Ten Top Tips for Increasing Your Productivity

The key to making your business more successful is to improve your productivity. Achieving more in less time is the best way to ensure higher revenue and greater profits. However, while it might sound simple to say “be more productive”, it isn’t always easy to know how to achieve that goal. Here are ten expert tips that should help you get started.

  1. Plan to Check Your Emails

Rather than leaving your email notifications on 24/7, try switching them off. Constantly having to stop the task you’re working on to respond to a notification makes it difficult to concentrate and delays your progress. Instead, try to schedule certain times of the day when you’ll check your emails and reply to any which need a response.

  1. Plan Your Day to Suit Your Working Style

You know best what works for you, so plan your day around your individual working style. For example, if you’re more focused in the morning, plan to do the hardest tasks before lunch. When you plan your schedule around your energy cycles and personality you can get more done in the most efficient way.

  1. Try Batching

Batching is a great productivity technique that helps you to maximize your concentration by focusing on similar tasks at the same time. For example, if you’re writing a newsletter, why not write them for the next few months as well to save you time in the long-run. If you’re already in the flow, it makes sense to stick with the task in hand.

  1. Establish A Routine

If you do certain activities at a regular time, it removes the time-consuming decision-making process which is involved with determining what you should do next and when you should fit in specific tasks.

  1. Outsource to An Expert

You can hugely increase your productivity by outsourcing tasks that you find time-consuming to those who specialize in them. Not every business owner is an expert in every field, so it makes sense to use professionals who offer those services and who can carry them out to the highest level. For example, check out our Corporate Business Solutions reviews to find out how outsourcing to experts can be extremely helpful to small and medium-sized businesses.

  1. Stop Checking Your Phone

Evidence shows that we check our phone an average of thirty times during a standard working day. That means that you’re losing up to two and a half hours of every business day, not to mention interrupting your flow and disturbing your concentration on the task in hand. Put down your phone in a drawer and leave it until you hear it ring!

  1. Try The “Pomodoro” Method

The Pomodoro method involves setting an alarm and focusing on a single task until the alarm sounds. Plan 25 minutes for each task and focus on it until you hear the alarm go off. This helps you to avoid getting distracted by other things you need to do and helps you to stay productive. Take a five-minute break in between each 25-minute session.

  1. Lot Your Activities on A Timesheet

It might sound ridiculous, but if you log your activities on a timesheet over the course of a week, you’ll be surprised to see exactly how you’re using your time. Once you know what you’re actually doing, you can make an informed decision about where optimizations can be made.

  1. Harness the Power of Technology

There are lots of helpful apps, pieces of software and technological solutions that can save you time, effort and energy when running your business. Identify your pain points then find an appropriate technological solution to improve your productivity.

  1. Improve Your Processes

Take the time to write down all your processes and the way in which you carry out certain tasks. Are you tackling things in the best way? Are you doing more than you need to? Could you automate any step of the process? Once you’ve carried out a review, you can see where improvements can be made and action them.

Help – You Need Somebody

Owning and running a business can be an exhilarating experience. However, it also comes with many challenges, one of which is recognizing potential problems. As a business owner, who is invested in wanting their business to succeed, it’s easy to miss signs that your business is not doing as well as it should.

The problem with this is that issues can get out of hand if they are not dealt with. This is why it’s so important for you to recognize that your business has problems to solve and get the help that you need from experts like the team at CBS-CBS.com. So how do you know when your business needs help, what assistance can you get and how can it benefit your business?

How to tell if you need help

It’s easy to become complacent when you are running a business, but this is a trap that you should attempt to avoid. There are some signs that you should look out for which might indicate that there is a problem including:

  • A lack of customer interest. If your customer base is stagnant this is likely to lead to a decrease in sales and profits. It can also affect your marketing is word of mouth recommendations are likely to decrease.
  • Mistakes have not been rectified. You can tell if mistakes are being repeated by using business analytics and by paying attention to customer feedback. If you identify this type of repetition, it may mean that you need assistance with improving your business processes.
  • Employees leave on a regular basis. A high level of staff turnover is a sure sign that there are issues with the business that you may need assistance to resolve.
  • Bills and other payments are not being addressed on time. This is an obvious sign that the cash flow of the business is not as it should be and that changes need to be made.
  • There is no innovation in the business. When a business fails to innovate, it’s likely to fall behind its competitors. This is why you may need help from experts if your business practices have not changed over the years.

