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The EPIC Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries designed to enlighten, challenge, inspire and equip. #BeTheChange

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

Encased by Contentment

March 27, 2018

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. This is a familiar battle cry for times when we are entrenched in the myriad of difficulties that can stop us in our tracks. We marinate on these words, or on some semblance of them, and we find the intestinal fortitude to persevere. We pull ourselves up from the floor one more time, dust ourselves off, refocus on our dreams and goals and let the inner passion that was the impetus for beginning our journey be the driving force behind our forward motion towards overcoming obstacles and turning our dreams into reality.


But what about when things are going well? Maybe we aren’t completely crushing it (or maybe we are), but everything is pretty good and nothing is falling apart. How can we stay charged up and continue to innovate and revolutionize? How do we overlook our current successes and see that we HAVE to continue to do the things that got us to this point or else we will most assuredly begin backsliding? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it….right? Why risk breaking stride and disrupting momentum, slow as it may be, when all is well? These are all great questions.


Too often we can become encased by contentment. Sure, everything seems like it’s humming along nicely, but as soon as we begin to settle for good enough, we have taken the first steps towards our inevitable demise. Good becomes the enemy of great when we forget what has gotten us to this point, namely a dogged determination to fiercely attack the status quo. Yes, we should absolutely take a moment to celebrate our minor victories, but we cannot rest in yesterday’s accomplishments if we truly intend to cast out mediocrity in ourselves and in the world around us.


When you feel yourself getting settled and you begin catching yourself believing that you’ve done all you can do, ask yourself these 6 questions.

1. Why did I begin this journey in the first place?

2. If I do not continue, who will?

3. If now is now the time, then when?

4. What will happen if I do continue?

5. What will happen if I don’t?

6. What is the legacy I wish to leave after I’m gone?


By virtue of honestly contemplating these few queries, my hope is that the spell will be broken and you will, once again, rise up and challenge yourself and those around you to disavow business as usual and rejoin the army of those of us who will be the change we wish to see in the world around us.

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

What to do When "Never" Comes True

4/10/2018

“Never” is a very big word, far larger than its five little letters. It communicates that there is zero chance of something ever happening under any circumstances, no matter what. We often use the word for special emphasis for how steadfast is our resolve in ensuring a particular outcome. Unfortunately, there are many things that we have absolutely no control over and, as such, the end result of a given situation may be far different than we had originally envisioned. Therefore, no matter how much we may want something to happen (or not happen, as the case may be), we must have a plan in place to accommodate the outside chance that “never” may come true. Let’s take a closer look at this concept by working through an example.


As a very proud small business owner, you might declare with all your heart that you will never seek outside funding because you don’t want to surrender any of your control over your business. While this may be a very noble idea, what if your business begins to take off and the only way to take it to the next level is by gaining an influx of fresh capital? Maybe you need to go on a massive hiring spree, or perhaps you need new equipment. You’ve checked with the bank and you’ve been denied. You simply don’t have that amount of cash in the bank and your friends and family can’t help. You can choose to either stay where you are and possibly miss the upswing and allow your business to stagnate, or you can adjust your sails and accept that 80% of something is much better than 100% of nothing (or of something much smaller). If you’ve ever watched Shark Tank on TV, this is something that many of the contestants seem to have never considered before their appearance. This is mind boggling! Make sure that you and your team have worked through this scenario and will be able to act decisively should you encounter this fork in the road. Otherwise, paralysis by analysis may set in and you could find yourself on the outside looking in, having missed your window of opportunity altogether.


The thing to keep in mind is that all sorts of “never”s happen every single day. Contingency planning is a vital part of ensuring that your small business or nonprofit is able to remain vital and viable as conditions change. No one can ever think of all of the possible outcomes and plan for all of the variables, but don’t let that keep you from trying. Our economy and our society depend on you keeping your train on the tracks and headed towards success, however you define it. Take the time to plan your work, and then work your plan. Remember: the only shortcut is to do it right the first time. Good luck in all your endeavors and let us know if we can help you along the way.

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

Five Strategies for Protecting Business Assets

4/24/2018

Starting your own business can be a rewarding and amazing adventure that offers you the freedom and financial compensation that you've always wanted as part of your career. Running your own show or being part of a team of like-minded entrepreneurs is for some people what the American dream is all about. Finding your way in the business world has a lot of details that will need your attention, and if you're in a brick and mortar environment, security is one that will be on the top of your list. Here are some tips on getting a system that works for you set up right.


Think Like Goldilocks

When you're first getting started, being budget conscious will be second nature. Be sure that the security system you install is the right size for your space. You might think you can never be too secure but your bottom line will tell you differently. Whether you have one big space or several smaller rooms will impact how many cameras and other sensors you need. Choosing what you need covered before you contact providers will help you and them get the technical specifications right.


Pricing and Flexibility

One of your goals is most certainly for your business to grow, and that means the space you work in might be expanded or even moved to a different location. Check out the flexibility of any contracts before you sign them so that you know your security system and the coverage your provider offers can grow with you. A scalable contract is what you want. Compare any other security vendors' quotes to the ADT pricing model to give yourself a point of reference from a well-known security industry provider.


Mobile Functions and Alerts

Just because you're based out of a physical building doesn't mean as the business owner you're going to be there 24 hours a day. Having a system that has mobile options and alerts will give you the peace of mind to leave your workplace and go out and get more business. Make sure you set up alerts that are important but not a nuisance that you tune out because you get so many.You don't need to know the back door is ajar in the middle of the day while your staff is doing inventory.


Owners and executives work hard to build their businesses, their teams, and their assets. In some ways the modern age has given us more access to more markets with fewer barriers to entry than ever before. Still, serious security concerns exist. Don’t allow security shortcuts to leave you exposed to theft or property destruction. To protect what you’ve built, take time to evaluate the exposure of your various assets - especially capital assets and inventory. Identify gaps in your current security strategy. Make a plan to close those gaps, then evaluate your options. Given the right tools, strategies, and resources, you can protect what you’ve built, and ensure the survival of your business interests for years to come.

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

What Hiring Managers Should Know During the Interview Process 

4/28/2018

A company's hiring manager is the driving force behind the entire employment process, from beginning to end. As the key individual who both initiates and concludes the act of hiring a new employee, a hiring manager needs to be informed all along the way. Your job is to make sure the company is doing its best and working through the best people for the job. Here are some tips for hiring right the first time around.


Competence is Only Part of the Puzzle

Every hiring manager needs to determine whether a candidate is able to perform the job's duties. This is usually the primary piece of information that human resource teams want to learn about a prospective employee. Fortunately, an applicant's resume usually tells the story clearly enough, but follow-up questioning by the hiring team is crucial. If, based on education and prior experience, the team determines that a candidate is able to perform all job duties, it's time to move on to the next step.


Candidate Likeability Plays an Important Role

Personality plays a much larger role in the hiring process than many people think. Young job applicants tend to believe that the process is all about skills and education. However, hiring managers work hard to find out whether an applicant will be a good fit within the company culture. That means things like manners, conversational ability, friendliness, and the ability to get along with a diverse team are of the utmost importance during the interview process.

Hiring managers will often scan a candidate's social media sites to gather clues about personality and likeability. Blogs, websites, and popular social sites offer a wealth of data to the savvy hiring manager.


Motivation is of Paramount Importance

Even when personality and competence are checked off the list of successes, hiring managers still need to find out whether a candidate is motivated to succeed in the job. If there are clues that the applicant might lose interest in the position, human resource teams want to learn about them sooner rather than later. There is nothing worse for a hiring manager than bringing someone on board only to have that person resign two or three months down the road. Make sure you provide resources for immigrants and veterans. People who you might not first consider could be the best fit, and become the most loyal.


A hiring manager's job includes a wide array of activities, some of which are technical and some of which are not. From the initial staffing meeting to the actual hiring of a new employee, anyone who holds the job title of "hiring manager" is invested with multiple responsibilities.

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

​What Every Startup Needs in the Beginning Stages

5/3/2018

Many people dream about owning their own business. However, only a handful take the next step and turn their business concept into a real startup venture. If you have decided to move forward with launching your business concept, you may be wondering what initial steps you need to focus on to improve your chances for success. When you turn your attention to these essential factors, you can more easily launch your startup and gain success.


A Budget

All businesses need to have a functional and realistic budget. It can be difficult to accurately determine all aspects of your budget before you get started. However, the more realistic and accurate your budget is from the get-go, the more easily you will be able to manage your finances. You can list out all anticipated expenses, including one-time and recurring fees. Then, get quotes for each line item in your budget. When your budget is complete, you will be able to determine how much income you need to generate to break even as well as to produce enough income to support yourself personally. You will also determine how many months you may realistically operate before you generate a sufficient level of income to support the business and yourself.


Access to Capital

Most businesses will need access to a significant amount of startup capital. You may need to invest in products, equipment, technology, marketing, and more. You may also need to find a way to supplement your own income and pay your bills for a few months until the venture starts to turn a profit for you. When you create your budget and project income growth for your business, you can better determine how much money you will need to get your business going. Then, you can explore financing options available to get the money you need, such as small business loans, the personal injection of capital from your own bank accounts, crowd funding, and more.


The Right Technology Services

Technology is a critical aspect of running a business today. At the most basic level, you will need access to business internet and phone service. Focus on finding a service that is reliable and meets your need for speed and bandwidth. You may also need to upgrade your technology devices, such as your laptop, desktop, tablets, and smartphone. Explore related accessories, such as adapters that turn your smartphone into a credit card payment terminal. By upgrading your access to technology, you can more easily begin serving your customers.


A Marketing Plan

Some business owners don’t start thinking about marketing until they have launched a website and started actively trying to solicit business or sell goods. This can easily backfire on you. You need a detailed and well-thought out marketing plan to properly budget for expenses in the coming months. You also need to know who your target audience is and what the most cost-effective ways to reach them are. Your marketing plan should focus on what aspects of your products or services may appeal to your target audience and how to position your marketing efforts to be successful in this effort. It takes a bit of research, but is well-worth the effort.


Before you formally launch your business, you should complete a considerable amount of planning and research in the areas mentioned. Formally preparing a detailed business plan will cover your bases on many of the points described here, and this step can also help you to seek financing, to guide your business decisions and more. In addition, you should think about preparing your work environment from a technological standpoint so you can better perform business-related tasks and serve your customers. While there are many steps to take to launch your startup, completing these important steps will get you started on the right foot. 

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

Tips for Financially Supporting Your Startup on a Budget

5/16/2018

Becoming an entrepreneur can be an exciting time, but is also a little stressful. It gives you a chance to live your dreams and be your own boss, but funding a startup business can be a challenge. The good news is, there are several things you can do to fund any kind of business on a budget.


Be a Minimalist

There are certain things every business owner needs to have. Fees for permits, licenses, and safety equipment are just a few you will have to spend money on up front. However, there are some ways you can cut costs on other things. For example, instead of buying state-of-the-art equipment, you can get pre-owned office supplies like desks and chairs. Get the bare minimum at first and see how you can stretch your budget with unnecessary items you’ll only need later on.


Get a Grant

A grant is the best type of financing you can get because you do not have to pay it back. There are a number of local and federal agencies that provide certain businesses and nonprofits with funding. It is important to research the different opportunities, find out about the requirements for the grant, and submit the application on time. A good agency can even help you craft funding applications to help this process become even smoother for you.


Partner Up

If you are a solo business owner, you may want to consider teaming up with another colleague. This will not only benefit you financially, but also allows you to expand your existing market. However, there are a couple of things you need to take into consideration. First and foremost, you will need to make sure this person is a good fit for your company. This person should also have to be willing to commit to a partnership and be willing to grow with you.


Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is when a business, individual, or organization asks the general public for monetary support. One does not have to repay the funds that are donated with the expectation that your organization will pay back with products, events, and amenities. Most people who use crowdfunding to raise money will provide perks to donors as well. For example, people who donate money can get a free product or service.


