“Despite the fact that they’re paid in another way, everybody has to really feel appreciated.” – Roger Staubach
In today’s workplace, many employees have one main requirement that’s higher on their lists than compensation; they want to be appreciated. They would like appreciation from their managers, supervisors, business owners, and perhaps even their customers.
What does it mean to feel appreciated at work?
It can be lonely at the top, and owners and management can occasionally feel worn out, fatigued, and overwhelmed. They also crave appreciation! It may be tough to show appreciation to others on your team if you do not feel respected as an owner, CEO, or manager. You want your employees to recognize the sacrifices you make to manage the business as you provide them with job security and flexible lifestyle options. At the same time, you hope your customers recognize and appreciate the excellent customer service they receive. It’s a vicious cycle.
In not-for-profit organizations for example, the front-line staff, especially the Executive Director, desire recognition. But the volunteer board members, who regularly put in excruciating hours, want the staff to recognize THEM. Sometimes, both sides end up feeling disregarded and misunderstood. What is supposed to be a win-win situation may end up being everything but.
Why is it important to make your people feel valued?
There may not be a one-size-fits-all strategy for ensuring that everyone (including the “boss”) feels valued; however, there are many benefits to feeling appreciated. Here are a few of them:
- Feeling appreciated at work can help enhance productivity.
- If you receive praise for your efforts, you will likely feel more productive in your position and be able to do more.
- You will cultivate a sense of belonging, which boosts your mood as well as the morale of your company.
- Feeling appreciated will help motivate you to achieve your own goals while boosting your confidence and that of your employees and customers.
How can managers help their staff feel appreciated?
Several years ago, Karen, the CEO of Mind Your Own Business, was on a “recognition team” at a previous job. As a gesture of gratitude to the workers, this team decided to bring donuts to work every Friday. She was surprised by the overwhelming number of folks who were offended because they were on a diet or couldn’t eat a donut for some other reason and felt excluded from the “appreciation.” Next, they tried including more people by ordering pizza for lunch. Once again, there was pushback; not everyone ate pizza, or they didn’t like the toppings, hated cheese, were lactose intolerant, or had scheduled that Friday off as a vacation day and missed “being appreciated.” It’s impossible to please everyone all the time. They eventually gave up, and the whole recognition team approach fizzled.
So, how can you make sure that your staff members feel valued and heard? Leaders and managers are both accountable for this. Giving employees meaningful experiences is a terrific place to start. Here are some ideas to consider:
#1. Create and manage a recognition program that is open to all staff.
Recognize your staff’s accomplishments and hard work to ensure they feel appreciated for their efforts. Begin by asking your people what kind of recognition they most want.
#2. Celebrate work achievements.
Celebrating professional development and career accomplishments is key. A new opportunity or achievement, such as a promotion or new skill development, or recognizing weekly wins, such as finishing a challenging project or getting a new client, are just a few of the many reasons to celebrate! These events will energize and motivate your people.
#3. Provide opportunities for learning, development, and growth.
Encourage your staff to stay and thrive inside your company. Allow them to learn new things and build new talents that will help them advance.
#4. Set aside time for your team.
Spending time with your people will help you build trust and connections with them. Seek to understand their ambitions and what they want to achieve in their jobs by getting to know them on a personal level. This will help them feel heard and respected as individuals.
#5. Show your appreciation by hosting company events.
Events are a great opportunity to show your people how much you appreciate them. Company events also allow staff to network, strengthen relationships, be recognized, and recognize others. Consider giving your team company swag as an additional way to show your appreciation.
#6. Keep a finger on the pulse of your organization.
Asking for feedback from your staff is a fantastic way to demonstrate that you value their thoughts and contributions, and it gives them a feeling of purpose, which builds a positive business culture. It is critical to provide a safe atmosphere for feedback, then acknowledge and act on it. Your approaches and tools should be consistent with your culture.
Over to you
As you can see, there are numerous advantages to having happy employees who feel appreciated and have a sense of belonging. Create significant moments that your people will never forget. Both your staff and the company will gain immensely in the long term!
Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger
Here we go with holiday marketing again! We’ve been seeing it EVERYWHERE for weeks already. ‘Tis the season! We believe that businesses start planning for the following year’s campaigns while executing the current year’s marketing initiatives. In the past, you could begin your holiday marketing in December, but those days are long gone.
