How to Prove Yourself after a Promotion

Everyone has heard of “Impostor Syndrome.” It is a pattern of thought wherein the individual second guesses their success and feels as if they don’t belong. Hopefully that’s never the case for anyone, but those who find themselves in such a position may feel as if they need to prove themselves – whether it is to the company or a boss or to themselves. What are some ways that someone can assuage themselves that yes, in fact you have been chosen on merit? Or that yes, now a promotion has been granted to you, you will try to demonstrate skills you never thought you had?

Positive Thinking

Getting a promotion at work may come with its own set of new rules. There will be more responsibility, a new social circle with more experienced or successful colleagues and more. Simply thinking positively can help with your adjustment. After all, there is a reason why a promotion is given. Decision-makers know the person is up for the job and has stood out in their prior capacities, and feel the person now belongs. If they know, why don’t you? Trying hard to seem impressive is bad in its own way, especially if done from a position of insecurity.

Confidence and Competence

Being respectful, professional and chiming in from a position of authority helps with confidence in knowing that the knowledge required for this new role is there, and more responsibility means that knowledge will be placed into action. Interactions with new colleagues will now take on added meaning, and seeming competent and confident can help.

Socializing

Maybe needing to fit in is an issue. Reaching out to those who have been there, done that is an important piece of the puzzle. Make new friends, and meet new mentors who will help navigate the waters of this new position. Scheduling talks with new workmates may prove to be beneficial as they will see someone who is legitimately interesting in tackling their new role with gusto while also trying to create new relationships and understand the team’s goals. Figuring out how decisions are made and how people interact with each other in this new group may hold the key to knowing exactly where you stand, but make sure to be careful and feel everything out first.

If you have just earned a promotion, congratulations! Now it’s time to prove yourself and get to work. The best way to do this is through positive thinking, confidence and competence and socializing. Follow these tips and you will prove yourself in no time!

Tips for Writing a Business Plan

A business plan is a valuable tool that can help you secure the capital you need to fund your small business. If you plan to approach several banks for a small-business loan, they will require a business plan. A well thought out plan outlines your company’s vision and what it will take to grow your business. Without a thorough business plan, your chances of attracting the financing you need to fund your company are minimal.

Include a Business Description

Your business plan should start with a description of your company. Discuss the industry you plan to enter and explain to the bank or your investors what the future holds for your industry. Include the present outlook and back it up with facts and figures. Banks can tell if you have done your homework, so demonstrate to them that you know your industry inside and out.

Financial Estimates/Operations Management

When you present your financial estimates to banks (and they are going to want estimates), be conservative in your numbers. For example, if you feel your company can grab a 40 percent market share in the next three years, explain to the bank how you plan to capture that share. However, include a much more credible number, such as 10 percent per year, until you reach your goal of 40 percent.

Know Your Competition and Your Audience

Banks want to know who your competition is and what your strategy is to beat them. Never criticize or belittle your competitors in your business plan, but do explain how you plan to separate yourself from your competition by clearly outlining your marketing strategy.

Your target audience is not just your customer base. Your business plan must also speak to potential venture capitalists, angel investors or individual investors. If you have a company that you would like to partner with and start a joint venture, prepare a business plan for that company as well.

Avoid Adjectives and Superlatives

Adjectives and superlatives belong in product descriptions, not business plans. Avoid words such as “the best,” “unbelievable,” “amazing,” and “fabulous” like the plague. If you want to describe your business as “unique,” make sure you can prove to the bank that your business is in fact unique. If a bank wants to know why you think your business is “one-of-a-kind,” be prepared to back up your claim.

A business plan is imperative to the success of your blossoming business. By following the above tips, you will set yourself and your business up for success right off the bat!

Powerful Ways to Thank your Employees

With today’s fast-paced marketplace and high rate of turnover in some industries, it’s common for employees to feel unappreciated and taken for granted. That’s why it’s important for employers to take the time to express a message of thanks to those hard-working individuals who make a company’s wheels turn smoothly. Here are five powerful ways to thank your employees for their hard work.

Employee of the Month

The traditional, tried-and-true method of showing gratitude by posting a “wall of fame” for outstanding associates will never go out of style.

Gift Card and a Thank You Note

Gift cards have sometimes been a maligned present in social situations. In the workplace, however, a gift card with a written note of thanks is generally perceived as a thoughtful touch, especially if it’s to one of the person’s favorite establishments. It shows that the employer pays attention to the associates as individuals instead of faceless worker bees.

Company Sponsored Trip to an Amusement Park

Roller coasters, waterparks and fun in the sun! Present the gift of a good time by giving family passes to employees after a great financial quarter. Cost need not be a barrier to offering this as a prize; companies can often get prices slashed when purchasing tickets in quantity.