Self-Funding

There are many ways you can self-fund your business. For example, if you have a valuable asset such as a boat or second home, then you can sell it in order to get cash back. You can also use your personal savings to fund your business. Additionally, if an attorney helped you get a settlement after an accident or suit you can also use that money as a baseline. These options will allow you to fund your business without going into debt.


Starting a business can be an expensive endeavor. Crowdfunding, grants, and self-funding are just a few of the many ways you can fund your startup. You should also cut expenses wherever you can and look into better ways to budget as you go along. Talk with a consultant and see where you can get started funding your new business. All it takes is a little direction and creativity, and your financing will go far. 

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

5 HR Policies Your Startup Needs Immediately

5/18/2018

In recent years, major human resources scandals have rocked Silicon Valley giants such as Palantir, Uber and Zenefits. These companies have more in common than scandalous HR incidents; all three started as audacious startups that quickly became the darlings of the tech world.


Tech analysts and venture capital firms are paying close attention to the aforementioned HR scandals because they believe that there are valuable lessons that can be learned from each situation. With this mind, here are five policies that every startup company should adopt as early as possible:


Focus on Employees

This should go without saying, but it is ruefully ignored by tech startups: a business enterprise can only be as successful as its employees can make it, and they need to feel comfortable as they seek success. This should be more than just a policy; it should be adopted as a company philosophy.


Employee Handbook

Venture capital firms often require their target investments to write an employee handbook as one of the conditions that they should meet prior to funding. The two most important policies to be stated in this handbook should be discrimination, as well as sexual harassment or sexual assault. All it takes is one complaint related to one of these issues to prevent a startup from making it past the planning stage.


Employee Agreements

The sexual harassment or sexual assault policies spelled out in the manual should also be incorporated in the employee agreement along with other expectations such as salary, days off, vacation, grievances process, responsibilities, expectations, and duties. The last thing a startup founder wants to do is rely on handshake agreements when hiring new employees. Written agreements should be refreshed and modified as needed; for example, when an associate is promoted or when she is given stock options as an incentive.


Secure HR Files

Personnel files should be stored and managed with the utmost security for a few reasons. First of all, they are highly sought after by identity thieves; second, a data breach involving HR records could result in a devastating lawsuit. Employees have very high expectations of privacy and security from their HR departments, and they truly deserve them.


Management Style

Entrepreneurs seldom make references to their preferred management styles until they have already hired managers. The desired style of management can only be enforced if it is actually spelled out as an HR policy that appears in the employee agreement.


In the end, it is important to remember that startup companies that do not establish HR policies are twice more likely to fail within their first few months of operation. Take the time to plan things out and create the policy-based infrastructure that will keep your organization out of trouble so it can focus on ongoing growth and viability. 

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

What Business Owners Should Know When Considering Company Vehicles

5/20/2018

You’re thinking of investing in a few vehicles for your company. The question on the table now is how to go about choosing the right ones. Selecting the right company vehicles does not have to be a tiresome or anxiety-inducing chore. By keeping a few basics in mind, you can come up with choices that will serve the business well for a long time.


What Function Will the Vehicles Serve?

Before setting out to look at any vehicles, take the time to decide how they will fit in with your business model. Many business owners find that they need two or three different kinds of vehicles to cover all the practical applications.

For example, perhaps you are thinking of investing in a great-looking sedan. Its function will be mainly to transport important guests to and from the airport. With this vehicle choice, the emphasis is on presenting a professional appearance, a sense of style, and providing your guests with a comfortable ride. If you are searching for options to transport things rather than people. The emphasis should be on space and compactness. Make sure all your materials you will transport will fit inside.


Lease or Buy?

Another point to ponder is whether leasing versus buying would provide access to the kinds of vehicle you want. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Depending on the type of business you operate and the intended purpose of each vehicle, you could find that leasing one type while buying another works best.


Maybe purchasing utility vehicles makes a lot of sense since they will see quite a bit of use. Leasing might still be the right option for a company car that will only be used for things like trips to and from the airport, taking clients out to dinner, and similar tasks.


Reliable Service

No matter what type of vehicles you have in mind, they must be well built. Even if you are leasing, go for makes and models that have an established reputation for requiring little more than basic maintenance. Knowing the vehicle is always ready to go when you are ensures you and your team can take care of errands and other tasks on time. That will mean a lot in terms of maintaining positive rapport with your customers.


Safety Matters

The range of safety features included on any vehicle make and model must also be taken into consideration. As any truck accident attorney can tell you, having the right combination of safety features is just as important as proper maintenance. The right features minimize the potential for being involved in an accident. At the least, those safety measures will increase the odds of your employees making it through an accident without serious injuries.


Sit down today and make a list of what you need in the way of company vehicles. Consider your options carefully before making any selections. The right choices will save the company money over the next few years and ensure the right type of transportation is always on hand.

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

How POS Systems Are Hacked

5/25/2018

Most people in the modern world have been in the vicinity of a Point of Sale System -- or a simple cash register. In a world dominated by technology and transactions, there are not very many places where a business is run without one. They keep track of how much money is in the register, calculate totals, and can sometimes record personal information such as credit card numbers. However, companies with a P.O.S. system from the smallest corner store to the largest franchise in the world are susceptible to hackers who have the skill to retrieve private information.


RATs

Using Remote Administration Tools, a hacker has the ability to take control of a server computer from anywhere in the world. The only information they need is the type of software that the target company uses to monitor their cash registers, the IP address of the main/server computer at the target location, and a password. Usually, the passwords that are used are not very complex, and may even have it written down somewhere. That means success for anyone pursuing to hack the company. From there, they can place viruses into the network, replace sensitive information, or steal valuable assets.


Keyloggers

Sometimes, hackers are not people outside of the system attempting to hack into a company. They are usually people who have access to the main computer in a grocery store, restaurant, or business, and can simply insert a small external drive to any of the computers at will. They have the ability to upload what is known as a Keylogger to the computer their boss uses, leave it there for a few days, and take it back once it collects information. Basically, it will record keystrokes -- every click on the keyboard. Just by using the tool of time, the password of the company will be recorded onto the device, and the hacker can use them to do anything they want to their cash registers.


There will always be ways of exploiting the system to retrieve data, avoid paying fees, or to steal from companies without them knowing who committed the crime. Companies all across the globe pay over thousands of dollars each year to prevent hackers from circumventing their securities, and some hold competitions with cash prizes to see if anyone can actually make their way past their security. The best way to prevent these attacks is to be aware of their methods and to utilize security software that is kept current. 

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

5 Ways to Grow Yourself as a Leader

6/2/2018

Becoming a business leader is not about having a title. In fact, many times the ​​true leader in any group is not always the person with the most senior rank, title or position. Not only is it never too early to start developing good leadership skills, it's also never too late. Some of the most established business leaders are still learning and growing on a daily basis. Here are 5 ways to grow yourself as a business leader.


1. Never stop learning

Whether you call it sharpening the saw or lifetime learning, the best leaders never stop pursuing their own personal education. There are very few great leaders that are not conversant on a wide variety of topics and educated in a broad number of fields. This may take the form of traditional or online formal education, or nanodegrees focused on specific skills. In addition to developing skills that can propel your business forward, actively learn about yourself as a person and as a leader so you can better play from your own strengths. Find a coach and a mentor who can give you honest feedback about your personality and leadership style.


2. Take the jobs that no one wants

As Simon Sinek says in his book Leaders Eat Last, “It is not the genius at the top giving directions that makes people great. It is great people that make the guy at the top look like a genius.” Too often, people think one of the perks of being boss is being able to take on the most cherry assignments and delegate all the less desirable tasks to their underlings. You don't have to always save all the worst jobs for yourself, but assigning plum tasks to your subordinates and taking less desirable tasks for yourself on a regular basis will gain you a far more loyal following. Lead by example, and be a servant leader.


3. Understand every job in the company

Too often, businesses are compartmentalized with one department having no idea what the other one does. This makes it very hard to function efficiently as one unit. As a leader, it's important to have a firm grasp on what the job of every individual in the company is, how that job contributes to the overarching task of each individual department and how each department contributes to the company as a whole. If possible, learn which personality profiles correspond to success in different roles, so you can better profile candidates for those jobs. Of course, you will only be able to answer that question if your business has a unified mission at the core of its operations.


4. Put People First

Leaders don't lead companies they lead people. Meeting the needs of employees can often seem to cut into profits. Conversely, however, employees that are well compensated often far outperform employees that are under compensated. Treat your employees well and they will treat your customers well. Nothing is better for business than happy customers.


5. Stay Humble

Most businesses are hierarchical and while this does have some advantages, it can also lead to some people feeling they are better than others, or don’t need to listen to others, because they have a better title or higher rank or position. Always keep a firm grasp on the fact that being above someone in the organizational pyramid doesn't actually make you a better or more important person than them. As you rise through the ranks, your intellect should swell but not your head. 


Like the old saying goes, if you think you're a leader but no one is following you, you're just out taking a walk. Anyone can give you a title - including yourself - but only the people you seek to lead can actually make you a leader. Sitting behind a desk issuing commands doesn't make you a leader. Setting an example, growing yourself, and growing your team are the essential elements that truly makes you a leader.

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

How to Hire the Best Employees for Your Startup

6/5/2018

As far as business management is concerned, learning to hire the right people for your startup is one of the most important things you need to do. Unless you plan to run your business alone, the people you hire will play a major role in the results that you can expect from your effort. As long as you hire the right people for the job, your team will take your business to the next level, and you will know that you are moving along the right path. The following information will show you how to get started with confidence and peace of mind.


Write Detailed Job Descriptions

When people launch startups and start looking for employees, they often make the mistake of not writing detailed job descriptions to let potential employees know the job expectations. Falling into this trap will make the hiring process more difficult than it needs to be, because you will have to let people go and repeat the process until you find a good fit for the position. To avoid that situation, list the requirements and nature of each position as clearly as possible.


Consider the Whole Person

Make sure that the people you hire fit in with those already on the staff or team. One way you can do this is by adding a personality assessment, like the DiSC profile, to your hiring process. It could be part of the application or you could place it as one of the final steps of the interview process, to weed out the last few candidates who don’t quite fit. StrengthsFinder is another useful assessment that finds the strengths of your applicants or employees. Knowing this can help you place your employees to benefit your business the most. By using these types of skills and personality assessments, you can build strong, cohesive teams.


Leverage Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn are great resources for those looking to bring the right people on board. You can create ads, targeting them to people employed and/or looking for jobs in your business’ industry. You can also reach out through your network of contacts (like on LinkedIn) to look for potential recruits.


Sell the Position

If you want people interested in your positions, it's important that you highlight the main benefits people will enjoy by joining your team, like paid time off, employer contribution matches to health savings accounts, relaxed dress code, or the culture of the team/company. Take some time to consider what you have to offer to your employees and pitch those attributes to potential applicants. This will entice more candidates to fill out applications.


Encourage Candidates to Ask Questions

Finding people who will enjoy working for your startup and stick around for years is one of the best ways to succeed. Unfortunately, not every entrepreneur knows how to find that drive in their applicants. When you interview candidates, don't just ask them questions about their qualifications and why they want to work for you. Those things are important, but by inviting your candidates to ask questions about the position and the company, you’ll learn how interested they are in the position and can assess your candidates better.


Final Thoughts

Hiring people who will contribute to your bottom line and want to put in their best effort is not always easy, but following a proven plan will improve your odds of success. Finding the perfect candidates is the foundation on which you will grow your startup and optimize your profitability.

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

5 Options for a Struggling Business

6/6/2018

Many businesses run into rough patches, but some financial issues are easier to overcome than others. There are various resources and options available for business owners to use when they run into money issues. Because each situation is unique, the business owner should carefully analyze the situation to determine the best course of action.


