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Salient

Salient is an excellent design with a fresh approach for the ever-changing Web. Integrated with Gantry 5, it is infinitely customizable, incredibly powerful, and remarkably simple.

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Keep Your Clients Coming Back

As a small business owner, you’ve probably already realized how important attracting new clients is to maintaining a successful business. However, the value of strengthening your relationship with your existing clients is often overlooked. Losing a client, no matter how big or small, can impact your cash flow, work load, and even your reputation in the industry. Here are some simple tips on how to strengthen your existing client partnerships while encouraging new ones:

Reach Out

Connecting with your clients shouldn’t be limited to making a sale. Even after your initial sale, make sure to invest time in maintaining your client relationship. The sale is just the beginning; clients like to know there is someone on the receiving end. If you’re not leading a client’s project, don’t be afraid to send an email or make a phone call to check-in.

Be Accessible

This is a lot more difficult than it sounds! As entrepreneurs and business owners, there are always emails awaiting a response or a phone call that needs to be made. But, going the extra mile to stay connected to your clients is well worth the effort. As simple as it sounds, returning voicemails and social media comments, let clients know they are valued and important.

Be Prompt

It’s important to communicate with your clients before they even have to ask for an update. No one likes wondering where their project stands or if an existing problem has been solved. Clients appreciate being kept up-to-date!

Admit Mistakes

Mistakes happen, and that’s okay. The way they get handled is what matters the most. Instead of leaving your clients in the dark, admit your mistake and propose your plan to fix it. Clients are more likely to be understanding if a plan has been put in place to clean up the error.

Do Your Homework

When working with clients that come from different industries, it’s a necessity to get acquainted with the appropriate language and industry trends. This helps foster a better understanding of your clients’ needs—and they’ll be sure to notice.

Say Thanks!

It’s easy to get caught up on all the work we do for our clients. But, it’s them who choose to work with us time and time again. It’s nice to say thanks once in a while. In addition to sending cards during Christmastime or New Year’s, try sending a quick card or note of appreciation. It’s these small things that keep our clients coming back to our businesses.

What ideas do you have for maintaining client relationships?

How to Read a Room

Whether you’re in the business industry or tech world, or anything in between, chances are you’ve heard the term, “reading the room.” This coined phrase refers to the idea that when people are together, there are messages, feelings, opinions, that are shared but without using verbal language. These messages can be shared through body language, emotional empathy, or recognizing a subtle change in behavior. Reading a room can be helpful in many situations, because it gives insight to how people are feeling in certain situations—but, doing it correctly can be really difficult. Here are a few ways to improve your room reading at your next meeting or business lunch:

Practice Observance

Next time you’re in a room full of people, try to remember to take a step back and reflect on what’s happening in the moment. Pay close attention to who’s in attendance, where people are sitting, and how they react to what people are saying. A lot of the insight gained through reading a room happens when you pay attention to people’s body language and not just what they are saying. Try noticing eyebrow raises, smirks, and when people cross their arms or shift their body weight.

Check Your Observations

What good is reading a room if you don’t use it to improve people’s experiences? If you notice something obvious, like if some disagrees with a decision that’s been made, or on a lighter note—maybe someone is cold, it’s important to bring your observations to the table and offer them up for a discussion piece. No one likes being called out, so make sure to be gentle in your candor and always use “I statements” when discussing what you’ve noticed. Using phrases like, “Before we continue, I think we should pause and check in.” If you’ve noticed something about one person in particular, it’s always best do your check-in when in a private setting.

Take Control

If things are starting to get tense and people are beginning to feel uncomfortable, you can always lighten things up. Consider suggesting a 5 minute break, or even acknowledge how people are feeling and ask for any specific needs. Using phrases like, “I know this has been a tough conversation, how is everyone feeling,” will give people the encouragement they need to speak up.

Make Notes for Next Time

Try to remember the way people react to each other both in times of stress and celebration. This will give insight to the best way to connect with people during difficult or stressful moments. When reading the room becomes second nature, you’ll find you can learn a lot about people when tuning into their reactions and responses even during a one hour meeting.

When it comes to reading a room, what helps you the best?

Are You Contributing to a Toxic Workplace?

As leaders, or anyone who has ever worked under a supervisor, it’s very likely that you’ve encountered toxic work environments whether you noticed or not. While there are many different factors that contribute to workplace toxicity, the most common factor is poor leadership. Whether you’re a leader who manages a large team, or a team member looking to be successful in the workplace, it’s important to recognize when a team’s culture has turned toxic and what to do about it. If the following behaviors seem familiar, it’s important to assess your workplace culture immediately.

Conflict

It’s not uncommon for conflict to be present within the workplace. Contrary to some beliefs, conflict is actually a very healthy part of workplace relationships, especially amongst teams and coworkers. Conflict, when handled properly, can be a catalyst for creative energy, compromise, and even lead to greater trust between peers. However, when conflict remains unproductive it can cause resentment, dishonesty, and lead to a decline in efficiency and productivity. When leaders handle conflict with transparency and urgency, the outcomes are usually beneficial for all.

