How to Make Your Morning Meetings More Productive For Everyone Involved

Have you ever woken up for your day at work and absolutely dreaded having to deliver the morning meeting? It’s usually a Monday, it’s usually raining, and for some reason this month, the heating hasn’t kicked in on time, so the boardroom is freezing cold. This type of start to the day is guaranteed to make your employees miserable, which means they do not want to sit in the morning meeting and listen to you talk about the week ahead. This is your chance to make the Monday morning team meeting so much more fun. Well, you can make it suck a little less and make it more bearable, anyway!

If you were a standup comedian, you’d know the importance of the first and last five minutes of any show. You cannot hope to engage your employees if you are bored by your own content and tone of voice, and getting them to interact in the meeting with you is difficult enough as it is! So, how can you engage your employees and get them leaving the meeting they’re dreading smiling instead?

Set An Example

If you walked into a boardroom and everyone had a sour look on their face, would you want to be there? Probably not. Start the meeting with pastries, offerings of hot coffee and be jovial in your demeanour. People find a bad mood infectious, but the same goes for a good mood.

They will be happy and at ease if you are. It’s so much easier to discuss the latest content curation platform you want to use when the team have had a pastry, a hot drink and a laugh first thing in the morning. You need to keep the energy of the room high, so don’t let the Monday morning misery from others affect you, either!

Connect With Everyone

This may seem a little daft, but talk to everyone about their weekend, get an anecdote or something funny they’ve seen while away from the office. If you start off with the agenda of the meeting you’re going to watch their eyes glaze over and it’s game over for their attention-span! Making an effort with your staff can make them feel appreciated, and everyone needs that on a Monday morning.

Start With Praise

Begin a meeting with praising those who have hit targets and deadlines. Hand out rewards and make the meeting a positive one. Recognition is so important when it comes to building good relationships with people and starting your week on rewards instead of failures can set the tone for the workplace. Buoyant staff often work harder, so make them fly.

End How You Begun

You started your meeting with energy and praise, so end it the same way. Never end a meeting on a sour note and thank your staff for their efforts. Acknowledge that meetings aren’t always the most fun way to spend time, but make them know you’re grateful for their attendance.

No one likes to attend a meeting and be lectured, so make sure your meeting style deviates from the norm. You’ll be thanked for it!

It’s Time to Update Your Management Style!

It’s a strange thing that, just because you’re the kind of person who has the drive and passion to start a business, you’re then expected to be able to be a great manager as well. Of course, there is a pretty good chance that the part of your that was able to create a business will also help you stay on top of everything, but even with the bird’s eye view of the business that you have, it’s still not always easy. The truth is that managing a business is a whole unique skillset that not everyone has. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn those skills. With that in mind, here are just a few of the ways that you can update your management style for the good of your business.

Treat your employees like people

Far too often, business owners think of every part of their business in terms of resources. They try to quantify everything from equipment to time. Of course, this can often be very useful, but there’s one place where this method simply doesn’t work: people. Your employees might be the most valuable resource that your business has, but that doesn’t mean that you can treat them like machines.

You need to remember that your employees are people with needs and limits that you have to be aware of. Otherwise, you’re going to end up overworking them and causing them to become frustrated and resentful of your business as a whole.

Keep track of your data

In the modern digital world, data is more important than ever before. However, far too many business owners simply aren’t good at managing it properly. Whether it’s keeping data secure or simply being able to analyse and understand it properly if you’re not managing your data properly your business is going to pay the price.

Luckily there are things in place which can help you. Whether it’s Excel data analysis or the use of things like cloud storage, managing your data has never been easier. Being able to better understand your data and keep it secure is going to be incredibly useful for your entire business.   

Plan for everything

There is no resource in your business quite so important yet tricky to manage than time. The thing about time is that it’s the one resource that, once used, you can never get it back. Because of that, you need to make sure that you’re planning for just about everything as carefully as possible. Otherwise, you’re going to end up wasting time and working inefficiently which can have serious consequences for your business down the line.

Not every business owner is going to be good at everything, and that’s something that you should come to terms with as quickly as possible. However, there are certain things that you need to be responsible for, and management is one of them. If you feel like you’re not able to manage your business properly, the best thing that you can do is to put in the effort to improve and develop those skills. After all, if you’re not going to manage your business, it’s unlikely that anyone will.

The Buck Stops with You — Responsibility for Business Owners

Businesses should be responsible.

When you read that sentence, what do you think that “responsible” means in this context? Different people will have different answers; some will say that this means businesses have to be environmentally responsible, others will say that businesses are responsible for taking care of their finances. Neither answer is wrong, but there’s another type of “responsible” that you may want to consider: the responsibility you have when things go wrong.

boy, child, clouds

A business that is responsible for its own mistakes is a business that can be trusted. When businesses try to pass the buck and absolve themselves of blame, they can ruin their reputation with breathtaking speed. Below, let’s explore three areas where you have to be willing to take responsibility for any issues that your business has caused, as well as the steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Rogue distributors

If you make your own products which you then sell to distributors, you will be required to set a minimum advertised price (MAP). This is the lowest price that distributors are allowed to sell your products.

There are numerous reasons a distributor might be tempted to go rogue and advertise your products for a lower price. They might want to generate more interest, undercut their competitors, or just make a quick sale. Whatever their reason, it’s wrong, and all the other distributors you sell to will be furious if another company is violating the MAP.

If this happens, then you need to take responsibility for the rogue distributor, even though it’s not really your fault. The distributor is at fault, but you have to take the fall on this one. Apologise, assure the annoyed distributors you’re going to be working with the likes of Trade Vitality to ensure it doesn’t happen again, and move on.

Image Credit: Pexels
Discourteous employees

All business owners want to get the most out of their employees and encourage them to do well; they’re a vital part of your business. If you hear a report from a customer that an employee has been discourteous or not performed correctly, then your first instinct might be to defend the employee.

This isn’t a good idea, and can actually make the customer angry. Even if you think the customer is wrong, just issue an apology and say the matter will be dealt with. As the boss, it’s your job to be responsible for hiring the right staff. So if one of your employees messes up then sometimes you need to take the blame to ensure immediate damage control.

Speak to the employee in question and ensure they know the situation cannot be allowed to repeat itself.

Technical problems

If a customer wants to visit your site and finds that it’s crashed, they’re going to be annoyed. In this circumstance, you could blame your web host — they are, after all, the ones who are having the issue.

However — as with point two — it’s your responsibility as the business owner to choose a good web host. The same applies across all tech glitches, from ordering problems to delivery snafus — you have to own them. Anything other response will just make customers more irate.

By taking responsibility in the above areas of your business, you will give the impression of a business owner who is able to deal with issues without passing the buck. This, in turn, will make you seem more competent and in control — exactly the way that you want your customers to think of you.

Here’s What You Need to Know If You’re Building a Store

There comes a time in every small business’ life where a decision needs to be made, shall we open a store? If you are running a successful online store and want to step up your game, it might just be the right time to open up your own shop. The thrill of having customers visit and buy your goods is one which any business owner looks forward to. But there are a few things you will need to consider before going in gung-ho.


The first thing you will need to decide when you want to open a store is where you want to be situated. It will largely depend on your budget. However, you want to be somewhere easy to find and in a large retail area to increase the chance of shoppers visiting you. Take a look at a location which allows you to really make the most of your brand and show it off to the world.


If you are carrying out the work yourself rather than hiring people to do it for you, you will need equipment. Heavy equipment can be hired from many different avenues, and you can keep all of your information on each piece of machinery, and its supplier in one place, such as Naxt Solution. It will make things less stressful for you and allow you to carry out the work without worry of losing anything.

adult, business, chair
Image Credit: Pexels

Interior Design

The central part of designing your store is deciding the vibe you want to create inside. Will it be light and airy or do you want loud colors and rock music? Make sure you keep it consistent with your brand and don’t go too overboard. If your store looks cluttered, no one will want to look around.

Vinyl and Banners

As with the inside of the store, you want the outside to be inviting to guests. You might not need to go all out and place a McDonald’s style ‘M’ outside the front door (kinda illegal), but you do want to make an impression. Think about the sign which will hang outside and any types of vinyl you want in the windows to show off promos and information. Make sure all the opening times are easy to see too.

Related image
Square reader coupled with tablet makes for an easy payment platform

Finishing Touches

Once you’ve finished playing da Vinci, it’s time to decorate. To finish off your store and turn it into a functioning shop, you’ll need cash registers (or payment platform like Square), shopping carts, and baskets. But if you feel the hipster in you bursting out, hang up some vintage phones and sewing machines for decoration. Because why not?


Before you get excited and open the store right away, remember that you’ll need people to run it. Of course, you could decide to do it yourself, but then you will need extra hands to help with merchandising and tills. Work out how many people you need and what hours the store will be open — as you may need to switch shifts during the working day.

3 Reasons You Should Use a Recruitment Agency for Your Next Hire

When you’re in business, your time is precious. It feels like everything should be moving at a fast pace in order to get stuff done. When you have to take some time out to do things that are essential to the progression of your business (such as interviewing potential candidates), there is often the thought of what could have been done instead within that time-frame.

It’s even more frustrating when the interviews don’t culminate in somebody that you had hoped would fill the role. More and more businesses, including startups, are looking towards recruitment agencies to take this task off their hands. Not only is it freeing you up to do other things, but there are a whole host of other reasons as to why you should be considering this option.

Image Credit: Pexels

They Have a Portfolio

All recruiters will have a portfolio of people that they know will be able to fulfill the role that you are advertising. They will be able to pick out those who have had experience in the career sector that you want them for, as well as ones who have had good reviews from previous employers.

Their reputation lies on getting you the best person that they can to fit the role for your job – they don’t want to let you down, as this means that they won’t be getting any more work!

They Can Get Niche Employees

If you’re struggling to find the right person to fit a niche role, there is more than likely a recruitment agency that will be out there dealing in exactly what you’re looking for. Usually these are orchestrated by those who have been in the business before.

So not only do they know what you need to fulfill a role within this certain sector of your business, but they know exactly what to look out for when selecting a candidate for you. Recruitment agencies dealing with HR such as Portfolio Payroll is just one example.

There are a myriad others online that you can pick and choose from to suit your needs, so don’t be afraid to really whittle down to just one agency for one particular job.

They Do the Hard Work

Let’s face it – when you’re new in business, you don’t want to have to spend time wasting your energy on things that won’t make you money. The non-revenue generating jobs such as interviewing potential employees can take up hours, if not days of your valuable time.

Let the agencies do the hard work for you; you can pass over questions that you would ask in an interview and what answers you would expect to hear back. Lay out the qualities of the person that you would wish to employ and let them surprise you with who they’ve found.

The great thing with recruitment agencies is that if the person that they have selected doesn’t fit the bill, they probably have a list of other potentials who will be able to come and step into their shoes at a moment’s notice — a Godsend when you need to keep your business running smoothly.


How to Keep Your Business Afloat When Failure Is Not an Option

Every business owner dreams of achieving success. Sadly, not all companies make it, and a large proportion of startups fail (8 out of 10 entrepreneurs according to Bloomberg) within their first 18 months. 

That’s a whopping 80% crashing and burning.

There are many reasons why businesses fold and taking steps to prevent common obstacles can make all the difference.

Here is a simple guide to help you keep your business afloat.

Value your team

Most company owners rely on a team of people to hit their targets and make the venture profitable. If you’ve got a great set of employees, don’t take them for granted or let them slip through the net.

If you’re impressed, tell them. If you’re in awe of their dedication, make sure they know that they’re valued. Offer opportunities to progress, try and make the working day enjoyable, and encourage teamwork.

Lead by example, and don’t be afraid to get to know your workforce. If your employees are happy, they’re likely to be more productive.

If your star players feel undervalued and they’re worried that they’re working for nothing in return, offers from other companies may turn their heads.

Image Credit: Virgin

Have a plan B

Every business should have contingency plans in place to enable them to carry on and recover if things don’t go to plan. If you’re running a distribution business, for example, it pays to be aware of services like those offered by New Era Fuels.

If you own an online shop, have you got access to the relevant tech support you need if your site crashes? Think about what could go wrong, and try and ensure that you have a solution for every eventuality.

If you can minimise the risk of downtime, this could make the difference between going under and staying afloat.

Every business encounters hurdles along the way, and if you can bounce back with minimal collateral damage, this will improve your chances of making a real go of it.

Keep an eye on the numbers

Ultimately, success in business depends on the numbers. You may enjoy your job, or you might have a great idea, but if you’re not taking any money home, you won’t be able to keep the company running.

