Business Advice

Developing Strong Leadership from Scratch

Developing Strong Leadership From Scratch

Anyone can learn to be a good leader, but it takes something extra for a team to get behind you.

If you own a business and it starts growing, you’ll need other people to whom you can delegate management and leadership duties. But how do you develop those ever-important leadership skills in your employees? Here are some tips.

Identify the critical skills you need in your leaders. Each organization is different, so you need to take the time to figure out what your needs are and how your current staff’s competencies work into that. Once you know those needs in relation to your company’s strategy, you can begin your efforts to develop new leaders.

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Identify leadership candidates. Which of your employees seem to have these critical skills, or which of them could develop those skills with some mentorship from you? Which of them takes the initiative when things need to be done? A good leader knows each team member’s strengths and areas where they need to grow. With that information, a leader can begin building skills in those with leadership potential.

Invest in your team. High-impact companies spend three to four times more on leadership development than novices do. Help your staff to participate in programs that will give them the skills they need to become leaders in your organization. It’s worth the cost to send promising employees to workshops and classes.

Teach them to network. By doing so, you’ll help them learn how to make connections with people they don’t know. They’ll also develop some mutually beneficial relationships that will help you and your company. You can start small, with company potlucks or after-work happy hours, and then bring them to larger networking events and introduce them to your connections.

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Give them the right experience. If your managers need to be good public speakers, for example, invite your team member to watch you give a presentation and then, later on, ask them to present in your place. You can do the same with duties like running meetings and overseeing projects. All these tasks will help your budding leaders develop their management skills.

Allow them to stretch. It’s okay if your potential leaders struggle a little; it will ultimately help them to build their skills and learn who to ask about what.  That doesn’t mean you should sit around and watch while your employee tries to figure out something that’s become easy for you. Give hints here and there, or introduce them to someone in the company who will be better able to help.

Let them take ownership. If you’ve taught your employees how to make smart, informed decisions based on their knowledge of the company and the product, you shouldn’t make them run their ideas by you before executing them. Trust your employees and your mentorship enough to let them make their own decisions. Some of those decisions will result in learning experiences, some will be amazing—but whatever the case, if you let your potential leaders lead, the long-term results will be great.

A 5-Step Guide to Setting and Meeting Career Goals

A 5-Step Guide to Setting and Meeting Career Goals 2313 Inc
Nobody with any degree of motivation imagines that they’ll be in the same job, at the same pay rate, five years from now. But what do you do if you want to move beyond your current position? You need to set goals—but how do you do that for maximum chances of success? Here are some tips.
 
Make your goals SMART
Unless your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely, you’re not going to be able to achieve them. It’s not enough, for example, to say that you’d like to own your own business. You need to set a goal like, “I will own my own business in five years.” This specific goal is also measurable because you can track your progress toward that goal. It’s achievable and realistic if you are motivated, and timely because you’ve set a time limit for achieving that long-term goal.
 
Create milestones
Because SMART goals must be measurable and achievable, create milestones (or short-term goals) in support of your long-term goal. For example, you could create a short-term goal of finding at least one mentor within a month, or taking an accounting or bookkeeping class within a year to support your ability to manage your business finances.
 
Build your network
Once you’ve decided on the goal you want to achieve, some of the milestones you create should revolve around building your network. Seek out mentors in your desired career field, talk to people at networking events and conferences, and build connections with people online through career-oriented social media channels. By building your network, you’ll have a better chance of successfully achieving your goals.
 
Be committed and accountable
You can create all the long-term and short-term goals you want, but if you’re not committed to them, you won’t succeed. If you believe your goal is important and attainable, you’re more likely to do the work necessary to achieve it. Likewise, you need to be accountable, so make sure a mentor or fellow entrepreneur is there to hold you to your long-term and short-term goals.
 