What expert help can you get?

If you notice signs that your business is having problems, it’s often a good idea to seek help from experts who can give you an unbiased view of the current state of your business, as well as providing you with advice and support.

The help that you can get includes:

  • Data collection and analysis.
  • Customer satisfaction analysis.
  • Business and financial reporting support.
  • Business strategy and planning support.

How this help can be beneficial

The most obvious advantage of getting professional help to resolve business issues is that this assistance is independent and is therefore not hampered by pre-existing assumptions.

This advantage leads to others that can result from the information and advice that is provided, including improved employee satisfaction and retention, enhanced customer engagement and improved strategic planning.

Help is not something that a business owner should be ashamed of asking for. It should always be seen as an effective business tool that can help to improve practices and increase profits.

Using SMART Goals to Help Your Business Grow

Making goals for business growth can, at times, feel challenging. You may have a vision of what your business’ future success looks like, but you may not have a business plan in place to help your team reach that productive end-point. You’ll need to set goals in order to incrementally pave the way towards success, so why not be SMART about it.

SMART goals are a specialized system of breaking down your business or personal goals into easy-to-evaluate criteria. Through these five components, you’ll be able to create goals that will sow confidence and accountability into your entire team.

Should you need further support, though, the consulting experts at Corporate Business Solutions can help to create customized goals to meet your business’ financial and productivity needs.

Specific

First, your goal must be as specific as possible. While it’s easy to set a broad goal, your business will see more success if your goals are carefully tailored to meet specific end-points. Team members, in particular, will benefit from specificity because it will help them align their role on the team towards your vision for the company’s success.

If you’re struggling to specificity your business’ goals, consider using the traditional “6 W’s” (Who, What, Where, When, Which, and Why) approach to verbalizing your goals. You can then use these keywords to create a fully-fledged statement of your goal’s purpose and structure from the outset.

Measurable

Measuring the degree of success in meeting specified business goals is crucial, plain and simple. Without a metric for measuring your business’ success in meeting a goal, your progress will remain largely intangible and difficult to track from quarter to quarter. Measurable criteria can come in several forms, with everything from “dollars” to “number of new clients” included.

One of the best ways to determine if your goal is measurable is to evaluate if it can be broken down into tangible milestones. These waypoints can help guide business operations in the short-term in order to make the larger long-term goal more manageable for each team member.

Attainable

Attainability primarily evaluates the structural changes that may need to take place in order to make your goal into a reality. These changes need not be earth-shaking; in fact, they are often as simple as determining which tools and skills your team will need to acquire to make this goal a reality. Make sure that your evaluation of attainability is focused on motivation (IE “we can attain this goal!) or else your team may not have the drive to overcome potential obstacles.

Relevant

Evaluating relevance can be crucial to ensuring that your individual goals align efficiently with your larger business-wide goals. A relevant goal is able to set a course for a distinct end-point while still optimizing existing resources to enhance the goal’s eventual impact. Often, the best way to evaluate relevance is by meeting with all key team members and breaking down how your new goal aligns with (or potentially breaks free from) their existing goals and objectives.

Timely

Finally, your goal should have a built-in time table in order to keep your fresh objectives on a clear course towards fulfillment. You’ll know your goal is timely when you can continuously evaluate its efficiency based upon how much time has elapsed since its initiation. Such a time table should also be realistic and informed by relevant research into the norms for similar goals within your industry.

How to Handle Negative Online Reviews

No matter how much effort you put into your business and do everything right, there will still be people that won’t like your idea. In today’s world, it’s easier than ever to give a negative review because of the internet. Through social media and review websites, you can post a review at any time, anywhere.

