Improving your business skills is crucial if you own a small company or start up. While you may think you have the talent to accomplish it, a business coach can help you establish better habits. Refining your skills can become easier through open communication with a specialist who focuses on helping others change.

Leadership Skills

First, you need to develop strong leadership skills. Some people might think enforcing policies with an iron fist is key to being a great leader. This is not true. Being a good leader is different than being an effective enforcer. A great coach can help you acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses.

As the leader of your employees, you need to set a good example to them. Lead by example by following your own rules. Work on your communication skills to prevent problems in the workplace. Get to know your employees. Showing you care raises their job satisfaction and improves the work you receive.

Networking Skills

A business or career coach can also help you learn to network. If you are a small business owner, you need to find other businesses that can support your products. Strengthening your networking skills can lead to more sales. Coaches can help you extend your reach to new customers and teach you ways to initiate conversation.

Improving your network offers more opportunities for advertising. Social media is a great way to share your business with other people. Your coach can teach you to use networking sites to be more effective. The most common one is LinkedIn, but there may be others depending on your industry.

Analytical Skills

Once you have improved leadership and networking skills, analyzing the data your company receives about its customers becomes more important. This comes in many forms. You should look at customer feedback on review sites first, then proceed to look at your digital key indicators. Reach, clicks, and engagements are three of the most common metrics you can use.

A coach help you refine what your business’s strong suits are when it comes to the product or service you create. They also show you how you can figure this out independently. Your analytical skills will be sharpened as you unturn stones and understand the 

Hiring a business or career coach is a great investment if you discover challenges in running your business. They can help you understand  how to promote your product or service, how to be a better leader, and how to listen to your audience. All of these tenets will improve the quality of your company.

To experience the benefits of coaching for yourself, contact us to schedule some sessions!

Looking to start a career without a college diploma? With the changing market, there are many alternatives to traditional education. Here are a few careers that allow you to be financially secure without needing to pursue a four-year degree.

Salon Owner

Salons are a big part of the service industry, from hair salons and barbershops to spas and beauty salons. Not only can you be the head of a lucrative business, but salon owners also get to be their own boss and interact with people every day! The best way to build any business is through careful planning. Before starting, be sure to follow these tips:

  • Gain practical skills and knowledge
  • Find a mentor in the industry
  • Plan your services and your clientele
  • Learn about your competition
  • Find a good location
  • Pay attention to budgeting and how to finance your salon
  • Obtain permits
  • Register and insure your business
  • Create a solid online presence and build a marketing campaign

Real Estate

There are many benefits to working in real estate. The hours are flexible and there’s unlimited earning potential. However, estate agents can also work long hours and their incomes can vary month-to-month. But if you’re looking to start a career in real estate, be sure you complete these steps before selling your first home:

  • Look into licensing and state requirements. Each state can have different requirements which may or may not be transferred.
  • Take a licensing course before your exam. This can be in-person or online. Unfortunately, many online real estate courses have been slow to include videos in their course materials.
  • Complete the licensing exam. Each exam is split into national practices and state-specific laws, so be sure to study both.

Computer Programmer

Programmers create, write and test the code used in many different computer applications. Not only do these jobs tend to have remote, flexible hours, they also rely more on a person’s technical knowledge or professional history. While some programmers attend university, many employers only require an associate’s degree or a background in programming. Because programs run on specific coding languages, employers look for employees who are certified or fluent in these languages. Programmers can certify their skills through attending workshops or boot camps designed for people wanting to get into the industry. Computer programming is one of the most lucrative careers, with median incomes around $86,000 a year.

Pursuing a career without a college degree can be intimidating. Take advantage of the resources around you. Research online and reach out to people in the industry. Networking is great for those looking to start a career and most people are happy to lend a little help.

Need help figuring out what you want to do with your career? Schedule some coaching sessions today so we can help you!

Solo entrepreneurship is an adventure. You get to choose what you’ll do for work, and you get to work for yourself. You know exactly what your business is doing because you are in charge. But did you know that solo entrepreneurship can also lead to greater personal growth? People are always wanting their business to grow and develop and solo entrepreneurship can lead to just that and, that in turn, can lead to your personal growth.

It Forces Growth

One way that solo entrepreneurship leads to greater personal growth is by forcing growth. By overseeing a business by yourself, you must make the decisions. If your business doesn’t succeed, then it’s on your head. If your business succeeds, then it succeeds solely based on your decisions. That doesn’t mean that you won’t face challenges. In fact, you will face many challenges that you will have to handle by yourself. But facing those decisions is what allows you and your business to grow.  The bigger the challenge you overcome the greater the growth.