It’s only been a couple of weeks since Halloween and Santa is already in London Ontario! The battle for customer attention with a rally to boost year-end sales for 2022 has begun in full force. This is especially the case with brick-and-mortar retail. Restaurants are actively accepting bookings and aiming for sold-out crowds for the holiday season since many people are organizing family gatherings and office events.
With so many businesses vying for our attention, how can a small business capitalize on the holiday season and be the first one that comes to mind, even after the holidays are over? Before we begin, let’s discuss the importance of holiday marketing. Over the holidays, there are many opportunities for businesses to grow. Here are some ways those opportunities may present themselves:
- People often seek interaction more directly during holiday festivities.
- During the holiday season, there is an increase in demand for products or services.
- The holidays give businesses a chance to interact personally with their customers.
- It’s the perfect time to engage in branding initiatives that can encourage client loyalty.
- Seasonal holiday shopping periods are an ideal time to try new things and be innovative with your marketing approach.
How can small businesses leverage the holiday season to gain a competitive advantage?
Fortunately, there are more options than ever to keep your company at the forefront of customers’ minds. Here are a few things you can do to get started today.
#1. Post and advertise on social media.
It’s essential to provide quality content for your social media accounts at all times of the year. However, the holidays offer the chance to deliver useful material while also making it fun and festive! The objective is to create social media content that will put you on customers’ radars over the holiday season. Social media holiday contests or giveaways are also a good idea for driving engagement and raising awareness of your company! Another way to stand out on social is to mix up your content without always sharing sales or promotions. Instead, opt for publishing a team photo in Santa hats or a picture of your neighborhood decked out for the holidays to give your subscribers and customers a festive break!
When deciding which platforms to leverage for your holiday marketing initiatives, it’s important to evaluate where your target demographic spends their time on social media. Posting on the channels they frequent is the most effective approach to ensure they notice your holiday posts and ads. Start early to give customers adequate time for online orders and delivery before the holidays.
#2. Organize a value-added sales event.
Invite a large group of people to your store for an exclusive sales event on the same day and time, and let the crowd feed off each other. Everyone loves special holiday promotions! Another option is to hold exclusive crowd-controlled appointments at retail stores. This way, the staff can give the best customer service. Additionally, you’ll receive more purchasers through these appointments than browsers.
#3. Celebrate Small Business Saturday!
Every year, a promotion known as Small Business Saturday encourages customers to support local small businesses. This year, Small Business Saturday is on November 26th, 2022. There are various promotions, such as events, advertising, and public relations initiatives in many towns, so make sure your small business takes advantage of them. You can also participate on social media that day by using the hashtags #SmallBusinessSaturday and #FallinLovewithLocal. It’s an excellent approach to promoting your company over the holiday season. Visit https://www.smallbusinesseveryday.ca/ for more details!
#4. Decorate your website, too.
It’s always enjoyable to decorate for the holidays. Consider updating your website for the season with a holiday vibe as you spruce up your restaurant or retail space! Even if you don’t make digital sales, seasonal themes can help you imprint your company’s brand in the minds of customers. This is an excellent time to update your website and Google Business Profile with your current business hours, especially if you have a different holiday schedule. If you’re managing a restaurant’s website, be sure your online menus are up to date.
#5. Do door hangers still work? Yes, they do.
Team up with another business and share the cost by each of you advertising on one side of the hanger. Offer a discount or special deal code for ordering. There is still value in putting print advertising into the hands of your potential customers. Our client ordered hangers recently and was able to get thousands in his hands within a couple of weeks – a week for design and a week for ordering.
It’s also a fantastic time of year to give out logo swag! Throwing out a lovely pen or pad of paper is difficult. When potential clients are searching for you, you can make it easy for them with a nice little gift that helps keep your logo in their minds.
#6. Send them a card!
In this day and age, sending anything via “snail-mail” may feel weird. However, sending a physical holiday card can help your business stand out, especially since mail is so limited. Plus, many of us still value a physical token of appreciation. Send out your cards early and avoid a sales pitch. Simply being in the mailbox with a personal touch will make your clients happy!
Over to You
Holiday marketing for small businesses should be fun and does not have to be tough. Of course, we understand that many small business owners are extremely busy and lack the time to even think about holiday marketing. Why miss out on all the fun, not to mention the advantages of holiday marketing? We are here to assist – call or contact us today!
Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger
Colours elicit emotions and evoke strong feelings, whether we are aware of it or not. It’s no different when it comes to choosing colours for your business. Choosing the appropriate colours for your marketing efforts could mean the difference between your brand standing out from or fading into the crowd. By strategically employing colour in your marketing, you may influence your audience’s perception of you and help them see your brand the way you want them to see it.
A few months ago, we shared a series of branding colour choices and the meaning behind each colour when it comes to your logo. Here is what we found:
Red is said to stimulate senses – including appetite! When designing with red, keep in mind the meanings behind it: energy, power & danger, passion, and love.
Orange is a friendly colour that offers youth, vibrancy, fun, energy, and enthusiasm. It combines the warmth of red with the playfulness and joy of yellow. As 99Designs notes, it is not typically associated with luxury.
Yellow is happy, fun, and youthful but it can also indicate low prices. Different shades of yellow can indicate different things: bright yellow is attention-grabbing and functions as a great brand accent (think McDonald’s, or Best Buy!) whereas a pale yellow may imply health or nature.
Green can take on many meanings. When it comes to eco-based branding, it’s a natural choice; it is the colour of leaves on the trees, healthy grass, and Spring gardens. Green is also associated with money offering an instant feeling of prosperity and stability. Many businesses will choose green because it incites action – green means go! We love green for all these reasons and chose it for our branding.
There are many different shades of blue which can offer different meanings. For example, light blue may invoke feelings of peace and relaxation (spas for example!) whereas dark blue often invokes depth and power. Many tech companies will use blue for their colours, as well as a number of social media networks! (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook…) Blue is one of the most popular and versatile colours when it comes to branding.
Purple is a unique colour when it comes to branding. It combines the energy of red with the calm of blue. This is one of the factors that contributes to it provoking mystery. Historically, purple is associated with royalty. Purple dyes were expensive and thus only royalty could afford them. Purple is also a colour associated with spirituality and holds special meaning in many religions.
In today’s marketing, pink is automatically thought of as girly, feminine and in many cases has become an indicator that “this is for women.” Pink also has a place in conveying fun, sweet, romantic, and sensitive messaging. Some companies that come to mind with pink branding are traditionally girly companies like Barbie, Victoria’s Secret, and sweet and delicious companies like Baskin Robbins and Dunkin Donuts!
Additionally, research demonstrates how important colours are and how they play a significant role in all our visual experiences. Here are some interesting facts:
- Colour increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent.
- 76% Believe that the use of colour makes their business appear larger to clients.
- 90% Feel colour can assist in attracting new customers.
Over to you
As you can see (no pun intended!), colour choice plays a crucial role in branding and design. The colours you choose for your brand can create certain impressions that might help or hurt your business. Just remember that colours influence customers’ perceptions and behaviours, so be mindful of how you use them in all your marketing!
Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger
On Thursday September 1st, our CEO, Karen Try met with Tyler Jeffery who is an Account Manager at The Business Development Bank of Canada [BDC]. In his role, Tyler works with small to medium-sized businesses to provide guidance and assistance in all areas of financial management so they may increase profitability and boost the value of their company.
The Business Development Bank of Canada [BDC] complements the charter banks and is a financial institution devoted to Canadian entrepreneurs. It is a Crown corporation that operates at arm’s length from their sole shareholder, the Government of Canada. The mandate of the BDC is to be the bank for all entrepreneurs, offering support for the business life cycle and making entrepreneurs’ well-being a priority. The BDC provides funding and advice to small and medium-sized firms in all industries and stages of growth.
Industries such as manufacturing, wholesale, construction, transportation, food, and beverages have been hit hard by the pandemic and have reached out when they have reached their line of credit. Because of flexible financing, advisory services, and smart capital, the BDC can often support businesses when charter banks cannot.
If you have additional questions about the BDC, you can visit their website: www.bdc.ca or contact Tyler directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. During their one-on-one, Tyler and Karen discussed various topics that small business owners may find useful. Read on to learn more.
Q&A with Tyler Jeffery
Q: What is the most common challenge that leads a small business owner to seek advisory services?
A: Business owners are good at what they do but often find they are lacking in financial management. Owners get consumed by the day-to-day business management. Tyler’s role is to assess the business’s current financial situation, identify gaps, and then help them to prioritize processes to improve cashflows and avoid financial pitfalls in the future.
