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Establishing Team Values

Building a team can be one of the most challenging parts of running a business. Finding people who are passionate, loyal, and talented can be a hard task. But, once you’ve established your team of staff and employees, the next step in creating a great team often gets looked over.

Most teams don’t take the time to establish their core values. These values will help push and drive the team forward as well as help them to remain communicative while working for the same goals. Values are what unite a team, even when each member is working on different areas or projects. As individuals, we all different values, but that doesn’t mean a team can’t find the values that fit them as a group. Here are some tips on how to choose values that work for you and your team:

Do the Work

Establishing values might seem pretty straightforward, but if you’re doing this together as team (which you should), it’s going to take some time. Carve out the time in your schedule and commit to the process. It will be helpful to send your team some pre-work before your team meeting, so they come prepared with ideas and reflections. Simple questions like, “what does our company value?” and “what’s our number one priority when it comes to interacting with clients and customers?” will do a lot to spark conversation.

Work it Out

For an entire team to “buy into” team values, the values themselves have to come from the team. Consider what each team member is saying, have someone take notes, and then organize your information together. It will be easier to pick out key words and strong values if you have existing material to work with. Choosing values together will strengthen your team and will even act as a team building exercise, without it being too obvious.

See it Everyday

Once you’ve fully defined your values or value statements, choose a platform to showcase them. It could be a laminated paper that each member put at their workspace, or it could be a larger piece at the center of your office. Whatever it is, you should be able to see a physical reminder of your team values each day. Your team should be able to name their values at the drop of a hat, and seeing them in the office will be a helpful reminder.

If you’re ready to establish values with your team, Quadrivium Advisors is here to help!

A How to Guide to Thinking On Your Feet

No one likes being put on the spot, especially during a business meeting or when talking with current or potential clients. But, the truth is that it’s bound to happen at one point in your career. Being stumped doesn’t feel good for anyone involved. As entrepreneurs, we want our clients to feel safe with us and to trust us to know our stuff. Whether you’re having an off day, or you don’t know how to respond, we have some tips that will help you out of these uncomfortable situations. So, the next time you’re coming up with nothing, remember these:

  • Prepare. Sometimes these situations can be avoided by preparing for meetings adequately. Try forecasting the topics that are most likely to come up into conversation and take notes on points you need to get across. Just like in interview situations, try thinking through questions you may be asked to answer and prepare your response. Even if these questions don’t come up, the responses you’ve previously brainstormed may help enhance your conversation.
  • Respond Strategically. ’t always prepare for everything that’s thrown our way. But we do have the ability to respond slowly and intentionally. You may need time to process the question being asked and come up with a response—and it’s okay to ask for this, even nonverbally. Take a deep breath and use body language, like a head nod, to show that you’ve understood the question and are processing an answer. Responding genuinely will be received better than fabricating a response that lacks truth and depth.
  • Repeat. ’re being heard. If you’ve been presented with a situation or question that you’re not sure how to respond to, try summarizing the question or comment back to the person asking. This is another way to let the person on the receiving end know that they’re being heard. This may help you uncover any underlying concerns your client may have presented in their question or comment, and will guide you in your response.
  • Ask for Clarification. When we don’t know how to respond, we can always ask for clarification. Using responses like Can you tell me more about that? not only buys you time to come up with an answer, but will also give you more information to work with.
  • It’s Okay Not to Know. It’s impossible to know everything. You might find yourself in situations where you’re truly stumped, and that’s okay. Answer the question or respond to the situation the best way you can, and acknowledge the pieces that are missing.

 

Navigating the waters of entrepreneurship is not easy! But, the next time you find yourself stumped, consider using these tips to help you out of sticky situations, or contact us here for additional help.

Overcoming the Most Common Fears of Entrepreneurship

Fear is a very real part of entrepreneurship for even the most experienced business owners. So whether you’re just starting out or have been in the field for the better part of your professional career, every business owner has to learn how to harness their own fear. Here are some of the most common fears facing business owners and some tips on how to navigate through them.

Instability

When making money is up to you and you alone, the future can be unpredictable and a little daunting. Losing one profitable client could change the outcome of your yearly revenue in just one day. This instability is a fear that most, if not all business owners think about regularly. In this situation, it’s important to recognize the ebb and flow of every business. There will be times that your business flourishes, and times where new business is hard to acquire. For peace of mind, consider setting up an emergency fund both for yourself and your business, so when business slows down, you have time to regroup.

