Q & A With Coach Jaynine

LinkedIn-Cover-ImageToday, Coach answers a question from LinkedIn

Q

• Hi Jaynine, I was wondering if I would be able to get your feedback on something since I know you’re a business owner. My wife started an IT company and is currently in the process of getting certified as a Women-Owned Business. She said that she needs me to sign a “Statement of Non-Participation” in order to get her company approved as a women-owned business. My concern is whether signing such a statement would forfeit any marital rights that I have to the retirement benefits of her business? I will be retiring from the U.S Army in a few years in which 50% of my retirement would belong to her, which is great, but I just don’t want be put into a situation where retirement sharing is legally a one-way streak because I signed away my rights. We have a great marriage, going on 10 years now and she completely understands my concern about this paperwork, so it’s not a matter of whether I think she is trying to get over on me, but rather we just don’t know what it really means for a spouse to sign a statement of non-participation. We’re not familiar with what the spouse is giving-up by agreeing to such terms. If this is a loaded question that you wouldn’t feel comfortable answering without charging a fee, I will totally understand if you refrain from responding.

Thanks,
Micaiah.
10:48 PM

A

On Jun 23, Jaynine Ray-Howard, USMC (Ret), PhD (ABD) said the following:
Good morning, Those are great questions and concerns. I am not a lawyer so please do not take what I am saying as legal advice. I do think a lawyer is the best person to get advice as I will explain below in more detail. Woman Owned – business must be 51% owned by a woman (your wife) Veteran Owned – business must be 51% owned by a Veteran (YOU) Disabled Veteran Owned Business – business must be owned 51% by Veteran who is service disabled MinorityOwned Business – depending on your state – just being a woman is considered a minority In North Carolina, I am a Woman Owned, Veteran Owned, Minority Owned, and Service Disabled Small Business – this puts be ahead of others if I want government contracts. Consider which is going to be more advantageous for your family business. It may be more advantageous to have you listed as primary. Many construction companies have the woman as head of the company because it is more advantageous for bidding on contracts. So think long term which is going to be best for the company. Another concern for many business owners is what happens in the case of a divorce. You need to have – in my opinion – a post nup – a legal document that states you get 50% of the business if you get divorced. You also need a legal document that states you get the business if she were to pass and vice versa. Typically when there are two business partners they each have insurance so that they can “buy out” the other half of the business in case of death so the deceased share doesn’t go to the “family”. I recommend keeping very accurate records on how much “family” money or your money from bonuses, inheritance etc. is put into the business. So if something were to happen again you have proof of what you contributed.

https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/forms/SBA_Form_2413_comp_0.pdf

https://www.sba.gov/content/women-owned-small-business-wosb-program-certification

These are some links so you can do your own homework. I hope these help.

Semper Fi,
Jaynine
7:39 AM

Employee Squabbles – Family Roles That Come to Work

getalongDo you ever notice that sometimes your employees behave like children? Have you ever taken the time to get to know your employees? Which ones are first born, middle children, and babies of the family? Was our employee raised by two parents, one parent, or grandparents? Research has shown that we do bring our family life to work with us. The roles we had in our family when growing up follow us to our jobs. Yes, even you as the boss bring your childhood family role to the workplace.

Five Common Family Roles that Come to Work:

