Posts Tagged ‘team’

Management Tips

Managing a Virtual Business by Managing You

by Susan Fennema

Managing a virtual business has some added challenges over managing a traditional one. There are wonderful pros, but there are a few cons, as we wrote about previously. The first and foremost challenge is managing you.

While some personalities find a virtual business or work-from-home environment more difficult to manage, you can create a structure so that it is a little easier. It might take more willpower for some than for others. If you get distracted or can’t maintain focus easily (or even if you don’t!), developing a structure and schedule for managing a virtual business is very necessary.


Get a good digital calendar that can sync to your smartphone. We are huge fans of Google Calendar because of the power and ubiquity of it. You can create multiple calendars within your Google Calendar for better organization. Plus, you can subscribe to other calendars, like family members, teammates and “calendars of interest” (e.g., federal holidays, the Chicago Blackhawks or Texas A&M footballschedules).

The first thing you want to do on your calendar is to block out your personal obligations. Your spiritual time, your family, and your health should be your priorities. If you are not taking care of yourself first, you will not have anything to give to your clients and your team. Take Sundays off. Make sure that gym visit is booked and that you are taking breaks for lunch. Go to your daughter’s soccer game. And don’t forget to walk the dog.

Here’s what a typical day looks like for our CEO (Chaos Eradicating Officer), Susan. For her, managing a virtual business “starts” at 6:00am. She calendars her morning routine. It is usually the same – morning readings, a few light chores, walk the dog (that’s exercise too!), breakfast, gym workout, and shower. Her “work” start varies around the time the classes happen at her gym; sometimes she works before the class and sometimes after. And, she has a 1/2-hour blocked for lunch. “Sign off” is at 5pm, because that’s when she cooks dinner, spends time with her husband and dog, and does personal tasks like meal planning, etc.


Working from home brings the challenge of isolation, which can lead to depression – and a loss of social skills. So, make sure you are getting out at least once a week. It can be lunch with a friend, a networking event, a client meeting at Starbucks, or a volunteer gig. But, make sure you have some in-person socializing as part of your schedule.

Continuing with the calendaring concept, block times into your calendar for when you are going to work on client projects, marketing, financials, sales, etc. Be sure to save your best focus times for the biggest challenges. If you have promised a certain number of hours per week to a specific client, block those as well. This is especially important if you are a subcontractor. It allows you to see how much availability you have and prevents overpromising.

Lastly, avoid overworking. Easier said than done when there’s no physical commute, but there are ways to create physical boundaries at home. Have a routine that signals the end of the working day, like simplying shutting your laptop, turning off your desk lamp, writing a to-do list for the next day, or putting your chat status to “away”. You can take it one step further by putting the laptop out of sight so you don’t feel tempted to jump back on.

Other Tools for Managing a Virtual Business

Software is important when managing a virtual business. You need tools for communications, finances, sales, project management, time tracking (if you do that), and social media/marketing.  We love how technology can help you solve problems. We have written a couple of articles on business tools that you can peruse for ideas:

Accountability is another area you need to address. Even if you are great at holding others accountable – Project Management 101 – you can still be challenged to hold yourself to the same standards. A business coach, teammate, or spouse can help. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness – it’s a sign of strength!

Mastermind groups can be a great source of accountability. They can also give you the opportunity to be challenged and strengthened by others who are in the same situation. Susan’s OneLife Mastermind group consists of small business owners, from around the country. They meet monthly via Zoom video calls. She is also a member of a Vistage Trusted Advisor Group, where she gets a lot of support from other small business owners. While businesses are diverse, having a group of people who are in the same situation who can provide insight and friendship – and the occasional referral – is invaluable. If you can’t find one that already exists, start one!

While working from home allows for flexibility, if you create structure and generally stick to a schedule, you will be more productive. On days when you skip pieces of that morning routine, you may find that you’re a bit “off” the whole day.

But don’t structure yourself into stress. The beauty of having a plan is that you know what to do if you need to change it. Having all those blocks of time on your calendar allows you to move them and shift them – like a puzzle – into a schedule that works and is adaptable. Sometimes you may end up moving them just because you feel like it. Others, you stick to that schedule like glue because you know you need the extra focus that structure allows.

Creating your own structure can create more freedom in managing a virtual business. For more resources on virtual working, including how to better manage a remote team, check our our resources here.




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New Employee Orientation Checklist

New Employee Orientation Checklist

Your new employee orientation checklist should have the proper paperwork needed for the employee to start working. This includes Federal and State Income Tax Withholding Documents, Federal Employment Eligibility Documents and an employee contract that outlines job duties and title.