Offering tickets to employees at a steep discount can also ease the burden of paying some of the exorbitant fees of popular amusement parks.

Extra Time Off

Even a person who loves their job longs to make more space in their schedule for work/life balance. What better gift to give an employee than a little time away from the job? Spouses, kids, and pets will rejoice at the opportunity to get to hang out with their loved one on an unexpected free day. Even allowing employees to leave early on a workday would be a wonderful break from the norm.

In Office Feast

The way to employees’ hearts is through their stomachs; who doesn’t love copious amounts of free, delicious food? Setting up a potluck—or better yet, calling in catering is a sure-fire way to get an employer’s gratitude across. The feeling of a satiated appetite and a full belly is always a rewarding experience in the workplace.

Sleep Strategies that Assist in Employee Productivity

Catch some Z’s….if you can. Workforces are experiencing epidemic sleep deprivation. Emails, tight deadlines and after-hours communication can void employees’ pursuit of rejuvenating sleep. If an employee loses two hours of sleep four nights in a row, the shortfall equates to having a blood alcohol level of 0.08. If it’s illegal to drive in that condition, why is it acceptable to work when equally impaired? Here are sleep strategies that can foster employee productivity and reduce your coffee expenses:

ENCOURAGE NAPPING

Numerous scientific studies indicate that napping refreshes and improves performance. It worked for Winston Churchill — he said that his daily, 2-hour nap allowed him to get 1 ½ days worth of work done in 24 hours. Twenty minute snoozes can also provide an invigorating boost. Adding sleep pods or quiet spaces to your office can give workers a kickstart. Sleep deprivation is so problematic that France recently passed a law decreeing that businesses with more than 50 employees are forbidden to send or receive emails after hours.

LIGHTEN UP

Exposure to natural light helps employees sleep better at night, making them more productive during the day. In a 2013 study, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found daytime workers slept better after exposure to daylight. Workers occupying spaces illuminated by natural light received 173 percent more white light and slept approximately 46 minutes more at night.

MODIFY WORK HOURS

Explore moving your main working hours back one hour. Older workers may be primed to dive in at 9AM, while younger employees are dragging at that hour. This discrepancy results from a shift of an internal body clock as you age. Accommodating this shift will aid your employees as well as your business.

MONITOR FLYING

 

Curtail the negative effects traveling has on your employees’ sleep by:

 

  • Limiting the number of redeye business flights.

 

  • If a redeye is imperative, suggest that all meetings be scheduled at least one day after landing in a new time zone.

 

  • Never permit an employee to fly overnight and then drive. Have him or her picked up by a taxi or car service after landing.

 

Swan Medical’s 2015 Sleep in Business America study indicated that 50 percent of 30,000 employees surveyed at five US companies didn’t received sufficient sleep. Prevent your employees from becoming a statistic. Enhance your team’s productivity by enhancing their sleep.

Tips for Public Speaking with Confidence

Public speaking is many people’s worst nightmare. Fortunately, this fear and anxiety can be overcome with practice and a few simple tips to help you feel more comfortable and confident in front of an audience:

 

AVOID TOO MUCH TECHNICAL JARGON

 

Regardless of the technical expertise of your audience, nobody wants to hear too many knowledge-driven facts and figures; audiences want to be entertained. To achieve this goal, speakers must be cognizant of using too much industry jargon. A better approach is to use conversational language designed to engage your listeners and make the topic personally relatable to them. The cliche “know your audience” has never been truer. Do a little research to find out the key demographics of your audience and why they are there to hear that particular topic. By knowing and understanding this information, you can tailor the speech to inform, interest, and entertain. Lastly, know your main point and get to it quickly to avoid audience fatigue.

 

FORCE YOURSELF TO SLOW DOWN

 

The most common mistake that novice speakers make is rushing through the subject. It is easy to deliver a speech while talking too fast for the material. Audience members tend to lose interest and zone out when listening to a faster-paced speech. The only way to combat this rookie mistake is to intentionally speak slower than what feels normal. It is equally important to frequently pause when speaking, even if this feels awkward. Pausing while speaking conveys to the audience that you are being purposeful and diligent in your word choice. Before the big event, take the extra time to practice in front of colleagues who will provide honest critiques or consider videotaping yourself so that you can work out the kinks and land on an optimal pace for the presentation.

 

BE CREATIVE

 

While it is important to come across as knowledgeable and genuine, nervous speakers often find it helpful to step outside of the box and create a stage persona to help ease jitters and become more confident. Experiment by practicing different styles to find the one most comfortable for you. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable in this skin and that it exemplifies the strongest aspects of your personality while minimizing the insecurities.