  1. Leader. The leader may often be the first born in a family. He or she may be a bit bossy and intimidating. Do not allow bullying. He or she will often take charge and want to do things his or her own way. As an employer, you must have systems in place so that he or she knows how you want certain jobs performed. You will want to be clear on when or where the employee can add his or her own creativity. You will also want to have clear boundaries established on his or her level of authority over other employees so that things to not get out of hand. The leader can be a great asset to your team.
  1. Clown. The clown will liven up your workplace. But, if your business environment does not promote or allow for the clown personality you will need to address this immediately. The clown may appear to be immature and childish. He or she may be insecure and rely upon “clowning” around to ease his or insecurity and the fact he or she may not understand what is required to do the job. The clown may be attention seeking. This could be carried over from childhood where he or she had to perform as a clown to get attention from his or her parents, teachers or siblings. As the employer you will want to establish boundaries so the clown understands what is allowed and what is not. You do not want the clowns’ actions to be misunderstood as hazing or bullying.
  1. Scapegoat. Every family has a scapegoat. The scapegoat gets blamed for everything that goes wrong. The scapegoat may even take the blame for other employees’ mistakes. This may be a learned behavior carried over from childhood where he or she had to protect a family or friend from being picked on or punished. As the employer or business owner make sure you know who is really at fault. Do not jump to conclusions that it is really the scapegoat at fault.
  1. Victim. The victim is different from the scapegoat. He or she often feels inferior. The victim falls into this role when he or she does not want to do something. He or she is often in a crisis and complains. The victim knows his or her job but uses this for attention seeking and avoidance of responsibility. Victims can consume your energy and zap the energy of your employees. As the business owner, you will want to ensure you understand who is playing the victim and you do not allow it to continue. This will require that you address the employees underlying feelings of inadequacy. You will need to bolster this persons self-esteem.
  1. People Pleaser. Oh, the people pleaser says “yes” to everything. Even when he or she should say “no”. The people pleaser will often over commit to tasks that may not be easily accomplished by the employees. This can lead to employee dissatisfaction and customer dissatisfaction. The employees are upset due to the added stress. The customer is dissatisfied if the product is delivered late or less than perfect. Employers need to establish firm boundaries on what employees can commit to on behalf of the business. If the boss is the people pleaser, he or she must review what the employees can do within their scope of expertise and commitments already booked.

As the employer or business owner, you will have greater productivity in the workplace and you will be able to maximize your employees work performance when you take the time to find out the role they had in their family as a child. You will also grow your business when you understand the role you had growing up in your family that you are bringing to work. When you learn the family role your employees bring to work the sooner you will be able to capitalize on this information and grow your business.

signature

 

 

Jaynine is available to design  a program to help you motivate, inspire, and train your employees to maximize your investment. 

Contact Jaynine at 
910-539-2810.

You, Your Business & Corporate Social Responsibility

corpsocresresponCorporate Social Responsibility is defined as “the obligation of organizations to take an active part in improving society” (Muchinsky & Culbertson, 2016, p. 268). You are probably familiar with Tom shoes and that when you buy a pair of Toms they donate a brand new pair to someone in need. As their company has grown and offered other products to the consumer so has their giving program. In addition to shoes, they now donate eyewear, exams, and surgeries as well as fresh water where needed. What does your business do to help others in need? Do you donate time by volunteering in your community?

Over 90% of Fortune 500 companies run employee volunteering programs. Employers encourage volunteering and provide paid time off to employees who volunteer with nonprofits in their community. As a small business owner, you too can design a corporate social responsibility program. Your community thrives when people step up to volunteer.

Steps to Designing Your Business Social Responsibility Program

1. Review your budget – this means not just money but time. How much time can you afford to offer your employees each week or month to give back to the community through volunteering?

2. Select an organization that aligns with your values or has a mission you want to support. This is a link to get you started http://www.onslowcountync.gov/Administration/VolunteerOnslow.aspx If you do not live in Onslow County you can do an online search for volunteer opportunities in your community.

3. Decide if you will close shop and volunteer as a group or if you will honor individual commitments.

4. Create a simple form to record the employee and volunteer opportunities.

5. Let your customers know what organizations benefit from your Business Social Responsibility Program. Share this information on your website, social media platforms and in a media release. Take photos and share.

Other ways you can be socially responsible is by engaging in environmental sustainability. This means honoring and conserving our natural resources. Does your business recycle soda cans, in cartridges, and used or unwanted equipment? Do you use green products that are environmentally friendly and safe for our water systems? I challenge you to take the time to think about this and see what modifications you can make to how you do business that will not compromise the quality of services you deliver. One way my business is conserving resources is by not printing documents that I want to read. I am a paper junky. However, I am curbing the printing and saving the documents online. Printing client files requires not only the use of electricity, ink, and paper but it also requires the use of cardboard or plastic when storing the files.

I invite you to be a change agent for your industry and business. Adopt a corporate social responsibility program. Give back to your community while conserving resources.