Apply for a Loan

If your financial situation is related to several unexpected expenses that have piled up or to an unexpected slow period, applying for a small business loan may make sense. However, you should reasonably be able to see the slow period improving before you apply for a loan. Keep in mind that a loan requires you to make regular monthly payments, and this means that your total expenditures will increase for several months or years.


Get an Advance on Accounts Receivable

If your business is struggling financially because of slow payments from customers, getting an advance on accounts receivable is a good option to consider. You will need to pay a fee for this benefit, but you can receive funds necessary to pay your own bills in a timely manner. Because this issue likely will continue, you may need to find a way to improve your billing system. Improving your billing system will prevent you from relying on expensive accounts receivable loans.


Take on a Partner

There are some instances when your business is struggling because of your lack of expertise in an area or your inability to handle all of the tasks that need to be done. In some situations, it makes sense to take on a partner or investor. The partner may provide funding to smooth your financial situation as well as knowledge or assistance in specific areas.


File for Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy is a worst-case option for your business to consider. It will clear your debt balances and give you a clean slate to start with. Some businesses will collapse after bankruptcy, but others may thrive. It is wise to speak with a bankruptcy attorney about the pros and cons of this option in detail before making a decision. When determining the fate of your business, consider if wiping debts away will resolve your issues or if you are operating in the red.


Alternative Options

Other options include reviewing expenses to trim the fat, reviewing operations to improve efficiency (time is money), selling off company property, discount prices/ run a sale to generate short term revenue and to increase brand awareness. These are just a few options that are much less drastic than bankruptcy.


Business owners have many financial options to consider when profits take a nosedive. As you can see, some of these solutions are more well-suited for specific situations and events than other. Take time to analyze the cause of your financial challenges, and determine if the issue likely will continue before you decide how to proceed. It might even be in your best interest to hire a business coach to help you figure out the best way to resolve the situation. They provide focus, perspective and the skills necessary to make your business practices more effective.

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

4 Tips to Move Up in Your Field

6/12/2018

There is no doubt that there are certain life lessons that stand us in good stead in every area of our lives. Many times, the qualities that help us maintain stellar business relationships can also help us in our personal lives and vice-versa. In that same way, no matter what field you are in, there are certain habits, disciplines and practices that will almost universally help you succeed. 

Here are 3 tips to help you excel in your given field, no matter what it is:


1. Work hard

No matter how many times our parents, mentors and business gurus emphasize this concept, it still seems to be somewhat revolutionary. Hard work will get you farther in life than talent, privilege, education or any of the other tools or trappings of success. Working hard doesn't have to mean putting in 80 hour weeks or sacrificing your health for the sake of work, but it does mean applying yourself consistently day in, day out, year after year.


2. Play fair

While life may present many opportunities to move up the ladder more quickly by cutting corners, it is almost never a good idea to do so. Those that do often reach the top to find they are standing on a very weak and unsteady foundation. The fall from grace is a long and painful one, make sure as you climb the ladder of success, you are building a firm foundation beneath you as you go.


3. Keep learning

Many people live under the misguided assumption that once they graduate a certain level of schooling, they will know everything they need to know to make it through the rest of their life. In reality, the world around us is constantly changing as new advancements and new discoveries are made. To keep pace, we must keep up - which involves constant learning, study and exploration. Working adults, especially nurses and other careers that involve long hours, it can be hard to imagine returning to school. That’s why schools have begun offering online courses. For example, online courses give anyone wishing to continue their education, the ability to work while pursuing a higher degree.


4. Develop A Relationship With A Mentor

In the employment world, there is the saying that ‘it’s all about who you know.” Developing a relationship with someone who has experience and knowledge that you can apply to your job and career is extremely important. It is a way to establish trust, confidence and work ethic as well as gain a reference. Having a relationship with a mentor is not only beneficial to the employee. It is also beneficial to the employer and the person doing the mentoring.


Success in any area of life is generally dependent on a few key principles. Generally, adherence to these principles will bring about success no matter where you apply them. By working hard, playing fair and always continuing to learn, you will inevitably end up at the top of your field and the top of your game.

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

How to Communicate More Effectively in Your Business

6/22/2018

Communication is broadly defined as the act of passing information from one party to another. Successful businesses invest heavily in improving communication practices and tools within their companies. An effective business communication system helps in marketing the products and services of the company as well as improving interoffice relationships, projects, and time. Having a proper connection will make more sales and build more confidence in your business. Nowadays, many companies are using advanced technology to communicate with their global customers within a few minutes. Here are some ways to improve communication within your organization.


Communication Plan

You need a solid communication plan in place from the beginning. A well- structured plan will always strengthen your business culture. The program should include the company’s mission, vision, and objectives. A business with a purpose and a vision will boost the client’s confidence. If possible, integrate your own project management dashboards or taking with activity logs, forums, or discussion boards as well. This makes it easy for employees to collaborate and see all their work and communicate about it in one place.


Understand Your Audience

You should have a clear understanding of all your employees’ roles and their roles within the company’s hierarchy. Your employees in turn, should know who to go to for help, where to report projects, and more. This will help you in preparing the right speech or information for the right people. Good and open communication enables the employees to respect the company’s management.

Respect between the administration and the employees facilitate a proper understanding of the company and increases productivity. As Strategic Alignment says, "In order to stay competitive, organizations must devise viable, creative strategies for business success and growth. And in order for corporate strategy to do its job, an organization must maintain strategic alignment throughout every level of the business."


Choose the Best Communication Channels

Choosing the best channel to pass your information through is a vital part of communication that leads to more success. It is advisable to consider various communication channels and weigh out the advantages and disadvantages before choosing the best one for your business. There are numerous channels which are used today when communicating with employees or clients. Emails are one of the biggest tools used when addressing large audiences. Nowadays, businesses owners are using social media platforms to communicate with employees and potential clients. Many people prefer using social media platforms because they offer an interactive communication medium between the speaker and the audience.


Use Positive Language

Business people who use positive language when communicating with their clients or employees are most likely to achieve positive outcomes. Positive language encourages people and offers more alternatives and solutions to business challenges that crop up. Always use a positive language when negotiating with suppliers and other stakeholders. Additionally, it is advisable to have an effective meeting strategy, which motivates the stakeholders and makes them feel safe when doing business with your company.

A speaker should apply the best possible style of communication when addressing an audience. Use a confident voice, and simply and clearly state your position. Effective communication will help your business to grow, reaching many potential customers across the globe or even just the office. 

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

Security Considerations for Small Business Owners

6/25/2018

If you are a small business owner, you know painfully well just how every dollar counts. When you lose money or have to spend it to repair damage or replace merchandise, it can wreak havoc on your budget and your prospects for future growth. One thing you can do to safeguard at least one aspect of your business’ future (and budget) is to make sure you’re protecting what you have.


Smoke and Fire

Some of the biggest threats to businesses are not thieves, but natural elements. A coffee pot left on too long or a fault in your wiring can cause a fire. A broken gas pipe can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Investing in the proper insurance and early warning alarms provide a huge protection for your business and make it easier to recoup your losses in the case of an accident.


Video Monitoring

When it comes to protecting your business, security cameras are a lifesaver. They allow you to view what is happening remotely at any time. With modern systems, all you need to do is login and view it remotely from your phone, tablet, or computer. You can also customize your security monitoring to include audible and visual elements that will discourage criminals or other unauthorized activity.


Alarms

You can't be in your office or store all the time, even if you are working a lot of hours. When you are gone, you need to know that your business will be protected. An alarm serves two purposes: scaring off potential threats and bringing the police to your location if anything is set off. This lets you sleep with peace of mind that someone is always watching your business, even if you are not there. It can also help you identify lost items and track them down via police reports.


Security Guard

This isn’t something that everyone will need, but if you have a history of break-ins, your business is located in a dangerous area, or your merchandise is particularly valuable, this may be a good investment. A lot of criminals will return to the scene of a previous crime to try again, so using a security guard to beef up your system can be a good way to protect your investments.


Running a business is expensive. With so many companies popping up online, they often have less overhead than the standard small business. If you are going to compete, you have to find a way to protect your assets and minimize costs. The security considerations above can help you stay above the dangers of modern criminals and continue to put your business in the best position to succeed. If you have any other concerns about running your business, check out our coaching services.

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

Presentation Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

7/5/2018

Throughout your life, you'll likely have to a give a few presentations. Considering that, most entrepreneurs need to give presentations to a wide variety of individuals. Whether you're seeking funding or working to land a new partnership, it's essential to have the right presentation skills. With that in mind, here are four presentation skills every entrepreneur needs.


Looking the Part is Incredibly Important

Forbes reports that someone has only seven seconds to make an excellent first impression. If you walk into give a presentation looking unkempt, you're likely to make a wrong impression on your audience. Instead, consider taking a little time for self-improvement. This means grooming yourself properly, a fresh shave and haircut will look great. Dress nicely for your presentation which involves wearing a nice shirt, tie, slacks, and freshly shined shoes and a charming smile. Never underestimate the role appearance plays in business presentations, to up your charm spend time on your grooming and ask your dentist about teeth whitening and other cosmetic services.


Preparation is an Important Factor

After looking the part of a professional, it's time to prepare for your presentation. This doesn't mean having to memorize every line. That being said, you also don't want to spend the whole time mindlessly reading off of your presentation screen. Considering that, remember the key points of your presentation and look at the screen when you need to.


Show Plenty of Enthusiasm

Imagine the teachers you spent time listening to throughout school. It's was likely tough to remember much from teachers with no enthusiasm. On the other hand, you likely had a much easier time following along with lesson plans given by an enthusiastic teacher. With that in mind, you'll want to bring this same enthusiasm with you to your presentation. His feeling is often contagious which means showing enthusiasm will likely make your audience feel the same way.


Knowing How to Handle Questions Properly

It's courteous to allow your audience to ask questions about your presentation. Not answering questions might leave your audience feeling confused. You'll want to ensure your audience knows whether to ask questions as they arise or if they'll need to wait until your presentation is over. This helps to prevent you being thrown off by questions coming up during your presentation. But when answering questions in front of everyone, you can show your confidence and knowledge, so long as you do it right. That means addressing the audience and not just the person talking and doing so fairly and gracefully.


To summarize, there are several presentation skills that every entrepreneur should have. Utilizing these skills to your advantage can significantly improve how you conduct presentations. Whether pitching ideas to a business or new customer, honing these skills will definitely help ensure you're winning over your audience and help achieve your goals

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

4 Most Commonly Outsourced Parts of a Business

7/16/2018

More business owners are starting to see the benefits of outsourcing. It’s no longer necessary — or even efficient — to do everything that their business needs to function in-house. Here are 4 commonly outsourced parts of a business.


Call Center

Call centers have evolved over the past few years. Call centers exist as a cheap alternative for customer service, providing technical support, accepting orders, selling products, and more. But most business owners outsource customer service because it saves money.


Lower operating costs is the goal of most businesses. And that’s why more than 50 percent of businesses now outsource customer service. The cost of training employees, paying managers, buying supplies, hiring staff, and payroll expenses far outweigh the cost of using a call center. It’s estimated that a company can lower their expenses by at least 50% when outsourcing customer service.


Payroll

Payroll involves tax laws and regulations that confuse most people. But business owners don’t have time to study tax law. That’s why more are starting to outsource payroll. One simple mistake in this area could cause anything from a dreaded tax audit to your business being fined thousands of dollars.


Outsourcing payroll to a reputable service helps avoid costly mistakes. Then there’s the savings of not paying a full-time accountant.


Marketing

Marketing is more complicated than ever. Competition is fierce, and it’s more difficult to get a business noticed. That’s why some business owners outsource marketing to specialized marketing firms. These firms have expert employees whose capabilities help them perform more efficiently.


Marketing firms also know how to tap into several marketing strategies. Some businesses only know to focus on printed advertisements. And then newer businesses might focus only on inexpensive online strategies. But specialized marketing firms know how to develop a well-rounded marketing strategy.


Website Development

Every business needs a professional website, and website design continues to grow and change on a daily basis. There’s much more to building a successful website than learning a bit of code and throwing something together.