On the other hand, be flexible
You may find that you need to change your timeline for achievement of your goals. For example, if you have a goal of graduating from college in three years, but then realize you can’t do that while also working full-time, don’t be afraid to modify that goal. Maybe you can take one or two evening classes each semester.
However, there’s also a chance that a goal you set may no longer be important to you; in that case, set yourself a new SMART goal to achieve.
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Improving Conversation Skills for Better Networking

2313 Inc Improving Conversation Skills for Better Networking

Networking. At its worst, it’s an exchange of banal small talk and glad-handing that you’ve been forced into by someone who’s read a blog post about the importance of networking. At its best, though, networking can be a great opportunity to make connections that can help you—or allow you to help others.

Ultimately, networking events are what you make them. If you think they’re going to be useless ordeals, that’s what they’ll be. On the other hand, if you go into a networking event armed with good conversation skills and a positive attitude, you may find that you get more out of it than you might have thought even in your most optimistic moments.

While we can’t help you with your attitude—that’s one’s up to you—we do have some tips for improving your conversation skills and making your networking better and more successful as a result.

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Make it about them

You’ve probably been held captive by someone who talks endlessly about something you don’t care about. Don’t be the person who does that. Instead, show interest in your conversation partner’s world. Start your conversations by asking an open-ended question about the work they do or their interests. Try starting with business-oriented questions like “How did you get started in this industry?” or “What’s your favorite type of client to work with?” If the conversation goes a little farther, consider asking questions along the lines of “What’s your favorite way to celebrate success?”

Don’t be a panhandler

No, we’re not talking about the person asking for spare change on the street, but we are talking about a similar attitude. Don’t approach people with the intention of getting something out of them, but rather with sincere interest and an attitude of “what can I do to help you?” By taking a constructive stance and wanting to be of service, you actually increase the odds that something good is going to come out of your networking activities.

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Listen. Really listen.

Most people don’t listen well. They’ll hear half of what the other person is saying and immediately start forming counter-arguments or thinking of things to say in response. But people respond best when they feel heard. Pay attention when the other person is talking—make eye contact, nod, or make affirmative noises—and use “active listening” techniques like paraphrasing the other person’s view and asking for clarification if needed.

Avoid taboo topics

We all know politics and religion are topics that should not be on the table at a networking event. But did you know that there are some other, less obvious things you should avoid talking about? Don’t discuss relationship status, for example, and do avoid comments on a person’s physical appearance. You might also want to avoid discussing major purchases or other things that could signal that you are of a higher (or lower) socioeconomic status than your peers.

Use positive language

Networking events are not the time to complain about your job, your commute, or your personal life. Instead, make sure your language is inviting and not overly blunt. There’s really no down side to using positive language (just try not to be too constantly chipper because that can come off as being insincere), and it’s a great way to avoid communication problems that arise from misinterpretation of blunter language.

What tips do you have for improving your conversation skills? Please tell us in the comments.

Easy and Effective Ways to Improve Team Communication

2313 Inc Easy and Effective Ways to Improve Team Communication

A team that communicates well eliminates many workplace issues.

At 2313 Inc, we value individuals that know how to communicate well. Learn more about the values and mission of 2313 Inc here: http://www.2313inc.com/2313incstory/2313inc-values-and-mission/

Good communication is the lifeblood of every successful business. Not only is it important to communicate well with your customers, it’s just as important to communicate well with your team members. If your team isn’t communicating well, they’re not working well together, and that can lead to problems with customer acquisition and retention.

Here are some easy ways to improve communication with your team:

Build Rapport

A great way to lay the foundation for successful communication is to build rapport in your team. Try taking everyone out for lunch, and tell them there’s just one rule: no discussion of anything related to work. A casual meal in which you’re talking about things you do outside the office is a great icebreaker and helps to open the lines of communication within and between teams.

Ask Questions

Every employee has their own way of perceiving and internalizing information. Knowing how your employees like to receive information—through email, a messenger service, an internal e-newsletter, or face to face—can help you create a better plan for regular communication. Your staff will also appreciate that you’re making the effort to maximize their productivity and understanding.

