25 percent (gross margin percentage = gross margin ÷ revenue). This means that, at worst, you will cover your overhead and make a 5 percent profit. In the case of our client, he had some products that were not covering their share of the overhead. We set out to help him find ways to improve these gross margins.

  1. Customer profitability

You also need to understand the profitability of each of your customers. Most often, some customers will pay lower prices than others will, and some customers will cost more to serve than others. These differences drive different levels of profitability. And you may find that some customers are just simply unprofitable. So, take steps to improve the profitability of these relationships: Increase the price you charge these customers, or reduce the costs of serving them. You can do the same analysis of customer profitability that we describe above, for product profitability. You can also set minimum profitability goals in the same way. We’ve done this analysis across a broad range of industries. We have often, but not always, found that large-scale customers are less profitable because they can have the volume to negotiate lower prices. Small-scale customers are frequently less profitable because they are expensive to serve. Midsize customers may be the most profitable to serve.

.3. Overhead

As revenue grows, overhead should remain relatively constant. Take a look at what happened to your overhead as your business grew. Too often, small business owners let their overhead costs rise with revenue. If that is the case in your situation, cut overhead back to pre-growth levels wherever possible. We understand that some overhead costs may grow with revenue.

For example, if you are sending out more invoices, that effort will likely require more labor hours. However, many overhead costs can be held constant as revenue grows.

  1. Cost reduction

Does your new higher volume provide opportunities for cost reductions? Since your volume has doubled, you may be able to negotiate material prices. If you are sending out twice the number of invoices, perhaps the process can be automated. Volume growth provides opportunities for cost reduction. Make sure you capture these opportunities.

Overall, we’ve noted, too many small businesses fail to capture the economies of scale that should accrue to them as their volume increases. Following the tips above will allow you to claw back the profit you’ve missed.

6 link-building tips for bootstrapped entrepreneurs (Entrepreneur)

By: Josh DenningAugust 25, 2016

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/280522

It’s no secret: If you want to rank high on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), you need to make backlinking a priority. The more backlinks you receive from authoritative websites, the more trust you’ll have in the eyes of Google, the more traffic it will send you and the more high-quality leads you’ll generate for your business. The problem, though, is most link research and backlink checker tools are costly, and when you’re bootstrapping a start-up, you money is best allocated elsewhere. While much has been written on backlinking, little has been written on backlinking for bootstrapped start-up founders. Here are seven backlinking strategies for when you have a shoestring budget.

  1. Become a columnist on an authority site.

While some experts will want you to believe guest blogging is dead, the truth is guest blogging is still a viable link building strategy, if it’s done correctly and consistently. In the old days of blogging, you would pitch a guest post, write it, and then move onto another website. Today, writers like James Clear and Neil Patel aren’t just guest posters on authority sites – they are columnists. Having a high authority domain regularly linking back to your website can only mean good things for your ranking.

  1. Collaborate with influencers in your field.

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, what you’re selling or where you want to go with your online business, connecting and collaborating with influencers helps you go further, faster. Why? It builds trust. When your customers see you co-creating a product, service, blog post or resource with a trusted authority, it gives you social proof. The more trust you have, the more likely other influencers will link to your content and, you guessed it, the better your ranking on Google. Granted, it isn’t always easy or quick to collaborate with a mover and shaker in your industry, but the payoff is huge.

  1. Create an epic resource.

Getting noticed in today’s noisy world is harder today than ever. With more than two million blog posts published every day, the 400-word list posts that were once a staple of blogging no longer suffice. To stand out, you don’t have to shout louder, you just have to invite others to come to you. The best way to do that? Craft an epic resource, such as an ultimate guide, a case study or a research-backed report. One that demonstrates your skills, knowledge and expertise and leaves experts no choice but to link back to you.

  1. Get interviewed on podcasts.

Getting featured on authoritative podcasts is one of the most effective ways of reaching new audiences. What most people don’t realize, though, is it’s always one of the most underrated link building strategies in a marketer’s toolkit. Here’s how it works. The next time you go on a podcast, and you’re asked where listeners can learn more about you, instead of directing them to your homepage like everyone else, create an interview-upgrade – a resource that adds to what you discussed in your interview, and direct them to that. Not only will you get more opt-ins, but you’ll also get a high-quality backlink from an authoritative podcast site.