Web development firms have experts who offer tremendous expertise and experience. Businesses get better results than they would from someone who isn’t an expert.


Outsourcing Strengthens Business

These are only a few types of tasks that businesses outsource. Look at how your business is doing. You might want to outsource any tasks with which the business is struggling. If it makes sense cost-wise, then you might want to consider the benefits of outsourcing.


Are you ready to change the world? Contact EPIC Mission today!

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

How to Use Business Intelligence to Grow Your Business

7/20/2018

When it comes to growing your business, you can strategically make decisions and base marketing tactics off of business intelligence. You can collect and analyze information to better focus your marketing strategies or to bolster the productivity of individuals in your workplace.


The number one goal of companies using data analytics is to improve customer relationships. Use business intelligence today to help your business flourish more than it has ever been able to before.


Know Your Audience

Collecting analytics about your business can help you better understand your audience. This can be collected by surveying who is visiting your various social media accounts for example. Take advantage of the markets that are visiting your business the most.


Create a Better Plan

When you collect business intelligence on your audience, you can target the right demographic to focus your business on. With this information, you will be able to craft a better and more successful business model. Use the data you have collected to be able to better predict patterns that will occur throughout your business. This strategic planning can help your business flourish more than ever.


Strategic Marketing

When you have a better idea of your audience, you can design ad campaigns and marketing materials that are directed to cater to the needs of this specific demographic. For example, if you find that your audience is mainly composed of millennials, you would want to focus your tactics more on Instagram because that is where this age group spends their time. On the other hand, if you wanted to target seniors, you would probably want to focus your marketing efforts on Facebook. This data will help your marketing campaigns be more effective because you will be able to tailor these ideas to a specific audience.


Plan Your Expansion

If you're able to better know your audience, you will be able to target the best areas to expand your business. In the event you want to expand your business to a new location, you can use the data you have collected to target the most suitable area possible.


Increase Productivity and Improve Performance

Use business intelligence and data analytics to maximize the productivity of your staff and employees. If there’s a hiccup in your company's workflow, you can target this area and improve. Don't surrender to mediocrity. Take this information you learn about your business and adjust accordingly.

Want more details about business analytics and marketing strategies for your business? We provide coaching services for entrepreneurs and businesses on this very topic. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!


References:

IBM | 5 ways business analytics can grow your business

RizePoint | 5 Ways Business Intelligence Helps Companies of All Sizes

Xactly | Seven Ways to Manage Employee Performance with Business Intelligence

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

Everything You Need To Know About SEO to Kick Off Your Business

7/23/2018

Suddenly, from the moment a business owner decides to create an online presence, pressure mounts because of so many questions about “how” flood the minds of those involved. That’s understandable due to misinformation about a website’s real purpose, the structure, and most importantly, how to attract visitors. Soon, you’ll see that creating an online presence is a process that when done correctly will play a large part in helping your business reach its goals without breaking your budget in the meantime.


Content Creation

From an SEO (search engine optimization) perspective, writing content that is engaging and compelling always outperforms other types of advertising for several reasons. It has long been said that proper SEO can be your answer to gaining more organic traffic to your website. The reason for this has its roots in how search engines (i.e. Google, Bing, Yahoo) work and how they rank your website based on its content and ultimately, its popularity.


SEO may seem straightforward and easy to handle at first read. However, the rules of SEO have changed dramatically over the past several years. Google, for example, is the king of search and if your website stands any chance of gaining traction with the search engines, you must learn and follow the rules. The rules are not there to hinder your progress.


When you understand why Google puts rules in place for SEO, it’s because they want to make sure their search experience is easy, accurate, and quick. When your content meets their requirements, they reward your website with much-improved search engine rankings, and in turn, more exposure and profit for you!


Images Make Your Content More Interesting

Content includes the written word as well as relevant images. Pictures speak a thousand words, and the content on your website is no different. Images have their own SEO requirements and ignoring them can have an adverse effect on the overall ranking of your site. For example, a “heavy” or large image will affect your site speed, and if you have several heavy images on your site, you run the risk of slow-loading pages, which decreases your overall site speed. This is a ranking factor used by Google.


For images, always stay within recommended file sizes which is around 60 kilobytes. The trick is to keep the file sizes as low as possible and while keeping the image crisp and clear. Optimizing images is a hot topic, and many products exist for this specific purpose. Image editing software also does a great job with optimization.


The search engines look other aspects of your image content in addition to the size of your images. The “alt” tag for your images must be added for every picture. The alt tag is a text description of the image that is readily available, so anyone can read the description without seeing the picture. This might occur on a slow connection or in a browser that shows only image placeholders to increase browsing speed.


The Importance of Keywords

Bear in mind that the search engines do not consider the keyword meta tag as relevant and stopped this practice several years ago. However, this does not mean that keywords lost their importance. In reality, the opposite is true. The search engines use keywords entered by visitors and deliver their best listing of the sites with the most relevance to the search keyword.


Several years ago, a simple one-word keyword sufficed for most searches, and a website could rapidly climb the search engine ranks by using the same one-word keyword dozens of times in a single article. Today, this is called keyword stuffing, and any website caught doing this will be relegated to obscurity in the SERPS (search engine results pages) or de-indexed from the search engine’s database. As the search engines matured and as people started using detailed search strings, one-word keywords used in SEO didn’t produce specific results, and a website’s ranking dropped as a result.


The current practice for keyword use is in the use of long-tail keywords. In other words, a phrase that contains the keyword that is around five words or more tend to rank much better and also adds value to the content because it becomes more relevant to the reader.


Mention your keyword once in your article and use long-tail keywords sparingly throughout. Also, use a variation of the keyword in your compelling title. There’s no need to use the exact keyword here, as long as you use the long-tail keyword phrases that give the search engines (and your reader) a good idea of what the article is about.


Quality Content is King

As you develop your SEO strategy, you will no doubt hear the phrase over and over that Content is King! We know the search engines rely on great content to fill their SERPS. However, through all your efforts to produce the best website on the Internet, one thing to always keep in mind is your reader.


Your reader is by far the most essential part of SEO, more than any other factor in existence. If you do not have readers, you won’t have an online presence. The number one rule in SEO is to always create content with your reader in mind.

Your content should always answer a question or address a concern. People constantly search for an answer to a question, or to get advice. This is where your content comes in. Keep your content to the point and make it interesting. If you can hold your reader’s attention and answer their question, you will have a gained a loyal reader!


Once you have a loyal following of dedicated readers, Google will notice and reward your site with higher rankings. From there, the sky's the limit!


Go Social!

Never underestimate the power of social media! Once your site is up and running, and you are adding content regularly, reach out to your followers and offer them a chance to see your masterpiece! Yes, the search engines monitor your website’s social media footprint. It is another way they determine your popularity, and in turn, your ranking.


Conclusion

The points reviewed here should get you started in the right direction with SEO and starting your new business. As with anything worthwhile, the effort always pays dividends. Keep generating content that your readers love and always provide them with fresh and relevant information.


Do you need some help in generating content or managing your social media accounts? Not to worry! EPIC Mission has you covered. Contact us today!


Resources:

https://www.jeffbullas.com/5-extremely-actionable-tips-improve-content-writing/

http://blog.bearfoxmarketing.com/10-seo-mistakes-you-may-not-realize-youre-making

http://www.besocial.media/uncategorized/hello-world/

https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/08/14/increase-traffic-to-my-website

http://blog.webcertain.com/want-better-user-engagement-the-importance-of-images-in-content-marketing/04/02/2014/ 

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

Maximize Your Business Efficiency with These Tools

7/30/2018

Regardless of what your business does, having the right tools can help you finish a job faster and better. This especially is true in small business where the deadlines are shorter, the clients demanding, and the pace breakneck. The following tools will give you the power to automate tasks, manage time, and satisfy customers without breaking the bank. Use these as you begin setting up your small business for more success.


QuickBooks

Many busy small businesses regard having bookkeeping and accounting as a luxury. After all, having time and staff stretched thin selling and servicing customers, record-keeping can often fall through the cracks. QuickBooks can help, especially now that it’s a cloud-based app.


QuickBooks’ mobile apps make selling easy either in your store, online, or at remote locations. Meanwhile, integration with most financial accounts and popular business apps helps you keep immaculate records without pulling you away from your other management tasks.


Womply

Small brick-and-mortar businesses face a vast array of daily challenges. These issues range from taxation and regulation, to earning enough revenue to help business owners prepare for retirement. Womply comes from a new generation of Software as a Service (SaaS) applications that are designed from a business' perspective. As Toby Scammell points out, customer spending habits don’t always follow conventional wisdom, so using Womply to track their spending habits and establish patterns can put you ahead of the curve.


Slack

In a way, you could look at Slack as a social media platform for your business. The software brings innovative and powerful collaboration tools into your workplace, giving you incredible flexibility to coordinate the activities of individuals and groups.


Slack is an acronym that stands for “Searchable Lock of All Conversation and Knowledge,” alluding to its most valuable potential: Collecting data from your company’s daily operations and storing that knowledge in a way that provides a foundation for long-term growth.


Google

Google is a part of everything you do, but the business capabilities that you can leverage can make a huge difference. In addition to having your business email run through Google, you can also claim your business listing, manage reviews, use larger amounts of storage, and use hangouts to make face-to-face business calls. Google can provide almost anything that your business needs. There’s a reason that most businesses use at least some of Google’s services.


You can dramatically improve the efficiency of your business with the above-mentioned tools. As you put them to use, stay alert for other applications that you can use to make your business more profitable.

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

Why Businesses Need to Spend Time Managing Their Online Image

8/3/2018

Whether you are new to the business scene or you are a veteran, you know that your reputation is everything. It doesn't matter if you are a tiny entrepreneur or you have companies around the world. How consumers, fellow businesses, and your staff view, your company will have a significant impact on your success. The more positive the impression you have made, the more likely that you are going to flourish. When everyone is talking about you, you want them to be saying something good. Otherwise, negativity could put you out of business. You work hard to make sure your reputation is reliable in your daily dealings with others. Don't forget to pay attention to your online image.


This is the Age of Digital Technology

You can't escape the internet in today's world. Even if you have somehow avoided building your own website for your business, make no mistake (we really recommend that you do so though). Feedback about your company is out there on the web. Testing out this statement is easy. Type in your company's name on a google search. You're going to pop up in some way. Try looking for reviews next. Don't be surprised when you find something out there. Your primary concern should be to ask yourself if people are saying something positive about you.


Google Reviews

Google reviews share testimonials about your product or service with others, and thus the credibility of a business depends heavily on google reviews. If they are positive, they'll draw more consumers your way. If they are negative, they could do the opposite. However, you can use any negative reviews as part of a learning curve for your business. See where you can improve. Listen to feedback and make changes. On the flip side, see what you are doing right. Continue on that path. If it isn't broken, you don't need to fix it. At the same time, you might be able to step it up a notch. The more positive reviews you have, the higher your business will move in the search rankings. People will find you first when the perform a google search. If you move to the top of the list, you are more likely to make a sale.


Tap Into Social Media

Whether you like it or not, most of your consumers are utilizing social media and are making business decisions thanks to it. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are only a few examples of what is out there. Your business can flourish if you tap into social media. That means getting regular posts about your business out there. When you have a promotion, you need to post it. When someone likes your company, thank them. If you get positive feedback, be sure to respond. You can also respond to negative criticism by telling consumers you are dedicated to improving. Find out if there is something you can do to change a consumer's mind or improve their experience. You might offer a refund or a gift card. If you don't have time to manage your presence on social media or you aren't comfortable with it, find an employee that is a wizard with social media platforms. You can build a following that will continue to grow as your good reputation spreads.


Pay Attention to What is Working

Look at other examples in the business world. What is working for others? What makes their company stand out online? You can do the same with your business to thrive. You don't have to copy, but you can take a model of excellence and aspire to do the same. This can also be a great opportunity to consult and review performance and future planning.