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Reach Out to Shy Employees

Not everyone is gregarious and extroverted, and that’s not a bad thing. Take the time to reach out to your quieter team members and show a genuine interest in them and their work. Be ready for your outreach to take a while before it achieves results; people don’t become shy overnight, so their shyness isn’t going to disappear overnight, either.

Make People’s Roles Clear from the Start

Communication can break down pretty quickly if team members don’t understand what their role is. Keep workflows transparent, make sure each team member understands how they contribute to the success of the project or the company, and be sure they know what channels the project has to go through for approval and completion.

Have One-on-Ones with Your Team Members

A weekly 10-minute check-in with your direct reports can make a world of difference. The check-in will give and your team members a chance to discuss issues and ask questions that may be better addressed outside a group setting. It can also provide a way to bring up performance or attendance concerns before they reach a crisis point.

Explain the Reason for the Ask

It may seem silly, but it’s quite possible that a team member may not know why you’re asking them to do something. Instead of assigning a task with no context, help your team member to understand the value and significance of the task you’ve asked them to do. Not only will it help the person to feel like that they’re doing something important, it will go a long way to helping them understand their role in the company.

Offer Constructive Feedback

Focus on the behavior rather than the person’s character. For example, if you see that a team member is frustrated or struggling, give them some tips on how they can meet their goals and ask what you can do to help. And, of course, allow your team member to share their thoughts and be a part of the solution to any problems you may be facing.

Effective communication lays a foundation for success, both for your company and for individual team members. It can be time-consuming to establish or improve communication, but it’s worth the effort. If you put in the work, you’re bound to reap the rewards.

Meaningful Ways to Handle Rejection

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Everyone gets rejected, but will you let rejection stop your career in its tracks, or will you turn it into an opportunity to grow

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Rejection hurts. There is no way to avoid it. Your first step is to acknowledge the rejection–but don’t dwell on it. Convert that rejection into motivation. Here are some strategies that will keep you moving forward.

1. Don’t Expect Rejection

Anticipating rejection can lead to procrastination. Reaching out to a customer can be scary. But then again…what if you’re just what that customer needs when they need it? Don’t let the fear keep you from putting your best foot forward!

2. Establish Clear Goals

Have you created a clear set of goals? Get specific about all of your goals. Establish daily, weekly, and monthly goals. If you need help setting goals, consult your team members or supervisor. 

3. Create A Work Routine

Create a work routine. Make customer contacts at the same time every day. As you improve your skills, you’ll reach more people. The more people you reach each day, the greater your chances of getting to “yes.”

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4. It’s Not About You

Don’t take the easy way out by making rejection personal. Learn to see each rejection as an opportunity to understand something about yourself.

5. No Doesn’t Mean Never

Once you hear a “no,” acknowledge it and continue talking. If you don’t have what your customer needs, you may know someone who does. Be a useful resource. You’re establishing and maintaining a long-term relationship.

6. Start With a Smile

Start your day by visualizing success. Picture your customers saying “yes.” Sometimes a positive attitude is all you really need to get that sale squared away.

7. Toughen Up

You can’t take a break every time you get a rejection. You need to toughen up and build up your endurance. Rejection is a great teacher if you learn to see it as motivation.

8. Ask for Feedback

Always ask for feedback when you’ve been rejected. If you don’t understand why it happened, you won’t know how to prevent it from happening the next time.

9. Keep Moving

Working with purpose prevents rejection from moving in and taking over. Choose to get things done. Organize your workspace. Finish up tasks you were putting off. Taking constructive action will improve your attitude.

Think Like a Manager To Help Grow Your Career

2313 Inc. Think Like a Manager

Learning to think and work like a manager gives you the perspective you need to earn professional recognition and reach your goals.

2313 Inc. is committed to helping entry-level business professionals find success in all they do. Be sure to follow us on Facebook for our latest company updates and announcements: https://www.facebook.com/2313incbusiness/

Great managers aren’t just born overnight. Sure, some people naturally possess some of the skills necessary to excel at management, but most great managers are great because they have years of experience and learning on their side. 

