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January, A Time for Growth

As January approaches, it brings with it the perfect opportunity to reflect on our businesses and decide where we want them to go within the next year. A new year brings a renewed sense of energy and a chance at continued growth and success. If now is the time for you to grow your business, consider these small but insightful tips on how to expand your success efficiently and sustainably.

Expand Your Client Base Finding new clients and customers can be really difficult, especially for small business owners. But, the best way to develop a larger client pool is to ask your best clients and customers for their help. Asking your current clients to dip into their own professional network will market your brand quickly and help introduce you into different industry areas.

Harness Social Media Platforms Social media can be daunting, but it can also help you build your brand. Finding your niche on social media platforms can take time, so it’s best to dedicate the time you have to building one platform at a time. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are great platforms to start with, depending on your industry and client type. SPOILER: If you have difficulty managing your social media accounts, stay tuned for tips on our next blog.

Connect with Clients Are you making an effort to build your relationship with your clients and customers? This sounds like a big task, but it can be as easy as launching an email campaign like a newsletter or distributing an evaluation survey. Staying in touch with your customers and clients not only helps build your brand, but also does a lot for your reputation as a business owner. Launching a monthly newsletter that highlights your new projects or features lessons learned is a great way to stay in touch.

Spread the Word Expanding your business growth means trying new things and seeing what works. Joining networking groups or participating in speaking events is a great way to make connections while building your brand. Volunteering to speak at local or charity events and fundraisers will help you share your business story while meeting potential partners, clients, and customers.

Host an Open House Hosting local events like an open house or business Q&A is a simple and effective way to get business owners in the community together to connect and brainstorm ideas. If you don’t feel up to hosting an event, try reaching out to your local chamber of commerce to see what events are happening near you.

At Quadrivium Advisors, we love finding inspiration for growth. What inspires you?

4 Ways to Invest in Your Employees

As a small business owner, hiring the right employees is crucial to the success of your business (easier said than done!). There are different incentives and benefits many companies have adopted as a way to invest in their employees—think 401K, health insurance, PTO. But, as these benefits become more mainstream, it’s important to think of other ways to keep our employees engaged and excited about their work. We’re not necessarily talking about fancy vacations or an increase in salary, but more modest, everyday steps we can take in creating an environment which helps create employees who help our businesses succeed.

Assess Your Culture

Are your employees happy at work? Do they like how decisions get made? Do they feel valued? You might be able to make an assumption one way or the other, but the best way to know where your employees stand? Ask them.

There are different ways to assess your company’s culture. Some choose to interview their employees, or use surveys, while others feel it best to bring in a third party professional. No matter which tool you use to make an assessment, it’s important to take the results seriously. Employees who feel engaged in their work and empowered with the resources they need to be successful, will be the people who help shape your business and do the best work.

Increase Office Morale

Workplaces that evoke fear in their employees are not typically productive places. Teams which experience conflict that isn’t fruitful or thought provoking can cause years of damage. Don’t know how to improve morale? The best way to find out is to ask employees what they want. Sometimes it can be as simple as a jeans day at work or going to a happy hour, sometimes it might take a lot of time and hard work. But, when we make our offices and teams places that we actually want to be they have the potential to become hubs of energy and productivity.

Offer Educational Opportunities

No matter our jobs or responsibilities, by nature, we are lifelong learners whether we recognize it or not. Giving employees the opportunity to leave the office and learn from people other than coworkers can be both rewarding and inspiring. Consider looking into conferences, team-building retreats, or offsite networking events that would give your employees an opportunity to reignite excitement about their work.

Know Your Staff

How can we invest in our employees if we don’t know them? The better we know our employees and their goals—personal and professional, the better we will be able to support them in achieving them both at home and at work. When it comes to getting to know someone personally, remember that people are different. And so, the same approach won’t work for your whole team. Sure, some people might be comfortable telling you everything you ask off the cuff, but for others, the investment will take more time. Taking your employees out to lunch, and spending time with them outside of work will help you understand what they need to be successful while they are at work.

When it comes to investing in your employees, what works for you? Share your ideas below!

3 Reasons Business Owners Need Breaks, Too

The Christmas holiday is right around the corner, and with it brings an opportunity to spend time with family and friends. For most people, vacations and holiday breaks are times of anticipation and joy, but for the small business owner, holidays can be a time of anxiety. There is a common perception that business owners shouldn’t take breaks because the harder you work, the more successful your business will be. While this can be true, it doesn’t take away from the fact that we are all human, and humans get tired and need breaks too. So, if you’re tempted to skip out of the holiday break and make a beeline to your office (or email), you may want to reconsider-here’s why.

Invest in yourself.

By taking time to relax and rejuvenate, you’re doing more for your business than you might think. It doesn’t take an expensive vacation to checkout of work and into relaxation. Consider taking three or four days for a “staycation” and do the things or hobbies that you never have time for, like reading a book or going on a bike ride. When we take a break from our work, we can re-enter with energy and a fresh perspective.

We owe it to our work and to our employees to show up as our best selves each day. When our employees see us taking time to care for ourselves and our families, we are setting an example for a healthy work-life balance. This practice keeps our businesses and the people who help run them healthy and happy all year long.

Evaluate your business.

Taking time off not only gives you time to relax, but it gives you time to see if your business can run without you. One of the ingredients to establishing a successful business is hiring people you trust, and people who can teach you the things you don’t already know. Being away from your employees can be difficult for everyone, but the opportunity for reflection is invaluable. Once you return, take the time to evaluate what needs to be done to make the business run better especially in your absence.

Know your priorities.