Remember How Easy it is to Go Viral

Anything that goes online can spread faster than you can catch your breath. If you are not careful about what is on the web, you could sabotage your business. You want to stress the positive. You need customers to do the same. Nip anything in the bud that creates a poor impression. Build up positive reviews. Give people a reason to check out what you have to offer. Consider doing giveaways for those who are saying something positive about you.


The bottom line is you need to have a positive image no matter whether it is in person or online. In the same way that you work on building good relationships with your clients, employees, and fellow businesses on an everyday basis, don't neglect your online image. You want a reputation that shines wherever you go. 

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

Get More Done in Less Time with Business Automation

8/6/2018

Automation in business is not only needed to run an assembly line. Office workers, restaurant managers, delivery drivers, and other professionals all benefit from using automated tools. It only takes making a few small investments to see major improvements. Learn how to increase the level of automation your business uses to save time and increase productivity.


Task Management Software

Track every minor and major assignment you task to your employees. Use task management software to create individual tasks with specific details like the start date, budget, and estimated completion date. Create projects that consist of the number of tasks you need for completion. Task management software helps you to track the progress of important projects and maintains worker productivity.

You can also use similar management software for more inner-office organization. Use tools to set priorities, plan meetings, chat quickly about projects, and more. These programs give you more flexibility to adjust your business, assignments, and tasks.


IT Management Software

A special area in business is IT asset management, which focuses on managing the equipment needed to run an IT department. Every business owner must invest in at least one computer and one software program.


IT management software helps you to manage the purchase and daily use of business inventory, computers, hardware, and software. According to Ivanti, these programs are built to discover and inventory IT assets, connect with vendors to monitor new purchases, and convert license data into an accurate license position.


Sales Software

Help your sales team by recommending the right software tools. If your salespeople aren’t focused on the people who actually want your services, then they aren’t going to close a deal, no matter how good they are. Even search engines are focusing more on people and less on keywords, so why not do the same with your sales?


Recommend lead tracking software that allows you to track the progress of working with each lead. Record the name, the number of follow-ups, and the results after making each contact. Using this tool, avoid the uninterested people and focus only on the ones who are genuinely interested in your services.


Self-Service Technology

More stores today are replacing new hires with machines that can do the same work. Large chain stores have self-checkout lines where customers scan and pay for items using touchscreen computer kiosks. Some design companies have online tools they use to make customizable designs. Overall, the use of self service technology helps to streamline the speed and efficiency of your business operations. Your buyers will become more independent and avoid having to wait or go around red tape.


The Bottom Line

Automated software and equipment are designed to improve the overall efficiency of your business, which means that business automation is rapidly becoming more of a requirement than an option.

With business automation, your employees reduce the amount of time they spend on repetitive administrative tasks—like filing papers, maintaining records, and taking orders from customers. Now, they have more time to focus on work that matters—work that will contribute to the growth of your company.


Looking for more ways to empower your business? Reach out to EPIC Mission to schedule a consultation. 

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

How You Can Solve Communication Issues with Consumers

8/13/2018

In today's increasingly digital world, consumers expect more communication than ever before. And if you don't have enough quality communication, then your customer service reputation could suffer. Don't let this happen. Here's how you can reach out and communicate with customers:


Appointments

From doctor's offices to dentists to salons, customers need appointment reminders. This is truer now than ever before. With the average person being so distracted with so many things between work, family, and social media, they are bound to forget. Even if they remember to put in their calendar, who do you know that checks their calendar every day? Software can issue appointment reminders based on customer preferences, doctor's needs, and more.


Social Media

There is no such thing as a good PR crisis. However, the only way you can make it go worse is by not putting out a response as soon as possible. When you find yourself facing bad press, you need to leverage social tools to get your version of the narrative out to detract away from the negatives and redirect the conversation when communicating with customers.


Updates

People don't often mind if their item arrives late, if the event is scheduled for another time, or if you have to cancel your meeting. However, what they hate is when they are not informed in a timely manner. That is why software that automatically sends updates helps you gain a better customer experience reputation. They can put up with the inconvenience if they at least feel that you are going to keep them in the loop.


Specials, Deals, and Promotions

If you are in the food industry especially, this can be a huge boost to your revenue. Using text or social media to communicate when you're offering special deals can be a game changer. It lets you get right in front of them when you choose, rather than relying on luck with billboards or traditional TV ads. Try tracking each text or social ad with a unique promo code so you can see which campaign is getting you the most traction and results in terms of sales.


If you want to have happy customers, then start with making sure you are communicating at the highest level possible. Using the right communication channels helps you save money, save time, and do things more efficiently for more profit left over on your balance sheet. So, use the tips above and enjoy happier customers and peace of mind.


For even more tips about how you can take better control of your business, talk to us about our coaching services

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

5 Helpful Hints for Reintegrating After Deployment

8/30/2018

The civilian world is incredibly different than the military world. Coming home after being deployed can be a struggle for even the toughest soldier. When you or your loved one comes home, it's best to have a plan for assimilation. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make the transition an easy one. Here are tips for helping the soldier in your life when they come home.


Utilize services available

There are many resources for people who come home from military service. They can introduce the soldier to people who understand their unique experience. That gives them friends and support to assist in the transition. Some of the services can even help someone find a house or a job.


Start a business

Being in the military can teach someone many skills, including accountability and a strong work ethic- two very important qualities to have when you are starting a new business. Starting a new business also gives soldiers something to keep them busy when they come home. Keeping busy will help them assimilate into their new life.


Connect with family

Being away can create a separation between a soldier and their family. It's hard to stay connected overseas. Go on outings with family to reconnect. Family can remind a soldier of the life they used to have and provide normalcy that they haven't known in a long time.


Focus on self-care

When a soldier comes back home, they may neglect themselves. Be sure to continue your workout routine like normal and tend to the things that you weren't able to take care of while overseas. Take care of that problem with your car, cancel or renew magazine and other subscriptions, and go through your budget.


Create a home for yourself

When a soldier comes back from deployment, they may not have a feeling of security and stability. Finding and purchasing a stable home is critical for anyone who wants to get readjusted to civilian life. Thankfully there are many loans particularly for veterans given through the the Department of Veteran Affairs (usually called the VA). It’s essential to personalize the new space with pictures and suitable decorations. It's important to keep up on the cleaning. Going through your things, cleaning out your closet and finding things to get rid of will help you feel better about starting a new chapter of your life.


Coming home can be difficult for a soldier, but there are steps you can take to make the process simpler. Don't be afraid to take time for yourself and give yourself time to adjust. Remember that your friends and family can help you!


If you need coaching for how to not only survive civilian life, but to thrive in it, then be sure to check out our coaching services. Not only that, but if you’re looking to go into your own business venture, our consultants can help you get your feet on the right path!


Resources:

Reintegrate into Civilian Life | ElPasoMoves.com

VA home loans | LowVARates.com

Transitioning from Service | MaketheConnection.net

Resources | Disabled American Veterans 

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

5 Management Mistakes New Leaders Make

9/8/2018

It makes sense. After all, you were chosen for your ability to improve the company's business. So, you begin your management job with passion and dedication and start making changes to improve the bottom line.


Unfortunately, this is where many managers shoot themselves in the foot by committing one of the following 5 new leader pitfalls, failing to recognize the realities of any organization.


Flying Blind

Managers, in general, are hired for their training and experience in managing people and projects. However, unless they were elevated, most new managers do not know the specific jobs of their employees. Not knowing that information will block their ability to effectively plan their resources or train new employees.


Discarding What Works

The temptation of many new leaders is to throw the baby out with the bathwater by changing everything. However, even failing organizations have elements of them that work rather well. Sometimes, attention was just paid to one element while other elements deteriorated. The wise manager starts by learning what works, before they cut away what doesn't.


Dividing Instead of Unifying

When a new manager enters the workplace, they usually do not know the weak spots. So, they often divide the employees to determine those weak spots. However, division only hinders true progress. For example, cubicles often make team members feel confined and unimportant, while group discussions enhance productivity.


Focusing on Cost

One of the first realities with which a manager becomes aware is cost. Since they are trying to increase the overall profits, they are tempted to start cutting costs. For example, two desks of work can become one with an increased workload. However, as workloads increase and resources are limited, the output and worker contentment will drop, and more resources will have to be dedicated to training new employees.


Avoiding Risk

The temptation to control costs leads directly to the final pitfall, avoiding risks. After all, if a manager is setting about in a systematic way to improve the company, cutting those elements that have the potential for failure is a natural conclusion. However, all too often upper-level management has hired an individual for the specific reason of gaining new ideas and opportunities and would be willing to accept that risk. If that is the case, a daring failure would be better for the new manager than a safe success.


Start with Success

Avoiding these 5 new leader management mistakes can help you achieve your management success and make you a valuable element to the companies that hire you.


Need a little more help in become an excellent manager? Have questions on how you can use your strengths to become an even more productive member of the company? EPIC Mission provides coaching services, enabling you to achieve the success you so richly deserve!


References:

https://www.davincivirtual.com/blog/4592/11-reasons-why-a-virtual-office-is-a-smart-move

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/megan-tull/how-taking-risks-evokes-l_b_10843744.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2018/06/19/six-ways-to-become-a-better-manager/

https://www.business.com/articles/5-ways-to-be-a-better-manager/

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

How to Plan for the Growth of Your Business

9/12/2018

Expanding a business can be very profitable. Growth can be produced organically as a company runs well. Yet, there can be many problems if expansion is not executed carefully. Here are some tips to plan for expanding a business operation.


Set Accurate Goals and Objectives

Many businesses have suffered bankruptcy due to aggressive over-expansion. When considering transforming a company into a giant infrastructure, it is essential to keep track of goals and financial outcomes. How much will the business cost to run if additional equipment and employees are added? 


Additionally, what happens if profits do not match expectations? A business owner should do what they can to make sure that they keep track of every scenario and have multiple plans in place to ensure the corporation can stay afloat. One does not know what the future may bring, but one still ought to act with prudence and not with recklessness.


Keep Inventory in a Warehouse

Often entrepreneurs will try doing it all on their own, some out of their own home or office, while others rent space in an effort to set up a warehousing system, which requires them to essentially now master two industries—their own industry along with warehouse and logistics management—and often both suffer in the end. Many companies are now looking toward virtual warehouses that are run and operated by third party companies which may sound more expensive but can actually save you a lot of money up because you don’t have to worry about rent, upkeep, and other things.


If renting or owning a warehouse on your own sounds good for you and your company, then make sure to understand the costs involved. It’s recommended to get a security company or hire your own security to watch over the warehouse during night hours to prevent crime. As well, purchasing a warehouse comes with a benefit of being able to keep all of one's inventory organized. There is almost nothing worse than to have an order for something and not be able to find it. Having a warehouse will also make your business look more professional, so it could lead to more clientele.


Obtain the Right Equipment

When considering expanding into the market, make sure you acquire the right technology. Shop with a keen mind in weighing the positives and negatives in purchasing business equipment. Although buying a used asset can yield savings, buying a new one could be more cost-efficient over a longer period of time. Look carefully at what the next phase your business will be in when you are purchasing equipment. You are expanding now, but in five years will you still be growing your operation? Is it more important to save money now or later? Practicing prudence in these matters could be the difference between profits or losses.


Growth must be managed carefully and wisely. A child experiences pain when they grow, but in the end, they will become taller. This is akin to business expansion. Growing a business can be difficult, but it can lead to a firmly established corporation. A child needs plenty of calcium to grow. In a like manner, a business's growth is fueled by wise decisions.


If you need coaching or consulting services or other business counsel, check out or website to learn more. Contact EPIC Mission any time with your questions.

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

How Leaders Can Make Work Spaces Safer

9/14/2018

If you are a leader, then it is your job to keep your work space safe. Your employees look to you to ensure that they will not be harmed. This includes sexual, physical, or other types of dangers. Here is what you should know about how to lead your team in being fun and safe in every situation.