At some point, you’re bound to face a negative review. Those reviews don’t have to be the end of your business if you don’t let them. It’s all in how you handle them and move forward.

Don’t fall victim to a negative review. Use the following seven tips from Corporate Business Solutions Consultants to stay on top of negative reviews and not let them affect your business.

Always be Professional and Courteous

There’s a reason for the negative review. Even if you did everything you could to keep the customer happy (and even if you were in the right), it’s important to remain courteous and professional at all time, because there is a reason why that person posted the review. Responding negatively will only worsen the situation. By responding professionally, you can use the online publicity to your advantage.

Respond Quickly

With a negative review, don’t ignore them, it’ll only look worse on your part. Respond promptly. Even if you don’t have the time to fully assess the review, at least reply as quickly as possible that someone will be in contact, or provide your contact information. It will at least show that you’ve taken the time to read the review.

Provide Contact Information

That being said, you should always provide the review with a contact so that you can take the matter privately. Diving into the negative review online isn’t always the best idea. By giving a phone number or email to the person, it opens up a new line of communication to solve the issue.

Remove Any False Reviews

False reviews do happen. Whether it’s from a disgruntled employee, a competitor, or someone who was paid to write the review, false and misleading reviews do happen, and you can request to have them taken down.

Listen to the Customer

In many circumstances, frustrated customers are those who feel like they haven’t been heard. Poor customer service skills can lead to negative reviews. Take the time to listen to the customer and their needs. Show that you are listening to them by responding to their complaint before offering a solution.

Use it to Improve

As noted, there is a reason why the customer posted a negative review. After responding to it and finding a solution, use the complaint as a way to improve your business. One way to really show that you care and that you listen to your customers is by considering their complaint.

Don’t Fall Victim to “Trolls”

Have you heard of “internet trolls?” These are those who purposely causes a scene or issue on the internet for entertainment. Usually, when an internet troll posts a negative review or comment, there isn’t a reason behind it. Don’t fall victim to internet trolls, as they tend to flare up emotions.

To combat negative reviews, rise above and remain professional at all times. Use the review to your advantage by being courtesy online, listening to the customer, and using the complaint to reflect on your business.

Delegating: A Crucial Leadership Quality

As a business owner, you’re likely always looking for and learning new qualities to make you a great leader. Having strong leadership skills is essential for a successful business. If you cannot lead your team and your company, it will be difficult to push it forward.

One of those top leadership qualities is knowing how and when to delegate. Delegating is essential for not just yourself and keeping your task load manageable, but it also shows that you trust your team to take on these responsibilities.

There may not necessarily be a right or wrong way to delegate. However, there are some tips that will help you be better at it. Your Corporate Business Solutions consultants have a few delegating tips to help.

Know Who to Delegate To

A good delegate knows who can handle that task. You will have certain people that can handle more responsibilities than others, in which you would delegate larger tasks. Those who are more creative, there would be specific tasks you delegate to them. The point is that you know who can handle what, and you delegate accordingly. This will help you and your team be successful.

Knowing What to Delegate

Not only should you know whom to delegate to, but you should also know what is and isn’t appropriate for you to delegate. If you’re just starting, you’ll likely want to start with smaller tasks to see how it goes. As time progresses though, you’ll begin to feel more comfortable delegating more substantial and more important jobs.

It’s important to note that not every task on your plate should get delegated. As the leader, you still need to take on the things that only the leader should handle. Time-sensitive, delicate, and personal tasks should still be left to you.

Don’t Hover and Micromanage

If the purpose of delegating is to ease up your workload and trust your employees, hovering over them will not solve the issue. In fact, micromanaging will only make things worse.

It’s okay to check in with your team from time to time, and it’s a good leadership habit to get into. However, when you’re presences is dominating to the point that your team feels frustrated and not trusted, you’ll only cause issues. When you delegate, let the task go.

Communicate Efficiently

When you delegate a task, you need to ensure that you properly communicate the task, so the person knows what he or she needs to do. If you only give half the information, or can’t clearly communicate the task, that person will either keep coming back with questions or deliver the project not how you wanted.