The duration of the program is 8-12 weeks. During this time, Tyler advises his clients on the available funding opportunities, either in the form of financing at a reasonable interest rate or grants that are currently available. One example is the current grant referred to as the CDAP [Canada Digital Adoption Program] that was implemented by the government in January 2022. This grant helps small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) build their digital plan and adopt digital technologies to increase their competitiveness.
The CDAP covers items directly related to the digital plan, such as the following:
- Acquiring IT equipment
- Installation of new technologies
- Updating and/or expanding IT equipment
- Training staff on onboarded technologies
- Materials and support services directly related to onboarding the technology
- Further advisory services on particular aspects of the digital adoption plan
Q. Do you have general tips to help all business owners avoid financial pitfalls in their business?
A. The ability to analyze cash flows and maintain regular financial oversight is crucial for business owners. Developing financial acumen can reveal more opportunities to boost cash flow for a better and healthier organization.
Q. At what stage in a business’s life cycle would you recommend that a small business owner get in touch with you?
A. Tyler works with business owners at all stages of their business life. A new business owner that brings experience, a solid business plan, and cashflow projections can benefit from the services of the BDC. Generally, a small business would go to the BDC after 24 months in business with demonstrated growth and $250K – 350K (CAD) annual revenue.
Q. Since many small business owners relied heavily on rent and salary subsidies to survive the pandemic, they agreed to take out a loan that now must be paid back in full by the end of 2023. Can the BDC help those already cash-strapped businesses?
A. Where a chartered bank generally requires securities for lending, the BDC can be more flexible in financing a business with strong cash flow projections and a solid business plan. In other words, if a business is currently operating with positive cash flow and is solid overall, the BDC may be able to help as financing is typically more flexible.
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There is little doubt that the pandemic has left nearly everyone in a state of restlessness. Every day seems to bring new concerns, both in our personal and professional lives. We are navigating through difficult times, which include health concerns, rising costs, and other factors. All of this has many people re-examining their lives and changing their priorities.
One of the most significant changes companies have experienced in the past several months involves the loss of talent. Business owners worldwide are now dealing with the pandemic’s repercussions as their once loyal staff began to re-evaluate their careers and leave in record numbers. Economists in the USA first coined the phrase “The Great Resignation,” and it’s a fitting description.
Majorities of USA workers who quit a job in 2021 say low pay (63%), no opportunities for advancement (63%), and feeling disrespected at work (57%) were reasons why they quit, according to Pew Research Centre survey results from earlier this year. (Source: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/03/09/majority-of-workers-who-quit-a-job-in-2021-cite-low-pay-no-opportunities-for-advancement-feeling-disrespected/).
Employers should prepare for a surge of resignations from Canadian workers
Until the beginning of this year, Canada had not experienced the Great Resignation in the same way that America did. However, what caused a staggering number of Americans to quit their jobs appears to be in motion in Canada. The majority of people who are voluntarily leaving their jobs falls into one of two categories:
- Workers on the front line
The pandemic’s added stress and hardship reignited the belief that these workers deserve better working conditions. Their reaction stems from how they believe they have been treated by employers and/or clients.
- Work-from-home professionals
Over the past two years, employees have proven they can be just as productive working outside the office. As a result, many have chosen to quit their jobs rather than return to their offices. Employees are increasingly choosing to work for organizations that offer hybrid or remote working arrangements after the pandemic gave them a taste of working from home.
It’s realistic to anticipate an increase in the number of Canadians who decide to change occupations in the upcoming year, though perhaps not at the same rate as in the USA. According to the most recent business outlook survey from the Bank of Canada, “several businesses expect labour shortages to negatively impact their plans. Many firms reported offering higher wages when competing with other businesses to recruit workers.” (Source: https://www.bankofcanada.ca/2022/07/business-outlook-survey-second-quarter-of-2022/).
How to avoid ‘The Great Resignation’ at your business
As with any other business issue, we must first try to understand why our staff wants to quit or change jobs. Here are some approaches that a business facing a loss of talent may wish to consider:
- Two-way communication is perhaps the most critical aspect of retaining and attracting new talent. Ask your people what is important to them and remember to listen carefully.
- Understanding and supporting your staff’s priorities is critical for developing new work arrangements, allowing for flexible work schedules, and encouraging work-life balance.