Emergency Training

There are certain safety measures you should take in every business. This is true whether you work in finance, e-commerce, or anything else. Within the office, there are still hazards that must be understood and avoided. Have an emergency plan scheduled so that everything from fire extinguishers to escape plans are practiced ahead of time. That way it is second nature when it truly counts.


For instance, in the event of a fire, you need to have someone that is personally responsible for alerting the emergency services. Another person should have the first aid kit on hand to tend to anyone that might experience an injury.

These measures don't just help protect the health of your workers. They also prevent liability lawsuits from happening. Don't take them lightly and train often.


Reference: Occupational Safety Solutions | WHS Management System


Safety Reviews

OSHA and other organizations have priority in individual workplaces. They will dictate the rules of what is allowed or is not. Thus, you don't want to get a surprise visit from them. Instead, you should be on top of any hazards before they get too big.


Have regular safety reviews. If you don't, you could miss something crucial that puts you and your whole crew in danger. Nothing is worth giving up safety in your office, so create a schedule and stick to it.


HR Integration

Human resources is there to serve the company. They are able to insulate people from conflicts that should not be happening. For instance, certain harassment signs can show up early.


In these cases, you want to train your HR department to spot them and intervene. They should be an open door where anyone with a problem can come and talk to them without fear of revenge. That way, you eliminate unsafe situations or behaviors by anyone in the workplace.

Reference: Making HR Professionals Smarter | HR.com


Information Safety

Information is a key part of safety today. There are various risks to getting hacked by cybercriminals. Every company is vulnerable to this. It is not just large corporations. There is always information that is valuable to thieves.

For instance, your employees' personally identifying information is in a database on your computers in most cases. This means it just takes one line of code for them to steal the identity of everyone that works for you. If you don't take measures to stop this and keep them safe, it could have drastic consequences.


For better data security, you need to take a holistic approach. The first step is to train them on proper interaction with strangers online. If someone claiming to be from your company requests information, do not permit them to open the email or click on links. If they do this, a piece of malicious code could attack your system and give them access to everything you have. This is called phishing and is one of the most common types of attacks to defend against.


In addition, hire the right kinds of developers to improve the code on your website. Each time a person logs in, they should be prevented from executing certain scripts. This means they won't be able to spy on your employees via audio or video, or even seeing their texts.


Reference: Cybersecurity Services | IBM


Leading by Example Every Step of the Way

Employees learn best by the example of leaders. That is the case for every aspect of your business. Therefore, when it comes to making the workspace safer, you need to do things first. Don't ask your employees to do things that you aren't willing to do yourself.


One way you can take the lead is by using a VPN (virtual private network) when communicating about work-related topics. Even if you just hop on the Wi-Fi at a coffee shop, fire up your security apps to make sure nothing is leaking. Another crucial element of leading with safety measures is ensuring your team to go by OSHA standards. These rules are in place for a reason and will keep your organization safe.


When it comes to the workplace, safety is the top priority. After all, if your employees are not safe, then none of your other goals can be met. So, make sure you are not putting your company at risk. Use the tips above and ensure you are leading the pack in making your work a safe environment in every way.


For more information on what you can do as a leader to ensure the safety of your business and employees, contact EPIC Mission now!

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

How to Use Google to Help Your Business Grow

10/1/2018

There are plenty of ways you can use Google to grow your business. For one thing, millions of people use Google every day. Therefore, you are only increasing your potential for growth with Google. Here is a list of different ways you can effectively grow your business:


Create Optimized Content

This is one of the main ways to grow your business. If you use SEO techniques, you will eventually get your site to rank highly in the search results for the right keywords. This can attract a ton of customers to your business. You can either provide your own optimized content or hire the help of SEO experts.


Use Google AdWords

One platform businesses can use for advertising is Google AdWords. Business owners and their marketing teams can work on an ad campaign with AdWords that can encourage customers to visit their site. With optimized professional content, you can create an effective campaign that will feature your business earlier in search results.


Use Google+

This is another platform that is good for business. With Google+, you have access to communities. Use this access to engage in communities that are relevant to your business and find ways to connect with communities that aren't. You can participate in conversations and also get your business listed. This can go a long way towards growing your business. Interact with your customers on Google+ to get their opinions on your products and services. Make improvements based on their feedback.


Encourage Google Reviews

One of the best things to do for your business is to encourage your customers to write reviews on your business. For one thing, Google business reviews are a fast way to grow your business. One thing that reviews do is raise awareness of your company. Even a negative review can make people aware of your company. For one thing, people are more likely to visit a business that got a bad review than a business they don't even know exists. However, you are going to want positive reviews so that you can experience a huge increase in business.


Use Google My Business

One feature of Google that can really help businesses grow is Google My Business. There are a ton of things you can do with this feature. Among the things you can do is update any details about your business. For instance, you can update the location and hours of your business. You can give people an access point of your business. One of the major advantages of Google My Business is that it is free. You can give yourself a head start in growing your business by providing details on this new feature.


Use Google Analytics

With Google Analytics, you can collect data on the visitors of your site. You get to know many things about the visitor including what site they visited before, sites they visited after, and other pieces of information that you can use to customize your marketing to that potential customer. You can also learn about the frequency in which they visit your site. Then there is the device and operating system they use when they surf the internet. One of the reasons it is essential to analyze your data is so that you can fine-tune your business to maximize your profits. Customers are always looking for something. Therefore, the best thing to do is find out what they are looking for so that you can provide it for them.


These are some of the many effective ways that you can use Google to grow your business. When you are working on your business, you are going to need as many tools as possible to help your business grow. One of the significant advantages of using Google is that you limit the amount of guesswork you do in gaining customers and making profits. You also speed up the process of building a successful business. With good reviews and a high ranking search result, you can grow your business in a reasonable amount of time.


For more tips on growing your business, common mistakes to avoid, and online branding and SEO techniques, check out the EPIC blog or contact EPIC Mission today!

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

How to Find the Right Web Developer for You

10/10/2018

The overall look and feel of your company's website can make or break your business. The reality is that your website is essential. It's most people's first contact with your business, which is one reason you need to find a professional web developer. The following is a simple guide that can help you find the right developer.


Trust is Vital

It is vital that the company you decide to work with is one that you can trust. One way you can sense this is by reading third-party reviews of the company so that you know what to expect. Forbes highly recommends, “you should also be sure to schedule a few conversations with a representative, so you get a feel of the kind of service you might receive. You also get a feel for the kind of person they are and if their personality will match what you’re looking for.” Developing trust is going to make it easier for you to work with the agency you decide to go with.


Effective Communication

Trust makes things better, including your ability to communicate. Part of what the web developer is going to do for you is help build the site your users want. Being able to trust the company you choose will make it easier for you to tell the representative that you need to build the website with the user in mind. Blanc Ideas explains, “many businesses have websites designed for their own liking while throwing user experience to the wind. A company wants to have a website design that is to their liking, but also incorporates good aspects of user experience.” 


Because it’s not just about you, and you need to keep the user in mind, compromises are part of the process. The design professionals will do their job to the best of their ability, and sometimes that may not look exactly as you thought of it, but that does not mean they cannot take your suggestions into account. They are the experts in this regard, and they know how to optimize user retention, so you should be open to learning from them.


Get Clarity

Building a site takes time, and you can be part of the process, especially if the company you contract is open to input. This does not mean you are going to have much control over what ends up happening with your page, but at least you understand every tweak and addition. Making sure you will be informed throughout the process and knowing how much power you are going to have is definitely a must because it makes the process run smoother.


Give it a Try

Those who have more than one project waiting to come to fruition may want to consider giving a smaller, less critical project to the developer you are thinking about beginning to work with. The reason you are doing this is to test-drive this particular developer to see if he or she is a good fit for you. Pay attention to work ethic, communication, and the quality of the delivered project.

Keep in mind that these are just some of the things that you can do to find a good web developer. Be sure to trust your gut when you choose, and be patient because this process takes time.


If you want to keep ahead of the curve and keep learning how to improve yourself and your business, it’s going to take some training or coaching. At EPIC Mission we want to help you be the best leader, collaborator, and communicator that you can be. Everyone can learn something new and grow, so don’t be afraid to accept help and learn how to be better! Contact us today to start a conversation about how we might be able to help. 

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

What Lean Startups Need to Succeed

10/12/2018

Worldwide, only 10 percent of all startups succeed, but relying on lean business principles gives you an advantage over your competition. The good news is that these principles can be learned. So if you have a good idea about a startup you want to build, then you are more likely to succeed if you put in the time to learn them. Here are some lean business principles that you will want to consider.


Use the Build-Measure-Learn Cycle

While you may think that you have the best ideas for developing a new product or service, you are not sure that you will succeed. Even surveying customers may have a minimal effect because people sometimes do not know what they want until they see it. Therefore, build a minimally viable product and take it to market to start receiving customer feedback as soon as possible. Then, measure how receptive customers are to the product. Finally, move forward with full production or revamp the product or service based on customer feedback.


Provide the Technology Employees Need to Succeed

Employees may need a lot of technology to do their jobs efficiently. Make sure to provide the tools that each employee needs by asking them for their ideas. After all, the person doing the job usually has the best idea of what tools will help them most. For example, your loaders and unloaders may recommend that you invest in conveyors because conveyors can carry a lot of material easily. The right conveyor system is also likely to lower the potential for personal injury claims against your startup.


Run Experiments

Start with inexpensive experiments if you are uncertain how your product will be received or if it will be received well in a particular market. As the likelihood of your hypothesis being correct increases, then move on to more expensive experiments. At no point, however, should you stop experimenting as you always want your company to be better tomorrow than it is today.


Counting on these four ideas will help you start a lean buildup that is more likely to succeed. Then, you will be ready to beat the odds that say that most startups fail miserably.


Develop a Workforce Policy

It is essential to hire the right people for each part of your company. However, that is impossible without having the right policies in place. Create incentive packages that will encourage employees to grow with your company while giving 100 percent all the time. Educate all employees on how their role fulfills the broader mission of the company. Create an open-door policy where ideas flow up and down freely.


It can be hard to do this all on your own, so make sure you know who you have on your side. We can help you with all sorts of business topics: strategy planning, performance improvement, event planning, organizational assessment, process design, and more! See our consulting page for even more. Contact us today to learn how we can help you launch and grow! 

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

Communication is a More Desirable Skill Than Ever

10/15/2018

Businesses rely on communication to keep operating smoothly. From the small corner store to the huge corporations, the ability to clearly define roles and expectations, rules and regulations and to solve interpersonal disputes quickly and reasonably is vital.


Not everyone has this skill set, though. Recognizing that communication is not a company’s strong suit is an opportunity. It allows management to take control of the situation and propose useful solutions. Consider using this moment of introspection to create a new position or team to handle the communicative role.


Finding and Analyzing the Weaknesses in a Business

Every business has a vulnerable area. For some, it could be security or the way they handle their IT needs. For others, it could be looming HR problems that have been ignored to the point of becoming real liabilities. Nearly all of these companies have at least some level of communication breakdown as well.


Some weaknesses can be improved by providing communication channels from one department to another. Sometimes it can be as simple as reminding people of the proper chain of command. Even clinics use healthcare management specialists to facilitate communication and keep their operations flowing.


If there are huge problems or gaps in information, it may be essential to start with a management or efficiency evaluation from a third party so that the root cause of all problems can be found and the solution devised.


Fixing Communication Issues

After finding the issue at hand, it’s essential to communicate your findings and solution to your entire staff. Everyone should be on board with your changes, especially those who will be most impacted by them.


Your management team should take the lead on deciding how this information should be shared and how it should be done. The goal should be to make things as clear as possible. Also, make sure that company gossip is in check and that your company culture is a healthy one.


The key is to emphasize communication as one of the most critical parts of your business. There should be proper channels for comments, questions, and concerns. They shouldn’t just be heard; you should address them. Everyone should be on the same page about who voice problems to.