Business owners have a million things on their to-do list. When it comes time for a vacation or break, it always seems to happen at the worst time. Maybe you have a project deadline, or something came up with your biggest client. No matter the reason, it can be hard to leave. However, stepping away from our work can also give us clarity on what’s a priority and what isn’t—at work and at home. We don’t want to always be checked-in to work during vacation time, but when an idea or inspiration strikes, try writing it down and save it for when you get back to work.

At Quadrivium, we’re looking forward to celebrating the Christmas holiday with friends and family. We’re always looking for ways to reenergize and rejuvenate. What works for you?

Business Goals: The Perfect New Year’s Resolution

With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas around the corner, we’re rapidly approaching the start of a new year. The New Year brings a time for reflection and goal setting—not only for our personal aspirations, but for our businesses too. Goal setting and reflection might sound obvious, especially for business owners. But, as the busyness of the holiday season sets in, these important practices are often the first ones to get left behind.

In case you need convincing, here’s what goal-setting and post year reflection can do for you.

  • Opens channels of communication

When businesses and their team members have real goals that they are actively working to achieve, the more likely it is that all members—employees, team leaders, supporting staff—will be able to picture the end result, while knowing what their role is in reaching the goal. Behind a true and realistic goal is a strategic framework with clear and achievable steps. As these goals and their plans are developed and presented, uncertainty is replaced with clarity.

  • Evaluates progress

Goals that are consistently evaluated act as tool for measuring success, both for long-term growth and efficiency as a team. Businesses that plan for the long-term usually set goals for the next three to five years. These businesses and organizations will have a clear and unified vision well into the future. Working towards a goal also helps evaluate your cohesiveness as a team. Setting goals together allows leadership to see who’s on board and who is not.

  • Allows you to pivot when necessary

Planning for the future can be difficult, especially when you are working in an ever-evolving industry. Having future-oriented goals is great, but the real value of these goals is that they keep us aware. Reviewing and reexamining goals each quarter allows for businesses and organizations to make changes when necessary. Perhaps your team is growing or reducing, or maybe there has been a major shift in the industry. Whatever the change might be– the goal, or the strategy behind the goal, can be edited for success.

So, we’ve convinced you that goals are good. But, what do you need to do to set them?

  • Identify your organization’s SLOT

A SLOT analysis, which can be done in many different ways, recognizes an organization’s Strengths, Limitations, Opportunities, and Threats. This type of study helps a business get clear about what they are good at, what they can improve upon, and where they want to go in the future. Identifying key strengths and opportunities serves as a natural way to set goals for the future while forecasting potential challenges.

  • Plan your strategy from beginning to end

Goals can seem overwhelming at first, that’s why breaking them down into small steps is so important. When it comes to goal setting you want to think about your time frame. When will you start taking steps to achieve your goal? When do you want to be finished?

Once you have a timeline, start thinking about the people who will be responsible for each goal, what role they will play, and what they need to get the job done. If you are a leader or business owner, don’t be afraid to get each employee involved! When employees feel invested in something big, the harder they work to achieve the desired outcome.

  • Celebrate small successes

Goals can be simple, but achieving them is often complex and multi-facetted. To keep from getting discouraged, it’s crucial to take time to celebrate small achievements that get you closer to your desired outcome. It doesn’t matter how you celebrate as long as you pause and acknowledge the work that’s pushed you a little closer to your goal.

At Quadrivium, we’re busy setting our goals for 2018. Share yours with us too!

Even the Best Leaders Need Business Coaches

Congrats! You’ve started a business. You’ve managed to overcome all the initial obstacles that face new (and even experienced) business owners, but what happens when growth starts to decline, or inversely, when your business thrives so much that you start to lose control over the process? As a business owner, you constantly feel pressure to make the right moves and know all the right answers, unfortunately, we can’t know everything. The good news is there are resources out there to help. In fact, behind most great business owners, there’s a really great business coach helping them gain even more success.

For many business owners, the return on investment of hiring a business coach reaches far beyond the potential for financial gain. The real value of a business coach rests in their ability to approach setbacks and challenges with a fresh perspective, to identify and achieve goals, and to ultimately guide you to where you want to be.

So, how do you know it’s time for a coach?

You have new ideas and concepts, but need to talk them through.

  • When it comes to making hard decisions, sometimes what you really need is someone to listen. Business coaches act as a sound board, asking invaluable questions that lead you to solutions and innovations that are best for you and your business. Great coaches suspend judgment and give honest feedback as an outsider who knows the nuances of your business.

The day-to-day is overwhelming.

  • Business owners put everything they have into making their business successful. Prioritizing can be a very difficult process, especially when everything seems important and urgent. Business coaches help evaluate your processes, check for efficiency, and make suggestions on what to do and when to do it. The goal of a business coach is not to run your business for you, but to serve as mentor as you navigate through the challenges and successes of operating a business.

Goals go unachieved.

  • It’s easy to think of business goals, but the underbelly of achieving those goals involve strategy, action, and accountability. Not everyone can hold themselves accountable, that’s when business coaches become a crucial and invaluable asset. Good business coaches know strategy, and can act as an accountability partner when you start to take steps in achieving your goals.

The business is undergoing transition.

  • Transitions are difficult, both in our personal lives and in our businesses. We can’t always control the outside variables that cause our business to change or transition. But, we can manage these changes. Whether it’s a pivotal person who’s left the company, or a competitor who poses a threat, business coaches can help you navigate through these transitions. In fact, a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that 48 percent of business coaches are hired to facilitate transitions. Even the most seasoned businesses and business owners experience transitions. It’s never too late or too early to hire a business coach.

The value of a business coach increases with time, as the partnership is developed, and experiences are shared. Are you ready to get where you want to be? Connect with us to learn more.

 

 

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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info@quadrivium-advisors.com

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Cincinnati OH 45236