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Monthly Archives: November 2016

5 Promotable Personality Traits

Hiring and promotion are nuanced, and skills and prior work history are only part of the equation. As many employers know, a candidate’s attitude and personality traits play an important role when relating to performance in the workplace.

“Leaders need to have an understanding of things like the DiSC (dominance, influence, support, and conscientiousness) profiles to know how different how personality types interact and work best together,” said Jennifer Akoma, VP at Airfoil Group, a marketing and PR firm. “There is not one personality type that is better than another; each trait can benefit a team in a different way.”

Akoma notes it’s important for a team to be balanced with a variety of personality traits. The dominant personality can help move things forward. Influencers help with creativity and energizing the group; steadiness plays a supporting role, keeping things moving forward and making sure the team is harmonious; while C’s attention to detail ensures quality and accuracy.

“You can see how each different type of personality and work style can play a key role on a team,” she said.

“An overwhelming amount of data supports the claim that personality predicts job performance better than any other known evaluation method, including interviews and IQ tests,” said Robert Hogan, a psychologist and president of personality test provider Hogan Assessments. “Personality should be [a] major factor used to make personnel decisions.”

Carl Persing, research and solutions adviser at strategy consultancy and survey provider Metrus Group, agreed, noting that people’s personalities tend to motivate and guide them in their careers.

“Personality traits make you seek out certain jobs and affect how you fit in,” Persing told Business News Daily.

When hiring managers are filling entry-level positions, they frequently screen for basic traits like reliability and organization skills, to make sure the candidate will be motivated to do the job. But when it comes time to promote those employees, personality becomes an even more important factor, said Eric Heggestad, an industrial and organizational psychologist and a professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

As the candidate, if you feel that you have personality traits that would be beneficial in a particular position, you should highlight the way you leverage your strengths to solve problems, complete projects, motivate teams, improve quality or other strengths that could be beneficial to the organization that is interviewing you, Akoma said.

For promotions, “you look a lot deeper, at things like charisma and the ability to motivate people,” Heggestad said. “It matters more at the higher level, as the span of control increases.”

“Know your strengths and seek opportunities that would highlight those strengths. For example, if you are an extroverted person and you like to connect with people, perhaps a way to advance your career is in sales,” Akoma said. “Or if you’re a very service-oriented person, you may want to focus your career path on client growth and retention.”

Based on these experts’ research, data and experience, here are five personality types that are most likely to earn you a promotion:

  • The “people” person. Clients, colleagues and bosses all like this person. He or she has a pleasant personality, gets along with others and is enjoyable to be around. A people person is likely to be a good manager or team leader because of these qualities.
  • The delegator. When lower-level employees are given the opportunity to work on a group project, there will always be at least one who assumes the position of leader. This person knows how to give constructive feedback and delegate tasks based on team members’ strengths.
  • The adapter. This person learns very quickly and is able to adjust to any task or work environment. His or her intelligence and intuition help in figuring out how to tackle a new role.
  • The decider. A person who is decisive and confident in his or her decisions is a great fit for aleadership position. The ability to choose a direction quickly and effectively is essential for a strategy-based role.
  • The ethical person. No matter what the employee’s role is, his or her actions are guided by a sense of ethics and integrity. This person won’t compromise his or her morals or try to get ahead at the expense of other colleagues.

Work-Life Balance Tips for Parent Entrepreneurs

It isn’t easy to start a new business. It takes a lot of time and attention and effort. So does parenting and being part of a family. So how does one balance starting a business with raising a family? Both demand so much of a person, and it can be difficult not to get lost in one to the detriment of the other.

Ambitious parent entrepreneurs who tirelessly strive to achieve both personal and professional success have discovered that work-life balance does not always mean both in equal amounts every day. You may be passionate about starting your business, but that passion might not always make it easy to focus on your business while trying to raise a family.

“I tried to do everything and be everything that I was to everyone before I started a business,” said Becky Torrez, who owns a BrightStar Care franchise with her husband in Las Vegas. “It is a recipe for disaster and the most surefire way to become miserable. If you want to be successful in the ever elusive work-life balance, you need just that, balance. There are some times that my focus is more on my work, others my husband, friends or kids, and sometimes I need to focus on myself.”