When you delegate a task, make sure to clearly lay out your expectations, along with any instructions on how to perform the task. Be available to answer questions, but also encourage the employee to learn on his or her own as well.

Give Credit

If you delegate a task, only to take the credit for it, you’ll have many upset employees. No one will want to help you out again if that’s how things go. When you delegate a task, it’s imperative that you give credit where credit is due. Reward for a job well done, and thank everyone who was involved in the project.

Delegating is an essential leadership skill to learn and master. Not only will it make your job easier, but it also builds up trust and the employer to employee relationship for a successful team.

6 Instagram Tips Every Business Owner Needs

Instagram has turned into a powerful tool that businesses can take advantage of. It’s one of the most popular social media platforms around, and many users enjoy scrolling through their feed to see what’s happening around the world.

For businesses, Instagram is a way to connect with its customers and clients. You can show behind the scenes photos and videos of what goes on in the day, showcase employees, or give your followers a sneak peek of something new.

If you do not have an Instagram account for your business, you should start one right away. To help you out, Corporate Business Solutions has six tips for your business Instagram account.

Follow People in Your Industry

Those who work within your industry, it’s a good idea to follow them. There are a few reasons behind it (and it’s not to copy what other people are doing). To start, when you follow someone, chances are they’ll take a look at your profile. They may even follow you back.

Another reason to follow people in your industry is to see the latest trends, and whether or not you’re keeping up with your competition. If you’re wondering why your clientele is slow, low or sales are slow, take a peek at your competition and see what you’re missing.

Follow People Who Follow Your Competition

Not only do you want to follow those in your industry, the ones who follow your competition, but you should also add them to your list too. Those clients are following your competition for a reason – for what they sell. Since you’re in the same industry, they are likely more inclined to follow you back since they’ll be interested in what you have to offer.

Have a Target Audience

If you’re posting for the sake of posting with no plan in mind, your account will only grow so much. Before you begin anything, determine who your target audience is. Once you know that, you can start to tailor your posts to them.

Create Engaging Content

After you set your target audience, you want to create content that will engage them. If you’re trying to reach to women in their early 20s, you wouldn’t want to post pictures and videos that are more appealing to men in their 50s.

Are you running out of creative and original content? Post-behind-the-scenes photos and videos and upcoming products or events with your business. Ask questions in your post to get your followers to interact with you.

Interact With Your Followers

If you want people to interact with you, you need to interact with them back. There is something to be said when a company replies to a comment from a customer. To them, it shows that you’re listening and taking the time to read what they’re saying.

Don’t Sacrifice Quality for Quantity

Many think you need to be constantly posting throughout the week. You can, but there is a good chance you’ll end up boring your customers. Cluttered feeds don’t get much attention.

Instead, focus on the quality of the post rather than how often. Although you do want to be consistent, you don’t need to post five photos in one day (unless you have a reason to).

Have a Home Office? 6 Ways to Update It On a Budget

If you work from home, you need to have an office that is functional for your job. Improving your work environment has many benefits that will not only boost your productivity, but it will also keep you relaxed and focused.

The difficult part of renovating or updating an office typically comes down to the budget. Doing any enhancements to any part of a home is not always cheap. However, if done smartly, you can do many updates on a budget.

Your Corporate Business Solutions consultants have a few ways that you can update your home office on a budget.

Add a Coat of Paint

Paints the walls in your office can do wonders. Changing the color can make an old office feel brand-new. You can also go the route of using wallpaper for unique styles and added texture.

If you paint the walls, try to stay within colors that promote productivity and staying focused. Blue tones help if you need to focus, while yellow can help keep your creative juices flowing.

Reorganize Your Desk

Your desk is likely the main focus in your office because it’s where you do your work. Having a cluttered desk doesn’t benefit anyone.

Take some time to reorganize your desk. Go through all of the papers lying around and either file or destroy them. Organizing a desk can give your home office the update it deserves.

Bring in Natural Light

We know how beneficial natural light is. So, try to let in as much as you can in your office. You don’t have to do a full renovation and cut new windows in. Instead, utilize what you have first.

