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What exactly is being professional?

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So many people talk about professionalism as if it is a suit you put on. In fact, professionalism is just shorthand for being a respectful, skilled, and reliable.

*Respectful: It’s not just ‘yes, ma’am’ or ‘no, sir’, but that isn’t a bad thing.

Respect is about:

Listening: Treating co-workers and customers as important humans with valuable things to say. Learn to listen without interrupting.

Dressing properly: The dress code is either spoken or unspoken. Look around to figure it out. Lifehack writer and business analyst, Ben Brumm, suggests dressing slightly above the dress code. If a collared shirt is required, try wearing a tie, too.

Conversing smartly: Stay away from politics and religion, according to Inc. Magazine. You may want to avoid discussing current events, especially if it is against prevailing wisdom.

Answering the phone properly: Greet and state your name. Hello, this is Sandy or Good Morning, Sandy speaking.

Separating work from home: Hello Kitty is swell, but it should not dominate your office space. Decorate modestly and discretely. Don’t bring your hobbies into the office. Be in the office to work, not solve family problems on the telephone. *Reliable Return emails and texts promptly.

Be punctual: Be on time, all the time. No exceptions.

Meet all deadlines: Treat them as sacred. Show up. Always. Lend a hand. Volunteer for special jobs, if you have the time to follow through.

*Skilled: Be great at your job. Be great at recognizing other people’s greatness. Speak formally. No slang and certainly no objectionable words.

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Small business responds to Covid crisis

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So, now what?

Their stores closed. The offices are vacant. Their income limited.

Small businesses had to answer the question of what they can do right now.

And, for the most part, they did.

About 92 percent of small business owners reinvented themselves, according to Small Biz Trends.

Digital technology was the answer to many small businesses.

– 58% created new online delivery channels.

– 40% created a new virtual service.

– 36% made a new offline delivery channel.

– 31% created a new product.

– 19% worked for a new customer group.

Small restaurateurs and stores selling unique goods all could have had a website presence, but many owners were too busy to make it happen before the coronavirus crisis. When lockdowns happened, they had to set those up.

Virtual services are not just for schools. Trainers, chefs, music teachers all have tried to involve local customers in virtual classes. While they might find new customers, the same services also find they compete with existing businesses online.

For some, new products have helped. Some small manufacturers began making the things most in demand: masks and sanitizers, for example. Breweries made sanitizer. Pillow companies made masks and medical scrubs.

For some, it has worked. Fifty-one percent of businesses that did a pivot say they have increased business against forecasts. But small businesses are still facing issues with skills and staffing for new skills, as well as a lack of money.

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How to hang on to your best employees

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If you own a business, you likely know that skilled and hard-working employees are an invaluable asset. Unfortunately, these employees are the ones most likely to be approached by your competitors with tempting offers. Here are a few tips to help you create a positive work environment that will make your staff want to stay.

Provide opportunities for advancement
Talented and ambitious employees are often driven by a desire to achieve their full potential. If their opportunities for growth dwindle, they may wonder if it’s time to seek a new challenge elsewhere. You should also consider paying staff to attend seminars and workshops. This shows that you’re invested in their professional development.

Take their ideas into consideration

If an employee approaches you with a strategy to improve the company’s services or productivity, listen to their proposal, and seriously weigh its merits. In addition to providing you with a fresh perspective, this shows your employees that their insights and opinions are valued. Another way to promote this type of open communication is to regularly ask the staff for their input.

Show your appreciation For a job well done
Taking the time to recognize an employee’s hard work and success is a simple way to boost their morale and strengthen their dedication to the company. While a simple thank you can suffice, consider rewarding employees who go above and beyond. You could give them tickets to an upcoming show, a bottle of wine, a meal from a local restaurant or a paid day off.

Finally, if you’re concerned that an employee isn’t satisfied, ask them what would make them happier. Oftentimes, a simple adjustment can make all the difference.

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Entrepreneur: John Paul DeJoria been there, done that, and now, billions shared

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John Paul DeJoria. Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

As a kid growing up in downtown Los Angeles in the 1950s, John Paul DeJoria didn’t really think times were tough.

The second son of an Italian immigrant father and Greek immigrant mother, DeJoria’s parents divorced in 1946 when he was two years old. Eight years later, he and his brother landed in a foster home.

After two years in the U.S. Navy, DeJoria got a job as a janitor. Then he peddled encyclopedias door-to-door. Next, he sold life insurance the same way.

After getting fired from an entry-level job with a hair company, DeJoria slept in his car while selling shampoo door-to-door until 1980, when he and Paul Mitchell took out a $700 loan to launch John Paul Mitchell Systems, Inc.

