10 Tips to Make Your Next Offsite Meeting a Success

Well-planned and executed offsite meetings deliver tangible returns. The meetings foster ideation and collaboration, produce cohesion around short-and long-term strategies, solve big, complex problems, and align executives that simply don’t happen during day-to-day interactions between staff. But the flip side is also true. With over two-thirds of business meetings categorized as failures by executives, the amount of time and budget squandered on offsite meetings is huge.

So, what are some things that business leaders can do to ensure that their meetings are a success?

1. Consensus on Meeting Objectives

Preparation should begin 60 or 90 days beforehand. Much of what happens before an offsite meeting dictates its success—or lack thereof. Organizations that wait to the last minute almost guarantee that their offsite meetings fail to deliver the returns they desire. And we’re talking about more than setting an agenda, scheduling travel and hotels, and ordering catering. It starts by establishing meeting objectives and gaining consensus on them as well as the agenda.

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6 Reasons to Use an Offsite Training Room

Training sessions with your team play a pivotal role in keeping your business on track. Whether one-off sessions focused on specific topics or reoccurring sessions used to keep your team up to date, team training gives you a chance to assess past initiatives, address future goals, fill gaps in skill sets, ensure compliance with industry and labor regulations, and to adjust your business’ direction.

When it comes to the venue for these sessions, offsite training rooms are something many organizations should consider. The following are six reasons why offsite is better than hosting the meetings onsite.

  1. Team Focus in a Training Room.

Training sessions require a lot of focus and quite often involve significant interactions and collaboration. Participants need to roll up their sleeves and drill down into the minute details of business objectives or topics. Hosting these sessions in your place of business can be distracting, with interruptions from other team members or partners or customers who come into the office getting the meeting off track very easily. Offsite meeting rooms give your team the chance to get away from the office and focus on training sessions.

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Thwarting the Security Perils of Public Wi-Fi

The workforce is evolving quickly and becoming increasingly more mobile—for both big and small companies. Technological advances enable employees to access company information and to do their jobs from virtually anywhere. One outcome is that workplaces and work spaces are being remade, with some companies getting rid of permanent work space altogether and electing to use co working space, day offices, and rented conference rooms.

The forecast is that this work space evolution will continue. IDC predicts that the U.S. mobile workforce population will grow to over 105 million workers by 2020, accounting for nearly three-quarters of the total workforce. Mobile work takes different forms and occurs from different places.

Some mobile work is done from home offices, while other work is done from rented meeting space and day offices. In these cases, workers access the Internet through private Wi-Fi that is gated and reduces the possibilities of security hacking. But other mobile work is done from coffee shops, public transport, libraries, and other places where public Wi-Fi access is the norm. Growing numbers of cities even offer free Wi-Fi access in downtown areas and other locations.

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Why Having a Local Business Address is Important

Many small businesses, particularly sole proprietors with service businesses, do not have a professional business address but instead use their home address. However, there are some downsides and potential legal issues when doing so. Intuit spells out some of the more prevalent ones in a QuickBooks posting:

  1. Lease and HOA Rules.

    Apartment and condo complexes restrict the ability for residents to run a business out of their home (or in this case apartment or condo). Check your lease and home owners’ association (HOA) rules to confirm if there are any restrictions.

 

  1. Zoning Restrictions.

    Local municipality codes (zoning regulations) in some cities may restrict or prohibit home owners from running a commercial operation out of their homes.

 

  1. Liability Issues.

    LLCs and corporations may negate the benefits they received by forming a limited liability company or corporation. Those protections only apply if business and personal activities are kept separate. If the courts deem the two are intertwined, then you could be personally liable for business debts and obligations.

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Presentation Software Options for Small Businesses and Solopreneurs

Presentation options for businesses and solopreneurs are no longer restricted to Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Docs. And for Mac users wed to non-Microsoft tools, they also have expanded to choices beyond Apple Keynote. Alternatives like Prezi and Emaze provide users with new, innovative ways to tackle presentations.