 

Speaking in public will grow you personally as well as professionally. While many people try to shy away from the opportunity, true leaders understand that speaking confidently in public is an important facet to their career. Like most things, the more you do it, the better you will become. Next time you have the chance to speak in public, whether that be three people in your office or 500 people at your church, accept the offer! Follow the above tips and watch yourself slowly become a confident public speaker!

 

How to Start your Mornings on the Right Foot

The tone of your morning will determine the tone of your day, so it’s time to start planning accordingly. What are some steps you can take to ensure a positive start to your day?

Hydrate

The benefits of drinking water are plenty, but the benefits of drinking water immediately after waking up, instead of coffee, are even greater. After a full night’s rest, our bodies are often dehydrated. Drinking a glass of water when you wake up will not only quench your thirst, it will rehydrate you, fire up your metabolism and provide fuel for your brain.

Make your Bed

Perhaps you think making your bed is a waste of time, or unnecessary. You won’t be home to see it all day, plus, you’re getting back into it at night. Wrong. Making your bed is a very simple action that you can take in the morning that will help you start your day feeling accomplished. Getting the simple and easy tasks out of the way in the morning also give you the foundation to take on larger projects throughout the day.

Exercise

It does not matter what type of exercise you choose to do in the morning, but get your body moving in some way. Whether it be yoga, a brisk walk with your dog or a set of sit-ups, any type of movement in the morning will help get you started on the right foot. As your blood starts flowing, your mental chatter will slow. If you begin to get bored with one type of exercise, change it up.

Stay Unplugged

If you have gotten into the habit of checking your work email as soon as you wake up, it is time to change that. By doing this, you are immediately cultivating a reactive mindset, instead of a proactive one, which will cause you to start your day in a defensive state, rather than a place of inner peace and control. Stay unplugged for the first hour of the day. This will start your day with a peaceful mind, and don’t worry, those work emails will still be there an hour later!

The morning is the setup for our entire day. So instead of rushing through it, slow down and enjoy. Drink water, make your bed, get your blood flowing with exercise and remain unconnected for as long as possible.

How Reading Affects Your Work

In the past year, about a quarter of American adults did not read even a part of one book. This is an alarming statistic! Why? Reading has so many benefits including many directly related to your job performance. What are those benefits?

Fiction Leads to More Creativity

Reading nonfiction books related to your career and subject matter is a given. If you want to continue to learn and grow in your field, you should absolutely be doing this. However, don’t discount fiction books, According to research conducted at the University of Toronto, study participants who read short-story fiction experienced far less need for “cognitive closure” compared with counterparts who read nonfiction essays. Essentially, they tested as more open-minded than those who solely read nonfiction.

Reading Makes you a Better Leader

When it comes to better connecting with others, one study found that people who read for just thirty minutes per week reported a stronger sense of empathy. This ability to relate to other people—to be able to place yourself in their shoes—is a skill that readers have in common with the best leaders.

It Makes You Smarter

Your brain is like a muscle, and you need to exercise it to keep it healthy. The more you exercise the muscles in your brain, the stronger they become. Reading will not only help you to learn new things, it will improve your overall intelligence, too. Think about reading like lifting weights for your brain. The more consistently you do it, the stronger your brain will become!

Your Vocabulary Improves

This may go without saying, but reading regularly and reading a variety of styles will teach you new words and give you the confidence to use them in everyday life. Strong communication skills and the ability to voice your thoughts in a concise and effective way is a crucial tool for any employee to have in their skillset.

Next time you go to turn the tv on to fall asleep, pick up that book on your nightstand instead. When you’re anticipating waiting in the doctor’s office, bring a book to read. Incorporating reading, both fiction and nonfiction books, into your lifestyle will have many benefits but best of all, it will make you a better employee!

How Robots are Entering the Corporate Finance World

Robots today are commonly used in the automotive and other manufacturing industries on assembly lines. The mechanical devices have also been implemented in medical settings to disinfect areas, monitor patients and perform surgeries. Robotic process automation or RPA is now venturing into the corporate finance field.

The use of ledgers and spreadsheet programs keep financial processes trapped in the 20th century. Employees commonly spend the majority of their days gathering, consolidating and verifying information. Time is also spent analyzing data and making decisions. Robotic processes and artificial intelligence have the ability to train software robots to automatically process transactions, perform audits and track compliance. The technology will also have the ability to upgrade their functions based on new information and experience.

Analytic Functions

Many financial executives plan on adopting the automated technology and some already use RPA. Robotic processes expedite accounts received and paid out while helping to maintain client relations. When an error occurs, many man hours are typically required to find and correct the problem. However, by automating the process, errors are detected quickly along with having the ability to recommend solutions.