The idea was to sell their unique new shampoo to hairdressers only. According to CNBC, their shampoo required only one wash (saving time and money) and a conditioner that remained in the hair. The big deal about the conditioner was that while acting as a sculpting agent for the hairdresser, it also defended hair against the blow dryer’s heat and neutralized any chemicals on the hairdresser’s hands.

The shampoo took off like a rocket, and almost 40 years later John Paul Mitchell Systems remains one of the premier hair-care companies in the world.

Not long after their shampoo’s debut, Paul Mitchell died in 1989, and DeJoria took over the company. DeJoria and partner Martin Crowley acquired a stake in the Patron Spirits Company to develop what they said was the smoothest tequila ever. In 2018, they sold it to Bacardi for $5.1 billion.

Having been down and out so much of his life, DeJoria, now 76, relishes giving back. In 2011 he signed Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s pledge to give half his earnings to better the world. Today — with a net worth of $3.1 billion — John Paul DeJoria’s view of wealth is this: “Success not shared is failure.”

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3 recruitment mistakes to avoid

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If you have a position to fill at your company, implementing the right hiring strategy is key. Here are three mistakes to avoid during recruitment that could cost you considerable time and money.

1. Fast-tracking the process
Even if a position needs to be filled right away, you shouldn’t rush through recruitment. After all, if you hire the wrong person, you’ll have to start over. Plus, you’ll have wasted time training someone who wasn’t suited for the job. It’s far more efficient to schedule interviews with promising candidates and then properly assess their skills so you can make an informed decision.

2. Ignoring in-house talent

It’s possible that one of your current employees has the right qualifications for the open position. Plus, since they’re already familiar with the company culture, they’re likely to adapt to their new role quickly. If an employee shows potential, consider giving them the position.

3. Relying solely on interviews and CVs
A candidate might make a good impression during the interview but still be the wrong person for the job. Make sure to contact their references for more information about their ability to work under pressure or as part of a team. Similarly, it’s easy to embellish a CV, which is why an aptitude test is a more reliable way to assess someone’s qualifications.

In addition to saving you time and money, avoiding these mistakes will help you find the right candidate for the job.

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The key to fraud — printed right on your checks

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In a business checking account, a small charge of $10 to $20 might not generate too much concern or suspicion.

But, beware, small amounts coming out of your checking account can be a fraud, and all the criminal needs to know are printed right on your check.

Automated Clearing House (ACH) fraud is a common way to steal. The criminal only needs your account number and the bank routing number. It is like check fraud only much easier since the funds come right out of your bank account without the need for paper.

Be aware that any time you type in your checking account and routing number online you are offering a bad actor all he or she needs to steal from you, either in small amounts over time, or by gutting your account entirely.

Criminals get your checking account information through phony websites, phishing schemes, spoofed emails from entities such as the IRS, and even work at home schemes.

Or, if you send them a check. That’s all it takes.

Such fraudulent ACH transactions can be labeled many things, including “Bank Card draft” or “Bank payment” and seem legitimate at a glance.

Consumers have 60 days to alert their banks and recover funds, but businesses may only have one day to do the same. The key is daily monitoring of the account, reviewing all the credits and debits to detect fraud immediately.

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Management Message idea: You can use in whole or as an idea starter – It’s time to change the tone

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In July, we celebrate this country’s independence and the birth of what was to become the United States.

In July 2020, sadly, we don’t feel so united.

We have had extreme, collective disappointments, tragedy, and stresses in the last few years. We have also had successes, change for the better, and some hopeful signs for the future.

Everywhere we turn, people are angry, and all too anxious to point fingers. Anger is everywhere from supermarkets to living rooms to the street. For every success one person points to, another claims it was corrupt. For every corruption, others claim it was a success.

The sad thing is that some points of everyone’s opinion are valid. But anger makes it very difficult to focus on solutions and agreement.

In this era, perhaps we can never agree, but we can tone down the rhetoric. That’s important because no matter how angry we are, there are things worth saving in our nation.

Inflammatory, sweeping accusations against one person, groups of people, or every person don’t help the general tone. It doesn’t help to accuse everyone, but yourself, of evil intentions. Just like you, most people don’t think their intentions are evil at all. We might remember that.

Let’s avoid name-calling to insult those with whom we disagree.

Turn off, log off, conversations that have become vicious. Don’t be part of the problem.

Take a moment to hear others.

Let others speak.

When you speak, try to speak with charity.

This month, take time to remember that, right or wrong, idealists founded this country in hope of building something better than existed previously. You can argue they didn’t succeed, as many have, but at least they tried to build, not destroy.

Let’s be joyful builders. Let us thrive together aware of our disagreements, but in unity to seek solutions.

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