Unreasonable Expectations

There are many workplaces that set impossible working standards for their employees. Leaders who don’t recognize the importance of self-care and rest will soon find themselves with employees who aren’t productive and don’t feel proud of their work-related accomplishments. Leaders who show their employees what it means to set boundaries and take care of themselves will help create a workplace environment that cares for the person doing the work.

Unclear Values

When team members have a mutual understanding of workplace values and goals, there will ultimately be better communication amongst the group. When values go unnamed, chaos can and most likely will follow shortly. Unproductive meetings and circling conversations are common symptoms of teams who are unclear about their roles and their objectives. A team that is not cohesive will likely lose stamina and drive.

Failing to Provide Support

Leaders who are unable to give their team members the resources they need to their job will find themselves knee deep in a toxic environment. It is crucial for team members to feel fulfilled in their work, and having the resources to do so is their right as employees. Leaders- make sure to check-in with your team members to ensure they have what they need.

Toxic workplaces are incredibly difficult to mend. The healing process, for many teams, can take years of hard work. What helps your team stay on track and away from toxic behaviors?

Changing the Meaning of Being Productive

As entrepreneurs, finding enough time during the day is a reoccurring struggle for most. However, an article published by the Harvard Business Review suggests that maybe time isn’t the problem, but instead how we manage our own energy. When deadlines come up at work, or new clients get on board, it makes sense to put in longer hours. But, longer hours isn’t exactly equivalent to productive hours. HBR’s study suggests that the way we treat our own energy resources might be at the root of the productivity problem.

The Basics

Basic self-care usually falls by the way side when our careers (and lives) get busy. Eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep sound trite, but they are the foundations of working productively throughout the week. HBR highlights the story of an Ernst & Young executive who, when abiding by standard guidelines of sleep, nutrition, and physical activity, saw immediate results in his productivity as well as the connection with his wife and children. Re-evaluating the way we treat our energy resources seems like a big undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be. Start with the basics and make small changes. Not getting enough sleep? Not exercising enough? Eating the wrong foods? Identify the problem and slowly implement the changes for big results.

 

Quality Energy

As we encounter different situations throughout the day, our bodies are forced to do a lot of work. According to HBR, our bodies are constantly drifting in and out of fight or flight mode. Whether you’ve been asked a question you don’t know the answer to, or having to confront an employee or co-worker, work stress takes its toll on the body. Those types of situations can leave us feeling empty and drained. A quick and effective way to conserve this type of energy is to carve out pockets of time during your day for reflection. Walk on your lunch break, practice deep breathing exercises, or take a few minutes to journal.

 

Focus

It’s pretty amazing how much we get done on the amount of energy we have each day. It’s important for us to prioritize tasks and practice working without distractions. HBR reports that we can use as much as 25% of our energy resources in switching from one task to another, like answering a phone call or email in the middle of a different task or project. Practice setting aside 20 minutes to work without any distractions. This will help you increase your productivity while protecting your energy.

 

It always feels like there’s never enough time in one day! But, these helpful tips can keep your energy resources full and your productivity at a high level. You can read the entire Harvard Business Review article here.

Apps for Promoting a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Maintaining a work-life balance can be much harder than taking a long vacation once a year. There are many professionals who struggle to find a balance between spending quality time with their family while maintaining or advancing their professional career. Between bedtimes and urgent emails, setting your boundaries, both at home and at work can be a huge struggle. Thankfully, we’re not alone, and once again the tech world has come up with ways to help navigate the nuances of being a busy professional. Here are some of the best apps to help with balance and setting boundaries.

BreakFree

If the temptation to respond to a late-night email is too much, you might want to check out BreakFree. BreakFree will track time spent on certain apps and can be programmed to block them during specific time settings. This app helps put into perspective how much time is spent using your phone during family time or sleeping hours.

Focus Booster

If you find yourself playing catch-up late at night, productivity might be the problem. Apps flike Focus Booster set time frames for specific tasks and projects and limits your accessibility to other applications that might distract you. This app can help you get through your daily work goals and free up your evening for time with your family or friends.

Pacifica

Part of maintaining a healthy work-life balance is being able transition into and out of work easily. It’s not always easy to enter into “family mode” after a stressful day. Pacifica helps ease that transition by offering tools for coping with anxiety and stress. This app not only helps track your mood and health but also offers relaxation techniques, a peer support community, and weekly progress reports.

Week Plan

Staying organized helps you keep your week well balanced. Using a planner like Week Plan allows you to carve out time for both your personal and professional life, and it even accounts for surprises or unexpected tasks. When you wake up with an idea or breakthrough for a project your working on, just jot it down in the Brain Dump section, and get back to living life (or catching some Z’s).

Managing your career and personal life is hard- but it doesn’t have to be impossible. These apps might just do the trick if you’re looking for something to give you a boost when it comes to finding the perfect balance. What’s been working for you when it comes to setting a healthy balance between work and life?

 

 

Quadrivium: noun[kwo-driv-ee-uh m]

from Latin quadrivium, which means 'a place where four points meet"

Bringing you to that perfect point.

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