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What to do if Employees are “Always” on Social Media

Question: Are your employees going to stop checking their social media feeds anytime soon?

Answer: No!

Question: What can you do about it?

Answer: A few things.

Question: Is this a new problem?

Answer: Yes and no.

Employees being distracted at work has been going on since they put in a water cooler in the breakroom. And since going on cigarette breaks were routine. And even when the first access to the internet allowed them to go “surfing” from the comfort of their office chair.

Social Media Distraction isn’t a new problem but rather an old problem expressed in a new way. That problem is time spent not working while at work. The Social Media Distraction issue continues to grow to an even higher and higher level of disruption of productivity in the workplace as more and more social media channels are created that compete increasingly for the attention of your employees while they’re at work and on the clock.

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Mitigating Bad PR

The threat of Bad PR (aka Public Relations) used to keep me up at night when I was a contractor. It doesn’t take much Bad PR to make it tough for your company to grow or, if it’s bad enough, to go out of business.

And as you grow your company and more and more people are at work each day, there are more and more people who can slip up or even give the appearance that they’ve slipped up.

What can you do to mitigate – or better yet – avoid Bad PR?

Learn how to play both offense and defense.

Note: As a CYA (aka Cover Your…Anatomy), you’re welcome to get advice from your own professionals who specialize on any and all of this. There’s a lot at stake.

In the meanwhile, I’m going to share my take on some examples of the high stakes game we, as contractors, must play…

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Moving into Next Year

This year I helped the three clients I work with one-to-one either revamp their existing shop, move into a new shop or both.

I love doing that because it’s a great thing to move. It’s also a great thing to just cleanup and organize your existing shop to make it better.

So, what are you going to do right now to make next year better?

One of the very best ways to make your next year better is to organize your workspace or make moving to a new place a priority. Then, it can better serve your business today and over the next 3 years even better than it does today.

Why is this so important? Your workspace and the way you maintain it is either setting the bar to a high level of professionalism or lowering the bar that will just keep getting lower and lower. Trust me I know.

I know because I allowed all of what I’m going to share below to happen at my company years back. And I kept forgiving myself for it all being a cluttered mess with the same tired an untrue excuses. That is until one-day I wanted it to get better so I stopped defending the status quo and got busy.

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It’s Not All About the Work

Your business is supposed to serve your life, not your life serving your business.

It’s easy to forget, but that is probably what you felt your business would be when you first got into business. And I know how easy it is to drift into a never-ending compromise in your personal life to serve your business.

That’s not to say I agree with the speakers who confess that they put hours upon hours into their business to become a success, but they sacrificed their personal lives in the process. You shouldn’t have to do the same.

Well, I feel you shouldn’t sacrifice your personal life forever but that you do have to do the work and invest the time to gain control of your business or it will always control you.

So, I do feel you have to spend your time, your effort and even some of your savings if you’re going to make your company a success.

What I also believe is you need to learn how to work smarter, not harder.

There’s a big difference.

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Police State or Permissive Where Anything Goes?

I was working with a client a number of years ago and he was a fantastic contractor, as were his partners. The majority of my work was with this one partner who was a smart, effective and knowledgeable leader of their fast growing plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical company.

He was the rare owner who not only knew the technical side of the business, but he and his partners knew what it took to grow a company, which meant learning and implanting the business side of things.

My reason for being called in to consult was that they had experienced explosive growth and they were suffering the ill effects that came with it. He and his partners were realizing that the way they answered their phones, to the way they dispatched, to the way they had their Techs run calls, had to be fixed.

They (not me) had said they had the worst group of Customer Service Representatives (aka CSRs) ever. And what made it worse is that they had eight of them. Sad truth is… they were bad. At least, they were when we first started.

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What Are You So Busy Doing?

“What are you so busy doing?”

This is what I ask contractors who reach out to me and even those I work with. It’s not that I don’t know how it feels like there aren’t enough hours in a day to get it all done. But, I’ve been a contractor, so I do know that you can get it all done, but only if you’re busy with the right things.

