Skip to content

Search results for 'plan now'

24
Oct

Plan Now to Wow Your Customers This Holiday Season

I know, the upcoming holiday is Halloween, not a great time to honor customers; however, it is time to decide how you will say “Thank You” for Thanksgiving. While the December holidays are traditionally the time when businesses remember their customers, Thanksgiving may be a better choice. Your acknowledgement will stand out more and be a welcome surprise.

Depending on your business, here are some ideas:

  • Make an offer. Recognize your customers by making an exclusive, year-end, loyalty offer just for them. Review their past buying history and come up with a deal that fits their profile.
  • Showcase their business. Work with your PR or Marketing department and get the customer’s permission to highlight them in your company’s publications and on its social media channels.
  • Throw a party. Invite your top customers to a party or luncheon hosted by you and let them meet and mingle with other loyal customers. Make sure to include your employees who serve these customers.
  • Send a gift. While everyone gets gifts in December, sending something around Thanksgiving is a welcome change. Choose a gift that lends itself to the season, such as a gift basket that can be shared at the Thanksgiving celebration.

Keep in mind that many organizations have strict guidelines on gifts and invitations, so keep the recognition affordable and reasonable.

27
Oct

Plan Now to Wow Your Customers This Holiday Season

I know, the upcoming holiday is Halloween, not a great time to honor customers; however, it is time to decide how you will say “Thank You” for Thanksgiving. While the December holidays are traditionally the time when businesses remember their customers, Thanksgiving may be a better choice. Your acknowledgement will stand out more and be a welcome surprise.Giftcard

Depending on your business, here are some ideas:

  • Make an offer. Recognize your customers by making an exclusive, year-end, loyalty offer just for them. Review their past buying history and come up with a deal that fits their profile.
  • Showcase their business. Work with your PR or Marketing department and get the customer’s permission to highlight them in your company’s publications and on its social media channels.
  • Throw a party. Invite your top customers to a party or luncheon hosted by you and let them meet and mingle with other loyal customers. Make sure to include your employees who serve these customers.
  • Send a gift. While everyone gets gifts in December, sending something around Thanksgiving is a welcome change. Choose a gift that lends itself to the season, such as a gift basket that can be shared at the Thanksgiving celebration.

Keep in mind that many organizations have strict guidelines on gifts and invitations, so keep the recognition affordable and reasonable.

 

13
Feb

Planning Special Assignments

Managing and planning your time are critical components for handling special assignments. Estimating the amount of time required for each task helps ensure that critical deliverables are completed when required, and the assignment stays on track.   

When estimating time, always allow wiggle room for emergencies, meetings, staffing changes, disruptions, sickness, and so on. Check with subject matter experts and vendors to ensure your estimates are accurate.

Start with the due date for the assignment and work backwards, allotting the estimated amount of time for each task and the length of time for each step. Identify milestones and critical dates.

  • Milestones: These are dates when major parts of the assignment are completed. They allow you to assess the status of the project and identify anything that might affect deadlines for deliverables.
  • Critical dates: These dates trigger other tasks.
  • Sequential: Some tasks must be completed before other tasks can begin, so knowing start and completion dates is critical. If these dates slip, other later tasks will be affected, and deadlines may be missed.
  • Overlapping: Some tasks must occur simultaneously. The challenge here is having the resources to do several things at one time.

An easy tool for this is a Gantt chart, which lets you see what else is occurring at the same time. There are many ways to create a Gantt chart. For example, Microsoft Project makes it easy to track and chart project timelines with a built-in Gantt chart view. Another option is to use Excel. While Excel does not contain a built-in Gantt chart format, you can create a Gantt chart by entering a time line along the x-axis and tasks in the y-axis.

Using a Gantt chart to manage an assignment helps you identify and monitor tasks, identify dependencies and critical paths, and lets you plan for needed resources.

 

 

 

 

15
Feb

Planning Special Assignments

Managing and planning your time are critical components for handling special assignments. Estimating the amount of time required for each task helps ensure that critical deliverables are completed when required, and the assignment stays on track. shutterstock_81109741

When estimating time, always allow wiggle room for emergencies, meetings, staffing changes, disruptions, sickness, and so on. Check with subject matter experts and vendors to ensure your estimates are accurate.

Start with the due date for the assignment and work backwards, allotting the estimated amount of time for each task and the length of time for each step. Identify milestones and critical dates.