For example, two departments with a conflict should know who they go to for a resolution. This is especially important if they can’t reach an agreement on their own. It helps business run smoother when everyone knows their role in the company and how to settle disputes.


If you’re in need of an experienced consultant, consider our consulting team at EPIC Mission. We’re professionals in workplace communication and we know we can help your team overcome any communication obstacle.

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

How to Keep Turnover Rates Low at Your Startup

10/19/2018

Hiring new employees is a struggle occurring with most startups. It can be difficult to hire people with experience and the right mindset to help your company grow. Yet, it is essential if your company is going to be successful. Creating the types of offices employees prefer will go a long way towards helping you be successful.


Hire for Attitude

One of the biggest things that a startup can do is to hire for attitude instead of skills. After all, you can train employees in skills much easier than you can break bad habits. In order to do this, you should clearly put your company's attitude in each job posting that you create. Be ready to give a job pitch to those you encounter along the way with attitudes that match your company's corporate image. Observe applicants during the job interviewing process to spot those with the skills you desire. Finally, empower your current team to recommend people to you that would make a great addition to your team.

Source


Reconsider Your Office Space

Creating an office space that is tailored to your employees helps them maintain a healthy, productive attitude towards coming to work. Millennials prefer open spaces, coworking environments, and work schedule flexibility, and many companies (especially startups) are obliging them to keep turnover rates low. Many companies find that their employees can work from laptops anywhere in the world. Others find that they can adjust the hours that their employees work to meet the employee's schedule. Accommodating employees can help build loyalty and want to make employees do their best every day.

Source


Make Advancements Transparent

Create guidelines so that employees know exactly what they need to do to advance within the company. Post these guidelines where people can see them frequently. When you make promotions, make sure that you are following the guidelines and not promoting the people that you like the best.


Give Rewards

Of course, people have to be able to pay their bills, so you need to reward employees for their hard work. Pay them generously and offer incentives to earn company shares. Offer various bonuses for every employee who is giving 100 percent from the janitor on up. Tell people how much you appreciate their hard work as often as possible. Create fun ways that employees can earn things that they would usually buy with their own money.

Source


There are many different techniques that you can use to keep your company's turnover low. Use these three broad ideas and your own ingenuity to create a workforce that will produce for you and that does not think of looking for another place to work.


Entrepreneurs, nonprofits and small businesses are constantly changing the world as we know it, creating new products, filling gaps in society and adding much-needed employment opportunities. We can't do what they do, but we can surely help them along the way. EPIC Mission is here to meet these heroes of change where they are and, without judgement, provide the holistic guidance they need to find, feed and fulfill their missions. Will you #BeTheChange?

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

7 Conversion-Boosting Essentials to Include in Your Marketing Plan

10/22/2018

If you want to grow your business, you need to understand the essentials that boost conversions in your marketing. However, this can be easier said than done. You need the right strategy if you are going to succeed. So here are 7 things that will boost your conversions for better results going forward:


Make Sure Your SEO is Right

The first step to take in getting more conversions with your business is making sure your top line of the marketing funnel is intact. SEO is one of the most important traffic sources that will keep customers coming back to time and time again without paying for ads.


This indirectly increases your conversions because no matter what your conversion rate is further down your funnel, you will have more overall if you get your brand in front of more prospects.


Get Attention with a Powerful Headline

Today's users are busy and distracted. They are on their favorite site or social media, and they are scrolling quickly. If you want to catch their attention, your headline needs to really stand out.


One way to do this is to include a major benefit first thing in your headline that sounds almost too good to be true. Of course, once they click on your ad or your article they will understand the details as they read.


Just be cautious of making your headlines look like clickbait. Lots of social media users have gotten wise to the cheap clickbait tactics and if they find your article to be in the same league, they’ll leave comments on your article with instructions for other would-be readers to keep scrolling.


Drive More Interest with Relevancy

There is a classic debate in marketing over whether you should have long content or short pieces in your writing if you want more conversions. In general, you actually want longer content. Experts in the field explain that the reason behind this is that when you can provide a lot of relevant content to your visitors that relates to their problems, they will be hooked and want to know more.


Therefore, seek to make each sentence lead them into the next, so they eventually walk through the proper steps of conversions. Your goal should be to make your reader feel as if you were on the same page as them and their concerns. This will build trust and increase their desire to shop with you instead of your competitors.


Collect Testimonials

Testimonials are a key marketing tactic that has been shown to increase conversions. The basic psychology behind testimonials is social proof. People often look to others to see if they should make a decision or not.


If someone is shopping around and they see a product from one company without testimonials while the other company has loads of positive testimonials, they are going to buy from the second one. Make sure your best customers are featured on your site in some way. If you don't already have testimonials, now's the time to reach out to past clients and ask them to do you that favor.


Build Desire with Emotions

Emotions are the key to any great marketing process, according to this content creation site. If you want more conversions, then you should not focus so much on the technical aspects of your product or service. Use emotion in the form of images in the future. For instance, if your prospect is not where they want to be financially, but your business offers a course to help them increase their income, help them visualize their future with more of the things they want.


Just think about how Coke commercials are. They show you happy people enjoying life rollerblading, visiting the theme park, and partying at the beach. Buying a Coke won’t guarantee that those events will happen for each consumer, but it creates the image of desire. You want to be happy and carefree, and now you’ll imagine a Coke can have an influence on improving your happiness in the moment. That reasoning may not make sense, however emotions win over logic most of the time, so keep that in mind.


Clear Calls to Action

Without a clear call to action, you are missing out on conversions, and you might not know it. Someone might love your headline and read through your sales letter without stopping. However, they might get to the end and not know what to do to take advantage of your offer. Experts recommend that calls to action need to be “big, bold and easy to find. If not, you run the risk of frustrating the customer.”


Many marketers make the mistake of assuming the customer will know how to take action. Instead, assume they are lost on your website. Have clearly colored and labeled calls to action so they can easily click and buy today. Just don’t make the labels and calls to action look spammy or badly designed. If they look ugly, they’re more likely to doubt your skills either in basic design and website management or your understanding of modern website usage.


Get More Specific

If you are like many business people, you are afraid of leaving out a portion of the market. You don't want to miss out on potential business, so you make your marketing messages as broad as possible to appeal to more people.


The problem is that by going broad, you are not actually making your offer interesting enough. To increase conversions, get more narrowly focused on your niche audience and focus on making them love it instead of making everyone just like it. Then, you'll find that your sales increase while you weed out people who were never prospects in the first place.


When it comes to business today, it is getting harder to attract and convert customers than ever before. If you want to do it consistently, you need to use the conversion tactics above in your marketing. That way, you can enjoy having more profits to invest in the critical areas of your business that will spur growth.


All the world's greatest athletes, business professionals and civic leaders have had coaches. Even coaches have coaches. We all need the support, accountability and professional guidance that working with a coach affords. Ready to achieve the success you so richly deserve? Let's do this!

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

ERP Integration: Why It's the Next Step for Your Business

10/26/2018

As your company grows, it becomes much too complex for one person or a team of individuals to manage it effectively without a formalized system. That is where having an effective Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solution can be very efficient. While there are many reasons that a company should consider integrating an ERP solution, here are some you may want to consider.


Drive Productivity

Integrating an ERP system helps employees stay more productive. CIO reports that ERP improves performance by using workflows that streamline business processes, carefully track employee performance, and analyze results. This provides business owners with data visibility, allowing them to see which parts of their processes are most productive and which need to be improved. Since redundancies can be automated, staff have more time to work on pressing matters and connect with targeted audience members. Many companies report that their employees are often happier because they can maintain a better life-work balance because of the amount of paperwork that is done automatically for them.


Stay Compliant

If you work in a government-regulated industry, then the ERP can even help you make sure that you stay up-to-date on regulations. Then, you have nothing to fear if the government asks to see your books. You can just open up your ERP to them, and they can discover all the information that they need.


Focus on Customers

An ERP is essential for successfully managing your company's customer focus along with a customer management system. DocInfusion says that, with customer data becoming the key to effective consumer engagement tactics in the business world, enterprise resource planning (ERP) is essential for successfully managing your company’s customer focus. Your salesforce will love the information that they can learn about each potential customer before calling on them. Once a customer is converted, then it is easier for other departments to follow up with the client helping to increase customer loyalty and increase customer retention.


Provide Mobile Centralized Database

If you have a remote workforce or often work from home, then an ERP is essential to your business as it provides a centralized database that is available anywhere with just a few clicks. Most systems are even accessible on smartphones making them an ideal solution for sales forces who meet with clients in their offices. The data is there all the time. Yet, it is held securely.


Improve Security

Many users of an ERP system love how easy it is to keep data breaches from occurring. Companies can even set their own data firewalls often controlling who has access to what information. Yet, those who have a need to know do not have to return to the customer to seek the information providing a more professional business appearance. Compare the Cloud says that by maintaining a safe and secure ERP system, with high levels of data consistency, the system could actually help to make your business even more secure, providing peace of mind for your staff and your clients.


Using an ERP can be useful in many different types of businesses because it raises employee productivity, helps companies stay compliant, and even helps with security. Implementing this kind of software will take time and may require some change, but it will be well worth it.


Entrepreneurs, nonprofits and small businesses are constantly changing the world as we know it, creating new products, filling gaps in society and adding much-needed employment opportunities. EPIC Mission is here to help businesses like yours take advantage of opportunity. We take a practical approach to planning and pride ourselves on the client's ability to implement our work with or without additional assistance on our behalf. Our work is collaborative, imaginative and prescriptive based on your needs and your specific situation.


Contact us today to learn more!

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

How Much Content Do You Want on Your Web Pages?

10/29/2018

It's true that the success of a website depends largely on the quality of the content as well as how relevant it is to the target audience. It can be a problem for many of your visitors to spend too much time reading words on a web page. The attention spans of many people when they are browsing through a website can be very short. Not to say that it's true for everyone, just most. It's essential to grab a reader's attention, but you don't want to keep him or her waiting for what they came to your website for in the first place.


How Many Words on Web Pages?

The content on your website should be easy to understand and straight to the point. Based on industry standards, 300 to 350 words on each web page is just fine. It's long enough to discuss the central issue but short enough to encourage the reader to hang in there and read the whole web page. Actually, this is 50 words more than Google recommends, but a little more is just fine. This gives you some breathing room for making your sales pitch.


Another reason for this is how Google's algorithm works. We all want to get on Google's best side if we want to successfully market any products or services because Google is the number one ranked search engine. These are how many words it takes for the Google algorithm to recognize what the niche and subject of the website is about and index it appropriately.


Reach Your SEO Goals

Carefully consider how many words you need in order to incorporate the right keywords into your content to reach your target audience without going overboard. Generally, you want to add the right keywords at the beginning, middle and at the end of each web page's content. It's critical to do the right kind of research to discover what the current relevant keywords are for your niche and update regularly. Trending keywords for niches can change frequently, and it's profitable to be up to date.


In the past, marketers would cram their keywords into content as many times as they possibly could to drive traffic to their sales pages. This form of SEO marketing might work for some niches, but it's practically out of date as far as the new Google algorithm is concerned. This has been known to change frequently, catching less than savvy marketers off guard, so occasional research regarding this issue is necessary.


The number of web pages you should have for your website depends on how large or small your business is. Use each web page as an opportunity to broaden the scope of your audience. Don't limit the subject of the content strictly to your area of interest, but discuss issues, directly and indirectly, related to your niche. If you are an affiliate marketer, this strategy will work very well for you. You never know what products you might find that are associated with your chosen niche. Preparing the groundwork for future marketing opportunities can give your business the lasting presence you need for future success.


If you feel your company needs help with this or any other business-related topic, make sure to spend some time in our Consulting section. We have helped many companies just like yours develop strategies, improve their results and find great success with just a simple adjustments. Let’s work together, and bring your business dreams to life! 