Failing

It’s hard not to fear failure, especially when there’s a lot on the line. But, the truth about failure is that it’s inevitable and you are bound to fail once or twice (or a million times) when starting and maintaining a business. The secret to overcoming the fear of failure? Embrace it. Of course, this is easier to say than do. But, when we push failure aside, we have the bandwidth to keep pushing forward no matter what obstacles are in the way. Let the passion and drive that started your business keep it from succumbing to failure.

Competition

There’s always a fear that someone will do what you’re doing but even better. Your competition may give you a run for your money, but use it as momentum to keep evolving and growing your business. As a small business, remember to find your niche and let it set you apart from your competition.

Running Out of Money

There are a lot of variables that can cause small businesses to tighten their cash-flow and decrease available resources. Try to avoid these situations by cutting unnecessary expenses and reducing existing ones.

Entrepreneurs aren’t fearless people! But, eventually we learn how to harness our fears, and stop them from getting in the way. When it comes to overcoming entrepreneurial fears, what helps you and your team?

Curbing the Never Ending To-Do List

Whether you use the traditional pencil and paper, or take advantage of an online tool, to-do lists can get out of control quickly. While it feels great to put a line through your action items, to-do lists can be daunting especially when they roll over to the next page. The challenge is figuring out how to prioritize our lists, while including both long-term goals and day-to-day tasks, both of which are equally important. Consider using some of these best kept secrets for getting your work done without drowning in your lists.

Separate Your Lists Try separating your to-do items onto two lists. Make a list for items you don’t want to forget, tasks, and urgent action items. Use the second list for long-term goals and tasks that aren’t time-sensitive, but still important. To make sure each list gets adequate attention, try starting the day by completing the first task on each list. If you’re working on a long-term goal, it’s important to break it down into simple and achievable action items.

Break it Down If you have an item on your to-do list that doesn’t seem to ever get down, you might need to make it more achievable. If this task is more of a goal than an action item, think through the process and write down each step. Crossing off elements of a long-term goal one at a time will give you the endurance you need to accomplish it without feeling overwhelmed.

Prioritize Once you have made your lists, come up with a ranking system. Some people choose to use ABC, while others use numbers or shapes. Prioritize each item by urgency, and then get to work! You may want to rewrite your lists so you can keep moving down the page instead of jumping around from one item to the next.

Block Out Time Our days aren’t only for to-do lists. We have meetings, business lunches, and unexpected emergencies that fill up our free time (if we have any to begin with!). Use your calendar to block out a chunk of time to specifically work on your to-do list. Don’t be afraid to get detailed with your calendar. You might consider writing down the items from your to-do list directly on your calendar. As a bonus you’ll be able to cross it off of two places!

At Quadrivium Advisors, we know what it’s like to get overwhelmed with lists! Getting prioritized is much easier when you have someone guiding you through. If it’s time to streamline your to-do list, contact us here.

Why it’s So Hard to Ask for Help

Have you ever felt swamped in your work, but were afraid to ask for help? Well, you’re not alone. According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, out of 500 participants, nearly two-thirds reported that they would prefer to finish their work without assistance from coworkers, even if they were drowning in their work. There are different reasons people are slow to ask for help. The same study noted that employees who don’t ask for help often worry about owing their coworkers a future favor, while others were concerned that accepting help would hurt their reputations as “high potential” employees.

When it comes down to it, asking for help is often perceived as weakness, especially in the workplace. But, when done right, asking for help can actually improve workplace culture. If you ever find yourself needing help and afraid to ask for it, here are a few tips that might help:

Know Your Limits

It can be difficult to know when it’s the right time to ask for help. The voices in our heads can be quick to say, “try harder.” However, there’s a line between working hard to find a solution and becoming inefficient. It’s a good idea to reach out for help once you feel like you’ve exhausted all of your options and your inspiration and creativity have run dry.

Explore Your Options

There are few things worse than asking for help when you had the answers all along. If it’s a matter of getting things done versus figuring them out, know exactly what you need when you ask for it. A good guideline to asking for help, is sticking to S.M.A.R.T. requests. This means that what you’re asking for will be Specific, Meaningful, Action-oriented, Real, and Timely.

Ask the Right Person

Your boss might not always be an appropriate default resource. While bosses should always be open for communication, there might be other people who are right for the job. Mentors both in and out of the workplace can be great resources to tap into when you’re looking for guidance. If what you’re asking is more of a hands-on/ get-it-done task, then a coworker may be appropriate.

Encourage Asking for Help

Asking coworkers for help can contribute to improving workplace culture. When employees feel supported and safe at their workplace, they’re more likely to do their best work. Consider making yourself available to others and offering help when it’s appropriate for you.

 

 

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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