  • Milestones:  These are dates when major parts of the assignment are completed. They allow you to assess the status of the project and identify anything that might affect deadlines for deliverables.
  • Critical dates:  These dates trigger other tasks.
    • Sequential:  Some tasks must be completed before other tasks can begin, so knowing start and completion dates is critical. If these dates slip, other later tasks will be affected, and deadlines may be missed.
    • Overlapping:  Some tasks must occur simultaneously. The challenge here is having the resources to do several things at one time.

An easy tool for this is a Gantt chart, which lets you see what else is occurring at the same time. There are many ways to create a Gantt chart. For example, Microsoft Project makes it easy to track and chart project timelines with a built-in Gantt chart view. Another option is to use Excel. While Excel does not contain a built-in Gantt chart format, you can create a Gantt chart by entering a time line along the x-axis and tasks in the y-axis.

Using a Gantt chart to manage an assignment helps you identify and monitor tasks, identify dependencies and critical paths, and lets you plan for needed resources.

 

 

30
Nov

Holiday Gift Giving Guidelines

Holiday gift giving is a challenge for many business people. How much to spend? What kind of gift? Do you send it to the person or the office? You don’t want to send something that is too personal, but you do want to acknowledge people. So what do you do? Here is a quick guide to business gift giving for the holidays.

  • Make sure you know the rules. Most organizations have policies for what their employees can give and receive in the way of gifts or gratuities. Read your own guidelines and make sure your team understands them, too. Ask your clients and customers about their organization’s rules to ensure you aren’t violating them and putting the customer in an awkward position.
  • What about a gift for your manager? This can be tricky. You want to be politically correct and choose something that represents your appreciation of him or her. A handwritten note with a token gift, such as a basket of treats or homemade sweets, usually works. Also consider a team gift by asking your coworkers to chip in. Don’t put pressure on anyone by asking for a specific amount to contribute; just ask people to give what they want.
  • What about gifts for your employees? If you are a manager or supervisor, think about a gift the whole team can share, such as having lunch catered in or hosting an ice cream and cake afternoon.

If your office exchanges gifts or has a “Secret Santa” tradition, choose a gift that fits the person if you know them. If you don’t know them very well, choose something most people can use, such as candles or a gift card for gas or a local restaurant.

Gift-giving the right way can strengthen workplace relationships and help you acknowledge the people you work with. Choose thoughtfully, and you will enjoy the smiles on people’s faces when they open your gift! See also my blog post Plan Now to Wow Your Customers This Holiday Season

1
Dec

Holiday Gift Giving Guidelines

Holiday gift giving is a challenge for many business people. How much to spend? What kind of gift? Do you send it to the person or the office? You don’t want to send something that is too personal, but you do want to acknowledge people. So what do you do? Here is a quick guide to business gift giving for the holidays.holiday-stress1

  • Make sure you know the rules. Most organizations have policies for what their employees can give and receive in the way of gifts or gratuities. Read your own guidelines and make sure your team understands them, too. Ask your clients and customers about their organization’s rules to ensure you aren’t violating them and putting the customer in an awkward position.
  • What about a gift for your manager? This can be tricky. You want to be politically correct and choose something that represents your appreciation of him or her. A handwritten note with a token gift, such as a basket of treats or homemade sweets, usually works. Also consider a team gift by asking your coworkers to chip in. Don’t put pressure on anyone by asking for a specific amount to contribute; just ask people to give what they want.
  • What about gifts for your employees? If you are a manager or supervisor, think about a gift the whole team can share, such as having lunch catered in or hosting an ice cream and cake afternoon.

If your office exchanges gifts or has a “Secret Santa” tradition, choose a gift that fits the person if you know them. If you don’t know them very well, choose something most people can use, such as candles or a gift card for gas or a local restaurant.

Gift-giving the right way can strengthen workplace relationships and help you acknowledge the people you work with. Choose thoughtfully, and you will enjoy the smiles on people’s faces when they open your gift! See also my blog post Plan Now to Wow Your Customers This Holiday Season

4
Feb

Coach for Results

Coaching is a valuable tool that does more than correct or improve the performance of your employees. It demonstrates your commitment to their careers and shows them that you are willing to invest time and effort to help them improve. 

