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Millennials are the hardest group to sell to. First of all, they have less money. Many Millennials are on a very tight budget. They are burdened with crushing debt, and many are unemployed or underemployed. Furthermore, they have been “sold to” their whole life. As a result, most conventional tactics fail. Products are overhyped to Millennials, who are used to seeing these things fail, and, as a result, there is a negative correlation between how much hype surrounds a product and how much Millennials want to buy your product.
The Oatmeal, a Millennials web comic, has an excellent illustration of this: Oatmeal Comics
Additionally, location is very important. Can Millennials walk or ride their bike to your business from their homes? Are you easily accessible from public transportation, if your city has it? Are there other businesses nearby that stand for the values that Millennials have? Millennials would much rather stop at your business after they have gone to their local coffee shop than make a special trip to visit you on the other side of town.
Millennials have different priorities on how they decide to buy things. It is very important how something is made and how the organization gives back to the community. Panera Bread is popular with Millennials partly because they give back to the community through programs such as Panera Cares. Millennials would much rather spend a little more of the money they do not have on a fair trade product that gives the workers a decent wage than buy the cheapest available product. Millennials care far more about the atmosphere of a workplace. What impression do potential customers get when they walk in the door? Is everyone smiling and happy to be there? Is there something unique that no one else has? If your workplace has that, then Millennials will flock to you.
As a business owner you know by now that you can’t do it all. In fact, depending on the size of your business, you may not even be able to do half the work it takes to produce the goods or services of your company. Any good business coach will encourage you to grow a great team of employees and empower them to do the work you can’t do, don’t have time to do, or don’t want to do. It all begins with the art of delegation.
The employees who are most successful in taking responsibilities off your plate are those you hire with the end in mind. Regardless of the position opened, when interviewing prospective employees always look for those who have had leadership experience in the areas similar to your company’s structure or exhibit emerging leadership characteristics.
Business owners are often quick to promote hot shots that talk a great talk or have quick success with a project. Remember the “Peter Principle, Employees will rise to the level of their incompetence.” Rather than having a “promote until they fail” philosophy, introduce leadership responsibilities one delegated task at a time. If the employee shows a consistent level of handling the tasks delegated, then you know you have a winner and a good candidate to promote into leadership.
Start with these three tips for delegating:
- Assign tasks which will not cause harm should the employee fail to achieve the desired outcome.
- Provide as much information as possible to set the employee up for success. Outline the perimeters, (i.e., budget, deadline, specific details or requirements). Paint a picture through words of what the end product should look like, however do not tell them how to do the project step by step. You want to see what they can produce.
- Check in with the employee and ask how they are doing and if they need any help. Set up “check points” for long term projects and require them to provide you with a status report.
When the project is finished, review with the employee what they did well and challenge them to increase their skills in specific areas on the next project. If they can’t handle the responsibility, acknowledge their willingness to try. When a project turns out spectacular, be sure to share credit where credit is due, besides, it makes you look good for hiring such great talent!
Here are three questions to ask which will help you finish the year strong:
- What goals have you already reached, will reach, have the potential to reach, and will unlikely reach by year end? Now I am assuming that you have strategically crafted measurable goals for the year in the first place. When you ask yourselves these questions each quarter, you are much more likely to intently focus on your business goals and work to achieve them.
- What do you contribute to the achievement of the goals you have reached so far? Take the time to evaluate your accomplishments. Plot your path to success and learn to replicate the steps that are fruitful for your particular business. Keep a journal as you try new and different ideas and then turn your observations into workable systems which can be used again or expanded and used in other areas.
- In the same way, if you tried something that doesn’t fit your business at all, consider the steps you took and find out why it didn’t work. Do you need to throw out the whole idea, or is there just a portion of the process that needs reworking? Visualize each step until you can identify the missing element. Your idea may not have worked for that particular project, but it might be adjusted and work in another area or for a different project?
Many of us are good at developing New Year Resolutions and goals. Some are even good about writing these goals down, but how many are really good at checking in each quarter and strategizing ways to cross the finish line? If you’re not quite sure how to make quarterly goals and reports work for your business, search the web for ideas, buy a book or call upon a trusted business coach or advisor. This year, let’s make sure your goals are more than just a New Year’s Resolution!
As the leader of your business, division, or other responsible position, do you ever find yourself feeling alone? Many leaders do, but here’s the thing, you shouldn’t ever find yourself becoming lonely as a leader. If you do, you’ve missed a step along the way. Here are three missteps that often happen and ways to motivate you to fix the step.
- Be willing to mentor a rising star. Leaders get to be leaders by inspiring others to follow. Among followers there will be a varied amount of skills and talents at different levels. And among your followers will be a few real gems that rise to the top, and when they identify themselves, be ready to bring them under your wing. Emerging leaders are hungry for information, ideas, and encouragement. Replicate the best of what’s in you into their leadership growth.
- Find a business coach or a group of advisors. When a leader gets to the point of saturation within their field of study, it’s time to be challenged. Find a business coach or group of advisors who can help you see another perspective, tie your success to other opportunities, or just validate the path you are on. Everyone needs someone to clear the smoke from their eyes, help them map the future, and cheer them on along the way, even established leaders.
- Find a peer group. Develop relationships with other leaders in your area or better yet, outside your field of expertise. When there is no competition involved to establish who knows more about a particular area of knowledge, the easier it is to share issues, concerns and generally be vulnerable. However, don’t allow your relationships to evolve into a “pity party”. Use your time together to encourage and council each other as well.
The bottom line is that leaders are known to take initiative. So if you are feeling “lonely at the top”, it’s time to do something about it.
As leaders in business it is required that we segment our time between a variety of tasks and responsibilities. To ensure we cover all our bases, we make business plans; we make lists, and even read articles that help us with the 5 Best ways to avoid this, or the 10 Best Ways to do that. Yet the most important aspect of getting anything done and done well is focus. Whatever has our attention, or wherever our center of activity is located, that is what we are focused on. Getting focused is not hard, staying there is the problem. So how do we stay focused when we have so many distractions in our day to day world? Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Don’t just make a list, tie the list to your priorities and put it where you can’t help but see it. This will help to keep you on the path of completion and reduce the temptation to get sidetracked. Often about 50% of what is on our list could be categorized as a “to do” rather than a task that is tied to our goals or one that truly move our business and life forward.
- Mute your phone, turn off the email notification option, and shut your door. While leaders need and want to be accessible to others, you do need to protect some of your time to be used for completing tasks that only you can accomplish. Read the book Multitasking is Worse than a Lie by David Crenshaw
- Keep your space organized. When you have to leave the “zone” to go and look for equipment or resources you need or your space is so cluttered you can’t find your “zone”, you can easily lose focus. How much time do you spend “looking” for things?
- Take a short walk or take a few really deep breaths before beginning your project and drink water to keep your brain hydrated. Lack of hydration is directly related to your ability to focus
- Spend time reading every day. Reading requires the ability to stay focused on the written word to understand the content and teaches your brain how to better focus.
The ability to stay focused on a task to completion can make the difference between a business being good and a business being great!