Business Emails: Benefits for Small Business

Business emails are a virtual communication system that have transformed the way companies conduct business.

The Many Benefits of Business Emails

Small Business EmailsEmail helps with the exchange of information, across town or around the globe, is inexpensive and allows business people the flexibility to access their messages from anywhere in the world (webmail or desktop based).

As such, companies benefit from the many advantages that email offers. Too many small business owners have not yet adopted email for business – and are missing out.

Faster Communication

Business emails are a fast way to communicate and share business documents. With email, business people are not held up by delays commonly experienced when sending documents/correspondence in the mail.

Emailing documents is faster than faxing ever was (remember the 90’s). Hitting the send button, businesses can send time-sensitive information to anyone in the world and the recipient gets the message almost instantaneously (in some cases, even password protected).

This type of fast, effective exchange allows people to stay on top of projects, respond to communication requests with customers/vendors more efficiency and be more productive.

More Accessibility

Email eliminates time as an issue. When business people use email they can send and receive information at any hour, day or night, in any timezone.

Since email is Internet-based, advanced communication technology makes it possible for individuals to access email from anywhere in the world, through an Internet connection from their computers, smartphones or tablets. This allows business people who travel for work to stay connected wherever they are.

Advertising

Email offers businesses a cost-effective way to advertise. Email ads reach mass audiences immediately and without the cost of stamps or envelopes.

One advantage of email marketing is that recipients can forward the original ad to their friends and family, carrying the information on through word-of-mouth marketing.

Email marketing is an effective way to make your company a little greener, since you do not have to print out brochures.

Companies like Vertical Response and Constant Contact have made it very easy to reach out and touch customers. I use a system called WrapMail to use my business emails as a way to promote my business and services.

Customer Service

E-Marketing Journal states that business emails offer customers a quick and easy way to provide a company with feedback on products and services.

Customers can even contact company customer service representatives by email (support@companyname.com), and often have their concerns addressed via email.

Business emails provide customers and companies with documentation in writing, which can be useful when certain issues need to be verified.

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Business Meeting Etiquette Top Ten

Business Meeting EtiquetteAdherence to proper business meeting etiquette establishes respect among meeting participants, helps the meeting begin and end on time, and fosters an atmosphere of cooperation.

In my opinion – a lack of etiquette and poor planning are two of the main reasons why many business meetings fail.

Teach your employees the business meeting etiquette top ten rules to ensure that your meetings are effective.

Business Meeting Etiquette Top Ten

1.) Arrival

Arrive to the location of the business meeting at least 15 minutes early – ever heard of “Lombardi Time”? This allows you to find a seat and get situated before the meeting starts.

2.) Agenda

The chairperson of the meeting should distribute a meeting agenda to each participant at least one day/week in advance (situational). Participants should call the chairperson to express any concerns about the agenda at least 48 hours prior to the meeting.

The chairperson and concerned participant will then have time to determine if changes need to be made. The agenda should also mention the meeting’s start and ending times.

3.) Be Prepared

Each participant should come to the meeting with all of the materials and data they will need and an understanding of the meeting topic.

4.) Breaks

Meetings should have a break every two hours. Breaks should be 20 minutes long, and meal breaks should be 30-45 minutes long.

5.) Attire

The chairperson should indicate what kind of attire is required for the meeting, either business casual or business formal, and participants should follow that rule.

A representative listing of the attire would be helpful as participants may have differing views on what business casual and business formal is. For example, when listing the meeting as business formal, you can indicate that a button-down shirt and khaki pants are sufficient.

6.) Speaking

Keep the meeting organized by only speaking when you have the floor. Proper business meeting etiquette says that you should only ask questions during the designated question period, and raise your hand to be recognized by the chairperson as having the floor. Do not interrupt someone while they are speaking or asking a question.