Actually, I hate it when someone keeps telling me they can’t get their projects done because they’re too busy. What’s the purpose in saying this? Pity? Sympathy? Empathy? Any other buzz words I’ve missed? Does it help get things done?…..NO!

Get over it!

We’re all busy. There’s a million and one ways to be distracted and overwhelmed. Let’s start with the miracle of technology. You can now be reached by email, text, Facetime, Slack and a whole lot more ways than that. It all seemed so great when we got our smart phones. Now, we have to live with the fact that we’re addicted to them and we are pulled away from focusing on the right things.

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Making It Okay for Your Employees to Ask for Help

Is it okay for your Employees to ask for help at your company?

You might say yes. But, I wonder if that’s true.

The reason I wonder if that’s true is because at my shop it wasn’t. We had a typical New York shop full of “know it all” mentalities. That meant it was dangerous to expose what you didn’t know because at the very least it was cause for your boss and co-workers to unleash a ton of ridicule.

The other reason I know that your staff is probably highly unwilling to show you what they don’t really know is because I, myself, the boss’s kid (as someone who had risen to be the 2ndbest Tech at our shop of 25 Techs) would spend time talking Customers out of repairs that I wasn’t fully confident I could do.

Yes, that’s right I, the boss’s kid, would do that.

Also, the reason I believe that your staff won’t show you what they can and can’t do is because they probably oversold what they actually can do when you first hired them. Now they’ve become overly protective at exposing these weaknesses they have to you or any other management team members at your company.

Here’s what I know. All your employees have holes in their knowledge, and until you make it safe for them to share what they do and don’t know you’re going to be at risk. There will be lost productivity, mistakes or worse things like insurance claims or a sting operation that makes the news and makes you look bad.

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A 5-Step Process to Gain Control at Your Contracting Business

If we met on an elevator ride, could you tell me in that short amount of time what key numbers you need to know to run your business effectively?

Probably not.

And that’s okay for today but not for the long-term health and prosperity of your business and you.

I, along with my brothers and dad, kind of ran our company without knowing the key numbers too. So, know that there’s no preaching here but rather a desire to share what we learned as we went along. Know that we had always believed if you worked incredibly hard and kept expenses down the money would follow.

The answer is sometimes it did and sometimes it didn’t. What I mean is the accountants would walk into our office in December and say, “You had a great year. Go buy yourself some tools and trucks and pay yourselves a bonus.” We liked that visit very much!

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Top Five List

Ever gone to a great seminar, workshop or group meeting and come away with a ton of great ideas and an even bigger to-do list than when you went?

Bet it happens all the time. Am I right?

And when you come home excited to share with the whole team at work all the fantastic new ideas you’ve learned about and want to put to work at your company, your employees just cringe.

Why?

They’re left out of the process is why. Plus, they know you. You get fired up about the latest and greatest thing and everything else is thrown in the “mental dumpster”. And off you go on the next rabbit chase.

The problem is another great idea will pop up that you feel is even more urgent in what I call the “entrepreneurial seizure” moment that flares up all too often in a bad way. Well, having made it part of my Planning Power! work with companies for 15 years, I have the company allow me to do private 1-to-1 conversations with their staff and the overwhelming response to this type of thing is they hate it and they hate you when you do this.

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5 Ways to Set Yourself Up for More Success in 2018

Ready for a new year? Well, whether you are or you’re not, it’s right around the corner.

Most of us are excited about the new year ahead. I think that’s the case because it’s a great time to push the reset button and leave behind what didn’t happen or what happened in a bad way and to look forward to having a brighter future.

That’s why we make New Year’s Resolutions…. right?

As someone who every year swore to eat better and get to the gym on a regular basis but quickly fell off the wagon, I can share that a New Year’s Resolution has no power unless you give it real power.

For your business, that means you need to do the following 5 things if you want to set yourself up for more success in 2018…

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