Cost Efficiency

Companies have the potential of losing profits through errors, fraud or overpayment. Manual audits are time-consuming and often may not detect errors or wasted profits. Artificial intelligence requires less time to perform the function and is better able to monitor and analyze transactions. Equipped with current trend information, robotic processes discover problems that may otherwise go unnoticed. In this way, companies save money while being more efficient.

Educational Options

Depending on the type of AI processes implemented, the technology has the potential to educate employees. The technology can be useful for training employees to see patterns or trends in order for individuals to make better informed financial decisions. For example, the processes are capable of saving companies money in terms of business travel. By storing and analyzing travel and accommodation data, robotics would be able to make cost-effective recommendations based on location and time of year.

AI Assistants

Much like Alexa and Siri act as vocal digital assistants, artificial intelligence could benefit financial employees in a wide range of instances from the office to the boardroom. The processes might be equipped with the capability to quickly access and analyze data before CEOs make a decision. Robotics might also answer questions on the spur of the moment.

The Top 3 Ways to Invest in 2018

For those with extra cash on their hands, it’s best to invest it before spending it on nonsensical purchases. Of course, research and analysis is needed first to make the best investment possible for one’s risk tolerance and goals. Potential investors should act as quickly as possible. Below are the three best ways to invest in 2018.

 

The Stock Market

 

Even though investing in the stock market is an obvious choice, it’s worth mentioning because many people are still skeptical about getting involved in the market. Some even think that there are too many people involved in stocks, so it’s too late for them to get a piece of the pie.

However, a really good strategy is to invest small amounts of money over a specific timeframe into the stock market. Basically, when the market is hot, as it is right now, an investor buys less shares, and when no one is buying, they buy more shares. This keeps things even and makes a high return more likely.

 

Peer-to-Peer Lending Services

 

Being a loan provider used to be an investment medium reserved for banks. Today, there are many investment platforms that make providing a loan possible for the individual investor.

On the most popular platforms, returns are usually around six percent, but could be even higher.

Another strength of this strategy is that some investments require as little as twenty-five dollars therefore, someone who is considering this option can test the waters with little risk before diving in.

 

Real Estate

 

While real estate investing is not for everyone, there are still big returns to be made in the real estate market. Nowadays, there are other real estate mediums besides becoming a landlord. For example, someone could invest in real estate notes. In this scenario, the investor funds someone else’s real estate investment, and gets paid a dividend or interest on their investment. There’s also turnkey rentals, where an investor puts up the money, but someone else manages the property and tenants.

 

In 2018, those looking to invest should use a combination of traditional and new-age strategies.

For example, real estate and the stock market are still profitable investments. At the same time, there’s now peer-to-peer lending services that provide a new avenue of revenue.

 

Chatbots and Customer Service

Every entrepreneur and business owner knows that customer service is key to a lasting and successful project, initiative, or company. Being the department that possibly interacts the most with your audience, it’s highly likely that you have spent countless hours looking for the best customer service employees and tools to elevate your service to the next level. When the digital age arrived, however, the rules with customer service began to change. No longer were you greeted with a, “Hello, how can I help you?” from a real live person, but instead with a, “Please press 1 for more options” message coming from a robotic voice. While both methods are efficient, it’s important to note that the customer service rules have changed, and programs like chatbots will soon become the norm.

 

Chatbots were born out of a necessity to more efficiently police and traffic calls in high volumes. Quite frankly, it would be nearly impossible for a small office of people to handle transferring incoming calls for a large company such as Wells Fargo or Apple in a timely manner. And with the technology available, companies are able to save money by no longer needing to hire that team of switch-board experts. Chatbots are also attractive to businesses because they allow the customer to have total control of the direction of the call, instead of relying on who is on the other end to understand what they need.

 

At first, chatbots were not very sophisticated and often served as a point of frustration for customers. Since they work off of keywords and not actual context, customers had to readjust their own customer service visions and learn how to interact with the new technology. Chatbots have come a long way since then, and have been integrated with machine learning technology that allows for an easier experience thanks to advancements within artificial intelligence.

 

Chatbots are able to do more than just get a customer from one complaint to a solution, however. They also can yield valuable data and metrics that show where the majority of customer complaints come from. Further even from this, because of the real-time nature of chatbots replacing employees live-chatting with customers to troubleshoot, they’re able to point customers in the direction of other services on your site that they may be interested in as well, all from the keywords that you used during your chatbot inquiry. This will drive sales and increase customer satisfaction.

 

The bottom line behind chatbots and customer service is to not be afraid of the growing technology. There is a healthy balance between an in-person customer service rep and chatbots, and by learning about the best practice for both services, you can create a custom service platform that will serve your customers in the best way possible. And as technology continues to advance, look to chatbots to become even more capable of driving your business towards success in more areas than just customer service.