Is Your Website ADA Compliant?

accessI’ve noticed lots of buzz around ADA Compliant websites, have you? Technological advances make using a computer and working, browsing, and shopping online assessable to everyone regardless of their disability. You do not want to risk losing a customer because he or she cannot navigate or view your website. You also do not want to risk getting a hefty fine for not being ADA compliant.

Below you will find exerts from various articles I’ve read to help you understand this new topic circulating.

New legal landscape is taking shape
The DOJ’s proposed amendments to the ADA, expected in April 2016, would “require public entities and public accommodations that provide products or services to the public through websites on the Internet to make their sites accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.” The DOJ is careful, however, not to suggest products and services currently offered through websites are excused from ADA compliance, despite the fact that amendments to that effect are currently being proposed.

Thompson Information Services published an ADA Compliance Guide Newsletter in late 2014 that suggests the DOJ will likely adopt the most recent version of WGAC 2.0 — written by theWorld Wide Web Consortium, an international community that develops open standards for the Web — as the standard for accessibility. The newsletter holds: “Costly or not, and the lack of website regulations notwithstanding, DOJ is pressuring companies to modify websites and mobile apps to meet WCAG 2.0 technical standards.”

In support of this prediction, the DOJ reached a settlement agreement with edX Inc., a provider of online courses, in April 2015. The settlement resolved “allegations that edX’s website … w[as] not fully accessible to individuals with disabilities … in violation of Title III of the ADA.” In the settlement, edX Inc. entered a four-year agreement to make its system “fully accessible within 18 months.” The agreement also requires edX Inc. to provide training for course creators, appoint Web Accessibility positions, solicit feedback, and “retain a consultant to evaluate conformance of the website, platform, and mobile applications.”

Read more at http://www.technologylawsource.com/2015/06/articles/information-technology/the-focus-of-the-ada-turns-to-websites-in-the-digital-age-is-your-website-compliant/

Who Does This Apply?
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that businesses and nonprofit services providers make accessibility accommodations to enable the disabled public to access the same services as clients who are not disabled. This includes electronic media and web sites. While the ADA applies to businesses with 15 or more employees, even smaller businesses can benefit from ensuring that their websites are ADA compliant. Doing so opens your company up to more potential clients and limits liability. Web developers should include ADA compliant features in the original site and application plans.

This is particularly important when working for a government agency or government contractor, as these organizations must follow web accessibility guidelines under Section 508 of the Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Although ADA and Section 508 compliance are different, the published checklist for Section 508 compliance offers insight into ways to make websites accessible for people with disabilities, and thereby work toward ADA compliance.

Learn more at http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/web-designer/creating-an-ada-compliant-website/

Test Your Website
Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools – I did test several of these and they flagged what I or my web designer needs to fix to be compliant.

http://achecker.ca/checker/index.php – this one offered an explanation in language I understood and seemed very specific with an explanation how to repair the offending item.
http://wave.webaim.org/
https://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/tools/

I recommend you contact your web developer or designer and inquire about making your website ADA Compliant and continue to educate yourself on this topic.

Resource
ADA Best Practices Took Kit for State and Local Governments – this is an excellent resource to learn about why you want an ADA Compliant website and some common problems and solutions.
http://www.ada.gov/pcatoolkit/chap5toolkit.htm

Example on a Website Showing Compliance
http://www.right.com/wps/wcm/connect/right-us-en/home/info/accessibility

 

Five Tips to Controlling Summertime Chaos

newsletterCHAOSkidsRegardless of your age, marital or socioeconomic status, at one time or another, you will experience stress and anxiety. Each changing season produces different stressors. Summertime has the pendulum swinging from how to keep children from fighting and saying they are bored to keeping them free from sunburns to an upcoming move to a new neighborhood. The body’s initial reaction to stress is fight or flight. Symptoms of excess stress include feeling mentally and physically exhausted, problems sleeping, tension headaches, bowel disturbances, a lowered immune system, and irritability.