  1. Do reverse guest posting.

We’ve all be there – spending hours pitching guest posts only to wait days without a reply. With reverse guest posting, the tables are turned. Instead of pitching to other authors, you invite them to write on your site. Many bloggers have a page on their sites with a list of the guest posts they have have published. With your’s added to the mix, that’s an easy backlink – one that requires minimal effort on your part. If you can’t secure a big name to feature on your site, try someone from a shoulder niche who is looking to expand into new markets.

Whether you’re a marketer or a mortgage broker, you need to prioritize backlinking. Without it, your site will struggle to rank, and your business will suffer for it. As we’ve seen though, backlinking doesn’t have to be a costly affair. You can get backlinks without breaking your bank or bankrupting your time. You’ve watched others do it. Now, it’s your turn.

5 simple ways to build trust in a job interview (Leaderchat)

By: Randy Conley August 25, 2016

Source: https://leaderchat.org

Interviewing for a job can be a stressful experience. The first impression you create in the interview can make or break your chances of landing the job, so it’s important to show up with your A-game. Most hiring managers are asking themselves this question during the interview process: Is this person qualified and can I trust him/her to do the job well? I’ve interviewed dozens upon dozens of job candidates over the years, and based on my experience as a hiring manager and as a subject-matter expert on trust, I can tell you there are some very simple things you can do to build trust with prospective employers. All too often job candidates rule themselves out of contention by not paying attention to these basics of interviewing. If you want to build trust in a job interview, do the following:

  1. Proofread your resume — In this day and age there is no excuse for typos and obvious grammatical mistakes on a resume. Your resume reflects your level of professionalism and attention to detail. It’s often the first impression you make with a prospective employer and you want it to accurately and positively display your personal brand identity. When I see a resume chock full of errors, my first thought is to have doubts about trusting this person to do a quality job. If they aren’t doing a quality job on their own resume, why should I think they’ll do a good job on my team? In a sad twist of irony, the more prevalent technology has become in our lives, the more carelessness I’ve seen in resumes. Proofreading your resume is more than running spellcheck in a word processing program. Read it out loud, have others read your resume, and use tools like grammerly.com to make sure your resume is the best it can be.
  2. Research the company— If you want to build trust with a potential employer, do your homework on their organization. Just like proofreading your resume, this tip sounds like a no-brainer, but believe me, it’s not. You would be surprised at how many people show up to an interview not having taken the time to do a quick Google search on the company or check the Linked-In profiles of the people with whom they’ll be interviewing. Devoting the time to educate yourself on the organization builds trust in your capabilities to take the initiative to learn what you need to know to accomplish your goals.
  3. Be humbly confident— People want to trust in your expertise, however, coming across as a narcissistic superstar turns people off. Don’t shy away from tooting your horn about your accomplishments, but do it in a gracious, humble, and professional way. One way to do that is to use “we” language instead of “me” language. Emphasize the way you’ve collaborated with others to achieve goals and freely share the credit with those who’ve partnered with you. You don’t need to blow out another person’s candle so yours can shine brighter.
  4. Be honest and transparent— You build trust with others by showing a level of vulnerability that’s appropriate for the context of the situation. Share information about yourself, including your strengths and areas where you know you need to improve. Of course you want to present your areas of growth in a positive light, but you also want to be genuine and authentic. People can sniff out a fraud, and the worst thing that can happen is selling a new employer a bill of goods by making yourself out to be something you’re not.
  5. Send a thank you note— Sending a thank you note is Interviewing 101 yet it’s become a lost art in today’s world. Not only does sending a thank you note give you the opportunity to reiterate your strengths and address any areas of concern that were discussed in the interview, but it builds trust by showing your prospective employer that you truly care. Whether you send the note electronically or handwritten (I suggest both), make sure you do it promptly after the interview. In today’s fast-moving society of surface-level friendships, taking the time to express your appreciation sets you apart from the crowd.

Trust in a relationship is composed of four main elements and we build trust when we act in ways that align with those elements. The five simple suggestions listed above are trust-boosting behaviors and using them will enhance your trustworthiness during the job interview process.