Cathy Deano and Renee Maloney, co-founders of paint-and-sip franchisePainting With A Twist, met more than a decade ago while volunteering at their children’s school and came up with the idea for their business. The company is now the number one paint-and-sip franchise, and it was a lot of work to get there.

“Over time, I realized I could be a great boss one day and a great mom the next day,” Maloney said, “but rarely both in the same day.”

“Anything is possible,” Deano said of the challenge of starting and running a successful business while being a present parent. “Follow your dream and don’t be afraid. Tell yourself ‘I can do that, I am going to try it.'”

If you’re planning to start a business while raising your family, here’s what successful working parents do to balance these two important parts of their lives.

Delegate. Lara Olson, founder and chief creative officer of Kidcreate Studio, said realizing that she was not the only person who could do things was a freeing moment. The “real” way to do something, she said, is not the only way to do something.

“Take control of your day,” Olson advised. “Don’t let the day control you. It’s OK to say no and guard your availability.”

Her best advice to other entrepreneurs is to prioritize and simplify, simplify, simplify.

“Prioritize your staff training and spend the time needed to make them comfortable,” Olson said. “Cross-train. The more others can do, the more time you have to do things that you need to do.”

Be present where you are. Encourage others to respect the time you are at work so you can give it your full attention, and then give your family your full attention when you are with them.

“When I’m at work, I try to be at work. My kids don’t call me 100 times a day,” said Torrez. “They know I’m busy. They know that if they need something, absolutely call, but they also know if they call me to tell me they’re fighting over whose turn it is to clean the cat box, it will not be a happy conversation.”

Take time for yourself. There is nothing wrong with getting your rest and taking the time to exercise. Be healthy, both physically and mentally.

“I have certain rituals in the morning,” said Deano. “I keep a routine, both at home and at work. Don’t carry both with you all the time. I like to travel too; it helps me keep my focus.”

Be OK with making mistakes. Not every decision you make is going to be the right one or a good one, and that’s OK. A mistake is a way to learn and a way to grow.

“There is always something new to balance,” Maloney said, “and perfection isn’t possible. Push through thinking it all has to be perfect, and realize that it is OK to not be perfect all the time.”

Tips to balance things at home are most often mirror images of the tips to balance work — the how is just a little different.

Make family time a priority too. Taking care of your family, being at a child’s games or events, and spending quality time with your spouse is just as important as being at the store, meeting with the accountant or traveling to meet with a client.

“I have a really great team. I don’t want anyone on the team working 60 hours a week,” said Torrez. “I don’t want to do it and they shouldn’t either. There are always going to be busier times than others, but those need to be the exception rather than the rule.”

Find a support system. It is sometimes hard to battle the perception that owning your own business means you can do what you want when you want. In fact, there is never a time when work isn’t around you, just as there is never a time when you aren’t a mom or dad. Finding a support system within your family is important.

“My husband is my biggest cheerleader,” said Olson. “He does what he needs to do so I can do what I need to so when we have family time, it is all about family.”

Balancing home and work life can be a challenge. Realizing that not everyone can be everything all the time allows you to set reasonable expectations and forgive yourself when one area or another seems to fall behind.

“It’s a bit of a roller coaster,” said Olson, “but when it feels balanced, it makes you feel invincible.”

Business Plan Tools for Startups Business

Have a killer business idea? A killer business plan can help you turn it into a successful business. Creating a well-crafted business plan is no easy task, however. You’ll need to not only flesh out your idea, but also have a deep understanding of the different aspects of running a business — before you even start one.

Figuring out how to do this correctly is hard enough, but there are several tools available to make this arduous task a little bit easier for would-be entrepreneurs. Instead of starting from scratch, here are a collection of business plan templates, software, apps and services to help you start a business the right way with a professional business plan.

Business plan templates show you exactly what a business plan is supposed to look like and what goes in each section. You can find them as downloadable sample business plans that you can copy and modify to fit your business, or as fill-in-the-blank or question-and-answer forms. There are also different types of business plans: simple business plans that cover the essentials, comprehensive ones that cover every aspect of a business, and those designed for a specific purpose, such as to raise funding or find business partners. Here are some business plan templates worth considering.