  • Create a safe environment. Let your employees know that during coaching sessions, they are free to communicate what is on their mind and what may be challenging for them. Be clear that anything discussed in the coaching session is confidential. Be responsive and demonstrate emotional intelligence.
  • Communicate and collaborate. Ask employees their opinions about how and where they could improve to be more positively productive. They are closer to their jobs than you are and may come up with ideas you hadn’t considered. Listen to what they say and offer guidance and advice.
  • Set a plan of action. Decide on a plan of action and suggest tools the employee can use to improve. Research training opportunities within and outside your organization and support the employee by giving them the necessary time and resources to learn and grow.

There is an added bonus to effective coaching. You and your team get to know each other better! You learn what motivates them and what they aspire to, and they learn that they can trust you to lead them and help them excel.

See my blog post How Accountable Is Your Team? for more information. 

27
Nov

Tax Time Is Almost Here!

Do you usually wait until the last minute to get your tax information together? Whether personal or business, taxes can be taxing! Get a jump on the job now before the hustle and bustle of the holidays hit full force, and your time is jammed with activities. Here are some quick tips to get started.

  • Separate business and personal expenses. This should be done all year, but sometimes organization gets a bit sloppy. If you have piles of receipts, sort them into two separate piles—one for business and one for personal expenses. Then sort them by date. You can easily do this at night in front of the television or when you are listening to music.
  • Review the requirements for any documents that must be filed by year end and gather all the information you need to complete them. If anything is missing, work on getting it. See my blog posts Tax Documents and Get Your Tax Documents Organized for more information. 
  •  Find out what changes are planned for the tax year and take advantage of any tax saving options that end on 12-31. You may want to make some additional business purchases before year-end.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to act. Start now to take charge of your tax situation. 

12
Nov

Relieve Holiday Stress

The holiday season is coming fast and with it comes added stress. You will be juggling work and family responsibilities, fighting a tendency to overindulge in rich food and drink, and experiencing a mix of emotions including loneliness, frustration, and even anger. This is a potent mix for maximum stress, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips to help you blow off holiday stress before you blow up.

  • Be Prepared. You know that the holidays will be hectic, so take time now to plan your time later. Open your calendar and block off time to do what is necessary to meet your obligations at work and at home. Identify what you must do versus what you would like to do and prioritize accordingly. No one wins if you stress out trying to be a super hero, so be realistic with what you think you can handle.
  • Aim for Moderation. You will be surrounded by good company, heavenly desserts, lavish meals, and heady beverages. The temptation to overindulge will be strong. Be selective about accepting invitations that come your way and limit indulging to your favorite foods. Take small, tasting portions of everything else and make natural, healthy choice when possible. 
  • Keep Moving. It will be more important that ever to stay active. Running around shopping won’t do it! You need to maintain your exercise routine to keep stress-and added pounds—at bay! 
  • Stay Positive. Emotions run strong during the holidays. Everything seems sharper and more intense, so we need to be generous with others and ourselves. The season is about love and sharing, so when these emotions pop up, take a few deep breaths and gently let them go. 

See my blog post How Often Do You Unplug? for more information you can use. Leave the stress at the door and have a happy, healthful holiday season this year

14
Oct

What makes someone positively productive? Test your knowledge by answering yes or no to each of these questions.

  1. It’s a good idea to respond to e-mails when they arrive in the in-box.
  2. Multi-tasking saves time.
  3. Being productive means getting lots of things done each day.
  4. Putting “Urgent” in a subject line ensures a quick response. 
  5. Delegating takes too much time and doesn’t work.

How many yes answers are there? 

The correct number is zero! That’s right. None of these actions are positively productive.

  1. It’s a good idea to set aside specific times during the day to check e-mails rather than every time one comes in. When you stop what you are doing to check e-mail, it’s an interruption, and it can take up to 20 minutes to re-find your focus. 
  2. Multi-tasking does not save time. When you multi-task, your attention is actually flipping on and off, and it can take longer to perform each task than if you did them sequentially.
  3. Checking off items on a list is less important than checking off the right items. Being productive means getting the right things done each day. Always stay focused and plan your day so you contribute the most to your most important goals. Plan your day to produce the results you need. 
  4. Putting “Urgent” in the subject line will not ensure a quick response. No one pays attention to “Urgent” or exclamation points in e-mails. If it’s urgent, get on the phone and talk to the person about what you need from them and why you need it right away.
  5. Delegating correctly can work. You should not be working on activities that are better handled by someone on your team. It does take time to choose the right person for the task and bring them up to speed, but when a delegation is done correctly, you will save time in the future. 

See my blog posts Three Quick Tips for Improving Productivity and 10 Tips to Be More Positively Productive with E-mail for more information.