- Provide your people with all the tools they need to succeed in their work.
- Workplace flexibility is a must to attract and retain talent. It is becoming increasingly clear that flexible working has irreversibly changed the workplace, and there is no going back.
- Mutual trust is essential for successful flexible working. Remember that you hired your staff based on their skills; as a result, you should have confidence in them to perform their duties efficiently without needing to see them at a desk each day.
Real-life examples of those who made the leap
At this point, many of us have either considered leaving our current jobs or know someone who has. Leaving a job is never easy, but sometimes you know it’s the right thing to do. We recently interviewed some people who resigned from their jobs and asked them 2 questions. Each provided personal insights into why they left their jobs and what their employers could have done differently to change their decisions. We’ve chosen 3 to share:
What made you decide to quit your job? My choice to quit was due to my mental health. My job was negatively affecting my relationships with my coworkers, family, and my home life. I couldn’t continue to work in an environment where I didn’t feel that my boundaries for my personal health were being respected.
Is there anything that would have made you stay? The only thing that could have made me stay would have been a complete change in attitude from my boss and a commitment to respect my decisions. I’m not sure I would have been able to stay since there was already damage done and promises of change were never carried out.
What made you decide to quit your job? I wanted to quit my job because I wanted to travel for longer than my vacation would allow.
Is there anything that would have made you stay? I don’t think my employer could have done anything to get me to stay. If they offered me a leave of absence, I would have taken it and still been employed there. No realistic raise would have changed my mind. My employer had a fair compensation package. My priorities were elsewhere.
What made you decide to quit your job? I started feeling like I was losing my happiness and personality. I felt like I was going inward as a human. Work was just a routine and nothing more.
Is there anything that would have made you stay? If my employer had trained me properly and kept their promises that they made when hiring me.
Over to you
Regardless of why you are thinking of leaving your current job (or have already done so), it’s good to know you are not alone. Take time to figure out what is most important to you, such as your family, supporting your health, taking time to travel, etc. Chances are, there is an employer who needs someone with your skill set on their team and is prepared to collaborate with you to make it a win-win situation.
Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger
Do you know how many companies lose touch with a client before they even begin collaborating with them? And, do you know the cost of letting that happen? In the world of business, you already know how important it is to make a good first impression. However, following up in a timely manner on a first inquiry or email introduction is just as essential (if not more so) than the initial meeting. And when you neglect possible customers, you may miss out on valuable opportunities. According to a recent study from LeadConnect Marketing, as many as 78% of customers buy from a company that responds to their inquiry first.
Think of it this way – when a client requests a quote from you, they are shopping! They have decided to start researching before committing and making a purchase. A quick follow-up response is your chance to show that you care about more than just a sale and are interested in building a relationship. This shows potential clients you have not forgotten about them and that you are available to them should they need additional assistance.
Also, when you follow up with them right away, they are more likely to trust your brand. Simply following up with a potential client might be what entices them to do business with you. On the other hand, a lack of communication or negative interaction could influence a customer to choose a competitor instead.
When you receive an inquiry, you should contact the person or business as quickly as possible to ensure they feel you have noticed them. You can think of following up as a form of customer service since doing so improves the flow of communication and allows you to address their concerns upfront.
Have you ever responded to an inquiry immediately with a quote or proposal and not received a response from your potential client? If you shrug and move on, the possibilities end. There could be a fortune in this follow up! So many things could happen to derail a prospective buyer from responding and your cheery follow up email or call, could spark the action to close the sale!
Many businesses who schedule appointments for their clientele have learned that sending reminders and following up to confirm the scheduled appointment a few days before, will result in less no-shows because people do forget and do get busy. Incorporating this customer service follow up is a win for your business to stay booked and busy!
Here are some simple things to consider when following up:
- Take a few minutes to send an email, text, call, or even send a handwritten note.
- Treat everyone with respect. Listen to what they have to say.
- Quickly respond to an inquiry or introduction but be sure to use a message that doesn’t seem canned or meaningless.
- Don’t assume you are being ghosted. Reach out to keep the conversation going and build the relationship.
Over to you
The bottom line is that prompt follow-ups are essential to your business’ success, both now and in the future. Effective and timely communication, especially at the beginning of the relationship, goes a long way toward a successful future working together.
Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger