Archive | August, 2018

Wrangling Your Week: Time Management Success Techniques That Will Give You Hope

7 Aug

It’s painfully true that there are never enough hours in the day. If "normal humans" are having this kind of trouble, how are CEOs and leaders of major businesses able to run the massive scale of their days? As long as you consider that they haven’t discovered time travel, there’s got to be some tips and tricks that can be learned from their exceptional talents.

These time management success stories will give you hope that you can wrangle your week more effectively. You might be surprised to learn that many of these individuals found adequate time for sleep and budgeting part of their day for meditation or downtime.

Leave Time for Relaxation

Most famous for his theory of evolution in his book The Origin of Species (1859), Charles Darwin spent a great deal of his day in solitary study. His schedule also included walking his fox terrier pup and reading. Most interesting was the two hours each day that he devoted to lying awake in bed solving problems before starting his day. Victor Hugo, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Charles Dickens also devoted many hours a day to walking and personal study. Today, Arianna Huffington is one of the business leaders who believe that spending time with colleagues or eating lunch away from your desk makes you more productive — not less.

Focus on Calendar Management

Focusing only on what is most important each day is one of the time management tricks that Mary Callahan Erdoes, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., swears by. Her busy day is most productive when she spends time prioritizing short- and long-term deliverables instead of reacting to new items that make it to her calendar by happenstance.

Sleep Soundly, Wake Early

People who are making an impact in their world are likely getting enough rest to be refreshed and ready to face their day, but those days often start quite early. Getting less than six hours of sleep on a regular basis can leave you mentally drained or fuzzy and make you less likely to be efficient in your work. The early morning hours are ideal for a quick workout, which not only helps the body stay fit but helps boost your brainpower for the day as well. Billionaire Richard Branson is famous for his 5:00 am ritual to kick off his busy day.

Stop the Multitasking

Sure, we all love to pretend that we’re getting three things done at once, but is anything being accomplished in these sprints? Successful professionals know when it’s time to turn off the electronics and stick to one task at a time. Koel Thomae, co-founder of Noosa Yoghurt, notes how easy it is to be distracted by your inbox and your phone. Add in some music and you’re ready to take on the world!

Just Say "No"

"No," or "next" are some of the most powerful words in the English language — allowing people to free their time from mundane activities and target those which are moving them forward. There may be some tasks that feel like busywork, so delegate these whenever possible. Turn your attention only to items where you add personal and unique value, and you’ll soon find that it’s possible to be present in your day while experiencing less stress. This can include everything from hiring people who complement your skills and abilities (a famous Jack Welch-ism) to outsourcing tasks when it makes sense.

Not everyone is running an empire, finding the cure for cancer, or creating the next great musical masterpiece. However, we are all struggling with a limited number of hours in the day. There is a great deal of hope and comfort in knowing that these basic time management techniques have been practiced for generations — and are still helping some of the most successful people of our age be productive.

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Why Your Brand is The Most Important Asset in Your Business

3 Aug

Your brand may not be as recognizable as Coke, Pepsi or Walmart, but it speaks volumes about your business.

Your brand is much more than a simple logo or tagline; it is the sum of all the different interactions that your prospects and customers have with your organization. This could include printed correspondence, your website, phone conversations with your sales reps, and more. It’s an intangible asset that is captured on your balance sheet in case you are selling your business, and it should be treated as your most valuable asset. Creating a cohesive brand experience for your customer begins with expressing your brand consistently across your various channels of communication.

Digital Presence

Your website is your digital front door, and when your brand isn’t well represented on your website, then you can cause significant confusion among your core audience.

When you work closely with a designer to translate your brand from printed pieces to the web, you’re ensuring that customers and prospects are comfortable with interacting with your brand on any channel. If you are using social media channels to promote your brand, you may want to audit the design look and feel for consistency. Many brand managers find it easiest to define a brand across all channels during a refresh of the look and feel of your digital presence. Everything down to the color that you choose for your logo mark will help tightly define your brand.

Brand "Voice"

Is your brand a little smart and sassy, or cool and classy? Slightly high-brow or ready for some fun?

The brand "voice" that you define is essentially the personality for your brand. It’s unlikely that a well-established bank would want to suddenly start using emojis in their brand communication, for instance. Alternatively, a fun and feisty new design firm would want to use different messaging than a financial institution! Your voice should be made up not only of the way you want your brand to appear, but also allow you to communicate effectively with your core audience. Based on demographics, your brand may have a slightly different voice when speaking to various audience segments.

Marketing Collateral

Each piece of marketing collateral that you create — from letterhead to your website to your latest printed sales brochure — should all have a cohesive design that sticks close to your brand guidelines.

That doesn’t mean that everything has to look the same, but when someone looks at a piece of your marketing materials, they should have that "Aha! I recognize this brand!" feeling immediately. In today’s fast-paced digital world, it can be easy to create a new look for your website or emails and forget that your printed materials, such as business cards and letterhead, need to be refreshed to match an updated look.

Finding Your Identity

Each interaction, each step of each process, and each conversation that happens between customers and prospects is yet another piece of your brand identity! You can see why this makes your brand one of the most critical assets in your business.

While all of these pieces work together to create this mystical thing that we call "brand identity," there are some definite hallmarks that help set the tone.

Ready to freshen up the look of your business cards, letterhead, envelopes and other identity materials? These items are often the initial introduction to your brand, and you want them to make a great first impression!