Accounting may not be your strong point, but don’t underestimate the importance of keeping an eye on the books, and making sure you have a firm grasp on the numbers.

Think carefully before you invest more money, and make sure any risks you take are calculated.

Look at your income versus your outgoings, and if the margin isn’t big enough, think about ways you can cut costs and make savings without impacting on the quality of the service you provide.

If you employ too many members of staff on temporary contracts, for example, you could consider hiring freelancers or outsourcing when their contracts expire. This gives you access to the skills you need without tying you to annual salaries.


If you’re a business owner, you probably don’t even want to entertain the thought of failure. The sad reality is that many people can’t make their venture a success.

Hopefully, this guide will stand you in good stead and help you to keep your head above water.


Improving the Communication in Your Company

How much thought have you put into the communication in your business? With a million and one other tasks to oversee as the boss, it can be easy to overlook. However, being able to relay information quickly and effectively is so important, and lack of communication could even lead to failure of the entire company. Here are some of the ways you can ensure communication is up to scratch in your business.

Update Your Phones

The way we communicate has changed massively over the last decade, and using standard telephones may no longer provide all of the functions you need in business. The new generation of business phones can be seen with companies like Commander. If you want to ensure your company remains up to date with your competition these are the kinds of technologies you should consider implementing. As well as phones, using video calling software to hold meetings and conferences with those who can’t get into the office is useful too.

Drop The Unnecessary Meetings and Emails

Meetings and emails are key to communication in business. However, they should be kept to important points only. This means that when an email or meeting is held, staff know they really need to pay attention. Too many of these can not only disrupt workflow but also might lead to staff missing important points where they didn’t realise what was being said was priority.

Consider a Business Social Network

Since you will be keeping priority information to important emails and meetings, you need another way for staff to communicate with each other. A business social media platform can allow staff to quickly message and contact each other without physically getting out of their seat (which can again disrupt workflow). Enterprise social networks like Salesforce’s Chatter Podio, ZenDesk, and FreshDesk, are all options to consider.

Arrange Some Team Building Activities

Team members that work well together will have better communication, and so this isn’t something to overlook as a boss. In the recruitment stage, prioritise people who are open and friendly, and have a good track record of working as a team. You need great teamwork and cooperation, this ensures a pleasant working environment for all staff and means information is being relayed correctly where it needs to go.


Being the kind of boss that employees can speak to is always useful. They will feel confident coming to you with any issues, and things can be resolved much more quickly when they’re reported directly. Check in with your workers on a regular basis, be a friendly and approachable boss, and let them know they can tell you if something isn’t quite right. It’s your job as the boss to ensure everything is running as it should, so keeping tabs on potential issues which can affect communication is important. It could be anything from bullying problems to systems that just don’t work correctly.

What systems do you have in place to ensure effective communication in your business? Is this something you’ve put much thought into? Leave a comment below.

10 Ways for You to Approach a New Year of Business

The start of a new year can be both exciting and daunting (mostly the latter) as you again set out your goals for the next 365 days.

I prefer latching on to the excitement of a new beginning as it comes with energy, positivity and a renewed purpose. Look ahead to the unforeseen and relish the thought of the innumerable opportunities that await you and your business venture.

Appreciate each day that you are given and use every minute to cultivate new habits that will help to propel you forward. Read more.

Life is filled with unpredictable moments and even the best laid plans sometimes get thwarted. Do not be deterred by disappointment. It’s all a part of the journey and the upside is, each one of those bad moments comes with its own valuable lessons.

In my previous blog I shared entrepreneurial lessons I had deciphered from Virgin Founder Richard Branson’s autobiography, ‘Losing My Virginity’. Here are 10 more that I picked out to help both you and your business thrive in 2015 in no particular order:

  1. Your reputation is the most valuable asset you will ever acquire; protect it;
  2. In order of importance, your employees come before your customers;
  3. Know when your luck has run out and walk away with your life intact;
  4. You will be more passionate about a business venture when it involves fun;
  5. Part ways with business partners and save your friendship when your singular vision for the future become different;
  6. A parachute and a life jacket are good for longevity in business;
  7. Start small and scale as you see the opportunities;
  8. Bootstrap (fund) your own projects when you cannot get any loans or raise venture capital;
  9. Build a brand, not just a company;
  10. Growth is not achieved in a straight line, but a series of short advances and retreats.