Here are five tips to control summertime chaos:

1. Laugh. You have probably heard that laughter is the best medicine. Research shows that laughing produces endorphins which cause you to relax, experience joy, and ease pain. When feeling stressed picking up the telephone and speaking with a friend can often bring a smile to your face that will aid in producing the feel good endorphins. Also, turning on the television and watching your favorite sitcom can aid in reducing stress and anxiety.

2. Evaluate your diet. Limit caffeinated products because caffeine is a stimulant. Alcohol consumption should also be restricted since alcohol is a depressant. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables over commercially processed items. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables are easier for your body to digest than commercially processed foods such as cookies and chips. However, there is nothing wrong with occasionally indulging your chocolate craving.

3. Exercise. Engaging in exercise is another way for your body to produce endorphins. Taking time for a walk after dinner or meeting a friend for a game of racquetball can raise your level of feel good endorphins while getting you in shape physically and mentally.

4. Have a MAP (Master Action Plan). When you stop to think about what is causing anxiety such as an upcoming move or the absence of a spouse during a deployment you can develop strategies to cope with the stress. Creating a step by step plan on how to walk through the action will allow you to empower yourself by taking charge of the situation. If you are experiencing stress on how to keep the children entertained during summer vacation you can develop a daily schedule so that the child knows what to expect throughout the day; children thrive on routine. Having a Plan A is great but having Plan B and Plan C will ensure you have covered whatever may be thrown at you with minimal disruption.

5. Increase Productivity. Productivity creates an atmosphere of positive change and is more fruitful than worrying and doing nothing.

It is impossible to ignore or reduce all stressors from our lives. However, when you are able to recognize your limits of stress and know how to use practical strategies to reduce stress you will control summertime chaos. Therefore, laugh and exercise to raise your endorphin level. Be productive and design your MAP to navigate stressful situations. Lastly, don’t forget to occasionally indulge your chocolate craving and enjoy your summer.

Finish It Up Friday: Why I Don’t Require My Team to Work on Friday

unnamedFriday – oh how that word can invoke a series of fleeting emotions ranging from dread to delight.

I have coined the phrase Finish It Up Friday as a way to make a mindset shift from dread to delight. It is the day to sleep in an extra hour. It is the day to enjoy that first cup of morning coffee knowing there are no real deadlines for the day. There is no better way to start a Friday than listening to the birds chirping, reading morning inspiration, and enjoying that first cup of coffee.

I and my team work long arduous hours Monday thru Thursday. We do not prescribe to a normal 8 hour day. My day is typically starting by 5 or 6 am and ends around 10 or 11pm. My team works diligently providing fabulous services and meeting deadlines so that I meet my deadlines so my clients meet theirs. Much of what my team does for me is often not seen by others. They are busy researching and gathering statistics for my clients or for whatever program I am currently working on. They are busy writing media releases, preparing marketing materials, proofreading and taking care of the invoicing.

Just as many of us observe Sunday as a day of rest I and my team observe Friday as a day of rest. Adopting a casual Friday allows me and my team to recharge our batteries. When we have a fresh brain we are more creative. Also, since they know that I do not expect them to be available on Friday they know they can schedule personal appointments and plan their time off accordingly without fear that there will be work that needs to be completed.

Not much quality work gets completed when you or your employees are mentally exhausted. Using Friday to follow up with clients, finish up a few tasks or projects, and plan for the following week is a great way to unwind and prepare to enjoy the weekend. I am usually only at my desk a few hours on Friday morning taking care of loose ends. Making time to review my week and self-reflect on what went surprisingly well and what was a bit off provides me growth opportunities. I learn from the lessons of the week.

Designing a plan for the upcoming week has shown to increase productivity and increase income. Taking time to plan the tasks I will delegate, prepare for client sessions, and set aside time for writing also reduces the stress that would normally be felt if I had not planned to enjoy a successful week. I have learned when planning what I will delegate I must set up my emails to my team so they do not post until Monday morning because they are so very dedicated they will work on the tasks over the weekend regardless of the due dates.

Finish It Up Friday is a great way to self-reflect on your week, finish up projects or tasks that didn’t get completed, and prepare for the new upcoming week. Know your energy level and planning for self-care is key to success. I encourage you adopt a Finish It Up Friday and allow your employees extra time off. They will reward you with continued hard work, an increase in productivity and creativity as well as loyalty.