More Control Over Finances

As a solo entrepreneur, you will also have more control over your finances. You don’t have to rely on anyone else to oversee decisions about where the money goes. You can take out a loan if you know you need to. You can also open your own retirement plan. To open a solo 401(k), you need to register for an employer identification number (EIN). It may be different than what you’re used to at first, but the freedom to govern your own finances for your business will help you grow in the long run.

Setting Goals

Another thing that solo entrepreneurship aids with is setting goals. Setting goals is an important part of personal growth. As a business, you’ll want to expand your reach, and set goals for products that you make, and how many of them you sell. You’ll want to make marketing goals, customer relation goals, and many other types of goals to help your business grow. These goals will not only help your business grow, but they will force you to strive for something that may be outside your comfort zone. These goals can help you in your personal development.

As a solo entrepreneur, your future is in your hands, but it is up to you to shape that future. The decisions you make with your business can not only lead to the growth of your business, but your own personal growth.

We can help you to make goals for not only your business, but also your life. Contact us to schedule some coaching sessions!

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Source: Strategy-Business.com

How to help employees learn new skills amid a crisis overcome the obstacles

Companies can work to overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of employee learning. #overcometheobstacles

Despite years of warnings, the skills gap is on the rise — not just in the United States, but around the world. The PwC Talent Trends 2019 report found that 79 percent of CEOs worldwide “are concerned that a lack of essential skills in their workforce is threatening the future growth of their organization,” compared to 53 percent in 2012.

The Society for Human Resource Management, in a survey of 20,000 U.S.-based members, found (pdf) that the skills shortage is “a top concern that needs to be addressed.” Three-quarters of HR professionals who are having difficulty recruiting “say there is a shortage of skills in candidates for job openings.”

As Laurent Probst and Christian Scharff, partners with PwC Luxembourg, have reported in s+bupskilling is crucial. The drive to build new skills for a new world, to expand the capabilities of existing employees, “can take place at the level of a company, an industry, or a community.”

In our work, we’ve found that even the most well-intentioned upskilling programs are often hampered by a challenge many executives are unprepared for: motivating employees to learn. It seems an unlikely problem — which is why it often catches business leaders by surprise. After all, millions of employees want to learn on the job. In a Gallup survey, 59 percent of millennials, as well as 44 percent of gen Xers and 41 percent of baby boomers, said opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when considering a job.

But there’s a difference between wanting to learn and making it happen. And numerous factors can sap a worker’s motivation to develop new skills.

Bror Saxberg, vice president of learning science at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, says four central factors prevent workers from being motivated to learn: They don’t value what they’re learning or how they’re learning it, they don’t believe they can master the skills, they blame environmental circumstances (“I just don’t have time to learn”), and they struggle with negative emotional states that distract them from learning.

We’ve found that businesses can help employees overcome these obstacles and feel motivated to make learning a part of their everyday work. We recommend three key steps — all of which can be done while employees are working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

End command and control. For far too long, workplace learning has revolved around compliance training. Organizations have told employees what to learn, and when to learn it. As a result, all too often workers have come to think of workplace learning as a dreaded responsibility rather than as an exciting opportunity.  overcome the obstacles

In this new era, as organizations determine where their skill gaps lie, some business leaders are tempted to assign their employees the task of learning specific new skills. But we’ve found that workers are much more motivated to engage in learning opportunities when they’re instead given free rein to choose what to learn.  overcome the obstacles

Workers are much more motivated to engage in learning opportunities when they’re given free rein to choose what to learn.

For example, a business might push everyone in its marketing team to learn more data analysis. But a member of the team might have a fascination with edge computing, and instead become an expert in that, which can be of great benefit to the company.

It’s certainly fine, and even helpful, for businesses to tell employees which skills the organization needs and expects to need in the coming years. We’ve found that most employees choose from among those skills because they want to be of maximal use to their employers. Still, it’s important to leave these decisions up to each individual.  overcome the obstacles

A 2019 survey from peer-coaching platform Imperative found that workers want to feel “fulfilled” more than they want to feel “engaged.” And 68 percent of respondents believe “the primary responsibility for fulfillment lies with the individual.” When employees choose their own learning paths, they align their development to their personal sense of fulfillment.