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8 steps to help your small business recruit qualified candidates

Recruiting for a small business can have a big impact.  When your team is smaller, every hire is important — and the wrong hire can keep your entire business from growing. You may not have a corporate-sized budget or brand recognition, or even a recruiting team with HR processes to streamline hiring. But as a small business, you can be more nimble, responsive, and personalized in your approach.

Here are steps you can take now to start engaging qualified candidates that will help your small business flourish:

  1. Make a hiring plan with the team.

Know the budget you’ll need. LinkedIn found that the average small business spends around $1,600 a year on hiring.

Interview past and present teammates to build out exact qualifications for this role. Understanding the role as thoroughly as possible will help you make better candidate matches. Map out your hiring timeline with milestones. Almost half of small businesses take about a month to make a hire. Sync with teammates about their individual responsibilities to streamline the hiring process. Everyone on your team should wear a recruiter hat (see step 5 for more information).

  1. Ask screening questions sooner.

You need to screen out unqualified candidates even as you post the job. Required questions about availability, tool expertise, and language proficiency can help the right candidates make the short list faster. We recommend a minimum of two to three screening questions.

You don’t have time to manually reply to every single candidate — especially those who don’t qualify — but you should use an automated solution to deliver prompt, professional responses when an application is received or dismissed.

When researching and interviewing candidates, determine if they have the top five soft skills (creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and emotional intelligence) that are especially critical on a smaller team.

  1. Show off what makes your company unique.

Small businesses offer something that large corporations struggle with — a more unique, intimate culture. Your company’s employer brand should attract candidates who feel like large corporations are impersonal and indifferent.

Humanize your team with a company page. Showcase your achievements, reinforce your unique company vision, post expert tips, and ask questions that engage your ideal candidates. LinkedIn Pages are free, and followers are 81% more likely to reply to InMail outreach.

Create a personalized career site, not only to post jobs but also to connect with candidates who want an authentic view of daily life at your company. Your career site should surface the right job postings for the right visitors based on their individual professional experiences.

  1. Be transparent about career growth at your company.

You may not offer the same compensation as larger companies, but you can offer a tailored career growth path. Small businesses attract ambitious candidates who are eager for new experiences and skill sets — and who would rather rise quickly on a small team than wait years to advance at a larger business.

Emphasize how open and accessible your leadership is. Small business candidates appreciate an environment where every voice is heard regardless of rank, and where every individual has an opportunity to make a significant impact on the company every day.

  1. Turn everyone on your team into a recruiter.

Encourage employees to share your company content on their personal and professional social media networks. This further humanizes your company as well as increases exposure.

Get leadership on board. Articles, videos, and original content from leadership can offer unique insights that engage more passionate and dedicated candidates.

Have teammates add links to your company and career pages on their LinkedIn profiles. This shows enthusiasm and unity to candidates who research their potential teammates before applying.

  1. Create job posts that make your culture shine.

As a small business, you can be more authentic in your recruitment. Write friendly job posts that emphasize the company culture and strong growth path that you established in the previous steps.

While you want your job post to stand out, you should also be clear and descriptive so qualified candidates can understand the opportunity.

  1. Be conscious about where (and how) you post open roles.

Because they don’t have the budget to compete with large companies, hiring teams at small businesses feel compelled to rely solely on word of mouth or their existing network to source talent. However, job posting sites can add life to your candidate pool — especially sites that offer candidate matching and screening capabilities.

Post to a site with cost-per-action options that stay within budget, targeting and screening capabilities that save time, and a user-friendly candidate management system.

  1. Reach out in a powerful but personal way.

Got a strong candidate on your radar? Use the right channel for your initial outreach to ensure a quick connection. A compelling InMail message has a 300% greater response rate than a regular email, so you can engage with serious candidates faster.

If you’re sending paid InMail messages, you’ll get credit back when a candidate rejects your message, stretching your budget further.

Use candidate profile details, discussion history, and engagement data to keep the conversation personalized, interesting, and moving forward.

Remember…Small teams can still attract big talent. You may have a humble budget and only a handful of people on your team, but you can still find solutions to turn talented, eager candidates into the new hires that carry your company forward.

SOURCE: LinkedIn Talent Solutions


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Communications in Times of Crisis

by Chameleon Sales

I never thought we’d be able to adapt.

This was what our Inside Sales Manager, Geoff Booker, thought when the global COVID-19 pandemic business interruption guidelines hit our home state of New Hampshire.

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Let our experts help you navigate your small business.

Let our experts help you navigate your small business.