The $100 Startup One-Page Business Plan. One-page business plans take the fuss out creating a business plan by getting down to the basics of what your business is about and how you intend to meet its goals. Think of it like writing down your business on a napkin, but with a purpose. The $100 Startup’s One-Page Business Plan is one such business plan template. Simply answer a few questions like “What will you sell?” “What will you charge?” and “How will customers learn about your business?” in a couple sentences and you’re good to go.

SCORE Business Plan Templates. Small business resource SCORE has a collection of free PDF and Word business plan templates for startups, established businesses and even nonprofits. The organization also offers additional types of business planning resources and templates, such as financial projections, market research, sales forecasts, SWOT analysis and more. Once your business plan is finished, you can meet with a SCORE mentor for feedback and guidance.

Bplans.com. Looking for free sample business plans? Bplans.com offers a wide range of them for all types of businesses, including retailers, online businesses, service providers, restaurants and more. These sample templates come complete with a table of contents and sections like executive summary, company summary, products and services, financial planning, market analysis and other standard business plan sections. Bplans.com offers more than 500 sample business plans that can be downloaded as Word, PDF and other file formats.

Rocket Lawyer. If you need to make your business plan a legal document, check out Rocket Lawyer. Rocket Lawyer lets you create your own legal documents and provides access to various legal services. Its business plans section lets you create business plans in three steps: build, save and sign. You can also print and share your business plans for easy access. Rocket Lawyer business plans come with standard parts of a business plan, as well as sections for funding requests and appendix for supporting documents.

Find more using our list of free business plan templates for small businesses.

You don’t have to be glued to your desk to create a business plan. There are several business plan mobile apps that will let you write a business plan anytime, anywhere right on your smartphone or tablet. Here are two worth checking out.

StartPad. Recognized by Entrepreneur and Forbes, StartPad is one of the top business plan apps available for the iPad. This app offers a wide range of business planning resources, such as strategic business planning tutorials, professionally made sample business plans, financial projections and other reports. Business plans created on StartPad can also be exported as high-resolution PDFs or printed out. The basic version of StartPad is free to download and use, but requires in-app purchases for additional features. Get StartPad from the Apple App Store.

Business Plan & Start Startup. Are you an Android user? Business Plan & Start Startup is the app for you. This app isn’t just for creating a business plan, however. It also aims to do three things for entrepreneurs: help start a business the right way with a well-crafted business plan; keep them motivated and on track; and provide a community of fellow entrepreneurs, small business owners and experts to help guide users in creating their business plan and running their businesses. Business Plan & Start Startup can be downloaded from the Google Play marketplace

Don’t want to use any of the above? Try an online business plan service, which guides you throughout the business plan writing process. The services offer similar tools as business plan software — such as document collections and chart generators — with the difference being that they typically offer business and legal specialists who can help you better understand complex aspects of your business and business plan. Two online business plan services to consider are LivePlan and the SBA Business Plan Tool.

Bizplan.com. Need funding? Check out startup.co’s business plan service, bizplan.com. This web-based business plan comes with a step-by-step guide to help you build your business plan and optimize it for investors. Business plans can also be completely tailored to your business with logos, graphics, layouts and custom designs to fit your brand. After building your business plan, you can share and publish it on startup.co’s crowdfunding site, fundable.com, where you can connect with investors and add elements like photos and videos to highlight your business.

LivePlan. LivePlan is a cloud-based business plan service that offers everything from document generation to planning tools, financial calculators, guidance resources and more. The service guides you through each component of the business plan and provides step-by-step instructions and advice based on the objective of your business plan (starting a business, business development, funding, etc.)

SBA Business Plan Tool. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Business Plan Tool covers everything from executive summary and company description to market research, product line, marketing and sales, and financial projections in detail. You can also personalize your business plan with your company logo, as well as save, print and update your business plan as needed.

7 Inspiring Businesses Keeping It All Natural

Engaging in an all-natural lifestyle has a plethora of benefits, including ridding of wasteful materials and the avoidance of putting chemicals in or on your body. It also means doing better for the environment and sustainable products that can help agriculture and jobs.