PowerPoint—and the various alternatives—serve much broader functions than just sales and marketing presentations. As a result, there are myriad ways for which businesses can use presentation solutions. Possibilities include:

  • External Business Presentations. Common business scenarios such as sales, analyst briefings, webinars, seminars, briefings, and investor pitches.
  • Trade Show and Conference Presentations. Conference track and keynote presentations at events and conferences.
  • Internal Business Presentations. Training, reports on research, activity updates, and internal pitches.
  • Project management, status reporting, and spreadsheet reports.
  • Non-Presentations. There are many use cases here such as online photo and image albums, simple brochures or flyers, and even animations.

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6 Ideas to “Declutter” Your Small Businesses

Cluttered Personal and Professional Lives

It’s easy for a small business to become overwhelmed with blocking-and-tackling tactics and unable to focus on strategic initiatives. The to-do list is almost endless and can become paralyzing. A recent survey finds the average worker spends less than half their time on their primary job function. The rest of the time is spent on meetings, administrative work, answering calls, and other tasks.

This creates immense pressure on small business leaders who are under pressure to perform, and time is one of the biggest challenges. A study conducted by Sage found that almost half work 40 to 60 hours per week, with 16 percent working more than 60.

The impact of having a “cluttered” professional life also impacts the personal lives of small business leaders. A recent survey by Simply Business reveals:

  • Half cancel social plans once a week

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8 Ways Small Businesses Can Stay Organized in 2017

Small businesses are the engine that drives the U.S. economy. Employing 55% of all workers, 28 million small businesses account for 54% of all sales in the country today. And the future of small businesses is bright: they have created 66% of all net new jobs since the 1970’s and have increased in number by 49% since 1982. When compared to their much larger counterparts, this success stands in even greater light: mid-size and large businesses have eliminated four million jobs since 1990, while small businesses have added eight million new jobs.

Wow! These are some pretty impressive statistics. Small business owners should take a moment and congratulate themselves for all of this success. But they shouldn’t take very long; it takes a lot of organization to run a small business. Indeed, those that succeed often are the ones that are the most organized. With better organization, a small business can focus on strategic initiatives and its customers.

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Cloud Video Conferencing Transforms the Workplace and Workstyles

The workplace is changing rapidly. No longer are workers measured based on the amount of time spent sitting at their desks or in their offices. The concept of a defined 9 AM to 5 PM workday also is becoming a relic of the past. Instead, workers are measured based on their performance, and whether their work contributes to bottom-line results.

Workplace and Workstyles Changing Rapidly

One factor is demographic changes in the workforce. Millennials comprise over half of the workforce, and more than one-quarter hold managerial roles. Much has been written about millennials and their desire to use technologies from the consumer world at work; they look for solutions that are easy to use and enable them and their colleagues to be more productive and to engage with customers in new and better ways.

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10 Meeting To-Dos in 2017

Most business professionals cite time wasted in meetings as one of their biggest complaints. Studies show the average business professional attends 62 meetings each month, and of that time, 31 hours equates as unproductive. This tallies up to a whopping $37 billion in annual.

When workers feel unengaged and that their time is being wasted, the repercussions are dramatic. Forty-seven percent of employees describe them as “boring, pointless, and unproductive.” Consider some of the things meeting goers admit:

  • 91% daydream during meetings
  • 96% skip meetings that they deem a waste of time
  • 39% have slept during a meeting
  • 45% feel overwhelmed by the number of meetings on their calendar
  • 73% do other work during meetings
  • 47% aren’t passive-aggressive; they complain to others in the office about unnecessary or unproductive meetings

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12 Ways to Show Gratitude to Your Customers—365 Days a Year

During the winter holiday season, many businesses turn their attention to showing gratitude toward their customers—for their business, loyalty, and even advocacy. Simply saying “thank you” isn’t enough. Businesses need to seek out opportunities to show their gratitude to customers in fun and memorable ways. The following are 12 ways that you can show your gratitude to customers, not only this holiday season but all year.

  1. Write a personal note. Making the extra time in today’s digital world to write a personal note to your customers. It will make a big difference in your customer’s day.
  1. Educate your customers. Know your customers’ businesses and deliver content that educates them and gives them new ideas that enable them to develop new revenue streams, deliver better customer service, increase operational efficiencies.

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