What can you do to prepare yourself for a management position? Learn and practice the necessary skills – no matter where you are in your career. Peter Drucker, a well-known management consultant and educator, is considered the father of management studies. He broke the manager’s duties down into five basic tasks:

1.    Sets Objectives

2.    Organizes

3.    Motivates and Communicates

4.    Measures

5.    Develops People 

Encourage employees and sales associates to develop their understanding of business and management practices. Drucker’s management tasks inspired the following tips that will teach you to think and work as a manager, no matter where you are in your career.

Learn more about a career at 2313 Inc. on the 2313 Inc. Careers page.

Keep Developing Management Skills

There’s always something new to learn about management and business. Keep your skills sharp by reading new management books or even finding online classes to improve your management skills. Then, create a study group at work to support and apply what you learn to real-world problems. You know the old saying: practice makes perfect!

Connect With Your Team

Tell your team members, team leader, and supervisor that you want to contribute to your team’s growth. Come up with a pitch for a team-building activity, a volunteer project, or a social event that will improve team cohesion and productivity.

Find a Mentor

Some companies have formal mentorship programs, though that’s not completely necessary in order to find a mentor. Your supervisor might be interested in mentoring you, or you can look for a mentor at a networking event. Mentorship will improve your management expertise and develop strong professional relationships, which you can use as resources once you become a manager.

Don’t Keep Your Career Goals a Secret

How will you advance in your career if you don’t tell anyone about your goals? Let your supervisor know that you’re interested in becoming a manager. Complete your regular assignments and volunteer for special projects when you have the time to do them well to show that you’re willing to go above and beyond.

Becoming a manager will help you to advance in your career and develop the skills you need as a leader. Make a commitment to your future by using these strategies to increase your skills and your opportunities for advancement.

Seven Must-Watch Movies for Salespeople

2313 Inc. Seven Must-Watch Movies for Salespeople

Here are 7 flicks worth watching for anyone that works in sales.

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It’s always fun watching movies we can relate to professionally. Many films have made a major impact on pop-culture and the way our society views the “prototypical salesman.” Sales is not easy work, but it’s the best crash course in succeeding within business. Here are six movies (and a TV show) that everyone in the sales world should be watching.

The Pursuit of Happyness

This one takes a different approach and shows the positives in a sales career. The protagonist uses his role as a sales professional to teach his son valuable lessons in hard work, perseverance and determination.

 Death of a Salesman

Arthur Miller’s famous play features Willy Loman, the salesman who just can’t catch a break. While this story is more about failure and the inability to adapt and change, it’s also about the power of persuasion, and how some people, like Loman, just aren’t made for the world of sales. It’s a sad tale about what can happen when you’re in over your head, even when you have the right tools.

Wall Street

Michael Douglas’ Gordon Gekko taught us that “greed is good” because you’ll work hard for what you want. “Wall Street” show us how the love of money can bring down great men, but also leaves us with a ton of memorable sales tips and valuable one-liners.

Tin Men

This is a comedy about two rival salesmen who are unscrupulous in both sales and life. They find success in the corrupt and shady world of Aluminum Siding sales, but that comes to a halt when the Home Improvement Commission begins cracking down on sleazy sales practices. It’s humorous look on the shoddy world of sales past and how sleazy salesmen adapted to change.

Glengarry Glen Ross

Desperate salesmen wade through the waters of a Chicago-based real estate firm, learning just how hard it is to stay ahead of the game. This film is gritty and tough to watch for those who’ve experienced the harsh reality of sales. Glengarry gave us a good look into the lives of both good and bad salespeople, and it also taught us the golden rule: Always Be Closing.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Like “Wall Street,” this is another look into the shady sales practices on the trading floor and just how far some will go to make that deal. Based on a true story, this film show us just how jaded one can become when money is the ultimate goal. It also shows us the power of a good pitch, even when selling something as simple as pen.

Mad Men

No, this isn’t a movie, but this television phenomenon brings us to the world of 1960s advertising, where personality, contacts and knowing how to close a deal were just as important then as they are now.

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