We also encourage companies to let employees choose when they spend time learning. That’s particularly important now, as the COVID-19 pandemic has led millions of people to shift their work schedules while also caring for loved ones.

Teach employees how to learn. Many workers dread learning — and question their own ability to learn — due to their early experiences with schooling. As kids, many of us never learned how to learn. David Blake, founder of lifelong learning platform Degreed, says he figured out how to get good grades as a child, but was a terrible learner because he had no passion for learning or sense of curiosity, and placed little value in what he was taught. “The education system incentivizes people to master test taking, not how to learn,” he says.  overcome the obstacles

Unfortunately, businesses have largely maintained these same problems, with most of the learning opportunities built around lectures or online programs that have workers click through and answer a few test questions. Workers are still too rarely given opportunities to go put those new skills to use, and then come back and improve.  overcome the obstacles

We’ve found that a four-stage “learning loop” works best. First, the learner studies a skill through videos, online courses, articles, TED Talks, or access to peers who have expertise in a subject. Then, the learner practices the skill; demonstrates the skill to a trusted expert, and gets feedback; and finally, considers that feedback and how to do a better job the next time. The learner then repeats the process by studying the aspects of the skill that need improvement. The loop continues until the skill is mastered.

Schedule time for reflection through peer coaching. In the midst of a busy day, finding time for learning can feel like a burden. With so many tasks to handle, workers naturally put off that learning for a time when their workload might be lighter — and such times come along rarely.  overcome the obstacles

At our companies, we do something different. We ask people to put blocks of time into their schedules for reflection. We want them to take time to consider their career progress and what they need to learn in order to build their professional futures. Doing this helps get them focused and excited for learning.

This process is most powerful when done in pairs, through peer coaching (pdf). Unlike peer learning, peer coaching is not about one employee learning a skill from another. Instead, two employees discuss their goals and futures, and help each other develop plans. For example, these plans may include “I’ll learn to become excellent at giving presentations,” or “I’ll learn the latest techniques to improve the security of cloud computing.” The two employees then hold each other accountable to seeing those plans through.

This process also leads employees to hone skills such as empathy, listening, and communication. These were traditionally called “soft skills.” But we call them “power skills.” LinkedIn found that 57 percent of senior leaders now believe that these kinds of skills are even more important than traditional “hard skills.” As an added, crucial benefit, peer coaching can also help reduce stress, which is on the rise in the current environment.

When these steps are taken, we find that the obstacles to learning are largely overcome. Workers come to believe that they can master even difficult skills, have time to learn, and feel better about each workday. Development becomes a central part of what each day is about. And the business’s skills gap, at last, begins to shrink.

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Running a business, especially if you are just starting your entrepreneurial journey, can be quite stressful at times. If you want to push through to the next level with your business, then it is important that you minimize your stress levels, so you can be as productive as possible.

Revisit Your Goals

As you become busier, it can be very easy to get distracted from your ultimate goal, especially as you have to deal with the hiccups that often come with running a business. One of the best ways that you can counteract this and stay on top of your original game plan is by revisiting your goals frequently, so you can make sure you are on your way to meeting them. A good way to help you meet your goals for sure is to break them down into micro steps, so you are constantly having to monitor them.  Breaking your goals down into these micro steps is a great way to see everything you are getting done and further increase productivity.

Get Rid of Distractions

In order to truly be productive, it is imperative that you stay focused by eliminating anything that may be a distraction. Social media is linked to adverse conditions that affect your productivity, such as depression and anxiety, and therefore should be used as sparingly as possible. Although you may need to use social media as part of your marketing strategy, try setting a schedule, so you are not on it constantly and being taken away from important daily tasks.  There are also browser plugins such as “News Feed Eradicator for Facebook” that blocks your Facebook news feed to help you stay focused on business activities.

Start an Exercise Routine

Exercise is a great way to not only relieve stress, but it can also help to increase your energy levels as well. When you have more energy, you can be more productive throughout the day as you are not walking around feeling tired or sluggish. When you exercise, you also increase your blood circulation, as well as release endorphins, both of which can make you feel better and think better. You may find that a quick jog or a go on the treadmill helps you come up with new ideas and creative strategies as you are able to think clearer.

If you find yourself starting to get off track, take a look at where you are versus where you are wanting your brand to go. Determine what things you are doing that are helping you get closer to your goals, as well as, what is taking you further away. Doing this little evaluation from time to time can help you maintain your focus, reduce stress, and increase productivity.