New Overtime Rules- Stay Within Budget- Know Your Options

overtimeDid you know that rules for paying overtime have changed? They changed on May 1st, 2016.

“The U.S. Department of Labor is expected to release a new overtime rule in May that could have a big impact on small business payrolls.” “The current weekly minimum for salaried, overtime-exempt employees is $455. That will increase to $921 a week for most full-time salaried workers when the rule changes this spring.” “Small employers may misclassify employees as exempt just because they receive a salary and perform non-manual work.´ read the full article at http://www.manta.com/resources/small-business-trends/small-biz-owners-not-aware-of-new-federal-overtime-rules-impact-on-payroll/

Remember you don’t have to pay for full time employees.
You have options.

Stay within Budget
1099 Contractors – you may choose to use 1099 Independent Contractors. There are rules to follow if you use this classification for your help. They are not employees so technically you cannot dictate their schedule. They work when they want to and you contract with them for work when you have work to do. I’ve seen this used in the construction industry, real estate industry, and by many small business owners who do not need full-time employees. I’ve also seen this used by small business owners who did not want to pay the appropriate taxes or benefits as would be required by having employees. They prayed they didn’t get flagged for an audit and were prepared to play dumb if caught. I don’t condone this practice. At the end of the year you will need to issue the worker a 1099 if you pay them over a certain amount if you are following the rules. Consult a tax preparer or enrolled agent for guidance.

Free Lancers – there are several freelance websites where professional list their skills. You post the job and they bid on the job. The freelancer is typically charged a fee to bid on the job and/or when he or she wins the job a percentage of his earnings is paid to the agency. A freelancer is responsible for paying his or her own taxes. You do not need to issue a 1099 to a freelancer. Consult a tax preparer or enrolled agent for guidance.

Interns – summer interns or interns who work during your busy season can be a great boost to your business productivity. Most states require you to pay your interns at least minimum wage or a fair wage for the work performed.

Regardless of who is performing the work you need to stay within a budget. This can be accomplished by asking the employees how long they estimate a project will take to complete. This should be asked prior to preparing a proposal. When assigning work you need to let your employee know how long you expect him or her to spend on the task. If the task is going to take longer than anticipated they should let you know that it will take longer, how much longer and why. This allows you to pull the plug if going over budget or devise a new strategy.

Employees don’t often recognize the costs associated with making errors. Whether it is wasting copy paper and printer ink, boards, and other construction materials, or baking products they don’t see how this is costing the employer. They also fail to recognize they got paid to do the work wrong and then got paid to do it over. Training and supervising your employees can reduce the cost of mistakes. Mistakes can easily run up overtime costs.

Now is the time to take a look at how you pay your employees or workers. Make an appointment with your accountant or enrolled agent to explore what is the best option for you and your business. You won’t grow your business unless you focus on the net and stay abreast in changes to the rules, regulations, and laws.

Internship 101 – Summer Interns

2016 intern

I see people soliciting requests on Facebook for interns for the summer. One business announced they had openings for 24 interns. Really – your business truly needs 24 interns? How is it possibly running now without those billets filled? Do you have staff who can realistically manage 24 interns? Let’s talk about an internship.

What They Are Not

Interns are not gophers or jack of all trades people that do the dirty work no one else wants to do. They are looking to gain key skills that will help them be employable upon graduation using their degree. I recommend doing a job search to see what other employers are expecting in a job applicant similar to what your intern will be seeking. Help your intern gain these skills. Do not expect an accounting intern to answer phones and make copies. They should be working closing with your accountant or bookkeeper. You would not offer an internship to a pastry chef if you own a realty office unless you currently employ a pastry chef and this person would be supervised by the pastry chef. If you are looking for an office manager intern then ensure you contact a college that has an office manager program or you interview possible interns that office management is their major.

Paid or Unpaid Internships

Unpaid internships are almost unheard of today. A search online will reveal many lawsuits against high profile Universities and Businesses for abusing interns and not paying them a fair wage. You will want to know what the policy is for your state. North Carolina Universities offer paid internships as do various levels of government agencies. Know the rules for your state and the state the student is a student. I had an intern from the state of Minnesota in 2011 and on the intern contract, there was a block for me to check “unpaid”. However, I did reward her with gift cards to various restaurants and clothing stores periodically to show appreciation.

If you are near a military base that has a Wounded Warrior Program you may be able to solicit interns. These interns are free to your business because the intern is drawing a paycheck from Uncle Sam. I have personally had an administrator intern with my business for a short period of time. You must remember these interns can be discharged at any time and probably have doctor’s appointments they must attend. You will need to be flexible.

Job Description Be very clear on the work hours and specific duties. You may only need the person to work on a specific project. Write the job description as clearly as you would a job announcement or job description for an employee.

Review resumes: Ask the applicants to provide a resume. Verify his or her achievements. Do not feel you have to take someone who is not a good fit. You will be investing time in training the person or allowing the person to hone a skill i.e. web design, social media management etc.  Ask for references and contact them. Treat this just as you would when hiring a permanent employee. Asking for a resume and references will help the intern prepare for job hunting after the internship.

Conduct Interviews: Be prepared to interview the applicants and ask for references. Ask the person what he or she expects to gain from the internship. Search online for appropriate questions to ask the interviewee. This may be the intern’s first job interview. Help them learn from this experience. Don’t be afraid to say “no”. If the intern is not right for your business offer a few referrals for him or her to contact. Explain to the intern why they are not a right fit for your business. Don’t let them leave wondering. Build up their self-confidence.

Goals

After your interview pick one or two goals for your intern. The intern and his/her advisor will also have goals for the intern. Be cognizant of this and respect the goals the college or university has for the intern. In the paperwork, you will need to list milestones and how the student will reach the milestones and goals for the internship.

Intern Policy

You will need an intern policy. This will be similar to your employee handbook list of rules. You will want at a minimum to include information such as:

  • Work Hours
  • Work Uniform – Dress Code
  • Confidentiality Agreement
  • NonCompete Agreement – do this regardless if your state upholds NonCompete Agreements
  • Cell Phone Policy

Contract

You will want your intern to sign a contract. Your contract will be very similar to your employee contract. They will also have paperwork that you must sign for their college or university.

Hiring

You may decide to offer your intern a paying job after the internship. This is a win-win if you and your intern considered the internship a success. Remember, interns are at your business to learn so you set the tone of what he or she will expect when hired by you or another business owner.

Where to Find Interns

There are many websites that are similar to job boards that are specifically for interns to post what type of internship they are seeking as well as the business owner can post a job description. You may also want to contact colleges and universities in your area to see if they have an intern program. Family and friends may be a source for finding an intern. But I caution you to realize that rarely do recommendations from friends and family work out. If the person is not happy there are usually hurt feelings for all parties involved.

 

http://www.internships.com/employer

http://www.internmatch.com/internships

http://www.tweetmyjobs.com/employers

 

Hiring an intern is not something that should be taken lightly. You must know your state rules on whether you must pay or not pay an intern. The same effort you take in interviewing and hiring a new employee must be used when seeking an intern. Interns provide value to you and your business. You provide a valuable opportunity to the intern. Review the list above and design an intern strategy so you both consider the internship a success.

All About Branding: Curb Appeal

Your storefront

As a business owner you know that branding is important. Branding encompasses not only your logo, marketing message, your personal appearance but your store front or home office. When was the last time you looked at your business from the eyes of the customer? My five tips for branding your business with curb appeal will walk you step by step through the eyes of your customer.

Five Tips for Branding Your Business using Curb Appeal

1. Parking Lot: When your customer drives into your parking lot what does he or she see? Is there litter and debris leftover from lawn mowing or spring or fall foliage from trees? Do you have dead or near dead plants that need replaced? Is your grass green? Is the concrete clean? Is the sidewalk full of cracks with weeds in the cracks? Do you have a trash can or cigarette butt can that is overflowing? Is there a dead bird in the parking lot? I had a client tell me she would not go to a restaurant because there was a dead bird lying in the parking lot and when she mentioned it to the restaurant owner the owner shrugged and commented “they didn’t pick that up?” It is imperative that the first view of your business is favorable and invites the customer to stop and get out of his or her vehicle.