7.) Meeting Types

Each part of the Meeting should be described in the Agenda. Is a portion of the Meeting dedicated to “Info Share”? Is there a portion that you reserve for “Creative Discussion” or “Creative Decision Making” It is helpful if all participants understand the meaning of these.

8.) Listen

You may find that many of the questions you have about a topic are answered by the content of the meeting. Listen attentively to the meeting and take notes.

9.) Cell Phones and Laptops

Turn off your cell phone prior to the start of the meeting. If you are expecting an urgent call, then set your phone to vibrate and excuse yourself from the meeting if the call comes in.

Unless laptop computers have been approved for the meeting, turn yours off and lower the screen so that you do not obstruct anyone’s view.

10.) Guests

Do not bring unannounced guests to a meeting. If you have someone you would like to bring, then proper business meeting etiquette says you should contact the chairperson for permission to bring your guest.

Train your team in these no-nonesense basics in business meeting etiquette for efficient and productive meetings.

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How to Motivate Employees and Retain Them

How to Motivate Employees

How to motivate employees and retain themIt is imperative for any business organization to understand how to motivate employees and retain their top producers. An engaged and happy workforce is a productive workforce.

Businesses cannot achieve desired goals without experienced and qualified staff.

Therefore, organizations need to motivate their employees to obtain the best possible results for a long period of time.

There are several techniques that a small business owner should consider in regard to motivation and retention.

Monetary Compensation

What is your company strategy in regard to compensation? Although money isn’t everything, it is generally a key motivator in regard to employment.

Businesses need to keep in mind what other employers are paying for similar positions. If employees are properly compensated for their work, they will feel as though they are a valued member of the team.

Also consider incentives such as bonuses and perks.

Organizational Culture

Your leadership team must be engaged in order to have staff buy-in. Values, policies, practices, and behaviors all make up the culture of your company.

Building an engaging company culture is not something that happens overnight. You must work at it. Employees are looking for follow-through and commitment from the leadership team. Culture is possibly the most important way to motivate employees.

Constant Feedback

In order to retain top performers, a business needs to provide constant feedback. The days of quarterly or even annual reviews being the sole form of feedback are long gone.

Employees want to receive constant, proximal, specific, and clearly defined input from their supervisors. Usage of positive feedback about accomplishment is essential to motivate employees. Additionally, an organization must praise the employee promptly to reflect the positive gesture.

Clear Communication

Is your company mission statement clearly understood by all of your employees? You are leading a team and you need to ensure all members of your team know what direction to head.

What is your business working to accomplish? What are the short and long term goals of your organization?

Your mission statement should be posted in a very visible place for all employees to see. Consider adding your mission statement to the “about us” section of your website. Read it out loud before every meeting – so people become familiar with it.

Employee Involvement

Every business looking to retain its employees should improve organizational communication. Top management needs to learn the art of involving employees in the decision-making process.

I have written in another post about having a weekly “Brainstorming” session – every Friday between 3:00 – 4:00 pm with all executives.

Though management will most likely make the final and ultimate decisions, seeking advice from staff members can infuse a sense of employee ownership in the process.

Staff members should be encouraged to actively participate in the decision making process by providing suggestions and feedback.

Learning & Development Opportunities

The goal of talent development is to maintain a competitive advantage for your business. Employees want to know that there are growth opportunities within the organization.

Mentorship programs help to facilitate development activities through allowing newer employees to shadow more tenured staff. If an employee feels that there is a long-term plan for them within your organization that will afford them opportunities that align with their professional goals, they will be more apt to stay with your organization for the long-term.

Getting Rid Of Bad Employees

Why would you hang on to employees that have negative attitudes and low performance? Have you ever heard the saying, “One rotten apple spoils the whole barrel?”

If your employees see that you’re letting their co-worker getaway with poor performance, the rest of the team will resent that. Why should everyone else have to pull the weight of the poor performer?

Additionally, employees with bad attitudes can poison your entire staff. Cut your losses!

Learning how to motivate employees on a consistent basis is an essential key to success.