Companies are embracing the benefits of “green” and natural products, not only for the Earth but their customers as well.

Whether you’re looking for products, or you want to start a business that’s all about bringing it back to basics, here are six inspiring all-natural businesses you need to check out.

EcoNuts is a company that has introduced soap nuts into everyday life. According to the site, are a berry shell that naturally contains soap. They grow on the Sapindus mukorossi (Soap Berry) tree in the Himalayas. The natural soap found in these berries is called saponin, which is a natural cleaner that works as a surfactant, breaking the surface tension of the water to penetrate the fibers of your clothing to properly clean them.

The soap nuts are gentle on clothes and skin, making the product ideal for those who find themselves irritated by chemicals used in manufactured products. Additionally, despite the name, soap nuts are a berry fruit and safe for those with nut allergies.

GrowJourney is a “seeds of the month club” — a fun, all-natural take on the popular box subscription business model for people who love gardening and want to grow organic produce. Each month, the company sends its subscribers an assortment of five different seasonal heirloom gardening seeds, all of which are certified organic and sourced from organic farmers selected by the service. And if you’re trying to get into gardening but don’t have much of a green thumb, don’t worry — becoming a GrowJourney member gets you more than just seeds. It also provides you with access to resources to help you learn how to grow your produce with ease.

Abel is a perfume company that produces signature scents with only 100 percent natural, food-grade, organic ingredients and without the chemicals and synthetic compounds found in most perfumes and colognes. There are several natural perfume companies out there, but what sets Abel apart is the craft behind the company’s packaging. Since their perfumes lack the chemicals other perfume companies use to protect their products from light and UV heat (both of which can damage the product), Abel’s perfumes come in cases hand-crafted from reclaimed wood. The company sells the gender-neutral fragrances, “Tonic,” which is made from ginger extract, black pepper oil, lime oil and peppermint oil, among many others.

Humans aren’t the only ones who can benefit from going back to basics. The Honest Kitchen ensures that you can feed your beloved furry friends all-natural food and treats, too. The company makes 100 percent all-natural, FDA-approved human grade (meaning they’re made to the same standards as the food we humans eat) dog and cat food, treats and supplements. The Honest Kitchen’s products use dehydrated whole foods, non-GMO produce, hormone-free meats and organic, fair-trade ingredients in their foods. Employees even taste-test them for quality control. The company provides grain-free and whole-grain food options as well as a base mix for foods if you prefer to mix up your own pet-friendly meals and treats.

Better Life is a cleaning product company that sells everything from dish detergent and floor cleaner to stain remover and hand soap. Whether you’re scrubbing your kitchen, disinfecting your bathroom, doing laundry, washing dishes or cleaning up after your baby or pets, Better Life has a product that can fit your needs without using any toxic or harmful ingredients. Every product Better Life offers is derived from plants and is free of GMOs, alcohol, dyes, sulfates, fragrances, petroleum, not to mention cruelty. And they’re made in the USA. Better Life’s products are also safe for septic systems and completely biodegradable, so you can use them without risk in your home and in the environment.

Looking for all-natural clothing? Earth Creations is a company that sells eco-friendly clothing and accessories for men, women and children, all of which use natural, sustainable fabrics. Earth Creations’ products are made from hemp and organically grown cotton and natural clay dyes (the company’s dyeing process uses only natural and biodegradable materials). The designs are brought to life at Earth Creations’ sewing plant in Moulton, Alabama, to help maintain a smaller carbon footprint and create local jobs. Earth Creations also donates its irregular and overstock items to other organizations, such as the Audubon Society, Ogden Nature Center and Animal Acres, to help people in need.

If you’re looking for all natural skin and hair care products, TruSelf Organicsoffers a line of products complete with moisturizers, lip glosses, conditioners, and more. In business since 2013, TruSelf Organics prides itself on eliminating synthetic chemicals in favor of all natural and organic products. Founded by a yoga-enthusiast and self-proclaimed “health-nut,” TruSelf Organics entire line is vegan, save for their Raw Honey Lip Gloss which is made with honey and beeswax. Each product is designed to further the company’s mission of promoting a three-pronged approach to wellness: health, beauty, and self-love.