2. Store Front & Door: Is your store front and front door clean? Are there fingerprints? Go right now and grab the glass cleaner and get that door cleaned. When was the last time you painted or pressure washed your business? If your business looks old and drab you will attract clients that expect to receive a low cost product. If you want to charge a premium price for your products and services you must have a storefront that attracts the clientele that will pay your premium price. Think about it. When we go to a mom and pop diner we expect to pay for a low cost but yummy meal. When we go to a glitzy restaurant with fancy lighting and furnishings we expect and happily pay a premium price.

3. Welcome Mat: Is your welcome mat clean? When was the last time it was replaced? Your welcome mat not only welcomes the customer but it will catch dirt from his or her shoes and aid in keeping your store clean once he or she walks inside.

4. Lighting: Is your parking lot well lit? Do you have bulbs that need replaced? When your customers arrive at night is the parking lot well lit? Is the path and entry to your business well lit to provide safety to you customers? I recommend you visit your business when it is dark outside and get a good view of what your customers see.

5. Windows: Do you employ a window cleaning service? When you hang posters or sales fliers is there leftover tape stuck to the window? When the customer approaches your business what do they see when they look in the window? Is it an inviting image? Do they see your merchandise, stacks of boxes, employees washing dishes or cobwebs? Again, now is the time for you the business owner to take a good look at your business from the outside.

Now is the time to focus on curb appeal. Many of my tips are very low cost to implement and require only a bit of elbow grease or sweat equity. Painting, pressure washing and replacing furnishings may require being added to your budget. Curb appeal is the first step in branding your business. If your business does not look inviting people will not stop. When people do not stop you do not have customers. When you do not have customers you do not have a business. Branding is a necessary step in growing your business.

Spring Into Action

stencil.default (2)Do you live a neat and orderly life? Do you function better in chaos? Some people will say they work better when surrounded by piles of papers or stacks of books. But do they really? I don’t think so. Mess breeds stress. Have you recently had to pay late fees because you forgot to pay a bill on time? Have you shown up late for an appointment because you could not find your keys or had to stop and find a belt, shoe or sock? Lack of organization and office procedures is detrimental to the small business owner, businessman and businesswoman, parent and student. My five tips below will help you design an environment that will save you time, money and needless stress.

Stop Sabotaging You and Your Success- Spring into Action – Get Organized

 1. Designate Days – when you designate days when you do your filing, book keeping, article writing, invoicing and other necessary task you will save yourself time and money. You will know when you are going to do these tasks. You will avoid paying late fees when you pay your bills on time. Business owners often forget to follow up with hot leads or late bill payers. This costs the business money. I want you to grab your day planner or calendar and right now and schedule days when you will complete the routine tasks that are necessary for running your business and life. This will eliminate stress too and put more money in your bank account.

2. Designate a Home – what happens when you return to your office from checking the mailbox? Where does the mail end up? Do you put office supplies in a designated area? Everything in your office and home should have a designated home. Your office should not look like your bedroom with books, newspapers, shoes and clothing strewn about.

3. Designate Time – do you designate a time each week to clean and organize your office? When do you turn those piles into files? If you or your designated help do not do it when will it get done?

4. Dare to be Honest – why are you sabotaging your success by being unorganized? Are you afraid of success? I dare you to self reflect and be honest with yourself. You may find you really do not like doing a particular task or you do not know how to do the task. If you do not like doing the task then delegate it to someone else. If you do not know how to complete a task either learn how to complete it or delegate it to a professional.

5. Dream – dream about your ideal life and how much easier things will be when you are organized. Dream about how you will use the extra time you will have once you are organized. Dream about how you would like your ideal office space or home to look and then design a strategy to create that space.

Lack of organization costs business owners money. Money is hard to come by these days. So, stop sabotaging you, your life and your business. Employ my five tips above and you will eliminate stress from your life and put more money in your bank account.