Give your window a good clean. When dust and fingerprints build up, it takes away from the natural light. Change out your blinds so that they allow more light in. Another trick is to install a mirror opposite of the window. That way, when the sun shines in, it bounces off the mirror and back into the room.

Get a New Office Chair

Your office chair should be of high priority if you’re working from home. An uncomfortable chair will only cause you issues down the road. Look for chairs that have good padding and give you the back support for good posture.

Bring in Some Green

You can decorate your office at a decent price with green plants. Try to incorporate a balance of indoor living plants and fake ones. Just like with daylight and the colors on the walls, the type of plant you have around you can also benefit your productivity.

Indoor plants also help to purify the air. If you’re in a small area all hours of the day, you’ll want to breathe in the clean, fresh air. If you can’t get outside, a plant is the next best thing.

Add a Personal Touch

The joys of a home office are that you can design it however you want. Don’t be afraid to add a personal touch to space. Decorate with items that you like (but won’t distract you). If you have a favorite painting, hang it up in your office.

Updating an office doesn’t have to cost you much money. Even the smallest changes can go a long way in making your office feel brand new.

9 Business Lessons You Should Follow

Every entrepreneur goes through a moment where they think, “I wish I would have done things differently.” Having this thought is normal. When you’re an entrepreneur, you can do all the research in the world to prepare you. However, there will still be lessons you learn along your way.

Corporate Business Solutions Reviews came up with a list of nine business lessons that are common, and something you should follow.

Learn to Market, It’s Essential

Marketing is something you can’t ignore, especially in today’s world. If you want your business to grow and get the word out there, you need to have a solid marketing plan. Don’t put this on the backburner. Spend some time thinking about what would grab your audience’s attention.

Stop Waiting

How often do you find yourself saying that you’ll do something when the time is right? In the business world, you won’t find the “right” time very often. Instead of waiting (and procrastinating), take on a challenge right now.

Honor Your Commitments

If you made a commitment, honor it. Don’t make excuses as to why you can’t make a meeting or why your payment is late. When you honor your commitment, you become known as a person of your word, which means everything in the business world.

Be Honest

Honesty can slip through the cracks in the business world. However, we shouldn’t let that happen. If you miss something important or a payment, be honest with the person as to why. If people find out that you lie, that will haunt you while you run your business.

Customer Service is Extremely Important

Customer service means everything for a business. You could have the best product or service in the world, but if your customer service is poor, people will go to your competitors. Keep your clientele around by having the best customer service on the market.

The Customer Isn’t Always Right

With that being said, as important as customer service is, it’s important to remember that the customer isn’t always right (contrary to what people like to say). Each situation is different. Sometimes you’ll have to swallow your pride and acknowledge that the customer is right. Other times though, you will need to stand your ground and back up your company or an employee.

Be Nice to Everyone

Niceness is another characteristic that can get lost in the business world. Because of how competitive some industries are, we get into that competitive mode and lose what it means to be nice to people. When you’re nice to people, they will likely be nice back to you, which can make your life a little easier.

Work Hard

Never stop working hard. That isn’t to say don’t take breaks. You should take those breaks when you know you need them. When it’s time to work, though, work hard. Be dedicated to your business so that it will flourish.

Take Care of Yourself

As important as it is for your business to succeed, it shouldn’t come at the cost of your health. If you can’t stay healthy enough to run your business, how will it succeed then? Take care of your health, both mentally and physically.

6 Tips for Keeping Your Work Computer Secured

At work, you have tons of important data on your computer, just like you have personal information on your computer at home. If that device or its data got into the wrong hands, it could be detrimental to the business.

Keeping your computer and everything stored on it secured is essential to the safety and privacy of everyone involved in your company. From employee’s information for payroll to client contact and banking data, you’re responsible for all of that information and to keep it safe.

Here at CBS-CBS.com, we know how essential security is for any business. So, we came up with six points to help keep your work computer secured.