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

How Can I Improve My Yoga Business?

11/2/2018

Yoga has helped people become healthier in every aspect—mind, body, and spirit. That's why so many people who start yoga utilize it often. If you have a yoga business, especially if it's just starting, you may be wondering how you can increase business to help improve health in your area (and help increase your bank account). Here are some tips that can help take your yoga studio to the next level.


Integrate Aromatherapy

Start integrating aromatherapy into your practice! Aromatherapy is meant to help relax the mind and the body through one of our most powerful senses: smell. It uses scented oils in strategic ways to promote these results. Incorporating aromatherapy will help your students receive a fuller experience. Students will get the best results when they are in an environment that contributes to relaxation and peace.


Design New Yoga Sequences

It's important to keep your class fresh and exciting. If you do the same routines every class, it can get old. Look up new stretches or new ways to do popular stretches. Not only will your students enjoy it, their bodies will experience new sensations, and new muscles may be affected. You will also learn which sequences your students enjoy the most.


Redecorate the Yoga Room

Make your classroom attractive and soothing for your students. Opt for a minimalist design to avoid distractions. You'll also want to use cool and muted tones to contribute to the mood. You may also want to install dimmer switches so that you can control the lighting to your liking. Remember to use environmentally friendly products!


Other Ideas:

There are plenty of other ways that you can grow your business. We live in a world of technology, so try utilizing social media and create a compelling website. You may also want to promote yourself when you go out in the community with tee shirts or hats with your company name on it. Finally, you can study your competition to ensure that you're providing the best options at the best values and to learn what might be working for them.


Health is an extremely important topic. Yoga contributes to a person's complete health, mental and physical. Of course, this is most effective when a class is at its best. This includes both the exercises and the environment. If your goals include getting more people to learn about the joys of yoga, try these tips and see how many more people come to your classes. 


Feel free to contact EPIC Mission any time with your questions about how to implement these strategies to help your business grow.


Image credit: doTERRA

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

4 Reasons Employers Can Drug Test Their Employees

11/5/2018

Employers have the task of hiring staff that can perform a job effectively and efficiently. For many businesses, maintaining quality can involve drug testing their current and prospective employees. Here are four reasons why employers can do drug tests.


Safety

An important part of establishing a functional work environment is ensuring the safety of everyone there. Drug abuse can and often does put fellow employees at risk as well as potential clients of the business. If the scope of an employer's work involves direct contact or interaction with customers, the business will be held responsible for anything that was to happen with the customer. Safety should always be a priority regardless of what industry your business is in.


Cost Effectiveness

Drug testing is very cost effective for the business and is beneficial to both parties. This all relates to the previous points of the potential for injury to self and others. If an employee were to claim that they were injured on the job, which could be due to the drug overdose of a fellow employee, this will lead to more accidental injury claims, which can be very expensive for a business. This can be even more expensive if the business is paying for their health insurance.


Lawsuit Avoidance

Making sure that a business avoids a lawsuit has everything to do with the safety of the establishment. If anyone is hurt or injured as a result of the business’s actions, there will be an investigation and potentially a lawsuit. For the best interest of the company, an employee can be asked for a mouth-swab test to make sure all bases are covered. A lawsuit is far too inconvenient and potentially costly for any business to face, and if it can be avoided by random drug testing, you should take the opportunity without a second thought.


Reputation

Perhaps the most important thing a business will carry with them is their reputation. If there is anything that will ruin its reputation, it is allowing those addicted to drugs to go untreated or allow them to affect business. Customers may cease doing business with you, investors could leave the company and the overall reputation will be an unfavorable view in society.

As you can see, drug testing can be vital for a business to maintain both safety and its reputation and to avoid any unnecessary costs associated with lawsuits that could have been avoided. While it is a heated topic with much debate, it is a debate worth having.


If you are an employer with questions about how to best implement new strategies into your business, contact EPIC Mission today to see how we can help you! We offer coaching and consulting services to those business owners who are trying to take their organization to the next level!

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

Having Trouble Getting Your Startup Off the Ground? 

11/13/2018

Getting a startup company launched and running smoothly is one of the most challenging times in the life of a business. We can help you get there with our entrepreneurial consulting services, but even then, you have your work cut out for you. Finding consistent talent, alleviating financial burdens and working within tight time constraints are major sources of stress for startups.


If you're trying to get a startup off the ground, there are some assumptions that you should check and things you can do to take the burden off yourself, helping your startup to take flight.


You Don't Need a Permanent Office

You might feel like you need to have an office right away to be a legitimate business, but renting office space can be expensive. If it's just you and a couple of other people, using a spare room at your home might suffice for some types of businesses that don't need a storefront.


Alternatives to permanent office space are on the rise, and they’re helping startups cut some of the costs that are usually associated with getting off the ground. If traditional office space isn't a good fit for your needs, try working at a coworking space. Another alternative is to rent out a single desk or room in an office if you truly find that you need a place other than your garage to run your business.


You Don't Have to Do Everything Yourself

One of the challenges of starting a new business is finding time. You might feel like you have to do everything yourself, but that can be very time consuming if there are a lot of skills that you need to learn to make your business successful.


If you have an online business, you might feel like you should cut costs by building your own website. But consider the amount of time that you will need to put into learning website design if you don't already know coding and graphic design. Hiring a website designer might be pricey up front, but it can save you a lot over time.


Then, think about how much you would pay to have someone else do it. If the price is still a little too steep, consider finding someone fresh out of school who's looking to build their portfolio.


You Can Collaborate

Find other people who are also just starting out with a similar business, and figure out what everyone's strengths are. If you all fill in each other's gaps, the entire process will be easier for everyone, and you'll get the work done in a fraction of the time that it would take if you had to figure out each piece by yourself.


Getting a startup off the ground can be hard work, and it might be confusing at times. Being realistic about what you need at any given time and using your resources effectively will diminish your initial burden. At EPIC Mission, we stand ready and willing to jump in beside you and help you with your startup. Just give us a call or reach out any time

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

The Ultimate Guide to Promoting a Positive Work Culture

11/21/2018

Every business has a different culture, but some basic principles work across the board to promote a positive work environment. No matter how big or small a company is, it can benefit from better communication. A positive work culture incorporates input from everyone, and it creates a workplace that not only makes employees feel like they are making a difference, but also makes them feel like they matter.


It Starts with a Level Playing Field

Every employee, whether they work on-site, from home, full-time, part-time and those who just started, need to feel like they are being heard. They need to be assured and then reassured that they can and should ask questions. 


According to HR Toolbox, “Through the act of asking questions, we make ourselves look for answers, go down unfamiliar paths that allow us to expose ourselves to new ideas or information. By not accepting that something just is, we force ourselves to understand how come it is and with it, develop a better appreciation for it. Through our inquisitiveness, we nurture our powers of observation, of taking notice of how things are done and pondering the rationale behind it.” All of your employees should feel that their opinions and questions are heard and respected. Make the time to communicate with your employees, no matter how busy you are. As management, you should consider communication with your employees as a vital first step to creating the team that you want to build. Invest in them and the results will pay for themselves.


Out of Sight Should Not Be Out of Mind

With people working from home either full-time or part-time, it can quickly feel like us versus them at meetings and company events. It is essential that the company makes the work-from-home employees know that they are just as important as every other employee. The Employee App explains, “Today, with so many organizations challenged to capture their employees’ attention, mobile technology and social media present a unique and powerful opportunity for communicators, particularly with the growing millennial workforce.” Communication should be equal and fair by using email and social media postings that everyone can access. Make sure that you are not using language that implies that the people who work from home are not considered employees. Words like "regular" separate one group from the other.


Don't Let Good Work Go Unnoticed

No one likes to work for hours on a project and then barely get an acknowledgment for their time and effort. Sure, they are getting paid, but most employees enjoy getting some verbal feedback and special rewards for all their hard work. If you get a chance to give a high five to an employee in the form of an actual high five, a verbal congratulations, a gift card or a pizza party in the break room, do it. Everyone likes to feel like they are getting noticed for the work that they do. Employees need to know that their hard work does pay off, and the boss recognizes them and their talents. Every time you reward good work, you encourage that employee to keep it up and inspire others to do the same.


Being open about questions, promoting equal and positive communication and recognizing good work are just a few of the things that help to cultivate an uplifting work culture. If you feel you need a little more help developing a cohesive culture, EPIC Mission is here to help. Contact us today to discuss your needs or set up a coaching session for your organization. With just a little help, you’ll be on your way to success in no time!

EPIC Mission: Guiding the heroes of change.

How to Gain Lifelong Customers Just by Using Facebook

11/28/2018

Nowadays, many people seem to live on Facebook. It's often where they do their researching, shopping, and interacting. People also like reading reviews of companies, services, or products on social media because consumers tend to be brutally honest about what they like or don’t like. That's why it's crucial for businesses to interact with their customers by using a social media platform like Facebook. This is a way they can find and keep existing customers, build a fan base, and increase sales. Here are a few key steps you can take in order to earn loyal customers through Facebook.


Encourage and Post Positive Reviews for Others to See

Before potential consumers buy a product, they often turn to online reviews to read what others have to say about it. You can use these reviews to your advantage. Encourage those who had a positive experience at your establishment to leave a review. When you see a positive review posted, be sure to share it on your Facebook page. That way, you can build credibility and earn more customers who are looking to have the same positive experience.


Related: https://www.reputationstacker.com/


Offer Fun Giveaways and Competitions

It's easy to get people to follow you on Facebook. It's harder to get them to stay long-term. You'll need to do things periodically that hold their interest. Giveaways are a great way to get to know your new customers, have positive interactions, and gain new followers. Have a tight budget? Even doing a giveaway just once a month will give people something to look forward to. Have people share your status, get their friends to like your page, or leave a review in order to win a free service or item that your business offers. Competitions are also a great way to create some friendly banter among your followers. When people are having fun, they're more likely to shop.


Offer Trial Offers

Whether you're a new business or an existing one, it's important to showcase the products that you offer. You can do this by periodically offering free trials of what you have. This may help you get new customers who may be scared to try your product. Offer smaller samples of some of your most popular items. This is also a great way to keep existing customers coming back. People love getting free items, and they just might find something they can’t live without, which means more sales for your business.


Related: https://www.bearfoxmarketing.com/


Interact With Customers in the Comment Section

Customers love shopping at a business where they feel a personal connection. They like being noticed and appreciated. That's why it's crucial for a business to interact with their customers. If you see someone leave a comment on a Facebook post, respond underneath it even if they're just saying thank-you. The most simple and heartfelt thing you can do is tell them how much you appreciate their support. If a customer has a question, make sure to answer it. If someone's question goes unanswered, they may see you as unresponsive to customer concerns and likely won’t return to your page.


Mix Up Your Content

If you're a business like a bakery, you don't have to post about food all the time. Switch things up to keep Facebook followers interested. If you see an article that you really like, share it. If you find something amusing, chances are that others will find it amusing as well. This will increase your likes and interactions, which will get you a bigger audience on Facebook.


Related: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/


See What Works for Other Businesses

If you're looking for ways to grow your following on social media, check out other businesses. What are they posting about? How often do they post? Is there a certain time of the day where they seem to get a lot of likes and shares? There's nothing wrong with taking what works for others and implementing it for your Facebook page.


Overall, you want to keep things exciting on your Facebook page. Make sure you are posting daily. If you go too often without a post, people may forget about you. When posting, make sure to keep the comment entertaining. Create polls, ask questions, and post articles that will get people to respond, and don’t forget to ask your followers to leave you a review. All these combined will help put your business above the competition when it comes to social media.


If you’re looking to gain an edge to get your business heading in the right direction or you’d like a little expert guidance from our team at EPIC Mission, contact us today to discuss your needs or to schedule a small group or one-on-one coaching sessionThis is a perfect opportunity for entrepreneurs, nonprofits and leaders of all levels to find success within their organizations!

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