Physically Lock Your Computer

Chances are, you have a laptop for your work. They’re great in the sense that they’re portable and you can take them anywhere. However, if you can move your laptop to wherever you want, so can somebody else.

You can get cable locks that will secure your computer to wherever it’s sitting. That way, if you’re not around, you don’t have to worry about someone sneaking in and stealing the device. These cable locks can also be useful for monitors as well.

Always Log Out

If you have to step away from your computer, always log out of what you’re doing. Even if it is only for a few minutes, put your computer to sleep so that if anyone tries to access it, they have to enter in your password.

Logging out will hide any personal information you may have open on your computer. It’s one of the best ways to add additional security from anyone walking by.

Have Strong Passwords

If you don’t have passwords, you should add some right now. Passwords are a way to lock out unwanted users from your device. However, passwords are only useful if you’re the only person that knows them, and you make them strong.

Make a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters for your passwords. Try to use different combinations for all the passwords you need, and get in the habit of regularly updating them.

Keep Your Computer Updated

If you’re more concerned about an online breach, then one step to take is to keep your computer updated. Each update your device has will likely have useful upgrades for protecting it against online threats. Falling behind on those updates could leave your computer vulnerable to an attack.

Install Additional Security Software

Depending on how strong your computer’s internal security is, you may want to consider installing additional protection. Use software that regularly scans your computer, warns you of suspicious online activity, and blocks you from accessing threatening websites and emails.

Use a VPN

If you’re ever on a public network and doing remote work, it’s a good idea to install a VPN (Virtual Private Network). This software creates a tunnel for your data to travel through once you connect to a network. It makes your information virtually impossible to look at or attack while connected. That way, you can work from any network safely and securely, without putting your main office network at risk.

Take security seriously for your work computer. You wouldn’t want to have all of that stored information taken by someone who is not authorized.

5 Common Customer Complaints You’ll Hear

If your business requires you to work with customers at one point or another, you know that there will be customer complaints at one point or another. No matter how excellent of a business model you have, you cannot make every customer happy.

What you can do, though, is rectify the situation to keep the customer around. Although every case is different, there are a few customer complaints that are quite common. To help you prepare for any complains, Corporate Business Solutions consultants have five common customer complaints you’re likely to hear.

Waiting for Too Long

Everyone thinks that their time is precious, and to them, it likely is. That is why when a customer has to wait for an extended amount of time, they can become irritated, frustrated, and ultimately let it out on you.

Long wait times can be for any reason. Sometimes the wait is beyond your control, and you have to simply apologize and explain the situation. In other circumstances though, the wait time is an issue within the company. With that case, you would again apologize and figure out how you can reduce customer wait times.

What I Bought Isn’t What I Expected

Whether it be a service or a product, sometimes the expectations a customer has does not equal reality. When this happens, the customer is disappointed and will have a complaint to the business.

If you come across this complaint, spend time speaking with the customer to see what they were hoping for, if they need help with the product or service, or it needs replacing.

Haven’t Heard From Anyone

If a customer feels ignored, it will only make things worse. A common complaint is when a business doesn’t respond to a customer comment or complaint promptly.

Obviously, the best way to avoid this is to respond to everyone as soon as possible. However, that isn’t always feasible. If you have this complaint, explain to the customer what the holdup is and that you value their opinion.

Your Competitor Can Do/Sell This

The competitor complaint or statement is another common one, and one that can be frustrating. There are two ways to take this complaint. The first is to toss it to the side and tell the customer there is nothing you can do. That will likely end with the customer going to the competitor.

However, if you want to come out on top, try and match what the competitor is doing. You can use this as a learning curve to see why you’re behind your competitors.

Getting Shuffled to Different People

When a customer has a concern, they want to talk to the right person the first time. Having to explain yourself multiple times to different people gets annoying very quickly.

One way to avoid this complaint is for the person who answers customer complaints, make sure they know exactly whom to direct the complaint to. If not and this complaint occurs, the manager should take over and try to rectify the situation.

Even though these are common complaints, they will still be different depending on the business and the customer. However, you can use these examples as a way to help prepare your customer service team for any complaint thrown their way.